Climate alarmism rests on faith

cartoonAFTER two stints as pope of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra “Patchy” Pachauri has seized the opportunity of a pause in global warming to announce, first, his resignation and, second, his undying faith in the cause.

In a letter to be read from pulpits and weather stations across the world, Dr Pachauri vindicates the trust placed in him as pope of the IPCC by declaring that for him, “the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

It doesn’t take much faith in the scientific method to accept, as The Australian does, that during the past century or so industrial development and greenhouse gases have been associated with rising temperature. But it’s the overheated rhetoric on climate that shows we are often dealing with a dogmatic quasi-religion, not science.

Lightning and a thunderous voice from the clouds may announce a revelation that believers revere as settled doctrine. But science has a habit of unsettling; as surprising results mount up, they put yesterday’s theories under strain. The current pause in warming may — or may not — mask an underlying trend that fits the global warming thesis. The general mechanism whereby greenhouse gases trap energy emitted by the Earth and push up its temperature may be well understood but much else is not — and should not be anointed as dogma.

Climate models are attempts to mimic the complex interplay between human activity and nature; it’s dopey to hold them out as prophecy. The degree of man-made warming to come, its likely effects good and bad, and the case for remedial action balanced against other claims on scarce public resources are all matters for expert advice, rational debate and decisions open to review as new data comes to hand.

It’s not blasphemy to probe the data, expose the false alarmism of the now notorious “hockey stick” graph or point out the lousy track record of climate models. It’s basic economics and common humanity to wonder aloud whether improving water quality in poor countries would be a better use of funds than the more speculative climate mitigation projects.

Yet, as the 2009 Climategate emails showed, those prone to alarmism react to dissent and debate as if they are high priests of a besieged cult rather than scientists open to inquiry. Dr Pachauri’s panel serves up ex cathedra rulings on phenomena beyond its control and unbelievers — even “lukewarmers”, in the memorable coinage of Matt Ridley, former science editor of The Economist — find themselves anathematised.

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  • Avatar

    Al Shelton

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    This statement….
    “The general mechanism whereby greenhouse gases trap energy emitted by the Earth and push up its temperature may be well understood but much else is not — and should not be anointed as dogma”, is called the GHG Theory. It is an hypothesis that has no empirical proof.
    The Green House Effect [GHE] is what is SUPPOSED to happen, but there is no evidence that CO2 “traps” heat like a “blanket”. The atmosphere is an open system. When a gas is heated it expands and rises. In a closed system, the heat would be trapped, but not in an open system. When you boil water on your stove, adding more heat makes the water boil faster but it is still 100C. Now put the water into a pressure cooker; get the water boiling and put the lid on. It is now a closed system; the temperature goes up and cooks your meal quicker.
    There is no lid on the earth’s atmosphere, so that any increase in temperature is quickly radiated into space.
    IMHO.

    • Avatar

      Dale

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      Extremely good points Al. Too bad we can’t get this information out to the naive public.

  • Avatar

    sonnyhill

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    The Earth’s atmosphere is an open system, agreed. Heat moves around by radiation, convection and conduction. Infrared light enters the process from above and below. Apparently,CO2 reacts to infrared radiation more readily than N2,O2,etc.. CO2 represents 1 molecule in 2,500. Odds are that 1 CO2 molecule will collide with 2499 of the others before bumping into another CO2 molecule. I liken a CO2 molecule to a landing in a long series of stairs. Just a little sidestep along the way up or down. 1/2500 is hardly a blanket, there is no solid layer of CO2 above us insulating the atmosphere. I’m not a scientist, but if Bill Nye can pretend, so can I.

    • Avatar

      JB

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      CO2 is heavier than air so it unlikely to form a layer above us. But.. did Bill Nye really pretend that? I wonder if pixie dust retains heat?

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    The rap sheet and alleged bad boy behavior of some of the big dogs of the global warming religion is revealing in itself . Who wouild trust these hypocrites with something as important as the worlds thermostat ?

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    Why not get back to the fundamentality of all this needless discourse.

    They have been spewing this nonsense for over forty years.

    Without so much as an iota of proof.

    All they are saying is the equivalent of barroom and/or barbershop colloquy
    equivalent of nothing.

    I herefore demand that drewski put up or shut up.

    Present proof or be denounced for the liar that you are.

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