On 28th November on Question Time, the Energy & Climate Change Minister Ed Davey argued the case for Renewables Policies using many arguments of those who support the view that mankind is warming the planet due to emissions of CO2. These ‘proofs’ are as follows, in no particular order;-
1. The Earth is getting warmer since the industrial revolution began in 1850.
2. The Glaciers are Melting, more today than ever before.
3. The Sea Levels are Rising and low lying islands are getting swamped.
4. The Polar Ice Caps are Shrinking.
5. The Polar Bear are Endangered.
6. The Number & Strength of Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are Increasing.
7. Plants and Animals are dying out or moving to colder climate zones.
8. CO2 levels are steadily rising in line with global temperature.
9. Coal fired electricity generating stations produce unacceptable amounts of pollution.
10. Nuclear fired electricity generating stations produce unacceptable amounts of radioactive waste.
11. Wind and Solar energy are better alternatives to the use of fossil fuels.
The short response is;-
1. The Earth has been warming since 10,000BC but has not warmed for last 17 years!
2. The glaciers have been receding for 10,000 years!
3. The seas have risen 140 feet in the last 10,000 years, nothing to do with CO2!
4. Polar Ice area during winter of 2012/2013 has been greatest for many decades.
5. Polar bear numbers are at a record high of over 26,000 animals.
6. Strength and number of hurricanes and tropical storms has been declining for over 10 yrs.
7. Plants and animals always move to the most favourable climate zone.
8. CO2 levels are rising but evidence shows no link with Earth’s temperature.
9. Coal fired power stations now produce mainly water vapour & CO2 and very little pollution.
10. Nuclear waste quantity is small, easily stored, and not particularly dangerous.
11. Wind & Solar energy are not necessarily available when most needed, so are unreliable.
Now lets consider the evidence in more detail. This all got started by a graph created by a computer algorithm that was specifically engineered to produce a desired shape. It showed almost constant Earth temperature till 1850 then rising sharply from 1850, known as the Hockey Stick, and now discredited amongst all except environmentalists.
Scientific evidence disputing man-made global warming
- The Earth has been steadily warming since the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago. Presently the warming trend has been slowing and may even been about to start cooling again into another ice age. The principle driver for this cannot be other than the energy received on the Earth’s surface from the Sun.
- The glaciers are not melting more now than ever before. They are driven by snow falling near their origins as well as being affected by warm winds. Their decline will reverse when we go back into an ice age.
- Sea Levels have been rising since the ice that covered mainly the northern hemisphere has been receding. The sea levels have risen about 43 metres (140 feet) since the coldest point of the last ice age. In recent years the rise of 3cm (just over an inch) per century has slowed down a little. The rise is so small it is now increasingly difficult to measure against the calmest sea conditions.
- The Arctic Ice cap increases and decreases according to the flow of warm water back and forth between the Bering Strait and the North Atlantic. There is also evidence of variations of warm water rising from the North Atlantic Ridge, which runs right up to and over the pole. Several times in the last century the north cap has almost disappeared only to return just a few years later to extent greater than before. In 2013 the sea ice is as much as it has been in over 50 years. Antarctica is increasing as well.
- Polar bears are doing really well and are at their highest numbers since monitoring began, well over 26,000 in 2012. Eventually their increase will slow down when they reach the sustainable limit of their principle food source, which are seals.
- The strength and number of tropical storms and hurricanes are decreasing. Shifting wind patterns and temporary shifts of air pressure occasionally cause landfall in areas now more heavily populated in present times than previously. People do like to live near the coast!
- The climate has never been constant nor ever will be, regardless of mankind. Movement of continents due to tectonics as well as erosion of mountains and coastlines continues to change geography. Changes in solar energy and cosmic rays have a significant effect on cloud cover, winds and rainfall. These constantly change the six principle climate zones as well as thousands of micro-climates around the globe. The whole biosphere then is constantly evolving and the food chain causes plants and animals to migrate and follow the most favourable environment.
- CO2 levels have been carefully monitored with quality instrumentation station on Mauna Loa in the Hawaiian Islands since 1950. The rise season-by-season, year by year has been about 0.0003% of the volume of the atmosphere. In terms of quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere it has increased by about 1% per annum since 1900. The contribution assigned to industrial emissions is 0.12% of the total concentration. In other words one eighth of 1% per annum of a gas that is such a tiny proportion of our atmosphere is being blamed for a changing climate. Actually the number of humans in existence is rising at a steady rate day in day out and maybe be a significant source of increased CO2 by exhalation.
- Coal fired power stations originally were sources of high levels of pollution of various sulphur compounds. Over the decades regulations have steadily enforced reductions in these outputs and the pictures of generating stations with clouds emitting from the film cooling towers were almost completely devoid of anything except water vapour and CO2. It is unlikely that CO2 actually does affect the emission of heat to space.
- In the book ‘The Revenge of Gaia’ by Professor James Lovelock, a long time environmental campaigner, he states on page 92 that ‘I have offered in public to accept all of the high-level waste produced in a year from a nuclear power station for deposit on my small plot of land; it would occupy a space about 1 cubic metre in size and fit safely in a concrete pit, and I would use the heat from its decaying radioactive elements to heat my home. It would be a waste not to use it. More important, it would be no danger to me, my family or the wildlife.’
- Wind & Solar electricity generating systems are much more expensive than conventional stations, driving up electricity prices and producing on average less than a fifth of the rated capacity. Worse still is that wind levels are often very low during ice and snow condition in winter when demand is greatest. So wind and solar can only be considered as additional sources and NOT as alternative to reliable conventional systems.