Climategate’s Inconvenient Truth – by Rich Trzupek

al-gore-newt-gingrich-climate

As global-warming alarmists try to recover from “Climategate,” they have returned to the first principles of selling their product to the public. Among the most important of these, as any advertising professional can tell you, is delivering simple message. And so, following the script, alarmists world-wide spent a great deal of time last week declaring that not only is climate science settled, but the ways in which climate forces affect the entire planet is also beyond dispute.

In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell last week, the high-priest of the First Church of climate change, Al Gore, said:

“A hundred and fifty years ago this year was the discovery that CO-2 traps heat. That is a — a principle in physics. It’s not a question of debate. It’s like gravity; it exists.”

One wonders why Mitchell didn’t ask the obvious follow-up questions: If the science is indeed that cut and dried, why are scientists across the globe spending billions of dollars to confirm something so blindingly obvious? Indeed, why did delegates at Copenhagen commit to spending billions more to explore a question that, according to Gore, does not merit further investigation?

On December 8, New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman echoed the alarmists’ party line, writing:

“This is not complicated. We know that our planet is enveloped in a blanket of greenhouse gases that keep the Earth at a comfortable temperature. As we pump more carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse gases into that blanket from cars, buildings, agriculture, forests and industry, more heat gets trapped.”

Both statements belie a shocking ignorance of the science involved. Even the leading degreed cheerleaders in the alarmist community, like NASA’s Gavin Schmidt or Penn State’s Michael Mann, would hurry to distance themselves from these sorts of blanket declarations. It’s one thing to simplify scientific concepts. It’s quite another to bastardize them.

Consider Al Gore. There is one ironic truth in Gore’s statement: there is a striking similarity between the theory of gravity and the science of climate change. Scientists universally acknowledge that a force known as gravity exists, but, though theories abound, none can say how it works. In the same vein, it is undeniable that the earth’s climate fluctuates over time, but anyone who tells you that they understand all of the complex mechanisms that influence those changes displays the sort of hubris that would have either struck a chord with ancient Greek playwrights.

The most important scientific law at issue, when it comes to climate change, is Beer’s Law. Put in technical terms, Beer’s Law, which Gore by all accounts has not yet moved to invalidate, says that the relationship between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the global warming effect of carbon dioxide is logarithmic, not linear. Put in more friendly terms, Beer’s Law is the law of diminishing climatic returns: The more carbon dioxide one puts into the atmosphere, the less effect it has on the climate.

Water vapor is, by far, our most important global warming gas. Its global warming potential is over forty times that of carbon dioxide and there is over fifty times more water vapor in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. All told, the net warming effect of water vapor exceeds that of carbon dioxide by a factor of more than two thousand.

The alarmists’ argument, such as it is, declares that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide will result in the evaporation of more water vapor, just enough – in theory – to “tip the balance” and lead to an uncontrollable increase in planetary temperatures. This is a more subtle, and much more difficult to demonstrate, argument than that proposed by alarmists like Gore and Friedman.

Skeptical scientists counter that the tiny amount of increased water evaporation associated with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations might just as well result in increase cloud formation, which everyone acknowledges would have a cooling effect, along with increased evaporative cooling. The alarmists spend an untold amount of time and an unimaginable amount of dollars attempting to prove that those mechanisms are not meaningful. It’s the twenty first century equivalent of determining exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, with about as much practical relevance and at much more a cost to society.

If the public truly understood the subtle nuances of climate change science, along with the way that the alarmists have twisted science in order to further their own agenda and further their grant-funding, it’s hard to imagine that any significant portion of public opinion would express a preference for further climate change legislation or regulation.

The only hope, especially in the aftermath of Climategate, for true believers like Gore and Friedman, is to convince the public that there is nothing remarkable or nuanced or complicated about climate science.

The truth of the matter is quite the opposite. Climate science is enormously complicated. The more we learn about it, the less human activity seems to affect the climate. That may be an inconvenient truth, but based on all of the data we have gathered after spending untold billions of dollars that would appear to be the honest truth – even if it doesn’t support Al Gore’s doom-saying prophecies.

Rich Trzupek is a chemist and Principal Consultant at Mostardi Platt Environmental, an environmental consulting firm based in Oak Brook, Illinois. He specializes in air quality issues and is the author of McGraw-Hill’s Air Quality Permitting and Compliance Manual. Rich is a confirmed skeptic with regard to the theory that human activity has caused global warming. He is also a regular contributor at threedonia.com.

  • freedomisgood

    Thankyou for the article you are exactly right!
    The ice caps was formed when CO2 was at 760ppm(published Nature Online)
    and our present CO2 level is 380ppm. Human contributions to this is .017%, to get to the tipping point it would take a very long time even increasing human CO2 contributions 1000%. COP15 is political, not enviromental. It is about deflation of our dollar to the point it is worthless! It is about redistribution of money,sound familiar? Like Communism? Well 3 days from now our president will sign this treaty! He has the authurity!
    CLIMATEGATE IS MORE SERIOUS ANYONE CAN IMAGINE!!!!!!!
    President Obama already has the power to sign the Copenhagen Treaty. Most people think of international agreements as treaties. The Constitution under Article II authorizes the President to “make Treaties” with the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate, provided that “two thirds of the Senators present concur.” Getting 67 votes in the Senate is a non-starter.
    There is another path … and Obama doesn’t need any new powers to forge ahead. A “congressional-executive” or “legislative-executive” agreement is made by the President under authority granted by existing statute. This merely requires the approval of a majority in both houses of Congress, rather than a supermajority in the Senate.
    Congressional approval can be given either ahead of time, in the form of express authority, or after the fact, in the form of approval of such agreements by majorities in both houses. The chance of a majority vote passing is much more likely than a supermajority vote. These agreements, not treaties, have been used to approve many well-known and binding international arrangements, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

  • jjmalmeida

    very nice piece. I re-learned important details I had forgotten. Thanks!
    JJMAlmeida

  • keithrage

    Taking actual measurements instead of projections from sneaky computer modeling has shown that sea levels have not risen at all, over time they drop and rise, drop and rise. The majority of the Maldives islands are only 2.4 meters above sea level and have not risen for over 50 years of recorded measure taking, look it up it is all verifiable.

  • Gamal

    The one thing that puzzles me is that I watched a movie about the creation of the earth and in it the narrator said that the earth was covered in ice until carbon dioxide was filled the atmosphere and created a greenhouse effect which melted the ice.

  • johncarens

    Our very civilization depends on the burning of fuel that emits carbon in various forms.

    The world-wide Stalinist left has done a magnificent job of demonizing this civilizing force in an attempt to spread the misery of oligarchical collectivism. It is nothing more complicated than that. Combine this collectivist urge with the western predilection to embrace the profit motive, and you have the perfect storm of global control over the vast swath of humanity. This is why we are now treated to the blatherings of Tony Blair announcing, essentially, to hell with the (lack of) science of “climate change”, full steam ahead. He knows he will continue to be the part of humanity exempted from this statist, central industrial planning, and he won't easily give up his special status. Nor will the UN General Secretary or President Obama.

    Goldman-Sachs, General Electric, the witless (and likely mentally ill) Al Gore and a whole host of heretofore capitalist corporations have figured out a way (commoditization of emissions by “Carbon Trading”) to squeeze blood from the collectivist turnip, so these billionaires will not go quietly into the night. It will require a lot more than the simple truth of a few e-mails to spoil their counterrevolution; God knows what it will take.

    We are through the looking-glass now, folks. What was once a free nation is now controlled by a small cabal of extreme leftist Stalinist radicals, including those that proclaim to control the very weather with tax policy. We do not know yet the forces they are unleashing. Let us hope it ends without too much bloodshed. And I am serious.

  • freedomisgood

    Gamal, when the earth formed, large volcanic eruptions spewed CO2 into the atmosphere at very large rates 3000-4000ppm and as I stated above the CO2 slowly
    declined to 760ppm which was the tipping point for the ice caps started to form, which also concludes the point which the ice caps should start to thaw from CO2.

  • freedomisgood

    Unfortunatly, you are correct, all indications point to a world socialist goverment! There seeds they planted 30-40 years ago are now sprouted and are starting to mature! People must realise that this has been taking place over a long period of time! The reasons for there hurry now is the sun is going into a cooling phase and the effects will soon be noticable around the globe!

  • jdmiles

    You need to know who's lying to you and why.

    http://www.cashill.com/twa800/climategate.htm

  • Gamal

    What made the CO2 decline?

  • USMCSniper

    Carbon dioxide, for all the hype and panic, forms only 0.0383% of the entire atmosphere. That is to say, in every 2611 buckets of air you collect, you will only collect 1 bucket of carbon dioxide.

    Meanwhile, how much carbon dioxide is released in a year? The amount of CO2 being released by humans is only 3.4% of all CO2 emissions! The other 96,6% comes from natural sources.

    According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, only 1~2% of the atmosphere is made up of all greenhouse gases. Of that amount of greenhouse gases, only 3.62 percent of it is carbon dioxide. Of that amount of carbon dioxide, only 3.4% is emitted by human activity.

    So humans contribute only 0.28% of the so-called greenhouse effect. What does this tiny little number actually mean? To put it another way, in every 40,624 buckets of atmosphere, human activities will only add 1 single bucket of carbon dioxide every year.

    And we are supposed to ’save the planet from global warming’ by halting this 3.4% of 3.62% of 2% of the atmosphere of human carbon dioxide emissions? Even if all human activities were immediately stopped tomorrow, 96.6% of the carbon dioxide would be totally unaffected!

    How could this tiny amount of carbon dioxide be claimed to cause global warming? Supporters of global warming scaremongering say that carbon dioxide absorbs a particular wavelength of radiation from the surface of the Earth, which would otherwise escape off into space. Thus, carbon dioxide traps this radiation and heats up the planet.

    However, the wavelength of radiation carbon dioxide has been shown to absorb is actually so narrow, it is already mostly absorbed by other gases such as water vapor!

    To date, 31,478 American scientists including 9,029 with PhDs have signed the Global Warming Petition Project that opposes belief in anthropogenic global warming. The PhDs alone are 15 times more numerous than the entire roster of scientists working on the UN’s IPCC: The scientific concensus is almost unnanomously AGAINST the scientific fraud of man caused global warming or climate change.

  • freedomisgood

    The evolutionary history of diatoms — abundant oceanic plankton that remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year , according to a new Cornell study. The findings suggest that after a sudden rise in species numbers, diatoms abruptly declined about 33 million years ago — trends that coincided with severe global cooling.

  • http://www.homemadewinesecrets.com/ Simon Thomas

    These are all interesting things to think about! No wonder I had my doubts when I watched that movie a year ago.

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  • txn4ever

    Excellent summary, Sniper. Right on target

  • dcdj

    Sniper, as always, a good post. I'm re-reading State of Fear by Michael Crichton right now. Thought it would be good to refresh with the Dopenhagen conference going on. Crichton uses a similar analogy to your buckets with a football field, with CO2 amounting to less than half an inch of the field. It's a great book of fiction with actual statistics and footnotes that show how the government (with the envirofreaks) is trying to control us through fear.

  • KeithF123

    I too agree that you are unfortunately correct. The evidence is clear for all those who wish to research on the Internet. Do it now while we still have an Internet.

  • HelgaF

    I recall being terrified as a child back in the early 70s when my teacher told us that our city would one day be covered by a mile of ice…global cooling.Now I realize how wrong the “experts” were at that time and am presently watching a new batch of “experts” tell todays young that we're melting instead,terrifying a whole new generation.They say that sex sells but fear far outsells sex.From the first time I heard mention of “global warming” a few years ago I sensed something bizarre was afoot…enter Al Gore…need I say more?

  • http://www.palisad.com/eb/eb.html co2isnotevil

    Gavin frequently makes just these kinds of blanket declarations, usually in the form of a snarky comment after a truncated message from an AGW skeptic.

    You are incorrect about water vapor. On average, water vapor captures about twice as much energy as CO2, not 2000 times more. About half of all surface radiation is captured by GHG and of this, about 1/3 is CO2 and about 2/3 is water vapor and only a few percent is from CH4 and O2 combined. Here's a plot of the atmospheres average clear sky absorption spectrum. The grey line is the average spectral components of the energy leaving the planet.

    http://www.palisad.com/co2/absorb.gif

    The main effect GHG's have is to delay the release of energy, not trap it. Because the atmosphere is mostly transparent in about half of the relevant longwave IR spectrum, energy captured via GHG action eventually leaves the planet.

    George

  • Gamal

    If that's the case than one would expect that as carbon dioxide increases in the atomosphere the amount of diatoms consuming it would increase as well assuming there are enough nutrients for the diatoms.

  • freedomisgood

    Gamal, That is correct! The diatoms will increase to a point the CO2 levels will balance, lowering the CO2 again.

  • Jonathan

    Johncarens,

    Nicely put. Give me your opinion. What do you think the Stalinists' ultimate plan for the United States is? Will we all spend our days growing potatoes for the world on big collective farms? I've reconciled myself to the future, but I'm just curious what's going to happen to all of us once we go back to the 18th century.

  • johncarens

    What is the Ultimate Plan for the Stalinists in the United States? Exactly what it always has been, and will forever remain: The forcible creation of a human-scented utopia here on earth. And, of course, the breaking of as many eggs to create the most perfect omelet possible. As King Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun”.

    We must remember: Stalinists, neo-Marxists, and the radicalized Obama Democrat Left loathe most people, outside those within their immediate circle of relatives, friends, members of faculty lounges and other acquaintances. Everyone else is a part of “the masses”, and quite expendable– either in a physical or metaphorical sense. This is why the mad rush to nationalize as much of the US economy as possible. Stalinists like President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid do no see individuals created in the image of God: They see faceless cells of an oozing organism that needs to be controlled (remember, in fact, Reid's derision of the “body odor” of the tourists who dare to infiltrate the capitol on hot summer days-?).

    So, that ooze-control is the ultimate pathway to the goal-line of Man Made Utopia. God knows what the horrors could actually look like, though.

  • Jonathan

    My opinion is that the Stalinists will get rid of about half the world's population by whatever means are necessary. Though they hope to do it through education, public indoctrination and control of medicine and health care, including abortion. Failing that, I believe they will resort to forcible sterilization and even euthanasia of old people, mental handicaps and political undesirables.

    My opinion is that the Stalinists would isolate technology and modernity for themselves, and force the masses to live in pre-industrial conditions: limited or no electricity, plumbing and sewer systems, and rudimentary housing. Their plan will be to gradually restore those things in a planned but sustainable way. But, I think, they view overpopulation and non-sustainability as the key issues that must be stopped.

    I also believe it's possible they want to use Islam as the global religion. I think the Marxists have changed their view of religion somewhat over the past 100 years, as well as their view of the importance of culture. They do not necessarily view them in dialectic terms, as symptoms of oppression that will inevitably die away as equality is reached.

    But, I don't think the Stalinists are going to win. Their own cultural Marxist strategy is going to destroy them; in that, they cannot sustain a society based on relativistic philosophies and materialism. If the West dies as a Christian civilization, than Islam will overtake the world. Or the Chinese, who have a long nationalistic tradition and strong cultural ethic rooted in religious thought.

  • johncarens

    Yeesh. Pretty grim.

    My initial reaction is to recoil and say that such things as forced sterilization, abortion and energy rationing are not possible in a modern world. But, I remember they said the same thing when stories began to leak out in the early 1940's about Hitler's concentration camps: “These things can't happen in a Modern Word”. And, of course, Walter Duranty, Herb Mathews and the New York Times were still apologizing for Stalin well into the 1970's, saying modern Russia was nothing like what the extremists were saying. So, in short, who knows what evil lay in store when human beings alone are in charge of things? Your vision may be possible.

    The bright spot in all of this is that history, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Thus, your statement that “the Stalinists won't win”. For example, there were very few people in 1986 claiming that the USSR would be gone in four years– and, likewise, we don't know what twists and turns may befall us (or bless us) to help right the ship of state.

    If enough snow falls on the French Riviera, or Washington stays cold the next couple of summers, maybe this will cause enough right-thinking people to come out of their climate coma. Al Gore, of course, will remain a blithering idiot, but that's all right: We still need good comedy.