The false notion that the climate is collapsing due to human activity lies at the heart of the drive to collectivise human populations under a Net Zero global agenda. Everything about it is a lie. The science is not ‘settled’, it is an unproven hypothesis, and stating otherwise is giving credence to an obvious political construct. There is no way that scientists can calculate how much of the gentle rise in temperature seen over the last 200 years is caused by humans burning fossil fuel rather than natural influences. The idea that there is a 97% ‘consensus’ among scientists that humans cause the majority of warming is a whopper as big as they come, not least because holding that view is beyond current scientific knowledge.
This latter ubiquitous claim was recently revisited in a short essay published by the CO2 Coalition. It arose from a 2013 paper published by John Cook and asserted that 97% of 11,944 peer-reviewed science papers explicitly endorsed the opinion that humans had caused the majority of the warming of the last 150 years. Alas, 7,930 of those papers took no position on anthropogenic change and were excluded from the 97% claim. It was subsequently revealed that only about 0.5%, of the papers explicitly stated that recent warming was mostly human caused.
The authors of the CO2 Coalition essay quote Professor Richard Tol’s comment at the time:
Cook’s 97% nonsensus [sic] paper shows that the climate community still has a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behaviour. If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.
Science has three levels to judge the way the natural world operates – laws, theories and hypotheses. An apple falling from a tree hitting the ground demonstrates clearly the law of gravity. If it suddenly flew off into space, we would have to reconsider, but until then it is a given fact. A theory is an explanation that has been ruthlessly tested and is widely accepted as fact. Hypotheses covers the rest – mere suggestions that only gain credence with rigorous scientific testing and believable proof. Anthropogenic climate change is an unproven hypothesis, without a single credible peer-reviewed paper proving its proposition. And this is after at least 50 years of intense, money-no-object, scientific effort, all to no avail.
As the noted Australian geologist Dr. Ian Plimer is fond of pointing out: if there was such a paper, you would never hear the last of it. The common response to this is that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides the proof, but, again, no paper exists within that body of work to prove the hypothesis to any reasonable extent. As Dr. Plimer goes on to observe, when proof is sought, there is just “obfuscation and deafening silence”. A silence, it could be noted, disturbed only by the deafening pseudoscientific roar of computer models pumping out constant clickbait forecasts of climate Armageddon.
Anthropogenic climate change fails on almost every count. In particular, it cannot explain a vast body of observations available in the historic, near-historic and 600-million-year paleological record. In all that time, rarely do temperatures rise following rising carbon dioxide levels. In the near-historic period, ice core records going back about 500,000 years suggest that rising temperature preceded, and likely caused, CO2 levels to follow suit as natural processes such as ocean degassing come into play. Across the paleological period, CO2 levels have been up to 20 times higher with no evidence of a climate fireball. Over the last 120 years, temperatures have risen (1910-40, 1980-98), fallen (1940-75) and paused (2000-14, 2016-23), all at a time when CO2 showed a continuous rise.
As often happens in the human condition, the bad drives out the good. Plausible alternative explanations surrounding the effect of rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have been more or less suppressed in the recent past. The hypothesis that CO2 ‘saturates’ after a certain level, and its warming properties fall away dramatically, has been around for many years. The gas absorbs heat only within narrow bands of the infrared spectrum. There is debate at what level the absorption work is mainly done, with some scientists suggesting from observations that ‘saturation’ sets in around 300 parts per million, 100 ppm lower than current levels. The big advantage of this hypothesis is that it provides a convincing explanation for much if not all the temperature and gas observations in the past.
The CO2 Coalition provides a timely reminder that science, unlike religion, is not a belief system. Like everyone else, scientists will say things for social convenience, political expediency or financial profit. For reasons such as this, science is not founded on the beliefs – in other words hypotheses – of scientists. It is a disciplined method of inquiry by which scientists apply pre-existing theory to observation and measurement to arrive at “that which is, and that which is not”, as the authors put it.
The CO2 Coalition concludes:
The long and hard road to scientific truth cannot be followed by the trivial expedient of a mere head-count among those who make their livings from Government funding. Therefore, the mere fact that climate activists find themselves so often appealing to an imagined ‘consensus’ is a red flag. They are far less sure of the supposed scientific truths to which they cling than they would like us to believe. ‘Consensus’ here is a crutch for lame science.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.