Wrong Argument, Wrong Culprit

SunshineIn any debate on global warming, the discussion inevitably deteriorates into hissing accusations of “You don’t believe in climate change?” or, “You don’t think the glaciers are melting?”

That’s unfortunate because it diverts attention from a larger question. What really matters is whether carbon dioxide (CO2) is the key driver of global climate, and whether it bears primary responsibility for a 20th century increase in global temperatures.

So, for those who are skeptical of man-made global warming, it’s more practical in such a discussion to agree that the climate has changed, and then to add, “…but I don’t think CO2 is the culprit.”

Here’s a good starting point. The planet has warmed by roughly 0.8 degrees Celsius over the past century or so. Thus, the root question is, “What caused this warming?”

For the climate community, CO2 is the only answer. But there is an equally strong possibility that elevated solar activity during the past 150 years has driven the observed rise in mean temperatures.

Unfortunately, solar activity is completely discounted in the theory of anthropogenic warming. And that’s a shame because evidence for solar variability emerges rather clearly throughout the climate swings of the past 2,000 years. Heightened solar output correlates remarkably well with both the Roman Warm Period (250-400 AD) and the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 AD). And, diminished solar activity corresponds equally well with the cooler climate of the “Little Ice Age” (1350-1850 AD).

And so, when confronted with accusations of climate denial, a smart response might be: “Actually, I don’t deny that the climate changes. I think it has changed a lot, just in the past 1,000 years. But I think those changes are mainly due to variations in solar activity, not CO2.”

As for CO2, it possesses a glaring limitation as a greenhouse gas—namely, that it exponentially loses heat-trapping capacity whenever its concentration increases. Such a handicap completely contradicts CO2’s notorious reputation. But try asking the average citizen this question: “As CO2 is added to the atmosphere, does its heat-trapping ability increase or decrease?” The correct answer is that it massively decreases. But the general public has been led to believe the opposite.

That’s to be expected, noting the daily hysteria over “carbon pollution.” And climate scientists are of little help in the matter, since they’re loathe to admit that CO2 rapidly fades as a greenhouse gas. Conveniently, they’ve managed to compensate for the limitations of CO2 by predicating the bulk of their theory on the idea that increased water vapor in the atmosphere will create a positive feedback for catastrophic warming. Of course, additional water vapor will inevitably transform itself into cloud cover. And low-hanging clouds are very good at reflecting sunlight back into space, shading the Earth, and producing rain—three things that lower surface temperatures.

Notably, contemporary climate theory is built on this notion that cloud formation enhances the overall warming effect of CO2. And so, it’s always fun to ask concerned citizens if they believe that the net function of clouds is to warm the planet. They’ll likely answer with a slightly quizzical “No…”—not realizing that they’ve just contradicted the first law of the very theory they’re so dedicated to promoting.

On that subject, it’s also fun to ask someone if they can name the Earth’s primary greenhouse gas. The correct answer is, of course, water vapor—which is responsible for roughly 80% of the greenhouse effect. But CO2 invariably comes to mind first for most people.

Most useful, though, when debating global warming is to simply ask someone if they believe that changes in solar activity can affect the Earth’s climate. They’ll undoubtedly say yes—even though this puts them at odds with the very theory they’re defending.

The overall point is that debating whether the climate has warmed, or the glaciers have melted, is a distraction. The real issue is what causes “climate change.” And this matters, because right now CO2 is the exclusive culprit. But if solar activity bears significant responsibility, then the policies currently being enacted to curtail CO2 emissions are misguided and unnecessary. This is why the debate must focus on what really drives climate.

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    David Lewis


    Another factor in discussing the cause of climate change is the warming period between 1910 and 1941. This period is responsible for half of the warming blamed on mankind’s activity. Yet, this was before the significant build up of green house gasses. When I have presented this fact to alarmists, they have never had a reply.


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    I would have thought that those individuals who are trying to remove evidence of the Roman and Medieval warm periods as well the little ice age to prove how stable earths climate has been were the real climate change deniers.


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    Scott Smith


    This should be required reading in public schools. Great article, concise and extremely well written.


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    David Lewis “they never had a reply ” . Stunning isn’t it ?
    Basic indisputable facts are met with silence . Most people know a few sound bites and the media’s understanding of science is so weak they don’t even know what questions to ask .

    When I ask people their views I find the scary global warming fraud is the conduit for their other strongly held views such as ;

    There are those nasty 1 percent billionaires taking over the world .

    There are too many people in the world that need to be culled .

    The polar bears are going extinct .

    The ice is melting .

    They confuse Co2 with real pollutants like particulate and see Co2 as a catch all because a lot of them don’t actually know we breath out Co2 .

    Some see scary global warming as a means of ensuring more government jobs , their chosen career path .

    Some are just opposed to capitalism because they hate the private sector .

    Scary global warming allows them an indirect way to vent their beliefs .

    Ask these people if they would like to make a $300.00 donation every year to stop the planets fever and that too will be greeted with silence. When the government puts the whole scam on the tax payers credit card no one sees it but they feel righteous at least till the bill arrives .


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    You see it’s impossible that something as simple and logical a solar variability could cause warming. The [u]ONLY[/u] explanation is a Rube Goldberg style Co2 model on steroids that changes by the hour.

    Dr. Theodore Woodward, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the 1940’s, instructed his medical interns: [i]”When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras”[/i]. In the case of the eco-left and climate change, they insist on thinking of unicorns.


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    Yes, climate change caused by solar factors. And CO2 doesn’t affect climate. Carbon dioxide emissions are beneficial, and climate change is a false premise for regulating them. See Patrick Moore’s recently released lecture http://www.thegwpf.com/28155/.

    There is no empirical evidence that CO2 from fossil fuels affects climate. Human activities cause only about 3% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere. The rest are the result of decomposing plant material.

    CO2 is in equilibrium. While a weak greenhouse gas in theory, its actual climate effects are nullified by stronger forces, particularly the formation of mineral carbonates from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Warmer weather from other causes increases natural CO2 emissions from rotting vegetation, and results in a higher equilibrium level of ambient CO2, as measured by Keeling.

    Mineral carbonates are the ultimate repository of atmospheric CO2. Anyone who passed 10th grade chemistry can know this using public information. Limestone and marble are the most familiar forms of mineral carbonate. CO2 is an essential component of mineral carbonate (CaCO3, for calcium). For more detail see the paper http://bit.ly/1NziTF4 by Danish researcher Tom Segalstad.

    Carbonates form in seawater and soils through biological and chemical processes. The formula is CO2 + CaO => CaCO3. Anyone can make magnesium carbonate in a kitchen by mixing carbonated water with milk of magnesia.


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