[Discussion document] Global Warming: A Socialist Perspective - Part One

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We start today a serialised article on Global Warming, written by one of our readers who challenges the scientific basis upon which the theory of human-caused climate change is based. He gives detailed facts and figures which point out the flaws in the dominant, mainstream theory within the "scientific" community. He maintains that global warming cannot be proved so we are left to accept "a belief system" and at the same time abandon the scientific method. We publish this article as a discussion document that we hope will stimulate serious debate on the issue.

Foreword by Fred Weston

We received this article on the issue of Climate Change, which questions the whole idea of Anthropomorphic (human-caused) Global Warming. The comrade does not deny that climate change is taking place, but he questions whether this is due to human activity. He also stresses that the climate has always changed, in a constant flux. Therefore, the idea that the climate should always remain the same is an absurd one, to begin with.

The question is: has human activity over the past couple of centuries significantly altered the balance such that a sharp "unnatural" change in the climate is about to take place over the next century? He provides very detailed facts and figures taken from scientific studies that contradict this mainstream point of view and argues that there are much more powerful natural forces at work, which far outweigh any activity by human beings.

For example, he points out that all the data sets show no warming whatsoever since 1998. This is if we base ourselves on ground measurements. Satellite records show no significant temperature increase since 1978. And throughout this period there has been continuous increase in CO2 emissions.

He in fact provides satellite pictures that would indicate that rather than warming we have cooling, at least in some parts of the world. He provides the records for solar spot activity which would indicate that this is a much more powerful force contributing to climate change on Earth, something which seems to be either left out or considered as having a minimal effect by the theorists of Anthropomorphic Global Warming.

He points out that the predictions presently being made about the climate over the next 50 to 100 years are based on computer models that cannot reflect the real process in the climate of the plant. The world weather system is a chaotic system and predictions cannot be made beyond a very small time-scale and yet we are told that climatologists know with a high degree of precision what is going to happen over a century!

He also highlights a very worrying development in modern science. The dominant idea is that there is global warming and that this is human caused. Huge amounts of money are provided for research into Anthropomorphic Global Warming. Any scientist who steps out of line and comes up with results that question the dominant point of view is ridiculed, ostracised and in some cases forced to resign his or her position. Funding is provided for the dominant idea and if a scientific institute takes up an opposing point of view it risks lose its funding.

This is similar to what we have seen with research into the Big Bang theory. There is plenty of money for those backing the idea that everything started with the Big Bang, but very little for any scientist who has a different point of view. This is not an atmosphere conducive to genuine debate among scientists. As the saying goes "he who pays the piper calls the tune".

Anyone arguing that climate change is not due to human causes is open to the accusation that by doing so they are letting the big multinational corporations off the hook. It is obviously the case that big corporations have a material interest in avoiding having to spend money on cleaning up their act, and we have to take this into account in our approach to this issue. However, we shouldn't allow it to develop a prejudiced view when looking at this question.

As Brian Baker points out, "we find that the family [the Rockeffelers], who profited from the great Wall Street crash and the depression, is now profiting from the sustainable development of bio-fuels. Socialists should be aware of these developments, because the reason that these capitalists support the green lobby is for no other reason that they can become richer than they already are."

The development of biofuels is a reminder of how so-called "sustainability" can cause major disasters. Food prices are going up everywhere. This is partly due to food shortages caused by bad harvests. But the growing amount of land now being dedicated to biofuels is also provoking further shortages of food. Now we have been told that biodegradable plastics, "bioplastics", are also damaging the environment. They emit "greenhouse gases" on landfill sites, contribute to the global food crisis, and also contaminate the recycling process of normal plastic when sent to recycling plants.

In 2004 the "Friends of the Earth" advised the British government that it should stimulate a UK biofuels industry. Now they are demanding a moratorium on biofuels targets. Within a very short space of time these so-called "green" policies have contributed to major food shortages with unimaginable consequences for some of the poorest people on this planet.

These examples would indicate that we should be very careful not to jump on the latest green bandwagon of the moment. The same may apply to the question of global warming. Let us imagine that climate change is not being caused by human activity and that it does have natural causes. If that were the case then all the money on attempting to avoid it by reducing carbon emissions would be pointless.

That wouldn't stop the climate change from taking place, but it would mean that humanity has not prepared for the inevitable changes. If sea levels are going to rise, we will have to move millions, hundreds of millions of people across national boundaries to more inhabitable zones. Can capitalism plan for such a scenario? It cannot. It is an unplannable system and certainly cannot plan ahead 50 or 100 years. If, as some scientists believe, we may be going towards a cooler period, the same logic applies.

It is not the job of the Marxist.com Editorial board to develop a "line" on climate change. The task of discovering what really is going on in the climate belongs to the scientists. As socialists we should however be aware of the fact that mainstream science is not always objective. We live in a capitalist world, with huge economic interests dominating world politics.

This point should at the very least make Socialists think. We invite our readers to read Brian Baker's article without prejudice, with an open mind. Consider the facts and figures he provides. We also invite any of our readers, comrades and supporters, especially the more scientifically qualified, to contribute to this debate with their opinions both for and against.

Marxism is not just about economics and the class struggle; it is about the very future of the human race on this planet. Marxists take an interest in all that is human. And this debate about the future of our climate is one worth having. Our aim is to transform society in such a away that the working people of this planet finally reach the stage where they can take their destiny into their own hands, where they can rationally plan production in a way that it is in harmony with the environment we evolved in. Capitalism is incapable of doing this, because the profit motive does not allow it.


Introduction

J.D.Rockefeller once said that he knew the Stock Market in New York was going to crash in 1929, when his shoe shine boy started to give him tips on what stock to buy. Nowadays we leave it to pop stars and celebrities to lecture us, between their flying global travel hops, about the perils of Global Warming. This of itself would be mildly risible were it not for the fact that one can turn the pages of the world's premier scientific journals to find the same cataclysmic forecasts.

"We are all going to fry," a sentiment endorsed from the ex-public schoolboys from Eton, to the lofty heights of Rupert Murdoch and George Soros from the media and financial world. And at the same time are joined by various left and pseudo-socialist organisations the world over.

So what is it that unites such disparate class interests? A common understanding that industrialisation has destroyed the planet? But then the Victorian gentry had a disparaging attitude to the common men of trade. "Tradesmen's Entrance" was always around the back. And we have always seen the religious fundamentalists parading along Oxford Street telling us to "Prepare to meet thy doom."

In the early iron towns, for example in Goathland, one can see from the parish registers recording the births, marriages and deaths, the progression of the nouveau riche. In the 17th Century, the owners recorded their name in the parish registers as witness to the celebration as an ironworker. Forty years later they became the iron master; forty years after this they recorded their name as proprietor. Forty years after this they became "gentleman." No longer common men of trade, they had amassed more than enough money to surpass the influence of the landed gentry but their acceptance by polite society was not secure until they distanced themselves from the manner to which they acquired their wealth.

20th Century society became the first whereby the primary occupation of the western capitalist world was not the pursuit of subsistence. For the petit bourgeois, the percentage of their income that was spent on food became a diminishing quantity, such that they became divorced from the manner of its production. Ever decreasing numbers became involved in the production of every day needs. The poor "who are always with us" became a product which the state would deal with. The problems of capitalism had been solved; Keynesianism ruled the consciousness of all political parties. Increasingly Stalinism had been shown to leave an undeveloped society incapable of satisfying the individual needs of its people. The pollution from its out of date industries proved the bankruptcy of the system - at least in the minds of the environmentalists of the western world.

The iron master would of course have been dutiful in the church, as would the squire and other members of the local nobility. In the valleys the Methodists provided the plebeian sustenance for the soul whilst avoiding the grandeur of the state religion. But both provided the certainty of an after life for the just and penitent. Plus of course damnation for those that drank and led a raucous life.

Religion in earlier times had its certainties; damnation could be avoided by the rich for the payment of indulgences. Buying their way to paradise from those that were pure could assuage the practice of deflowering the local wedding day virgins. Today, with the demise of religion, the swaging of the guilt for one's personal contribution to the "destruction" of the planet can be accomplished by the purchase of carbon credits.

The religious analogy for the environmental movement, or as it is better named ecohondria, is well suited. With ecohondria as we shall see, no dissent is permitted; those that deny that anthropomorphic climate change exists in any major form are derided as "deniers", akin to Holocaust Deniers; as with god, the science cannot be proved so we enlist the mantle of "all the world's scientists" and then are selective of who we allow to join this merry band; the science itself is not tested by anti-thesis, only "proved". This last example is exposed in a recent article by Mike Hulme, founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, where he makes distinction between the normal scientific process, which he describes as ".... the process of developing theories and testing them against observations until they are proven true or false" and post normal science. Indeed according to Hulme, "self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking"!! That is why debates between scientists and post-normal scientists results in "exchanges (that are) often reduce(d) to ones about scientific truth rather than about values, perspectives and political preferences." Further "in fact, in order to make progress about how we manage climate change we have to take science off centre stage."

Hulme is part of a group of scientists, who consider that they can use "climate science" in order to progress their social agenda. With this we are reminded that many social science graduates entered the education system in the 70's in order to promote their social agenda. They saw this, like all petit bourgeois, as a short-cut to the socialist transformation of society. Far better this than those tiresome meetings in the working class movements. They saw this typical bureaucratic approach as in that espoused by Lord Krebs, chairman of the Nuffied Coucil enquiry into Bio-ethics. When discussing the balance between public good and individual freedom he concluded "that the stewardship model provides justification for the UK Government to introduce measures that are more coercive..." thus continuing the language first implemented by 18th century mill owners and perfected by the British Empire.

But the very beginnings of the political aspect of the ecohondria movement was based on traditional anti-working class motives. As we shall see Anthropogenic Global Warming was an obscure scientific curiosity that was elevated by two factors to become the multi-billion dollar industry that it is today. The first was that Margaret Thatcher's Tory Party wished to seek vengeance on the NUM for the crippling defeat inflicted on them by the miners' strike in 1972 and 1974. So, early in her global warming campaign - and at her personal instigation - the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research was established, and the science and engineering research councils were encouraged to place priority in funding climate-related research. This cost nothing because the UK's total research budget was not increased; indeed, it fell because of cuts elsewhere. It also enabled Thatcher to propose the building of new nuclear power stations as an alternative to the "dirty, polluting" coal fired stations and thus destroy the political base of the miners as producers of necessary energy. We thus find it ironic that Greenpeace demonstrators can protest at power station plants and pitheads labelling the workers "climate criminals". How far has consciousness travelled.

The second was fear of the political class specifically at the UN, of the consequence of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Stalinism. The UN's role after the Second World War was, in Engels' words on the subject of the state, to become the balancing act between two warring classes, viz American Imperialism and the deformed workers state. With either of these two colossuses, order could be maintained in there own spheres whilst limiting the effect of areas where their influences collided. The collapse of Stalinism in the UN's eyes left Capitalism rampant and something else would be required to take its place.

The Rio Earth Summit in 1992, saw the emergence of the new philosophy amply demonstrated by two comments from participants. The first was from Gavin Strong, Assistant General Secretary of the UN, who stated that "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" Gavin Strong is also CEO of Quebec Hydro, the largest generator of electricity in Canada, and after becoming indicted by the Iraq Food for Oil Enquiry fled to China where he has been advising the Beijing regime on the development of their coal fired electricity generation programme. The second was from Christine Stewart, the Canadian Environment Minister who remarked, "Who cares if the science is phony, the collateral benefits are the main aim." So these benevolent environmentalists seek a green salvation by throwing millions out of work.

A further luminary is the previous French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing who stated that the Kyoto Treaty was the finest vehicle for World Governance to date.

Primarily the "climate change" debate is about the politics of governance or, put less bluntly, a further method of keeping the working class in its place. So much better if you can convince the organisations of the working class that they are part of the problems of the world. Where will be the protests if you can close coal fired power plants and replace them with highly subsidised windmills, funded from workers' taxes?

Internationally it started as a programme to limit the power of US imperialism. If all countries adopted ‘carbon taxes', or other universal proportionate reductions in industrial activity, each non-US industrialised country would gain economic benefit over the United States. It has now transitioned to the point where the working class are being asked to consider that they are the part of the problem. Would that the Victorian mill owners had thought of such a scheme.

Marxism is Scientific Socialism. It is the scientific analysis both of the mechanics and history of the development of society. It, along with much garnered from the years of the enlightenment, defeated religious and metaphysical ideas. Global Warming as Hulme has said cannot be proved so we are left to accept a belief system and at the same time submerge the scientific methods that rescued us from an earlier belief system.

History of CO2 as a Harbinger of Doom

Historically societies have progressed by the exploitation of labour and the use of energy. Greater and more efficient use of stored energy resulted in the raising of the productivity of labour, increasing the wealth of society at large. There were however those in the early days of the industrial revolution who questioned the use of stored energy, which had taken millions of years to produce under conditions of intense heat and pressure, in a century or two which is a blink of an eye in geological terms.

But in looking at the periods prior to the modern era, for example the Phanerozoic (the term is Greek for visible life) period that occurred 600 million years prior to the present era, CO2 levels 18 times higher than the present era are found but unfortunately this was the greatest period of the expansion of life on earth.

If this period were compressed into a single year, fish would have appeared in January, land animals in March, dinosaurs in June, monkeys in December and humans late on New Year's Eve. However, Phanerozoic data showing CO2 levels many times higher than today's and yet life flourished, is too embarrassing and irreconcilable with public alarms of the Global Warming advocates. "People come to me and say, ‘Stop talking like this, you're hurting the cause,' " said Dr. Giegengack, a Phanerozoic expert of Penn State University.

Figure 1
Figure 1: The Phanerozoic Period of Earths History
 
Figure 2
Figure 2: Explosion in Biodiversity during the Phanerozoic

To put this into a graphical context Figure 1 shows the combined Temperature and CO2 levels for the whole of the Phanerozoic Period of 600 million years prior to the present era. To believe as Dr Jim Hansen does that 385 ppm of CO2 represents a tipping point towards the extinction of life on earth shows nothing more than his ignorance of the entire history of the earth. What it does show is the complete absence of a correlation between CO2 and temperature. No wonder the ecohondriacs find this history embarrassing. Figure 2 shows the explosion of bio-diversity at the end of the period. It is interesting that fish evolved during the Cambrian period since the oceans would have been more acidic than at today's levels of CO2. But then our green friends insist that CO2 will soon poison the oceans to such an extent that nothing will be able to survive.

This is not the first time that the Global Warming alarmists have attempted to pervert scientific truth for their perceived impression of the greater good. In the mid-1990s the use of ground boreholes as a clue to paleoclimate history was becoming well established. In 1995 David Deming, a geoscientist at the University of Oklahoma, published a study in Science that demonstrated the technique by generating a 1500-year climate history for North America. Here, in his own words, is what happened next.

"With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."

The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) is an interval from approximately AD1000 to AD1300 during which many places around the world exhibited conditions that seem warm compared to today. In the 1995 Second Assessment Report of the IPCC, there was no hockey stick. Instead the millennial climate history contained a MWP and a subsequent Little Ice Age, as shown as in Figure 3. The late 20th century appears to be nothing special by comparison. It is easy to see why this graph was a problem for those pushing the global warming alarm. If the world could warm so much on such a short time scale as a result of natural causes, surely the 20th century climate change could simply be a natural effect as well. And the present climate change could hardly be considered unusually hazardous if even larger climate changes happened in the recent past, and are we not simply fluctuating in the middle of what nature regularly dishes out?

Figure 3
Figure 3: World Climate History According to IPCC in 1995.

Those wanting to "get rid of" the MWP run into the problem that it shows up strongly in the data. Shortly after Deming's article appeared, a group led by Shaopeng Huang of the University of Michigan completed a major analysis of over 6,000 borehole records from every continent around the world. Their study went back 20,000 years. The portion covering the last millennium is shown in Figure 4. The similarity to the IPCC's 1995 graph is obvious. The world experienced a "warm" interval in the medieval era that dwarfs 20th century changes. The present-day climate appears to be simply a recovery from the cold years of the "Little Ice Age."

Figure 4 Vertical axis: average anomalies in oC, normalised to 1600 with range indicating Bayesian probability boundaries. Source: Huang et al. (1998);

Figure 4. World Climate History after AD1000 according to ground borehole evidence. 

Since even the most ardent Global Warming Alarmist concedes that CO2 levels in the 14th-15th century were not as high as the present day, and in fact would insist that they were some 35% lower, then the contention that CO2 is a driver for anthropogenic climate change would fail. Hence the drive to portray the idea that CO2 has been constant up and until the beginning of the industrial revolution and that the temperatures were constant at some mean optimum, but 0.6oC lower than present. Hence the desire of politicised science to eradicate history. Stalin could have learnt lessons from this brigade. But then he had Trofim Lysenko!

Figure 5
Figure 5. MBH98 IPCC TAR The Hockey Stick 

In 1998 Michael Mann presented the IPCC Third Assessment Report with what became the most iconic graph of the temperature history of the earth since AD1000. The hockey stick graph as it came to be known, appears to show that the Earth's climate was very stable from AD1000 to 1900, then suddenly began to change, with temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rising dramatically. That is of course if one considers 0.7oC rise since 1800 as dramatic.

The graph shown at Figure 5 became important because it eliminated the Medieval Warm period and the Little Ice Age, endeavouring to show that the earth's climate temperature record had been relatively stable until the onset of the Industrial Revolution.

The history of Paleo-geological Data could now be rewritten. If there was a Medieval Warm Period or a Little Ice Age it was localised and amounted for very little in terms of the global climate. So sediment analysis could be dismissed as a local phenomenon.

Mann et al used a method they developed called multiproxy analysis, based on the proxies of a large number of tree ring chronologies, as used by dendro-chronologists who evaluate the climate at various points in history by analysis of the width of the growth rings. Unfortunately this is a non-linear process dependant on the knowledge of how growth is affected by precipitation, temperature and fertilization and by variations in the local concentrations of carbon dioxide. Because of the vast quantity of data, they used Principal Component Analysis, a method whereby a time series of growth data is replaced with a weighted average of those series with weights chosen so that the new vector (the Principal Component) explains as much about the original series as possible. This process can be repeated with the residuals with subsidiary Principal Components that have less weights than the primary component.

However, two Canadian statistical researchers McIntyre and McKitrick, investigated how the datasets were arrived at and they found several procedural, data splicing and mathematical errors. When these were corrected the hockey stick vanished. Furthermore they found that the Mann algorithms would produce the hockey stick even if random numbers replaced the data series.

In Mann's program, he applied a scaling, but with a difference. Rather than subtract the mean of the entire series length, he subtracted the mean of the 20th century portion, then divided by the standard error of the 20th century portion. Most of his proxy series do not look like hockey sticks, they look statistically flat, and since they don't change in the 20th century this procedure did not make much difference. The mean of the last section is roughly the same as the mean of the whole series (as is the standard error) so either way of standardizing yields more or less the same result. But some of the series trend upwards in the 20th century. For these, the Mann method has a huge effect. Since the mean of the 20th century portion is higher than the mean of the whole series, subtracting the 20th century mean ‘de-centers' the series, shifting it off a zero mean. This, in turn, inflates the variance of these series and effectively multiplies the effect of those series by 390 times. It effectively meant that the entire analysis was based on a bristlecone pine series, which are highly susceptible to CO2 fertilisation.

The US Senate was tasked to investigate the basis for the "hockey stick" and asked one of the premier statisticians in the US, Professor Edward Wegman, editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association to evaluate the methodologies employed by Michael Mann, and the following discourse verifies the McIntyre and McKitricks analysis:

"Your analysis seems to show that, at least in some instances, when you use the same methodology and the same data, a graph of the results will look like a hockey stick when the data is decentered, but not when the data is properly centered.
a. Is that a correct statement?

"Wegman: Yes. We explicitly looked at the first principal component of the North American Tree Ring series and demonstrated that the hockey stick shows up when the data are decentered, but not when properly centered. We also demonstrated the same effect with the digitized version of the 1998 IPCC curve."

Figure 6
Figure 6

In other words the famous hockey stick was a product of the computer program used to analyse the data and nothing more. What is even more disturbing was the fact that Mann knew that if the errors were corrected, his hockey stick disappeared as shown in Figure 6. (page 11 APEC Study Group, Australia, April 4 2003) So some other factor is the driving force that allows such fraudulent analysis to be perpetuated. Some might argue that the criticisms are irrelevant since other scientists have replicated the hockey stick. But as has been shown they all use a "bent" Principal Component Analysis, which amplifies 20th century warming.

Figure 7
Figure 7: Chinas Temperature History from AD250

One could go on to discover that the premier graph that has become the showcase for the 20th century warming was based on one bristlecone pine series of data that was not accepted by dendro-chronologists as being a representative basis for climate analysis. One of the criticisms made by enviromentalists about the existence of the MWP and LIA is that they were local phenomenon restricted to northern Europe. The opening up of Chinese science in the past few years has resulted in access to their scientific institutes and the release of an all-China temperature record shown in Figure 7. It is going to be difficult to persuade the Chinese that all their power stations are going to fry them.

So the proof of 20th century anthropogenic warming is based on fraudulent data and corrupted computer programs. But how did such things come to pass, and be accepted as scientific fact by such a large body of investigators? We will return answers to theses questions later. 

Is dendro-chronolgy an exact science?

Loehle in a paper published in Energy & Environment · Vol. 18, No. 7+8, 2007, questions the validity of using tree rings as a temperature proxy. He has undertaken an analysis of sedimentary deposits, speleothem cave and rock data, sea surface temperature analysis of diatom and pollen deposits. The measurements were made at 20 sites with global coverage to assure that any local phenomenon could be detected.

Loehle's criticism of tree ring data is best summed up with a quote from his own paper:

"There are reasons to believe that tree ring data may not capture long-term climate changes (100+ years) because tree size, root/shoot ratio, genetic adaptation to climate, and forest density can all shift in response to prolonged climate changes, among other reasons (Broecker, 2001; Falcon-Lang, 2005; Loehle, 2004; Moberg et al., 2005). Most seriously, typical reconstructions assume that tree ring width responds linearly to temperature, but trees can respond in an inverse parabolic manner to temperature, with ring width rising with temperature to some optimal level, and then decreasing with further temperature increases (D'Arrigo et al., 2004; Kelly et al., 1994). This response is most likely due to water limitation at higher temperatures, because higher temperatures increase evaporation rates. The result of this violation of linearity is to introduce tremendous uncertainty or bias into any reconstruction, particularly for temperatures outside the calibration range. For example, tree rings in many places show recent divergence from observed warming trends, even showing downward trends (Briffa et al., 1998a,b; Pisaric et al., 2007). In a recent circumpolar satellite survey covering 1982 to 2003 (Bunn and Goetz, 2006), it was found that tundra areas showed increased photosynthetic activity, but forested areas showing a change evinced decreased photosynthesis and this effect was greater where tree density was higher. This effect probably reflects moisture limitations. If the temperature remained at the present level, over time the forest would adjust its density to come into equilibrium with available water and this decreased growth effect would dissipate. Trees may also respond more to precipitation (e.g., Gedalof et al., 2004) than to temperature, respond to seasonal temperature and moisture shifts as well as to annual means, or shift their response from temperature to precipitation at different times. If climate is reconstructed from tree ring data, therefore, the response will primarily reflect noise, with the average response being flat, which will make it look like past climates have been stable. (Emphasis added)"

Figure 8
Figure 8: Paleo-geological reconstruction of 2,000 years.



The results are startling and shown in Figure 8. These latest results provide an up to date proof of the existence of a medieval warm period, where temperatures were higher than those of today and a little ice-age. Moreover these results were obtained using standard statistical methods, namely subtracting the mean from the overall series and not just using the 20th century mean. With a temperature record recovering from a little ice age this would have produced an amplified 20th century data series.

CO2 "Warming" 

Figure 9
Figure 9: Logarithmic effect of CO2 Concentrations

From the science it is impossible for CO2 to heat the planet to anything like the temperatures discussed either by the IPCC (1.5-4.5oC) or the 7-8oC touted by some of the extreme environmentalists. Nor is there any basis for stating, as did a recent article in Socialist Appeal (and Marxist.com) "that the greenhouse gas effect is up 20 percent since 1990". Since the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere in 1990 was 342 ppm and it is now 383 ppm then the increase is in fact 12%. However if we talk of "the effect" then we have to deal with real world effects of CO2 as an absorbing and re-radiating greenhouse gas. The primary green house gas is water vapour that accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect. The contribution of CO2 to the warming of the world is logarithmic in nature as shown by Figure 9. That's the science.

In other words increasing concentrations of CO2 have a diminishing effect on the globes temperature. So to get to the scary numbers postulated by the IPCC, (never mind some environmentalists or Socialist Appeal), a magic multiplier effect has to be employed. Doubling of CO2 concentrations to 560 ppm will achieve a 2 Watts/sq metre increase in radiative forcing, and result in an IPCC guesstimated range of 1-2oK, compared with the maximum postulated from the science of 0.87oK. And that is the official position. What would 2 degrees rise in Greenland's temperature effect in 70 years time? The union position comes to mind - 20% of bugger all is still bugger all!

But that is not the point of the scary scenarios. For that we have to go to Dr Stephen Schneider who is a senior staff member at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado. He stated that:

"To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest."

So much for science!!

Of course he was not always a global warmist. Before Global Warming became the politically correct scientific fashion of the 1990s, the reverse situation existed in the 1970s, where it had become a scientific article of faith that the Ice Age was about to happen. Even the US National Academy of Sciences adopted this view in 1970:

"There is a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years."

Schneider wrote paper after paper describing the inevitability of the coming ice age. He once joked that since Greenhouse had hit the public arena, he had become more of a politician than a scientist!! Wouldn't it be nice if they just explained their political agenda that they have, rather than hide behind the "science".

Note: The position expressed in this article is not the position of the International Marxist Tendency. It is the opinion of one of our readers. We believe he has raised some interesting points that are worth discussing. The purpose of publishing this article is to stimulate debate on an important question. We invite our readers to participate in this debate. Please send any contributions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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