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Sins of emission

October 2007 | by Peter Glover

Sins of emission

‘Try this experiment: go up to an environmental activist and say, “Hey, how about that ozone layer closing” or “Wow! The global warming peaked in 1998 and it’s been getting cooler for almost a decade. Isn’t that great?” And then look at the faces. As with all millenarian doomsday cults, good news is a bummer’ (Mark Steyn, international columnist).

Last month we looked at environmentalism as a new religion, with links to pantheism and ancient paganism. In this article we consider what might be called ‘The gospel of climate change’. What is this exactly? Well, here is the claim in a nutshell.

Weather patterns are becoming more extreme because the global climate is warming. This is a direct consequence of man’s pollution of the planet, largely through his carbon dioxide emissions (‘carbon footprint’). As a result, arctic ice will melt, sea levels will rise and weather will become more severe, threatening the future of the planet.

But, continues the message, we can still save the planet if we change our ways. We must live a more primitive lifestyle and de-industrialise to cut CO₂ emissions. We must de-populate the earth and return large portions of it to other species to help avert an apocalyptic disaster.

Facts and propaganda

The reality is that over recent decades the world’s mean temperature has risen by around one degree, and this happened before 1998. Is there any evidence that the world has warmed before? Absolutely!

The historical evidence shows cyclical warming and cooling periods. These include a warm period during Roman times when grapes were grown in the north of England (try that today!) In medieval times too, the temperature was two or three degrees higher in the northern hemisphere than it is today.

But what about the evidence that polar ice is melting, threatening the extinction of species like polar bears?  Well, the fact is that ice is melting in some places but is advancing in others.

Species, of course, have historically become extinct for all kinds of natural reasons. But the evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct has already been debunked by the latest studies.

It seems rather that polar bears have experienced a 200% rise in numbers. Another environmental myth is exposed – except in mass media propaganda.

How it happens

It happens this way. Someone does a scientific mini-survey and finds less polar bear activity than was previously observed in a given area. The survey is written up in scientific journals as possible evidence to support the climate change thesis.

Next, the mass media run the story with sensational headlines predicting extinction. Subsequently, new studies reveal that the bears simply moved elsewhere and are thriving. Unfortunately, the media are not interested in non-sensational reality and fail to report it. So error persists in the public consciousness and a cultural myth is born.

Yes, you reply, but what about the melting arctic ice on Greenland? Do you mean where the Vikings farmed the land before advancing ice forced them out – and where the current warming is again benefiting Greenland’s farmers? Just more evidence, I’m afraid, for cyclical local warming and cooling periods.

According to some reports, the Antarctic ice has also been melting. Well, on the finger of land pointing toward Argentina (where 90% of measurements are made) the temperature has indeed risen over recent years. However, the mass media ignore numerous studies which show that the rest of Antarctica is actually growing colder.

Katrina and Co.

But what about Katrina and other hurricanes? Glad you raised that. The North American continent has, over the past year, experienced the quietest hurricane period in recent memory. It wasn’t reported in the mainstream media, of course, as it didn’t fit the climate gospel theory.

But that may change this year as hurricane activity is predicted to normalise. New studies on tree rings, sea beds and ice cores suggest that strong hurricane activity has historically been the norm across North America.

Sins of emission

Much more could be said but space forbids. So let’s cut to the heart of the climate change gospel – the belief that man’s CO₂ emissions are the chief cause of warming. Yes, CO₂ is a greenhouse gas but not the major one. Neither, contrary to popular belief, is it a pollutant – its presence is vital for life and plant growth.

The main greenhouse gas by far is water vapour which even on a clear day contributes 60-70% of the greenhouse effect (an effect, incidentally, that is essential for the survival of life). Furthermore, leading climatologist Henrik Svensmark points out, ‘clouds are in charge of the climate’. Water vapour not CO₂ is the key to global temperatures.

The public emphasis on carbon arises because, unlike water vapour, CO₂ emissions are in part due to human activity. But when it is realised that humans contribute only 4% to 6% of total carbon dioxide emissions (the rest being natural and involving forests, oceans, volcanoes and so on) it becomes clear that cutting CO₂ emissions can only have a minimal impact.

Scientific consensus?

In their book Unstoppable global warming: every 1500 years,  Dennis Avery and Professor S. Fred Singer state, ‘It is sheer fantasy to suggest that a huge majority of scientists with expertise in global climate change endorse an alarming interpretation of the recent climate data’.

Two major UN reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have given the CO₂ theory its current legitimacy. The reports claim that they were signed by ‘over 2,500 of the world’s leading scientists’.

Perhaps so, but the list of signatures included all those who took part in the IPCC survey – many of whom did not agree with the conclusions. One key contributor, Patrick Reiter of the Pasteur Institute, threatened to sue the IPCC unless they removed his name from the report.

Petr Chylek, professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Nova Scotia, says this about reports that Greenland’s glaciers are melting: ‘Scientists who want to attract attention [and] great funding to themselves, have to find a way to scare the public … and this you can achieve by making things [seem] bigger and more dangerous than they really are’.

Green indulgences

To offset man’s sins of emission, the new orthodoxy has come up with a natty moral wheeze – carbon-trading schemes. Instead of desisting from ‘sin’ by cutting your carbon emissions, you can pay to offset them instead.

This is akin, of course, to the ancient practice of buying indulgences from the church. For example, you can pay for more trees to be planted to offset the carbon footprint of your flight to Tenerife – or for any other moral indulgence sanctioned by eco-fundamentalism. (Mind you, planting trees in the wrong place can actually lead to higher carbon emissions!)

The bottom line

My case is not that Christians should do nothing in the ‘fight against climate change’. Far from it, because the fall-out will affect us all. As voluntary carbon-trading schemes become discredited, vocal eco-lobbies will seek to impose a raft of taxes on energy consumption. This will lead to huge amounts of money and resources being poured into a climate-change black (or should I say green?) hole.

It is incumbent upon Christians, as good stewards, to understand the issues surrounding climate change. In particular, they need to understand the vast chasm that exists between hard scientific facts and prophetic science-fiction.

False prophets and false religions, we are warned, will plague the truth in every generation. The spiritual Christian will discern them (1 Corinthians 2:15). Science writer Michael Crichton sums it up thus:

‘The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance’.

Further reading:

  1. Unstoppable global warming: every 1500 years, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery (Rowman and Littlefield). The authors demonstrate the cyclical nature of warming and cooling in history and point to sun activity as the likeliest cause.
  2. The chilling stars: a new theory of climate change, by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder (Icon). A detailed argument suggesting that sun activity is the probable cause of cyclical warming and cooling.
  3. Shattered consensus: the true state of global warming, by Patrick J. Michaels. A superb debunking of the myth of a scientific consensus on climate change.
  4. The politically-incorrect guide to global warming and environmentalism, by Christopher C. Horner (Regenery). Fascinating facts about the modern environmental movement.

These books, along with DVD materials, key articles and more, can be found at  (see also