Normally it is hard to get a word in edgewise on the climate change debate. The mainstream media mostly features true believers, and seldom gives the doubters a run. But miracles do happen on occasion. On Sunday night 60 Minutes actually allowed a dissenting scientist to speak on the issue. He was interviewed by various questioners, and allowed a pretty good run to give the sceptics’ case.
Dr David Evans began by noting the media bias on this issue: “The sceptical case has been ignored by the press till now, and I think you’ll find it very strong. People are finally coming to terms with it now.” He said he felt compelled to speak out because “it seemed the situation got beyond stupid and our decision makers need to be reminded that the science has changed since the last 10 years”.
He mentions how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is made up of as many bureaucrats as scientists: “The IPCC is a UN bureaucracy. Less than half of the 2500 involved are scientists, most are bureaucrats. The IPCC is reluctant to consider causes of global warming other than human ones. The fact that temperatures haven’t risen since 2001 means that their politics are becoming untenable.”
He goes on to help us to get some basic scientific truths in order: “CO2 is not pollution. CO2 is beneficial to plants and doesn’t seem to have a significant effect on the earth’s temperature. I agree that the government should be regulating the earth’s pollution but it’s a different question than global warming.”
He reminds us that CO2 is beneficial, and should not be seen as a pollutant: “CO2 is good for plants. We humans have been digging CO2 out from under the desert in Saudi Arabia and efficiently distributing it across the planet. Plants need carbon to grow, in fact they need it more than water. Satellite data shows that over the last 2 decades the amount of plant biomass on the planet has increased by 6 percent. So increasing the CO2 levels is helping feed the planet. Not only is CO2 not pollution, but it is beneficial to all plants and most animals on the planet.”
The actual cooling of the planet in the past decade also needs to be borne in mind: “The last 7 years has seen a period of flat temperatures with a small downward bias. It’s too early to say temperatures are dropping even in the last year they have dropped a little. We’re looking here for temperature trends which typically exhibit themselves over 5 years or so, so I think it’s safer to say that temperatures have levelled out since 2001. The correlation with solar activities are very interesting, bear in mind that they are only correlation and nothing has been proven. However the late appearance solar cycle 24, suggest the next 24 years or so might be a little cooler.”
Indeed, the sun may play a major role in climate change: “The sun affects the earth’s temperature in two ways. Firstly, there can be changes in solar eradiation, meaning the amount of heat pumped out by the sun. People have observed slight variation over the decades. Secondly and probably more significantly, the sun affects cloud formation on earth through solar magnetic effects. High energy cosmic rays strike the earth and help create clouds. And those clouds have a cooling effect on the earth. But the sun’s magnetic effects shield us from some of those high energy cosmic rays. So when the sun is active, the earth gets less high energy cosmic rays so there are fewer clouds and it gets warmer. The sun has been pretty active in the last few decades. This theory still hasn’t been proven and is just at the stage of correlations. There are probably half a dozen likely influences on the global temperature and at this stage I don’t know of any good evidence to know, which are the important ones except to say that because the signature is missing, we can pretty much rule out carbon emissions.”
He continues, “It’s important to see that solar activity does not correlate with NASA GISS temperatures, because they come from land based thermometers and are corrupted by the urban land heat effects. However solar activities correlate very well with satellite temperatures right up to 2008.”
And human activities may have very little to do with such climatic changes: “It’s quite possible that we humans have no effect on temperature. And all we’re seeing is natural variation. Bear in mind that it was warmer in the medieval times 800 years ago and it was a couple of degrees cooler in the 1700s when they had a mini ice age. Humanity generally flourish when it is hotter, so personally I regard a little bit of heating as a good thing.”
While we do not fully know all the reasons for climate change, anthropogenic input seems not to be a major factor, if at all: “We don’t know what causes global warming, except that we now are pretty sure that carbon emissions do not cause it. Therefore taking measures to decrease our carbon emissions won’t have any significant effect.”
“Many of the crucial issues in global warming are pretty simple. Well within the grasp of any educated citizen such as the Prime Minister. You only need a high school education to be able to read a temperature graph, and to see that the temperatures have been flat since 2001. You only have to be vaguely aware of the debate to notice that the alarmist are offering no actual evidence, only results from computer models. These are things that any politician or journalist should feel confident in doing. I urge our Prime Minister to spend a little more time investigating the issue himself instead of just relying on the advice of people’s whose jobs depend on the belief that carbon emission cause global warming.”
He concludes: “This issue will get sorted out because it’s an issue of science. No amount of human arguing can affect the actual effects of global warming and it will be another 2-3 decades of research before we will probably have a definitive answer as to what causes global warming. Stay Tuned”
The whole interview is well worth reading. Finally some fresh air – no pun intended – in a debate where zealotry and shoddy science have been allowed too much airplay. We need more level headed thinking on this issue, and less emotional fear-mongering. The bravery of Dr Evans in speaking out will hopefully encourage other doubters to also go public with their concerns. And maybe more of the mainstream media will get into the act as well.
The interview: sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=616122#
Dr Evan’s website: www.sciencespeak.com