Still slightly off the fence

Now that Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping are congratulating each other at the G20 summit that they both agree with the Paris Climate Agreement, it’s as well to remind ourselves that neither party has made any significant decision to show that they take it seriously. I thought I’d remind myself just where I am.

It’s a nonsense to say that we know what drives the global warming that’s been going on for about 150 years. The current orthodox belief is that the additional man-made CO2 in the atmosphere traps infra-red heart that that usually leaves the planet on a cloudless night — thus driving the temperature upwards.

But what about the other possible driver? This is that if the earth was getting warmer anyway for natural reasons — as it has done many times in the past — then the additional temperature releases CO2 from the oceans.

Both drives can be tested scientifically in laboratory conditions but their relative strengths can’t be compared within the setting of the earth’s surface itself and its cloud cover. It’s far too complex to control for all the variable factors that might be contributing to the second of the two drives above.

Until then I prefer to believe in the validity of the Vostok ice core sample — that, in the last 400,000 years, changing global temperatures precede, not follow, changing CO2 content in the atmosphere.

2 thoughts on “Still slightly off the fence

  1. So you “prefer to believe”, eh? So much for objective examination of the evidence. A Freudian slip indeed.
    John Barnett.

    1. John — good to hear from you. No Freudian slip has been made. There’s clear scientific evidence in the lab that both drives — 1. high atmospheric CO2 leads to high temperature; 2. high atmospheric temperature leads to high CO2 — exist. We don’t yet have enough evidence of which is stronger over the medium to longer term in the context of the earth’s environment.

      The fact that 1. is a simple hypothesis, and 2. is a complex one might be confusing you. Public hysteria favouring 1. — until recently anyway — is a classic case of the drunken man looking for his front door key under the lamp post further down the street.

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