Why the case for reducing CO2 emissions may be wrong-headed
Climate change advocates and skeptics alike can agree that humankind has a duty to be a good and faithful steward of the Earth, our island home. It may or may not be unique in the universe, but we know that it is vanishingly rare.
Clarity of thought and careful consideration of the evidence is essential to good stewardship. The term “fighting climate change” is not consistent with either of these criteria. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed and will always change. The questions we must answer to fulfill our stewardship obligations are empirical:
• What is driving climate change over various time scales?
• in what direction?
• what is the relative contribution of human activities?
Failure to answer these questions correctly will lead to a huge waste of resources that could otherwise have been spent on activities that truly are beneficial for humanity and the Earth.
Global initiatives to “fight climate change” rest on the strongly held mainstream view that
- carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activity are the main contributor to a warming planet;
- continuation of the warming trend will have catastrophic consequences in terms of rising sea levels, “killer storms”, droughts, loss of habitat, etc.
I do not think that the hypothesis and inferences are supported by the weight of evidence. An alternative hypothesis that better fits the evidence is that the main driver of climate change by far is change in the intensity of energy from the Sun. There is nothing humans can do about that; the best we can do is adapt. Man’s contribution to climate change has been trivial, well within the band of normal variability. If so, then man-made [anthropogenic] CO2 emissions are not a problem.
Every one of the climate change models based on the theory that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are raising the Earth’s temperature have proven quite inaccurate. Actual average global temperatures have been far short of projections from the models. Media statements notwithstanding, there is no scientific consensus on climate change issues beyond the obvious statement that climate change occurs.
For those of you who want to decide for yourselves whether my challenge to climate change orthodoxy is truth or nonsense, you may want to peruse the paper I have attached to this post. It was written in 2015, but so far has stood the test of time.