Global warming is going to wreak havoc with the world economy. That is the latest prediction based on the idea that our use of fossil fuels and our production and release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is responsible for an increase-to-come in temperatures.
We've got to act now, we are being told. There is a strong consensus that we're in for some heavy heat and that industry is to blame for it. So energy use must be curtailed and polluters must be made to pay. UN General Secretary Kofi Annan says that there is "a frightening lack of leadership" regarding the steps to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He blasts the nay-sayers saying the science on climate change "is not science fiction." Those who try to sow doubt about it are "out of step, out of arguments and out of time," he is quoted as saying in this recent article.
All very good, and fine, but there is a small problem: when looking at the science, the facts don't seem to add up. That is what Christopher Monckton says in a two-part article that appeared in the UK's Sunday Telegraph. His conclusion: The science of global warming is being manipulated, we are addressing the wrong problem, and our solutions won't do what their proponents say they will.
Monckton adds that we are asking the developing nations that they should not follow the West's path to industrialization and relative prosperity because it's bad for the planet. Instead of pouring funds into development of valid energy alternatives, we are starting to trade carbon credits, but with regard to energy production, we keep things very much the same as they are.
Over the past couple of weeks, an entertaining debate has been popping up across the Web. First, Christopher Monckton attacked the Stern Report in the Sunday Telegraph, including a downloadable, 40 page paper on global warming as a hoax. Monckton's paper was put under the microscope by many reputable sources and trashed by another UK paper, the Guardian.
So how has Monckton responded? Mostly by admitting that his science was bad and so what his history. So now the point isn't that global warming isn't occurring, it's that what is being done about it is laughable. Well, at least someone is laughing.
There is much debate here which is either being ignored or dismissed. Since the critique of the Mann Hughes Bradely 1998 1000 year temp reconstruction(MBH98) by McKintyre and McKitrick (2003), the global warming critics have been very defensive. The questions raised my M&M are minor questions of an unimportant aspect of the methodolgy, and one of cherry picking the data. The reliance on the North American Britslecone tree rings, which weighted their reconstruction on the warm side (the blade of the famous Hockey Stick) has been affirmed.
The June 2006 NAS report was very polite in their critique, with questions dealing with "social networks" (ie peer review) that never did the correct type of due diligence, as well as the robustness of MBH98 being called into question. The Little Ice Age and Medevil Warm Period are now back in the lexicon. Mann to this day refuses to recognize either - he shrugs them off as nothing more than weak teleconnections.
The MBH98 reconstruction as well as other multivariate temp reconstructions are important, as they are the only way the Global Warming critics can plead their case (we are living in the warmest period since the beginning of the Holocene Era).
It disturbs me that a serious newspaper like the Telegraph was prepared to take Monckton's paper seriously. So far as I can find out, Monckton is a former journalist with no scientific background whatsoever.
But presumably the Telegraph couldn't find a reputable scientist prepared to write something that fits their ideological rejection of global warming theory...
James Nash is a climate scientist with Greatest Planet (www.greatestplanet.org). Greatest Planet is a non-profit environmental organization specialising in carbon offset investments.
James Nash is solely responsible for the contents of this article.