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This article is in line with my earlier article about climate skepticism. I think this subject is more important than any other world event, hence my special attention. It is that important because it is characterized by distorted half-truths, by misconceptions and conscious one-sided misleading publicity.

Let us start with the rapports and prognoses of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the authoritative organization for whatever people state and decide on climate change. This organization pretends to exist of solely experts in the climate field. Canadian investigative reporter Donna Laframboise did extensive research on the kind of people (scientists, collaborators, and writers) in the IPCC. She found out that many of them are environmental activists, who, of course, have their targeted agenda. Their exaggerated results are often the consequence of using computer models instead of real measurements (see the graph below). You find an enlightening interview with her here.

Another thing that the media blindly accept is the 97% consensus claim, made up by a John Cook whose people have investigated about 12.000 articles about climate change (2013). He claims that these 97% agrees that increasing global warming is completely anthropogenic (man-made). When his figures were investigated it came out that about 8.000 scientists did not endorse this pure anthropogenic idea. Those were discarded. Of the remaining 4.014 articles that did mention anthropogenic causes, 118 of them rejected of doubted these influences, like reducing those to very low percentages. So, the real consensus existed among about 32% of these scientists and certainly not 97%.

What worries people most are the consequences of global warming. Negative impact on food supplies and sea-level rising are indeed serious phenomena that should worry us. Up until now CO2 is thought to be the main culprit. But is it?

No, it is not. Gavin A. Schmidt et al (2010) have estimated that contributions to the greenhouse effect are distributed as follows: Water vapor and clouds 75%, CO2 20%, and other greenhouse gases and aerosols 5%. Schmidt’s estimates show that the figures are subject to considerable uncertainty, and Antero Ollila states CO2’s contribution to 11% (The Potency of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as a Greenhouse gas, Development in Earth Science, vol. 2, 2014).

It is obvious that we don’t have much influence on the evaporation of our surface water. We can measure it, and even that is not easy because it varies over the world and in time.

One has to realize that of the CO2 emission 96% comes from natural sources. Only 4% has an anthropogenic origin (industry, cars, airplanes, etc.). So, of the contribution to the greenhouse effect, 0.8% is man-made CO2-related, a figure that even falls within the margin of error.

For more information and explanation on the above, see the letter of Norwegian scientists to their Prime Minister here (for translation: right mouse button, translate).

Well, this is one way to interpret the figures, by some considered a myth. ‘Skeptical Science[1] has a very different look at what really happens. Their basis is the Global Carbon Cycle. They come up with the following figures (in gigatons/gt), based on an assumed historic natural equilibrium between emission and absorption of CO2. In their model earth’s emission from land (vegetation) is 439 gt, and 332 gt from the sea. Absorption is estimated to be 450 gt by (land) vegetation and 338 gt by the sea. If you count these figures you come up with a shortage of 17 gt in the atmosphere (balance?). Furthermore they estimate the CO2 emission from fossil fuel burning and land use to be 29 gt.  By my calculation the atmosphere then gets a yearly (?) surplus of 12 gt of CO2. Anyway, their conclusion is: “Human CO2 emissions upset the natural balance of the carbon cycle. Man-made CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by a third since the pre-industrial era, creating an artificial forcing of global temperatures which is warming the planet. While fossil-fuel derived CO2 is a very small component of the global carbon cycle, the extra CO2 is cumulative because the natural carbon exchange cannot absorb all the additional CO2.”

Hence, my conclusion is that whatever causes climate change, and whatever the seriousness of these changes are, we the people can’t do very much about it. It should certainly not be a reason to panic, taking drastic and very costly measures, and let young children become the victims of exaggerated misconceptions. Climate fluctuations have always existed. Let’s hope this is just a little one and make sure that when or if the time comes, we take the necessary measures.

[1] This page, btw, is copyrighted by John Cook.