Dramatic new and improved evidence points to temperatures on Earth rising before an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The new findings are causing considerable concern in the ‘settled’ world of climate science where a political narrative promoting Net Zero demands that it is undeniable that temperatures rise after humans burn fossil fuels. The controversy has been building for about a year since initial findings were first published by the U.K. Royal Society.
The latest work from four scientists uses sophisticated stochastic or change-formulated causality techniques to examine data from numerous temperature and CO2 data sets over the last 60 years. As with the initial findings published by the Royal Society, they found the causality link placing a CO2 rise ahead of temperature cannot be scientifically supported since it is clearly shown that temperature precedes CO2 by six or more months. “All evidence resulting from the analysis suggests a unidirectional, potentially causal link with temperature as the cause and CO2 as the effect,” they state.
The collectivist Net Zero project relies on the assumption that humans operate a climate thermostat by burning fossil fuel. The UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change promotes the suggestion that all variation in the climate since 1900 has been caused by humans. But the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change was always shaky since no scientist can prove the actual amount of warming to be expected, while scientific observations going back 600 million years offer little proof of a conclusive link.
It will be hard for activists and alarmists to debunk these findings since the scientific process demands the need to critically examine and justify every proposed causal link. Of course given the initial involvement of the Royal Society, the cancellation weapon may be considered as a late option. However the scientists have noted that their current and more detailed work was developed after critical review in the Royal Society journal. “Some concerns expressed by critics, such as lengths of time series, effect of seasonality, effect of timescale, are dealt with in this new paper. No-one has however developed any critique of the methodology,” they note. The mathematics involved are complex and readers can access the full workings in the paper, which is linked in the first paragraph of this article.
The lead author is Professor Demetris Koutsoyiannis from the University of Athens and there are three others contributors from Athens, London (Imperial) and Poznan. The paper is titled ‘On Hens, Eggs, Temperature and CO2: Causal Links in Earth’s Atmosphere’. The reference to hens and eggs highlights a basic, age-old concept in the scientific process. What is the sequence of cause and effect – what came first, the hen or the egg?
This paper may well hasten the breakdown of the always shaky hypothesis that humans hold the climate thermostat, and can control it by regulating their own CO2 production. Ironically the recent rush to don sandwich-board doomsday placards by activists and media after a warm summer suggests its ‘settled’ days may be numbered. If human-caused CO2 was causing the climate to warm, it would only be detectable over a longer period. But the longer period does not offer much evidence of a direct link, with the last 150 years showing rises, falls and pauses in the global temperature record. Instead alarmists have had to fall back on anomalies which show one-off departures from the norm. It is impossible to link human-caused CO2, or indeed any CO2, to an outlier over a month or so. Of course this has not stopped pseudoscientists using computer models to claim they can link an individual weather event to the long-term trend.
The above graph, recently tweeted by the science writer Andy May, demonstrates how unscientific the use of individual outliers to prove a doomsday prediction can be. It shows the global temperature measured by satellites since 2015, and reveals a small downward trend over the last eight years. But there are departures from the norm, both higher and lower over the period including a spike upwards this year. When doomsters start to catastrophise the heat spikes but ignore the trend, it is time to start counting the spoons. When the Guardian runs a front page story titled ‘“Gobsmackingly bananas”: scientists stunned by planet’s record September heat‘, it might even be time to call for the men in white coats.
The Koutsoyiannis-led scientists are adamant that it is not possible to attribute climate change to just one human agent. Not least, such a suggestion fails to explain 4.5 billion years of changing climate. While not the main scope of the paper, the authors observe that natural CO2 changes due to temperature rises are larger by a factor of three than the 4% produced by humans.
The biosphere is noted to be more productive at higher temperatures with more biochemical reactions – in other words, plant growth. This leads to a ‘greening’ of the planet which in its turn produces even more of the so-called carbon fertilisation effect. It might be additionally noted that this has occurred over the last few decades with 14% more plant growth observed across the planet, a process that has undoubtedly led to less global famine.
The authors go on to provide other reasons for climate change, many of which will be familiar to regular readers including oceanic heat exchange, solar and geological activity. They conclude on a note of realism, seemingly lost in the mainstream rush to attribute all climate change to humans:
Causal links in complex systems may form endless sequences… it is naïve to expect complete answers to problems related to complex systems, or to assume that a complex system is in permanent equilibrium, and that an external agent is needed to ‘kick’ it out of the equilibrium and produce change.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.