One of my favorite magazines is New Scientist. Despite their pro-evolution and pro-global warming position, they digest and present what’s going on in science very succinctly. In the recent issue, they present a Guide to Climate Change which includes 26 "myths" around global warming (GW) which they attempt to debunk. Of course, they are unashamedly on the non-skeptical side of this argument, and present some of the standard responses to skeptics like myself.
Interestingly, though, in An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change, former EDITOR of New Scientist Nigel Calder recently called for skepticism, and bemoans the lack of it in the current debate. He’s also written a new book entitled The Chilling Stars: The New Theory of Climate Change. I have excerpted his article below, adding my own headings.
1. Saying "the matter is settled" is not science
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works.
2. The current politicized science of GW hurts science and causes contrary data to go unreported
Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one
particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the
effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential
for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their
research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least
entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the
hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil
companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost
3. What contrary evidence?
Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make
headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar
loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business
- The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful
evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you
that in east Antarctica the Adlie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up
at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years
- While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by
8% in the Southern Ocean.
4. Awkward questions for GW alarmists to answer
- Why is east Antarctica getting colder? It makes no
sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming.
- The best measurements of global
air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show
wobbles but no overall change since 1999.
5. Is the sun really the main actor here? Still the best answer
That levelling off [of temperature] is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis,
which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than
greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th
century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity.
Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to
the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.
Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar
hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest
in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which
the last was the Medieval Warming.
The Chinese population doubled then, while in Europe the Vikings and
cathedral-builders prospered. Fascinating relics of earlier episodes come
from the Swiss Alps, with the rediscovery in 2003 of a long-forgotten pass
used intermittently whenever the world was warm.
6. The IPCC changed it’s tune on the role of the sun – but was it due to data, or ignoring data?
What does the Intergovernmental Panel do with such emphatic evidence for an
alternation of warm and cold periods, linked to solar activity and going on
long before human industry was a possible factor? Less than nothing. The
2007 Summary for Policymakers boasts of cutting in half a very small
contribution by the sun to climate change conceded in a 2001 report.
Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse
experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar
variations control the climate.
7. It’s not the sun’s brightness, but cosmic rays that are probably the chief GW actuator
The sun’s brightness may change too little
to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have
passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more
He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies
according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars.
More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of
the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer
cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little
Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the
world cloudier and gloomier. […]
they were able to show that electrons set
free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of
sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud
condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report;
the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late
8. What should we do, in light of the evidence? Less arrogance, more science.
Where does all that leave the impact of greenhouse gases? Their effects are
likely to be a good deal less than advertised, but nobody can really say
until the implications of the new theory of climate change are more fully
The reappraisal starts with Antarctica, where those contradictory temperature
trends are directly predicted by Svensmark’s scenario, because the snow
there is whiter than the cloud-tops. Meanwhile humility in face of Nature’s
marvels seems more appropriate than arrogant assertions that we can forecast
and even control a climate ruled by the sun and the stars.