Thursday, December 01, 2005


By Bob Foster -- -- Paper given at the AGM of the Royal Society of Victoria, 10 March 2005

Climate-change contention is "history in the making" - as PR people might correctly say. We don't yet know who will be proven 'right', of course; but we do know that today's most-publicised scientific hypothesis (ie. a people-driven climate) will not be replaced, piecemeal, from within by its own custodians. It must be overthrown.

Look at the past. Galileo found by observation that, contrary to mainstream opinion, Earth did not occupy a privileged location at the centre of the celestial sphere. Famously, he was forced to recant (in 1633): "I abjure, curse and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies." But in the end, that new-fangled telescope did for the geocentric universe. The dominant hypothesis of its millennium was changed by revolution, not evolution.

Early in the 20th Century, Wegener noted the fit between coastlines on either side of the Atlantic, and the separation of the plants/animals of Gondwana from the rest at Wallace's Line; and his followers subsequently identified similarities in the lithology and structure of continental segments now on opposite sides of oceans. Correlation is not proof; but as contrary evidence grew to a flood, the mainstream had to proffer up increasingly baroque explanations (US Geological Survey's intermittent land-bridges, for instance) of how animals and plants could spread - while continents kept their stations.

When I did geology at Adelaide in the 1950s, continental drift was dismissed by our faculty as "nice theory; shame it isn't true". Had we students persisted, we might have failed. The vehemence shows in a quote from Baily Willis: "... the hypothesis should, in my judgement, be placed in the discard, since further discussion of it merely incumbers the literature and befogs the minds of fellow scientists". Geologists fought like tigers to prevent this huge advance of scientific understanding, on the grounds that no causal mechanism for drifting continents could be shown. By 1963, the game was up; because deep-ocean drilling found observational evidence supporting Wegener - revolution again. The uniformitarianism of Hutton and Lyell (and the flood-geology which preceded it) is now forgotten. Sea-floor spreading and plate tectonics dominate.

End-points in the latest 'Battle of the Hypotheses'

* Earth's stable pre-industrial climate is only now disturbed by humans burning fossil fuels. The Mediaeval Warm Period, and subsequent series of Little Ice Age cold periods, didn't exist; and we can regain the climatic stability of a pre-industrial Arcadia by 'doing the right thing' about fossil-fuel use. All it will cost is money.

Or, to the contrary:

* Magnetised plasma from the Sun drives our ever-changing climate; and not even King Canute can keep it stable. Solar eruptive activity was greater in the 20th Century than for 9,000 years; and its variability can be calculated. A Little-Ice-Age-like 'quiet Sun' will return before 2030 - within any responsible government's planning horizon.

Wealthy-few-driven climate

The hypothesis of a 'people-driven climate' has powerful friends. British PM Tony Blair has declared: "We can defeat climate change if we want to"; and UK Chief Scientist Sir David King (recently awarded a second 5-year term) predicts that: "Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked". Science has gone neurotic.

But this hypothesis has mainstream support. For instance, the submission of 1 September 2000 to Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties by Research School of Earth Sciences at Australian National University, Canberra, asserts: "The statements to the JSCT Inquiry which follow are 'authoritative' in the sense that they are made by well-established scientists active in leading edge research on the natural variability of climate." And it concludes in authoritative vein: "... we are of the firm view that 20th Century global warming and sea-level rise are observed and, on scientific grounds, attributable to changes in the Earth's atmospheric composition caused by human activities."

The Oslo Statement of 7 December 2001, signed by 108 Nobel Laureates (Late President Arafat didn't sign), is just as dogmatic; and it goes much further: "The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most ..."
Hence, ours is a 'wealthy-few-driven climate'. It is good to know that decarbonising the world economy, in order to regain pre-industrial stability, will only hurt those 'few'. But do Nobel Laureates bring anything special when outside their specialties?

In 1990, China and India used 10.8% of the world's commercially-traded primary energy (BP Statistical Review); and their share has grown to 17.2% in 2004 - of which a massive 66% is carbon-rich coal. By contrast, the share of North America plus Europe and the Former Soviet Union, was 68.1% and 56.2% in 1990 and 2004, respectively. But how much of theirs was coal?
It was just under 20% in 2004. China/India coal consumption grew 75% in 1990-2004, while in NA/E/FSU it was static; and in 2004, China/India out-consumed them coalwise. China and India are not "the wealthy few".

Sun-Earth connection

When the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten came to power in 1352BC, he dismissed Amun, Ra, and their ilk, and the priestly class serving them. Instead, he proclaimed the Sun as the dominant influence on the well-being of Egypt; and only he and Nefertiti were permitted to deal directly with the solar disc - the Aten. When that pair died, 9-year-old recidivist Tutankhamun reinstated the pantheon; and its priests tried to erase all record of them and the heresy of a connection between Earth and Sun. A long wait then ensued.

Copernicus had already reported in his 1543 "book that nobody read", On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, that mundanely, Earth orbits the Sun. But flowering of the contrarian hypothesis had to await Galileo's telescope. In the second half of the 1600s, when observatories could study the Sun, sunspots were only rarely seen. However, in the following century they became more abundant, as did Aurora Borealis. It was not long before these phenomena were thought to be related.

Lacking weather records, the first positive correlation of sunspot activity with earthly climate (ca. 1800) had to be made via the proxy of English wheat prices. It was not until the 1850s that a Sun-Earth correlation was well demonstrated - between sunspots and terrestrial magnetic storms (Soon and Yaskell 2003, "The Maunder Minimum and the variable Sun-Earth connection"). An eminently-plausible hypothesis was born.

This hypothesis has always had powerful enemies. In his 1892 presidential address to the Royal Society, Lord Kelvin discussed his calculations showing that the Sun could not influence Earth. In Nature that year, he asserted: "This result, it seems to me is absolutely conclusive against the supposition that terrestrial magnetic storms are due to magnetic action of the Sun; or any kind of dynamical action taking place within the Sun, or in connection with hurricanes in his atmosphere, or anywhere near the Sun outside ... [W]e may also be forced to conclude that the supposed connection between magnetic storms and sun-spots is unreal and that the seeming agreement between the periods has been mere coincidence."

In April 2005, the Society sent to the House of Lords inquiry, The Economics of Climate Change, "A guide to facts and fictions about climate change", saying: "This document examines twelve misleading arguments put forward by the opponents of urgent action on climate change and highlights the scientific evidence that exposes their flaws. It has been prepared by a group led by Sir David Wallace FRS, Treasurer of the Royal Society and Sir John Houghton FRS, former chair of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This document has been endorsed by the Council of the Royal Society ..."

The Society stands by Lord Kelvin - and, as it chances, Shakespeare's Juliet: who pleads "pay no worship to the garish sun" - by identifying one 'misleading argument' as: "The Earth is getting hotter, but not because of emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. ... Variations in the sun are more likely to be the cause of climate changing than increases in greenhouse gases."

Sir David warned journalists that "there are some individuals on the fringes, sometimes with financial support from the oil industry, who have been attempting to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change". Science-author John Gribbin (The Sunday Times, 7 August 2005) concurs: "What made the Royal Society special was its scepticism. Its motto, Nullius in verba, loosely translates as 'take nobody's word for granted'. ... Some people don't 'believe' that adding gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere makes the world warmer..."

"But the evidence for this has been clear since the 19th century. I gave up writing about the greenhouse effect 25 years ago because the scientific case was so overwhelming that there was nothing new to say ...." Do I detect here the Shade of Sir Harold Jeffreys? Half a century ago, he disposed of continental drift as "an explanation which explains nothing which we wish to explain". But 'scientific consensus' is only that. History tells us that the advancement of scientific understanding has never been a matter of voting.

Last resort - look at the evidence

The Working Group 1 Summary for Policymakers of IPCC's Third Assessment Report "Climate change 2001: the scientific basis" (Houghton, J.T. et al, Eds) tells us: "The global-averaged surface temperature has increased since 1861. ... The record shows a great deal of variability; for example, most of the warming (ie. about 0.6 0C) occurred during the 20th century, during two periods, 1910 to 1945 and 1976 to 2000."

It goes on to show, in Figure 4 (a), that more than all the warming between the late 1800s and 2000 is human-caused - without us, the world would have cooled. But sky-rocketing fossil-fuel consumption did not take off until after WW2 - just in time for 30 years of slight global cooling. Furthermore, the second of the two roughly-equal tranches of warming during the 20th Century began with the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976/77; and this abrupt curtailment of cold-water upwelling had no counterpart in abrupt change of atmospheric composition at that time. Popper might well have called this lack of correlation "empirical disproof" of the 'people-driven climate' hypothesis. Warming in the 20th Century better correlates with geomagnetic variability - which (already noted by Sabine in 1852) correlates in turn with variable solar eruptive activity.

Come the revolution!

The contrarian hypothesis invokes two natural drivers; and both may have solar/planetary pacemakers. Primarily, variable solar eruptive activity modulates cloudiness, albedo, and amount of little-varying solar heat output reaching the surface; Earth is brighter now than during the dim Maunder Minimum 'quiet Sun' of 300 years ago. Theodor Landscheidt's ground-breaker (, "New Little Ice Age instead of Global Warming?" of 2003, explains. At a 50/70-year period, cyclic upwelling in the equatorial eastern Pacific represents inertial events, exchanging angular momentum between lithosphere and ocean/atmosphere; and implications are explored in Gary D. Sharp's 2003 FAO fisheries technical paper "Future climate change and regional fisheries" (

Nelson-like, IPCC has clapped Galileo's glass to its blind eye. Its outline for the Fourth Assessment Report volume "Climate Change 2007: the Physical Science Basis", eschews the solar wind. Section 2 Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing, does mention Sun in the subsection Variability in Solar and Volcanic Radiative Forcing. Volcanoes influence weather, of course, but seldom to the multi-decadal extent implicit in the term "climate". Solar radiative forcing fluctuates by only fractions of a percent. But solar mass ejections vary by orders of magnitude - and yet, IPCC still ignores them. But don't worry; evidence-based revolution must surely come.


(Owned by IPCC and its consensus of 2,500 of the world's top climate scientists.)

1. The Mediaeval Warm Period and subsequent Little Ice Age cold periods didn't exist.

2. Our unchanging past climate is now warmed by people burning of fossil fuels.

3. Unless we massively decarbonise the world economy, further warming is inevitable.

4. Humanity can regain the benign stability of its pre-industrial Arcadia if it wants to - by 'doing the right thing' about its use of carbon-based fuels.


(Owned by contrarians like me.)

1. Our ever-changing climate is driven primarily by the Sun's variable eruptive activity.

2. The 300-yr warming-trend since the Maunder Minimum "quiet Sun" is one outcome.

3. Climate change in the 20th Century included two roughly-equal tranches of warming.

4. The first anticipated the sharp growth in fossil-fuel use said to be their cause.

5. Instead, the post-WW2 jump in usage marked the start of 30 year's cooling.

6. This warming/fuel-use mismatch is empirical disproof of IPCC's hypothesis.

7. Natural drivers (solar/inertial) do explain the timing of observed 20th C warming.

8. Because it is driven by planetary motions, solar variability can be calculated.

9. If the Sun keeps playing by the rules, cooling will be detectable by decade-end.

10. The next Little Ice Age cold period (Landscheidt Minimum) will be here by 2030.

11. Twenty-five years is within the planning horizon of responsible governments.

12. How might we feed the World during the Landscheidt Minimum?


A sudden winter freeze gripped parts of northern Europe, with heavy snowfalls cutting power, cancelling football matches and spreading air and road traffic chaos. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was shut for most of the day as ice made its staircases treacherous, while heavy snowfalls meant thousands of people in France and Germany faced plummeting temperatures without electricity. "We hope power will be restored tonight. Our teams are out there working on it," a spokeswoman for Electricite de France said. Some 7,000 homes out of 17,000 that suffered power failures in France's western Vendee region overnight were still without electricity by nightfall, she added.

A quarter of a million people were also without electricity in Germany's most populous state of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), authorities there said. Soccer fans in the Belgian city of Liege were disappointed when a keenly awaited clash between Anderlecht and Standard, two giants of the premier division, was postponed because of the cold. A German league match between MSV Duisburg and Cologne was also postponed because of heavy snow.

Air traffic also suffered from the snow and ice. Flights in and out of airports in Paris, Brussels and the north German city of Duesseldorf, the NRW state capital, were all affected. A Duesseldorf airport spokesman said 36 flights had to be redirected and 25 were cancelled. "I have been working at the airport for 11 years and I cannot remember something like this ever happening before," spokesman Torsten Hiermann said. Brussels airport said it, too, had experienced cancellations and delays, while a spokesman for France's Aeroports de Paris said 23 flights from Charles de Gaulle airport were grounded. "It's mostly because of snow on the runways," he said.

The Paris region saw about 5 cm of snow and in northwest France there was up to 10 cm. The climatic conditions also threw the northern half of Spain under a bad weather alert, and closed several mountain passes. Officials said the real danger, however, was extreme cold. The French government declared a level two state of alert - decreed when daytime temperatures remain negative and sink to between minus 5 and minus 10 celsius at night - under its so-called Winter Plan to protect the homeless, for just over a third of the country. That came after two homeless people died in France during the past 48 hours due to the intense cold.

Traffic snarled across France, with 120 semi-trailers still blocked at midday on the road from the coast to the Breton capital of Rennes in France's north-west. About 200 semi-trailers had been stuck there earlier in the day.

Heavy snowfall and biting Arctic winds also prompted travel chaos in parts of Britain as people struggled with the cold snap that stranded motorists overnight, caused short-term power cuts and stretched the emergency services. In south-west England, up to 500 people were forced to spend the night in temporary shelters after they were rescued from their vehicles stuck on exposed Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. By mid-morning slightly higher temperatures had triggered a thaw, raising the risk of flash flooding. Britain's Met Office said more snow was forecast for the extreme north, while most of the country will face rain and sleet showers.


Anti-nuclear lobby 'holding back fight on climate change'

Lord May is aiming his fire at a more reasonable target this time

Green lobby groups that oppose nuclear energy were accused of "fundamentalism" yesterday as the Government announced a review of whether to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Lord May of Oxford, the outgoing president of the Royal Society, said that environmental campaigners risked holding back the fight against climate change with an absolutist approach that refused to consider nuclear power. "I recognise there are huge problems with nuclear, but these have to be weighed against other problems," Lord May said. "This has to be recognised as a problem by what you might call a fundamentalist belief system. "Fundamentalism doesn't necessarily derive from a sacred text. There are also NGOs [non-governmental organisations] that are reluctant to weigh one problem against another, but have a subset of problems that are absolute and undiscussable."

He will go further in a valedictory speech today, linking such opposition to a resurgent fundamentalism, more often displayed by religious extremists, that threatens free scientific inquiry.

His warning came as Tony Blair announced to the CBI conference his long-awaited energy review, which will recommend next summer whether to start building new nuclear power stations in readiness for when the present nuclear plants are due to be decommissioned in about 2020. Mr Blair was prevented from making his speech in the main conference hall by two Greenpeace demonstrators who climbed up an inside roof overlooking the stage. Instead Mr Blair spoke in improvised form in a crowded side meeting room.

The Prime Minister said that Britain and other countries would have to diversify into several sources of energy and predicted that the Kyoto Protocol governing carbon emissions, which expires in 2012, would be followed by a binding international agreement covering all leading economies. "Energy prices have risen. Energy supply is under threat. Climate change is producing a sense of urgency," Mr Blair said. "The future is clean energy and nations will look to diversify out of energy dependence on one source."

In 15 years Britain would have decommissioned both coal and nuclear plants that between them accounted for 30 per cent of today's electricity supply, he said. "Some of this will be replaced by renewables but not all of it can."

The CBI ordered an immediate review of its security after it was discovered that the two Greenpeace protesters, who posed as conference delegates, had paid for delegate passes through a bogus company, E-Lingo, before scaling girders to reach the roof. The pair, Huw Williams and Nyls Verhauelt, were later arrested. Two legitimate passes were issued to Greenpeace delegates, although the campaign group was refused permission to erect an exhibition stand in the hall.

Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, who will head the Government's review, said that it would consider ways of speeding up any planning inquiries should new nuclear power stations be proposed. These would require private investment but would need "some special relationship between the market and the state in this area". The review would also look at renewable energy, coal, gas and new technologies, plus transport systems and energy efficiency, Mr Wicks said. Its aim was to identify clean, reliable, affordable energy supplies for the long term


Germany: Arrogant Greenies halt nuclear convoy: "Anti-nuclear protestors repeatedly halted a controversial shipment of highly radioactive nuclear waste from France bound for a temporary storage facility in northern Germany. The activists said the train with 12 containers carrying more than 170 tonnes of treated nuclear power plant waste was stopped in the city of Goettingen for about 30 minutes and then later in the village of Bienenbuettel en route to the Gorleben site. Eighteen demonstrators were briefly detained in Goettingen. In the town of Harlingen, police removed 150 activists staging a sit-in on the tracks and detained 23. Demonstrators later set fire to bales of hay placed next to the tracks and police had to move in with water cannon. Thick plumes of smoke were still rising when the train rolled by at a snail's pace. Police also cleared a blockade of 160 tractors near the town of Klein Gusborn late Sunday, on the last leg of the 600-kilometer (370-mile) trip, where more than 600 people joined the protest following demonstrations throughout the weekend. Authorities had to forcibly clear the blockade, with more than 70 of the tractors seized and taken to a nearby field."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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