With Germany scouring the world for supplies of oil and gas and firing up dormant coal power stations, one of its most distinguished atmospheric scientists, Professor Hermann Harde, has castigated politicians for reacting to increasingly shrill climate horror stories and “believing they can save the world”. Many of the research studies and “horror scenarios” are not based on a secure physical foundation, he says, “but rather represent computer games that reflect what was fed in”. The idea that humans can control the climate with their CO2 emissions is said to be an “absolute delusion”.
In Professor Harde’s view, there exists considerable doubt about a “scientifically untenable thesis” of purely human-caused climate change, “and it is completely wrong to assume that 97% of climate scientists, or even more, would assume only anthropogenic warming”. In his view, climate and energy policy can only gain popular acceptance when they are based on reliable knowledge, “and not on speculations or belief”. Harde retired a few years ago from Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg as Professor of Experimental Physics after a long career in science academia.
For many years, Germany’s politicians have been able to make virtuous green noises by closing nuclear power stations and banning exploration for fossil fuel. At the same time, the country started importing large quantities oil and gas from an unstable Russia. The war in Ukraine has suddenly brought home to Germany, and the EU, the sheer stupidity of this dangerous policy.
In Harde’s view, the move to impose ‘climate emergency’ policies was led by competition between different research groups to outdo each other predicting horror scenarios. Alarming predictions attracted media attention, “and our decision-makers felt obliged to quickly react”. But, noted Harde, it is absolutely clear that without a reliable and sufficient energy supply, “Germany and many other countries that take such a path will end in anarchy”.
Professor Harde’s research leads him to state that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change overestimates by five times the thermal effect of doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He points to the “highly overlapping and saturated absorption bands” of CO2 and water vapour, and the significant reduced effect of greenhouses gases under cloud cover. He goes on to state that the recent increase in CO2 has caused warming of less than 0.3°C over the last century.
Since only about 15% of the global CO2 increase is of anthropogenic origin, just 15% of 0.3°C, i.e., less than 0.05°C remains, which can be attributed to humans in the overall balance. In view of this vanishingly small contribution, of which the Germans are only involved with 2.1% [of emissions], it is absurd to assume that an exit from fossil fuels could even remotely have an impact on our climate. Changes of our climate can be traced back to natural interaction processes that exceed our human influence by orders of magnitude.
In Professor Hande’s opinion, modern climate science has developed more as an ideology and world view, rather than a serious science. Scientists who question or point to serious inconsistencies about human-caused or anthropogenic global warming, are “publicly discredited” and excluded from research funds. In addition, research contributions in journals are supressed, and in a reference to the recent Professor Peter Ridd case in Australia, placed on leave or dismissed from their university. After all, he notes, this is “settled climate science”, and doubts about the harmful effect of CO2 on the environment and the climate are not allowed, “because it is about nothing less than saving the planet”.
What we call truths, continues Harde, depends to a large extent on our state of knowledge. He suggests that climate science requires a fundamental review of the hypotheses and a shift away from the widely established climate industry. Science must not be misled by commerce, politics or ideology, he says. It is the genuine task of universities and state-funded research institutions “to investigate contradictory issues and to ensure independent, free research that gives us honest answers, even when these answers are often complex and do not fit into a desired political context”.
Harde concludes by warning politicians that it would be an irresponsible environmental and energy policy to continue to ignore serious peer-reviewed scientific publications that show a much smaller human impact on the climate than previously thought. It is also irresponsible to shut down a reliable, adequate and affordable energy supply, to be replaced by millions of wind turbines, “that destroy our nature and shred trillions of birds and insects”.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.
Postscript: It has been pointed out that a 2018 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that “human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels”. This view is supported by findings from such organisations as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the IPCC, which indicate that human activity is the greatest contributor to global warming, primarily through its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
In Chris Morrison’s defence, the role of human activity in causing global warming is still a matter of dispute among climate scientists and the claim that it is “the greatest contributor to global warming” is not in reality ‘settled science’. Most people know what the IPCC thinks, since its views are widely reported. Our article reported an alternative view, one held by a distinguished atmospheric scientist. We believe science progresses by debating hypotheses such as these, not pretending they are ‘settled’ and dismissing views that challenge them as beyond the pale.