WARNING – THIS IS A LONG ONE
Genetics are complicated. Little buidling blocks that make up every living thing on the planet, giving each of us our unique characteristics. It is incredible how genetic material from 2 parents can combine to form new life – a miracle even. There is no way the average person can possibly understand this incredibly complex process fully.
Perhaps this is why anti-vaxxers still believe that vaccines can cause Autism. The only scientific study to ever prove it did, was a lie, discredited and the scumbag doctor who published the study was stripped of title and eventually retracted everything he had said about vaccines. Yet there are still those who wrongfully blame vaccines for a variety of medical and genetic conditions.
Likewise, the car is an obvious target for another group of people I like to call the green worriers – and no that’s not a typo – I do mean worrier.
For the last 7 years or so I have been reading every single scientific publication I could find on the subject of climate change and greenhouse gasses. I have also followed closely statements made by activists and governments regarding the various factors that contribute to climate change and every time I think I have finally figured it out, I read something else that completely refutes previously ‘proven’ science and my mind is changed again. The problem is VAST, and the science behind it is extremely complicated – and sadly, much of it is politically and financially motivated.
When environmentalism becomes a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s the environment that suffers.
In my search for the scientific answers, I have identified a couple of groups based on their views around climate change.
Firstly we have the denialists, who believe that climate change is some kind of made-up hokum for politicians to use in order to increase taxes and legislation. For the most part they are not interested in the science because when they go outside and see the sun shining as it did yesterday – that’s enough proof that clearly nothing is changing.
Secondly, the other extreme – the climate alarmists. The green worriers who attack people for driving SUV’s and run around with banners screaming that we’re all gonna die if we don’t start planting 6 million trees a second!
Myself, I put in group number 3. I’m aware that climate change is a thing. I’m aware that there are contributory factors to a massively complex global problem – BUT if asked for a definitive stance on the subject I couldn’t really answer. And before the woke among you call me ignorant and ill-informed, let me explain…
The World’s Scientific community is very small. Out of that community the number of scientists that have an interest in the various disciplines that affect climate change is even smaller. Out of that tiny segment, the number of true climate specialists is quite literally a hand-full of people. The interesting thing about this fact is that when media reports claim that most of the scientific community agree about the facts on climate change, they are NOT referring to this small handful of climate specialists, because these guys are the minority! They refer largely to the group of scientists who each specialize in one of the 20 or so disciplines that affect climate change (in most cases not their primary field of study either). The tiny group of of climate specialists, that ONLY specialize in climate studies directly, do not all agree.
That does not mean that they deny climate change, or that none of them agree with the general “man made CO2” narrative, BUT very importantly, they do not all agree on the exact causes or solutions to climate change. These are the guys who will openly tell you that for the most part, we simply do not know enough to draw any concrete conclusions! Having read their scientific papers – and seen how incredibly complex climate systems actually are – I have to say I agree. We simply do not have a clue what is the true cause of climate change or how to fix it. We need more information.
What is worse is the amount of political motivation behind some of the extreme claims a number scientists are making. One of the biggest problems any scientist will ever face is generating funding for their research. So when governments and organisations like the EPA decided to announce grants and funding for studies into climate change, HUGE numbers of scientists changed their fields of study. In other words, the vast majority of the ‘scientific community’ that all agree on the facts of climate change, in fact have very limited experience in the field of climate studies.
The scientific studies themselves are also made infinitely harder by the fact that climate change is such a slow process, and any scientific study will always have an error factor to consider. To explain what that means – imagine you draw a line on a graph to predict climate change over the next 50 years. Now add 2 more lines above and below that line to take into account the factors of error above and below your actual data. These ever diverging lines will be incredibly far apart by the time you reach the end of your 50 year period. This means that even if your prediction was completely wrong, the actual result will most likely still fall within the margins of error, meaning you could claim the prediction WAS accurate. Not only that, but if you made a change like switching all cars to electric, it would be impossible to tell in 50 years whether it has made any difference at all since your results will ALWAYS fall within the massive margin of error.
Of course there are also the politicians who LOVE to announce to the world how they are fighting for the environment. The easiest way for them to do that is to pick a target (CO2) and fire away. So when they ask a scientist whether it is possible that CO2 emissions is causing climate change, the scientist will say yes and list 4000 other possible causes, but the politician will latch onto the ONE they are looking for and call that evidence.
Now let’s look at the villain itself – CO2 – Carbon Dioxide. CO2 is by FAR the least effective of the man-made ‘greenhouse gasses’. The reason it is our villain in the war on climate change, is because unlike Sulphur Hexafluoride or Methane, pretty much every single industrial process and every household in the world produces CO2 – and in large quantities too. Even though Sulphur Hexafluoride has a warming potential more than 23 THOUSAND times higher than CO2, we produce SO MUCH CO2 that its effects outweigh that of SF6 and Methane combined!
HOWEVER – what currently has scientists stumped, is the fact that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is still increasing, however global temperatures seem to have plateaued and stopped rising. This is something that currently held climate change models can not explain. As mentioned before, climate systems are extremely complex and are governed by many factors. CO2 levels in the atmosphere is only one tiny part of this system.
Some believe that CO2 is still the main cause, despite the numbers telling a different story. Some say that the water vapour levels in the atmosphere are to blame. Others theorize that the CO2 in the atmosphere increases temperatures, which allows for more water vapour to be present in the atmosphere thus causing a stronger greenhouse effect. I have seen so many climate change studies showing graphs of how global temperatures are going up against CO2 levels in the atmosphere, showing a clear link that when CO2 increases, so does global temperatures. BUT most of these studies cut their graphs off at dates where this no longer rings true (around 1998). When questioned these scientists claim that there is a “Global Warming Hiatus” which explains why the CO2 levels are rising and temperatures are not. – Well… did physics just decide to take a break???
The scientific studies I have come to put most of my faith in, are those published by climate specialists. These studies tend not to criticize other scientist’s work, but rather refers to inaccuracies in data, or the relevance of data collected – for example the argument of using surface temperatures vs. using satellite temperature data. Studies warning against extreme claims that can only be supported by cherry picking at tiny sections of larger data sets. At the end of the day their conclusions are always the same: We now know more than we did before – but there is still SO MUCH we don’t know that it would be impossible and almost irresponsible to draw solid conclusions based on the data we currently have. A wise man once said “Never listen to the people who have all the answers, listen to the ones asking questions – because the more you learn, the more you will realize how little you know”.
Unfortunately, because of the pressures from environmental agencies and politics, these scientists often get discredited, ousted and ridiculed simply for deviating slightly from the mainstream narrative and advising caution when making unsubstantiated claims. Judith Curry who was pushed out of academia completely for simply saying some of the claims in the IPCC reports were exaggerated, or Lennart Bengtsson who was forced to resign his possitions and recant statements made based on solid scientific evidence simply because they didn’t support the conclusion the IPCC were looking for at the time. Even John Christy who was a signatory of the AGU’s 2003 statement on climate change was heavily criticized for expressing anger at the extreme possition of the AGU’s 2007 statement. Richard Lindzen is one of the world’s most respected Climate scientists who was instrumental in understanding the problems with the Ozone layer in the late 70’s and early 80’s. In 2009 however, he was brutally attacked by the scientific community for voicing his disagreement with an article in the Wall Street Journal, claiming that the science of climate change is “settled”. Lindzen felt their catastrophic predictions were unwarranted.
Another huge obstacle we face when trying to fight the fight against climate change is that more often than not, the Heroes in this fight turn out to be in it for their own gain. Whether they seek fame or fortune, there are very few climate change heroes with any credibility. We had Al Gore who showed us the “Inconvenient Truth” – who was then nailed in the papers for having a massive carbon footprint – his PR people then argued that it was fine because he purchased Carbon Credits to offset his carbon footprint. We were only appeased by that until we found out that he actually OWNS the company from whom he purchases his carbon credits. We had Regina McCarthy, former head of the EPA taking the fight against climate change to congress – ridiculed when she didn’t know any of the vital statistics she was asked about – basic information such as how much CO2 there currently is in the atmosphere had to be handed to her by an assistant. And perhaps most recently, we have Greta – a 16-year-old child who doesn’t understand any of the science she speaks so passionately about and the only solutions she has been able to suggest would result in the deaths of billions of people, the complete collapse of the world economy and the end of a modern civilization. – Hardly practical.
When it comes to climate change I truly believe that we just don’t know enough, we do not have enough information, to conclusively say yes we are safe, or no we need to change things drastically. I do feel cars are unfairly targeted though because even if CO2 is the main cause of climate change, transport only contributes around 15% to ALL the man made CO2 emissions worldwide – and this includes vehicle production. It seems a waste of resources spending so much time hating on the car for its emissions when it is actually only 15% of the problem. I also think that CO2 is not the major contributor to climate change as many claim it is. It is only one individual, tiny part of a massive complex system, where atmospheric water vapour levels have much further reaching effects on other parts of the system. I actually believe the biggest contributor by far is the world’s biomass, which unfortunately we can’t do much about – unless you fancy knocking on roughly 5 billion doors asking people to kill themselves for the good of the planet!
SO, electric cars are pointless and we can all go back to running massive V8’s to drive past our coal-fired power stations on our way to a beef ranch to gorge on burgers and steak, sucking down our beverages with plastic straws! Well no – it’s not quite as black and white as that either.
Regardless of whether you believe CO2 is the cause of global warming. Regardless of whether you believe climate change is even happening! We simply can not dump these VAST quantities of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere, an atmosphere and climate system we do not yet fully understand, and expect nothing bad to happen. We should be encouraged to save resources by switching to electric cars, at least for daily drivers. We should be striving to generate energy more efficiently and use it more effectively to minimize waste and emissions. We should all be trying to reduce our footprint on the world, whether that be carbon or anything else.
We should always be doing everything we can to help the planet, because despite living in the most advanced age of science ever – WE STILL DON’T KNOW! The systems are far too large and far too complex for us to fully understand the knock-on effects of our actions, and that ALONE should be reason enough to make a real effort to make as little impact as possible.