Climate Consensus: Are They All Wrong Then?

Written by Carl Brehmer (with contributions from Bob Webster & edited by Hans Schreuder)

Five common tropes of global warming are examined along with a range of ‘position statements’ from influential institutions. This article identifies key flaws in them that undermines any so-called ‘climate consensus.’

It’s always the same assumptions—the same assertions—that reappear in the mass media and most scientific journals:

  • “Global warming” is a bad thing;

  • The 3% of the Earth’s yearly carbon dioxide output that is human sourced is responsible for 100% of the “”global warming”” caused by carbon dioxide. The 97% of the Earth’s yearly carbon dioxideoutput that is “natural” has no effect whatsoever on global temperatures.

      • “Natural” emissions—770,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (97% of the total) = Zero effect on global temperatures.

      • Human sources emissions—23,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide (3% of the total) = 100% of the “global warming” that has occurring (the “global warming” that stopped nearly 20 years ago by the way)

  • In the late 20th century all of the natural forces that have been in operation for hundreds of millions of years that affect global temperatures as well as those forces that cause “climate change” have suddenly lost their potency. Consequently, now only the 3% of the Earth’s total yearly carbon dioxide output that comes from human sources causes most of the “global warming” and most of the “climate change.”

That is, human produced carbon dioxide is now the “primary” driver of “”global warming”” and “climate change”—not variations in Solar activity, not fluctuations in the Earth’s and Sun’s magnetic fields that affect the strength of Cosmic rays, not variations in cloud cover and precipitation, not orbital variations within the Solar System, not volcanism, not ocean currents, not etc., etc., etc.

The fact that the human contribution to the Earth’s yearly output of carbon dioxide is only 3% of the total was published by the Energy Information Administration in a booklet called “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2004.” They, in turn, sourced the information as being the IPCC’s 2001 report “Climate Change 2001: the Scientific Basis p. 188 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

The fact that the “”global warming”” and/or “climate change” that has occurred since at least the 1950’s is blamed primarily on that human generated 3% of the Earth’s total yearly output of carbon dioxide is published everywhere.

The following is only a partial list of organizations that endorse the anthropogenic climate change meme; it comes from the Wikipedia page entitled “Scientific opinion on climate change:

  1. The U.S. Global Change Research Program reported in June 2009 [34] that: “Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with important contributions from the clearing of forests, agricultural practices, and other activities.”

  1. In 2004, the intergovernmental Arctic Council and the non-governmental International Arctic Science Committee released the synthesis report of the Arctic Climate Impact AssessmentClimate conditions in the past provide evidence that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are associated with rising global temperatures. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), and secondarily the clearing of land, have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide, methane, and other heat-trapping (“greenhouse”) gases in the atmosphere…There is international scientific consensus that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

  1. The 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the declaration states, “It is unequivocal that the climate is changing, and it is very likely that this is predominantly caused by the increasing human interference with the atmosphere. These changes will transform the environmental conditions on Earth unless counter-measures are taken.”

  1. 2007 In preparation for the 33rd G8 summit, the Network of African Science Academies submitted a joint “statement on sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change”: “A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change.” The thirteen signatories were the science academies of CameroonGhanaKenyaMadagascarNigeriaSenegalSouth AfricaSudanTanzaniaUgandaZambiaZimbabwe, as well as the African Academy of Sciences.

  1. 2008 In preparation for the 34th G8 summit, the national science academies of the G8+5 nations issued a declaration reiterating the position of the 2005 joint science academies’ statement, and reaffirming “that climate change is happening and that anthropogenic warming is influencing many physical and biological systems.”

  1. 2009 In advance of the UNFCCC negotiations to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009, the national science academies of the G8+5 nations issued a joint statement declaring, “Climate change and sustainable energy supply are crucial challenges for the future of humanity. It is essential that world leaders agree on the emission reductions needed to combat negative consequences of anthropogenic climate change”. The statement references the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment of 2007, and asserts that “climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions, Arctic sea ice has been melting at rates much faster than predicted, and the rise in the sea level has become more rapid.” The thirteen signatories were the same national science academies that issued the 2007 and 2008 joint statements.[38]

  1. American Association for the Advancement of Science as the world’s largest general scientific society, adopted an official statement on climate change in 2006: “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society….The pace of change and the evidence of harm have increased markedly over the last five years. The time to control greenhouse gas emissions is now.”

  1. Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies in 2008 published FASTS Statement on Climate Change[50] which states: “Global climate change is real and measurable…The spatial and temporal fingerprint of warming can be traced to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, which are a direct result of burning fossil fuels, broad-scale deforestation and other human activity.”

  1. United States National Research Council through its Committee on the Science of Climate Change in 2001, published Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions.[51] This report explicitly endorses the IPCC view of attribution of recent climate change as representing the view of the scientific community: “The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities . . .The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.”

  1. Royal Society of New Zealand having signed onto the first joint science academy statement in 2001, released a separate statement in 2008  “The globe is warming because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Measurements show that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are well above levels seen for many thousands of years. Further global climate changes are predicted, with impacts expected to become more costly as time progresses. Reducing future impacts of climate change will require substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”

  1. The Royal Society of the United Kingdom “There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation.”

  1. European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2007 issued a formal declaration on climate change titled Let’s Be Honest: “Human activity is most likely responsible for climate warming. Most of the climatic warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

  1. European Science Foundation in a 2007 position paper [59]states: “There is now convincing evidence that since the industrial revolution, human activities, resulting in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases have become a major agent of climate change…”

  1. InterAcademy Council As the representative of the world’s scientific and engineering academies,[60][61] the InterAcademy Council issued a report in 2007 titled Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future.“Current patterns of energy resources and energy usage are proving detrimental to the long-term welfare of humanity. The integrity of essential natural systems is already at risk from climate change caused by the atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases.”

  2. International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) in 2007, issued a Statement on Environment and Sustainable Growth:[64] As reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century is very likely due to human-produced emission of greenhouse gases and this warming will continue unabated if present anthropogenic emissions continue or, worse, expand without control.”

  1. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) adopted a statement on Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases in 1998.[70] A new statement, adopted by the society in 2003, revised in 2007,[71] and revised and expanded in 2013,[72] affirms that rising levels of greenhouse gases have caused and will continue to cause the global surface temperature to be warmer: “Human activities are changing Earth’s climate. At the global level, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases have increased sharply since the Industrial Revolution. Fossil fuel burning dominates this increase. Human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed global average surface warming of roughly 0.8°C (1.5°F) over the past 140 years.”

  1. In May, 2011, the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) issued a joint position statement on climate change as it relates to agriculture: “A comprehensive body of scientific evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt that global climate change is now occurring and that its manifestations threaten the stability of societies as well as natural and managed ecosystems. Increases in ambient temperatures and changes in related processes are directly linked to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere.”

  1. In 2008, the European Federation of Geologists[74] (EFG) issued the position paper Carbon Capture and geological Storage: “The EFG recognizes the work of the IPCC and other organizations, and subscribes to the major findings that climate change is happening, is predominantly caused by anthropogenic emissions of CO2, and poses a significant threat to human civilization.”

  1. In 2006, The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that “global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhousegas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s. If current trends continue, the projected increase in global temperature by the end of the twenty first century will result in large impacts on humans and other species.”

  1. In November 2010, the Geological Society of London issued the position statement Climate change: evidence from the geological record: “The last century has seen a rapidly growing global population and much more intensive use of resources, leading to greatly increased emissions of gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), and from agriculture, cement production and deforestation. Evidence from the geological record is consistent with the physics that shows that adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere warms the world and may lead to: higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying coasts; greatly changed patterns of rainfall; increased acidity of the oceans; and decreased oxygen levels in seawater.”

  2. In July 2007, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) adopted a resolution titled “The Urgency of Addressing Climate Change”. In it, the IUGG concurs with the“comprehensive and widely accepted and endorsed scientific assessments carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and regional and national bodies, which have firmly established, on the basis of scientific evidence, that human activities are the primary cause of recent climate change.”

  1. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) statement adopted by their council in 2012 concluded: “There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities.”

  1. The Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society has issued a Statement on Climate Change, wherein they conclude: “Global climate change and global warming are real and observable … It is highly likely that those human activities that have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been largely responsible for the observed warming since 1950.”

  1. In November 2005, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) issued a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada stating that “We concur with the climate science assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001 … We endorse the conclusions of the IPCC assessment that ‘There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.’”

  1. In November 2009, a letter to the Canadian Parliament by The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society states: Rigorous international research, including work carried out and supported by the Government of Canada, reveals that greenhouse gases resulting from human activities contribute to the warming of the atmosphere and the oceans and constitute a serious risk to the health and safety of our society, as well as having an impact on all life.

  1. In February 2007, after the release of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, the Royal Meteorological Society issued an endorsement of the report. In addition to referring to the IPCC as “[the] world’s best climate scientists”, they stated that climate change is happening as “the result of emissions since industrialization and we have already set in motion the next 50 years of global warming – what we do from now on will determine how worse it will get.”

  1. World Meteorological Organization. The WMO concurs that “scientific assessments have increasingly reaffirmed that human activities are indeed changing the composition of the atmosphere, in particular through the burning of fossil fuels for energy production and transportation.” The WMO concurs that “the present atmospheric concentration of CO2 was never exceeded over the past 420,000 years;” and that the IPCC “assessments provide the most authoritative, up-to-date scientific advice.”

etc., etc., etc.

I stopped compiling the list after 27 citations because it became wearying, but you get the point. All of these vaunted scientific organizations have put their reputations on the line to support the notion that 1) “global warming” is bad and 2) that all the “global warming” that has occurred during the past ~70 years has been due to only 3% of the Earth’s yearly output of carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity.

Apparently none of the “scientists” who wrote the above position statements are aware that the solubility of gases, e.g., carbon dioxide, is inversely proportional to temperature and therefore as the ocean temperature increased during the last half of the 20th century, most likely due to a very active Sun and deep ocean volcanism the oceans that cover 70% of the Earth’s surface simply outgassed more carbon dioxide than they did before the ocean warming began. Deep ocean volcanism itself also releases large quantities of carbon dioxide into the oceans, which puts upward pressure on the outgassing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The title of this article is “Are They All Wrong Then?” In contemplating the answer to that question consider the following. If the answer to that question is “yes” it wouldn’t be the first-time scientific “consensus” was wrong. Here are some well known examples:

  1. Ptolemaic or geocentric model of the Solar System– This pseudo-scientific fallacy was challenged in the 16th century by Copernicus and then in the 17th century by Galileo when they argued on behalf of the heliocentric model of the Solar System, which the Catholic Church eventually conceded was the truth.

  2. The pseudo-scientific fallacy called “spontaneous generation” was challenged by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century who demonstrated the existence of microorganisms.

  3. The pseudo-scientific fallacy that ulcers were caused by stress was challenged in the 1980’s by Barry Marshal who proved instead that ulcers are caused by the bacteria H. pylori.

  4. The pseudo-scientific fallacy called “phlogiston” was challenged in the 18th century by scientific experimentation that proved that fire was not a material element

  5. The pseudo-scientific fallacy called “immovable continents” was challenged in 1912 by Alfred Wegener who laid the ground for understanding plate tectonics

  6. The pseudo-scientific fallacy called the “four humours” theory of human physiology was debunked in the 19th century by medical research

  7. The pseudo-scientific fallacy called the “young Earth” hypothesis that asserted that the Earth was only 20-40 million years old was debunked in the 18th century by the work of Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin.

Today the pseudo-scientific fallacy that the carbon dioxide produced by human activity is the “primary”driver of “”global warming”—climate change” is being challenged by a large number of qualifiedscientists spanning a number of fields of study— meteorology, physics, botany, paleo-climatology, geology , chemical engineering, bio-chemistry, etc.

Also consider this: 1) The public, including scientists, tend to “follow the crowd” and 2) there only appears to be a consensus that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the ‘primary’ driver of “global warming”.

On the first point, be aware that most of the scientists belonging to the organizations listed above have not done independent scientific research on the question “is anthropogenic carbon dioxide the ‘primary’ driver of “global warming””. Thus their “position statements” simply rubber-stamp and parrot the “perceived consensus” on the subject that has been generated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). So remember, “position statements” are not the end product of independent research.

On the second point, be aware that “position statements” such as those listed above on anthropogenic “global warming”, are usually written either by a single person or a small panel within their respective organizations and then approved for publication by a board of directors and therefore do not represent what all of the members of that organization believe. These statements are simply the “position” of that organization’s board of directors, who are themselves a small minority of that organization’s membership. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

The “position statement” of the Geological Society of America written in 2010 was based on written statements submitted by only 0.3% of its membership who themselves had “highly divergent” views on the subject! To formulate their “position statement” the GSA called together a panel of “about two-dozen GSA scientists” who reviewed statements submitted by ~60 of its 22,000 members (0.3%) which were again “highly divergent” in their points of view on this “very controversial” issue. In the end, the panel ignored the controversy and the divergence of views and simply “weighed in on the side of main-stream climate science,” i.e., rubber stamped and parroted what others were saying, not what their own members were saying. (Statements taken from William F. Fuddiman, Commentary—GSA Position Statement on Climate Change, GSA Today, July 2010

Another example is the “position statement” of The American Meteorological Society who openly acknowledge that members of this professional community are not unanimous in their views of climate change, and there has been tension among members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) who hold different views on the topic.” They also acknowledge that “perceived consensus” is “strongly related” to “political ideology” which belies the notion that the views of scientists on anthropogenic climate change are not influence by political ideology. Nevertheless one will not see the disagreement and tension that these “climate scientists” have over anthropogenic “global warming” reflected in the AMS’s “position statement” on the subject. (Stenhouse, et al, Meteorologists’ Views About “global warming”: A Survey of American Meteorological Society Professional Members, Published, 22 August 2014)

As you can see, the “perceived scientific consensus” that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the “primary” driver of “global warming”/climate change is just that—a “perception”. True science is not based on perception; it is based on empirical data and the simple fact that the leadership of science organizations have rubber-stamping and are parroting a perceived consensus is not itself “scientific evidence.”

For some further historical perspective on “consensus opinions”, consider the following:

“The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fisherman, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas [of] the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climate conditions, and… unheard-of high temperatures…”

“The hot dry seasons of the past few years have caused rapid disintegration of glaciers in Glacier National park, Montana… Sperry Glacier… has lost one-quarter or perhaps one-third of its ice in the past 18 years… If this rapid rate should continue… the glacier would almost disappear in another 25 years…”

“All the glaciers in Eastern Greenland are rapidly melting, declared Prof. Hans Ahlmann, Swedish geologist… ‘It may without exaggeration be said that the glaciers, like those in Norway, face the possibility of a catastrophic collapse.’

“… Polar temperatures are on an average six degrees higher than those registered… 40 years ago. Ice measurements are on an average only 6½ feet against 9½ to 13 feet….”

“The ice of the Arctic Ocean is melting so rapidly that more than one-third of it has disappeared in fifty years….”

“An Arctic expert said… Polar icecaps were melting at an astonishing and unexplained rate and were threatening to swamp seaports by raising the ocean levels… ‘The glaciers of Norway and Alaska are only half the size they were 50 years ago.’”

“Born about 4,000 years ago, the glaciers that are the chief attraction in Glacier National park are shrinking so rapidly that a person who visited them ten or fifteen years ago would hardly recognize them today as the same ice masses.”

Those quotes above were expressed in the years:  1922, 1923, 1939, 1940, 1947, 1952, and 1952, respectively…

And the USS Skate surfaced in open waters at the North Pole on 17 March 1959 during the 1940-1979 period of “global cooling” that spawned fears of “the coming ice age”!

Finally, some critical comments from a highly credentialed scientist in the USA:

“The sea-level predictions are based on computer models and not real (observational) data. There are many variables and modelers do not tell what their assumptions are. So, it depends on how much you want to trust a model. The other ‘variable’ is that many researchers are driven by the acquisition of research grants and in order to do that they have to be in sync with the politics of the day. The IPCC is politically driven and so it depends on how much you want to trust politics.

Another variable that affects any location is geo-dynamics. If you live on a volcanic island that experiences isostatic readjustments and may experience vertical movements due to changes in the magma chamber at depth. In that case changes in sea level are relative and not related to climate.

The perpetration of the human-induced climate change hoax by the government is typical of a corrupt system. It is for indoctrination and control of the populace and to get money.

I know many colleagues on the other side and am saddened by their greed and dishonesty, which is fostered by their employers (universities) to get research grants so they can skim off overhead.

In a way, it is a commentary on human nature. Most folks are sadly dishonest to a degree and quite willing to do what it takes to get money.

And we also have to remember that most politicians are not too bright. I recall when I had to make some comments for Congress and was told my writing could not be higher than the 7th grade level. That is the level of understanding of our leaders (at least the ones in Congress). It does not give me much hope for the future.

For further reading, please check these sites:

PSI – Current News

Climate of Sophistry

Climate Change Dispatch


I Love My Carbon Dioxide


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