Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A CGWE believer turns ‘atheist.’

It happens more often than you hear, but there are former believers in the Church of Global Warming – Evangelical (CGWE) who have left the flock. One is David Evans, who was in charge of CO2 modeling for the government of Australia. He traces his path from ‘outsider’ to ‘insider’ back to ‘outsider’ here, but the Cliff Notes version is as follows:

In the late 90s the argument for global warming caused by CO2 emissions convinced Mr. Evans:

  1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
  2. Since 1975, CO2 and global temperature have risen in tandem.
  3. Ice core data confirms the in-tandem relationship long-term.
  4. There were no other credible causes global warming.

But, as he points out, “…starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed.”

  1. The near-term CO2/temperature tandem broke down as you looked past 1975.
  2. Further examination of the ice core data showed that CO2 was a lagging, not leading, indicator of global temperature.
  3. Credible alternatives to CO2 have emerged as triggers for global warming, such as the sun’s recent hot phase, and the albedo effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation.

Mr. Evans doesn’t stop there, however. He notes how ‘science’ no longer drives discussions of the matter:

“Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. The science of global warming has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly supports carbon emissions as the cause of global warming, to the point of sometimes rubbishing or silencing critics.

The integrity of the scientific community will win out in the end, following the evidence wherever it leads. But in the meantime, the effects of the political climate is that most people are overestimating the evidence in favor of carbon emissions as the cause of global warming.”

I might add only one thing, and that is to address item #1. While CO2 is indeed a greenhouse gas, it is low in amount and weak in efficiency when compared to other greenhouse gasses. A tale, perhaps, for another time.

Read more about Mr. Evans here.

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