“The earth is greener. Terrestrial ecosystems’ productivity is up 14% since 1982. Even the IPCC has acknowledged that productivity is 5% greater than that experienced during pre-industrial times. What this has meant is a significant increase in human well-being.”
“Until the movement shifts away from its witch-hunting approach to debate, the climate change believers look increasingly like the mobs that over-ran the Bastille during the French Revolution. I’m sure some of the climate change believers would be happy to see the guillotine resurrected in the Place de la Concorde (formerly Place Louis XV and then Place de la Revolution) and used against deniers and doubters. Maybe it is fitting that COP21 is being held in Paris.”
In the face of the impending COP21 conference, a new report authored by Indur Goklany for the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), CARBON DIOXIDE The good news, was published. It reminds one and all that carbon dioxide (CO2), the major manmade greenhouse gas, is not a pollutant but a positive part of the biosphere.
The report contained a forward written by Professor Freeman Dyson, a world-renowned theoretical physicist. Dr. Dyson is Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Physics and Astrophysics at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton where he held a chair for many years.
He has had a long involvement with climate change research and has been a critic of the lack of scientific research rigor that has driven the climate change movement. In his forward he challenges his fellow scientists to examine the scientific evidence about carbon and emissions and consider the alternatives to their blind faith in computer models that have consistently failed to explain climate trends.
Dr. Goklany is described in the report as
an independent scholar and author. He was a member of the U.S. delegation that established the IPCC and helped develop its First Assessment Report. He subsequently served as a U.S. delegate to the IPCC, and an IPCC reviewer. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.
But more than this, Goklany is a science and technology policy analyst for the United States Department of the Interior, where he holds the position of Assistant Director of Programs, Science and Technology Policy. He is author of several well-known books, including Clearing the Air (1999), The Precautionary Principle (2001), and The Improving State of the World (2007).
The present report examines the global benefits of carbon dioxide compared to its perceived damaging shortcomings.
The New Study
The report begins with the following opening paragraph:
The Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius, winner of the 1905 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, was the first scientist to develop a quantitative relationship between the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and global surface temperature. In 1895 he gave a paper to the Stockholm Physical Society on ‘The influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the ground’. But this father of anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW) also understood, as should anybody who has ever taken high school biology, that carbon dioxide is plant food and essential to life on earth. From this insight, he deduced that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration would benefit mankind by enhancing the growth of plants.
As he then explains, anyone who actually repeated Dr. Arrhenius’ conclusion today would be labeled a “science denier.” The use of the term “denier” as it relates to climate change has recently been ruled offside by the Associated Press that sets most of the editorial guidelines used by the media. The AP says that “deniers” or “skeptics” with respect to climate change should not be used but rather those people should be referred to as “climate change doubters” or “those who reject mainstream climate science.”
It is hard to imagine climate change activists agreeing to that language change.
The problem according to Goklany is with the “climate change believers.” He sees them embracing the first conclusion of Dr. Arrhenius’ research but ignoring the second. It is this second conclusion that Mr. Goklany’s report focuses on. As he points out, both satellite and ground-based data confirm that the biosphere’s productivity has increased in both managed ecosystems, including agriculture and managed forests, and in unmanaged or natural ecosystems.
The science is clear that higher carbon dioxide (CO2) increases the rates of plant growth, improves the efficiency with which plants use water, increases their drought resistance, and possibly increases crop resistance to pests and weeds. Increased crop yields feed a larger population and limit the need to convert existing habitat to farming. According to the research, the increase in crop yields has meant 11%–17% reduction in the loss of habitat that would have otherwise occurred.
The earth is greener. Terrestrial ecosystems’ productivity is up 14% since 1982. Even the IPCC has acknowledged that productivity is 5% greater than that experienced during pre-industrial times. What this has meant is a significant increase in human well-being. This improvement has come despite an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere from three million tons in 1750 to 9.5 billion tons in 2011.
As Mr. Goklany shows in several charts, the earth’s population has increased nine-fold, having grown from 800 million inhabitants in 1750 to 1.6 billion in 1900 and to 7.3 billion by 2014. The population growth has occurred while average gross domestic production per capita has increased 13-fold from $650 in 1750 to $1,261 in 1900 and $8,500 in 2014, all measured in 1990 International dollars. Average life expectancy has more than doubled during the time, going from 26 years in 1750 to 31 years in 1900 and 71 years in 2013.
The report also focuses on the reason why many of the damage claims made by climate change believers have failed to materialize. The author blames it on the issue of chained climate models that are un-validated, thus increasing the uncertainly level of the final conclusions. One of the major failings of the climate change movement is the poor performance of climate models that continually overestimate the rise in global temperatures. The report contained a chart showing average global temperature increases predicted by climate computer models compared to actual global surface temperature measurements. Their predictions are poor.
One of the key climate change debates relates to the warming of the planet. There have been numerous claims about how fast it is warming. The problem is that while temperatures may be increasing, as they have throughout history, the pace of the warming remains in doubt along with the cause of the warming. The inability of computer models to accurately reconstruct the past temperature history remains a key failing jeopardizing the validity of their forecasts when that output is used to drive government policies to alter economies and human lifestyle.
Therein lays the critical issue that climate change rationalists such as Alex Epstein, the author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, and Mr. Goklany focus on in their work – the benefits of carbon for improving living standards throughout the world. The claims that the science behind climate change is settled remain questionable as there are highly-respected climate scientists with peer-reviewed studies who refute many of the new climate change conclusions, and especially the projected outcomes of their policy recommendations. Moreover, if the science were settled, we should be able to replicate the past climate, something that computer models fail miserably to achieve.
The bigger issue, however, is the one that Goklany addresses, i.e., the failure of climate change believers to acknowledge that there are any social benefits from increased CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. The Paris climate change conference will be devoid of any opportunity for a rational assessment/debate of global climate policies as the religious hysteria driven by the almighty government-sponsored science-research dollar has tipped the scales in the debate.
Until the movement shifts away from its witch-hunting approach to debate, the climate change believers look increasingly like the mobs that over-ran the Bastille during the French Revolution. I’m sure some of the climate change believers would be happy to see the guillotine resurrected in the Place de la Concorde (formerly Place Louis XV and then Place de la Revolution) and used against deniers and doubters. Maybe it is fitting that COP21 is being held in Paris.