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Letters / Hope for some answers

I shall be in Arrochar and so absent from the “Shetland Climate Change Summit” Mk2 to be held on Thursday.  As I’ve commented previously (SN, 22 May 13, Vested interests), it’s a one-sided affair sponsored by vested interests with no opposing scientific views to be presented.

As an interested amateur it would be distressing to think the sitting room in which I write, a full five feet above the high tide, was in danger of imminent inundation by the sea, so it’s highly important to me that I get to understand the truth of this hotly-debated subject.

To that end I’ve compiled a list of questions which I hope to read the answers to in the associated media reports.

As a guide to my own present state of knowledge or ignorance I have appended my own current best answers beside each question and I challenge the presenters to refute them with evidence:

1.  Is it true that carbon dioxide (CO2) level is the main determinant of global temperature and if so, what is the correct level of atmospheric CO2 to which we should aspire to return and when exactly did it prevail on Earth?

JT:  Climate has many influences and I strongly suspect CO2 isn’t particularly important. I don’t know the “correct” level or when it prevailed.

2.  Is it true that CO2 only reduces heat radiation to space within a small spectrum (range of frequencies) and thus its warming effect decreases with increasing concentration such that most of its warming potential has already been used up and higher concentrations will have a limited effect?


3.  Do computer model predictions of rising temperature constitute “evidence” that global warming is man-made?

JT:  NO. They need to make predictions which are confirmed correct by observations of global temperature.

4.  Is it true that ALL the models used for predicting global temperature assume that increasing global temperature will accelerate warming further by e.g. melting ice at the poles (“positive feedback” i.e. they assume global temperature is inherently unstable and could run out of control)?


5.  Is it true that NONE of the computer models used for predicting global temperature considers the possibility that rising temperatures may produce a compensatory countervailing effect, say, cloud cover or plants and organisms which devour carbon dioxide (“negative feedback” i.e. global temperature is inherently stable and self-regulating within a range)?

JT:  TRUE. None of the models used allows the possibility that climate is self-regulating within a range.

6.  Do the observations of flat or falling global temperature with rising CO2 over the last 15 years confirm the computer model predictions of ever-rising temperatures?


7.  Are then the assumptions that CO2 is the main determinant of global temperature and that both it and climate are inherently unstable, supported by the observed hard evidence of the last 15 years?


8.  The Met Office has long been in the vanguard of those forecasting “climate catastrophe” yet even they now predict no further global warming for, at least, the next five years, giving 20 years of flat or falling temperatures while carbon dioxide emissions and levels have risen remorselessly. Why did the computer models unanimously fail to predict this?

JT:  Because the models are flawed. The old modelling principle GIGO (“garbage in – garbage out”) applies.

9.  Given that it has been shown a large part of the alleged global warming of the last century has been falsely recorded due to artificial, localised warming at measuring sites caused by increasing urbanisation and outflows from air conditioning systems and even (please?) jet engines, does this not mean that temperatures may actually have fallen significantly in the last 15 years?

JT:    Quite possibly.

10.  Assuming that, as predicted by that great oracle of weather the Met Office, the current pause in global warming extends to at least 20 years with no evidence to suggest warming hasn’t peaked, why should we urgently “decarbonise” – and ruin – our economy (and rural amenity) in the face of North American competition fuelled by shale gas at a third of the price of UK gas?

JT:    Can’t think of a single valid reason.

John Tulloch