Climate change and political pollution

Published in Actualidad Económica

There is scientific evidence that our planet’s climate is cyclical and has been changing since the dawn of time, so the idea of “climate change” (formerly known as global warming) is fallacious in itself, since it implies that the normal state of things is a stable climate. The geological history of the Earth has been an alternation of cold and temperate seasons that takes place by natural causes, with glaciations that have caused the sea level to fall 120 meters and subsequent gradual warmings. Fortunately, for the last 12,000 years we have lived in an interglacial period, which has allowed the expansion of human civilization. The unit of geological time of climatic variations is closer to the millennium than anything else, so the data of a few decades are quite irrelevant and the projection of trends based on such short periods of time is completely absurd.

In the last 10,000 years, the planet has been under higher temperatures than at present in pre-industrial times for, perhaps, 4,000 years (in the days of Babylon and Ancient Egypt and, more recently, during the Medieval Warm Period, between the 10th and 14th Centuries). In the 20th century, the temperature rose until 1940, fell until 1975 (when the environmentalists’ alarmism shouted —and I’m not kidding here—: “Global cooling!”), rose again until 1998 and remained stable until El Niño event of 2016. The pseudo-science of climate change affirms that the primary factor of climate variation is CO2 caused by Man. This assertion is not supported by empirical evidence, it is scientifically questionable and quite reckless since, as Dr. Tennekes —a world authority in predictive models— reminds us, at present science can only understand about 10% of the climate, a complex, multifactorial, chaotic and non-linear system. CO2 is not a pollutant, as it is grotesquely labeled by the environmentalist propaganda, but one of the planet’s sources of life and the food par excellence of plants. Moreover, paleoclimatic evidence shows that CO2 tends to increase —in a correlation that is weak in itself— about 800 years after an increase in temperature, which seems incompatible with the vaunted cause-effect relationship. In fact, CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas (90% of the greenhouse effect is produced by water vapor), and constitutes only 0.04% of the atmosphere (of this percentage, only 3% is caused by human activity). No wonder Robert B. Laughlin, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics, calls for calm and defends that “climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the Earth routinely does on its own without asking for anyone’s permission or explaining itself”, asserting: “climate ought not to concern us too much (…) because it’s beyond our power to control”. Amen.

Another Nobel laureate in Physics, Ivar Giaever, criticizes “the pseudo-science of climate change”, which emanates from a seemingly intuitive hypothesis and focuses on finding only data that will sustain it by silencing or omitting all that might question it —exactly the opposite of the scientific method. This makes sense when the aim is not to search for the scientific truth but to defend —at any cost— a hypothesis that is as failed as it is sacred; in other words, it is no more than an excuse for a political agenda. Richard Lindzen, an eminence in atmospheric physics, author of several books and former Professor at MIT, clearly defends that “global warming is about politics and power rather than science”. Let’s see why.

Individuals, not organizations, stand behind all great scientific discoveries of humankind, and the strength of their outreach has been based on empirical evidence not on mass propaganda campaigns sponsored by the political power. However, the main driver that spurs and supports the expansion of the idea that global warming is caused by human activity has been a UN intergovernmental organization called IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). This organization has a scientific appearance, but has a political leadership and a pyramidal structure with very few people in command at the top, and its bylaws-stated objective is to seek the causes of climate change that may be traced back to human activity (therefore excluding natural ones, such as solar activity, oceans or clouds). The origin of all the hysteria over climate change can be found in the computer simulations of the IPCC, and after 25 years of potentially apocalyptic projections these have been proved wrong once and again. In other words, there is proof that the projections of temperature increase foreseen by these models in the last quarter of a century are false. In the world of science, when a hypothesis is subjected to scientific proof and the observed data does not corroborate the hypothesis, it is discarded. The IPCC does the opposite: it holds on to its hypothesis regarding CO2, and tries to “adjust” (torture) the observed data (which does not show what they want it to show) to obtain a rising trend minuscule as it may be. This trend is extrapolated ad infinitum, thus allowing elucubration of an apocalyptic scenario that is then duly publicized by the media, provoking a wave of fear and the subsequent political response.

Over the years, the IPCC has radicalized its alarmist message at the sacrifice of its scientific rigor by getting completely rid of the idea that climate is cyclical and that there are historical precedents long before the Industrial Revolution in both temperature and CO2. In 1990, the IPCC stated that “the temperature increase observed in the 20th century could have been fundamentally caused by natural variability”, but in 2007 the statement was that “most probably the greater part of the increase in temperatures in this century is due to the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases caused by Man”.

The IPCC has published five reports since 1990. Each report contains a very extensive scientific part, and a summary prepared by and for policymakers, which is what the media receives. In many occasions, the political summary has not reflected a faithful image of the scientific studies that endorse it, exaggerating some aspects and silencing others. In 1995, in order not to contradict the “appropriate” political conclusions, whole paragraphs were erased deliberately from the scientific part where it firmly stated (please read carefully): “none of the studies cited have shown sufficient evidence to attribute the climatic change observed to the specific cause of an increase in greenhouse gases (…), no study has quantified the magnitude of the greenhouse effect (…) and no study to date has positively concluded that all or part [of climate change] is the result of human activity”.

The then President of the US National Academy of Sciences wrote an article in which he denounced that in his more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community (…) this had been the “most disturbing corruption of the peer-review process” he had ever witnessed. It has not been an isolated case. Scientists like the Japanese Dr. Kiminori Itoh have stated in reference to climate change that we are facing “the worst scientific scandal in history”, and Dr. Vincent Gray has said that “the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt”. In 2009, a series of emails from important scientists of University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit linked to the IPCC were leaked and, according to British media’s coverage, they revealed how, for years, these “scientists” had impudently attempted to avoid public access to the data on which they based their recent temperature track record (thus preventing review by their peers), had made strenuous efforts to manipulate the data so that results show an ever rising trend, and had followed relentless bullying tactics against other scientists who questioned their official truth or against the scientific journals who dared to publish critical works. These intimidation techniques, so much of the taste of totalitarian regimes, have been common during these years and have been based on attacks ad hominem (cynically labeling the skeptics as “deniers” —the epithet commonly applied to those who deny the Holocaust), and on threatening with the loss of funds for research and ostracism. Obviously, these attacks and this despicable bullying that seeks to silence others are not the companions of truth holders. In fact, I have spent a decade studying environmentalism and global warming and I can affirm that I have never come across such level of deception in any other field whatsoever (not even in politics, which is to say a lot).

But wait a moment: is there not a wide scientific “consensus” on this issue? No! That’s another blatant lie. In the first place, “consensus” is not a scientific term but a political one: science advances by the scientific method; physical reality, obviously, is not determined by a vote. The scientific community is divided. A survey sent to 7,500 scientists who had published their work in the IPCC reports (Verheggen, 2015), a sample in any case biased in favor of the human origin of climate change, concludes that only 43% of respondents said they believe it is “extremely likely” that at least “half” of the climate is determined by human activity. But what is most revealing, is that 71% of the recipients preferred not to answer, arguably for fear of openly expressing their opinion.

Don’t be fooled: we can’t control the weather nor are we doomed to apocalyptic destruction. The data contradict the propaganda: no quick melting of the ice caps, no worrisome increase in sea level or hurricanes, no tales of terror. We are facing an aggressive political agenda, based on a totalitarian, Malthusian and pagan ideology, promoted by a powerful and noisy minority, in which the apocalyptic threat is nothing more than an effective instrument to manipulate public opinion. Science has been hijacked and polluted by politics. Our planet is not in danger, but our freedom most certainly is.

Fernando del Pino Calvo-Sotelo

www.fpcs.es