(intended for this Sunday’s 12th May, not yet accepted)
Mr Bob Ward (letter, 5th May, ‘A roasting for climate claims’ – see screenshot below) is unlikely to be impartial on CO2, for he is Policy and Communications Director for the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, an entity whose very existence (founded 2008) rests on the assumption that modern global warming (since 1900) is due to CO2 via the 19th-century idea of a so-called greenhouse effect.
Mr Ward feels geophysicist Mr Gil Gilchrist (letter, 28th April – see screenshot below) is arrogant to say geologists are “the only scientists qualified to speak with authority” on climate change. I disagree: sedimentary geologists in particular, unlike any other profession, deal almost daily with the effects of Earth’s ceaseless changes in climate (hence sea level) throughout its 4.5-billion-year history.
Gilchrist claims warming by man-made CO2 is an “unproven idea promulgated by” the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which, he rightly laments, has no geologists among its 800 “experts” (his quotation marks). In flat contradiction Mr Ward says “Many of the authors on the panel’s assessments have been geologists”. In fact IPCC’s author listings (accessible online) for its Fifth and Sixth Assessment Reports (published 2013-14 and due 2022) do indeed show “not … a single geologist” (Gilchrist) among the 838 and 784 authors, who include ‘climate scientists’ (a flourishing new discipline), meteorologists, economists, sociologists and public-health specialists; the geosciences are represented only by a few glaciologists and geophysicists. Thus IPCC lacks crucial long-term perspective.
Nobody denies man’s rising CO2 emissions accompanied modern warming. However, warming also accompanied rising solar output(dismissed in IPCC climate models). Warming reached a (geologically unspectacular) peak temperature in 2016 (NASA online graph; note cooling since then), a few decades after the solar peak (1958), a delay compatible with the vast ocean’s thermal inertia (ignored by IPCC). Astrophysicists define this 20th century solar upswing as a rare Grand Maximum (GM) of the sun’s output, unsurpassed since the 4th century GM. The latter was followed decades later by global warming and a sea-level rise of 3 to 5 metres (e.g. google Romano-British Transgression; denied by IPCC), proven by world geological evidence plus exquisite UK archaeological evidence, e.g. Portchester seaside fort’s 4th century water well, dug to 6 metres (proving low sea level), but with a deliberately introduced (stratified) 5-metre backfill, dateable by contained 5th and 6th century artefacts; and in Londinium a flow-eroded notch reaching 1.7 metres up the Thames-estuary Roman wall, and a drain-hole at 1 metre deliberately plugged with rubble including 4th-century pottery. Consider selling your waterfront property.
Roger Higgs DPhil (geology)
Geoclastica Ltd, UK
This post was last modified on May 10, 2019