“The Great Global Warming Swindle” may make for good television. But it is based on a premise that has been disproved by more than 2,000 scientists from more than 100 countries reporting to the United Nations in the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history.
It does so by cherry picking a few selective facts which, by themselves, prove nothing — except the scientific illiteracy of a culture that takes “Swindle” seriously.
The film argues, for one example, that the planet’s rising temperature plateaued around 1940 and didn’t resume its upward thrust until 1970. According to scientists in “Swindle,” that constitutes proof that human activities don’t influence the climate.
Whether by intention or ignorance on the part of the film’s producers, that conclusion betrays a profound ignorance of atmospheric dynamics. During the years leading up to and through World War II, the nations of the world accelerated their industrialization — pumping out large amounts of carbon dioxide. At the same time, they also generated huge amounts of lower-level air pollutants which exert a temporary cooling effect by reflecting sunlight back into space. Eventually, the warming overwhelms the cooling — since low-level pollutants (sulfate aerosols) stay in the air for only a matter of months — while carbon dioxide has an atmospheric residency of about 100 years.
Sure enough, the increase in offsetting pollutants during the 30-year period did cause the temperature to plateau. (Some of that heat was also absorbed by the world’s oceans). Since that time, however, the planet has been heating faster than at any time in the last 10,000 years.
For another example, the film posits the hypothesis that the planet’s warming is due more to solar intensity than to heat-trapping carbon dioxide. But that assertion was long ago laid to rest by the mainstream scientific community. A number of different scientists (see below) found that the sun was the dominant external influence on the climate until the late 19th century. But with the rise of industrialization in much of the world, carbon dioxide became the dominant external influence on the climate. Today, scientists tell us, the sun exerts about 15 percent of the external forcing of our climate, while CO2 and the other gases are responsible for about 85 percent of the heating. In other words, the buildup of greenhouse gases has swamped the influence of the sun on the planet’s temperature.
None of this is to say that our climate is a benign, predictable beast. It was best characterized by the author, Dianne Dumanoski, as a “leaping dragon.” But the natural swings of the global climate have been exacerbated — and pushed far beyond any historical swings — but our relentless addition of heat-trapping gases
The most significant aspect of our changing climate is not the range of warming — but the rate of warming. It is unmatched at any time in recorded history. It exceeds any rate of natural climate change throughout prehistory. And it is leading us rapidly to a point of no return in terms of climate chaos.
“The Great Global Warming Swindle” is a program we can turn off at will. The changes that are occurring in our climate are threatening to become, in James Joyce’s words, “a nightmare from which [we] can not awaken.”
Ross Gelbspan is the leading US journalist on climate change. He is author of two books; The Heat is On (1998) and Boiling Point (2004). He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984.
Ross cites four major peer reviewed papers from the two leading scientific journals by 10 scientists from major institutions. Lets us remember that many of the contributors to Global Warming Swindle are not currently working for any recognised institution and most have not had any peer-reviewed research published for years in any reputable journal.
Dependence of global temperatures on atmospheric CO2 and solar irradiance,
Nature, 14 September 2006,
DAVID J. THOMSON, Mathematics of Communications Research Department, Bell Laboratories.
Thomson concludes that “changes from CO2 over the last century are about three times larger than those from changes in solar irradiance”.Link…
Causes of 20th Century Temperature Change Near Earth’s Surface,
Nature 399, 569-572, 10 June 1999.
SIMON F. B. TETT, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research; PETER A. STOTT, WILLIAM J. INGRAM, JOHN F. B. MITCHELL UK Meteorological Office; MYLES R. ALLEN, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
They conclude that: “Solar forcing may have contributed to the temperature changes early in the century, but anthropogenic causes combined with natural variability would also present a possible explanation. For the warming from 1946 to 1996 regardless of any possible amplification of solar or volcanic influence, we exclude purely natural forcing, and attribute it largely to the anthropogenic components”. Link…
Causes of Climate Change Over the Past 1000 Years,
Science, 14 July, 2000 v. 289.
Thomas J. Crowley Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University.
Crowley concludes that : “As much as 41 to 64% of (pre-1850) temperature variations was due to changes in solar irradiance and volcanism…[There is] a very large late-20th-century warming that closely agrees with the response predicted from greenhouse gas forcing. The combination of a unique level of temperature increase in the late 20th century and improved constraints on the role of natural variability provides further evidence that the greenhouse effect has already established itself above the level of natural variability in the climate system. Link…
Modern Global Climate Change,
Science, Dec. 5, 2003, Thomas R. Karl, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center ; Kevin E. Trenberth National Center for Atmospheric Research.
They conclude that: “Modern climate change is dominated by human influences, which are now large enough to exceed the bounds of natural variability. The main source of global climate change is human-induced changes in atmospheric composition. We are venturing into the unknown with climate, and its associated impacts could be quite disruptive. Link…
Draft Report Affirms Human Influence,
Science, Vol 288, April 28, 2000 , Richard A. Kerr,
“For the past several years, an international panel of climate scientists has examined climate’s natural variability, changes in solar radiation, and volcanic outpourings, among others. But none of those factors fit the past century’s observed warming as well as the explanation they suggested in 1995: an increase in greenhouse gases generated by human activity”. Link…