By Cliff Ollier, 2009.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the “Climate Challenge” conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. The aim of this small two-day conference was to throw a challenge to the science of the main Copenhagen conference. We had a few experts who presented their views and evidence.
Niklas Morner, world expert on sea level, showed that sea levels are not rising at an alarming rate anywhere, including the Maldives and Tuvalu.
I talked about the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. The alarmist model of glaciers sliding down to the sea on a base of bedrock lubricated by meltwater is false. They occupy basins and the ice has to flow uphill. The ice-cores, used to determine former temperature and carbon dioxide content, sometimes extend to a depth of 3 km, with stratified ice almost to the base. They show no melting in Greenland for 105,000 years and Antarctica for 760,000 years. The ice in the accumulation area did not melt for three-quarters of a million years, and is not melting at the surface today. The ice flows at the base where it is warmed by heat from the Earth, and is unaffected by surface temperatures or carbon dioxide. Mountain glaciers have been in general retreat since 1895, but some are advancing and there is no simple relationship to temperature or carbon dioxide.
Fred Singer gave an account of global temperatures, which show no cause for alarm. The sun is the dominant control, not carbon dioxide.
Ian Plimer, author of the best-selling sceptic book Heaven + Earth, recounted the history of Earth climate showing there were many times that were hotter and colder that today, and that carbon dioxide was far more abundant at times in the past.
Leighton Steward made the case that CO2 is plant food, and entirely good for the ecosystem. The natural increase in CO2 over the past century has caused increasing vegetation growth, especially of trees. There are hundreds of actual studies of plant growth in greenhouses where high CO2 levels are maintained, and growth is often increased by about 50%. If we want to sequester CO2 from other producers we should do it to grow food.
Henrik Svensmark described how the sun controls the Earth’s climate through its effect on cloud formation via cosmic rays. His research took years, was rejected by the orthodox, and proved difficult to get published. It now seems to be the most important climatic discovery for years.
Others spoke on aspects of economics, the history of environmental crusades, and a Danish politician gave us an account of some of the problems of Denmark. Despite building a huge array of windmills, which many feel are ugly and objectionable, wind power only provides 3% of Denmark’s energy, and most has to be bought from neighbours with base power based on nuclear, hydro, or coal energy.
The conference was closed by Lord Monckton, a commanding figure who appears to be fully abreast not only of the science, but also the economics, politics and dirty tricks. It really was a grand finale.
Plenty reporters covered the conference, but little of it was published. I had about 8 TV interviews, but so far as I know only the BBC one was broadcast, and this is also on Youtube.
The mainstream conference did not refer to our conference at all, and generally ignored science, except for assertions that the last ten years was the hottest ever (which it wasn’t), and that sea levels are rising dangerously (which they are not).
Science has dropped to the slogan level. The propaganda is shameless and crude, worthy of a Goebbels. For example they repeatedly show steam coming from chimneys with the implication that it is carbon dioxide, when we know that CO2 is an invisible gas. A video made to scare children is utterly disgraceful.
The arguments about climate keep changing. It started with Global Warming, but (despite recent assertions) the Earth has been cooling since 1998. Then it becomes Climate Change. We all agree that the climate changes, but we disagree on the cause and our ability to control it. If we are really entering a twenty year cooling associated with Solar Cycle 24 then it is pointless to try to reduce CO2, even if it would do anything. And finally we have the notion that CO2 is a pollutant, so we need to have carbon trading anyway, regardless of climate.
On top of all this we had (after our conference was over) the demonstrations, smashing windows and burning cars, showing perhaps that scientific arguments can be solved by violence.
In brief science is not involved in the present arguments. The current madness of crowds is more like Nazism, Lysenkoism or the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and scientific arguments have no effect.
Prof. Cliff Ollier
School of Earth and Environment
University of Western Australia
Nedlands, W.A. 6009