Scientists paid well for their research
Dear Sir, — After reading Mr Norbury’s letter in the Chronicle, I have to admit that I agree to most of the issues he raises.
“Climate change” has become a political issue now and there is much propaganda put out by the media, particularly the BBC.
The editor’s comment that 97% of scientists agree on climate change has been discredited. The questionnaire sent out to scientists around the world was only answered by two thirds of them. The question asked was, “Do you agree that human activity is partly responsible?” I think most of us would agree to that. Had the question been, “Do you think we are heading for a catastrophe?” the answer could well have been totally different.
Also, scientists, most of them working for universities or various governments, are being paid well for their research programmes, and have a vested interest in “saying what people want to hear”. Those that don’t comply, risk having their funding withdrawn.
There is confusion about carbon, or carbon di-oxide, (Co2), which is what we really mean. I don’t know where the editor gets his figures from but Co2 has been steadily declining over the last few hundred years, until the recent increase from 370 to 400 parts per million.
Satellite pictures have shown that the Earth’s surface has become greener, due to plant and tree growth caused by this slight increase.
Co2 is not a pollutant but a very essential natural gas. Horticulturists pump it into their greenhouses to make the plants thrive. Lowering Co2 to 150 ppm would be detrimental to all tree and plant life on the planet.
In the past, Co2 has been much higher than it is now, measured in thousands of ppm not hundreds. Also, historical records show that increased levels of Co2 occur 80 to 100 years after a rise in temperatures and not before.
Yes, we need to find an alternative to fossil fuels but to achieve this in a fixed time scale would be a mistake. We don’t have enough resources at the moment. Wind and solar power are intermittent and unreliable. Hydroelectric and nuclear could be the answer but are expensive to create and disliked by the greens. Worst of all is biomas (wood) burning. This produces PM 2.5 particles which cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, dementia and asthma. Yet, the Drax power station in Yorkshire is burning 70,000 tonnes of timber per day. Subsidized by the Government.
Not only this but the timber is being shipped over from the US, in pellet form in ships burning, at a conservative estimate, 80 gallons of the dirtiest diesel oil per mile. This 7,000 mile round trip works out at 560,000 gallons! The No2 pollution from this must be massive.
My concern is not about what mankind may or may not have done so far, but the mistakes we could make in putting matters right. (If in fact there is even a need to do this).
Following current plans we are likely to suffer massive food shortages, destroy farming and agriculture, wipe out industry, commerce, prosperity and reduce living standards to something resembling the dark ages.
I recommend readers (and the editor) to seek out the comments of long standing, respected scientists and meteorologists who are either retired or not influenced by any financial gain when giving their opinions. Such as Anthony Watts, Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Freeman Dyson, Dr Patrick Moore and Prof Ian Plimer. You’ll find them on You-tube.
Also, if you are interested in this topic, go to Paul Homewood’s website: Not A Lot Of People Know That. Get an alternative view from the extreme bias put out by mainstream media. — Yours faithfully,
(MR) SJ HYDE
• Consensus: The 97% is not based on a questionnaire but research papers. Cook et al (2016) published Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming and found that the 97% consensus was true. They looked at 11,944 abstracts of research papers, of which 4,014 took a position on the cause of recent global warming. The level of consensus correlated with expertise in climate science.
Among 1,381 papers self-rated by their authors as stating a position on human-caused global warming, 97.2% endorsed the consensus.
The National Academies of Science from 80 countries have issued statements endorsing the consensus position.
Shwed and Bearman (2010) analysed 9,432 papers on global warming and climate published from 1975 to 2008. This method was mathematical and blind to the content of the literature being examined. They concluded: “Our results reject the claim of inconclusive science on climate change and identify the emergence of consensus earlier than previously thought”.
• A dissenting paper came from Richard Tol (2016) who agrees that a scientific consensus on global warming exists, but he argues over the methodology used to arrive at the 97% figure. Tol’s belief is that the impact of climate change will be relatively small, rather than it not existing, although one influential paper of his changed minus signs to positive and turned economic costs into benefits.
• Co2: air bubbles trapped in ice allow scientists to see what Earth’s atmosphere, and climate were like in the past. Co2 has fluctuated over the last 700,000 years but never went above 33 parts per million (ppm). Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now higher than at any time in the past 400,000 years. During ice ages, CO2 levels were around 200ppm, and during the warmer interglacial periods, hovered around 280ppm. In 2013, CO2 levels surpassed 400ppm for the first time in recorded history.
• YouTubers: the fact that there is a consensus means that 3% disagree, but producing every individual in that 3% does not make their case any stronger. Most of those named agree with climate change and that it is manmade, but disagree on its effect.
Anthony Watts: In March 2011 Watts visited the Berkeley Earth Temperature project, and said: “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” When the project proved him wrong, he refused to accept it.
Richard Lindzen agrees that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, calling people who dispute that point “nutty.” He agrees that the level of it is rising because of human activity and that this should warm the climate, he just disagrees with the amount of warming. He also said that lung cancer has only been weakly linked to smoking.
Freeman Dyson says global warming is caused by increased carbon dioxide through burning fossil fuels but that some of the effects of this are favourable. “.. my objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have.”