Not Convinced

A month or so ago, I emailed climate change minister Greg Combet, among other members of federal parliament, regarding my concerns over the carbon dioxide tax. Today, I received a reply from Anthony Swirepik, the director of the Climate Change Science Team.

He first thanks me for my email before quoting the IPCC with their questionable statement; “most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. At this point I am very much looking forward to evidence supporting this.

There is evidence that follows, of warming, not that this has anthropogenic causes. Increased temperatures, melting snow and ice and rising sea levels. The usual stuff. This doesn’t prove that carbon dioxide is responsible.

We get closer when we delve into the depths of the exclusion principle. Nature can’t explain the warming we have seen I’m told. Firstly, this doesn’t prove anything, but then they’re not really looking are they? The IPCC defines climate change as “any change in climate over time whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity”. Nature can’t change the climate they reakon, only cause it to fluctuate. The original definition didn’t even include the natural aspect.

The next paragraph concerns greenhouse theory. We wouldn’t be here without it keeping our planet 33 degrees warmer and carbon dioxide levels have increased 40%. Some common ground, isn’t it nice?

Now we’re getting somewhere when we talk about the drop in outgoing radiation of greenhouse gas wavelengths. A little google search and I find that this referred to a paper by Harries et al (2001). But of course, I don’t dispute the fact that the earth’s greenhouse effect has increased, but how much?

We now come to the most questionable part of the letter. While Swirepik acknowledges that Mann’s hockeystick is discredited, he claims it is corroberated by other proxy studies. He neglects to mention the studies that disagree however. The Medieval Warm Period Project has taken the result of studies worldwide and found that most support the fact that it was warmer 1000 years ago, both qualitatively and quantitatively. While science doesn’t work by voting, it is apparant that these have been disregarded and the others cherry-picked to enable the conclusion that the hockeystick remains valid.

Yada, yada climate change is a threat and we must act now. Yada, yada carbon tax is the way to go. Interestingly, a carbon price is said to create “incentives for businesses to reduce carbon pollution and for consumers to use energy more wisely.” If it is meant to change behaviour, why the compensation? Why the lie of “carbon pollution”? How is it an incentive to not be taxed as much? Isn’t an incentive a positive thing rather?

Enclosed was a 2010 report “The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers“. I had to look online for the referanced version. I was interested to hear the evidence that pins the warming on us, but was very disapponited. This was the fourth of seven questions and I found a quarter of the space dedicated to this talking about the fact that carbon dioxide levels are increasing. The case for an answer of yes to the question “are humans causing climate change?” (I will assume they mean significant) consists of three parts. The exclusion principle again, the Harries et al paper and a half signature.

They cite warmer nights (with no referance), stratospheric cooling and tropospheric warming as proof the greenhouse signature is present. They neglect to mention that this is only part of the signature, that a description of changes in temerature rise with latitude are also crucial. A strong hot spot, where the warming is greatest, over the tropics, is not present. Nor is a higher boundry between warming and cooling in the tropics, which arises as a result of increased water vapour in this region. This is consistant with the findings of Paltridge et al (2009) who found this extra water vapour subsides to low altitudes when its absorption frequencies are mostly saturated.

I was pleased Combet’s office responded to my concerns, but my question still remains unanswered. Where is the evidence?


About Climate Nonconformist

Hi, I'm the climatenonconformist (not my real name), and I am a global warming skeptic, among the few in generation Y. With Australia facing the prospect of a carbon tax, we need to be asking the simple question; where is the evidence that our emissions are causing any dangerous warming?
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