December 14, 2019 JV

Handling the Truth

In the climactic ending to the 1992 legal drama “A Few Good Men,” Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) demanded “I want the truth!”  Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) retorted “you can’t handle the truth,” going on to explain that “I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom…and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth.   Because deep down,…you want me on that wall…I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it…Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to.”

In summary, in times of crisis, Jessup, like other elites, believe that the masses should simply shut-up, stop asking questions and allow real leaders to make tough decisions.  The average person simply cannot handle the truth and so, it should not be sought.  Thankfully, Lieutenant Kaffee risked his career by continuing to press Colonel Jessup until his hubristic explosion resulted with an admission that he had broken the law.  Truth revealed; justice served.

Just two years earlier, the First Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) was issued.  The executive summary of the policymakers’ report included:

  • We are certain of the following: there is a natural greenhouse effect; emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.  These increases will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth’s surface.
  • We calculate with confidence that: CO2 has been responsible for over half the enhanced greenhouse effect.
  • Based on current models, we predict: under [BAU] increase of global mean temperature during the [21st] century of about 0.3 degrees C per decade; this is greater than that seen over the past 10,000 years.

Since then, the UN IPCC has issued four more reports and in doing so, has attempted to build a serious case against the Western world and in particular, Capitalism fuelled by Big Oil and Big Coal.  Burning fossil fuels has raised Carbon Dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere from 300 to over 400 ppm over the past 100 years.  This is undisputed.  However, what is not agreed are the allegations that this has caused “unprecedented” levels of warming, that the science is settled (97 % scientific consensus) and if carbon dioxide levels are not reduced, humanity would reap catastrophic results within the next 12 years.

Suffice to say, these are very serious claims that must be investigated and if true, would demand appropriate action.  Surely, all of humanity must want the truth about this.  It was difficult enough for a few young lawyers to extract the truth from Colonel Jessup.  However, the science and politics of the climate are far more complicated.  Can the popular “climate change” position be challenged in a post-truth, politically-correct era?  Thankfully, freedom of speech, critical thinking and the scientific method are still accepted today.  On these platforms, and with the scientific findings of a few good men, it will be demonstrated that the world is a safer and greener place for humanity, despite or perhaps even because of the rise in CO2.  There is no case for reducing man-made CO2 emissions; there are far more important issues to focus on.

Let’s begin with the statement: “Climate Change is real.”  What does the data say?  Please refer to the following graph. 

Climate Changes through the ages and the absence of any historical correlation of temperature with CO2

The earth’s climate has been changing for millennia, based on ice core data and fossil records.  What is obvious is that the earth has experienced both warm and cold periods many times previously.  In fact, the earth is in the midst of a rare (and very welcome) inter-glacial period where some ice is still present at both poles.  What is not obvious, though, is any degree of historical correlation of temperature with CO2.

But that’s not what the media really means by the term “Climate Change is real.”  Rather, it should be restated as “people burning fossil fuel is adding CO2 to the atmosphere, causing warming with dangerous consequences.”  It’s impossible to challenge the initial statement “Climate Change is real” without sounding foolish.  However, one should be able to challenge multiple aspects of the restated claim, using evidence, without being labelled as a “Climate Change Denier.”  One may hope.

In summary, changes in the climate over long periods of time are real.  That is not being denied.  What is in dispute is the cause of Climate Change and whether its effects are good or bad on the whole.  Some of the more popular positions on the cause and effect of Climate Change will be challenged by alternative positions over a series of future articles.  In these, the Alternative Position will be shown to be more plausibly true than the Popular Position, using logic and evidence.  These will be the topics of the next few articles:

Popular Position

  1. The Earth is experiencing unprecedented levels of warming.
  2. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels are the primary cause of warming.
  3. The Radiative Greenhouse Effect (RGHE) has been proven in laboratories and is an assumed scientific truth.
  4. Some plants and animals are heading towards extinction due to rising CO2 levels, receding polar ice, ocean acidification and rising sea levels.
  5. CO2 is “pollution;” increasing levels of this gas within the atmosphere is one of the world’s greatest existential threats.

Alternative Position

  1. Some urban areas have experienced high levels of warming due to building materials and practices.  When compared with geological records, current global warming levels have historical precedent.
  2. The climate system is very complex.  Many drivers of climate change (e.g. solar activity, cloud formation and ocean currents) are proven to be more powerful, empirically, than CO2 levels.
  3. The RGHE has been proven ineffective throughout 80 – 90 % of the earth’s atmosphere, with extensive empirical evidence.
  4. Many species supposedly “endangered” by increased levels of CO2 are thriving.
  5. CO2 is the gas of life; feeding the earth’s projected population is a genuine existential threat.

The collective findings of three very senior and distinguished scientists: William Happer, Richard Lindzen and Freeman Dyson were instrumental in reaching each of these alternative positions.  In addition, some lesser-known, yet also highly experienced scientists contributed to the body of evidence.  Two of these men, Willie Soon and Nir Shaviv, were specifically recommended by Freeman Dyson (a father of quantum mechanics) and others have collaborated with Willie Soon on some crucial climate studies.  These include father and son Irish Scientists, Michael and Ronan Connolly, Craig Idso and the former founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore.  Please refer to the article “Who Can You Trust” to learn why these scientists were selected.

Merry Christmas to the readers of this article with an early present – the relief in knowing that the world will not end in 12 years due to burning fossil fuels.  You are encouraged to share this article with friends and relatives, read the next series of articles, follow the evidence where it leads and draw your own conclusions.  I am confident that when you do this, you will have the materials required to help children learn that CO2 will not cause some future apocalypse.  Unfortunately, many teachers speak from a position of ignorance.

Can you handle the truth?  Unfortunately, Pontius Pilate couldn’t do that almost 2,000 years ago, with dire consequences.  When speaking to the bloodied Galilean, he asked “what is truth?” and walked away before receiving a response.  The Good News this Christmas season is that the Truth has come.

Comments (3)

  1. Wayne Strudwick

    Merry Christmas John, great to see you have not retreated from controversial topics and discussions.

    I remember watching Al Gore’s “documentary” An Inconvenient truth.That was 2006 and his predictions were we had 10 years to stop emitting CO2 or else we are all doomed.
    He predicted sea levels could rise as much as 20 feet. He didn’t provide a timeline, which was shrewd on his part. But even if he had said 20 inches, over 20 years, he’d still have been wrong. Sea level has been growing for about 10,000 years, and, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, continues to rise about one-eighth of an inch per year.
    Polar bears are doing fine, I was very concerned by the dire predictions of their extinction.
    Storms will be stronger and more prevalent, nup, hasn’t happened.

    In essence, man-made global warming is a “theory.” A theory is a possible explanation, not a fact. Science is done by scientific method, not majority rule or consensus. Skepticism is the foundation of all science. All theories MUST be harshly challenged and criticized. Real scientists WELCOME criticism of their theory in an effort to determine what is true. When supposed “scientists” declare the “science is settled,” that should be a red flag for us all. Curiosity and skepticism are the foundations of science.
    Looking forward to your future blogs

  2. Rob Royters

    Hi John.

    Great reading, and good follow up reading opportunities.
    I love a well thought out alternative, and not so keen on a populist, alarmist position, although our ecosystem is not at all well, and increasingly overloaded.
    Agree entirely that around 2000 years ago Truth entered the world – and that’s another position that is still pretty hard to swallow for most people, but the alternative is totally unpalatable!

    Have a great Christ mas. Best regards, Rob.

  3. Chris Ellefson

    If those in power really believed that catastrophic anthropogenic Climate Change was real, we would have a global Manhattan Project fully underway to demonstrate Fusion Power (ITER notwithstanding). Instead we see general increases in taxation touted as the solution with very little connection to actually addressing the problem. I get the feeling that having the problem is more important than solving it.

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