More Reasons to Doubt a Climate Doomsday
We’re just reporting what secular
pro-warmist journals are saying
We’re not going to list political talking points one way or another. CEH just feels people have a right to see evidence and think for themselves about a high-profile scientific consensus with policy implications that could have profound effects on their lives. (Search also our “climate change” tag for previous entries.)
Shown below are journal articles and press releases from academia that call into question the doomsday scenarios about global warming. Readers are free to do their own analysis of the statements and the evidence they present. There are four issues to keep in mind:
- If climate change is occurring, is it due to human activity?
- How do scientists know what they know about climate?
- Is all climate change bad?
- What needs to be done?
Climate tipping might not always be disastrous (University of Copenhagen, 11 March 2022, via PhysOrg). Dr Robbin Bastiaansen, who warned in the past that humanity is running out of time to prevent climate change, is raising a stir with his latest paper in Environmental Research Letters (11 March 2022).
In most scientific works on tipping points in the Earth system, as well as in public discussions, it is often assumed that tipping leads to catastrophic and irreversible changes for the whole system. But in the paper, titled “Fragmented tipping in a spatially heterogeneous world,” the researchers argue that such a view is based on simplistic modeling.
Dr Bastiaansen is still worried about climate, but he and two colleagues mollify the worst concerns by showing that due to “spatial heterogeneity” on the Earth, some regions fare better or worse than others. There is no global “tipping point.”
All organisms produce methane (Max Planck Institute, 9 March 2022). Remember the hubbub about cow flatulence? It was enough to get policymakers worked up to the point of banning hamburgers. Thinking readers probably paused to consider their own flatulence. Maybe they recall that some college students try to light it with a match, which demonstrates its methane content. Should the warmist warriors ban beans next? Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, many times more potent than carbon dioxide; fortunately, it does not reside as long in the atmosphere. But what if it is continually produced? German researchers have spread the blame to every cell on earth.
It is well known that methane, a greenhouse gas, is produced by special microorganisms, for example in the intestines of cows, or in rice fields. For some years, scientists had also observed the production of methane in plants and fungi, without finding an explanation. Now researchers from Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg have shed light on the underlying mechanism. Their findings suggest that all organisms release methane.
This obviously implies that life has been producing methane gas for as long as it has existed on the planet – and most of that life is non-human: rice paddies, wetlands, oceans, forests, and every wild animal in the Serengeti or Yellowstone.
Large CO2 Emitters as Seen From Satellite: Comparison to a Gridded Global Emission Inventory (Chevallier et al., Geophysical Research Letters 28 Feb 2022, open access). This sentence sounds like, “make policy first, then gather data later.”
In the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement, there is an increasing need to monitor emissions from fossil fuel combustion around the world. For CO2 in particular, satellite imagers are being designed to observe the emission plumes from large point sources and intense urban area sources.
What could be more empirical than a measurement from space? NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatories are providing revised data about the biggest sources of the demonized greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Figure 1 in the paper shows China being responsible by a huge amount over Europe and America, with some other surprises, like a large peak over South Africa. Even so, there are large sources of uncertainty that call for careful interpretation of the data: among them,
- How often the orbiter passes over a source
- Whether the source is active when observed
- Whether the CO2 is from fossil fuel use or from natural emissions
- Effects of wind and clouds on measurements
- How quickly a measurement peak disperses
- Whether proxies are informative of realities on the ground
Regarding proxies, they say, “The uncertainty in the spatial and temporal proxies of the inventory affects our emission attribution but should also explain another important share of the differences with the retrievals. In addition, we had to rely on inventory values for the year 2018 when comparing with observations from later years.”
The authors feel that the orbiter measurements corroborate earlier, less-precise methods, but agree that the latest data set is not sufficiently reliable for informing the IPCC, which consolidates data to tell policy makers what needs to be done. “It will not fit the reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) directly, but can serve both the scientific debate and the general public.” That final sentence falls noticeably short of a firm conclusion that CO2 is increasing and humans are responsible.
The world’s rivers exhale a massive amount of carbon (Nature Research Highlight, 7 March 2022). One natural source of CO2 is massive, concludes a study by Chinese scientists.
After scouring the literature, Shaoda Liu at Beijing Normal University and his colleagues analysed more than 5,900 measurements of CO2 from the world’s rivers and streams. By combining those data with estimates of how quickly gas moves from water to the air and information on the rivers’ sizes, the team calculated that the world’s rivers and streams emit 112–209 million tonnes of CO2 per month.
Up in the aerosol (Nature Geoscience Editorial, 11 March 2022). There is feedback between aerosols and climate that is not well understood. How much has this uncertainty influenced policy makers at the global climate conferences? Are human factors being blamed prematurely?
The climatic impacts of aerosols are highly uncertain but critical to understanding human-driven climate change. Monitoring of emissions and a better understanding of the varied pathways through which aerosols can influence climate is vital for reducing these uncertainties.
Past global photosynthesis reacted quickly to more carbon in the air (University of Copenhagen, 11 March 2022). There may be other feedback mechanisms that automatically reduce climate catastrophes. Here’s one that European scientists deduced from measurements of ice cores. They assume deep time interpretations of ice cores (see CMI article for rebuttal), but even so, they propose a geo-bio-physical valve that automatically moderates climate extremes:
Ice cores allow climate researchers to look 800,000 years back in time: atmospheric carbon acts as fertilizer, increasing biological production. The mechanism removes carbon from the air and thereby dampens the acceleration in global warming.
Solutions Worse than the Problem?
The geopolitics of fossil fuels and renewables reshape the world (Nature). In a World View essay posted March 11, Helen Thompson douses climate hysteria with realism. “To navigate the long road to net zero, energy researchers must grapple with the lessons of history.” Consider, for instance, how the Middle East held the world hostage with its oil reserves (before the US discovered vast resources of its own), and how China holds green energy manufacturing hostage with its rare earths needed for electric vehicles and solar panels. Geopolitical squabbles over energy go back to the 19th century, and renewables will not cede the stage to political issues.
Quite simply, there is no way that governments — or the scholars who seek to advise them — can be serious about the energy transition without having a realistic strategy for the problems that history tells us will arise as the geopolitics of old and new energy sources and technologies combine. Unless these predicaments are faced — by citizens as energy consumers, by scientists and social scientists, as well as by governments — they will become ever harder.
How to clean solar panels without water (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The road to hell is paved with good intentions. On the way to the solar panel store, customers didn’t take into account the maintenance cost: namely, keeping the panels clean. Dust can quickly reduce a panel’s efficiency by 30%. Just hose them off once a month, right? Consider the water cost from millions of homeowners using hoses to wash their rooftop panels. Now factor in vast acres of solar farms in the desert gathering windblown dust. Water for cleaning those has to be trucked in, using fossil fuels. Paris, we have a problem.
Solar power is expected to reach 10 percent of global power generation by the year 2030, and much of that is likely to be located in desert areas, where sunlight is abundant. But the accumulation of dust on solar panels or mirrors is already a significant issue — it can reduce the output of photovoltaic panels by as much as 30 percent in just one month — so regular cleaning is essential for such installations.
But cleaning solar panels currently is estimated to use about 10 billion gallons of water per year — enough to supply drinking water for up to 2 million people. Attempts at waterless cleaning are labor intensive and tend to cause irreversible scratching of the surfaces, which also reduces efficiency.
MIT then boasts of a new invention that can use static electricity to levitate the dust off the panels. But nothing comes free. Did they consider the cost of electricity to generate the static? Well, yes: partially. They think that their invention can borrow some of the electricity generated by the panels. But now multiply the cost of billions of motorized electrical wands needed to clean the billions of solar panels, the cost of maintenance of the electrodes and guide rails, and the cost of trucks to drive inspectors and repairmen to the sites.
Update 3/15/2022: Earning the public’s trust (Science Advances, 9 March 2022). In this editorial (to be featured tomorrow in more detail), Dr Warren S. Warren makes the following observation about climate change in his comments about why public distrust in science has been growing:
Dozens of decades-old failed apocalyptic predictions about climate change were presented as “science says,” but were always low-probability outcomes. More recently, hundreds of climate change papers included the IPCC “business as usual” scenario (commonly called “RCP8.5”), which was intentionally constructed as a very unrealistic worst case. Even if other cases were considered in the papers, this case dominated the media coverage; any caveats in the manuscripts did not survive. Projections rely largely on climate models, and the factor of three variation in predicted warming from these models amounts to tens of trillions of dollars of societal costs. Thus, most models must be significantly wrong about impact. Does that sound like “the science is settled?”
Coming from someone within the scientific establishment, this is a phenomenally important statement. Can scientific uncertainties, when presented to governments and the media as “settled science,” really cost taxpayers tens of trillions of dollars? Think about it in light of what the government is pushing right now during a war and rampant inflation. If pursued, it could be extremely costly to citizens unnecessarily. If found to be based on false conclusions from data, it could diminish trust in science for decades.
We’ll stop there for now. New reports like these come in regularly: unknowns not taken into account, uncertainties in measurement, use of questionable proxies, policies set before the data are sufficiently accurate, and solutions worse than the problem. We think the public should know what goes on in the climate-change sausage factory and not listen only to the salesmen in the PR office. We didn’t even mention papers that show larger climate swings that evolutionists think happened many times millions of years ago, before SUVs and smokestacks existed. The world survived then, and feedback processes have led to hot and cold periods. How can they blame humans for what is going on now?
If climate sausage is this messy, how much more is evolutionary theory that postulates people came from goo to you by way of the zoo over billions of Darwin Years by the Stuff Happens Law? It’s sad that so many Christians feel the necessity to compromise with the Darwin Party for fear of being called names, like “science denier.” They do name-calling with so-called “climate deniers” too. CEH believes strongly in following the science. Just don’t call it science when it’s really bluffing.