Using the excuse of global warming, the European Union is trying to shut down many of Britain’s coal-fired power stations, and stop new ones being built. But the evidence is not as hard as it seems. Could it be that politicians have their own agenda, more related to power than to the environment?
THE politicians in Copenhagen debated how they propose to slow or reverse climate change, but we need to dig a bit deeper into what is known about this. We know we can’t trust them: they have their own agenda – to increase their power and rule us. We must have our own agenda.
The key questions are not whether the Earth is warming, but what causes it, what are its likely effects, and how best can we cope? Climate change is the only constant, the only certainty.
We may well be into long-term warming. We have had eight of the ten warmest years in the last 150 years since 1997. The recent slight cooling proves nothing (all records of global temperature show small cooling periods in long-term uplifts). But this warming is not unprecedented. The Holocene Maximum of 7000–3000 BC, the Roman Warming of 200 BC–540 AD, and the Medieval Warming of 900-1300 were all warmer than now, yet the planet survived.
If CO2 alone drives warming, then higher CO2 must mean higher temperatures. Yet the earth cooled by 0.2 oC between 1945 and 1976, when CO2 levels rose sharply. Again it has cooled by 0.10 oC since 1998, despite a 5 per cent rise in CO2 levels. (450 million years ago, CO2 levels were twelve times today’s. Was it hotter? No, it was an ice age.)
186 billion tonnes of CO2 enter the atmosphere every year: just 3.3 per cent comes from human activities; 57 per cent is given off by the oceans; and 38 per cent is exhaled by animals (including us). Direct real-time measurements of CO2 since 1800 show that its concentration in the atmosphere has fluctuated greatly and has several times been above today’s levels.
Every hour, the Sun delivers to the earth as much energy as humans use in a year. The 2004 Symposium of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) concluded that the Sun caused most of the recent episodes of warming. Last century, the Sun’s magnetic field doubled in strength, reducing the cosmic rays and so the clouds, thus warming the Earth. The IAU forecast that sunspot activity would soon lessen, increasing cosmic radiation, creating more cloud and cooling the Earth. There has indeed been less sunspot activity and the Earth has cooled since 1998.
|Antarctic pack ice: there appear to be no “statistically significant average trends” in the extent of Antarctic sea ice.|
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted in its 2001 report, “In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Yet it consistently predicts more warming than actually happens. For example, they forecast continuous warming between 1990 and 2008; in reality we had eight years of warming followed by ten of cooling. It forecast in 2000 that the earth would warm by 0.4 oC by 2008: actually, it cooled by 0.1 oC.
Using the same computer model that gave the IPCC its forecasts for 2100, the Met Office forecast that 2007 would be the world’s “warmest year on record”, with Britain “set to enjoy another sizzling summer”, that 2008 would be one of the “top ten warmest years” ever, and that it would be followed by a winter “milder than average”. All wrong: in February it admitted that 2008-9 was “the coldest winter for 13 years”.
Open to doubt
The Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research provides data for the IPCC. But its methods are open to doubt. It has rejected Freedom of Information requests for data on the weather stations it used. Professor Phil Jones (head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, who has now stepped aside pending an inquiry into the response to the requests) claimed in 1990 that its stations had “few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times” – on the basis of a US Department of Energy report on just 35 of the 84 stations, which had found that fully half of the 35 had been moved!
Jones, in a recently leaked email, appeared to propose that emails subject to Freedom of Information requests be deleted, a potentially criminal act. He has stepped down as head of the unit temporarily while an investigation takes place.
The IPCC’s 2007 report says, “Globally, the potential for food production is projected to increase with increases in local average temperature over a range of 1 to 3 0C, but above this it is projected to decrease.” So, on the IPCC’s projected
1.8 0C rise, the world, including Britain, would steadily produce more food over the next 90 years.
The same IPCC report says that global warming’s one “virtually certain” impact on human health is “reduced human mortality from decreased cold exposure”. Fewer people die as winters get warmer.
We are told that every extreme weather event is due to global warming and that there are more of them. Yet hurricane activity was lower from 2001 to 2009 than in the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s. The IPCC’s 2007 report confirmed, “There is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.” There were seven major droughts between 1900 and 1920, seven between 1921 and 1940, eight between 1941 and 1960, five between 1961 and 1980, but three between 1981 and 2000.
The same IPCC report said, “Antarctic sea ice extent continues to show inter-annual variability and localised changes but no statistically significant average trends, consistent with the lack of warming reflected in atmospheric temperatures averaged across the region… Current global model studies project that the Antarctic Ice Sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall.”
The Antarctic holds 90 per cent of the Earth’s ice. Its temperature averages 46 0C below zero. So a 1.80 0C rise would not make it melt. Icebergs don’t break off from Antarctica’s glaciers because of warming: there are active sub-glacial volcanoes in Antarctica, and parts of it are rising.
Coal and nuclear power stations produce 55 per cent of our electricity, wind turbines just 0.5 per cent. Many of these power stations are to be closed down under EU orders, causing a 40 per cent energy shortfall. EU rules allow subsidies for wind farms, but not for nuclear power stations. The government’s 2003 White Paper said, “We do not propose new nuclear build.”
The Climate Change Act of 2008 committed the state “to ensure that the net UK carbon account for 2050 is at least 80 per cent lower than the 1990 baseline.” The Act’s aims could only be achieved by closing down the rest of our industry. As Energy Minister John Hutton said in September 2008, “No coal and no nuclear means no power, no future.” Brown sacked him two weeks later.
This April, the government said no new coal-fired power stations would be allowed unless they used carbon capture – a tech-nology that has not yet been developed. The government aims to build 10,000 wind turbines (made abroad), 4,000 offshore and 6,000 onshore, at a cost of £100 billion. The USA’s 10,000 wind turbines produce just 3.9 gigawatts, the same as one large coal-fired power station.
Yet Friends of the Earth claims, “Renewable energy has the potential to provide all our needs.” Not so – even “green” journalist George Monbiot admits that there are “good reasons for questioning the claim that our electricity could be supplied wholly or even largely by renewable power”. Every renewable “needs to be supported by other forms of power”. Then he calls for a 90 per cent cut in greenhouse gases by 2030. Environmentalist Meyer Hillman said that even an 80 per cent cut would make Britain “a very poor third-world country”.
Under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scam, sorry, Scheme, EU emissions still rise every year, enriching people like Lakshmi Mittal, Britain’s richest man, who stands to get £1 billion from it. Carbon taxes too would harm the economy and add to government powers.
Whatever the future holds, we need to be able to grow our own food, use our energy resources effectively and carefully, and make here the goods we need.