This blog continues discussing the issues from the BBC Horizon programme presented by Sir Paul Nurse, called Science Under Attack.
It covered many topics in such a biased and ‘unscientific’ manner that I am dealing with the issues separately in a small series of blog entries.
You can watch the Horizon programme from this link HERE
A large part of the programme covered the topic of whether climate change is manmade, about which Sir Paul says, “One of the most vocal arguments currently raging is about climate science. Many people seem unconvinced that we are warming our planet with the emission of greenhouse gases.”
It is this highly contentious topic of whether climate change is manmade, with particular reference to CO2 emissions, that this blog entry will discuss.
The statement was made that half of Americans and a third of the British think that climate science is being exaggerated, to which Sir Paul Nurse makes the comment “It’s this gap between scientists and the public that I want to understand”.
His comments suggest that ‘the science is settled’ and that all of ‘the scientists’ agree and that it is just ‘the public’ who have yet to be convinced. He goes on to say
“The scientific consensus is, of course, that the changes we are seeing are caused by emissions of carbon into the atmosphere.”
He is wrong. There is no scientific consensus, which is why the public are not convinced.
Incredibly his emphasis is on consensus, but science should not be limited by consensus.
In the words of Albert Einstein “the important thing is to not stop questioning”. This is the essence of science, its ever-evolving nature, which would be severely impeded, if not completely halted by the insistence that it must be consensual.
The climate is a very complex system, so it is particularly relevant to the relatively young science of climatology to keep developing its understanding of the climate system.
In the programme Sir Paul interviewed Professor Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist who has been studying climate science for nearly 50 years, who said “There is no scientific evidence that greenhouse warming is occurring, or, if it is, that it would lead to disaster”.
Professor Singer continued, “We’re seeing no evidence in the climate record that the increase in carbon dioxide, which is real, has made any appreciable difference in the climate.”
It is clear from his website SEPP that Professor Singer does not believe that humans are responsible for climate change; he attributes it to natural forces.
Sir Paul refers to Professor Singer as someone who has been battling against the ‘consensus view’ for over 20 years and who influences ‘skeptics’ around the world in a tone that implies Professor Singer doesn’t know what he is talking about, which is insulting to him and wrong because there is a great deal of scientific evidence that supports Professor Singer’s view.
On the subject of CO2 being a pollutant, the website of Dr Roy Spencer, climatologist and former NASA scientist, contains an article that includes the following extract:
“The truly objective scientist should be asking whether MORE, not less, atmospheric carbon dioxide is what we should be trying to achieve. There is more published real-world evidence for the benefits of more carbon dioxide, than for any damage caused by it. The benefits have been measured, and are real-world. The risks still remain theoretical. Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth.”
The entire article can be read HERE
Further evidence is provided by Professor Bob Carter, a geologist, environmental scientist and Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, who has written an article that can be accessed HERE
Please ensure that you also read part 2 of this article, which can be accessed HERE
The following is an extract from part 2:
“To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is an abuse of logic, language and science, given its pivotal role in the photosynthetic processes that underpin most of our planetary ecosystems. In essence, carbon dioxide is the very staff of life, and increasing it in the atmosphere helps most plants to grow better and to use water more efficiently.”
Although this article is from the Australian perspective, it has relevance for us all, no matter where we live.
There is plenty of scientific evidence about the issue of carbon dioxide and global climate change, some of which can be viewed at the website for The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change HERE
So now we can answer the question Sir Paul poses in the programme, “How can we be sure that humans are to blame for this?”
The answer is that we humans are not responsible to any degree that is relevant. As Dr Roy Spencer was quoted in my previous blog entry on carbon footprints, “….manmade global warming might not even be measurable, lost in the noise of natural climate variability.”
Contrary to what Sir Paul Nurse wants us to believe about an alleged scientific consensus, the links from this blog provide more than adequate scientific evidence that climate change is not being driven by manmade emissions of carbon dioxide.