Before we start, I would like to say I wouldn’t categorise myself as a climate change sceptic or someone who disregards that global warming is caused to some extend by humans.
There is a broad scientific consensus that global warming is occurring, and of that broad consensus there is a majority subset of scientists who state this is Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). In short, nearly all practicing scientists today believe humans are the primary cause of global warming.
Let’s actually look at what this means and whether we should buy into the proposed solutions of the scientists.
Consensus in the Scientific Community
If you ever take it upon yourself to research global warming, you will be bombarded with the word consensus.
The definition of consensus according to the Cambridge Dictionary is a generally accepted opinion or decision among a group of people.
That means any site stating consensus as irrefutable evidence for global warming is at best misleading you. Why? Because the key word in the definition of consensus is opinion.
In short, scientists are in wholesale agreement with a specific opinion.
Opinions can be based on facts, but they can also simply be opinions.
Historically (and even recently) the scientific community has held consensus on a wide array of things that turned out to be completely wrong.
Here are some examples:
- Dinosaurs were ALL reptilian and had scales. Now debunked as fossils have provably demonstrated many dinosaurs were avian and in the case of Velociraptor and T-Rex covered in feathers. This was a very recent instance of scientific consensus being proved wrong.
- Humans evolved from Neanderthals. During the early and mid-1900s the consensus among scientists was Homo-Sapiens evolved from Neanderthals. This is now debunked.
- Fat in the human diet is harmful. Unfortunately, this consensus still pervades discourse on diets today and it is erroneous at best and an outright lie at worst. The human body NEEDS fat to remain healthy and there is ongoing controversy with many stubborn scientists refusing to budge from the consensus they formed.
There are, of course, many other scientific theories that have gained consensus and been debunked, and it would take thousands upon thousands of words to cover even a small portion of them.
The Facts of Global Warming
This is where the waters get very murky and I suspect because of this, many sceptics have an absolute field day weaving all kinds of conspiracy theories.
Here are the absolute facts of Global Warming/Climate Change:
- Using the data available; we can track trends in warming and in the last few decades this data indicates a warming trend.
- A changing climate on earth presents challenges to various life forms including humans.
That is all we can say for certain.
The Data of Climate Change
The examples of disproved scientific consensus I listed above have one thing in common – overreliance on incomplete or poor data.
When it comes to tracking the climate on earth, we have extremely limited data. We only started collecting data in the western world a couple of centuries ago and only recently (in the last hundred years) have we expanded our data collection to other areas in the world.
You might think a hundred years’ worth of data is adequate to determine climate trends – but it isn’t. Even a thousand years of data would not be a sufficient data set to establish concrete trends in climate change.
Modern humans have lived on this planet for 200,000 years and the planet itself is estimated to be 4.5 million years old with life on the planet expected to be almost as old.
Over those time frames we have ample evidence to state categorically the climate has changed drastically.
The problem with analysing data from such a small timeframe is you are going to get poor results. For example, if you were selective with the data you pulled from our existing climate data you could pick a snapshot that shows a cooling trend.
Scientists of course try and use all the data available to them – the point is the data they are using is incomplete and even if it were complete, they wouldn’t be able to prove causation. At best they would be able to note correlations.
A correlation might well be that since the industrial revolution and the burning of carbon the temperature on earth has shown a warming trend. But that isn’t enough to establish causation.
Establishing Causation for Global Warming
To establish causation, you need to run a complete multivariate analysis. You need to factor in every correlation and then draw sound conclusions about what is causing global warming.
The problem with this is scientists can’t do this. They don’t understand fully how climate operates on the planet and they don’t know exact causes for a lot of climate phenomena.
Let’s take a big example of climate change – ice ages.
If you ask a climate scientist to explain how an ice age occurs, you won’t get a direct answer. Instead, you will get a convoluted response about several theorised contributary factors that could POTENTIALLY cause an ice age.
You will never get a definitive answer – for example, x y and z happen simultaneously which causes an ice age.
Climate Change Modelling
Modelling is where the science meets pseudoscience and politics.
It is fair to say global warming has become highly politicised. Modelling is conducted by various institutions to show effects of climate change and every single climate model is DIFFERENT.
For example, some climate change models show extreme temperature rises that ultimately will cause life on Earth to cease. Meanwhile, others are much more conservative in the impact of climate change or how much the temperature will rise.
It is important to state most climate models show a warming trend.
ALL climate models are flawed though. There isn’t a single climate model we have which understands all factors that impact climate and then calculates results.
The reason being that scientists don’t know every single contributory factor to global climate.
Then there are the timeframes involved with modelling.
In the near term, if a climate model has a wealth of accurate contributory factors, it should provide relatively accurate results. But as each day in the model passes, the absence of having all contributory factors results in errors accumulating.
By the time you get to a few years out on a climate model, you have a wildly inaccurate model because the errors will have accumulated so much the results are meaningless.
That doesn’t stop scientists making bold claims based on their modelling without acknowledging how desperately poor the input data is for their models. And it doesn’t stop people from all sides of the political aisle having an opinion about what to do because of these grossly flawed models.
Localised Climate Modelling
We use localised climate modelling every single day in the UK in the form of weather forecasts.
Over the last few decades our weather forecasting has improved as more data is added to models and our way of tracking weather patterns improves.
But I am sure I am not alone in saying most weather forecasts are still incorrect. Whether that be grossly incorrect with rain forecast that never materialises or small inaccuracies such as the temperature not reaching the highs predicted.
This climate modelling is wrong on a scale of predicting weather patterns with a high degree of accuracy over a few days. Now imagine how wrong a climate model claiming to predict global climate changes over the next fifty years will be.
Has Rapid Climate Change Impacted Humans in the Past?
One of the key buzzwords we hear with media portrayals of climate change is ‘unprecedented.’
We hear time and again that the global temperature on earth is increasing at an alarming rate in a way it has never done before.
The conclusion is humans must be causing it.
This is an absolute lie. Any scientist worth their salt will know there have been instances of extremely rapid warming and we even have an example in human history.
This is where I get to talk about my favourite historical civilisation, the Ancient Egyptians.
At the end of the Old Kingdom, over the span of a hundred years, global temperatures rose massively. It might surprise you to know that Egypt before this temperature rise was a fertile and lush landscape.
For example, most Egyptologists suspect the Nile River ran right up to the Giza pyramid complex which enabled easier transportation of the massive blocks of stone.
Known as the 4.2 ka BP event, a rapid spike in temperatures caused a prolonged arid period that had a profound impact on Ancient Egypt. Instead of the Nile River flooding to fertilise the land, there was a widespread devastating drought.
This wasn’t isolated to Egypt, this happened all over the world. I just used Egypt as an example because I like Egypt and we can see a collapse of the Old Kingdom because of this drastic climate change.
Now call me naïve, but I am certain that Ancient Egyptians weren’t burning wood on an industrial level. In fact, we know they weren’t burning wood in any meaningful way because wood was scarce in Ancient Egypt, they used to import it from surrounding regions like the Sinai Peninsula.
By all means research the 4.2 ka BP event further, but scientists don’t like to discuss it and you won’t find much literature about it because it goes against the narrative of current consensus.
The fallout of this heightened worldwide drought is scarier than you might expect. This wasn’t a multi-year drought in the way some countries in Africa face today, this was a drought that lasted decades if not an entire century that caused the collapse of all major civilisations at that point.
Are Humans Contributing to Climate Change?
It is safe to say yes, humans are contributing to climate change. The real question we need to answer is to what extent are we contributing to climate change and how exactly are we doing it?
You see, the earth is an extremely sensitive ecosystem. Releasing carbon into the atmosphere will alter that ecosystem.
But humans are also doing other things beside releasing carbon into the atmosphere. For example, there are now more trees in the northern hemisphere than there have ever been at any point in human history.
Trees actively remove carbon and convert it to oxygen. But that means we are also filling the atmosphere with more oxygen than we ever have before.
Oxygen plays a part in global climate but is often disregarded or ignored because it is not a ‘greenhouse’ gas.
Currently the atmosphere has an oxygen rich atmosphere representing 21% of the gases. The highest it has been in 4.5 billion years is estimated to be 35% and the lowest is 10%.
Carbon dioxide in comparison to oxygen is only a trace gas in our atmosphere representing 0.04% compared to oxygen’s 21%.
My point here is that we don’t really understand how much impact either gas is having at their current levels on our climate. Simply analysing climate from the perspective of looking at carbon dioxide is frankly crazy – scientists should be evaluating the atmosphere as a whole and looking to understand how each gas proportion impacts climate and whether there is an optimal balance of gases.
Remember, our planet NEEDS carbon dioxide, plants and trees rely on it to live and in turn we rely on them to create oxygen which we rely on to live. It is not a case of eliminating carbon dioxide in our atmosphere as some people seem to believe, we should be striving for balance.
What Should We Do About Climate Change?
Personally, given the problems with data and modelling I think it is extremely important to act carefully if we are to act at all.
Current political pressure is to bring about mass changes to restructure the world, without any understanding of the following:
- If any changes will actually work,
- The ultimate cost to human life,
- How we can track results.
These are big issues and have serious moral consequences. How many people are going to die due to fuel poverty and food poverty when we force third world countries to turn off their energy infrastructure? How many lives should be sacrificed to incomplete science?
Do we know any sacrifice will make any difference to the outcome?
What Would I Do about Global Warming?
A common misconception is existing gas and oil companies are anti-renewable energy. This is a grave misconception that permeates the media and allows people to feel good about windfall taxes.
The truth is ALL major gas and oil companies are investing heavily in renewables. Why? Because it makes excellent business sense. Gas and oil extraction is a hugely expensive endeavour that has been made comparatively cheaper over time as technology has improved – but is still costly, nonetheless.
Renewables are in their infancy and currently a little more expensive than gas and oil extraction, but each year that passes and with advancing technology this cost is coming down. Companies know that heavy investment now translates to lower future costs and sustainable profit levels in a few decades time.
And this makes perfect sense, why would a gas or oil company want to rely on a finite resource that is expensive to extract and is politically unpopular when they can charge money for energy they generate themselves in a renewable fashion?
It is a no brainer; these companies want to have energy they can continually and indefinitely produce and sell for profit.
If I were in charge I would deregulate the big energy companies, stop these harmful windfall taxes that prevent them investing in renewables and allow them to do what private enterprise does best – compete to innovate and bring renewable energy costs down for the masses.
I would also remove barriers to entry for building nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy is by far the most efficient energy production method we have, and new reactors are incredibly safe. Lastly, nuclear energy production is as green as renewable energy production.
That would address the perceived issue with legacy energy production and help humankind onto a sure footing with energy sustainability in the least detrimental way to existing populations. No one has to worry about keeping their houses warm (as we are all doing now) and no one needs to worry about whether agricultural industries will be able to keep up with food demand.
I would then leave nature to run its course. In the past, humans adapted to changing climate by moving away from flood or drought areas and improvising.
This represents some hardship or upheaval certainly, but when you consider the political proposals being set forth now, it is without question favourable.
Currently we are on course to commit the largest human genocide ever in the history of our species, and for what? We don’t really know how this all plays out.
It is extremely primitive to have a solution where we sacrifice people to the gods of nature in the hope they will appease us – but in 2022, this is the proposed solution. I have some bad news, human sacrifice doesn’t appease the gods, it didn’t thousands of years ago, and it won’t now – it’s time we started to embrace a new way of thinking, one that sets us on a path of freedom – not tyranny.