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Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)

—a biblical and scientific approach to climate change

by 

Table of Contents

  1. The real history of the world from the Bible
  2. Is climate change just a matter of science?
  3. The science
  4. Other factors that should guide a Christian approach
Published: 19 November 2020 (GMT+10)
green-forest

Many Christians are asking CMI to comment on global warming (‘climate change’) said to be caused by human-generated carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens particularly at ministry events where we have a Q&A. It is certainly a ‘hot topic’, and many are confused because of the conflicting messages.

Until now, CMI has largely avoided the issue. For one thing, we don’t think of it as a core creation-Gospel issue. Also, some people get quite emotional about the subject, so it could be a risky thing to comment upon. No matter what view we take, some of our friends are going to disagree (and we understand). We always attempt to align our positions to a coherent Christian worldview based on God’s Word, but we don’t want to alienate people over tangential issues.

Also, scientifically, the issue is very complex, as I have found diving into the literature, and many colleagues, inside and outside CMI, have critiqued and contributed to what follows.1 Hence this document is a joint effort. It has come to over 14,000 words, and there are some mind-stretching concepts for those who are not scientifically trained (I’ve done my best to explain things, and there is a summary at the end).

The matter has certainly become a significant worldview issue, so we have decided that we should give some guidance. After all, we have considerable experience in Christian worldview matters, as well as collective expertise in the sciences that relate to climate and climate history.

Our Christian (biblical) worldview compels us to revere the God of creation. Some of the relevant principles are that:

  • The universe and earth were created through and for Jesus Christ (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15–16).
  • The earth was created for mankind (Genesis 1,2; Isaiah 45:18).
  • We are called to be holy and blameless in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4; Genesis 1:31, Genesis 2).
  • Christ holds His creation together (Colossians 1:17).
  • Mankind is called to steward God’s creation (Genesis 1:27–29; 2:15, 9:1–7).
  • We are to worship the Creator, not the creation (Romans 1:18ff), Gaia, or ‘Mother Earth’.

As Christians, we affirm that we have a responsibility to look after the environment (stewardship of God’s creation). That is a given; see: Fouling the nest. We are also compelled to consider the poor and the general welfare of our neighbours.

In the early days of ‘global warming’, many of CMI’s scientists were inclined to agree that CO2 from human activity could be causing significant warming of Earth (hence: anthropogenic global warming / AGW). Therefore, taking steps to moderate our contribution would be a good thing to do. However, we have become increasingly concerned with climate alarmism, which appears to be driven more by an anti-Christian worldview than scientific evidence. Here we share what has shaped our thinking from the Bible and from science.

1. The real history of the world from the Bible

We affirm the biblical time frame and the reality of the Flood. These provide a framework for thinking about the history of the climate as it relates to the current debate.

  1. According to the Bible (Genesis 1:27–29), people were commanded to fill the earth. Thus, God created Earth to be productive, to feed the people, and to be full of people. Of course, the Fall occurred when Adam sinned, causing the corruption of the creation (Genesis 3, Romans 8), and it would then have at times been difficult to get enough food to survive. Unfortunately, quite a few environmentalists are misanthropic (hating mankind) and have no interest in the needs of humanity, rather hoping for our demise. Of course, they rarely lead by example. This misanthropy comes through in several of the documentaries of the English nature TV presenter David Attenborough, calling us a “plague on the Earth”, for example.2
  2. In the biblical view, from the beginning humans were created to care for and rule over the earth (Genesis chapters 1 and 2) and everything in it. This is called the Dominion Mandate.3 In the modern secular view, based as it is on the narrative of deep-time evolution, humans are latecomers. Some then take the view that the environment worked perfectly well for hundreds of millions of years before humans arrived. Thus, they reason that if we get humans out of the equation the environment will function much better. In effect, that is what has been done in many parts of the world. In Australia, it was a major factor in the severity of the 2019 bushfires, due to the lack of fuel reduction and maintenance of firebreaks in the cool season.4 It has also led to desertification in national parks in Africa where grazing herds of cattle, managed by people for hundreds of years prior to that, were excluded.5
  3. Noah’s Flood, about 4,500 years ago, provides a mechanism for an ice age that followed it, in the northern hemisphere peaking after about 500 years and then declining rapidly for about 200 years (see The unique post-Flood Ice Age, by atmospheric scientist Michael Oard). Because the secularists “deliberately overlook” the Flood (2 Peter 3:5), they do not have a viable mechanism to explain an ice age. Slight wobbles in the earth’s orbit over long periods of time (the so-called Milankovitch mechanism) are said to create very slight differences in the amount of sunlight reaching the earth (or parts of the earth). However, these differences cannot create the massive changes in the environment required. Thus, instability is built into their models. This is the reason why CO2 is so important to them. If a little change in sunlight can change the environment radically, a little change in a greenhouse gas should be able to do the same thing.
  4. Nearly all today’s coal was formed from vegetation buried during the Flood. The amount of vegetation suggests that the CO2 (‘plant food’) levels in the atmosphere between Creation and the Flood must have been very high compared to today’s levels. Even secular geologists agree that ancient (‘Palaeozoic’) CO2 levels were much higher, even 15 times more6). There is no evidence that Earth was cooked by this situation through a runaway ‘greenhouse’ effect.
  5. The much higher CO2 levels would enhance plant productivity enormously, allowing also for much more animal biomass. There is evidence, such as the amount of coal and other fossils, that Earth was prolifically productive pre-Flood.
  6. We have a biblical basis for our confidence that the climate is designed to be broadly stable. After the Flood, God promised: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). This suggests that Earth would quickly recover from the catastrophic climate change that occurred with the Flood and the ensuing Ice Age. That is, Earth’s climate was designed neither to be chaotic nor prone to extreme changes. Imposed on an overall stable climate are smaller natural cycles. In such a situation we might expect times in the past where temperatures are similar to today. Indeed this is so. In the Roman Warm Period (RWP) from AD 1–400, temperatures were 2°C above the current temperatures for that region of the earth.7 The ‘Medieval Warm Period’ (MWP from AD 950–1300), also known as the ‘Medieval Climate Anomaly’ (MCA) was also warmer than now.8 Neither of these warm periods could have had anything to do with human-generated CO2. The RWP was a period of flourishing of the Roman empire. The MWP was a very productive time both for crops and the advance of science, logic, architecture, and the arts. On the other hand, the ‘Little Ice Age’ (AD 1300–1870) was a significant period of cold. The shorter crop-growing seasons caused famines, plagues, and widespread poverty.
  7. The Bible in many places records weather events that God ordained as judgment or blessing on people; that is, the weather is under God’s control.9 One well-known example is Joseph’s seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in Egypt, recorded in Genesis 41. Also, under the Mosaic Law, Israel’s idolatry invited crop failures (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).

Foundationally, the issue of climate change involves a deep-seated worldview conflict. As we said earlier, Christians should be concerned about ecology and we do have a duty to care for the environment. However, the fake, anti-Bible deep-time evolutionary history of planet Earth, based on naturalism (the belief that nature is all there is), feeds into a radical environmentalist ideology. This has now embraced climate change.

2. Is climate change just a matter of science?

Martyn Iles, head of the Australian Christian Lobby, says that we must ask what worldview drives the climate change agenda—where are these people coming from? Without a doubt the worldview driving the alarmism is not Christian; it is humanistic and neo-Marxist.10 It is a Babel mentality. People seem to think that they can be like God, even controlling the weather, as Jesus did when He stilled the storm on Lake Galilee.

On the other hand, if humans are contributing to environmental problems, we should address these issues proactively—as long as the cure isn’t worse than the disease. Indeed, many environmental problems of yesteryear have already been remedied in many countries (e.g., the handling of nuclear waste, cleaning up car exhausts, wanton dumping of toxic materials, etc.). However, problems still remain (e.g., microplastics and overfishing of critical stocks).

Statements by the leaders of the climate change lobby show that the core issue is political/philosophical, rather than about saving the planet. For example:

  • The German economist and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) official Ottmar Edenhofer (that is, this is a mainstream view):

    “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.” (said in 201011)
  • For a non-mainstream view, we have Extinction Rebellion (XR) co-founder, Stuart Basden (2019):

    “And I’m here to say that XR isn’t about the climate. You see, the climate’s breakdown is a symptom of a toxic system that has infected the ways we relate to each other as humans and to all life.”

He goes on to use neo-Marxist rhetoric criticising “heteronormativity”, “patriarchy”, “white supremacy”, and “class hierarchy”. He says XR is about fixing the system; that is, destroying Western society.12

Furthermore, there is an inconsistency between the ‘walk’ and the ‘talk’ about a ‘global’ concern. If the concern was truly about saving the planet from global warming due to human-generated CO2, surely the greatest sources of the CO2 should be the main target for the action? Then why, when China is the world’s largest CO2 producer, is no one protesting outside Chinese embassies? Australia (for example) contributes just 1.2% of the world’s emissions, and yet is a target for activism. Yet if its emissions disappeared completely (with Australia reduced to a pre-industrial age), it would not make a detectable difference in world CO2 levels.

As of 2018, for example, China had nearly a thousand gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired electricity generation, compared to 261 GW for the USA and just 36 GW for Australia.13 Moreover, neither China nor India have any target to reduce their total CO2 emissions under the Paris Accord. Hundreds of new coal-fired power stations are planned for China, India, and other places. Where are the protests about China and India ‘destroying the planet’? The moral imperative should surely be to go after the biggest contributors first.

And while the USA was lambasted for pulling out of the Paris Accord, it has actually cut CO2 emissions thanks to it turning to natural gas.14 Natural gas is a low CO2-emitting fuel and enables the very efficient combined-power-cycle electric generation. Conversely, most countries staying in the Paris Accord have failed to meet their targets.15

Furthermore, if climate change activists were really concerned about saving the planet from the effects of human-produced carbon dioxide, why are they not generally supporting nuclear power? Ever since its first report in 1990, the IPCC has proposed that nuclear power has a major role to play in replacing fossil fuel power generation, but the activists don’t seem too keen. Nuclear energy now provides about 10% of the world’s electricity from about 440 reactors.16 And because of its high energy density, it’s also very ‘green’—if this energy were produced by fossil fuels, it would emit two billion tons of CO2 per year. Nuclear power gives France the cleanest air of any industrialized country, and the cheapest electricity in Europe. It exports some to its neighbours.17

While many people have genuine environmental concerns, the radical, activist leaders apparently want to undermine the economies of the West, not save the planet. However, to further their true agenda, they need to recruit lots of people who will support radical changes to ‘save the planet’. In so doing, many innocent people, particularly naïve young people, including Christians, are getting caught up in what is ultimately a very destructive agenda.

The fruit

Jesus said, “By their fruit you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16). He was speaking of spiritual/moral fruit (righteousness vs unrighteousness), but the principle applies more generally, and there is certainly an unrighteousness about a movement that is intent on destroying the material means for human flourishing.

Failed predictions are a major fruit of climate activism, justifying skepticism.

  • Anyone who remembers the 1970s will recall that we were all going to freeze in another ice age. Of course, ‘we’ could do nothing about that, so some of the same ‘experts’ who were running with that switched to ‘global warming’ and then, when the temperature data did not match the models that gave the dire predictions, it morphed into ‘climate change’. Also popular were ‘acid rain’ and the ‘ozone hole’.
  • In 1989 the UN said, “Entire nations will be wiped out by the year 2000 if sea level rises are not stopped.” Did this happen? No! Tuvalu, a Pacific Ocean nation of island atolls, is a favourite poster child for this claim. However, Tuvalu has increased 3% in land area over the last 40 years.18
  • In 2007, Dr Tim Flannery, an evolutionary mammologist who headed up the Australian government’s climate change unit, predicted that even the rain that would fall would not be enough to fill the reservoirs. Largely based on such dire predictions, desalination plants were built in three Australian states, at great expense; two have never been used. Australia has had major floods since then. Such expensive mistakes make it harder for governments to invest in major new projects if a real need arises.
  • Flannery also said in 2008, “Just imagine yourself in a world five years from now [2013], when there is no more ice over the Arctic.” Similarly, in 2008 Al Gore said that the polar ice would be gone by the summer of 2014. They were echoing the common view of ‘mainstream’ climate scientists (e.g. James Hansen, Peter Wadhams, and others, widely reported in media outlets). The Arctic sea ice area measured each September (the end of summer, its lowest extent of the year) declined from about 7.5 million km in 1980 to about 4–5.5 million km from 2010–2020 (NSIDC/NASA)—which is still a lot of ice, so the predictions of no ice were seriously out of touch with reality. Please note that fluctuations in the amount of Arctic ice are expected. Besides short-term variation, there could be long-term trends as well. But this cannot be divorced from a discussion of the Ice Age caused by the Genesis Flood.
  • Polar bear numbers, it was predicted, would decline, and were even threatened with extinction due to a shrinking area of Arctic sea ice. Such dire predictions were used by Al Gore, Michael Mann, and others to play on the emotions of the public to support radical action on climate change. Mann even published a children’s book in 2018 using polar bears to capture the imaginations of children. Since 2005, the global polar bear population has been stable or likely risen.19 Even so, we wonder why a typical evolutionist would be at all concerned. If polar bears go extinct, so what? Something else will evolve to fill their place, or not, but it does not matter either way if life on earth is nothing more than a cosmic accident. The fact that they are trying to make emotional moral arguments when they have no basis for doing so only shows that this is more about manipulation of public opinion than about science.

There are many other failed predictions (mass extinctions, increasing droughts, decreased food production, increasing frequency and intensity of cyclones/hurricanes and typhoons, increasing number and intensity of tornados, decreasing snowfall, etc.).20 Few, if any, are based on any objective science.

It seems like every major weather-related event gets co-opted by climate change activists. They called the 2019 bushfires in Australia “unprecedented” and attributed them to climate change. They were most definitely not ‘unprecedented’ in terms of either lives lost or area burnt. For example, in the 1938–39 fire season, over 80 lives were lost in bushfires in Victoria and NSW, compared to 34 in the recent fires. And the 5 million hectares burnt compares with 117 million hectares in the fires of 1974–75.

The most relevant failed predictions of the climate alarmists are those regarding rising global temperature, from the climate models (next).

3. The science

How scientific is ‘climate science’?

Before discussing some specifics regarding the science of climate change, let us consider how science works and how this impacts the science of climate change.

  1. A basic tenet of science is that you can do repeatable experiments.21 The heart of the scientific method is that hypotheses can be tested with experiments. Repeated measurements of the response to a treatment allow the calculation of a confidence in the conclusion about the effect of that treatment being true, and not just due to some random variation. A probability of 95% is normally the lowest accepted in science (i.e. 1 experiment in 20 will give a false result). In climate science, the observed phenomenon is that the global surface temperature has been increasing, as has the CO2 in the atmosphere. The hypothesis is that the temperature increase is caused by the CO2 that is being released into the atmosphere by human activity. However, it is not possible to design a repeatable experiment to test this hypothesis because of the size, complexity, and uniqueness of the ‘system’ (there is only one planet Earth and it is rather complicated). Consequently, we are left with conjectures and predictions. Applying statistical models (such as ARIMA or Hurst–Kolmogorov) to the past temperature data can generate a prediction for the future, but the confidence limits (95%) are so wide that the predictions are useless. And this approach cannot say that CO2 is causing the change. Thus, the climate models that predict a temperature response to CO2 have to be deterministic; that is, they assume that the inputs will determine the temperature. Hence the assertion based on these models that CO2 causes global warming is circular reasoning. Worse, even as recently as a decade ago climate models could not deal with factors like cloud cover. Computers are getting faster, and climate models are getting more sophisticated, but significant areas of the climate are still beyond our modelling reach.
  2. Science cannot prove theories to be true; only that they are false.22 Observing a result that is predicted by a hypothesis does not prove that the hypothesis is true (this is the fallacy of affirming the consequent). These same results might also be consistent with some other hypothesis. On the other hand, we can show a hypothesis to be false by finding evidence that contradicts it. Biblical creationists will be familiar with this truth since the evidence said to prove evolution (e.g. mutations, natural selection, speciation) is perfectly consistent with creation. Thus, while the existence of observations that are consistent with theoretical predictions is necessary for the survival of any theory, data that are inconsistent with these predictions are more important. Such data tell us that the hypothesis is incorrect. If there are no contrary data, despite myriad repeated experiments to test the hypothesis, as is the case with, say, the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, the theory is most probably valid. If the climate models used to predict the future temperature based on carbon dioxide levels fail to predict those temperatures, the models must be rejected or modified.
  3. Correlation does not mean causation: That the temperature has been increasing along with the level of CO2 does not mean that one caused the other. For example, between June and December of 2008 both the temperature in Calgary AB Canada and the Toronto Stock Exchange Index decreased dramatically. However, one did not cause the other. Thus, the observation that the atmospheric temperature and CO2 concentration are both increasing does not mean that one is causing the other—either one may, indeed, be causing the other, or both could be being caused by something else, or they could be completely unrelated.
  4. Science is often captured by a ‘ruling paradigm’: A paradigm is a framework used by default for the interpretation of data. It is just assumed to be true. Sometimes this is done explicitly when scientists do not have a better idea and so they just run with the best idea they have, anticipating that they could be wrong. At other times, the ruling paradigm is subliminal or is being hidden by certain players in the game. In the latter cases, data that are inconsistent with the paradigm are treated as errors by the researcher or dismissed because the researcher is judged not to have appropriate credentials, unacceptable political leanings, any sort of religious beliefs, or funding sources deemed inappropriate. Or, if none of these applies, the errors are accommodated within the ruling paradigm by introducing ancillary hypotheses. The Ptolemaic geostationary model of the solar system is a well-known (false) paradigm that ruled the interpretation of astronomical observations for about 1,500 years. The big bang and biological evolution are two modern ruling paradigms in cosmology and biology/paleontology respectively. Thus, it should not surprise us that climate science has been captured by the ruling paradigm that anthropogenic CO2 will cause catastrophic climate change. Nothing else is considered.
  5. Peer-review does not ensure truth: Peer review, especially when coupled with publication in ‘prestigious’ scientific journals, has come to be taken as the ‘gold standard’ of science. And the contents of scientific papers are often treated as beyond question. There are numerous examples of failure in the peer review process. A prominent incident prompted one academic to write a scathing critique of peer review that was published in The Guardian:23 “At its worst, it [peer review] is merely window dressing that gives the unwarranted appearance of authority, a cursory process which confers no real value, enforces orthodoxy, and overlooks both obvious analytical problems and outright fraud entirely.” The Climategate emails (see later) showed that this problem afflicts climate science.

Let us now test some of the major predictions in climate science.

The raw data

Let us recognize two facts:

  1. Atmospheric CO2 has increased since 1860 from about 285 ppm (parts-per-million; 0.029%) to 410 ppm (0.041%) in 2020. The rate of rise is about 2 ppm per year, or about a 50% rise over 160 years.
  2. The planet has warmed by about 0.8°C since 188024 and half of this warming occurred before there was any significant change in the CO225(that is, this part of the warming could not be due to human activity).

The debate is mainly over the role of humans in global warming; is human-generated CO2 contributing to the warming? If it is, how much of the warming is due to human activity? And will the warming be enough to be of concern? Further, are the proposed means to counteract this going to do more harm than good?

Note that the human contribution to CO2 emissions through the burning of fossil fuels is less than 5% of the total global carbon budget. Other sources include changes in land use (e.g. deforestation), volcanoes, the weathering of rocks, the release of carbon dioxide from the oceans (any warming of the oceans results in CO2 being less soluble and therefore it is released into the atmosphere), the breakdown of organic remains (dead wood in forests), etc.26

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are especially important for the liveability of planet Earth. Without them, the average temperature would be ~33°C lower; in other words, we would be well and truly frozen!27 Nearly all of this GHG effect is due to water vapour, and only about 3.3°C is due to CO2. The atmosphere is mostly nitrogen and oxygen, which have no greenhouse effect. Many discussions of climate change have excluded the effects of water vapour, which should respond dynamically to changes in temperature. Yet, since water has a much greater greenhouse effect, the exclusion of water from the debate is inexcusable. Other significant GHGs include methane, nitrous oxide, and chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs), which were popular refrigerants in the past that have been removed from the equation.

The surface temperature record and CO2 rise

Notwithstanding the problematic nature of the surface temperature record, (see later: Data tampering (fraud?)) is it consistent with human-generated CO2 being the cause of a rise in temperature?

The amount of anthropogenic CO2 has risen fairly consistently since 1880, but the global temperature has not; there have been periods of warming and cooling (see Fig. 1).

Global-temperature
Figure 1. Global temperature and human-generated carbon dioxide emissions from 1850–2010.28 Note that the temperature record here is the ‘official’ one, which has been subject to fraudulent manipulation to decrease earlier temperatures and increase more recent ones (see later).

A prominent member of the climate establishment, Dr Phil Jones, admitted that the rates of global warming from 1860–1880, 1910–1940, and 1975–1998 (the red lines in Fig. 1) “are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other”.18 However, the amounts of human-generated CO2 at those times (green line in Fig. 1) are very different. Indeed, the rate of rise in temperature 1860–1880 is similar to the recent rise, and yet the amount of human-generated CO2 is about 60 times greater for the latter period. And there have also been significant periods of cooling (1880–1910 and 1940–1950) and while the CO2 emissions were rising. These data show that the global temperature is not rising consistently with the increased production of human-generated CO2. Note that the chart shows human-generated CO2, not total atmospheric CO2, which has risen less than 50% since pre-industrial times. These observations cast doubt on the claim that human-generated CO2 is the prime cause of periods of global warming since 1880.

The argument from consensus

The claim that 97% of scientists agree that human-generated CO2 will cause catastrophic warming to planet earth is fake news. Even if it were accurate, it would not prove that it is correct. It is the fallacious ‘argument from consensus’. As Michael Crichton said, “Consensus is the business of politics. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

This argument has strong parallels to a major argument for evolution, that because most scientists accept it then it must be true, which of course evolution is not, as a growing wealth of evidence from modern science shows.

In the USA, the Global Warming Petition Project has garnered the signatures of some 31,500 scientists resident in the USA alone, including over 9,000 with PhDs, who dispute the claim that CO2 will cause serious problems.29 This alone casts serious doubt on the 97% figure.

The justification for ‘97%’ has been a 2013 paper that, based on the abstracts of nearly 12,000 climate science papers published from 1991 to 2011, concluded that 97% of those who expressed an opinion endorsed the consensus view that “humans are causing global warming”.30 Based on this, former President Obama’s twitter account declared, “Ninety seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” Note how the paper’s claim morphed from humans are causing some global warming into all climate change is man-made and dangerous. This is deceitful (an activist group called Organising for Action posted the Tweet).

Moreover, the study was conducted by members of another activist group, Skeptical Science, which exists to promote public acceptance of AGW. When the raw data are examined, according to the authors’ own ratings, only 64 of the nearly 12,000 papers actually claimed that most of the warming is caused by human activity. In a follow-up analysis of the same papers, other researchers found that only 41 of those 64 papers endorsed the position that most of global warming was man-made.31 Taking into consideration that ⅔ of the papers expressed no view, that amounts to less than 1% of the papers that expressed a view. How did the authors get their 97%? They amalgamated all views that human-generated greenhouse gases are causing some warming. However, even most skeptics of the alarmism, including many who signed the Global Warming Petition (above) agree that human-generated CO2 causes some warming. This is a trivial finding.

The survey did not address the question of climate change being ‘dangerous’ or a ‘crisis’ or anything like that. Such claims are made by politicians and actors-cum-activists.

So, the 97% figure is a dishonest twisting of statistics, and the activists’ own raw data show that very few scientists agree even that most of the warming is due to human activity, let alone that it is dangerous.32

Scientists who disagree with the claimed consensus

In 2016 alone, over 500 papers were published in peer-reviewed science journals that seriously questioned the supposed ‘consensus’ on climate change.33

Some high-profile scientists who dispute the alarmism include:34

  1. Lennart O. Bengtsson, who was Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany.
  2. John R. Christy, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
  3. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama in Huntsville, and NASA. He and Dr John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites.35
  4. Judith A. Curry, who due to the “craziness” of the politicization of climate science, in 2017 took early retirement from her position as Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, USA, a position she had held for 15 years.
  5. Richard S. Lindzen, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, contributed to the IPCC’s 1995 and 2001 reports, but became skeptical of the alarmist climate model projections.
  6. Nir J. Shaviv, Professor and Chair of the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    There are many others. In September 2019, a global network of 500 prominent climate scientists and professionals stated that there is no ‘climate emergency’. They invited the UN to organize with them a constructive high-level meeting between world-class scientists on both sides of the climate debate early in 2020.36

When we consider the persecution that dissenters have experienced (e.g. Dr Judith Curry mentioned above), we see another parallel to the creation/evolution debate. In both cases, dissenters from both the Darwinian and climate-alarmism paradigms have been demoted and even fired.37,38

The consensus argument is little more than a bullying campaign intended to stifle dissent and debate, as it is with the creation/evolution debate.39

Predicting the future temperature is difficult

The UN’s IPCC stated in 2001 that: “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”40 Nevertheless, that is exactly what they did, predict the future temperature! But because it is so complex, over 100 different models have been used—if it were clear cut (simple), or ‘settled’ there would be one model.

A major test of any scientific mathematical model is the accuracy of predictions. It is now clear that the climate models used by the UN’s IPCC to garner world action to cut CO2 emissions in wealthy countries (i.e. transfer wealth, as above) have failed badly. Nearly all the models seriously over-predict global surface temperature response to rising CO2—see Figure 2. The fact that recent temperature measurements have diverged from nearly all climate models, on the low side, is a serious blow to all the modelling efforts. The models are simply wrong. Thus, the dire predictions about a coming global temperature crisis are also wrong.

IPCC-model-predictions
Figure 2. IPCC model predictions versus satellite temperatures (blue, red and green). From: drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/ICCC13-DC-Spencer-25-July-2019-Global-LT-scaled.jpg

What we need to know

We need to know how much Earth will warm in response to an increase in CO2. The ‘Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity’ (ECS) is the amount of warming expected from a doubling of the CO₂ level. If this is unacceptably high, then an appropriate response might be to take steps to reduce human-generated CO2 emissions. If the ECS is acceptably small, then there is little point in acting to limit emissions.

The direct greenhouse effect of CO2 is generally agreed upon, at about 1.1°C increase for a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Some even argue for an even lower figure of 0.8°C.

Importantly, this is not a linear relationship. There is a diminishing effect of adding more CO2 because it absorbs only certain infrared frequencies and most of those are already absorbed. In other words, climate sensitivity decreases as the CO2 concentration increases.41 If the atmospheric concentration rose to the unthinkably high level of 1,000 ppm, the first 200 ppm would contribute about 77% of the warming effect (using the IPCC’s published formulas in Table 6.2 of their 2001 report42). The increase from 300 to 400 has contributed only about 6%. This diminishing effect is not controversial among scientists, but it was omitted from the IPCC’s summary provided for government policymakers.

Furthermore, even assuming that all of the 2 ppm per year increase in CO2 is due to human activity, it would take nearly 200 years to double the atmospheric CO2 level to 800 ppm!

Why the panic? It comes partly from the IPCC’s climate models that add positive feedback, or amplification, to the ~1 degree of warming expected from CO2 alone (without considering any secondary, or knock-on effects). Thus, the IPCC AR5 (2013) places the ECS at between 1.5 and 4.5C. However, the report says, “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies” (p. 16).

The greatest disagreements among climate scientists are over how much positive feedback they expect—i.e. will the direct warming effect of increased CO2 be amplified by increased water vapour in the atmosphere due to the warming of the oceans? This extra water vapour would trap more of the incoming radiation and thus amplify the warming from CO2.

Does positive feedback (amplification) operate; that is, are the IPCC models realistic?

Dr David Evans formerly advised the Australian Federal government’s Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change), from 1999 to 2005, and part time from 2008 to 2010. He has six degrees related to modelling and applied mathematics, including a PhD from Stanford University. He resigned because he no longer believed that human-generated CO2 would cause a damaging temperature increase; he changed from being a ‘warmist’ to a skeptic because of the scientific evidence. He has put together a strong scientific case.43 He tests the predictions of the models—as explained above, any failures in such predictions show that the models are faulty and should be rejected. Evans does not argue from deep-time history, but from current measurements that test the predictions of the models.

Evans used four unbiased sources of data: 1) NASA satellite global air temperatures; 2) over 3,000 Argo buoys that constantly patrol the oceans of the world measuring the temperature profile of the oceans; 3) weather balloons, which have measured the temperature profile of the atmosphere since the 1960s; 4) outgoing radiation from the planet as measured by satellites.

Summary:
  1. Dr James Hansen, the ‘father of global warming’, presented temperature predictions to the US Congress in 1988. His model predicted considerably higher air temperatures than revealed by NASA’s subsequent satellite data, which show little change over the next 18 years, even though CO2 increased in that period. Furthermore, even where a radical reduction in CO2 emissions was assumed, with no increase in atmospheric CO2 after the year 2000, the model predictions exceeded the actual temperatures that occurred with continued CO2 production. That is, the model predicted quite excessive temperatures. Failure 1.
  2. The UN’s IPCC models, published in 1990. Again, compared to NASA’s satellite-measured air temperatures, even the lowest temperatures predicted exceeded reality (see Figure 2). Failure 2.
  3. Argo ocean temperatures from 2003. There is almost no change in the global ocean heat content from this unbiased data set. Why do we seldom hear of these data? The IPCC models greatly over-predict the heat content (temperature profile) of the oceans compared to these data (see Figure 3). Failure 3.
Climate-model-predictions
Figure 3. Climate model predictions of ocean temperature, versus the measurements by Argo. The unit of the vertical axis is 10²² Joules (about 0.01°C). Source: Ref. 43.
  1. The positive feedback in the IPCC models that amplifies the CO2 effect is claimed to be largely due to water vapour. If this were the case, there should be an atmospheric hot spot in the middle altitudes (the mid-troposphere) at the tropics. Both the global balloon data and the satellite data show no such hot spot in the atmosphere (see Figure 4), which means that positive feedback is not operating, contrary to the models’ predictions. Failure 4.
Tropical-mid-troposphere-temperatures
Figure 4. Tropical mid-troposphere temperatures from balloon and satellite measurements versus IPCC model predictions (source: Ref. 44)
  1. The IPCC models include positive feedback from increased water vapour due to the warming of the oceans. This extra water vapour is supposed to trap more of the incoming radiation and thus amplify the warming. Thus, as the sea surface temperature increases, there should be more water vapour and then less outgoing radiation from the earth. However, satellite measurements show increased outgoing radiation, the opposite of IPCC models’ predictions. As the climate scientists Lindzen and Choi said, “The results imply that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity.”45 Failure 5.

Table 1. A summary of how the climate models have failed every test (from Evans, The skeptics case45)

Test Climate models
Air temperatures from 1988 Over-estimated rise, even if drastic cut in anthropogenic CO₂
Air temperatures from 1990 Over-estimated trend rise
Ocean temperatures from 2003 Greatly over-estimated trend rise
Atmospheric hotspot Missing (water vapour feedback not amplifying)
Outgoing radiation Opposite to reality (water vapour feedback not amplifying)

The last two points (d, e) mean that the positive feedbacks (amplifications) which are so critical to all the IPCC’s models do not operate. That is, the maximum climate sensitivity (ECS) is 1.1°C (this, remember, is the amount of warming expected from a doubling of the level of CO₂).

However, the last point provides strong evidence of negative feedback, which would reduce the ECS to less than 1.1°C. This negative feedback is probably due to enhanced cloud cover with an increase in temperature. We all experience this; in cloudy weather, the temperature during the daytime is lower due to the cloud reflecting the sun’s radiation back into space. Clouds also maintain warmer night-time temperatures. This shows that in the daytime the reflective effect of the cloud (the albedo) greatly exceeds the greenhouse effect.

The negative feedback means that the ‘climate sensitivity’, the effect of doubling atmospheric CO₂ on global temperature, falls to about 0.5°C. It would be hard to argue that this would be anything but beneficial for the planet (see also later section: CO₂ is ‘plant food’).

Nevertheless, the feedbacks remain uncertain. An independent comprehensive study from the Helmut-Schmidt-University, Germany, arrived at an ECS of 0.7°C and also concluded that negative feedbacks more than offset positive feedbacks, and also that the sun contributed 60% of the recent warming.46

Using a somewhat different approach, other researchers found the median (most likely) value of ECS to be 1.5°C, at the bottom of the range published by the IPCC.47

Our opinion is that these sorts of values for ECS are nothing to panic about. And the IPCC would seem to tacitly agree, because their target (based on the faulty models) is to limit the warming to 1.5°C. The bottom line is that we don’t have to take any drastic action to limit the warming due to human-generated CO2 to less than 1.5 degrees C.

Indeed, life on earth flourished in the past when things were warmer (e.g. during the Medieval Warm Period when the temperature was about 1°C warmer than now, based on several lines of evidence). On the other hand, times of coolness (like The Little Ice Age) caused widespread poverty.

It would be helpful if climate science could progress in this area to give us more certainty, and it is a shame that politics is interfering and thus impeding progress.

Other factors causing climate change on planet Earth

A study published in 2020 attributed a substantial amount of the warming in the Arctic to the rise in ozone-depleting substances in the second half of the 20th century. Such substances, such as chloro-fluorocarbons, or CFCs, are powerful greenhouse gases. The authors wrote, “Gases that deplete the ozone layer could be responsible for up to half of the effects of climate change observed in the Arctic from 1955 to 2005.”48 Also, a reduction in the area of snow or its annual duration results in less reflection of sunlight back into space, and therefore more Antarctic warming due to this, irrespective of overall global climate change. This would be an ongoing effect of the earlier warming due to the CFCs.

The sun is, rather obviously, a major driver of climate on Earth. Solar cycles affect the climate via stratospheric warming, cosmic rays, and cloud cover, and there are cyclical movements of Earth’s position relative to the sun. The 11-year solar cycle is evident in a cyclical variation in Earth’s temperature of the order of 0.2 degrees C,49 but longer-term cycles are harder to study.

The ‘Maunder Minimum’ was a prolonged period of very low sunspot numbers from 1645 to 1715, during ‘The Little Ice Age’, when it was very cold (with crop failures). We have recently moved into an exceptionally quiet period of solar activity. For the first time since the 1600s we have had several recent years with no sunspots. Maybe the normal 11-year cycle will resume, but maybe not. If the primary driver of the climate is the sun, and if we cannot yet predict what it will do on a short timeframe, how can we predict temperatures decades and centuries out?

In the 1990s, Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark and colleagues began publishing on the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation, which would affect global warming/cooling.50 They demonstrated that ionising radiation causes nucleation sites to form, around which water droplets form, leading to cloud formation. The hypothesis is that when the sun’s solar wind is strong and Earth is protected from cosmic rays, there is less cloud formation and the earth warms. Conversely, when the solar wind is weak (i.e. when sunspot activity is at a minimum), more cosmic rays enter Earth’s atmosphere and more clouds form, cooling the planet.

Dr Brian Tinsley, professor emeritus at University of Texas, Dallas, proposed an alternative model wherein cosmic rays make clouds last longer, thus cooling the earth. This seems to explain a wider range of observations than Svensmark’s model.51

These important areas of climate science tend to get insufficient attention due to the excessive focus on CO2 as a driver of climate change.

Data tampering (fraud?)

  • “Test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

The satellite data (Figure 2) show some global warming since 1980, but we need the land-based observations before that to determine if the recent temperatures are unusual.

Dr Evans (above) only used the satellite data that had not been subject to tampering in his evaluation of the climate models. There is good reason for this, as there is strong evidence that institutions such as the CRU of the University of East Anglia, NASA and NOAA in the USA, the UK climate authorities, and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) have been adjusting historical terrestrial temperature records to support the case for CO₂-driven global warming.

The now-infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph (Figure 5) produced by Michael Mann (Penn State University) and co-authors was the lynchpin of the AGW movement. The IPCC used the graph in the Summary for Policy Makers in their Third Assessment Report (2001). It was very influential. The graph was exposed as fraudulent; it ‘erased’ the Medieval Warm Period from the temperature record, and worse.52 Mann even sued a critic, lost, and then refused to pay the court-ordered costs. Underlining how corrupt climate science has become, instead of being disgraced, Mann was awarded the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement!

hockey-stick
Figure 5. The fraudulent ‘hockey stick’ graph where the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age have been erased, giving the false impression of a thousand years of stability prior to radical recent warming.53

Mann’s fraud might be the tip of the iceberg globally. Other inappropriate data manipulation has been proven.

Dr Jennifer Marohasy54 demonstrates this for Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The BOM has had two goes at adjusting the historical temperature record for Australia, dubbed Acorn1 and Acorn2. Acorn1 adjustments apparently did not produce enough warming, so they increased the recent warming with Acorn2! They did this by reducing earlier recorded temperatures and increasing recently recorded temperatures. They claimed that this was necessary because of changes in equipment and situations of the weather stations, and that they were following ‘world’s best practice’, without stating just what that meant. Changes in weather stations include:

en.wikipedia.orgStevenson-screen-exterior
A small Stevenson screen
  • Using electronic temperature sensors, which have short lag-times compared to a traditional mercury bulb thermometer,
  • Use of small plastic temperature screens, instead of the formerly-standard Stevenson screen—the white, wooden, double-louvred box that is used to shelter the temperature sensors from direct or reflected radiation from the sun so that shade temperature is measured.
  • The situation of the equipment, such as urbanisation causing a heat island effect.

Automatic weather stations with electronic sensors and small plastic screens have been increasingly adopted into weather data networks since about 1980.

Note that all the above changes would inflate recent temperatures. So any adjustments to make them comparable with earlier recordings should be to reduce them, not increase them!55 Furthermore, there are proven instances of the deletion of high temperatures from the past records—such as Australia’s hottest day on record, being 125°F (51.7°C) at Bourke on 3 January 1909. BOM claimed that it was anomalous because the nearest stations failed to record a similar temperature. However, nearby Brewarrina recorded 123°F (50.6°C) for the same day. Furthermore, the second hottest on record, 124°F (51.1°C), recorded at White Cliffs on 12th January 1939, is also not included in the official digitized records (the late ‘30s was a hot period in the USA also; see Figure 6).56

Such claims as the ‘hottest year on record’ (etc.) that are periodically released to the media are based on these ‘adjusted’ historical data sets.

NOAA and NASA in the USA have been doing similarly. Two graphs illustrate some of the data manipulation that has been going on (compare Figure 6 and Figure 7).

Surface-temperature-data-for-the-USA
Figure 6. Surface temperature data for the USA (contiguous states), 1880–1998, from Hansen et al., 1999 (Fig. 6).57 Note the temperatures circled in purple and compare with the same temperatures (adjusted) in the next figure.
NASAs-USA
Figure 7. NASA’s USA (contiguous states) surface temperature record version as of 2020. The purple circles are the same temperatures as shown in the previous figure, after ‘adjustment’.58

The spike in 1930s (circled) was adjusted down while the spike in late 1990s (circled) was adjusted up, along with the other temperatures, making it look like recent temperatures were unusually high when they were not at all. NASA/GISS claim that changes in the time at which the daily maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded (from afternoon to morning), and station location justified these ‘adjustments’. However, lifelong environmentalist Tony Heller has shown that these changes are not justified (e.g. they are applied to stations where there has been no change in circumstances, as is also the case with the BOM in Australia). Heller concluded, “There is overwhelming evidence of fraud in NOAA and NASA’s handling of climate data, and it is very important they are held to account.”59,60

Data tampering was also exposed with the U.K.’s climate research unit at East Anglia University. The ‘Climategate’ affair broke shortly before the UN climate summit in 2009. The leak of thousands of emails between climate scientists showed that they had deliberately manipulated and hidden data. This is critically important as it impinges upon the integrity of the HadCRUT61 dataset that is the main long-term global temperature record used by the IPCC and many researchers (e.g. Figure 1). Indeed, an independent audit of HadCRUT4 (2018) found very serious errors.62 The researcher, Dr John McLean, summarizes:

… a common but flawed method of data adjustment creates a false warming trend from the adjustments alone. … Ultimately it is argued that the flawed data casts doubt on the credibility of IPCC reports that rely on HadCRUT4 data (or earlier versions of the dataset). Due diligence of these matters by governments twenty or more years ago might have avoided poorly-justified policies on climate and energy.

Sea levels (tidal data)

There is also evidence of fraudulent manipulation of tidal data to give an acceleration in the increase in sea levels, compared to what the raw data have shown over the last 100 years, which is nothing dramatic.63

Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour shows perhaps a 100 mm (4 inches) rise in sea level in 100 years, but even here there have been attempts to manipulate the data to try to make it fit the alarmist expectations.64

There have been massive changes in sea level since Noah’s Flood. From the presence of old shorelines, marine fossils, and small fossil coral reefs on land today, we can see that sea level was about 68 m (220 ft) higher at the end of the Flood than it is today because there were no Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets yet. During the following Ice Age, sea level dropped below modern sea level, to about -50 m (-160 ft). In the creation science Ice Age model, the ice sheets had only 40% of the ice estimated by uniformitarian scientists, who claim that sea level dropped to about -120 m (-390 ft) at glacial maximum.65 Thus, there has been an increase in sea level of about 50 m (164 ft) since the end of the Ice Age.

According to satellite measurements, sea levels are now rising at about 3.3 mm/year (33 cm or ~1 foot in 100 years). This assumes that the data are accurate (calibration of the satellites has been criticised; it is quite complex, with many factors affecting it).66

Global sea level cannot be measured locally. Sea level changes are either isostatic (the land moves relative to the sea surface) or eustatic (global ocean levels change). Much of northern Europe is rising, due to rebound after the ice age. The mass of ice literally pressed the continental crust down. Now that the ice has melted, the land is still rising.67 The southern UK (which was tipped up by the mass of ice on the northern half of the main island) is sinking for the same reason. In many other areas, land has risen or fallen due to volcanic or tectonic activity. There are also changes in shore and beach features that affect tidal movement. Thus, one cannot look at local sea level and assume any changes are true on a global scale. Unquestionably, if ice sheets on land melt, then sea levels will rise globally. However, there is little evidence of any acceleration in the sea level rise, which the global warming lobbyists seek to bolster their claim that human activity is causing unusual and dangerous global warming.

Other than thermal expansion, it is only the melting of ice sheets on the land that will cause a rise in ocean levels long term. Thus, if only the Arctic sea ice were to melt completely (producing an ice-free north pole), there would be no sea-level rise due to this.68 A study of the Greenland and Antarctica ice volumes, using NASA’s satellite-based laser-measured altitude data (ICESat and ICESat-2 satellites), compared 2003 with 2019.69 The loss of ice over this period was equal to a sea-level rise of 14 mm over the 16 years.

A separate study of only Antarctica found ice loss from 1979–2017 (38 years) equivalent to a rise in sea level of 14±2 mm.70 If all the Antarctic ice melted, this would cause a rise in sea level of some 57.2 m (190 feet). This would of course be disastrous to many people globally. However, how long would this take to happen, based on the estimated rates of melting from the most recent period, 2009–2017?65 82,000 years!

Thus, it can be argued that there is no climate emergency. Spending money on an engineering solution to sea-water encroachment might make better sense than trying to arrest the ice melting through radical reductions in CO2 emission, when the warming due to human-produced CO2 is likely minimal anyway. That is, the melting could occur even if all anthropogenic CO2 production stopped tomorrow.

Engineering solutions are possible with a buoyant economy, but not if it is crippled by ill-conceived taxes and spending on ‘green’ power. Indeed, much of the country of The Netherlands is below sea level, and an engineering solution has been successfully applied. Dutch engineers are now helping Bangladesh and Vietnam in this regard.

A paper on the Denman glacier in Antarctica seemed to underline the need to be prepared with engineering solutions. The authors claimed that if this one glacier melted, global sea level would rise by an impressive 1.5 meters (5 feet).71 According to the refereed research paper, the bottom of the glacier is well below sea level and it is only protected from the sea by a shallow underwater shelf. The edge of the glacier advances and retreats from year to year, so they say that it is possible for the ocean to get underneath the glacier and accelerate melting. This could happen, they say, regardless of global warming. Of course, it would take many years to melt, giving time to apply engineering responses.

However, a recent re-estimation of the ice volume of all 215,000 glaciers outside of Antarctica and Greenland concluded that if they all melted, sea levels would rise “up to 30 cm” (one foot).72 This does not seem to tally with the Denman glacier claim. Indeed, we calculated that the contribution of the Denman glacier would be no more than about 6 mm (1/4 inch)! Note that much of the Denman glacier is sitting on the bedrock (grounded), and the melting of this ice below sea level would take up ~10% of its volume in sea water (that is, offset some of the melting of grounded ice above sea level), due to the fact that ice is ~10% greater in volume than the liquid water equivalent. It seems that we have to check every claim made in the name of climate ‘science’!

Nevertheless, perhaps it was foolish to build most of our major cities at sea level and then assume the oceans would always stay the same!

Coral reefs

There is a lot of news coverage of the certain demise of the world’s largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), even within 20 years. In a “personal perspective” written by Dr Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and published in 2012, 90% of the living coral in the central and southern sections would be gone “in just 10 years”.73 Not even close! The reef has been officially surveyed since 1985. There is clear evidence of damage from the crown of thorns starfish and of sporadic damage due to cyclones (typhoons/hurricanes). However, there is little evidence of a long-term downward trend in the amount of hard coral cover recorded (although the commentary might give a different impression).74 Indeed, even the clearly biased Smithsonian commentary acknowledged that only 10% of the claimed losses of coral were attributed to bleaching, which is the only damage that could conceivably be linked to global warming.

While coral bleaching is certainly related to high water temperatures, it is partly a natural consequence of the way coral reefs develop over time, where the upward growth of the reef encloses pools of water that then overheat. A study of the long-term bleaching of the GBR, from drill cores, showed periods of severe bleaching going back to the 1700s, well before any recent ‘global warming’.75

Researchers at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Australia, published eight papers over several years claiming that acidification (from dissolved CO2 creating carbonic acid (nominally H2CO3)) harmed coral reef fish species. However, other scientists were unable to replicate this work and found evidence of fraud, such as unrealistically low error values.76

In 2018 Dr Peter Ridd, who had been head of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at JCU for 15 years, was sacked from his tenured position for criticising the quality of (climate alarmist) research that had been published on the Great Barrier Reef.

The above examples reveal either deliberate fraud or incredibly sloppy, blinkered thinking with extreme confirmation bias (seeing what you want to see). It is hard to know which it is at times. Scientists can be affected by an emotional desire to fit into their peer community, to keep the research grants rolling in, and also a common human desire to prefer bad news to good news—to ‘fear the worst’ or a ‘prophet of doom’ mentality. There can also be political motivations.

The decline of the Christian ethos in western society, is undoubtedly a major factor in the proliferation of fraud in science generally, which is evident in both evolutionary studies as well as climate science. There is even fraud in experimental science, such as medical drug evaluation, and hard sciences such as physics, but in these areas fraud is much more likely to be uncovered as experiments are repeated.77

The scope of the data tampering reminds us of George Orwell’s 1984:

Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct….

Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning, but some seem to treat it as a textbook prescription.

Ocean acidification

This topic is not a global warming matter, but it is a potential negative effect of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that deserves consideration.

When the atmospheric CO2 increases, more dissolves in the ocean. This creates a weak acid called carbonic acid (‘H2CO3’) that can affect the availability of calcium carbonate (CaCO3, in the form of aragonite) to creatures such as corals that use it to build their skeletons. It then takes more energy for them to pull the calcium out of the water.

How much of an effect this will have on the sea creatures is an area of current research (and note the fraudulent publications documented above regarding the claimed effect on fish behaviour). There is evidence from in situ experiments with coral communities that they can acclimatize to much higher CO2 levels.78 This is good news if it holds true with further studies.

Indeed, corals have survived much higher CO2 levels in the past, pre-Flood, and immediately post-Flood. However, it may be that the chemical conditions of the oceans at those times were different to the oceans today. These conditions could now be changing to a less optimal state for these organisms specifically, but we don’t know. Other organisms will benefit greatly from increased CO2, such as land plants (see later).

4. Other factors that should guide a Christian approach

Christians need to be good stewards of God’s creation, but we need to avoid being hijacked by emotional, unreasoned extremism, especially when it is driven by malevolent political or religious objectives. And, we need always to have an eye for the poor, so that they are not hurt.

Concern for the poor

Unscientific, illogical environmental extremism (e.g. Extinction Rebellion) will hurt the poor the most.79 The poor are not made wealthy by making the rich poor, which is the failed doctrine of communism (Venezuela is the latest casualty). Wealth is created by human enterprise. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats—meaning that as more wealth is created, everyone benefits, including the poor. This is especially so with a Christian approach to business, where all should prosper (e.g. the principle of gleaning, as with Boaz and Ruth, recorded in Ruth 2).

Indeed, “In the 25 years from 1990 to 2015, the extreme poverty rate dropped an average of a percentage point per year—from nearly 36% to 10%.”80 This progress has been possible because of the growth of wealth due to the extension of free markets (including in China) helped by fossil fuels (mainly coal) that produce cheap and reliable electricity.

This is not to say that the use of fossil fuels is without problems. For instance, there is the associated air pollution, especially small particulates (10 microns and less) and sulfur dioxide, which cause health problems. However, there are technological solutions to these problems that only become feasible as wealth increases. And we always have to ask what the alternative is. In countries too poor for fossil fuels, people burn dung and wood (releasing CO2), and the air pollution can be terrible. Even in the West before the oil boom, whale oil was common for lamps—so the fossil fuel industry helped save the whales!

The UN recognizes the role of fossil fuels in economic prosperity. So the IPCC advocates that the countries that are not poor be nobbled (made poorer), while countries such as China, India, and those in Africa be free to continue using coal for the foreseeable future. However, if the wealth of the richest countries is reduced by radical climate change activism, then they will not be in a good position to purchase products from the developing economies, and so help them prosper.

The welfare of children

Filling kids’ heads with fear and gloom about their future is tantamount to child abuse—and radical climate alarmists have a very real case to answer here. Let kids be kids! Also, getting them to focus on strikes, or playing truant, thus distracting them from learning to excel in science and technology, is not going to help with efforts to develop technology to improve the lives of all in the future, while caring for the environment. They are also being drawn into a false nature-worshipping monist religion that provides no eternal hope, unlike biblical Christianity.

Concern for the environment

  • CO2 is ‘plant food’, and planet Earth’s plants would benefit from more of it, not less. Indeed, the increase in CO2 is now responsible for 30% of the world’s biomass production (food and fibre) over the last century, as documented in a paper in Nature in 2017.81 This is food for people and animals. And with more CO2 in the air, plants have to spend less time with their leaf pores (stomata) open. Thus they lose less water during the day and can survive on less water.82 Deserts are greening, largely because of the extra CO2. With the pre-Flood Earth having up to 15 times the CO2 that we have now, plant productivity would have been amazing. That is where fossil fuels came from, as the vegetation of the pre-Flood world was buried during the Flood and then converted into coal and oil. The draw-down in atmospheric CO2, with the burial of much carbon in the ground and the re-vegetation of the earth after the Flood, has resulted in the CO2 ‘drought’ that we are now in. This has been hampering plant productivity and the carrying capacity of planet Earth (at levels from 50–170 ppm, depending on the species, plants die).83
  • Historically, the countries that have best cared for the environment are those that are wealthy. And their wealth is due to free markets and cheap energy (coal and other fossil fuels) combined with a Christian ethos, which gives a caring soul to the free market. The worst polluters have been the ones under totalitarian regimes with central control of the economy. They don’t equalize wealth; they equalize poverty, except for the ruling class. So people end up living ‘hand to mouth’ and survival is their priority, not looking after the environment. Extreme action on ‘climate change’ that kills the economies of the wealthy countries will mean that they will be less able to afford to care for the environment.
  • The unintended, harmful environmental consequences of focusing on ‘climate change’ need to be considered. With so much focus on ‘climate change’, other environmental issues can be neglected (e.g. plastics pollution of the sea, heavy metals in drinking water, surface water pollution, etc.).
  • A particular madness emanating from the focus on fossil-fuel derived CO2 as a driver of global warming is the conversion of coal-fired power stations in the UK and Europe to run on wood. Under the Paris Accord, wood is ‘renewable energy’, but coal is not—hence such crazy rules.
  • Another example of unintended consequences is the recent destruction of southeast Asian rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations to produce biofuels. Existing crop areas have also been moved from food production to ethanol production (e.g. maize/corn).

Vested interests are pushing an unscientific agenda

There is a lot of money to be made! For example, former US Vice President Al Gore lives in a mansion that uses 21 times the energy of the average US home. He says that’s OK because he buys carbon credits to offset his ‘carbon footprint’. Where does he buy his carbon credits? From the companies that he founded to trade in carbon credits, which are now worth many millions, having increased in value as he ramped up the hype! The Obamas bought a huge mansion ($US13 million), again with a huge ‘carbon footprint’, which casts doubt on the genuineness of concerns stated about ‘climate change’.

Many climate alarmist celebrities fly everywhere in private jets, although one flight uses more fuel than an SUV does in a year of driving. We might take them all more seriously if they lived by the constraints they demand of the rest of us.

There are so many ‘researchers’ who are on the grant money gravy train, and they are not going to speak out against the misinformation, because otherwise their funding will dry up.

Even electricity generation companies saw a profit opportunity with the shutting down of coal-fired power stations because this became a market disruptor. When that happens, it creates an opportunity for profiteering, because no-one is quite sure what the price of electricity should be any more.

Political agendas associated with climate change alarmism

Much of the misinformation (e.g. arguments that the droughts and bushfires in Australia and elsewhere are due to ‘climate change’) comes from politicians who are using environmentalism as a vehicle to push for sweeping social and political change. They are using fear to generate public support to get their ideas implemented. As a prominent civil servant in the Tony Blair era of UK politics said concerning scaremongering over climate change: “In order to manage risk, you must scare people.”84

The approach of the more radical parties to ‘saving the earth’ is to depopulate it. They push for policies that kill people: abortion up to term with no limitations, infanticide, euthanasia, free-and-easy drugs, transgenderism, and rainbow politics. All of these will create misery, kill people, and decrease the breeding of people (look up their manifestos).

They also work for the destruction of the free markets that have been responsible for a massive movement of people out of poverty in the last 50 years (see World Bank report above). The leaders of these parties know that, if they can destroy free markets through confiscatory taxes and masses of green tape, they will destroy the means for people to make a living and create widespread poverty. At this point they hope the population will, (1) vote for neo-Marxist policies, and (2) decrease. But the environment will suffer (as it has in all Marxist states), but presumably that’s OK because radical environmentalism is just a means to a political end. It is no surprise that these organisations are also strongly anti-Christian, because Christians stand for the sanctity of human life. Climate fear is thus being used to drive radical political change.

Michael Shellenberger has been a prominent climate change activist. He has been a long-time advisor to the IPCC and helped formulate President Obama’s energy policy. He now regrets his role in the fear campaign.85 In his book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All (2020), he apologizes for his role in scaring people, especially children, with the idea that climate change represented a global crisis and that the world would end soon unless it was addressed. He exposes many of the false claims and the unintended consequences for the environment. He still believes “climate change is happening. It is just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.” On Twitter, Shellenberger commented,

Negativity has triumphed over positivity. In place of love, forgiveness, kindness, and the kingdom of heaven, today’s apocalyptic environmentalism offers fear, anger, and the narrow prospects of avoiding extinction.

He joins a growing list of former advocates for radical action on global warming.

A Christian approach—final thoughts

In summary,

  1. The politicization of climate science has led to corruption of the science.
  2. Over the last 100 years or so, the CO2 level has been increasing. However, the temperatures over that time have not been consistent with the hypothesis that human-generated CO2 is the prime cause of temperature increases.
  3. The science is not ‘settled’, or there would be one model, not over a hundred, that attempts to predict the global temperature. Furthermore, the official climate models that have predicted up to 4.5C of global warming with a doubling of the CO2 have failed all five tests applied to them. They should be rejected.
  4. Because positive feedback does not operate, the warming from a doubling of the CO2 is likely to be less than 1°C, which would be beneficial to life on earth. Indeed, this is less than the 1.5°C of warming that the draconian policies formulated to limit CO2 production were set to achieve, based on the failed models.
  5. The impact of global warming on various natural disasters has been hyped and is not supported by the evidence.
  6. There is no climate emergency.
  7. The economic impact of radical policies to limit CO2 will most seriously hurt the poorest people.
  8. Because humans are intelligent and industrious, we can apply our God-given abilities to solve many (real) environmental issues, especially if we are guided by a Christian worldview.

The idea of dangerous climate change due to burning fossil fuels is unfounded in sound science, and divorced from biblical history.

As part of good stewardship, Christians should be at the forefront of a decision-making process that balances the needs of all the stakeholders: both in terms of economic development and in minimising negative impacts on the environment. A Bible-based approach to government, the environment, and justice will result in human flourishing, as it has in every country that has been strongly influenced by the Bible’s teaching (see The Bible is the bedrock of civilized society).

Clearly, there can hardly be a Christian approach without Christ. Christians need to be pro-active in working to see others come to faith in Christ. In doing that we will also be once again laying the foundations for human flourishing, but also the flourishing of the planet because man is needed to look after it; that’s the way God designed it to be. Indeed, Hosea 2:18–23 connects the health of the land to the spiritual health of the people.

There is a sickness in many once-Christian countries, and it began with the undermining of the Bible as the Word of God from the beginning. When we see the Lord Jesus Christ once again honoured as Creator and Saviour of the world, we will see health return to our nations.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

References and notes

  1. I thank my many colleagues from inside and outside CMI who helped refine this document. Return to text.
  2. Smith, W.J., Environmentalism’s deep misanthropy, firstthings.com, 25 Jan 2013. Return to text.
  3. Sarfati, J., The Genesis Account, Ch. 10, 3rd Edn, CBP, 2018. Return to text.
  4. The aboriginal people were burning (caring for) the Australian countryside in the cool seasons before Europeans came. This reduced the fuel load and thus meant that any fires in the summer were not conflagrations that incinerated man and animal. Return to text.
  5. Lillie, B., Fighting the growing deserts, with livestock: Allan Savory at TED2013, blog.ted.com, 27 Feb 2013. Return to text.
  6. Berner, R.A. and Kothavala, Z., GEOCARB III: a revised model of atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic time, American J. Science 301:182–204; 2001. Return to text.
  7. Mararitelli, G. et al., Persistent warm Mediterranean surface waters during the Roman period, (Nature) Sci. Rep. 10:10431, 2020; doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-67281-2 Return to text.
  8. The thermometer was not invented until 1714, but multiple proxies have been used to ascertain the historical temperatures to achieve a good degree of confidence. Some question whether these were only regional and did not reflect global temperatures. However, the Greenland ice cores and tree rings in China both show the warming. There was also warming in most of Africa and South America (see doi: 10.1002/2017PA003237 and doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2018.10.041). It was clearly global. Return to text.
  9. 47 Bible Verses about God’s sovereignty over the weather; bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Weather,-God~s-Sovereignty-Over. Return to text.
  10. Isles, M., Climate Change Part I—S4E1 The Truth of It (video), Australian Christian Lobby, 1 Nov., 2019; acl.org.au Return to text.
  11. Interview with Bernard Potter in Neue Zürcher Zeitung [New Zurich Times], 14 Nov 2010. Return to text.
  12. Basden, S., Extinction Rebellion isn’t about the Climate; medium.com, 10 Jan 2019. Return to text.
  13. carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-coal-power-plants, year 2019. Return to text.
  14. Kusnetz, N., U.S. Emissions Dropped in 2019: Here’s Why in 6 Charts, insideclimatenews.org, 7 Jan 2020. Return to text.
  15. Leahy, S., Most countries aren’t hitting 2030 climate goals, and everyone will pay the price: ‘Untold human suffering’ is in our future as nations miss their Paris Agreement targets by a long shot, nationalgeographic.com, 5 Nov 2019. Return to text.
  16. Nuclear power in the world today, world-nuclear.org, Mar 2020. Return to text.
  17. Schorn, D., France: Vive Les Nukes, cbsnews.com, 6 Apr 2007. Return to text.
  18. Kench, P.S. et al., Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations, Nature Communications 9:605, 2018 |doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-02954-1 Return to text.
  19. See Crockford, S., State of the polar bear report 2017, GWPF Report 29, 60 pp., 2018; thegwpf.org Return to text.
  20. Climate Change Fears of Teen Activist Are Empirically Baseless; youtu.be/MU70facZc6A (10 minute video with references). Script here: justfactsdaily.com/climate-change-fears-of-teen-activist-are-empirically-baseless Return to text.
  21. Gunn, J., as quoted in Cho, A., A singular conundrum: How odd is our universe? Science 317:1848–1850, 2007. Return to text.
  22. Bennett, C.L., Science Title Misstep, Letter to the Editor, Science 332:1263, 2011. Return to text.
  23. Heathers, J., The Lancet has made one of the biggest retractions in modern history. How could this happen? The Guardian, 5 Jun 2020; theguardian.com. Return to text.
  24. There are arguments about just how much warming has occurred. The terrestrial (surface) thermometer records are problematic because of changes in circumstances and equipment, combined with questionable adjustments made to the historical record (see Data tampering (fraud?) later). Return to text.
  25. According to IPCC’s AR5 Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers, p. 4, “About half of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions between 1750 and 2011 have occurred in the last 40 years (high confidence) (Figure SPM.1d). {1.2.1, 1.2.2}. Return to text.
  26. Houghton, R.A., Balancing the Global Carbon Budget, Annu. Rev. Earth Planet, 2010; annualreviews.org (sourced from NASA, nasa.gov). Return to text.
  27. The average global temperature is 14.5–15°C. Return to text.
  28. Figure 20, p. 22, from Evans, D., Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? (with foreword by Joanne Nova), 46 pp., 2011; jonova.s3. Return to text.
  29. Numbers as at 30 September 2020. The petition wording and signers’ names and qualifications can be seen at petitionproject.org. The site also has a review of relevant peer-reviewed research. Return to text.
  30. Cook, J. et al., Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, Environmental Res. Lett., 8(2), 7pp., 2013 |doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024 Return to text.
  31. Legates, D.R. et al., Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to ‘Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change’, Sci. & Educ. 24: 299–318, 2015 | doi:10.1007/s11191-013-9647-9. See also Dr John Robson’s video, The In-depth Story Behind a Climate Fraud (YouTube, 9 May 2019). Return to text.
  32. For a comprehensive analysis of the Cook paper, see Montford, A., Fraud, bias and public relations: the 97% ‘consensus’ and its critics, thegwpf.org Note 11, September 2014. Return to text.
  33. See: Matkin, J.G., Consensus crumbles—global warming is mostly natural—climate is too chaotic to model. Mongolia—1 million cows freeze to death again -56°C (-70°F). 500 Peer reviewed science papers in 2016 are skeptical, academia.edu. Return to text.
  34. Detailed biographical information, including some of the ad hominem attacks suffered due to their opposition to climate alarmism, at The Top 15 Climate-Change Scientists: Consensus & Skeptics, thebestschools.org, 23 Mar 2020. Return to text.
  35. Roy Spencer, Ph.D. climatologist,drroyspencer.com. Return to text.
  36. Crok, M., Prominent scientists warn UN Secretary-General Guterres; clintel.nl, 23 Sep 2019. Return to text.
  37. See: creation.com/discrimination-against-creation-scientists. Return to text.
  38. Dr Peter Ridd was dismissed from James Cook University, Townsville, Australia, for questioning the quality of the climate change research being published by his university. Return to text.
  39. Bell, P., Pseudoscience and the stifling of debate; creation.com/pseudoscience-stifling-debate, 5 Sep 2013. Return to text.
  40. IPCC 3rd Assessment Report (‘TAR 2001’). Return to text.
  41. It is a logarithmic effect, with most of the warming already achieved. The first 300 ppm (0.03%) provides 87% of the warming up to 1,000 ppm. Going from 400 to 1,000 ppm will add only 10% of the existing greenhouse effect, or 0.3 degrees or less. Return to text.
  42. Climate Change 2001: the Scientific Basis, p.358; www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/03/WGI_TAR_full_report.pdf. Return to text.
  43. Evans, D., The skeptics case, jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/guest/evans-david/skeptics-case.pdf (accessed 22 July 2020). Return to text.
  44. Lewis, M., Satellites and global warming: Dr Christy sets the record straight, 5 Feb. 2016; globalwarming.org (from Dr John Christy’s testimony to the USA House Science Committee hearing on the Paris climate treaty). Return to text.
  45. Lindzen, R.S. and Choi, Y-S, On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications, Asia-Pacific J. Atmos. Sci. 47(4):377–390, 2011 | doi: 10.1007/s13143-011-0023-x Return to text.
  46. Harde, H., Radiation transfer calculations and assessment of global warming by CO2, International J. Atmospheric Sciences 2017: Article 9251034, 20 Mar 2017 | doi:10.1155/2017/9251034. Return to text.
  47. Lewis, N. and Curry, J., The impact of recent forcing and ocean heat uptake data on estimates of climate sensitivity, Journal of Climate, Aug 2018 | doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0667.1 Return to text.
  48. Polvani, L.M. et al., Substantial twentieth-century Arctic warming caused by ozone-depleting substances, Nature Clim. Change, 2020 | doi:10.1038/s41558-019-0677-4. Return to text.
  49. Camp, C.D. and Tung, K.K., Surface warming by the solar cycle as revealed by the composite mean difference projection, Geophysical Research Letters 34(14), Jul 2007 | doi:10.1029/2007GL030207. Return to text.
  50. Svensmark, H., and Friis-Christensen, E., Variation of cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage—a missing link in solar-climate relationships, J. Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 59(11):1225–1232, 1997 | doi:10.1016/S1364-6826(97)00001-1 Return to text.
  51. Herbert, L., III, Tinsley, B.A., and Zhou, L., Global electric circuit modulation of winter cyclone vorticity in northern high latitudes, Advances in Space Res. 50(6):806–818, 2012, and papers in J. Creation by Herbert in 2013 and 2014 (at Creation.com). Return to text.
  52. Climategate Hide the Decline Backgrounder, 4 Dec 2019; video and transcript; climatediscussionnexus.com. Return to text.
  53. Menton, F., Michael Mann ‘Hockey Stick’ Update: Now Definitively Established To Be Fraud, Manhatten Contrarian, 26 August 2019; www.manhattancontrarian.com Return to text.
  54. jennifermarohasy.com/temperatures (look at the homogenisation section). Return to text.
  55. I (DB), was involved in developing alternative battery-powered microprocessor-based-weather stations, and trying to develop a cheap alternative to the traditional (and expensive) Stevenson Screen, which was increasingly adopted for standard weather stations from the 1880s to 1910: Peak, C.M., Fitzell, R.D., Hannah, R.S. and Batten, D.J., Development of a microprocessor-based data recording system for predicting plant disease based on studies on mango anthracnose, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 1(3):251–62, 1986 | doi:10.1016/0168-1699(86)90012-8.All my attempts to mimic a Stevenson Screen (SS) failed, as all smaller cheap plastic alternatives gave maximum temperatures a degree or two Celsius higher than the SS on calm sunny days. Electronic sensors also over-read the peak temperature as they have less thermal lag than traditional mercury or alcohol bulb thermometers. Modern automated weather stations, which have replaced many SS-based ones, therefore give exaggerated maximum temperatures. Return to text.
  56. These temperatures were all recorded with a standard Stevenson screen and mercury thermometer, so there is no basis for adjusting them or deleting them. Marohasy, J., Hottest day ever in Australia confirmed: Bourke 51.7°C, 3rd January 1909; jennifermarohasy.com, 10 Jul 2020. Return to text.
  57. Hansen, J., R., Glascoe, R.J., and Sato, M., GISS analysis of surface temperature change, J. Geophys. Res. 104:30997–31022, 1999 | doi:10.1029/1999JD900835. Return to text.
  58. Data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS); data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3 (last accessed 19 Aug 2020). Return to text.
  59. 61% Fake Data; realclimatescience.com/61-fake-data (a short history of data manipulation) and realclimatescience.com/no-excuse-for-data-tampering by Tony Heller. Return to text.
  60. There are many examples of data manipulation from around the world shown graphically here: wattsupwiththat.com/category/land-surface-air-temperature-data Return to text.
  61. Curry, J., Legacy of Climategate—10 years later; judithcurry.com/2019/11/12/legacy-of-climategate-10-years-later, 12 Nov 2019. Return to text.
  62. McLean, J., An Audit of the Creation and Content of the HadCRUT4 Temperature Dataset, Oct 2018; robert-boyle-publishing.com Return to text.
  63. Albert Parker, A. & Ollier, C.D., Is the Sea Level Stable at Aden, Yemen? Earth Systems and Environment 1: article no. 18, 2017; springer.com/article/10.1007/s41748-017-0020-z Return to text.
  64. co2coalition.org/2020/01/11/thank-god-for-tide-gauges Return to text.
  65. Oard, M.J., Evidence strongly suggests the Laurentide Ice Sheet was thin, Journal of Creation 30(1):97–104, 2016 and Oard, M.J., Non-glacial landforms indicate thin Scandinavian and British-Irish Ice Sheets, J. Creation 31(2):119–127, 2017. Return to text.
  66. wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/02/the-most-important-sea-level-graph illustrates the difficulty of getting a clear picture of sea level changes. Return to text.
  67. A classical location for isostatic rebound is the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland, where the maximum uplift is 9 mm (0.35 inch) annually. Return to text.
  68. Archimedes’ Law of Buoyancy states that the buoyant force is equal and opposite to the weight of the fluid displaced. At equilibrium, the iceberg’s whole weight = the weight of the water displaced. It follows that if this melts, it will form the same weight of water as that displaced. Therefore the liquid’s volume and level will not change. Return to text.
  69. Smith, B. et al., Pervasive ice sheet mass loss reflects competing ocean and atmosphere processes, Science 368(6496):1239–1242, 12 Jun 2020 | doi:10.1126/science.aaz5845. Return to text.
  70. Rignot, E. et al., Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017, PNAS 116(4):1095–1103, 22 Jan., 2019 | doi:10.1073/pnas.1812883116 Return to text.
  71. Brancato, V. et al., Grounding Line Retreat of Denman Glacier, East Antarctica, Measured With COSMO—SkyMed Radar Interferometry Data, Geophysical Res. Letters 47: e2019GL086291 |doi:10.1029/2019GL086291 Return to text.
  72. ETH Zurich, Ice volume calculated anew, ScienceDaily, 12 February 2019; sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190212092603.htm. Return to text.
  73. Knowlton, N., The Great Barrier Reef—Going, Going, Gone??? Oct. 2012; ocean.si.edu/ecosystems/coral-reefs/great-barrier-reef-going-going-gone Return to text.
  74. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Long-term Reef Monitoring Program—Annual Summary Report on coral reef condition for 2018/19; aims.gov.au. Note particularly figures 2, 4, and 6. The cyclones that caused the major declines are mentioned in the commentary. Return to text.
  75. Kamenos, N.A. and Hennige, S.J., Reconstructing Four Centuries of Temperature-Induced Coral Bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, Frontiers in Marine Science 5:283, 2018 (note Figure 4) | doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00283 Return to text.
  76. Clark, T.D. et al., Ocean acidification does not impair the behaviour of coral reef fishes, Nature 577:370–375, 8 Jan 2020 | doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1903-y. Return to text.
  77. Hartnett, J., The problem with science is that so much of it simply isn’t, J. Creation 31(2):6–7, 2017; creation.com/science-fraud. Return to text.
  78. Doo, S.S., Edmunds, P.J., and Carpenter, R.C., Ocean acidification effects on in situ coral reef metabolism. Sci. Rep. 9:12067, 2019 | doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48407-7 Return to text.
  79. See: Protect the poor: Ten reasons to oppose harmful climate change policies, cornwallalliance.org, accessed 17 Jul 2020. The Cornwall Alliance presents a reasoned and compassionate Christian approach to environmental matters: Dr E. Calvin Beisner is the principal, and a biblical creationist. Return to text.
  80. World Bank report 2018: worldbank.org/en/publication/poverty-and-shared-prosperity. Return to text.
  81. Campbell, J.E. et al., Large historical growth in global terrestrial gross primary production, Nature 544:84–87, 6 Apr 2017 | doi:10.1038/nature22030. The IPCC’s Climate Change and Land also reports a global net greening in section A2.3; ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/08/4.-SPM_Approved_Microsite_FINAL.pdf. Return to text.
  82. Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds, nasa.gov, 26 Apr 2016; nasa.gov, Return to text.
  83. According to secular researchers, CO2 levels were particularly low at the ‘Last Glacial Maximum’ (LGM). This corresponds with the end of the post-Flood ice age. This fits with the draw-down of atmospheric CO2 with the revegetation of planet Earth, combined with the cooling of the oceans resulting in more CO2 dissolved in the cold ocean water. Return to text.
  84. Lawson, N., An appeal to reason: The economics and politics of climate change, Centre for Policy Studies, 1 Nov. 2006. Return to text.
  85. Delingpole, J., Forbes cancels environmentalist who wrote ‘I Apologize for the Climate Scare’, breitbart.com, 30 June 2020. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Don M.
An excellent and thorough treatment. [off-topic comment deleted]
Thomas Sr. G.
Excellent! Could this be put out in pamphlet form?
Edward P.
I always see these graphs that show what looks like a giant increase in co2 that could look frightening to kids, especially when made to fear. But a better graph to show kids would be to show it in total of all atmospheric gases. If I take 1 mm and make that the equivalent of 410 ppm, I can draw a line 1 mm long for the 410 ppm and a line .7 mm long next to it to represent the 285 ppm and place those lines at the bottom of my 8' wall. Dividing 1,000,000 ppm by 410 ppm, I get 2,439 mm. My wall is 8' x 25.4 =2438 mm high. Perfect to graph it to my wall within 1 mm. Imagine a book foldout with all the atmospheric gases in relationship to the whole. Graph all the gases from 1880 to the present in their correct positions. Just an idea for you.
Don Batten
I'm all for reducing the fear in children, as the article indicates. However, this approach might be a bit misleading. The reason is that nitrogen and oxygen, which comprise over 99% of the atmosphere, are not greenhouse gases. While carbon dioxide is only 0.041% of the atmosphere, it is a significant greenhouse gas, contributing in total about 3.3 degrees C to the global temperature. While it can stretch our creative abilities, we need to inform children accurately in a way that they can understand.
Mike D.
This is excellent. As well as Biblically correct it is also very much more realistic than much of the rhetoric that one hears these days. For example, when advocating various "green" forms of energy, many of their proponents fail to take into account the environmental damage caused by mining the various components for the technology, the extensive land use of many of them, in addition to the huge logistical challenges of building a sustainable energy supply from their use. Thank you so much for such a well balanced and informative article.
Doug K.
Don, Thank you for the countless hours You must have spent to put this together! Thank you for helping us sort out a complex issue from a biblical perspective. May the Lord bless you for your hard and good work.
Daniel M.
Thank you for an awesome article with broad coverage of all the major issues surrounding the theory of AGW and a biblical perspective on how we approach both the science and the accompanying social, economic, and political issues.
One question: You mention that scientists believe that CO2 levels during the Palaeozoic (pre-flood in a biblical timeframe) may have been as much as 15 times higher than today. Have any creationists proposed a theory as to where all of that CO2 went?
Don Batten
A lot of carbon was buried in the Genesis Flood. We find that in coal, fossils, oil, gas, chalk beds, etc. That carbon was effectively 'locked away'. Then, when vegetation grew again after the Flood, the carbon dioxide level fell to what it is today. This is discussed in chapter 4 in the Creation Answers Book in the context of carbon dating (the chapter is also available on creation.com).

Bruce W.
Thanks for tackling this, massive job, appreciate your hard work!
John W.
Since the political Left is so concerned about "climate change" they should plant a tree and leave the rest of us alone.
Tom G.
In an online discussion I had with a gentleman who disagreed with my views on anthropogenic climate change, he mentioned that large amounts of CO2 were toxic (most things are in large quantities!) and that present CO2 levels (400+ ppm) were becoming dangerous for our survival.
It didn’t take too much research to put him straight on this. Apparently CO2 levels in submarines can be over 1000 ppm without any adverse effects. And if you think that’s high, some school classrooms have concentrations as high as 2500 ppm!!!
Researchers say that is about the level that begins to effect students cognitivity.
Don Batten
Well done. With all the talk of carbon dioxide being a poison it is not surprising that people think of it in this way. However, the limit for a working environment in the USA is 5,000 ppm (0.5%). "OSHA has established a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for CO2 of 5,000 parts per million (ppm) (0.5% CO2 in air) averaged over an 8-hour work day (time-weighted average orTWA." (from www.fsis.usda.gov).
Stephen N.
Thank you for the excellent article, which exposes the fraud and deceit in the climate change alarmism. There is no doubt that this is organized deception. Satan is a master of mixing fact with fiction in order to deceive people, and his servants in the elite of this world use the same method. As the article points out, a simple look at history begins to expose the fraud. The climate was warmer 1000 years ago, when the Norse people settled for a time in southern Greenland. It was also warmer during some of the Roman period. Also, as you point out, during the 1970's the big scare was that we were heading into another ice age. This article was much needed.
Archie S.
Just a little disappointed that CMI would tend to suggest that supporters of AGW are either naive victims of, or proponents of, neo-Marxist ideology. Even taking up the pejorative term ‘alarmist’, for those of AGW persuasion, is something I didn’t expect from an organisation which I respect and support. There are many capable honest climate scientists, who are simply going about their objective science and coming up with results and conclusions and concerns for the planet, without subservience to any vested interests. To give such, the label ‘alarmists’ or ‘puppets’ is I think is unfair and misleading.
I know my fellow-Christians by and large would give a hearty amen to your article, and I think at the bottom of this is that part of their worldview that says ‘This is God’s planet and He is in control of its state and it’s future, not mankind’, and scriptural support is given for this, and I would basically agree. However the same Bible does speak in Rev 11:18 of judgement upon a class of mankind who would ‘destroy the earth’ if allowed.
We could say that Jesus himself was an ‘alarmist’ because He spoke of environmental events coming upon the earth as we near the end of time, that would cause ‘men’s hearts to fail them in fear’ Luke 21:6. Why could these events not be the fruit of Godless men exploiting the planet for their own greed. It’s not unreasonable to expect the results of sin to extend to the very viability of the planet itself. Of course God, as Sovereign, will say when enough is enough and He will come to collect His own. ‘Therefore comfort one another with these words of hope’
I respectfully offer this as an alternative Christian view.
Bill P.
If I may say w/all respect say; "The World Wide Flood in Noah's Day" was such a destructive event that the earth is still recovering from what took place during that time.
Many thanks for the work you people do.
Ian D.
Such an excellent article! Thanks for the time, effort and thoroughness that you have used in producing it.
Raymond S.
Dr. Henry Morris's New Defender Study Bible commentary says about 2 Kings 20:1 "The most likely reason was God's expression of disapproval of Hezekiah's compromise in giving the gold and silver in the temple to Sennacherib in the unsuccessful hope that this would keep him from invading Judah." Thank you for refusing to compromise in that way!
Mark f M.
A very good article, with plenty of facts and details.

Please follow up with an article on wild fires.
California just had one of the biggest in california history.
But no mention in the media of how that will effect smog or air or global wArming
Don Batten
The recent bushfires in Australia are mentioned a couple of times in the article; how the severity was hyped, but also that a major cause of the severe fires was the failure to reduce fuel levels in the cool season (controlled burning), due to 'green' policies that don't work (leave the forests for 'nature' to look after). I would be surprised if it were not similar in California.
Denis L.
A tremendously dedicated effort thank you Don et al. I concur with much of analyis. And I'm disturbed at the same time. Yes, our world view provides a crucial frame through which to understand our climate issues. I share your Biblical worldview. Ideology provides a similarly crucial frame of reference, but I don't see your corresponding analysis. You readily label climate alarmists "neo-Marxist" and attribute to this ideology, perspectives on human affairs with an evident Gospel origin ( e.g., on racial & gender inequality). Though assumed by many to be so, Christianity does not naturally align to a conservative ideology. Observe Jesus' interactions with conservative Judaism during his earthy ministry. The Gospel transforms every individual & community it impacts - no less those in conservatism than in Marxism. Jesus teaching calls his followers to activist transformation in this world - one mostly (but not always) at odds with its ideologies to the left & right. Acts narrates its progress by Word & Spirit.
So "no climate emergency"?! I doubt you will convince our Torres Strait Islander Qlders who risk losing homes & livelihoods to rising seas; nor Qlders who lost homes & livelihoods in unprecidented fire-storms last summer, nor our farmers forced to radical change of practice to avoid ruin.
Nor e.g., do you address the huge human health toll from contaminated air by burning of fossil fuels (most likely a contributor to my chronic lung disease) which impacts the poor more than the rich; nor of the significant excess of deaths accompanying each increasingly frequent heat wave we experience.
Actuaries (key brokers of truth re real risk in our secular society regardless of world view or ideology) seemed to have arrived at a contasting assessment to yours?
Don Batten
Denis, Neo-Marxism, or cultural Marxism, is demonstrably a prime source of climate alarmism (as I showed). I can’t see how that equates with me endorsing “conservatism” or “the right” (whatever that means today). My paper was not an analysis of political stances, but of climate alarmism. Marxists are pushing climate alarmism, not ‘conservatives’ or ‘the right’; hence I mention only the Marxists. I agree that Jesus would weep at much that passes as ‘conservative’ politics; take for example, the endorsement of abortion by ‘conservatives’ (such as the government in New South Wales, or South Australia, or the UK, etc.).
As for Torres Strait Islanders being fearful of being drowned in rising seas, or those who lost their homes in bushfires, or farmers “forced to radical change of practice to avoid ruin”, I have to wonder how carefully you read my paper. These perceptions are directly linked to the climate alarmism that my paper addresses. It is reprehensible that activists instil fear into people for their political machinations, or ride on the misery of people (homes lost in bushfires) to bully us all into submitting to their political agenda. Farmers have most to fear from ill-conceived government policies imposed upon them to ‘save the planet’ from a non-existent threat (and there is no evidence of increasing droughts from global warming). They have much to benefit from the extra CO2!
Neo-Marxists are also riding on the backs of gender and race, but their agenda is nothing like a Christian approach to the issues, as the violence perpetrated by Black Lives Matter and the cruel manipulation of children to cause gender confusion both demonstrate. As Christians we believe that all are 'made in the image of God', and as such all lives matter (babies, black, brown, white, male, female). This informs a compassionate approach that is quite foreign to neo-Marxists.
Tim C.
Good to see some dialogue on the subject and thank you for taking the time to critic and lay out the facts. There have been scientist past and present (some not all) who have changed the results, moved the statistics and so on all to will favour and glory. You mentioned the BOM and the manipulation of past data to fit the current trend very disappointing.
And insofar as media and the environmental groups. I previously worked in the forest industry in 2002/03 I was working in Victoria, the Green activists were claiming that the cause of Melbournes water shortage and subsequent restrictions was all due to logging of forests. The bulk of Melbournes catchment is in logging areas. They claimed that new regrowth forest use more water than mature forest. We won't go into the science here. This argument was gaining momentum. However the worst fire season in 10 years was upon us and the entire catchment burnt, and pretty much burnt to the ground. They stopped using that argument overnight. As a natural lighting started fire caused the destruction. The forest areas around Sydney including a lot of the harbour areas burnt to the water line in 1993, this doesn't get a mention on the back of the climate activist claim that this years fires are the start of our extinction.
Phillip C.
I was wondering when you guys would post a series of articles about climate change. I was seriously thinking about emailing you guys about why you seemingly went back on that promise after many weeks had passed. This long article was excellent and goes a long way to explaining why it took so long for it to be published. I was expecting a series of smaller articles, but this long one is perfect. Are you planning on publishing shorter, specialized articles that will go into detail about each of the points highlighted in this article? For instance, it would be nice to know more about the scope and extent of the fraud going on at trusted institutions. It seems to me that as Western countries continue to discard their Christian heritage they're more likely to adopt dishonest recordkeeping practices of ancient times.
Don Batten
No shorter, specialized, articles are planned, but there probably will be, depending on the developments in the field. If you follow the links to the sources given in the article you will find 'tons' of evidence for the fraud outlined. I was frankly shocked at the brazenness of the perpetrators. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." (Goebbels, under Hitler). The fraud is so huge that I think many find it hard to believe that it could be true. This should be a huge story for the mass media...
This is relevant: Why the epidemic of fraud exists in science today
Andrew S.
Hi Don, Great effort there. Thanks for taking the time to tackle this thorny subject. I think there is an additional factor that is very relevant to CMI which is is that climate models for the future, assume deep time in the past. Part of the reason for the alarming predictions is that they slot their historical data into a false time scale. It seems clear that has been catastrophic climate events in the past. If scientists fail to incorporate these into a single year long global flood, which God has promised not to repeat, then they have every reason to be concerned for the future.
Don Batten
Thanks Andrew. I do touch upon this in the section headed 1. The real history of the world from the Bible, under point c. where is discuss how denying Noah's Flood leaves no viable mechanism for the Ice Age, and this feeds into climate models that have instability built into them. And then in the summary at the end of this section, "the fake, anti-Bible deep-time evolutionary history of planet Earth, based on naturalism (the belief that nature is all there is), feeds into a radical environmentalist ideology. This has now embraced climate change."

Paul S.
Unfortunately you have made the warmists' mistake of Not looking at history.
The Medieval Warm Period (1100AD) and the Roman Warm Period (200AD) and the Mini Ice Age (1600AD) indicate that we have a climate oscillation which started way before 1750AD. Personally I think it is a remnant from the flood; first excursion was the ice age, and the climate has been in a decaying oscillation since.
Don Batten
Seems like you have not read the article at all carefully. There is a lot to take in, but the periods you mention are discussed. Mike Oard, who has probably most studied the post-flood ice age and the consequences since would not agree with you.
Dale B.
Hoorah, Hoorah !
Thank you CMI for at last releasing such a detailed and Biblically based document on this most divisive
and fear engendering issue.
Brilliant job Don and the whole CMI team.
Congratulations are in order !
In Christ we will know the truth and the truth will set us free !
Peter C.
Very well written 10 out of 10, one other scripture that I think is relevant is Job 38, God made and is in control of all that happens on the earth and heavens, sadly most of the problem with climate change activists is they believe they are little gods and can control the earth, time for humility. Thanks again for a great article.
Rodney H.
Thanks Don for this much anticipated article.
The 14,000 words could have easily been 140,000 words without careful and prayerful editing!
It brings light to the subject, may we use it to bring His Light into the dark places.
congratulations
Lewis John G.
You might refer your readers to the Cornwall Alliance website. They seek to present a biblical view of 'climate change' and the environment, and Christian stewardship of the earth.
I also think Genesis 8:20-22 is where Christians must begin when they try to sort out 'climate change'.
Don Batten
I have already referred to both in the article.
Peter V.
Excellent! Thank you for tackling this controversial topic which the enemy of our souls has greatly used to hold many captive with fear. Besides all the scientific evidence you postulate, you clearly reveal the connection between the subversive motivations of those still in the clutches of the evil one and this great fraud that has been foisted on the general world population.

Once again, as you so consistently do, you use real Biblically-based science to expose falsehood and reveal the truth. Many thanks for an article that will be a tremendous source on this topic, and will set the hearts of many at ease, resting in the omnipotent Creator and his control over his creation.
Grahame G.
Thank you for this excellent article. I pray that Christians are not deceived by this demonic plot to destroy Christian civilisation, and that people understand what the real war is.
David S.
I think that it would be silly for believing Christians to worry about global warming and climate change due to human activity bringing about the apocalypse and to try with our puny efforts to effect change. With all our technology, we cannot even change our local weather. Our Lord God has already decided the end clearly in Scripture through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who will, in His second coming, gather the faithful to His everlasting kingdom. Our efforts in taking action to reduce use of fossil fuels etc. is, I believe, pretty futile and will only put us back close to the stone age. We should be concentrating more on living a life that is pleasing to our Lord God so that we will be numbered among the sheep and not the goats.
This is not to say, however, that we should not make strong efforts to reduce polluting this beautiful world with human waste of all forms like indestructible plastics, polluting the air with unhealthy gases and so on - all that is within our abilities. We should only be concentrating on making our environment more healthy, comfortable and pleasing to live in. That is the limit of our stewardship. The future of the world is not in our hands but in our Lord God Almighty.
Howard B.
Thank-you for addressing the issue. Jesus tells us of fearful things which will be occurring in the end-times if the last days leading up to His glorious return. Climate and weather are among those things. When He comes to (re)establish God's kingdom on the Earth, all will be restored to His order.
Paul R.
Thanks for a balanced and very informative article.
Murray J.
Thank you for putting together this excellent summary of the Climate Change / AGW issues and facts. There are many individual books that address the key points you have outlined but it is difficult to obtain a unified picture that accords with a Christian world view; this essay does just that.

Keep up your excellent work in proclaiming the truth about God's creation. May God continue to bless you in your ministry.
Errol B.
Great article. Probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite topic. Quite thorough. I may use some info here if that's ok. Did you know the Greens Oppose Global Greening?
The more informed alarmists don’t deny the earth is getting greener from increased CO2, rather they claim that “Extra Carbon Dioxide Can Make Plants Less Nutritious”. Carl Zimmer (NY Times) & Dr. J. Campbell (Sierra Nevada Research Institute) said “Global Greening Sounds Good. In the Long Run, It’s Terrible.” Zimmer and Campbell then give a strange argument with clever wording but little data to support their conclusion. They basically claim that nutrition levels 'often' or 'can' (not mostly or always) suffer from increased CO2. Dr. Sarfatti could have a field day with that logic.
Sarah C.
Thank you for this article! I appreciate so much the research, writing, and careful editing that made this happen. You have covered every facet of climate change that I can think of. If I had hope that the truth would penetrate, I might share this with my coworkers. I work in the "environmental education" field, and the big trend lately has been climate education. Sadly, it does not seem like the aim is true education, true research, a true desire to understand. Minds have been made up that [anthropogenic] climate change is fact. Maybe this brilliant article could at least raise some questions...
Jorge V.
Fantastic article and very help. Is there an experiment (s) that can prove or disprove that CO2 causing warming of the earth to a degree that all life is damaged or destroyed?
Don Batten
As explained in the section How scientific is ‘climate science’? no experiments are possible to prove/measure this. Thus, climate scientists have to depend on complex models, and there is no agreement on the best model (there are over a 100 in use).
John S.
Thankyou for "biting the bullet" It was a studious and very helpful counterbablance to the prevailing populous alarmist/activist movements. It abounded in attestable scientific research. It was in perfect harmony with the founding principles of the creationist movement, very well done (thankyou for all the team effort).
David G.
Thanks so much for this article. I would ask that CMI produce this in a booklet form for distribution. I plan to share it on my Facebook page and let others know about it, but having it in booklet form would enable better distribution as many won't have the time to read and digest something this long and important on line.
Don Batten
We will see how much demand there is for a booklet, and then we may well publish one. One problem I foresee is that it is much easier to keep a web article up-to-date compared to a booklet.
Chuck R.
This may be somewhat off-topic but I remember the Ozone Hole scare back in the 1980s and how we desperately needed to eliminate CFCs because we humans were causing the hole.
Earlier this year NASA made some comments about the ozone hole possibly getting smaller, yet recent headlines now announce -
"2020 Antarctic ozone hole 'one of the largest and deepest in recent years'"
"The hole in the ozone layer keeps coming back to haunt us."
NASA also provides photos of the ozone hole over the years and it's obvious that the size of the hole varies constantly.
I've also been reading that those watching the ozone are now starting to realize that the hole size is controlled by the temps in the upper atmosphere, which causes me to wonder that since the hole is a seasonal event, only occurring it the antarctic's coldest time of year, why has it taken so long for the ozone scientists to realize that temperature is the primary controller of the hole?
So the point of my comment? Perhaps those who claim they 'know', maybe are not so expert after all.

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