For years, various international organizations have floated schemes to reduce the world’s production of CO2 in order, supposedly, to prevent or reverse global warming. Such efforts have consistently failed, going back to the Kyoto Protocol, but alarmists and professional Greens haven’t given up, and the Obama administration wants to commit the United States to a significant reduction in CO2 output at this year’s Paris meeting. (The entire global warming enterprise would founder if meetings were required to be held in, say, Akron, Ohio.)
This essay by Anthony Watts reviews the beliefs that must be true for a “Paris Protocol” reducing global CO2 emissions to make sense. It is a good primer on the practical side of the global warming controversy that receives little or no attention in the press. Watts identifies these key assumptions:
1. Unprecedented global warming caused by humans both in rate and magnitude. Since 1850 due to mankind, the earth has warmed faster and to a higher temperature than at any other time in the last 1,000 years, if not longer.
2. Accelerating warming. The rate of temperatures increase will accelerate resulting in the period from 1850 to 2100 having an increase in temperature from 2.0° to 4.5°C; or perhaps more.
3. Very harmful. This warming has had a significant net harm to the world causing more deaths, economic loss, hurricanes, tornados, droughts, flooding, growth in deserts, increases in malaria, heart attacks, loss of food supply, forced human relocation, wars and deforestation among other harmful effects. The increase in the warming rate mentioned in Belief 2 will cause even greater harm to the world.
4. CO2 to blame. The prime cause of all of this is CO2 emissions by humankind.
5. Can be controlled. By reducing human emissions of GHG’s (primarily CO2) through a global treaty, warming and its bad effects can be avoided.
6. Better than the alternative. The solution will be less harmful than doing nothing or any other proposed solution (adaption or geo-engineering).
7. No cheaters. All major emitting countries and regions will comply with the treaty or if they do not, they can be forced into compliance.
It is likely that not just one of these assumptions is false, but rather, all seven. There is lots of good information at the link, but here are a few significant points:
The warming the Earth has experienced since the end of the Little Ice Age has been entirely benign.
The warming since 1850 (165 years ago) is estimated by the Hadley Climate Research Unit to be about 0.79°C, a rate of 0.48°C per century. If this rate were to continue for the next 100 years (to the year 2115), the world would be 0.48 °C warmer than today. Since most of the world experiences a typical daily temperature variation of 6°C or more, this hardly seems threatening.
The key to this Belief is the phrase: “human caused”. If only half the rate is caused by humans, anthropogenic global warming (AGW) would be even less threatening.
Alarmism is based entirely on models, and the models are wrong.
According to global warming theory, the positive feedbacks posited by the models should be strongest in the tropical upper troposphere. But satellite measurements in the tropical upper troposphere show that the models’ predicted warming is not taking place:
Global warming alarmism is anti-scientific: it privileges agenda-driven theory over observation.
Human activity has little to do with greenhouse gases.
As this chart shows, CO2 represents only a tiny portion of greenhouse gases, and fossil fuels account for only a tiny portion of atmospheric CO2:
Global warming is good.
Dr. Richard Tol, lead author for several IPCC Assessment Reports including the last one, has estimated that up to a 1°C additional increase in global temperatures would be beneficial to the world economy and a 2°C increase would be neutral.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is plant food. Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 in recent decades have promoted plant growth and increased crop yields. If you haven’t watched it, this video featuring Freeman Dyson, perhaps the world’s most eminent scientist, is revealing:
Adding it all up, my opinion is, if you have a brain and know anything about the global warming controversy, you are a skeptic.