Here I intend to dismantle claims of scientific proof, on environmental issues, without entering into scientific arguments.

There is scientific proof that human emissions of CO2 are the main cause of global warming.

There is a lot of buzz these days (2007) about global warming, and in particular about how humans are responsible for it. I am not going to try to bring any argument to make a case either for or against global warming or its supposed human causes, or either about its good or bad effects for human life, or about how "somebody" has to do "something".

I've seen arguments, from both sides, which appear to be founded on science, for and against humans being responsible for global warming. What I am going to show is that the claim that "there is scientific proof that human emissions of CO2 are the main cause of global warming" is a false claim.

First of all it's critical to understand what constitutes scientific proof. The scientific proof for the cause of a phenomena can be claimed to exist only when the scientific theory (which incorporates the cause) yields a verifiable effect (in the future). Science is done with reproducible events and predictable outcomes, not with "consensus". Consensus is an indication that there is no proof, so a number of people claim that they know the truth.

There may be many causes of a phenomena, but in order to say that one of them is the main one, the one which overwhelms the other possible causes, it's necessary to quantify all of them, put them in equations and then see if the theory leads to a verifiable effect. If that is so, it can be said that the theory is correct.

So how does this apply to global warming? In order to be able to have scientific proof that humans, namely their CO2 emissions, are mainly responsible for global warming, the theory must quantify all known factors responsible for global warming and yield a verifiable effect. What is the effect of global warming? An increase of the average temperature of the Earth. So, the theory must yield a verifiable increase of the average global temperature.

Practically, the theory should predict the average global temperature for the next year, with a precision better than that yielded by statistics.

Some people have pointed out that this is impossible due to the many tiny factors which influence the climate all the time. However, on a global scale, all these tiny factors compensate one another and yield a value which varies little from year to year.

The inability to predict the average global temperature represents an inability to consider all the influencing factors and their relevance, when creating a climate model.

For instance, in the usual climate model, one can scientifically say that volcanic eruptions alter the climate, but can't scientifically say to what extent that happens because that would require to quantify all relevant factors. The inability to do so only shows that there is no scientific proof that volcanic eruptions drive global temperature changes. All the other relevant factors could overwhelm volcanic eruptions.

If changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2 would indeed be the main drive in global temperature changes, all the other factors would have to have only a (much) smaller effect. Consequently, a prediction could be made about the future. If this doesn't happen, even though it can be said that it's scientifically proven that CO2 alters the climate (because of small scale experiments and observations), it can't be said that it's scientifically proven that CO2 is the main drive for global warming.

But is it practically possible to predict the average global temperature? For this we have to check some data. You can calculate that the average global temperature change from year to year, starting from 1990, is about (±) 0.1 C per year. Here is a chart which shows that.

So, any prediction must give a (much) smaller margin of error, else it's just statistics.

You can see that it's currently possible to estimate the average global temperature with a 0.1 C margin of error: "Averaged over all forecast lead times, the RMSE of global annual mean Ts is ... 0.105°C for DePreSys".

For predicting the temperature we only need to correctly state its future value from two possible values: -0.05 and +0.05. If the temperature would be predicted with this precision for 5 years in a row, the chance of simply guessing it would be 1 in 32 cases.

If any climate model is to be accepted as good, it has to predict the temperature for the next year, every year from now on. We would then see how much is prediction and how much guessing.

But currently, there is no such verifiable prediction. Consequently, the claim that "there is scientific proof that human emissions of CO2 are the main cause of global warming" is false.

One word of caution. Even though a theory could predict the average global temperatures, the equations and data must still be peer reviewed to see that the claim that CO2 is the main cause of global warming, does indeed result from the theory.

I have certain concerns about the validity of such a theory because of this statement "A statistical forecast method (18) is also able to capture the trend and interannual variability of Ts for the coming year (green triangles in Fig. 2A). The statistical method accounts for interannual variability using predictors based on the state of El Niño and recent volcanic activity."

Basically, I am led to believe that this climate model is as good as statistical forecast rather than the quantified effect of the CO2 level in the atmosphere.

The only things that can be provided in response to the science are bluster and myth. Nothing else can be responsible for global warming.

The problem is that the word "science" is twisted to mean anything from "claims", "speculation", "research", "hypothesis" and "theory" to "proof".

What's more, despite the fact that environmentalists claim to have all the data and theories right, despite them saying that nothing else can be responsible, despite the even heavier burden of proof, they still can't just say what will be the global annual average temperature for the next year (with a margin of error much smaller than that yielded by statistics).

Environmentalists complain that it's difficult to predict the temperature with such a precision because of the internal variability of the climate. But you know what, difficulty is not a measure of proof.

So I ask this again: what will be the global annual average temperature for the next year (and the next, and the next)?

I wonder, if Kepler were to say "I can't predict the orbit, but I know it's circling to Sun, it can't be anything else" would he still be in the history books as a scientist?

How would a free market solution to the global warming problem work out?

Various people would try to implement various solutions, as they see fit, instead of having a monopoly. It has no relevance what those solutions would be, nor can they be quantified; that would be like saying what businesses do in order to provide people food. Variety provides a way out, a way for Life to evolve.

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