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Global warming does exist, however human-produced CO2 (carbon dioxide) is not causing that warming. It is actually nothing more than a natural phenomenon triggered by the solar cycle.
Each day the news reports grow more fantastically apocalyptic. Politicians no longer dare to express any doubt about climate change. There is tremendous intolerance of any dissenting voice and it is the most politically incorrect thing possible - to doubt the climate change orthodoxy.
Global warming has gone beyond politics. It is a new kind of morality. Yet as the frenzy over man-made global warming grows shriller, many senior climate scientists say the actual scientific basis for the theory is crumbling.
It is often said that there is a consensus of thousands of scientists on the global warming issue, and that humans are causing a catastrophic change to the climate system. Well, there are many scientist that simply think that is not true.
We are told that Earth's climate is changing. But the Earth's climate is always changing. In Earth's long history there have been countless periods when it was much warmer and much cooler than it is today. When much of the world was covered by tropical forests or else vast ice sheets. The climate has always changed, and changed without any help from us humans.
We can trace the present warming trend back at least 200 years to the end of a very cold period in Earth's history. This cold spell is known to climatologists as the Little Ice Age. In the 14th Century Europe plunged into the Little Ice Age. And where we would look for evidence of this are the old illustrations and prints and pictures of Old Father Thames, because during the hardest and toughest winters of that Little Ice Age, the Thames would freeze over. And there were ice fairs held on the Thames, skating and people actually selling things on the ice.
If we look back further in time before the Little Ice Age, we find a balmy golden era, when temperatures were higher than they are today, a time known to climatologists as the Medieval Warm Period.
It's important people know that climate enabled a quite different lifestyle in the Medieval period. We have this view today that Warming is going to have apocalyptic outcomes. In fact wherever you describe this Warm Period it appears to be associated with riches. In Europe this was the great age of the cathedral builders, a time when, according to Chaucer, vineyards flourished even in the north of England. All over the city of London there are little memories of the vineyards that grew in the Medieval Warm Period.
So this was a wonderfully rich time. And this little church in a sense symbolizes it, because it comes from a period of great wealth.
Going back in time further still, before the Medieval Warm Period, we find more warm spells, including a very prolonged period during the Bronze Age known to geologists as the Holocene Maximum, when temperatures were significantly higher than they are now for more than three millennia.
If we go back 8,000 years in the Holocene period, our current interglacial, it was much warmer than it is today. Now the polar bears obviously survived that period, they're with us today, they're very adaptable, and these warm periods in the past, what we call, posed no problem for them.
Climate variation in the past is clearly natural. In the current alarm about global warming the culprit is industrial society. Thanks to modern industry, luxuries once enjoyed exclusively by the rich are now available in abundance to ordinary people. Novel technologies have made life easier and richer. Modern transport and communications have made the world seem less foreign and distant. Industrial progress has changed our lives. According to the theory of man-made global warming, industrial growth should cause the temperature to rise.
Anyone who goes around and says that carbon dioxide is responsible for most of the warming of the 20th Century hasn't looked at the basic numbers.
Industrial production in the early decades of the 20th Century was still in its infancy, restricted to only a few countries, handicapped by war and economic depression. After the Second World War things changed. Consumer goods like refrigerators and washing machines and televisions and cars began to be mass-produced for an international market. Historians call this global explosion of industrial activity the Post-War Economic Boom.
Since the mid-19th Century the Earth's temperature has risen by just over half a degree Celsius. But this warming began long before cars and planes were even invented. What's more, most of the rise in temperature occurred before 1940, during a period when industrial production was relatively insignificant. After the Second World War, during the Post-War Economic Boom, temperatures in theory should have shot up. But they didn't. They fell. Not for one or two years, but for four decades. In fact, paradoxically, it wasn't until the world economic recession in the 1970s that they stopped falling.
CO2 began to increase exponentially in about 1940, but the temperature actually began to decrease 1940, continued till about 1975. So with the CO2 increasing rapidly but yet the temperature decreasing we cannot say that CO2 and the temperature go together.
Temperature went up significantly up to 1940 when human production of CO2 was relatively low. And then in the Post-War years when industry and the whole economies of the world really got going, and human production of CO2 just soared, the global temperature was going down. In other words, the facts didn't fit the theory.
Just at a time when, after the Second World war, industry was booming, carbon dioxide was increasing, and yet the Earth was getting cooler and starting off scares of a coming Ice Age, it made absolutely no sense. It still doesn't make sense.
Carbon dioxide forms only a very small part of the Earth's atmosphere. In fact we measure changes in the level of atmospheric CO2 in tens of parts per million. If you take CO2 as a percentage of all the gases in the atmosphere, the oxygen, the nitrogen, and argon and so on, it's 0.054%. It's an incredibly small portion. And then of course you've got to take that portion that supposedly humans are adding, which is the focus of all the concern, and it gets even smaller.
Although CO2 is a greenhouse gas, greenhouse gases themselves only form a small part of the atmosphere. What's more, CO2 is a relatively minor greenhouse Ggas.
The atmosphere is made up of a multitude of gases. A small percentage of them we call greenhouse gases. And of that very small percentage of greenhouse gases, 95% of it is water vapor, it's the most important greenhouse gas. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, by far the most important greenhouse gas.
There is only one way of checking whether the recent warming was due to an increase in greenhouse gas and that is to look up in the sky. Or a part of the sky known to scientists as the troposphere. If it's greenhouse warming, you get more warming in the middle of the troposphere, the first 10 or 12 kilometers of the atmosphere than you do at the surface. There are good theoretical reasons for that, having to do with how the greenhouse works.
The greenhouse effect works like this - the Sun sends its heat down to Earth. If it weren't for greenhouse gases this solar radiation would bounce back into space, leaving the planet cold and uninhabitable. Greenhouse gas traps the escaping heat in the Earth's troposphere, a few miles above the surface. And it's here, according to the climate models, that the rate of warming should be highest if it's greenhouse gas that causing it.
All the models, every one of them, calculates that the warming should be faster as you go up from the surface into the atmosphere. And in fact the maximum warming over the Equator should take place at an altitude of about 10 kilometers.
There are two ways to take the temperature in the Earth's atmosphere, satellites and weather balloons. What's been found consistently, is that in a great part of the Planet, that the bulk of the atmosphere is not warming as much as we see at the surface, in this region. And that's a real head-scratcher for us, because the theory is pretty straight forward. And the theory says that if the surface warms, the upper atmosphere should warm rapidly. The rise in temperature of that part of the atmosphere is not very dramatic at all, and really does not match the theory that climate models are expressing at this point.
One of the problems that is plaguing the models is that they predict that as you go up through the atmosphere, except in the polar regions, that the rate of warming increases. And it's quite clear from two data sets, not just satellite data, which everybody talks about, but from weather balloon data, that you don't see that effect. In fact it looks like the surface temperatures are warming slightly more than the upper air temperatures. That's a big difference. That data gives you a handle on the fact that what you're seeing is warming that probably is not due to greenhouse gas. That is, that the observations do not show an increase with altitude. In fact, most observations show a slight decrease in the rate of warming with altitude. So in a sense you can say that the hypothesis of man-made global warming is falsified by the evidence.
So the recent warming of the Earth happened in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Most of the warming took place in the early part of the 20th Century and occurred mostly at the Earth's surface, the very opposite of what should have happened according to the theory of man-made global warming.
Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" is regarded by many as the definitive popular presentation of the theory of man-made global warming. His argument rests of one all-important piece of evidence taken from ice core surveys in which scientists drilled deep into the ice to look back into Earth's climate history hundreds of thousands of years. The first ice core survey took place in Vostok in the Antarctic. What it found, as Al Gore correctly points out, was a clear correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature.
Al Gore says in his film, "The relationship is actually very complicated, but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others and it is this - when there is more carbon dioxide the temperature gets warmer." He says the relationship between temperature and CO2 is complicated, but he doesn't say what those complications are. In fact there was something very important in the ice core data that he failed to mention.
When we look at climate on long scales we're looking for geological material that actually records climate. If we were to take an ice sample for example, we use isotopes to reconstruct temperature, but the atmosphere that's imprisoned in that ice, we liberate and then we look at the CO2 content.
Scientists have indeed discovered, as Al Gore says, a link between carbon dioxide and temperature. But what Al Gore doesn't say is that the link is the wrong way round. CO2 lags behind the increase in temperature. It's got an 800 year lag. So temperature is leading CO2 by 800 years.
There have now been several major ice core surveys. Every one of them shows the same thing. The temperature rises or falls and then after a few hundred years, CO2 follows. So obviously carbon dioxide is not the cause of that warming. In fact we can say that the warming produced the increase in carbon dioxide.
CO2 clearly cannot be causing temperature changes. It's a product of temperature - it's following temperature changes.
The Ice Core record goes to the very heart of the problem we have here. They said if the CO2 increases in the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas then the temperature will go up. But the Ice Core record shows exactly the opposite. So the fundamental assumption, the most fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change due to humans, is shown to be wrong.
To how it can be that higher temperatures lead to more CO2 in the atmosphere, it the obvious point must be noted that CO2 is a natural gas produced by all living things. Organisms are made of carbon dioxide. It is how living things grow.
What's more, humans are not the main source of carbon dioxide. We produce a small fraction, in the single digits, percentage-wise of the CO2 that is produced in the atmosphere.
Volcanoes produce more CO2 each year than all the factories and cars and planes and other sources of man-made CO2 put together. More still comes from animals and bacteria which produce about 150 gigatons of carbon dioxide each year, compared to a mere 6.5 gigatons from humans. An even larger source of CO2 is dying vegetation, from falling leaves for example in the autumn. But the biggest source of CO2, by far, is the oceans.
The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or where it is readmitted to the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide. So the warmer the oceans the more carbon dioxide they produce, and the cooler they are, the more they suck in.
But why is there a time lag of hundreds of years between a change in temperature and a change in the amount of carbon dioxide going into or out of the sea? because the ocean is enormous its takes long periods of time for the temperature of the ocean and sea to be altered, to increase or decrease. This time period inwhich is takes for the temperature to change, signifies the oceans remember temperature changes. The ocean has a recollection of past events, running out as far as 10,000 years. So for example if somebody says, "Oh, I'm seeing changes in the North Atlantic - this must mean that the climate system is changing", it may only mean that something happened in a remote part of the ocean decades or hundreds of years ago, whose effects are now beginning to show up in the North Atlantic.
The current warming began long before people had cars or electric lights. In the past 150 years the temperature has risen just over half a degree Celsius. But most of that rise occurred before 1940. Since that time the temperature has fallen for four decades and risen for three. There is no evidence at all from Earth's long climate history that carbon dioxide has ever determined global temperature.
Isn't it bizarre to think that it's humans, you know, when we're filling up our car, turning on our lights, that we're the ones controlling climate. Just look in the sky. Look at that massive thing, the Sun. Even humans at our present six and a half billion are minute relative to that.
In the late 1980s solar physicist Piers Corbyn decided to try a radically new way of forecasting the weather. Despite the huge resources of the official Meteorological Office, Corbyn's new technique consistently produced more accurate results. He was hailed in the national press as a super weather man. The secret of his success was the Sun.
The origin of the solar weather technique of long-range forecasting came originally from study of sunspots and a desire to predict those, and then Dr. Corbyn realized it was actually much more interesting to use the Sun to predict the weather.
Sunspots we now know are intense magnetic fields which appear at times of higher solar activity. But for many hundreds of years long before this was properly understood, astronomers around the world used to count the number of sunspots, in the belief that more spots heralded warmer weather.
In 1893 the British astronomer Edward Maunder observed that during the Little Ice Age there were barely any spots visible on the Sun. A period of solar inactivity which became known as the Maunder Minimum.
In 1991, senior scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute decide to compile a record of sunspots in the 20th Century and compare it with the temperature record. What they found was an incredibly close correlation between what the Sun was doing and changes in temperature on Earth. Solar activity, they found, rose sharply to 1940, fell back for four decades until the 1970s, and then rose again after that.
Professor Friis-Christensen and his colleagues examined 400 years of astronomical records, to compare sunspot activity against temperature variation. Once again they found that variations in solar activity were intimately linked to temperature variation on Earth. It was the Sun it seemed, not carbon dioxide or anything else that was driving changes in the climate.
In a way it's not surprising. The Sun affects us directly of course, when it sends down its heat. But we now know that Sun also affects us indirectly through clouds. Clouds have a powerful cooling effect.
In the early 20th Century scientists discovered that the Earth was constantly being bombarded by sub-atomic particles. These particles, which they called cosmic rays, originated, it was believed from exploding super-novae far beyond our Solar System. When the particles coming down meet water vapor rising up from the sea, they form water droplets and make clouds. But when the sun is more active and the solar wind is strong, fewer particles get through and fewer clouds are formed.
Just how powerful this effect was became clear only recently when an astrophysicist Professor Nir Shaviv decided to compare his own record of cloud-forming cosmic rays with the temperature record created by a geologist, Professor Jan Veizer, going back 600 million years. What they found was that when cosmic rays went up the temperature went down. When cosmic rays went down the temperature went up. Clouds and the Earth's climate were very closely linked.
Professor Shaviv compared the graphs, just put them one upon the other and saw very explosive data. These vastly different records came together to show really what was happening over that long period of time. The climate was controlled by the clouds. The clouds were controlled by cosmic rays. And the cosmic rays were controlled by the Sun. It all came down to the Sun.
If you had x-ray eyes, what appears as a nice friendly yellow ball would appear like a raging tiger. The Sun is an incredibly violent beast and is throwing out great explosion and puffs of gas. and endless solar wind that's forever rushing past the Earth. We're in a certain sense inside the atmosphere of the Sun. The intensity of its magnetic field more that doubled during the 20th Century.
In 2005, astrophysicists from Harvard University published a graph in the official journal of the American Geophysical Union. The graph displayed a blue line that represented temperature change in the Arctic over the past hundred years compared to the rise in carbon dioxide over the same period. The two are not obviously connected. But looking again at the temperature record and a red line which depicts variations in solar activity over the past century, as recorded independently by scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration it's clear that solar activity over the last hundred years, over the last several hundred years, correlated very nicely on a decadal basis with sea ice and Arctic temperatures.
To the Harvard astrophysicists and many other scientists the conclusion is inescapable: the Sun is driving climate change. CO2 is irrelevant.
The emphasis on man-made carbon dioxide as a possible environmental problem is something very favorable to the environmental idea of "Medieval Environmentalism," of let's get back to the way things were in Medieval times, and get rid of all these cars and machines. Radical environmentalists love it because carbon dioxide is for them an emblem of industrialization. It's clearly is an industrial gas. So it's tied in with economic growth, with transportation in cars, with what we call civilization. And there are forces in the environmental movement that are simply against economic growth.
Man-made global warming caused by man-made carbon dioxide could be used to legitimize a whole suite of myths that already existed, anti-car, anti-growth, anti-development and above all anti- that great Satan - the United States.
The shift to climate being a major focal point came about for two very distinct reasons. The first reason was because by the mid-1980s the majority of people now agreed with all of the reasonable things those in the environmental movement were saying they should do. Now when a majority of people agree with you, it's pretty hard to remain confrontational with them. And so the only way to remain anti-establishment was to adopt ever more extreme positions.
The other reason that environmental extremism emerged, was because world communism failed, the Wall came down, and a lot of peaceniks and political activists moved into the environmental movement bringing their neo-Marxism with them, and learned to use green language in a very clever way to cloak agendas that actually have more to do with anti-capitalism, and anti-globalization, than they do anything with ecology or science.
The Left have been slightly disoriented by the manifest failure of socialism and indeed even more so of communism, as it was tried out - and therefore they still remain as anti-capitalist as they were, but they had to find a new guise for their anti-capitalism.
By the early 1990s man-made global warming was no longer a slightly eccentric theory about Climate. It was a full-blown political campaign. It was attracting media attention and as a result, more government funding.
Prior to President George H. W. Bush , the level of funding for climate and climate-related sciences in the United States was somewhere around the order of 170 million dollars a year, which was reasonable for the size of the field. It jumped to 2 billion a year, more than a factor of 10. And, that created a lot of jobs. It brought a lot of new people into it who otherwise were not interested. So you developed whole cadres of people whose only interest in the field was that there was global warming.
Research relating to man-made global warming is now one of the best funded areas of science. The U.S. government alone spends more than 4 billion dollars a year.
The large amounts of money that have been fed into this particular rather small area of science have distorted the overall scientific effort. We're all competing for funds. And if your field is the focus of concern, you have that much less work rationalizing why your field should be funded.
By the 1990s, tens of billions of dollars of government funding in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere were being diverted into research relating to global warming. A large portion of those funds went into building computer models to forecast what the climate will be in the future.
But climate models are only as good as the assumptions that go into them and they have hundreds of assumptions. All it takes is one assumption to be wrong for the forecasts to be way off. Climate forecasts are not new. But in the past, scientists were more modest about their ability to predict the weather.
All models assume that man-made CO2 is the main cause of climate change rather than the Sun or the clouds. An analogy that can be used is that your car is not running very well, so you ignore the engine, which is the Sun, and you ignore the transmission which is the water vapor, and you look at one nut on the right rear wheel which is the human-produced CO2. The science is that bad.
If you haven't understood the climate system, if you haven't understood all the components, the cosmic rays, the solar, the CO2, the water vapor, the clouds, and put it all together, if you haven't got all that, then your model isn't worth anything.
The range of climate forecasts varies greatly. These variations are produced by subtly altering the assumptions upon which the models are based. The models are so complicated you can often adjust them in such a way that they do something very exciting. With a mathematical model, and you tweak parameters, you can model anything. You can make it get warmer, you can make it get colder, by changing things.
Since all the models assume that man-made CO2 causes Warming, one obvious way to produce a more impressive forecast is to increase the amount of imagined man-made CO2 going into the atmosphere.
Many put an increase in carbon dioxide in them that is 1% per year. It's been 0.49% per year for the last ten years. 0.42 for the ten years before that. And 0.43 for the ten years before that. So the models have twice as much greenhouse warming radiation going in them as is known to be happening. It shouldn't shock you that they predict more warming than is occurring.
Models predict what the temperature might be in 50 or 100 years time. It is one of their peculiar features that long-range climate forecasts are only proved wrong long after people have forgotten about them. As a result there is a danger that modelers will be less concerned in producing a forecast that is accurate, than one that is interesting.
Even within the scientific community it's a problem. If a scientist runs a complicated model, and they do something to it, like, melt a lot of ice into the ocean, and nothing happens, it's not likely to get printed. But if they run the same model and adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation, like the heat transport turns off, it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked up by the media. So there is a bias, there's a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are dramatizable.
To the untrained eye, computer models look impressive, and they give often wild speculation about the climate the appearance of rigorous science. They also provide an endless source of spectacular stories for the media.
The most elementary principles of journalism seem to have been abandoned on this subject. In fact the theory of global warming has spawned an entirely new branch of journalism. There exist a whole new generation of reporters - environmental journalists and if you're an environmental journalist - and if the global warming story goes in the trash can, so does your job. And the reporting has to get more and more hysterical because there are still, fortunately, a few hardened news editors around who will say - "You know, this is what you were saying five years ago". "Ah, but now it's much, much worse, you know. There's going to be ten feet of sea level rise by next Tuesday" or something. They have to keep on getting shriller and shriller and shriller.
It is now common in the media to lay the blame for every storm or hurricane on global warming. But this is purely propaganda. Every textbook on Meteorology is telling you the main source of weather disturbances is the temperature difference between the Tropics and the Poles. And we're told in a warmer world this difference will get less. Now that would tell you you'll have less storminess, you'll have less variability. But for some reason that isn't considered catastrophic. So you're told the opposite.
News reports frequently argue that even a mild increase in global temperature could lead to a catastrophic melting of the Polar Ice Caps. But that's not what the Earth's climate history tell us. We happen to have temperature records of Greenland that go back thousands of years. Greenland has been much warmer. Just a thousand years ago, Greenland was warmer than it is today. Yet it didn't have a dramatic melting event.
Even if we talk about something like permafrost. A great deal of the permafrost, that icy layer under the forests of Russia for example, 7,000 or 8,000 years ago melted far more than we're having any evidence about it melting now. So in other words, this is a historical pattern again. But the world didn't come to a crunching halt because of it.
Over time, the Ice Caps are always naturally expanding and contracting. There're reports from time to time, of a big chunk of ice breaking away from the Antarctic continent. Those must have been happening all the time, but because now we have a satellite that can detect those, that's why they become news. Data from NASA's meteorological satellites shows huge natural expansion and contraction of the Polar Sea Ice taking place in the 1990s.
News reports frequently show images of ice breaking from the edge of the Arctic. What they don't say is that this is as ordinary an event in the Arctic as falling leaves on an Autumn day. Ice falling from the edge of the glaciers is the Spring break-up. It happens every year.
Sea level changes over the world in general are governed fundamentally by two factors. What we would call local factors, the relationship of the sea to the land, which often, by the way, is to do with the land rising or falling, than anything to do with the sea. But if you're talking about what we call eustatic changes of sea level - worldwide changes of sea level - that's through the thermal expansion of the oceans - nothing to do with melting ice - and that 's an enormously slow and long process.
People say "Oh I see the ocean doing this, last year. That means that something changed in the atmosphere last year." And this is not necessarily true at all - in fact it's actually quite unlikely - because it can take hundreds to thousands of years for the deep ocean to respond to forces and changes that are taking place at the surface.
It is also suggested that even a mild rise in temperature will lead to the spread northward of deadly insect-borne tropical diseases like malaria. But mosquitoes thrive in very cold temperatures. They are not specifically tropical. Most people will realize that in temperate regions there are mosquitoes. In fact, mosquitoes are extremely abundant in the Arctic. The most devastating epidemic of malaria was in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. There were something like 13 million cases a year, and something like 600,000 deaths. A tremendous catastrophe that reached up to the Arctic circle. Archangel had 30,000 cases and about 10,000 deaths. So it's not a tropical disease. Yet these people in the global warming fraternity invent the idea that malaria will move northwards.
Scientists who speak out against man-made global warming have a lot to lose. It's generally harder to get research proposals funded because of the stands that they've taken publicly. And you'll find very few of them that are willing to take a public stand because it does cut into their research funding.
It is a common prejudice that scientists who do not agree with the theory of man-made global warming must be being paid by private industry to tell lies. There is almost no private sector investment in climatology. And yet to be involved in any research project which involves an industry grant, no matter how small, can spell ruin to a scientist's reputation.
An example is Patrick Michaels is Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. He was Chair of the Committee on Applied Climatology at the American Meteorology Society, President of the American Association of State Climatologists, the author of three books on meteorology, and an author and reviewer on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. But when he conducted research part-funded by the coal industry, he found himself among those under attack from climate campaigners.
There's a huge tail out there, of people who have in one way or another been recruited to join this particular bandwagon. Anybody who stands up and says, "Hey, wait a minute. Let's look at this coolly and rationally and carefully and see actually how much merit, how much this stands up", they will be ostracized.
Scientists accustomed to the relative civility and obscurity of academic life, suddenly find themselves publicly attacked if they dare to challenge the theory of man-made global warming. Vilified by campaign groups and even within their own universities.
Today if you are skeptical about the litany around climate change, you are suddenly like as if you're a Holocaust denier. The environmental movement, really it is a political activist movement, and they have become hugely influential at a global level. And every politician is aware of that today. Whether you're on the Left, in the middle or the Right you have to pay homage to the environment.
In the past year the global warming campaign has won a great victory. The United States government, once a bastion of resistance has succumbed. President Bush is now an ally.
But reasoned debate is not the only casualty in the global warming alarm. As international public policy bears down on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, the developing world is coming under intense pressure, not to develop.
Western governments have now embraced the need for international agreements to restrain industrial production in the developed and developing world. Policies being pushed to supposedly prevent global warming, are having a disastrous effect on the world's poorest people.
Global warming campaigners say it does no harm to be on the safe side. Even if the theory of man-made climate change is wrong we should impose draconian measures to cut carbon emissions, just in case. They call this the precautionary principle. This principle is basically used to promote a particular agenda and ideology. It's always used in one direction only. It talks about the risks of using a particular technology, fossil fuels for example, but never about the risks of not using it. It never talks about the benefits of having that technology.
Two billion people, a third of the world's population, have no access to electricity. Instead they must burn wood or dried animal dung in their homes. The indoor smoke this creates is the deadliest form of pollution in the world. According to the World Health Organization 4 million children under the age of 5 die each year from respiratory diseases caused by indoor smoke. And many millions of women die early from cancer and lung disease for the same reason.
If you were to ask a rural person to define development, they'll tell you, yes, I'll know I've moved to the next level, when I have electricity. Not having electricity creates such a long chain of problems, because the first thing you miss is the light. So you get that they have to go to sleep earlier, because there's no light. There's no reason to stay awake. I mean, you can't talk to each other in darkness. No refrigeration or modern packaging means that food cannot be kept. The fire in a hut is too smoky and consumes too much wood to be used as heating. There is no hot water.
We in the West cannot begin to imagine how hard life is without electricity. The life expectancy of people who live like this is terrifyingly short, their existence impoverished in every way.
Africa has coal, and Africa has oil. But environmental groups are campaigning against the use of these cheap sources of energy. Instead they say Africa and the rest of the developing world should use solar and wind power. Wind and solar power are notoriously unreliable as a source of electricity and are at least three times more expensive than conventional forms of electrical generation.
The rich countries can afford to engage in some luxurious experimentation with other forms of energy, but the people of Africa are still at the stage of survival. The idea that the world's poorest people should be restricted to using the world's most expensive and inefficient forms of electrical generation is the most morally repugnant aspect of the global warming campaign. If we're telling the Third World that they can only have wind and solar power, what we are really telling them is, "You cannot have electricity". A solar panel is not going to power a steel industry. It is not going to power some railway train network.
One of the most pernicious aspects of the modern environmental movement is a romanticization of peasant life. And the idea that industrial societies are the destroyers of the world. Because of this, the environmental movement has evolved into the strongest force there is for preventing development in the developing countries.
One clear thing that emerges from the whole environmental debate is the point that there's somebody keen to kill the African dream. And the African dream is to develop. Africans are being told, "Don't touch your resources. Don't touch your oil Don't touch your coal." That is suicide.
It's legitimate for me to call them anti-human. You don't have to think humans are better than whales or better than owls or whatever, if you don't want to, right. But surely it is not a righteous idea to think of humans as sort of being scum you know. That it's OK to have hundreds of millions of them go blind or die or whatever because of your hatred of industrialization. This is pure evil.
The theory of man-made global warming is now so firmly entrenched, the voices of opposition so effectively silenced, it seems invincible, untroubled by any contrary evidence, no matter how strong. The global warming alarm is now beyond reason.