9 June 2010

Greenie sees the light

Peter Taylor, a Greenie with impeccable credentials (see his influential 2005 book Beyond Conservation), rebelled against the global warming hysteria that has sucked the life out of the greater ecological movement in his 2009 book Chill: a Reassessment of Global Warming Theory.

In a Spiked interview well worth reading in full, Taylor explains how he was 'shocked' to find that there was no scientific consensus whatever about the effect of carbon dioxide on climate. Far from it:
The real dynamic of the planet is to do with clouds, yet this area of science – oceanography and cloud cover – is incredibly uncertain. When I first looked at the basic science, the findings were surprising. Over the global warming period – which I limit to the past 50 or so years – the globe didn’t warm at all between 1950 and 1980, even though carbon dioxide emissions were going through the roof due to the postwar expansion of industry; global temperatures stayed pretty much flat.

The real global warming took off in the 1980s and 90s, through to about 2005. (In the last 10 years it’s actually plateaued.) That period of 25 years, from around 1980 to 2005, coincided with changes in the ocean and cloud cover – that is, there was less cloud and more sunlight getting through to the ocean. And this can be seen in the satellite data on the kind of energy that’s coming through (short-wave energy, which is the only energy that heats water – infra-red energy coming from CO2 cannot heat water). So when you look at the real-world data, the warming of that entire period seems to be due to additional sunlight reaching the oceans.
Taylor concludes with a statement of what has been obvious for many years:
We’re seeing the dangerous development here of a very intolerant political ideology. It is a very strange political and scientific situation, in which vast sums of money are underwriting a bureaucracy of climate accountants and auditors, and in which academic funding is easier to obtain if you put man-made climate change at the top of your research proposal. I have never seen anything like it in the 40 years of my scientific and environmental career.

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