Prepared by Jim Wilkinson, former Junior Warden of Truro Church.
Prepared by Jim Wilkinson, former Junior Warden of Truro Church.
Jim Hansen is a planetary physicist, not an atmospheric scientist, whose perspective is that of large space and time scales. He triggered much of the current “global warming” debate in 1988. His view is that the earth’s thermal energy system is “meta-stable” which means it amplifies small perturbations in temperature into large and serious effects. As Goddard director and member of the National Academy of Sciences he has been in a powerful and highly influential position.
Here is a part of one of his charts that shows sea-level, CO2 concentration, and average earth surface temperatures as these have been inferred from a 5.6km deep ice core taken in Antarctica. Note that no direct temperature measurements exist before about 1800 so these data are inferred from so-called proxies by various theoretical models. The basic conclusion from these data is this: There seems to be a 100,000 yr cycle of very significant changes in the earth’s temperature (about 5 o C) and sea-level (about 100m). This cycle appears to correspond to a 100,000 yr cycle in slight oscillations in the Earth’s orbit. The problem is that such slight changes in solar energy reaching the earth can’t be directly responsible for such major changes in the earth’s environment. Therefore, it is hypothesized that there are “amplifiers” somewhere in the atmosphere-ocean system that exaggerate the effect of solar energy changes. The claim by Hansen and other like-minded scientists is that with post-Industrial CO2 emissions the earth’s temperature is being forced upward to a point where amplification will take place that will drastically alter the earth’s climate. If there are amplifying effects, another one seems to be the media and politicians.
It affected Greenland profoundly. It is testified by tree ring data in California, by higher rainfall along the North African coast, and longer growing seasons in China. How could CO2 emissions cause it? Moreover, temperatures were undoubtedly warmer around the globe then than they are today—in spite of the “hockey stick” graph so widely circulated by the alarmists. The MWP was followed by the Little Ice Age around the time of the founding of this nation. The warming we are experiencing is simply the result of our emergence from the LIA.
Let’s look at more recent climate changes that can be more directly described with less conjecture. Also let’s note that there is no “consensus” that GW is in danger of a “tipping point” or that GW is primarily anthropogenic. The MWP is well attested in Europe and elsewhere in spite of GW enthusiasts claiming it was confined to Europe alone.
Moreover, there is obvious media bias involved in the present debate as in other great debates going on. Here is Dr. Deming’s experience.
In fact the alarmists did get rid of MWP. Here is the original depiction of global temperatures showing clearly that MWP temperatures far exceeded today’s warming. This graph appeared in the IPCC report dated 1995.
In 1998 Michael Mann at Univ of Massachusetts “reworked” the temperature data from derivations of California tree rings, contradicting the vast majority of historical sources on MWP. The Clinton administration apparently under the influence of VP Gore grabbed this graph for their US climate assessment report in 2000. Mann was named as a lead author of the next IPCC report published in 2001 (source of this graph called “the Hockey Stick” in scientific circles) and an editor of The Journal of Climate. However, two Canadian statisticians—McIntyre and McKitrick—kept demanding to see the data Mann used until reluctantly it was furnished. They discovered and subsequently published a stunning critique that faulted the Hockey Stick analysis for collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, and incorrect calculation of principle components.
Shortly after Hansen started warnings in 1988, others quickly followed. Steven Schneider began publishing popular articles the next year.
Al Gore has taken up the role of a crusader for “doing something” about GW.
Notice, however, that another, more political theme enters—a crisis of global dimension exists that require global and politically-driven solution.
Deming recounts a conversation he had with National Public Radio a few years ago.
Contrary to the media, prominent climate scientists profoundly disagree with the alarmist scenario, even those who worked on the famous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For example, Dr. Lindzen of MIT who authored a key graduate level textbook on atmospheric dynamics has repeatedly stated his belief in “dampening” factors in the atmosphere that work to keep it stable against big changes. I would sooner trust Dr. Lindzen than Dr. Hansen when it comes to atmospheric dynamics.
Even one of the IPCC chairman now admits GW urgency has been overdone.
Even one of the IPCC chairman now admits GW urgency has been overdone.
What is the primary driver of warming this planet? The sun. Even the Hansen tipping point model roots the first cause in solar radiation changes. But notice this graph from the Harvard Observatory. Sunspot activity correlates well with the emergence of the planet from the Little Ice Age.
Here is a graph comparing temperature anomalies to variations in sunspot cycle length.
Here’s another graph comparing CO2 concentration with solar energy input. Which has the better correlation?
As biblical Christians we must have the spiritual and intellectual courage to draw out of the Word of God the great implications for whatever our situation demands. Nature is NOT better off without man, contrary to the Green extremists. Man is the steward of nature under God. The only basis for science (as the early scientists knew) is the set of conditions provided in the Word of God, viz., a nature ruled by rational purpose, a mind designed to interpret nature (under the authority of special revelation) as almost all early scientists believed. 2 of the 3 greatest ecological acts were and will be done by man: the fall, the flood, and the return of Christ to establish the MK and ES. In contrast to the basic pagan idea of origins which forms the underpinning of the “universal history project” begun by natural history investigators after the Enlightenment, a young-earth model now being developed by Bible-believing trained scientists shows that past climatic alterations—where truly genuine—were results of the great flood catastrophe in Noah’s day and the subsequent geophysical adjustments. The earth’s climate has settled down to periodic variations within limits. Meanwhile today we are in neither the Tribulation nor the Millennium and so can expect climatic variation to continue within limits.
For the first time in recent American history, the evangelical vote is becoming significantly split between traditional conservative candidates and liberal ones over the type of response to GW that is championed. The Evangelical Environmental Network follows the Hansen model so it applies the biblical doctrine of stewardship to require support of urgent and draconian measures to remediate what that model believes about anthropogenic global warming. It backs Kyoto, for example, that omits China and India and at best would lower global temperatures by less than 0.1 deg C. In opposition to the EEN, the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation holds to the natural cycle model of climate change. It applies the doctrine of stewardship, therefore, to policies of accommodation to climate change. It argues that devoting valuable trillions in the world economy to the flawed notion of trying to remediate an imagined anthropogenic global warming, those resources would be better spent in accommodating mankind to altered climate and helping the underdeveloped world overcome poverty using fossil fuels as necessary. The idea here is that poor societies are more destructive of the environment climate-wise than wealthier societies.
As the Bible declares nature has been designed for a purpose—to bear witness to our Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. It is through nature that His sovereign providence affects the affairs of mankind “that unbelieving man might blindly grope after Him and find Him”. It is not some imagined vague set of “natural laws” that control nature; rather it is God’s “contracts” or covenants, covenants revealed explicitly in Scripture. As the Noahic Covenant or Contract says, . . . .”
Thinking About “Global Warming” Biblically Charles A. Clough 10 April 2008
What are the claims being made?Are these claims verifiable?A biblical view of “nature”Christian responses evaluated
Hansen’s “Tipping Point” Theory James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Global warming is approaching a tipping point beyond which catastrophic climate change and sea level rises will occur
Hansen’s “Tipping Point” TheoryBlue = sea level (decameters relative to present sea level)Black = CO2 (ppm)Red = average earth surface temperature
No human measurements or observations availableNo thermometernetworks before ca.1850; no upper-airmeasurements before1930s; no satellitemeasurements before1970s
David Deming College of Geosciences, University of Oklahoma Norman, OK 73019“The surest sign of the warming climate in Europe wasthe settlement of Greenland by Vikings from Iceland.The Greenland settlements reached a height ofprosperity in the 12th and 13th centuries when 3,000colonists occupied 280 farms. The settlements cameunder duress in the late 14th century due to the onset ofLittle Ice Age cooling; they finally perished in the 15thcentury.”
David Deming College of Geosciences, University of Oklahoma Norman, OK 73019“The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was a time of unusuallywarm weather that began around 1000 AD and persisted until acold period known as the "Little Ice Age" took hold in the 14thand 15th centuries. Warmer climate brought a remarkableflowering of prosperity, knowledge, and art to Europe. As thetemperature increased, so did agricultural yields. Marshes andswamps dried up, removing the breeding grounds of mosquitoesthat spread malaria. Former wetlands were converted toproductive farmland. Infant mortality fell, and the populationgrew. From 1100 to 1300 AD, the population of Europeincreased from about 40 to 60 million.”
David Deming, cont’d“The existence of the MWP was recognized in theclimate textbooks for decades. But now it was a majorembarrassment to those maintaining that the 20thcentury warming was truly anomalous. . . With thepublication of the article in Science, I gainedsignificant credibility in the community of scientistsworking on climate change. They thought I was one ofthem, someone who would pervert science in the serviceof social and political causes. So one of them let hisguard down. A major person working in the area ofclimate change and global warming sent me anastonishing email that said ‘We have to get rid of theMedieval Warm Period.’"
How they got rid of the MWP- 1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report 1995
How they got rid of the MWP- 2 “Hockey Stick” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report 2001
The Major Historical Unknown— what is “normal”?What is a global average temperature mean? . . .and. . . .What are the normal (pre-industrial age) variations in this mean?Cannot specify any human-caused effecton the global temperature unless you knowthe answer to this question!!
THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND GLOBAL WARMINGExploitation of “bad news sells” (&generates funding !) “To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” A leading proponent of global warming, Steven Schneider of Stanford, in Discover magazine (1989)
Vice President Al Gore Earth in the Balance“While [global warming] is only one ofseveral strategic threats, it has become apowerful symbol of the larger crisis anda focus for the public debate aboutwhether there really is a crisis at all.”
David Deming, cont’d“He asked me, did I really mean to say that? Did Ireally intend to imply that the warming in NorthAmerica may have been due to natural variability?Without hesitation, I said ‘yes’. He replied, ‘Well then,I guess we have no story. Thats not what people areinterested in. People are only interested if the warmingis due to human activities. Goodbye.’ And he hung upon me. It was my first realization that the mediaintentionally filter the information the public receives.”
Richard S. Lindzen Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 16, 2007• Even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that greenhouse forcing is currently about three quarters of what one would expect from a doubling of C02, and yet we have seen much less warming at the surface than the models project - even with models that have oceans which are supposed to delay the response.• There is general agreement that the famous ‘blanket’ picture of the greenhouse effect that Gore likes to present is, in fact, misleadingly wrong. Rather, the real greenhouse climate effect requires most warming to occur in the middle of the tropical troposphere (cooling at the surface is mainly by motion systems, with the heat deposited in the middle of the troposphere where it is then radiated to space), and as a recent report of the National Research Council notes, warming trends at this level in the tropics appears to actually be even smaller than at the surface. (Dr. Lindzen was a contributor to the IPCC report prior to the recent one.)
Yuri Izrael Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Head of Institute of Global Climate and Ecology April 18, 2007• "I think the panic over global warming is totally unjustified. There is no serious threat to the climate." (Dr. Izrael is one of three vice-chairmen of the IPCC, the international body whose reports have claimed that human- induced global warming is a scientific certainty).
Two Great “Unknowns” in Climate ModelingAre “feedback” atmospheric & oceanicprocesses collectively “positive” or“negative”?(If “positive”, then ∆Wnet > ∆WCO2; if “negative”, then ∆Wnet< ∆WCO2)Are there “positive” feedbacks tovariations in solar energy output?(e.g., solar wind / cosmic rays / cloud nuclei)
A Biblical View of NatureDominion covenant with man and nature (Gen. 1,2,8,9)Man is steward of natureHis “naming” requires revelation to guide itFall & FloodTwo of the three greatest ecological acts in historyChrist as 2nd Adam will complete the dominion mandate for man and nature
Christian Responses EvaluatedEvangelical Environmental NetworkDr. (Rev.) Jim BallRemediate policiesCornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of CreationDr. E. Calvin BeisnerAccommodate policies
“While the earth remains, seedtime andharvest, and cold and heat, and summer andwinter, and day and night shall not cease.”Gen. 8:22“I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall befor a token of a covenant between me and theearth.” Gen. 9:13