Speaking to college students in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 17, 2014, John Kerry reiterated President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address claim that, “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” In this, both of them are correct. The earth’s climate is changing as it has in its entire history, but no evidence exists to support their underlying assumption that humans are the cause. That debate is not settled and their assumption is not fact.
Climate change is the new phrase to replace “global warming,” because of the criticism its proponents have taken when the weather phenomenon, they sometimes highlighted as an effect, was anything but warm. In spite of this subterfuge, when Obama, Kerry or any political activist speaks about climate change, they are inferring the earth is getting warmer due to higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the troposphere, caused by human productivity.
Much of their claims are based on findings in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth in which Gore points out the relationship between surface temperatures and CO2 in an ice core graph. In the photo below, Gore is explaining the correlation between surface temperatures and CO2 in which temperature is in blue and CO2 is in red. Gore explains, “When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun inside.”
Gore’s contention is that human activity is causing more CO2 to be in the atmosphere and as a result much of the sun’s rays cannot escape, which in turn traps the heat within the earth’s atmosphere, causing the surface temperature to rise. This is known as the greenhouse effect.
His explanation has three problems. First, correlation does not prove causation. Just because higher temperatures and higher CO2 levels correspond on a chart, does not prove one caused the other.
Second, by taking a closer look at the data on his graph, one will see the CO2 levels lag behind the temperatures. This means if there is anything to be inferred from his graph; it is that higher temperatures may have caused higher CO2 levels, but not the other way around.
Third, according to the greenhouse effect theory, if CO2 is the cause of increased earth temperatures then the troposphere should show higher temperatures than the earth. Unfortunately, for Al Gore and all those who believe his claims, this is not the case based on both satellite and weather balloon data.
No one is refuting the earth’s temperature has shown an upward trend since 1980, but everyone should wonder why climate change proponents do not show historical data going back over the centuries for which data is available. If one were to do so, they would find the earth heating up in the 19th century before the main causes of human produced CO2, cars and planes, were invented. This upward trend of temperatures continued until 1940 when it started a 40 year decline.
Strangely, the 40 year decline in temperatures coincides with World War II and the post-war industrial boom in which the main causes of human produced CO2 were more prolific than in any other time in history to that point. Additionally, the swing back to an upward trend in temperatures in 1980 coincides with a major recession, when such human activity was significantly curtailed. If the theory of human induced increased global temperatures is accurate, then these two cause and effect relationships should be reversed.
Given these factors, it should be obvious to the most casual observer that CO2 is not the cause of higher earth temperatures, which begs the question, what is causing the increased temperature trends and from where is the higher levels of CO2 originating?
Oddly, sun spot research going back to the 1890s by Edward Maunder shows a correlation between increased solar activity and higher earth temperatures. This may seem intuitive to most people since the sun is the main source of heat on our planet, but just to make sure it was not a short term anomaly, Professor Eigil Friis-Christensen and his colleagues at the Danish Meteorological Institute plotted increased and decreased solar activity against earth temperatures going back 400 years and found they very nicely correspond with one another. On the other hand, according to a 2005 article published in the Official Journal of American Geophysical Union by astrophysicists from Harvard University, the historical correlation between temperature verses CO2 does not always show the close relationship Al Gore depicted in his graph. There have been times, within the 20th century, when a rise in temperature did not have a corresponding rise in the level of CO2.
While increased sun activity is the most likely reason the earth experiences cycles of increased surface temperatures according to scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute, it does not account for the increased CO2 that has frequently and laggingly corresponded with the higher temperatures going back before the industrial revolution. Of the sources of CO2 in the world, volcanoes emit more than all manmade sources combined, but even their CO2 emission is dwarfed by the CO2 released from the oceans.
According to Professor Ian Clark, Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa, while using the same ice core data Al Gore used, Clark explained as ocean surface temperatures rise, the ocean releases more CO2 and as ocean surface temperatures fall, the ocean absorbs more CO2. Oceans also take years to change temperatures in one direction or another, so the lagging CO2 compared to earth temperatures is easily explained by this phenomenon. It appears, Al Gore got it wrong, a warmer earth causes increased levels of atmospheric CO2 due to increased ocean temperatures, not CO2 causing higher earth temperatures.
From this, one thing should be abundantly clear, human activity is not the cause of the earth warming or cooling. Besides, CO2 is a benefit to the earth, not a toxin, poison or something to be avoided. We would not exist without CO2, because among many other important life sustaining things, plants “breath” it and we are made with it.
One may ask, if this simple explanation is accurate why are President Obama, Secretary Kerry and many political activists clinging to their story? First, I must point out Obama has not been honest on nearly anything he has told the American public, so there should not be an expectation of veracity on this issue or anything else he says. But to understand the reason his administration persists in perpetuating a lie, we must look at the genesis of climate change research.
Back in the 1980s, when Prime Minister Thatcher was battling the coal miners’ union in the United Kingdom and the in vogue scientific disaster scenario of the day was the earth slipping into another ice age, she made funding available for any scientist that could prove higher CO2 levels caused climate change. She did this, so she could use that information as a “weapon” against the unions to promote nuclear power.
Entire industries grew up around this research in both the United Kingdom and the United States that had and still have a vested interest in perpetuating their research so they can continue their funding. In the United States alone, research funding to identify CO2 as the cause of climate change exceeds $4 billion/ year; with that much money on the line people will give their paymasters what they want. Additionally, an entire environmental journalist community sprung up who also have a vested interest in perpetuating a myth to keep their industry alive.
If people understood that humans have no appreciable effect on climate change, then the research labs would no longer be funded and the environmental journalists would have to select a different writing topic. In other words, people would lose their livelihood if the masses understood anthropogenic climate change is a lie.
Along with scientists researching the lie and journalists promoting the lie comes a hoard of people believing the lie. These three entities represent money, publicity and votes, which is like crack cocaine to a politician and is most likely the reason Obama claims, “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”
It is the perfect lie, because by the time long range temperature forecasts are proven wrong, the public has forgotten about them, just like how the public forgot scientists’ claim, in the 1970s, the earth was on the verge of another ice age because of “global cooling.”
It is funny that what was started as a weapon against unions is still working, because the unions stand to greatly benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline, but climate change activists and President Obama have prevented it from being approved.
We should all be good stewards of the earth, but doing so does not mean we must economically ruin ourselves, which is the only result the US will achieve if we continue to enact legislation to reduce CO2 emissions. The increase in CO2 emissions by China and other developing nations far exceed the reductions the United States has made or can make, so even if manmade CO2 caused climate change, which it does not, the United States’ reduction in its emissions are negated by other countries.
It is time to stop this madness; tell anyone who believes anthropogenic climate change is real, like many politicians, they are wasting our money and explain to them the errors of their argument. If people want to spend their own money in pursuit of an unsupportable religious belief, they are free to do so, but the rest of us should not be held hostage to pay an annual ransom for bad policies based on bad science.
 Zeke Hausfather, Global CO2 Emissions Dwarf Recent US Reductions, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, July 2013.