Peter Finlayson is an agricultural scientist recently retired after a 50-year career during which he has advised Australian farmers about better farm management. He has also worked in some 35 developing countries with UN and bilateral aid agencies in assisting governments to develop their countries' agricultural sectors in accord with 'best practice' within the culture and resources of their farmers.
What is the compelling conclusion an unbiased reader of a recently published book, Unstoppable Global Warming - every 1500 years, must reach when confronted with the long litany of scientific evidence systematically analysed and presented in simple 'lay' language by its eminent authors, S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery.
The data from several hundred sources and their careful analyses explain in unequivocal terms the global and historical context of natural climate variability and change, as well as the negligible influence of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere on such changes and the absolute nonsense in the doomsday predictions of an imminent global calamity if we fail to reduce emissions drastically.
Driven by a politicised UN and the powerful Green lobby embedded in many European coalition governments and in the European Union, with US connivance at the time, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports were deliberately and fraudulently manipulated to reach conclusions that did not conform to the scientific facts.
It cannot be reasonably claimed that the conclusions are a surprise. We have been warned by eminent climate scientists - so-called sceptics - and (some) Church authorities that the religious fervour with which the man-made climate change ideology was being imposed on the world by its zealous high priests was at least premature. The scientists continue to challenge pro-global warming conclusions and strategies, while Church authorities have called for calm and rational analysis, keeping the environment in its proper, Christian perspective and context: at the service of humanity.
On this latter issue, in a statement to the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly in September 2007 concerning climate change, Msgr Pietro Parolin, Undersecretary for the Holy See's Relations with the States, cautioned the mainly pro-global warming delegates that the IPCC assessments 'should neither be exaggerated nor minimised in the name of politics, ideologies or self-interest.' He stressed the need to get the environmental management balance right, advocating against uncontrolled exploitation of our limited resources on one hand and the extreme view (preached by the Green lobby and its protagonists) that the earth is 'the only good' and is being threatened by humanity 'whose population and activity need to be controlled by various drastic means', on the other. This concept he described as an 'inhuman ecology'.
Pope Benedict XVI, used his World Day of Peace Message, 1 January 2008, the publication of which coincided with the UN-sponsored Bali climate change talks on 8 December 2007, to reinforce Christian teaching on the relationship between humanity and the environment. He reminded us (par. 7) that 'Human beings, obviously, are of supreme worth vis- ˆ-vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not mean considering material and animal nature more important than man.'
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, has maintained a balanced position on man-made climate change throughout the debate, challenging the ideologues to consider all the evidence and not just the bits that support their case. His most recent utterance on the issue, in an interview in The Catholic World Report, January 2008, indicated his disappointment with the way Australians who 'like to see themselves as rugged independent, rational and democratic ... have embraced even the wilder claims about man-made climate change as if they constituted a new religion.'
Continuing that theme the Cardinal agreed that 'some of the more hysterical and extreme claims about global warming appear symptomatic of a pagan emptiness, of a Western fear when confronted with the immense and uncontrollable forces of nature ... In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions!' The guiding principle should be that 'Christians have a particular responsibility as custodians of God's creation for today and tomorrow.'
On the science side of the debate, Australian sceptics have included William Kininmonth, former Director of the National Climate Centre; Ian Plimer, Professor of Geography at University of Adelaide; economist Professor David Henderson; economists Alex Robson (ANU) and Sinclair Davidson (RMIT); along with journalists Janet Albrechtsen, Frank Devine and Andrew Bolt, all of whom have tried to temper the unreasoned with reason.
Thanks to Singer and Avery, the sceptics' arguments have been considerably strengthened with a re- statement of known data as well as new evidence from hundreds of research studies, effectively highlighting, according to Bill Kininmonth in his endorsement, 'the many fallacies associated with hysterical claims ... surrounding the theory of human- caused global warming.'
The core thesis of the book is that the known variations in global temperatures and the resultant physical changes are a natural phenomenon that is now proven from evidence available within the earth's crust to have occurred regularly in roughly 1500 year cycles (+/- 500 years) for at least one million years, and these (600) cycles correspond to sun-spot activity. There have been two such warming periods since 200 BC alone - see graph. One of many pieces of evidence of natural climatic changes is the thriving Viking settlement on Greenland at the end of the first millennium that was enabled by the warm cycle experienced at the time, lasting about 400 years.
However, desperate to show that historical temperatures were fairly stable in order to link any CO2 increases with future warming, the IPCC report tried to demolish the scientifically well-established natural variation evidence. One of its 'proofs' came from a thesis prepared by a US PhD student (M.E.Mann) in 1998 showing a relatively smooth temperature pattern from 1000 to 1900. That finding did not stand up to peer review, but the IPCC clings to it.
The authors identify and explain several other defects in the greenhouse theory, including:
* The temperature data of the last century used by the IPCC are flawed, and the corrected data (by NASA) show no correlation with CO2 emissions. In particular, the temperature data do not show a uniform increase with increases in CO2 emissions, being at a maximum before 1940 and declining until about 1975. To deflect criticism from its findings IPCC introduced an aerosol cooling factor in its 1990 report to explain the anomaly, but it was later abandoned as unsustainable. Moreover, the 2007 IPCC report is contradicted by a US Climate Change Science Program Report of April 2006.
* The discrepancy between the predicted increase in global warming and the actual increase in CO2 'pollution', recognising that the influence of CO2 does not follow a linear relationship; rather each additional unit of CO2 has less impact than the previous unit.
* Instead of warming the poles first, as predicted by the CO2 lobby's models, current evidence indicates while Arctic waters have actually warmed over recent decades and sea ice decreased, Antarctica has cooled and Antarctic sea ice was at a maximum in 2007.
* Over the glacial cycles that last about 100,000 years, CO2 concentrations have lagged 800 years behind natural global temperature changes, because CO2 is a product of warming rather than its cause.
* The predicted increase in water vapour in the upper atmosphere due to CO2-induced warming has not occurred as predicted by the computer models.
The authors are scathing of the worth of Global Circulation computer models because of errors and defects in their assumptions and inability to deal with known climatic phenomena. They assume a stable earth temperature without CO2 'pollution' and a linear response to increasing CO2; actual temperature records are far lower than predicted; some temperature data being fed into the computers are distorted by urban heat and, above all, the computers cannot deal with phenomena like El Ni–o/La Ni–a.
Singer and Avery continue their demolition of the pro-CO2 pollution position, especially Al Gore's fear- laden scenario, by showing how the various dire predictions about to engulf us if we fail to act cannot happen:
* Sea level rises of between 18 and 59 cms by 2100, as predicted by the IPCC models, are more reliably calculated by sea level scientists to occur in the range of 10-15 cms, the same as in recent centuries, mainly because there is not the volume of sheet ice to melt, and the absurd figures propagated by Al Gore are simply impossible. Oh, and Pacific islands will not sink, although threatened because of their location on the boundaries of active geological plates.
* The alarmists' land and water species extinction scenarios are grossly exaggerated, mainly because wildlife has shown itself to be highly adaptable to quite sharp temperature changes and there have been very few 'natural' extinctions in recent centuries. In contrast, cited studies show that warmer temperatures and higher CO2 levels lead to 'enhanced species richness'. As for the death of coral reefs, scientific research has again shown there to be no link between bleached coral and global warming.
* That weather patterns may change with global temperature variations is not disputed, but the world has adapted accordingly in the past as it will need to in the future. CO2 emissions cannot be blamed for these phenomena.
Why the panic?
The answer to the question as to how and why Western peoples and their governments, predominantly, have been converted to this new religion is quite simple according to the book's authors. Briefly, the 'how' is an alliance of activists driven by the Green lobby, with the ready cooperation of the media, using scare tactics based on carefully selected data to convert the masses, while the 'why' is the money involved.
As Church authorities have indicated, the climate change lobby has a pagan view of the world; one that deifies the environment, elevating it above humanity, seen as the polluter by its use of fossil energy sources. Humanity, therefore, has to be controlled in number and behaviour to worship at the feet of the environment. This lobby is especially powerful in European countries and the EU because of the coalitions of small parties that make up governments - the UK is one exception - to which might be added the non-compulsory voting systems.
The lobby is also well represented in conservation and environmental groups, and has infiltrated the UN because of the potential for com- pulsory resource transfer from the developed to the developing world where it has determined the man-made global warming agenda for imposition on the world through that (respected?) body. Public Enemy Number 1 for 'Green' Europe and the UN is the US and its powerful 'polluting' economy.
Sadly, this false neo-pagan ideology has penetrated some well- intentioned but misguided Church groups who prefer to 'listen to Mother Earth's heartbeat' than get on with the job of evangelising the world.
The media have willingly advanced this agenda because 'scare' sells papers and increases listener ratings. The same scare tactics have been used successfully in the past to impose unscientific views on the world regarding a whole range of issues.
Above all, though, the vast amount of money being generated by willing governments for research allied to global warming is too tempting for many scientific agencies which are prepared to surrender their integrity and become 'fellow-travellers' to access these funds.
The Kyoto Protocol is a tool primarily concocted to force the US, mainly, to reduce its CO2 emissions and so lower its living standards and economic power. However, the authors highlight the serious adverse impact of enforced reduced greenhouse emissions on agricultural develop- ment, through increasing fertiliser and other crop input costs, e.g., Kyoto-driven emission controls will stall economic growth, especially in the Third World.
Moreover, increasing production per hectare through greater use of (energy consuming) inputs has in fact reduced the pressure on the environment and so preserved woodland and forest ecologies that would otherwise have been destroyed by increasing populations using low-input (low energy) production methods favoured by the conservation lobby.
Was it not Edmund Burke who said that the forces of evil prevail because good people do nothing?
Unstoppable Global Warming is available from Freedom Publishing for $29.95 plus postage (see p. 19).