(from the Rev Howard Curnow; published in Methodist recorder, 9 Feb 12, and reproduced by permission)
I would like to respond to some of the points raised by the Rev. Peter Pillinger and Dr. Stephen Leah in their comments on my letter of December 29 (Recorder, January 12 and 19).
Mr Pillinger refers to Antarctic ice cores showing a correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels over millions of years. True, but as a scientist he will know that such a correlation proves nothing about causation; and if increased CO2 caused the global warming 20 million years ago, it was certainly not human activity which caused the increased CO2. Solar activity of some sort is a far more likely cause.
He also states that, in the years since 1880, a "graph of the rise in atmospheric CO2 would show a similar curve to the rise in global average temperature over the same period". However, he will be aware of the fact that within that period there were about 30 years (1940-1970 approx) when the CO2 was increasing, but global temperatures were falling (and scientists warned of the possibility of global of global cooling). At the very least, this suggests that the connection between CO2 levels and global temperature changes is not a simple cause and effect.
The greenhouse gas which has the greatest effect on climate is not CO2 but water vapour in the form of clouds; yet it seems that most computer climate modelling simply assumes that the greenhouse effect of water vapour remains constant. Any suggestions from reputable scientists that solar activity and clouds are playing a larger part than CO2 have tended to be simply dismissed by the "scientific consensus".
Dr. Leah's letter is full of unproven assertions and predictions, based on what he refers to as "the overwhelming consensus" on the subject. I would commend to him, and all those who maintain that "the science is settled", Christopher Booker's book, "The Real Global Warming Disaster". At the very least, this book should raise questions in any inquiring mind as to how far IPCC reports represent a true scientific consensus on the subject (and as to how far vast expenditure on such things as wind farms is useful or justified).
In any case, the idea that the truth of something is established by the number of people who believe in it is hardly a scientific approach. I'm told that when someone complained to a former President of the Conference that some Conference decision did not reflect the views of the Methodist people, he replied "Conference has no business reflecting the views of the Methodist people - except when they are right!"
Truth is not established by a majority view on any subject. Incidentally, as far as I know, Christopher Booker is not funded by 'oil suppliers and fossil fuel industries' - and I certainly am not!
Rev. Howard Curnow, Devon.
published by Habitat21, 13 Feb 2012, with thanks to Methodist Recorder and HC
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