Man-made climate change defies statistics
The northside sun ran a column last week titled “Carbon Tax is the Solution to Climate Change.” I looked at the end of the article and saw that the author is an “environmental economist,” so my first assumption was that she was only considering a “solution” in economic terms (translation: another opportunity for increased taxation).
Her question regarding Mr. Tillerson (“Would an oil and gas tycoon support federal progress on climate change?”) is also vague. Is she asking if Mr. Tillerson will support real “progress” on climate change, which would include educating the public on the true scientific facts regarding climate change, or does she consider “progress” to be exploitation of manipulated data for profit?
Her description of the proposal of the “Climate Leadership Council” as “an elegant use of market forces to reduce the risk of climate change” (translation: another opportunity for “income redistribution”) unfortunately leads me to believe that the second description is her belief.
This absurd tax is only a possibility because of the recent hysteria that links increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with increasing global temperatures. A serious ignorance of chemistry and physics is a prerequisite to the belief that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is a cause of “global warming.” The opposite is true - increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is the result of warmer global temperatures, such as we are experiencing now due to the increase in solar flare activity over the past few years (and yes, in the overall picture of the earth’s history, my lifetime and that of the author qualify as a “few years”).
Higher global atmospheric temperatures lead to higher global ocean temperatures, which of course leads to decreased solubility of CO2 in the oceans, thus leading to the rise in global atmospheric CO2 levels - duh. Yep, the lead/lag discrepancy (the "climate change" crowd claims that rising CO2 levels cause increasing temperatures, when the opposite is actually true) is the biggest fallacy perpetuated by the Al Gore disciples.
This has been well-documented for centuries, and is easy to correlate by looking at growth rings in trees - the ring spacing is greater (indicating more rapid growth) in the warmer years, when more atmospheric CO2 is available to support this growth. Of course, the "climate scientists" (defined as those who make a living promoting man-made “climate change”) like to show graphs with CO2 levels superimposed over temperature (the y-axis component), but they also like to compress the x axis (time in years) so that the lagging nature of CO2 level is not noticeable.
That’s how Al Gore always prepared his graphs; increased resolution of those graphs would reveal the truth. (I think Al would call that an “inconvenient truth.”) Increased CO2 has always followed increased temperatures - at least for the 600,000 years of data we have. CO2 has historically been released as the planet has warmed, not the other way around. The last 600,000 years of ice core data indicate that the earth does not get warmer because CO2 is released, but that CO2 is released because the earth gets warmer.
CO2 levels have never driven temperature in the past, so what reason is there to think it does now? That’s easy - now people can make hundreds of billions of dollars by promoting nonsense. The earth was warming from the late 1800s through 1940, even though there was very little industrialization and man’s worldwide production of CO2 was insignificant. If CO2 levels were virtually unchanged, why the warming? After 1940, when worldwide production of CO2 exploded due to worldwide industrialization following WWII, temperatures went down for 35 years, leading to widespread fears of an ice age - remember the magazine covers? If CO2 was suddenly and massively increasing, why the cooling?
In the 1970s, even though CO2 production was steadily increasing at the same rate it had been since 1940, the cooling trend reversed itself and temperatures again started to climb. With no significant change in CO2 production, why the switch from a cooling trend to a warming trend? The point is that temperature fluctuations over the last 200 years do not correlate at all with the slow steady increase in CO2 levels for the last 200 years. CO2 has never been shown to drive climate in the past. Yet, there are many points in the earth’s history when CO2 levels have been higher, temperatures have been higher, and ocean levels have risen faster than today. “Climate scientists” conveniently forget to tell you that the temperature has slowly been increasing for about 11,000 years now, since the last ice age. That wouldn't help their narrative. They harp on the story line that after a certain period of time (the last 200 years) temperature is up a little and CO2 levels have increased.
Over the last 200 years, atmospheric CO2 has increased from .02 percent to .04 percent, as the temp has gone up about 1.5 deg C. They choose this 200 year period because if they go back any further, CO2 and temperature start doing things that they can’t explain. But even within the 200-year time period, temperature and CO2 cannot be correlated with each other. They don't want you to look at any of that. They only want you to focus on the narrative that “temperature and CO2 are both slightly higher after this particular period of time.”
This is called confirmation bias - “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.” When it’s cold, it’s atmospheric global warming (AGW). When it’s hot, it’s AGW. When it’s a flood, it’s AGW. When it’s a drought, you guessed it, it’s AGW. No other possibilities are even remotely considered. We are flooded (no pun intended) with “news” stories every day that say things like “scientists predict we could be underwater by 2030,” and it’s all passed off as legitimate “science.” I think Al Gore had us all swimming by now.
I remember 40 years ago when it was a certainty that we were heading for another ice age. All of this has the veneer of “science,” but no substance. Yes, the earth is getting warmer. No, this is not the fastest it has ever warmed - far from it. Every day, you will see news stories related to a warming planet, and this is presented as evidence of AGW. Yes, if rain patterns shift due to a warming planet, that is proof the earth is warming. It is not proof that man-made CO2 caused the warming. However, a search for articles related to AGW will yield hundreds of articles providing evidence that the planet is warming, and this will be used to prop up the theory that man-made CO2 is causing the warming. It is not evidence of that at all; it’s just evidence that the planet is warming - again, confirmation bias. “Climate science” should be science. If it can’t withstand competing ideas or alternate explanations, then the science probably isn't very good and it certainly isn't “settled.” True science is never settled, and saying that it is sounds like the Wizard of Oz insisting that no one look behind the curtain.
CO2 as a driver of climate change does not pass the common sense test. At 0.04 percent, it is not even detectable in the wavelengths that matter relative to other atmospheric gases such as water. Even the most generous assessments place its impact at one watt per square meter, which barely registers in comparison to the sun’s 1,367 watts per square meter impact on the earth. As an engineer, I do these calculations every day, so it is obvious to me, but not so much to the Al Gore crowd. Furthermore, only about three to four percent of that 0.04 percent CO2 total is due to humans. There are many other possible sources of global warming (and cooling) - including man made possibilities. However, no one is studying and documenting these causes because funding for such studies is not available unless CO2 is assumed to be the cause. Anyone who works in science knows that scientists struggle to get money, and that is what drives grant applications. That is why you see what you see every night on the news, repeated by “journalists” who think that a “climate scientist” is an expert on climate. The "carbon tax" is simply another "solution" to the question "Where can we find another source for tax dollars?"
William P. Irby, professional engineer, is a principal of HESM&A Consulting Engineers in Madison.