Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

I've been teaching my students at Earth Team that man-made global warming is real, that it is pernicious, that there is scientific consensus, and that we have to act immediately. I also told them a cause of global warming is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, which is produced by burning fossil fuels.

But, according to a British documentary called The Great Global Warming Swindle, I'm wrong.

It's not carbon dioxoide, stupid, it's the sun! Here are the main arguments:

- Records of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels since 1940 show a net increase, but during the period of greatest industrial growth 1940-1975, global temperature decreased steadily, and only began increasing again since the economic recession of the 1980s and thereafter.

- Theories of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas predict that the temperature in the troposphere should increase the fastest, but satellite and weather balloon data do not show this.

- Changes in solar activity match changes in global temperatures much more accurately than do changes in carbon dioxide levels (see chart above)

- Global temperature does not change due to changes in carbon dioxide levels, but rather, carbon dioxide levels change due to changes in global temperature. It is claimed that the Earth's oceans absorb carbon dioxide when they are cooler, and release it when they are warmer. When the Earth's average temperature increases over time, the oceans temperature also gradually increases and more CO2 is released into the atmosphere. Due to the large mass of the oceans, it takes a long time ("decades or centuries") for the reaction to temperature changes to occur. Thus, when a graph of the Earth's temperature change is compared to that of CO2 change, the CO2 chart mirrors the temperature one, on an 800-year delay.

- It is immoral for industrialised populations to demand that developing African nations ignore their reserves of cheap fossil fuels (coal and oil), and instead rely on expensive renewable power generation techniques, such as solar panels.

- The "2,500 top scientists" of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are not all scientists and do not all agree with the global warming report produced by the panel that points to CO2 as a cause of global warming.

See Wikipedia article from which most of the summary above was adapted :)


Verena said...

I annoys me that Channel 4 (and you Oli) has given space to this program. Once again, the minority view on global warming gets an airing on prime-time tv. Honestly, why is it that people who disbelieve global warming are never climatologists? Firstly, are you aware that many of the people featured on that program claim they were misrepresented? Secondly, these programs work by picking small bits of evidence to support their case and ignoring REAMS of evidence to support the case for human involvement in global warming. Thirdly, watching a newsnight thing about this program last night, why was the only person they could get on to say he was a sceptic of human involvement in global warming an expert in tropical medicine?! Lastly, the nice climatologist on the program gave a perfectly reasonable explaination of that whole 'during the last period of industrialisation CO2 levels' arguement.. unfortunately I can't remember the details, but suffice to says he scoffed at the program. There Oli... I know this is what you wanted from posting this, so happy now? I'm not saying there shouldn't be a debate, but I do think programs about something so serious, should present a balanced view of the evidence.

Oliver said...

Firstly, one person on the programme, named Carl Wunsch, claimed he was mis-represented. You can view his comments here http://www.realclimate.org/.

Secondly, all conspiracy theories (JFK, Moon Landings, 9/11 etc) work by picking up small bits of evidence and ignoring reams of other evidence. That isn't new and I know you know I know that, because we've discussed this before.

Thirdly, as I know you know already, the reason they get such obscure experts to disagree with man-made climate change is because there is a consensus within the scientific community (except when represented in politics and the media).

Lastly, I totally agree with you that programmes about something so serious as this should present a balanced view of the evidence.

There is a parallel here with the Evolution vs. ID debate. ID, like this Global Warming Swindle, is not genuine science and thus to present it as such, beside evolution, is to create the false impression that both are equally legitimate, when one is not. For this reason, and a point on which I agree with Dawkins, is that we should not enter into debate with them because that makes their position appear legitimate. It also creates uncertainty and controversy in the public's mind, which is there ultimate goal.

"There Oli... I know this is what you wanted from posting this, so happy now?"

You think I posted this to wind you up? I didn't even know you read my blog, and that's all it is V, a blog, which my friends read. I didn't put it up here to stir controversy and increase my readership, I put it up there so people could me made aware of the documentary, read about and watch it if they wanted.

I have to say that I watched this documentary and found it extremely persuasive. It was not like all the other conspiracy bullshit I've seen, it was better. But, like my readers, I demand to be convinced and it only took a little research to uncover the falsehoods, lies, misrepresentations and motives behind this documentary.

These discrepencies were going to be the subject of my next post.

Further reading:




Anonymous said...

I think the real culprit is the Jews. Obviously. That, or rampant latent European anti-Semitism.

Caleb said...

I think that there is also a monetary involvement in dissent. Right now there are a lot of powerful (rich) people who do not like the implications of global warming, i.e. major polluting companies. They therefore will throw money at someone who is willing to speculate and invent arguments against it.

Todd said...

Oli, first off - did you change your email? tried to contact you wankstain but is becoming increasily difficult.
on the subject of global warming - fuck it, i love my aerosol airspray. havent watched said docudrama but will do on your rec. if you havent, seen jesus camp, be sure to take a look - a scary take on religious zealotry

rtaylor said...

I think Occam's Razor should be put in play here. Simplicity first...complexity later if simplicity fails.
The sun generates the most heat in our solar system. It seems that this is the most logical cause/effect of the recent (slight) warming.
I think we need to move from the UN with it's obvious anti-West, anti-capitalist mentality and think for ourselves with honest debates.