by Richard North
Only very rarely can a TV documentary be seen as a pivotal moment in a major political debate, but such was UK’s Channel Four’s production, “The Great Global Warming Swindle” last Thursday.
And how appropriate it was that the programme was broadcast at the same time as the 27 leaders of the European Union member states were meeting to agree a “ground breaking deal” on targets for reducing carbon emissions, setting their economies further on the road to decline.
Inevitably, the message offered by the programme will be a “slow burn”, not least because – as the programme points out – global warming is now a major industry, with tens of thousands of people relying for their incomes on the scam.
The reason why it will prevail, however, is that it presented such a devastatingly authoritative account of how the hysteria over global warming has parted all company with reality. With the aid of almost every top scientist in the field, from Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT and Roy Spencer, the former top climate expert at NASA, to Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, producer Martin Durkin’s superbly professional film showed how the evidence is now overwhelming that the chief cause of climate change is not human activity but changes in radiation from the sun.
Almost the only point he did not include was the evidence now accumulating from observers in many parts of the world that a significant degree of “warming” has recently been taking place all through our solar system, from dwindling ice fields on Mars to Jupiter, and even as far out as Neptune’s moon Triton and Pluto.
The essential points, however, are indisputable, with the programme starting from the generally agreed premise that, in the earth’s 4.5 billion year history, the one constant is that climate is always changing.
We are reminded that, in more recent history there has been: a mini ice age in the seventeenth century when the Thames froze so solidly that fairs could regularly be held on the ice; a Medieval Warm Period, even balmier than today; and sunnier still was the so-called Holocene Maximum, which was the warmest period in the last 10,000 years. In fact, in the last 10,000 years, the warmest periods have happened well before humans started to produce large amounts of carbon dioxide.
We were shown that more recently, temperature was rising prior to 1940 but, in the post-war economic boom period, when carbon dioxide emissions rose dramatically, temperatures actually fell until the 1970s, when they started to rise again. But, overall, in the past 150 years the temperature has risen by just over half a degree Celsius. But most of that rise occurred before 1940. Since that time the temperature has fallen for four decades and risen for three.
What was absolutely fascinating, though, was to see so clearly demonstrated the simple unalterable facts that, while there is no direct correlation between CO2 levels in the atmosphere, solar activity very precisely matches the plot of temperature change over the last 100 years. It correlates well with the anomalous post-war temperature dip, when global carbon dioxide levels were rising.
Furthermore, over a longer time-span, the correlation between sunspot activity and temperature survives, while here is some evidence to suggest that the rise in carbon dioxide lags behind the temperature rise by 800 years. On that basis, higher CO2 levels are a response to temperature increases, and cannot be a cause of them.
The problem for the man-made warming advocates is that, while they rely on computer models of every increasing sophistication and complexity, all of them assume that man-made CO2 is the main cause of climate change rather than the sun or the clouds.”
Says Dr Roy Spencer, formerly a senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s marshal space flight centre: “The analogy I use is like my car’s not running very well, so I’m going to ignore the engine which is the sun and I’m going to ignore the transmission which is the water vapour and I’m going to look at one nut on the right rear wheel which is the human produced CO2. The science is that bad.”
The last word goes to former environmentalist Paul Driessen who observes that, “The theory of man-made global warming is now so firmly entrenched, the voices of opposition so effectively silenced, it seems invincible, untroubled by any contrary evidence, no matter how strong. The global warming alarm is now beyond reason.”
He then adds:
“There will still be people who believe that this is the end of the world particularly when you have, for example, the chief scientist of the UK telling people that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the earth will be the Antarctic. And humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic. I mean this is hilarious. It would be hilarious actually if it weren’t so sad. … We imagine we live in an age of reason and the global warming alarm is dressed up as science but it’s not science … it’s propaganda.
The problem though is not scientific. When apparently authoritative scientists stand up and make claims, supported by a rent-seeking media, people tend to believe them. Moreover, because such claims invariably support the interventionalist tendencies of governments and politicians, there is a natural bias towards accepting that which legitimizes the intervention. This is what is known as the beneficial crisis.
With no countervailing force, we get the build-up of a scare dynamic which then dominates public policy, even (or especially) where the scientific foundation is hopelessly flawed.
In the fullness of time, the scare will dissipate – scares always do – leaving a trail of wreckage behind it. Looking back, we will view the claims of pending Armageddon with amused puzzlement, wondering how people could have been so stupid as to have accepted such crazy alarums.
By then, of course, we will all have moved on to yet another scare, and another, each of which will have seemed every bit as plausible and rational as did global warming at the time. But each time we will have forgotten how easily we were gulled by that which we now deride, and each time mankind emerges the poorer.
Great Climate Swindle: Excerpt 1
Great Climate Swindle: Excerpt 2
Great Climate Swindle: Excerpt 3
Great Climate Swindle: Excerpt 4
Great Climate Swindle: Excerpt 5