Discover more from Henry’s Substack
Human-caused climate change and global warming
Satan by another name?
There was a time when one would express heartfelt gratitude to God for experienced blessings; and when things went wrong, it was a sign that Satan had been doing his stuff.
Those explanations for good or bad, right or wrong, were simply and obviously true. There was no need to see for oneself what the Scriptures actually said, or to inquire how the priests and shamans had come upon these truths. Everyone could feel free to defend these explanations vigorously, uninhibitedly, with conviction.
One might say that almost everyone was ultracrepidarian , comfortably expressing utter belief without knowing the basis for that belief; without, in other words, knowing what they were talking about.
For perhaps the last century or two or three, it has become more customary to expect that official beliefs and assertions should have some basis in tangible evidence. And it is almost universally agreed that evidence-based beliefs are delivered by science.
Truths about the natural world are nowadays communicated not by popes or priests but by National Academies of Science and Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, the International Panel on Climate Change, the Nobel Prize Committee and Nobel-Prize winners, and so on: the scientific Establishment. It is by no means common practice to ask those authorities to explain in understandable detail the evidence on which their beliefs and assertions are based. And without knowing that, without asking for that, almost everyone seems uninhibited in parroting these “scientific” assertions vigorously as though their truth were self-evident.
Thus when it comes to science, we remain ultracrepidarian.
That is to say, most of us do. When it seems unusually hot, obviously the underlying cause is climate change. Every reporter on the scene of a wildfire or a flood or a drought or a landslide or a hurricane or a tornado assures us with heartfelt conviction that the event was worse than it would otherwise have been, because of climate change — human-caused climate change, it is understood, brought about primarily by the use of fossil fuels and the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with subsidiary assistance from other greenhouse gases such as the methane released from oil- and gas-wells and by burping and farting cattle.
Humankind has brought these disasters on itself by its own freely chosen actions, its abuse of its Free Will; just as Satan delivered his first telling blow by having Eve abuse her Free Will in the Garden of Eden.
Everyone and his cousin, as the saying goes, feels free to talk about carbon footprints, greenhouse gases, sea-level rises, and the need to restrict global warming to no more than 1.5 or perhaps 2 or perhaps even 2.5 degrees Centigrade; everyone feels free to assert this without really understanding what those words actually mean, what the phenomena are to which they refer.
That type of ultracrepidarianism is far from new, of course. It has amused and frustrated me for a long time to hear all and sundry talking about their diets in terms of carbohydrates and proteins and fats without really understanding what those things are. Never mind; even “a little child shall lead them”, as when 16-year old Greta Thunberg tells the United Nations Assembly what to do about climate change: “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear” .
So let’s have a look at that “crystal clear” science.
My first introduction to scientific research came at the University of Sydney, where Bachelor of Science graduates could take an additional so-called “Honours” year that involved full-time laboratory work. I was assigned a project on the photochemistry of iodine compounds, studying the chemical reactions that followed exposure to light. The very first thing I was instructed to do was to read the existing literature about the salient topics; and a review of that literature became the first chapter in my Honours dissertation. So too with the work for my PhD: my doctoral dissertation begins with a chapter reviewing the background for the research, a review substantial enough to be later published as an introduction to the techniques being investigated .
Obviously, then, if one sets out to study climate change and the relation between temperature and greenhouse gases, one would examine the pertinent literature and review what was presently known.
Research monographs and review articles, chiefly in geology, contain a great deal of data about that relationship. Salient results were reproduced on my previous blog; graphs (and their sources) of the data described in the following are posted there  as well as in one of my books .
During the last 500 million years of the Earth’s life, temperatures have fluctuated half-a-dozen times between relatively hot and relatively cold; and the differences between hottest and coldest were as much as 5-10 degrees Centigrade. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was more than twice the present level until about 50 million years ago. Some of the highest levels of carbon dioxide were during periods when the global temperature was relatively cool.
A similar lack of correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide is seen in data from the whole 4 billion years of the Earth’s life: temperatures were sometimes low while carbon-dioxide levels were high, and at other times vice versa.
More fine-grained data from ice cores dated between 200,000 and 250,000 years ago, from Vostok (in Antarctica), reveal that levels of atmospheric carbon-dioxide typically started to increase about 800 years after global temperatures had begun to increase: increased temperature seems to cause release of carbon dioxide, whereas present-day climate-change theory postulates the opposite.
Contemporary global warming is conventionally attributed to the increasing levels of carbon dioxide caused by the Industrial Revolution of the middle of the 19th century and the steadily increasing use of fossil fuels since then. The data do show an increase in temperature in the early years of the Industrial Revolution, but then there came a cooling phase from about 1880 to about 1915; followed by another warming spell into the 1940s, then again cooling into the 1970s — during all which time the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide was steadily increasing.
All the historical data, available when the present assertions of human-caused global warming and climate change were beginning to take hold, actually showed no correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature, and moreover showed that global temperature has fluctuated back and forth.
Meteorologist David Dilley has scoured the pertinent data, revealing that there have been numerous more or less cyclical variations in temperature, with cycle periods ranging from less than ten years to more than 100,000 years. The well-known Milankovitch Cycle of about 120,000 years correlates with the also well-known major Ice Ages and inter-glacial warm periods. But there is also a periodic cycle of only 9 years associated with a smaller magnitude of temperature fluctuations; and the strongest of these 9 year-cycles occurs every 72 years, and these combine into a cycle of about 230 years.
The El Nino cycles in the Southern Pacific are quite often referred to in the popular media, since they influence temperatures in several parts of the globe; their periodicity averages about 4 years.
Temperatures on Earth are influenced most strongly and directly by the atmosphere. The moon is at about the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, and receives similar amounts of energy from the Sun, but its temperature fluctuates between >-250 and >+250 degrees (Fahrenheit) between noon and night. Mars is further from the Sun and receives somewhat less energy, but it is vastly cooler than Earth because it lacks an atmosphere to hold energy in.
Since measurements of infrared radiation in the late 19th century, it has been understood that water vapor and carbon dioxide are the most prominent “greenhouse” gases that trap heat, preventing it from escaping back into space. Accordingly, there has been speculation for more than a century about the extent to which human-caused release of greenhouse gases might affect the climate. Enzler offers a useful review of these suggestions  as well as a review of contemporary arguments over the matter .
When the 1950s-1970s cool spell ended and temperatures again rose, there were obviously two possible explanations: a continuation of the three or four cycles of cooling and warming since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution — and of the innumerable such hot-cold-hot cycles over the life of the Earth — or that the progressive accumulation of carbon dioxide was — at last — exerting an overriding influence, strong enough to outweigh the natural forces responsible for the cooling around the turn of the century and from the 1950s to the 1970s.
That possibility has become the official mainstream consensus and the overwhelming popular conventional wisdom. However, there is also a substantial consensus among a cadre of highly qualified and well-informed experts that it remains to be proved that the warming since the 1970s is primarily caused by carbon dioxide.
A number of organizations and websites  argue strenuously that carbon dioxide is at best a small contributing influence to contemporary warming, that the latter is primarily part of a natural cycle. The potential importance of carbon dioxide is not denied, but exception is taken to most of the contemporary assertions of the absolute necessity of immediate drastic actions, as well as to the possible efficacy of those actions.
One of the earliest prominent proponents of that balanced view was economist and political scientist Bjorn Lomborg . Another such highly qualified skeptic is Judith Curry , who has held leading positions in mainstream professional organizations dealing with the environment and climate specifically. Yet another is Steven Koonin , a physicist expert in computer modeling who has worked both in industry and in the government on alternative energy sources.
To avoid making this post far too long, I defer to a later one a fuller discussion of these points:
1. All the official assertions of “climate crisis” are not based empirically on actual data but come from demonstrably invalid computer models.
2. All the assertions are demonstrably wrong, that contemporary extreme weather events illustrate climate-change because these events have become more frequent and extreme.
 See “Let the cobbler stick to his Last”, 23-5-25; https://henryhbauer.substack.com/publish/posts/detail/123789195?referrer=%2Fpublish%2Fposts
 Greta Thunberg’s speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit; https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit
 B. Breyer, F. Gutmann, & H. H. Bauer, Wechselstrompolarographie, Oesterreichische Chemiker-Zeitung, 57 (1956) 67-73
 Figs. 1 & 2, pp. 24-5 in Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth, McFarland, 2012
 David Dilley, Natural Climate Pulse: Global Warming - Global Cooling - Carbon Dioxide, 2007, rev. ed. 2012; https://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9179551.htm;
I have a copy but it seems no longer available online
 S. M. Enzler, History of the greenhouse effect and global warming; https://www.lenntech.com/greenhouse-effect/global-warming-history
 S. M. Enzler, Discussions on global warming; https://www.lenntech.com/greenhouse-effect/global-warming-discussion.htm
 One of the best-known websites is Watts Up With That?; https://wattsupwiththat.com; it has links to many other websites.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, thegwpf.org, is long-established with an impressive list of Board members and advisers and has published many substantive reports on various aspects of climate-change controversy.
 Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, Cambridge University Press, 2001
 Climate Etc.; https://judithcurry.com
 Steven Koonin, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, BenBella Books, 2021; see my review of it: “THE Most Important Book about Climate Change”, https://www.scientificexploration.org/docs/35/jse_35_4_Bauer_on_Koonin.pdf