We published a column by regular columnist Andrew Kenny entitled ‘The climate scandal of 2009’. A reader, Bruce Sobey, commented at length on the article and challenged Andrew on a number of points.

We thought it of interest to publish Mr Sobey’s comments followed by Andrew’s response to them.

Bruce Sobey:

Andrew, your article is rife with half-facts. Contrary to what you say CO2 has been demonstrated to be one of the gases that have a warming effect.

In the 1820s Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier calculated that the earth would be much colder than it is if the incoming radiation from the sun were the only warming effect. He concluded that the Earth’s atmosphere acts like an insulator.

In the 1850s John Tyndall conducted experiments to measure precisely how infra-red radiation is absorbed by the earth’s gases. He found that oxygen and nitrogen have little effect but that water vapour, carbon dioxide and ozone are strong absorbers of heat radiation.

In 1898 Svante Arrhenius put forward the theory of the greenhouse effect and calculated that doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would increase temperatures by 5°C to 6°C.

In 1956 Gilbert Plass, using computers, confirmed that more carbon dioxide would have a warming effect and calculated that doubling CO2 levels would result in a warming of 3-4°C.

In 2018 the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached 407.4 ppm. Based on ice core data for the past 800,000 years, CO2 has never been higher than 300 ppm.

In 2019 a study in the journal The Cryosphere, citing research by a team from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, tells of a reduction of almost 30 percent in the area covered by glaciers on all Peruvian mountain ranges between 2000 and 2016.  I am a mountaineer (as well as an engineer) and know of no mountaineers that deny climate change – we have seen too rapid changes to deny heating.  Note that CO2 is not the only warming gas.  Methane is about 12 times as bad with SF6 much worse.

A good review of the history is https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/successful-predictions-of-climate-science/   Watch the video.  It shows how the CO2 effect is checked with heating of Venus and how Astrophysics calcs tie up with Climate Change calcs.

You are totally incorrect about scientific consensus. Refer to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus_on_climate_change  If the scientific consensus is as poor as you say then why do publications like Scientific American, National Geographic, agree with it and why does NASA also form part of the consensus on their website?

You vilify Greta, but she has every right to do what she is doing.  She is saying “you are poisoning the well that we are going to have to drink from”.  There is an old Greek saying to the effect that a good society is one where the old people plant trees that they will never sit under.  What type of society do we have where the children have to strike to attempt to stop their elders from destroying the earth that they have to live in?  You may want to read “The Climate Casino” by William Nordhaus.  “The Carbon War” by Jeremy Leggett also will give you some detail about climate misinformation sources.

Andrew Kenny:

Dear Bruce,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your interest in my article, and I’d welcome any data, facts, evidence or science that dispute anything I have written. I always want to learn.

My responses are as follows:

1. CO2 as a Greenhouse Gas

As I had written previously the Earth’s surface temperature is probably about 33 deg C higher than it would have been without greenhouse gases – of which water vapour is by far the most important, accounting for over 90% of the greenhouse effect.

CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas, with only one significant absorption band (15 micron) in the Earth’s IR emission spectrum. In a test tube of air, CO2 should have a tiny and diminishing (logarithmic) heating effect (usually given by ΔF  =  5.35 ln (C / C0 )watts / m2). In the real world no such effect has been seen in the last 550,000,000 years. The two obvious reasons why not are negative feedback and overlap with the bands of the more important greenhouse gases.

CO2 averaged about 280 ppm in the last 10,000 years until about 150 years ago, when man increased it by burning fossil fuels.  In those years there were periods of warming higher than now (worldwide) and also a period, the Little Ice Age, about 1300 to 1850 AD, when temperatures were lower than now. CO2 never varied. So it is quite obvious that rising CO2 has nothing to do with the slight rise in temps over the last 150 years or so. The reason for the warming and cooling is variation in the sun’s emission of charged particles.

Over the last 550,000,000 years, CO2 has averaged about 2,000 ppm. During the Cambrian, the Golden Age of life, when almost all of the modern phyla evolved, it was over 6,000 ppm. It dropped to dangerously low levels about 5 million years ago, threatening mass extinction. Mankind – purely by accident of course – has rescued the planet by returning carbon into the air where it came from.

2. Consensus

“Consensus” is for politicians not scientists. Water at 1 bar boils at 100 deg C regardless of any “consensus” of scientists. Most Soviet scientists said Lysenko was right; but he was wrong. But, on the secondary point, the “scientific consensus” on climate alarm is false. It is incorrect that “97% of scientists” say mankind is changing the climate in a dangerous way. Of the papers in this silly survey, fewer than 1% of scientists said so.

3. Greta Thunberg

Ms Thunberg is a rich and privileged Swedish schoolgirl, who has been ruthlessly exploited by the powerful climate alarm machine. She lives in luxury utterly unknown to the poor people of the world; she travels in staggeringly expensive, high tech carbon fibre yachts with associations with the super-rich aristocrats of Europe. Her country, Sweden, is very rich and successful thanks to very high economic growth, very efficient capitalism and very successful exploitation of fossil fuels. As far as I can see she doesn’t want the poor countries to enjoy the same economic growth as Sweden or for poor black Africans to becomes as privileged as she is. 

Best wishes,

Andrew Kenny

8 COMMENTS

  1. To Bruce Sobey,
    You are totally incorrect on your statement on CO2. CO2 follows temperature and this has been proven. It therefore cannot be the cause of temperature rise. All the hypotheses of the persons you have refereed to have been proven wrong. The only place where CO2 causes heating is in the IPCC “Computer Models” that are pre-programmed to show this. Models are computer pay stations for climatologists and “climate scientists”. You hopefully are aware that the IPCC is not a scientific organisation but a political one.
    You may have heard about the Michael Mann hockey stick trial “Mike’s Trick” and the defamation suite against Dr Tim Ball. He was caught out fudging (Manipulating- Fraudulently) the data. Mann’s flat refusal to share publicly the data and methodology showed his dishonesty to have his data tested by the scientific method and was dismissed by the Canadian courts. Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick did detailed investigation showed the fraud “Hockey Sticks, Principal Components, and Spurious Significance.” By Stephen Mcintyre and Ross Mckitrick. Geophysical Research Letters, February 12, 2005. For further reading I invite you to the site. https://www.justfacts.com/globalwarming.asp#global-proxies This will enlighten you about the AGW fallacy. essential before proceeding to https://www.justfacts.com/globalwarming.hidethedecline.asp. This will hopefully explain the fraud in more detail.
    Finally to use Wiki as a reference is ridiculous. You are aware anyone can make changes and amend the references and data and the like.
    Andrew Kenny I think has also given you sufficient facts on CO2 as well.

  2. Thank you, Mr. Andrew Kenny (professor?) and commenter John Alexander. I’ll be using this information on my Youtube channel as well, especially with a video that will deal with the so-called 11 000 signatures from “scientists” that was recently bandied about in the press.

    We need to expose this falsehood and fast, before Science itself suffers credibility due to these IPCC hacks.

  3. Mr Kenny is very glib with his statements, most of which require some assessment and comment.
    Thus no one is disputing that CO2 is a relatively minor greenhouse gas, but the point is that it has increased from around 280 ppm to over 400 ppm due to burning of fossil fuels. Again, no-one disputes the fact that there have been variations in temperatures over the last few thousand years – quite apart from the longer-period glacial and interglacial periods. However, both the medieval warm period and the little ice age had temperature variations probably less than 0.5 C – remember these temperatures were estimated by proxy. It is also not known whether these were regional or global changes, but in any case they were much less than the accepted 1 C that has happened now.
    It is important to note that scientists are, by nature of their profession, generally conservative and not given to scandal-mongering. As such, it is only recently that it has become accepted that the observed changes are caused by human activity. The IPCC represents the conclusions of thousands of refereed papers and eminent climate scientists, and for Mr Kenny and his little group of denialists to ignore these opinions, is well, just plain silly.
    Please also remember that climate change does not just include temperature, but a whole range of other effects such as ocean acidification, extreme weather events, species extinction, etc. Greta Thunberg is bringing the climate message to the people, trying to get rich corporations and bigoted governments to change their attitudes and do something which will benefit humanity. Mr Kenny probably knows that the rich people will be survive climate change better than the masses, so he is sitting pretty.

  4. The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Panel (UNEP) in 1988. From the very beginning its brief was to report on mankind’s influence on climate change.
    The IPCC has published four assessment reports, in 1991, 1996, 2001, and in 2007. Every successive report has upped the ante, both in the confidence of their predictions of increasing global temperatures and rising sea-levels, and in the surety that mankind is responsible for continued warming.
    Ten years ago, a scandal in climate science broke. Hackers took over a thousand emails from Britain’s University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit and revealed them in a series of releases. These provided the first solid evidence that the climate establishment was trying to suppress physical evidence that nature was not responding to increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claimed and the climate modelers predicted / projected. Many of the lead authors of the IPCC Assessment Reports were involved in this suppression of physical evidence, which is contrary to the principles of the scientific method. – https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/11/18/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-386/
    While often said to represent the views of nearly all climate scientists, the IPCC reports actually reflect the views of a small and unrepresentative minority of that community. Here is how we know this is true, and why claims to the contrary don’t hold up under scrutiny.
    First, the history and organization of the IPCC virtually guarantee that it expresses only those views that its founders and government members support. It is a political organization, not a scientific body. It was created to advance an agenda: Finding a human impact on climate in order to justify giving the UN the power to imposes taxes on businesses in the developed world. Its organization gives politicians and bureaucrats the authority to choose which scientists can participate and what ideas and evidence are allowed to appear in its publications.
    http://climatechangereconsidered.org/about-the-ipcc/
    Concerning your “”observations” such as ocean acidification, extreme weather events, species extinction”” Those are scaremongering rubbish stories trumpeted by the press. None are supportted by any scientific evidence. Then of course is Saint Greta Thunberg, a 16 yrs old Autistic school drop out without any scientific education- and you refer to her Oh Please – “How dare you”- If you want to be led around by the nose good for you.
    I suggest you have a look at No Tricks zone, you may be surprised at what you learn. https://notrickszone.com

  5. Dear Mr Alexander. From your response, I doubt whether we are going to find common ground. I have been involved in environmental research for more than 40 years, and I actually trust the analyses and opinions of scientists more than those of people standing on the sidelines with preconceived ideas and opinions.
    Your opinion of the IPCC has no credibility, and as far as the so-called ‘climategate’ scandal is concerned, eight committees investigated the allegations and found no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. Support for increasing temperatures probably caused by human activities comes from respected bodies such as the AAAS, AMS and UCS. Incidentally, the IPCC published its last report in September of this year.
    Your out-of-hand ridiculing of associated effects such as ocean acidification, extreme weather events (and others) shows a lack of appreciation about what is happening on our planet – it is reported in the scientific literature.

  6. What is this “CO-squared” stuff that both Kenny and Sobey write about? Every chemistry textbook writes the “2” in the carbon dioxide formula as a subscript. The superscript position (on either the left or right side of the element symbol is reserved for the atomic isotope mass-number, when that is relevant, otherwise it is left blank.

    • Thanks for pointing this out, Tony. The error was in our editing, not in the writing either of Kenny or Sobey, and has been corrected.

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