Svetoslav Apostolov's blog

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.

Ralph Emerson

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.

Edmund Burke

I would like to begin this entry by thanking Eberhard Rhein for his response to my letter to the editor of EurActiv.com titled “The EU institutions’ hypocritical fight against climate change” since initiating a public debate on the issue of the Community institution’s policies on climate change mitigation and their personal contribution to these policies was exactly what my letter aimed at.

However, Rhein has fundamentally misunderstood the theses in my letter which inevitably led him to the wrong conclusion that the main points of my letter were:

– Man made climate change does not take place, but the EU institutions have made it their mantra.

– The EU institutions waste energy and therefore behave hypocritically.

– The EU institutions do not employ people who do not share their vision of climate change.

(Rhein, 2009)

This entry serves to correct author’s wrong conclusions and the related argumentation. To avoid any misunderstanding on the part of a reader who has not read the criticized by Rhein letter, I would like to once again note that I am neither a climatologist nor a meteorologist. Therefore, I form my opinion by reading what prominent climatologists, astronomers, paleontologists, etc. (the people that actually do climate-related scientific research) write on the subject of climate change. To that point my considerable training in and experience of scientific research help me sort out what I call real science from pseudo-science, i.e. “science-like”, “wanna be science”.

I. Man made climate change does not take place, but the EU institutions have made it their mantra

As far as E. Rhein’s first conclusion and corresponding argumentation are concerned, I would like to note that in my letter I do not at all question the existence of climate change as such. On the contrary, I explicitly acknowledge the existence of the natural phenomenon – see my reply at the interview for a position with the Commission of the European Communities (hereinafter the European Commission, EC). Therefore, I assume that there is no disagreement between Rhein and me on this thesis.

However, at this point it is very important to emphasize the relativity of the trend of observed climate change which is entirely dependent on the baseline, the reference point against which we assess this change. If we select the 19th century (the end of the so-called Little Ice Age when the Thames is documented to have frozen over) as the baseline, then the trend will be upwards. However, if we set the reference point some 1000 to 800 years before the present (during the period referred to as the Medieval Warm Period when Vikings are said to have colonized and grown crops in Greenland and Newfoundland), the trend will be downward (Singer and Avery 2005, Carter 2007, Jaworowski 2007; see also Singer and Avery 2007, Singer and Idso 2009).

To pre-empt the highly probable argument that the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period were regional phenomena (as often speculated, for example by Mann – the author of the invalidated “hockey stick” graph which served as the icon of man-made global warming, see Appell 2005) I would like to point out that although “not a synchronous phenomenon in all regions of the globe” (Goose et al. 2008, p. 169), there is sufficient evidence that the phenomenon did occur around the globe (details in Goose et al. 2008, Verschuren and Charman 2008, Singer and Idso 2009).

The interested reader is advised to consult the comprehensive reviews by Singer and Avery (2005), Carter (2007), Carter and colleagues (2007), Jaworowski (2007), Carter (2008) and the books by Leroux (2005), Svensmark and Calder (2008) and Singer and Idso (2009) on the nature of climate change. Nova (2009) has published a handbook intended to introduce beginners to the polemics on climate change.

Back to Rein’s response, in my letter I do question the EC’s policies on combating climate change which are best described as putting all eggs in the same basket. Despite the numerous theories on the nature of climate change, the EC focuses only on the theory of man-made global warming and channels all efforts (which, not to forget, equal taxpayer’s money, for details see figures 1 and 2 and the explanation thereto in Apostolov 2009) in that direction only. However, looking at the scientific literature, I see no reasonable explanation why this particular probability is preferred to all other, the most wide-spread of which are:

1) the observed warming trend in climate change is likely to continue in the next century or centuries as a consequence of an entirely natural phenomenon as recognized by a significant part of the scientific community – for example, more than 100 scientists of various backgrounds signed an open letter to the UN Secretary-General in 2007 (National Post 2007), in which they wrote:

It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages.

it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions.

despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998.

significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.

it is irrational to apply the “precautionary principle” because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.

(National Post 2007)

2) the observed warming trend in climate change is only a short-term phenomenon which will be followed by a long-term cold period as described by Bryden and colleagues (2005) and in Laverty (2003) (see also Singer and Idso 2009).

3) research indicates that a part to the observed warming trend might be due to improved environmental conditions (Sington 2005, BBC 2009).

4) some researchers argue that environmental pollution could actually reduce the speed of global warming (Schiermeier 2009).

All these recent theories demonstrate beyond any doubt that there is no “overwhelming consensus among the international scientific community on the manmade nature of the phenomenon” as speculated by Rhein (2009).

Further to that, as mentioned in the letter in question, in early 2009 there were more than 700 internationally renowned scientists who disagree with the IPCC’s claim of “man-made global warming”, amongst these even lead authors and contributors to the IPCC’s reports (see the respective references in the letter).

Moreover, there is no room for “overwhelming consensus” or “scientific consensus” in real science. Debate is the “normal state” of science – as we all know truth is born of argument. If that were not the case, we would still be living on a disc resting on five elephants and healing flu with funny dances and bad singing. Even Mann, whose “hockey stick” has been disproved by following research, was not discouraged by the polemic and said in an interview “If we allowed that sort of thing to stop us from progressing in science, that would be a very frightening world” (Appell 2005). On the subject of pseudo-science promoted by the consensus advocates I highly recommend Crichton’s article “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous”.

Last but not least, a 2007 report published by Fenton and colleagues presented the results of a study revealing global warming on Mars – where no man has even step a foot, not to speak of releasing CO2. I would like to know how that piece of evidence that global warming is driven by natural forces fits in the argument of proponents of man-made global warming.

While I generally agree with Rhein’s statement on development of climate science, I would like to point out that the development of climate-related research seems to have done a huge leap in the last 5 years in a direction opposing the one supported by him (see above).

In view of the scientific uncertainty of the drive of climate change and its future trend (warming on cooling), in my letter I do not claim that one of the two theories mentioned there is correct or final. I just point out that currently even scientists are not sure of the nature of climate change and which way it will go in the next 20 years and argue that a real precautionary approach would employ both probabilities and a well-thought, comprehensive climate change mitigation strategy should equally consider the two alternative scenarios”.

In the light of the above for me it is unclear why the EC continues to spend money on measures of, to use the scientific language, questionable effectiveness. And that was the first message of my letter that Rhein has misunderstood.

II. The EU institutions waste energy and therefore behave hypocritically

This is the author’s second misunderstanding. Nowhere in my letter I claim that the Community institutions are hypocritical simply because they use or waste energy.

I call the European Commission and the European Parliament hypocritical because while on the one hand these institutions develop and adopt policies and measures aiming to cut CO2 emissions (including from transport – see European Commission’s CO2 and cars and climate change and aviation web sites) as means of fighting global warming and call for strengthening of the existing ones (EurActiv 2009), on the other hand they release significant quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere by unnecessary travelling, which in the case of the European Parliament is reported to be about 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year (Eco-Logica Ltd. 2007). And because contrary not only to the will of more than one third of the representatives elected by the European taxpayers to the European Parliament (Alvaro et al 2008) but even to the direct will of the people who are their sovereign (Oneseat.eu web site), these institutions have done nothing to discontinue their environment deteriorating practices.

And this has nothing to do with the Community’s performance in terms of energy efficiency compared to other industrialized countries.

III. The EU institutions do not employ people who do not share their vision of climate change

In his response Rhein writes “it is absurd to assume that EU institutions ask potential job or research applicants for their views on climate change”.

With all due respect I must point out that I did not assume anything but described a real-life situation: that was the question I was asked at the interview, word by word: “Do you believe in climate change?” (emphasis added).

The described biased and hypocritical approach of the European Commission to the subject of global warming, the cited question and Gräs’ blog entry (2009) make me really wonder what kind of people are getting their salaries from my taxes and how wisely and efficiently they spend my tax money.


REFERENCES:

Alvaro, A., Kauppi, P.-N., Ries, F., Stihler, C., Trüpel, H. 2008. Written Declaration on holding all European Parliament plenary sessions in Brussels.

Available online:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+WDECL+P6-DCL-2008-0075+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN (site last accessed on 05.06.2009).

Apostolov, S. 2009. The Rising Pyramid. [online]

URL: http://spapostolov.blogactiv.eu/2009/07/08/the-rising-pyramid/ (site last accessed on 15.07.2009).

Appel, D. 2005. Behind the Hockey Stick. Scientific American Vol. 292 No 3, p. 34.

BBC. 2009. Europe’s lost mist ‘boosts heat’. [online]

URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7838358.stm (site last accessed on 14.07.09).

Bryden, H., H. Longworth and S. Cunningham, 2005. Slowing of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 25°N. Nature, 438, p. 655. In Latif, M., Böning, C., Willebrand, J., Biastoch, A., Dengg, J., Keenlyside, N., Schweckendiek, U. and Madec, G. 2006. Is the thermohaline circulation changing? Journal of Climate 19, (18), p. 4631. doi:10.1175/JCLI3876.1

Available online: http://www.atlanticmoc.org/pubs/Latifetal_JCL_2006.pdf (site last accessed on 16.07.2009).

Carter, R. 2007. The myth of dangerous human-caused climate change. Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, New Leaders Conference, Brisbane, May 2-3 2007, Conference Proceedings p. 61-74.

Available online: http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/2007%2005-03%20AusIMM%20corrected.pdf (site last accessed on 15.07.2009).

Carter, R., De Freitas, C., Goklany, I., Holland, D., Lindzen, R. 2007. Climate change. Climate science and the Stern Review. World Economics Vol. 8 No. 2, p. 161-182.

Available online:

http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/WE%20Riposte%20to%20Critique.pdf (site last accessed on 15.07.2009).

Carter, R. 2008. Knock, knock: where is the evidence for dangerous human-caused global warming? Economic Analysis & Policy Journal 32(2), 107-202.

Available online: http://www.eap-journal.com/vol_38_iss_2.php (site last accessed on 14.07.09).

Crichton, M. Why Politicized Science is Dangerous. [online]

URL: http://www.crichton-official.com/essay-stateoffear-whypoliticizedscienceisdangerous.html (site last accessed on 14.07.09).

Eco-Logica Ltd. 2007. European Parliament: a study of the environmental costs of the European Parliament two-seat operation. [online]

URL: http://www.greens-efa.org/cms/topics/dokbin/180/180441.eu_and_climate_change@en.pdf (site last accessed on 05.06.2009).

EurActiv. 2009. EU urged to reconsider strategic energy goals. [online]

URL: http://www.euractiv.com/en/energy/eu-urged-reconsider-strategic-energy-goals/article-178733 (site last accessed on 05.06.2009).

European Commission’s Climate Change and Aviation web site: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/aviation_en.htm (site last accessed on 16.07.2009).

European Commission’s CO2 and Cars web site: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/co2/co2_home.htm (site last accessed on 16.07.2009).

Fenton, L., Geissler, P and Haberle, R. 2007. Global warming and climate forcing by recent albedo changes on Mars. Nature 446, doi:10.1038/nature.05718.

Available online: http://humbabe.arc.nasa.gov/~fenton/pdf/fenton/nature05718.pdf (site last accessed on 14.07.09).

Goosse, H., Mann, M. and Renssen, H. 2008. “Climate of the past millennium: combining proxy data and model simulations.” In Battarbee, R. and Binney, H. (eds.). 2008. Natural climate variability and global warming: a Holocene perspective, p. 163. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., UK. ISBN 978-1-4051-5905-0.

Gräs, T. 2009. How climate change will change your diet. [online]

URL: http://blogs.euobserver.com/gras/2009/07/02/how-climate-change-will-change-your-diet/ (site last accessed on 03.07.2009).

Jaworowski, Z. 2007. CO2: The greatest scientific scandal of our time. 21st CENTURY Science & Technology, Spring/Summer 2007.

Available online: http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202007/20_1-2_CO2_Scandal.pdf (site last accessed on 14.07.09).

Laverty, A. 2003. The Big Chill. First shown on BBC in November 2003.

Leroux, M. 2005. Global Warming – Myth or Reality? Praxis Publishing Ltd., UK. ISBN: 3-540-23909-X.

Oneseat.eu web site: http://www.oneseat.eu/ (site last accessed on 14.01.2009).

National Post. 2007. Don’t fight, adapt: We should give up futile attempts to combat climate change. Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dec. 13, 2007.

Available online: http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=165020 (site last accessed on 14.07.09).

Nova, J. 2009. The Skeptic’s Handbook. ISBN 978-0-9581688-2-3.

Available online: http://joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/skeptics_handbook_2-0.pdf (site last accessed on 16.07.2009).

Rhein, E. 2009. A Response To ‘EU Institutions Hypocritical Fight Against Climate Change’. [online]

URL: http://rhein.blogactiv.eu/2009/07/15/a-response-to-eu-institutions-hypocritical-fight-against-climate-change/ (site last accessed on 15.07.2009).

Schiermeier, Q. 2009. Rising air pollution clouds climate debate. Nature, doi:10.1038/news.2009.159.

Singer, S. and C. Idso. 2009. Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

Available online: http://www.nipccreport.org/index.html (site last accessed on 16.07.2009).

Singer, S. and D. Avery. 2005. The Physical Evidence of Earth’s Unstoppable 1,500-Year Climate Cycle. NCPA Policy Report No. 279. ISBN 1-56808-149-9.

Available online: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st279/ (site last accessed on 16.07.2009).

Singer, S. and D. Avery. 2007. Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0742551176.

Sington, D. 2005. Global Dimming. First shown on BBC in 2005.

Available online: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2058273530743771382 (site last accessed on 14.07.09).

Svensmark, H. and N. Calder. 2008. The Chilling Stars: A Cosmic View of Climate Change. Icon Books Ltd., UK. ISBN: 978-1840468-66-3.

Verschuren, D. and D. Charman. 2008. “Latitudinal linkages in late Holocene moisture-balance variation.” In Battarbee, R. and Binney, H. (eds.). 2008. Natural climate variability and global warming: a Holocene perspective, p. 189. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., UK. ISBN 978-1-4051-5905-0.

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Comments

  1. I think this debate raises some important issues about the relationship between science and policy.

    First, that we tend to be reliant on scientific information that has been ‘translated’ or simplified for mass consumption in such a way that its ambiguous nature is cast aside. It could well be that the institutional weight of the Commission’s decision to take strong action against anthropogenic greenhouse gases necessitates a seemingly one-sided body of scientific knowledge in order to provide the political justification for the immense project of transforming Europe into a more carbon-neutral society.

    Second, because of the level of ambiguity coming out of the scientific data, and because of the high stakes which Eberhard is quite rightly concerned about (humanity itself!), it only makes sense to act in accordance with the precautionary principle in order that we might prevent catastrophe. But we can’t pretend that taking preventative action in accordance with one hypothesis precludes action on another competing theory. I think the point Svetoslav is raising is more important than the Bush-era climate change heresy that honed our reactionary instinct against those who deny the impact and implications of our collective exhaust. As a scientist, it must be worrying when scientific method appears to be compromised by ‘politics.’ Still, the lesson for me is that we in fact have more work to do and not less.

  2. Evala, Svetli! Mnogo dobre argumentirano, haresa mi. Publikuvano e vava Facebook CEU page kato link – ottam vidyah statiyata.

  3. Scott’s comment is very correct – mankind as a species HAS TO BE CONCERNED about its own future if it is to avoid the faith of many other species that have perished due to past changes of the Earth’s climate. I myself am also concerned. But my concern is that efforts are wasted trying to stop the Earth from turning instead of developing really productive adaptation policies and measures.

    The comment also raises a very important issue of democracy and ethic – can the Commission decide FOR the people of Europe what they need? Can the arm decide what the head needs?

    And if the Commission has decided for some reason that a carbon-neutral society is “just what the doctor ordered” – why not just tell us fair and square but come up with some dubious claims of man-made global warming?!

  4. Recent peer-reviewed articles invalidating the theory of man-made global warming:

    Bard, E., Rickaby, R. 2009. Migration of the subtropical front as a modulator of glacial climate. Nature Vol. 460 Issue 7253, p. 380.

    Carslaw, K. 2009. Cosmic rays, clouds and climate. Nature Vol. 460 Issue 7253, p. 332.

    Tollefson, J. 2009. Climate’s smoky spectre. Nature Vol. 460 Issue 7251, p. 29.

    Zahn, R. 2009. Beyond the CO2 connection. Nature Vol. 460 Issue 7253, p. 335.
    .
    .
    .
    Older articles from peer-reviewed publications invalidating the theory of man-made global warming:

    Carslaw, K., Harrison, R., Kirkby, J. 2002. Cosmic rays, clouds, and climate. Science Vol. 298 No. 5599, p. 1732. doi: 10.1126/science.1076964.

    Edwards, P., Schneider, S. 1997. The 1995 IPCC report: Broad consensus or “scientific cleansing”? Ecofable/Ecoscience 1:1 (1997).
    Available online:
    http://www.si.umich.edu/~pne/PDF/ecofables.pdf (site last accessed on 23.07.2009).

    Edwards, P., Schneider, S. 2001. Self-Governance and Peer Review in Science-for-Policy: The Case of the IPCC Second Assessment Report. In Miller, C. and P. Edwards (eds.) Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

    Kristjansson, J., Kristiansen, J., Kaas, E. 2003. Solar activity, cosmic rays, clouds and climate – an update. Advances in Space Research. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2003.02.040.

    Marsh, N., Svensmark, H. 2000. Cosmic rays, clouds and climate. Space Science Reviews Vol. 94 No 1-2, p. 215.
    Available online:
    http://www.dsri.dk/~hsv/SSR_Paper.pdf (site last accessed on 23.07.2009).
    .
    .
    .
    Other articles disproving the theory of man-made global warming:

    National Science Foundation. 2009. Solar Cycle Linked to Global Climate. Press Release 09-139 [online].
    URL: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=115207&org=NSF&from=news (site last accessed on 24.07.2009).

    Devlin, H. 2009. Climate study puts Incas’ success down to 400 years of warm weather. Times Online. [online]
    URL: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article6728241.ece (site last accessed on 27.07.2009).

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