SUNLIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE explains in understandable terms the science of how both natural and human-caused global warming work. It describes how expensive and doubtful strategies, adopted by governments to comply with the goals of the Paris Agreement, have caused and will continue to cause increased human emissions of carbon dioxide, contribute to unhealthy air quality and significantly increase food costs for the very poor. It explores why declarations of a climate emergency are based on a political agenda, not scientific facts, and invites the reader to reconsider this belief system in the light of science.
WRITTEN BY RON BARMBY, GUEST POST ON MAR 1, 2023
There will probably be a federal election in Canada in the coming months as Justin Trudeau’s government is in a minority position with waning support.
His past three successful elections have all included fighting climate change as a key and winning platform. His current legislative agenda indicates his next campaign will have the same focus.
As Leader of the Official Opposition [pictured above], and in the best position to form a new government, you are currently advocating eliminating Trudeau’s national carbon tax and “letting technology handle CO2 emissions.”
That is probably a strategy to avoid playing to Trudeau’s strength, which is instilling fear of climate change in the voting public. But you could take it further by highlighting Trudeau’s main climate weakness: he misrepresents or is willingly ignorant of, the science of climate change.
Election campaigns require talking points, but I can offer you the following thinking points on the science of climate change that I hope you will find useful.
The Climate Changes but There Is No Climate Emergency
Trudeau’s declaration of a national climate emergency is based on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts of between 2.5°C and 3.5°C warming between now and the year 2100 (intermediate and high emissions scenarios).
If those forecasts—which are not compliant with the scientific method—were reasonable, surely the planet would be on that warming trend now. It’s not.
The most accurate and complete temperature survey of the planet comes from satellites, beginning in 1979. Over the past 44 years, satellite data reveals that the trend of global warming has been 0.13°C per decade, which if continued would add only 1°C by 2100.
Interestingly, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased by 25% over those four decades. CO2 doesn’t seem to have caused much warming during that time.
The warmest year on the satellite record is 1998 (caused by an El Nino event) indicating no current warming trend for the last 24 years. And CO2 concentrations have since increased by 14%.
This satellite data is backed up by the world’s most sophisticated land-based temperature survey designed for scientific research. The United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN) was set up to provide continental U.S. temperature data using state-of-the-art triple redundant instruments in pristine locations unaffected by human activity.
There has been no warming trend in the continental United States since USCRN data collection began 18 years ago. Interestingly again, CO2 concentrations were up 10% during that period.
Mr. Poilievre, this lack of warming is well-known and documented in the public domain. The limitations of CO2 causing global warming are also well-known and documented in the scientific domain and even accepted by the IPCC.
That is why Trudeau, with only tepid backing from the IPCC, is now claiming increased extreme weather events as the new basis for fear of climate change.
Except it’s not true that we’re experiencing increased extreme weather events. A recent study using established and accepted international databases saw no statistically significant increasing trends in the intensity of heatwaves, hurricanes and/or tropical storms, tornadoes, global and extreme precipitation, droughts, or floods.
On a Canadian note, the 2021/22 extreme weather events in central British Columbia consisting of a succession of a polar vortex, heat dome, wildfires, and flooding were not a result of CO2-induced climate change. They are all linked to instability in the jet stream, solidly backed up by meteorological science.
The Natural Causes of Climate Change Are Very Large.
The sun provides the Earth with almost all of its surface heat. On the time scale of recent human history, changes in the output of the sun are the smoking gun for climate change.
A less active sun has a weakened magnetic field, which allows more galactic cosmic rays to hit our atmosphere and ionize molecules. These ionized molecules become cloud-building sites. Low, dense clouds block the sun’s heat from reaching the surface of the Earth, causing temperatures to drop.
The opposite is true; a more active sun has a stronger magnetic field that shields the Earth from cosmic rays. This means less ionization and cloud-building, so more of the sun’s warming energy reaches the surface.
When the sun’s activity is low for many decades it is called a Grand Solar Minimum. During the Little Ice Age of 1300 to 1850, we experienced four consecutive Grand Solar Minimums; at that time the average global temperature was about 1°C lower than today.
Conversely, sustained high solar activity is called a Grand Solar Maximum and the most recent occurrence was during much of the 20th century when we experienced about 1°C of global warming.
The IPCC, with Trudeau‘s adherence, dismiss solar changes even though a 1% reduction in cloud cover could explain the global warming of the past century.
Eliminating The Carbon Tax is a Great Idea.
As Dr. Lars Schernikau, Ph.D. in Energy Economics and who grew up in the centrally planned economy of East Germany points out “…because pricing one externality but not others leads to economic and environmental distortions… causing human suffering.”
His example is particularly applicable to Canada where CO2 pricing is only on combustion, but green technology is exempt:
“How else could a ‘Net-Zero’ label be assigned to a solar panel produced from coal and minerals extracted in Africa with diesel-run equipment, transported to China on a vessel powered by fuel oil, and processed with energy from coal- or gas-fired power using partially with forced labor?”
Technology Cannot Handle CO2 Emissions.
In fact, technology is rather bad at handling CO2 emissions. Let’s look at wind power first. A 15% drop in wind speed equates to a 40% drop in electrical generation. Europe is a prime example of the failure of wind power.
That failure transferred European energy security to Russia which enabled it to invade Ukraine. American solar power failures became the highlight of Michael Moore’s documentary Planet of the Humans.
Hydrogen fuel cells were aptly described by Elon Musk as “mind-bogglingly stupid.” Burning hydrogen directly is not only an extreme safety risk (leaks from plastic local distribution pipelines), but it produces six times the smog-causing nitrous oxides that natural gas does.
Many hydroelectric dams produce more greenhouse gases than the burning of coal due to the cement-related CO2 and methane emissions from the artificial lakes.
Fully electric vehicles are a bad idea for Canada because (a) in very cold weather their driving range is halved while the charging time is doubled and (b) we don’t have the grid capacity to charge them anyway.
Adding ethanol to gasoline does not reduce CO2 emissions. That’s just an accounting trick, but not much of a trick because ethanol emissions are simply not counted. However, it does drive up food prices significantly, as food is converted to fuel. This is devastating to the world’s poor.
Carbon capture and storage in Canada’s oil sector would divert large sums of money away from being available for health care and reducing taxes while providing no impact on the steadily increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration (which incidentally is also driving up global crop yields).
Capping CO2 emissions from Canada’s oil industry just means a dictator’s oil will fill the market gap we could have ethically and responsibly filled.
Canada’s Next Election.
A global fear of climate change has led to panic, panic has led to bad decisions, and bad decisions have led to failure. The result is energy poverty, hunger, massive distortions of the free market, and a shooting war in Europe. That’s a far cry from the United Nations’ mandate of promoting peace.
Trudeau’s game plan for climate change is more fear, more panic, and more failure. Meanwhile, not a single signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement is on track to meet their 1.5°C emissions reductions target. Additionally, Canada now holds the title of the world’s most useful climate idiot and we have become a house divided.
A rational game plan would include only facts established by the scientific method, and dispassionate deliberation from the larger scientific and engineering community (wherein Canadians still enjoy a respected reputation).
Canadians should not fear climate change; they should understand it and prepare as necessary. We need a new plan based on evident realities, not science “experienced differently” by Trudeau.
What we should truly fear is Trudeau’s fight against climate change.
Ron Barmby (www.ronaldbarmby.ca) is a Professional Engineer with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, whose 40+ year career in the energy sector has taken him to over 40 countries on five continents. His book, Sunlight on Climate Change: A Heretic’s Guide to Global Climate Hysteria (Amazon, Barnes & Noble), explains in layman’s terms the science of how natural and human-caused global warming work.