Global warming propaganda
Canada has just experienced the coldest winter and the heaviest snowfalls since 1970-1, which was called a once in a thousand years event. Another 18 centimetres of snow would set an all time record.
A Kingston newspaper had a marvellous cartoon of a tough old Canadian, rugged up against the cold and hacking the ice off the windscreen of his car. The caption reads 'Global warming my aÉ'!
In China the Chinese New Year coincided with a fierce cold snap and snow storms which prevented many city workers returning to their villages for the celebrations. Police had to deal with the ensuing riots. London has just experienced snow at Easter.
The world is much bigger than both China and Canada combined, which might be the exceptions to the new rule of man-made global warming, but they are inconvenient facts for the climate change bandwagon.
And it is an intolerant bandwagon with loud exaggerated claims that the issue is settled and that an unchallenged consensus among scientists confirms the hypothesis of dangerous humanly caused global warming. In fact the issue is far from settled.
Politicians sceptical of these claims would need unusual courage to resist the strong tides of public opinion. However the rest of us are not so constrained and we should consider all the available information.
Three points are of some significance.
Last December more than 100 prominent international scientists, some of them members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned the UN that attempting to control the earth's climate was 'ultimately futile'.
So did 500 experts in Manhattan in March. Fighting climate change was distracting governments from helping the most vulnerable citizens adapt to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever they might prove to be. Futile attempts to prevent global climate change would be a tragic misallocation of resources, they claimed.
Secondly, none of the natural changes observed with glaciers, sea-levels and species migration is outside the bounds of known variability, including the warming of 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade in the late twentieth century. But in the USA the 1930s decade was warmer than the 1990s.
Most importantly the global temperature has not increased since 2001. Global warming has ceased (New Statesman, 19 December 2007).
This finding invalidates the global warming hypotheses because the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to increase and the temperature should be increasing too. It isn't.
The last point to be acknowledged is that today's computer models cannot predict climate over long periods because there are too many unknowns and variables.
We should never forget that while computers are miracles of human ingenuity, able to assimilate extraordinary amounts of information in the briefest time, they are also limited, cannot think for themselves, and are totally obedient to their last human master.
More than this is needed to predict the future.
Cardinal Pell has a weekly column in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph. This article was published on 20 April 2008 and is reprinted with his permission.