A Non-political Guide to Climate Change 3/6/21

I am inaugurating a series of posts on climate change for people who want to know what the key facts are, and what scientists think is a true picture of how the climate system works. “True” as defined here means that the description provided will be shown to be valid by subsequent inquiry and experience.

The major source documents I rely on are listed below. Based on my own reading and search for the latest information, I am convinced that the data and analysis presented therein would pass any fair-minded scientist’s assessment for carefulness and intellectual integrity. If you find evidence to the contrary, I would like to hear about it. My key sources are:

Fred Singer with David R. Legates and Anthony R. Lupo, Hot Talk, Cold Science, Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, Third Edition, Independent Institute, Oakland, California, 2021

Richard S. Lindzen and John R. Christy, “Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Record, How it works and why it is misleading,” CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Va. 2020

Quotes from these documents are in blue. Page references are for the Kindle edition of Hot Talk, Cold Science and for the CO2 Coalition’s publication of the Lindzen paper.

I will leave it to the reader to draw his own conclusions. Here are mine:

  1. The climate change observed to date is modest at best, a rise of 1.2o Celsius (C) in the past 120 years.
  2. This increase is well within the range of natural variability.
  3. What scientists have discovered about climate change – what has happened over time and how the climate system works – overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that climate change is driven almost entirely by natural causes that are not influenced by human activity.
  4. There is nothing special about changes in the climate since mankind started burning fossil fuels. It was warmer than at present a thousand years ago and colder subsequently. For proper understanding of climate change, it is necessary to put our current circumstances in historical and geological context.
  5. The influence of man-caused emissions of CO2 on climate change ranges from trivial to negligible.
  6. The observed relationship between atmospheric concentration of CO2 and global warming does not support the assertion that an increase in the level of atmospheric CO2 in makes the climate warmer. The geologic record shows hat (1) CO2 concentrations have risen after the climate got warmer, and (2) there have been periods when atmospheric concentration of CO2 was much higher and the Earth was much colder than at present, and vice-versa.
  7. The models on which the climate alarmism case is based have been wrong. They all “run hot”, i.e., overstate the amount of warming that will occur.
  8. The alarmist narrative spread by the mainstream media is based on unreliable data, questionable science, and wrong models. It is false.
  9. What the public has been told by government officials does not correctly reflect what the scientific papers cited by governmental bodies actually say. The reporting process has been politicized.
  10. The historical record shows that:
    • There has been no acceleration in sea level rise; and, the increase projected over the next century is about six inches (Singer, p.153). All we know for sure is that currently, sea-level rise does not seem to depend on ocean temperature and certainly not on  CO2  (Singer, p.152).
    • Severe Storms are not increasing (Singer,p.112).
    • Heat Waves are not becoming more common (Singer, p. 113).
    • Droughts are not becoming more common (Singer, p. 114).
    • Global Warming is not harming coral reefs (Singer, pl. 115).
    • Global warming has nothing to do with forest fires.

The next time you see a story supporting the climate catastrophe narrative, keep in mind that the climate is always changing, and there will always be extreme changes locally somewhere. Inferring from some local extreme temperature-related event that catastrophic or even slightly adverse global climate change is in the offing amounts to journalistic malpractice.

If you want more information and analysis on why I think the above propositions are true, please keep an eye out for forthcoming posts:

  • What has happened to the average global temperature since 1900?
  • What is the relationship between the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and temperature change on a geologic time scale, the last several thousand years, the last several hundred years, and recently, when humanity started burning fossil fuels?
  • What do scientists think they know about what drives the Earth’s climate system, the role of CO2, and the contribution of man-caused CO2 emissions?
  • What is the evidence and logic supporting the official narrative that man-caused CO2 emissions are causing a dangerous global warming that left unchecked will have catastrophic consequences for humanity?
  • Why is the official narrative false?
  • Is global cooling in our future?
  • What does the historical record tell us about whether we should expect a large, calamitous rise in sea levels and ever more prevalent, severe weather events?

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Ground rules for comments 

I strongly welcome comments, but  ask you to abide by the principle, “Always respect the person, never respect the idea.”  A thoughtful analysis of why the views  I present are wrong helps all of us get closer to discerning what is true, but civility must rule.



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