Who is right? - Neither of them.
Donald Trump is wrong - there is absolutely no doubt that the climate is changing. Average temperatures are creeping up, the jet-stream is not following it's 'normal' route and we are experiencing extremes of weather with violent storms, heavy rainfall and droughts becoming ever more common.
Greenpeace is wrong in blaming climate change entirely on the actions of man and suggesting that we can legislate to sort this out.
So what are the facts?
- The earth has been getting steadily warmer for the last 12,000 years
- Carbon dioxide is NOT the most powerful 'greenhouse gas'
- The amount of carbon dioxide in dry air is rising. It was 0.03% when the chemistry books I studied in the early 1970s were written. It's 0.04% now. Some of that is due to industrial emissions, some to vehicles, some to forestry, some to pollution of sea water, some to volcanoes. Global engineering projects could reduce it but we are scared of the impact that could have. It may make things much worse.
- Computer models of climate have been most unreliable so far with up to 400% variation.
- Even if every bit of ice in the world melted there wouldn't be enough water to create a 'Waterworld'. Sorry Kevin.
- Our method of measuring average temperatures leaves a lot to be desired.
- Cities are warmer than the countryside but most of the temperature gauges are in cities. They apply a 'correction' to allow for this - largely guesswork.
- The places most prone to flooding in the world are also the places where the land is subsiding.
- It's easier to build on a flood plain than on a mountain
- Cow farts produce more greenhouse gases than cars do. So do termites.
- Volume for volume, water vapour produces four times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. There is on average 25 times as much of it in air as there is carbon dioxide. That means water vapour has 100 times the effect of carbon dioxide
- In the northern hemisphere if the jet stream is north of you it will be hotter. If it's south of you it will be colder and if it's over you it will be windier and stormy. Slight changes in average temperature can make the jet stream move like a rope being shaken.
- When sea ice in the arctic melts it has no effect on sea levels. Only ice and snow melting on land changes that.
- In the antarctic, when it gets warmer you get more snow. This increases the amount of ice there as it packs down. The antarctic is normally very dry - an ice desert. Wind does blow existing snow about there though.
- Sea levels are rising. They've been doing that since the last ice age by about the same amount each year. We have great difficulty in measuring this since land levels change up and down too. You never hear of that though.
|Click the graph to see it more clearly.|
We still can't say with certainty what caused ice ages but suspect variation in solar output and interstellar dust clouds.
Carbon trading won't reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we emit but will make some rich people richer.
If we take care of the environment we'll get:
- Clean water
- Clean air
- More jobs
- Better food
- Fewer extinctions
- Lower cost of living
- A nicer place to live