The next part in the Denial vs Good Science story comes from an exchange between Andrew Bolt and me in the Melbourne Herald Sun. Both articles appeared originally in the print version of the paper, but are now available online.
This is what Mr Bolt said:
Evidence doesn’t bare out alarmist claims of global warming
THESE are the seven graphs that should make the Rudd Government feel sick.
These are the seven graphs that should make you ask: What? Has global warming now stopped?
Look for yourself. They show that the world hasn’t warmed for a decade, and has even cooled for several years.
Sea ice now isn’t melting, but spreading. The seas have not just stopped rising, but started to fall.
Nor is the weather getting wilder. Cyclones, as well as tornadoes and hurricanes, aren’t increasing and the rain in Australia hasn’t stopped falling.
What’s more, the slight warming we saw over the century until 1998 still makes the world no hotter today than it was 1000 years ago.
In fact, it’s even a bit cooler. So, dude, where’s my global warming?
The full article, which you should click on and read now, is available here. This prompted the following response from me, published the next week in the Herald Sun:
Warm to sceptical science
YOU’VE no doubt come across a few opinion columns over the past year which claim that global warming has stopped. Or that we are heading into a new ice age.
Or indeed, that rising carbon dioxide levels have nothing to do with climate change – it’s all just natural causes.
Yet the great majority of news stories on the latest scientific findings say that global warming is accelerating.
Or that its impacts are happening faster than earlier predicted.
Or that spiralling industrial carbon emissions are pushing us ever faster towards climate disaster.
Pretty confusing, eh? Who, or what, to believe?
The key to navigating this minefield is to use a bit of sceptical thinking.
By this, I mean “sceptical” in the dictionary sense – doubt what’s told to you at face value, ask sensible questions, consider all evidence, and most importantly, to demand a consistent argument.
Once you become a real sceptic – something scientists are trained to be – the rest is fairly easy.
So just as a talking point, let’s ask some sceptical questions about a few of the graphs that the Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt recently claimed should end the warming hype and make the Rudd Government feel sick.
I don’t have space to cover all seven graphs, but you’ll get the gist.
Andrew impishly asks: “So, dude, where’s my global warming?”
I might as easily respond with the question: “So, mate, what’s propping temperatures up?”
Read on here for the full editorial…
Incidentally, in the interest of space saving in tight column inches, they chopped out a couple of extra points I’d made:
… on the satellite data:
Even Andrew Bolt’s favoured satellite measurements of the lower atmosphere show that the hottest decade was 1999 to 2008 and that the decade before that was cooler, and the decade before cooler still. By the way, satellites don’t measure temperatures directly. They have to use a complex mathematical model to estimate temperature from radiation wavelengths, and account for the fact that the satellite peers through many layers of atmosphere and gradually shifts in its orbit over time.
… and my original conclusion:
The ‘greenhouse effect’ was discovered well over a century ago, and in 1896 a Swedish Nobel prize winning chemist, Svante Arrhenius, calculated by pen and paper that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the air would cause 5 to 6 degrees of global warming. He did this long before any noticeable warming had actually been observed. He also did it without computers. They just help us refine the picture.
The error Arrhenius made was in thinking that it would take 3,000 years of industrial output to cause this doubling of carbon dioxide. At current rates of carbon emissions, we look set to get there by 2050.
A response by Michael James was also posted in Crikey, Paul Norton at Larvatus Prodeo and by Jeremy of the Blair/Bolt Watch Project (with his own set of graphs, just to prove the point!). I’ve also responded to graph’s 1, 2 and 7 in my first seminar of Climate Change Q&A, available here and here [the rest will be considered in later presentations].
Now, naturally, I fully anticipated a reaction from Mr Bolt – after all, why bait the trap unless you plan to ensnare the prey? But the nature of the response – and not just from Mr Bolt – was really quite revealing about the way non-greenhouse theorists deal with criticism.
But that is the topic of Denial vs Good Science Part III.
Filed under: Sceptics