A Global Warming Fable - The People of Blue Hair + 10 Q & A


Executive Summary & Introduction


Part I - A Fable: The People of Blue Hair


Part II The Fable Dissected with Real Science - Ten Timely Questions


Part III Ten Conclusions and the Elephant in the Room



            I.   The Roman and Medeival Warmings, the Little Ice Age

            II.  Thermal Metrics

            III. Consensus Controversy? Extent & Sources

            IV.  Environmental Ethics versus Malaria Mortality

            V.   Article Genesis, Sources & Suggestions for Further Reading

            VI. Last and Least: A Possible Pivot




Climate change -- global warming -- is a scientific and political issue entailing the greenhouse effect, above all the reduction of CO2 emissions (e.g. the Kyoto Protocols about the carbon footprint). Considering climate change is confused by the quantity and quality of the studies about it.


The quantity is vast; one overview showed over 11,900 articles in academic journals in a 20 year period. (It is discussed in Appendix III - Consensus Controversy? Extent & Sources.) The quality is mixed. Contradictory studies can be driven by the competing political agendas of the left and the right.


The key to reaching sound conclusions is to ask the right questions! Two main scientific questions are:


a) How important is global warming? Three factors to consider are: (1) how much the temperature has been increasing, (2) will increase and (3) the consequences thereof.


b) How important is CO2?  Five factors to consider are:(1) its specific heat (2) its refractive index, (3) whether it could be a thermal catalyst for other atmospheric gases, (4) whether it could have a threshold (tipping point or "butterfly's wings") effect and (5) how much of it there is in the atmosphere. The combination of these five factors determines its role in the greenhouse effect, which in turn determines our climate.


These are all the factors that are important for these two questions. Or can you think of another? This article provides a frame of reference for considering them. After reading it, you should be better armed to defend your position. (Or you can skip to Part III, Conclusions and read the Summary Conclusion there for answers to the above two questions.) The article is 24 pages, supported by Appendices of 26 pages.


 Key points to impress your audience with your grasp of the subject have been helpfully "starred" for you! The article also includes two modest rants as asides. The “pro” one supports using DDT to combat mosquitoes, which carry malaria. The “con” one is against nicotine. (That half dead horse just cannot be flogged enough.)



The greater the ignorance, the more passionately held is the position. How can a person have any strength of conviction about global warming (either pro or con) when he is not familiar with the Roman, Medieval and Modern Warming Periods? He does not even know what gases make up the atmosphere, let alone what specific heat and the refractive index are.


Hopefully after reading this article you (1) will be able to ask better questions and (2) have a stronger foundation for whatever conclusions you reach.


A visceral response to issues such as abortion and gun control is understandable. In contrast surely considering the climate (global warming) is a sedate scientific discourse. But it seems to be a subject of passion for both sides, above all in the U.S., Democrats on the left versus Republicans on the right.


Chicken Little and Henny Penny are identical American twin sisters -- except for their politics. Chicken Little is a left wing socialist (a closet Communist, mutters her sister) and Henny Penny is a right wing neo-conservative (a closet Fascist, mutters her sister).


Left-wing Chicken Little is screaming. She begins by quoting the tweet on May 16th, 2014 of President Obama: "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous."  She raises her voice an octave and really cuts loose:  


The climate is heating up. It could increase by as much as 60 degrees C in a century, threatening human existence as we know it. Polar shelf ice and Greenland’s ice cap will be gone. The resulting rise of the sea level will wipe out countless costal cities. And this catastrophe is only part of the story. The tipping point for devastating droughts, species extinction and increase in disease could be soon, very soon.


THE SKY IS FALLING! We must take immediate measures.


Really? The Biblical plagues are about to visit us? And questioning any aspect of this position is met with about the same response as one receives upon questioning segments of the Bible (think Old Testament) with a fundamentalist Christian preacher.


Right-wing Henry Penny is not to be outdone. If anything, she screams even louder:


“If, through misunderstanding of the underlying science and through misguided public fear and hysteria, mankind significantly rations and restricts the use of hydrocarbons, the worldwide increase in prosperity will stop. The result would be vast human suffering and the loss of hundreds of millions of human lives.” 2


If the immediate measures are taken, THE SKY WILL FALL!


Really? Hundreds of millions of human lives lost, more than in World War I and II combined? Oh, O.K., it’s a typo. It should not read “hundreds of millions” but just a few paltry “millions of human lives.”  Are we to infer that the proponents of global warming as a crisis must be cannibalistic war criminals with venomous, blood dripping fangs? Or are they merely misguided genocidal maniacs?


Would be Chicken Littles, aka Henny Penny (on both sides of the issue) should note the fate of your namesake. Fox Lox invited her supporters and her into his den. He killed her supporters and ate her.


Fox Lox, Chicken Little & Friends1


Global warming has drifted away from being a scientific debate to a political war throughout much of the world. In the U.S. it has degenerated into the most meaningless, despicable conflict of all, a religious war.


Global warming as a crisis has become an article of faith. True believers and missionaries on one side face heathens and heretics on the other. In this environment, cognitive dissonance reigns supreme. An interesting aspect of this dissonance is that if one holds a belief based on faith the response to facts



1. Chicken Little, also known as Henny Penny, is the main character in The Remarkable Story of Chicken Little by J.G. Chandler in 1840. She believes the world is coming to an end and repeatedly cries: “The sky is falling.“ There are versions of this folktale that are over 2,500 years old! The image is  from the story "Chicken Little" in the New Barnes Reader vol.1, New York, 1916, public domain, uploaded by Hydrargyrum to the Wikipedia article about her.

2.Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon „Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”, p. 3, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine http://www.petitionproject.org/gw_article/GWReview_OISM600.pdf



 that challenge this belief is often for it to become even stronger!3  


Some scientists are funded by conservative think-tanks. Their studies frequently emphasize the cost to society of reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Other scientists funded by liberal organizations such as the UN’s IPCC show an equally strong bias towards an impending crisis. Climategate (1) in 2009 and its successor (2) in 2011 demonstrate just how politicized the issue has become.4


In 2011 e-mails among climate scientists were again hacked and 5,000 of them released, known as Climategate (2). Prominent scientists were distorting underlying data. Many were viewing global warming as a political cause rather than an area of objective research.


To cite just one instance, Penn State University scientist Michael Mann comments in an e-mail about a colleague, Judith Carry, a climate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology: “I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but its (sic) not helping the cause.” 5


In the U.S. too many people on both sides are at a ten. They need to dial it down. A two or three would be good.



Opponents versus Proponents: Let the Battle Begin!


Part I - An Introductory Fable

The People of Blue Hair*


In Wonderland, where Alice had her adventures so charmingly related by Lewis Carroll, there is increasing concern about CRIME.  A major factor is thought to be people with BLUE HAIR. Now in Wonderland some people are born with bright blue hair. That is just nature taking its course and there is nothing much one can do about it. However more and more people are getting their hair dyed blue. And now, with their blue hair, these people are contributing to the increase of crime. Blue hair dye most be strictly controlled!


There are six ways people with blue hair, henceforth “blues”, can affect crime.


3.  Leon Festinger developed the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance in 1951. One could, for instance, seek to determine the efficacy of prayer with rigorously designed and stringently conducted double-blind tests. The goal would be to determine for which religion prayers were best answered. Because of cognitive dissonance this experiment is not viable.


4.  Climategate (1) refers to the release of thousands of e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit in December 2009. There were two major criticisms. The first was that scientists had attempted to prevent publication of alternative views. The second was that the UN’s IPCC was relying on surface temperature data that were not accurate and kept confidential the algorithms used. In fact there was some evidence that even as the greenhouse gases such as CO2 were increasing, temperature was decreasing.


5.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/11/23/climategate-2-0-new-e-mails-rock-the-global-warming-debate/


Image # 28069490 (credits - 15.12.2014) © Dimjul | Dreamstime.com - Little Doll Girl With Blue Hair Photo 


1) Blues run amuck, committing violent crimes, more frequently than other people. They do not committ more violent crimes than other people who have blonde, brown, red, black, grey, white or no hair.


2) Blues commit property crimes. They do. Their propensity to commit property crimes is measured in JEWELS. The more jewels you have, the more likely you are to commit such a crime. Blues have about 60 to 90 percent as many jewels as other people. Arguably they commit fewer property crimes per capita than people with blonde, brown, red, black, grey, white, or no hair.


3) Blues repeat crimes. They do. Their propensity to do so is measured with a REPEAT index, which for blues is about 1.1. This index is about the same as for people with blonde, brown, red, black, grey, white or no hair.


4) Blues act as a crime catalyst. Other people commit more crimes when Blues are around. This is not the case.


5) Blues have an effect that triggers at a very low threshold- “the flap of a butterfly’s wings.”  A single crime one place by a Blue leads to a hurricane of crimes elsewhere. There is no evidence that a single “blue” crime has any greater or lesser systemic effect on society than a single crime committed by a person with blonde, brown, red, black, grey, white or no hair.


6) Blues, given that their crime metrics are about the same as for other people, could only heat up crime one other way. There would have to be an awful lot of them. There are not.


In Wonderland, 


of    1, 000 people there are naturally with Blue Hair: 0 and dyed, 0.

of   10,000     “       “        “        “          “     “      “    4   “      “    0.

of 100,000     “       “         “        “          “     “      “   40   “      “   3.


So why is anyone worried about people dying their hair blue? That must be quite some crime wave to cause such an outcry about people with blue hair. How much has crime increased anyway?


The Wonderland crime statistics show some crimes have increased over the past fifty years by one percent. Other crimes show annual fluctuation, but no steady increase. Interesting is that crime increases and decreases precede changes in the number of blue-haired people! In other words, there is no known cause and effect relationship between crime and the number of people with blue hair.


The concern in Wonderland about the People of Blue Hair appears misplaced. The categorical imperative to restrict blue hair dye and the massive funding devoted to implementing and monitoring the controls seem ill-advised. The subject of blue dye is being treated with religious fervor by both proponents and opponents. Scientists expert in Blue Hair are bought and paid for by the competing parties to generate "politically correct" studies. No end to the divisive dispute is seen in the foreseeable future.


This fable, a favorite of Global Warming opponents, is referring to the heating up of the CLIMATE (not crime) and the impact on that of CO2 (not blue hair dye) released by man into the atmosphere. Let us look at this fable at little more closely with real science.



PART II - Real Science, The Fable Dissected

Improvements to the scientific accuracy are welcomed!


Ten Timely Questions about Global Warming


QUESTION 1: Thinking of the best way to lower the temperature in a room, what is the best way to reduce global warming?


QUESTION 2: How much warmer has the globe been getting anyway?


QUESTION 3: What effect is global warming having on the North and South Poles?


QUESTION 4: What is the greenhouse effect? What is its largest factor and what percentage does this factor make of the whole?


QUESTION 5: What are the heat measurements for atmospheric gases in the greenhouse effect?


QUESTION 6: How important is CO2 in the greenhouse effect? Of 1,000 molecules of atmosphere, how many are CO2, and how many of those are generated by man?


QUESTION 7: What other emissions should we be controlling? Specifically, what about the planet’s CO2 -O2 balance?


QUESTION 8: What effect is global warming having on storms?


QUESTION 9: What is the source for the commonly repeated 97% consensus among scientists about climate change and what exactly is that consensus on?


QUESTION 10: How urgent is this issue, and what should one do, personally and as a firm?


Instead of looking at the scientific data of climate change and considering a null hypothesis, type one and type two errors, confidence limits, regression analysis and ANOVA (analysis of variance), let us begin, not with a fable, but with a simple analogy.


The Roaring Fire in a Cabin’s Fireplace*




Imagine a cabin someplace where the winters are cold, say Alaska or Siberia. Spring arrives. Now a significant portion of the temperature rise is due to nature, its getting warmer outside. However humans are also playing a major role in raising the temperature inside the cabin.


We have a roaring fire going in the fireplace. We keep on throwing logs on it. Some people in the cabin are concerned that the cabin will get too hot. Someone points out that smoke from those logs is settling at the ceiling. The smoke is acting as a reflector, bouncing back the heat from the burning logs.


SOLUTION! To reduce the heat, we will start burning logs that have been treated so that they are smoke free. That will keep heat from being reflected by smoke at the ceiling. We focus on controlling the smoke. And more and more logs are thrown on the fire. 


QUESTION 1: Thinking of the best way to lower the temperature in a room, what is the best way to reduce global warming?


Staying with our example - Will burning ever more logs in the fireplace lower the heat in that room because the logs being added are now smoke free ones?


The analogy here is to the heat mankind generates by burning fossil fuels and the consequent release of gases into the atmosphere. A quote follows from a scientifically astute observer, Norm Smith.6 He wryly remarked:


“Is man causing the planet to heat up? Why not look at the amount of heat humans are producing instead? What is hydrocarbon fuel consumption per day on planet earth? Production and consumption being approximately equal, a reliable 1999 figure was 72.6 million barrels of oil (mbo) and 232 billion cubic feet of gas (bcfg).”


“I won't bore you with the amount of heat released in calories each and every day of the year by man on planet earth, each and every year. Nor will I bore you with the equivalent number of atomic bombs of Hiroshima size we are exploding in our atmosphere on a daily basis. It will stagger the imagination - it is one of those numbers that most people can't get their arms around.”


And what about that other source of heat, viz. the sun? At the risk of stating the obvious, the heat from the sun has a direct impact on the earth’s climate. That the sun is powerful goes without saying, but few of us realize just how powerful. One estimate is that one twentieth of one percent of the sun’s energy in a given time period equals all the energy humans produce on earth in that same period.


QUESTION 2:  How much warmer has the globe been getting anyway?


The historical trends do not support a dramatic rise in temperature in the next century. Some estimates are as high as 60 degrees Celsius! The differences in average mean global temperatures for the past 20,000 years, in fact for the past 800,000 years, are not that extreme, let alone in historical times. In fact the range of the average global temperature for the past 1300 years is less than plus or minus 2 degrees Celsius, in some studies, less than one.7


Between 1961 and 1990, the annual average temperature for the globe was around 57.2°F (14.0°C), according to he World Meteorological Organization. How does that compare with the past?



Below is a thumbnail image of an excellent graph prepared by Glen Fergus.8 Unfortunately the graph is "browser sensitive." On both Firefox and Chrome it appears reversed, inverted and blackened! To view it properly click here, or enter the link from the source, given in footnote 7, which also explains why the temperatures are given as departures from a mean.



The fifth and last rectangle of a correct version shows the end of the Pleistocene era, 20,000 years ago, to the Holocene era, which began 10,000 years ago and continues through modern times. The temperature range is from -6 to +14 degrees Celsius, or - 10 to + 25 degrees Fahrenheit, from the 1960-1990 mean of 14 degrees Celsius, or about 57 degrees Fahrenheit.  An average global temperature that is lower than that of modern times by 6 degrees Celsius (ca. 10 degrees Fahrenheit) to 12 degrees Celsius has a more dramatic effect than one might think. This lower temperature prevailed 20,000 years ago. At that time the sites of New York, Chicago and London were buried under a couple of hundred feet of ice!


In the past 10,000 years the range for the average global temperature has been within plus or minus three degrees Fahrenheit. The last deglaciation ended about 10,000 years ago. A period of nearly 5,000 years followed when global temperature was surprisingly stable. In the 5,000 years following that, up to about 1800, global temperature declined somewhat less than one degree Celsius, by about 0.7 degrees C. It reached its lowest point in the Little Ice Age, often dated as AD 1300 - 1700.9


II. HISTORICALLY - 2,000 to 200 years ago

 The "Roman Warming" of 200BC - 600AD was warmer than the "Medieval Warming" of 900AD - 1300AD, which in some regions was warmer than the current "Modern Warming" of 1850AD to present. These are discussed in Appendix I - The Roman and Medieval Warming Periods, the Little Ice Age. Pre-industrial man was not generating much energy (or CO2 emissions) compared to today. Therefore these periods underline the importance of the sun for global warming.



III. RECENTLY - modern times (the industrial age)

Fossil fuels are burning all over the place on the continents, about thirty percent of the planet's total area. They are also being used for ships crossing the oceans and planes shooting through the sky. Despite all the heat they generate and the planet's molten core, reaching the current global average temperature of 14 degrees Celsius is still a formidable task, even for the powerful sun. What have the thermometers been showing?


People have been measuring ground temperatures for a long time, but atmospheric temperatures started being measured frequently with weather balloons right after World War II. Much more sophisticated measurements came about through weather satellites. Effective ones were introduced in the U.S. in 1969. 10 


Taking 1950 as the base year, ground measurements show an increase of less than one degree centigrade from then until now. Furthermore since 1998 the rate of


6.  He is a brilliant independent thinker, versed in engineering, physics and chemistry. He is also one of the very few Americans to have fluently learned two tonal languages, Vietnamese with five tones (over seven years of study in country) and Thai, including its writing, also with five tones (over 20 years of study in country). An E-Mail exchange with him was a main impetus for this article. I could not have written it without his helpful input. However only I am responsible for the remaining errors. 


7. Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010. “A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical northern hemisphere during the last two millenia”. Geografiska Annaler 92A(3):339-351. A graph in this article presents the temperature range from 1 AD to 2000 AD. It shows deviation from a 14 degrees Celsius mean (the average global temperature between 1960 and 1990). The range of the deviation is from minus 0.8 degrees C in 1700 to plus 0.4 degrees C in 2000.


8. The source is:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/All_palaeotemps.svg  The license is: CC BY-SA 3.0  Uploaded by Perhelion  April 26, 2014. The graph expresses temperatures as a difference from a mean. The reason is that there is no accepted way for coming up with an average global temperature! The techniques vary according to how the temperature above “data-sparse” regions is accounted for. These regions include the oceans (70% of the earth’s surface). Three of the more important organizations that track the earth’s average temperature, each using its own method, are: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NOAA National Climatic Data Center and UK Met Office Hadley Centre.


9. The Website Open Mind,  “Global Temperature Change — the Big Picture” March 22, 2013



10.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_satellite  The first U.S. weather satellite, Vanguard 2, was launched 1959, but did not work very well. “Beginning with the Nimbus 3 satellite in 1969, temperature information through the tropospheric column began to be retrieved by satellites from the eastern Atlantic and most of the Pacific ocean, which led to significant improvements to weather forecasts."


* Dreamstine Image # 28795832 "Burning Firewood in Bonfire with Metal Ketal", (price level 0 - 15.12.2014) http://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/burning-bonfire.html (3 credits)

increase has fallen.11 Given all the fossil fuels humans burn, that this makes makes some contribution to a rise in temperature seems reasonable. How much of a contribution is not clear. (The exact measurement is complicated by the Urban Heat Island bias.)12 


Atmospheric measurements show annual fluctuations. What they do not show is a consistent average increase in temperature since 1960. That too is not especially surprising. Let us briefly return to our cabin. Someone puts his hand two inches away from the flames at the fireplace. That air is hot


Now he climbs on a ladder and stretches his arm out so that his hand is almost touching the ceiling. That air is much cooler, even though it is only a dozen feet away from the roaring fire in the fireplace. If you were measuring the temperature of the atmosphere thousands of feet away from most of the human generated heat from fossil fuels, you would not expect to see much heating up from that far away.


A 20 kiloton atomic bomb can heat the air for an instant to well over 20,000 degrees C. Milliseconds later the heat has fallen to about 7,7000 degrees C (14,0000 degrees F), and, about 15 milliseconds later, to 3,000 degrees C. Forty kilometers away from ground zero one could still suffer fatal third degree burns, even though the shock wave would only break windows at that distance. By the time the shock wave arrives, the thermal wave has dissipated. The time frame here for the heat in the atmosphere to dissipate, except for at on-going fires, is (millli)seconds, not hours, let alone long term.


The heat from the sun has regular variations, such as the 11, 22 and 80 year solar cycles and the 87 and 210 year sun spot cycles. These are associated with a 1,470 year climate cycle, as indicated by empirical evidence from ice cores, tree rings, seabed sediment deposits, etc. Furthermore the sun’s energy output is thought to have been increasing at a rate of 0.05 percent the past 30 to 40 years.13 This seemingly tiny increase is equal to the entire output of energy by humans! That the sun is the major driver for any climate changing appears an eminently reasonable hypothesis.


Considering the sun’s impact on the earth’s temperature goes beyond the scope of this article. Among other things, it entails a grasp of particle flux and

11. A number of studies have shown this. A good graphical presentation of the increase in ground temperatures since 1950 is shown at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2259012/Global-warming-Met-Office-releases-revised-global-temperature-predictions-showing-planet-NOT-rapidly-heating-up.html


12. Some studies show that urban heat islands (UHI), e.g cities, have no effect on planetary temperature changes. Other regional studies show large effects. They attribute a significant portion of the fairly close to one degree increase in global temperature since 1950 to urbanization. 


13. S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, Updated and Expanded Edition, 2006 p. 192.


magnetic fields, Milankovitch Cycles14 and the relationship between glaciation and insolation.15 In the play entitled “Climate” the sun is the star in every act. Mankind has a non-speaking part as a walk-on in the last scene, “modern times”.


QUESTION 3: What effect is global warming having on the North and South Poles?


Still, the cumulative effect of even a small rise in temperature could be enormous over time. To continue with another quote from Norm (with parenthetical comments in italics added):


“In 2012 journalists projected that at the then current rate of melting of Arctic ice, it would soon be gone, and the Arctic Ocean would be navigable. Some believed this, and planned to make the sail from east to west coast of North America - only to have their boats frozen in the winter ice for the rest of the year.”  (And the projections became even more dramatic!)


“Others have said that if the shelf ice of the north and south poles were to melt, the sea level would rise 32 feet, flooding most major coastal cities on earth, and submerging most Pacific island nations. Wow, that statement truly boggles the imagination ???





But wait a second. Shelf ice floats on the surface of the sea. Nine tenths of it floats below the water, one tenth above the water (sea level at the moment). When, or rather, if it were to melt, it would contract as all ice does on melting to 90 percent of it's original volume, causing a net zero increase in sea level.”


In recent years Artic temperatures have been roughly at the levels of the 1940s. Sea ice in Antarctica reached a record low in 2007, followed by a significant increase in 2008. This kind of fluctuation is common, with no noticeable change in sea level:16


  • “Arctic sea ice was at a new record low on September 16, 2012 at 3.41 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles).”


  • “In August 2013 the ice extent increased to an average of 6.09 million square kilometers. A hole in the ice cover was observed near the North Pole. Antarctic sea ice cover reached record highs.”


However there are also glaciers on the continents. When that ice melts and runs into the ocean, it would in theory cause the sea level to rise, albeit hardly enough to be measurable. The glaciers scattered over the world are insignificant compared to the really massive chunk of ice in Greenland, which is indeed sitting on land. It covers an area 16 times the size of England. Now if that ice were to melt overnight, you would indeed have costal flooding.


Not everyone agrees on how fast the ice on Greenland is melting. Some scientists believe the data currently show a negligible rate. Others fear dramatic change in sea levels in the course of the century due to a partial melting of Greenland. 


There have also been warnings about the effect on sea levels should all the Greenland ice melt. Some scientists extrapolate the data to arrive at an ice-free Greenland relatively soon. They believe the ice there will be pretty much gone in one thousand years. In geological terms of 100,000 year cycles, that is fast! Of course the impact on shorelines would be partly offset by the melting shelf ice of the North and South Poles.


An ice-free Greenland seems an aggressive prediction. Some geological data indicate it has had an ice sheet for over ten million years, and a thick one for a million years.


14. Milankovitch Cycles are ones in the amount of solar radiation received on Earth due to variations in its orbit. These variations are a function of orbital eccentricity and axial tilt. The Earth's orbit is an elliptical path. Eccentricity is a measure of how much an ellipse deviates from a circle. Its axis is tilted relative to the ecliptic - 23.5 degrees (23°27') from a perpendicular to the ecliptic. The axial tilt varies from 22° to 24.5°. The axis completes one precession in 25,800 years. Source: Meteorology 106 “Global Warming”



15. Insolation (from Latin insolare, to expose to the sun), also called solar irradiation, is the total amount of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area during a given time. It is often measured in megajoules per square metre (MJ/m2) or joules per square millimetre (J/mm2). (See Appendix II - Thermal Metrics for more about Joules.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolation


16. The two bullets are quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_ice_pack


Apparently the last really significant melting occurred 400,000 years ago. It caused the sea level to rise 4 meters or more. This melting reflected a warming of the climate because of a change in the earth’s orbit around the sun.


  • O.K. the reader grumbles, maybe you have a point about ice. It does float, I will grant you that. But a cabin is not a fair analogy to the complex system of the earth. And smoke on the ceiling of the cabin “reflecting” heat is not a good analogy for the greenhouse effect. For one thing, heat does not reflect.  An unfair over-simplification has been made.


Both these objections have merit. Heat does not “reflect”; that is correct. It transfers through radiation, convection and conduction. The transfer (in all directions, also “up”) is measured in calories, cf. question 5. 


Simplification is a two-edged sword, no argument there. On the one hand, it makes concepts easier to grasp. On the other hand, it can distort reality. Reality is often not straightforward, not even linear. That is true of the climate, a non-linear dynamic, chaotic system. It is not that well understood and far too complex for accurate long-term simulation by today’s most advanced, most powerful computer models.


The risk of adding complexity to deepen the analysis is the obfuscation of bewildering detail. One loses an overview of the forest in trying to understand its individual trees. Let us begin with the “quick and easy” part, the “smoke bounce-back” analogy to the greenhouse effect. The basic concept of the greenhouse effect is straightforward enough, although the process itself is anything but.


The Greenhouse Effect


The greenhouse effect is a process by which heat from the planet’s surface is absorbed by atmospheric gases and transferred back, raising the surface temperature. This natural process is what makes our ecological system possible. Burning fossil fuels and clearing forests increase the greenhouse effect. The extent of the increase is subject to debate.


Now let us look in a little more detail at aspects of the process.


QUESTION 4: What is the largest factor of the greenhouse effect, and what percentage does it make of the whole?


Water vapor accounts for 30% all the way up to 70% of the greenhouse effect depending on a variety of factors. Its life expectancy in the atmosphere is very short, although it is constantly being re-supplied. It constitutes about 0.4% of our atmosphere. (The percentage is highest at sea level, lowering the farther one gets away from sea level.)


In addition to CO2, methane is also frequently mentioned as a greenhouse factor. It is a trace gas, making up .00018% of our atmosphere. In other words of 100,000 molecules in the atmosphere, 18 of them are methane. The Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane considers its effect on global warming: "Methane has a large effect (100 times as strong as carbon dioxide) for a brief period (having a half-life of 7 years in the atmosphere) whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period (over 100 years)". This statement is worthy of alchemists! For it to be correct, the effect would have to be a function of methane's thermal metrics, as discussed below for CO2.


QUESTION 5: What are the thermal metrics for gases in the greenhouse effect?


This question involves real science, such as Joules and the refractive index. Appendix I - Thermal Metrics, repeats question 5 with annotations about these two indices, an explanation of why they are used as the means of comparison, sources and further scientific comments.The thermal (i.e. heat related) metrics of CO2 are in the ballpark with those of the other atmospheric gases, e.g. nitrogen and oxygen.


Hence for CO2 (or methane) to be important for global warming, the amount of it would have to be significant. That is the subject of Question 6, which entails less scientific jargon.


There are five ways a gas could conceivably affect heat and therefore global warming.


1) It generates heat, such as by burning. The atmospheric gases (AGs) are not burning.


2) It retains heat. The AGs do. Specific heat is the amount of calories something will hold at a given temperature. A thermochemical calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C, about 4.2 Joules.   


A Joule is a measure of energy transferred (or work done) by applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter. So how much force is a newton? For example, the force of earth’s gravity on an object with a mass of one kilogram (2.2 lbs.) is 9.8 newtons. Appendix I - Thermal Metrics, elaborates.


The melting point of ice is 0 degrees Celsius (C), 32 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and 273.15 Kevin (K).


At 275 K, the isobaric specific heat of CO2 is 633.9 J/(kgK) Joules per kilogram Kevin, for oxygen 916.9 and for nitrogen 1041.


If the temperature doubles to 550 K, the isobaric specific heat of CO2 is 857.5 J/(kgK), for oxygen 988 and for nitrogen 1065.


 3) It transfers heat. The AGs do. The refractive index, R, is easier to grasp. The index is:


R =  c /v


where c is the speed of light in a vacuum and v is the speed of light in the substance. The refractive index of water is 1.333, meaning that light travels 1.333 times faster in a vacuum than it does in water.


The refractive index of CO2 is 1.0002883, of nitrogen 1.0002984, of oxygen 1.0002710.


For air without precipitation it is 1.00028. For water it is 1.333, and for water vapor (the single largest component of the greenhouse effect) 1.00026.


4) It acts as a catalyst to another gas in the atmosphere, dramatically changing the influenced gas’s specific heat or its refraction index, or causing a gas to create (more) heat.


This is not the case. In fact CO2 is inert to the extent it is used to stop thermal reactions by denying oxygen to other earth gases in flame.


5) It has an effect at a very low threshold - a “butterfly” effect. A tiny change in the initial condition of a dynamic system can have a domino effect leading to large-scale alterations of outcomes.17 The meteorological example is the famous question:


“Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”


 It was suggested in 1972 as the title for a talk by Edward Lorenz. In 1961 he had truncated the decimal 0.506127 to 0.506 in a computer model.18  To his astonishment, the result was a completely different weather scenario.


CO2 has not been demonstrated to have any extraordinary thermal “butterfly” characteristics. There is no evidence that a CO2 “flapped wing” (molecular level change) would have any more or less consequence than a “flapped wing” of a major atmospheric gas, i.e. N2 or O2, or of another trace gas, e.g. methane -- or that it happens more often. 


 In short, the thermal metrics for CO2 are similar to those of the other AGs. CO2 has about 60 to 90% as much specific heat as nitrogen and oxygen do, depending on the reference temperature. Its refractive index lies between that of nitrogen and oxygen. It is not an atmospheric thermal catalyst and no threshold (butterfly wing) effects have been determined.


QUESTION 6:  How important then is CO2 in the greenhouse effect then? Of 1,000 molecules of atmosphere, how many are CO2, and how many of those are generated by man?


The point of departure here is what constitutes the atmosphere. By volume, air (without precipitation) contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen (N2 + O2 = ca. 99%) and trace gases. These include argon at 0.93%, carbon dioxide at 0.039% to 0.041% and miniscule amounts of other gases, such as methane, 0.018%. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor. At sea level it averages around 1%; over the entire atmosphere about 0.4%.19


In the atmosphere:


of   1, 000 molecules, those of CO2 are:  0  - and from man, 0.

of   10,000     “            “      “    “       “   4      “     “        "    0.

of 100,000     “            “      “    “       “   40     “     “       "    0 to 3.


(And of 100,000 molecules in the atmosphere, about 17 of them are methane.)


 Three facts are noteworthy:


1. As a component of our atmosphere, there is just not very much CO2.



17. This consideration is important for carcinogens, e.g. one molecule causing cancer. (Whether this happens is disputed.) The prion diseases are the classic toxicological example. A single abnormal form of a protein causes other proteins to adopt the same shape, which is what is happening in mad cow disease.


18.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect


19.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth




2. When the dinosaurs and tropical forests were thriving there was four to five times as much CO2 in the atmosphere as today.  “. . . CO2 was some 20 times higher than present values. It dropped, then rose again some 200 million years ago to 4-5 times present levels -- a period that saw the rise of giant fern forests-- (the Jurassic era of dinosaurs and entering the Mesozoic era) and then slowly declined until recent pre-industrial time.” 20


3. Changes in atmospheric temperature precede changes in CO2 levels. That is true both in annual and in geological (100,000 year) terms. In other words, there appears to be no historical cause and effect relationship between CO2 levels and  atmospheric temperatures. 21 There are also no studies that empirically demonstrate such a cause and effect relationship in modern times. For instance no regression analysis in the literature shows CO2 as an independent variable for atmospheric temperature.


Nevertheless there is a still lot of CO2 out there, beyond doubt; small percentages of HUGE numbers are still pretty big. The oceans contain 37,400 billion tons (GT) of suspended carbon, land biomass has 2000-3000 GT. The number for the atmosphere is smaller, about 720 GT of CO2. There does not appear to be a consensus on how much of the 720 GT are due to human activity. The lowest number I have seen is 6 GT (i.e. less than 1 %); the highest is 7%.


Regardless, to return to Norm’s comments (with parenthetical observations in italics):


“Carbon dioxide is a trace element in our atmosphere: 0.038 to 0.040 of one per cent, depending on where measured, which means that one out of every 2,500 molecules of our entire earth's atmosphere is a molecule of CO2.”


(The amount it has risen has different estimates. The preponderance of the data shows:) “The amount MAY HAVE risen by 0.002 of one percent (i.e. from 0.038 to 0.040 = 2 more molecules per 100,000) since accurate measurements have been made- at least at some very few points on the globe.” 

20.  http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml


21. Studies, of which there are dozens, include:

- Blunier, T. et al. Synchronization of ice core records via atmospheric gases. Clim. Past 3, 325–330 (2007)

- Cuffey, K. M. & Clow, G. D. Temperature, accumulation, and ice sheet elevation in central Greenland through the last deglacial transition. J. Geophys. Res. 102, 26383–26396 (1997)

- Fischer, H., Wahlen, M., Smith, J., Mastroianni, D. & Deck, B. Ice core records of atmospheric CO2 around the last three glacial terminations. Science 283, 1712–1714 (1999)

- Monnin, E. et al. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last glacial termination. Science 291, 112–114 (2001)

- Shackleton, N. J. The 100,000 year ice-age cycle identified and found to lag temperature, carbon dioxide and orbital eccentricity. Science 289, 1897–1902 (2000)

- Stott, L., Timmermann, A. & Thunell, R. Southern hemisphere and deep-sea warming led deglacial atmospheric CO2 rise and tropical warming. Science 318, 435–438 (2007)

- Svensson, A. et al. A 60000 year Greenland stratigraphic ice core chronology. Clim. Past 4, 47–57 (2008)

- Weaver, A. J., Eby, M., Fanning, A. F. & Wiebe, E. C. Simulated influence of carbon dioxide, orbital forcing and ice sheets on the climate of the Last Glacial Maximum. Nature 394, 847–853 (1998)





(This estimate has been disputed. It may be compared to the highest one found. It was that CO2 had recently increased from 0.036 to 0.041 = 5 more molecules per 100,000. In other words of one hundred thousand molecules in the atmosphere, 36 or 37 used to be CO2. After the “surge” now 40 or 41 molecules of CO2 are present. Even if this increase, the largest estimate noted, is, in fact, correct, it is hardly enough to make any difference. Therefore whether human activity is responsible for some, most or indeed all of it is irrelevant.)


“This fact, the realization that there is relatively so little of CO2, makes it apparent -to even non-scientific persons- that there would need to be a huge change in the amount for it to make a difference - IF IT COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE AT ALL. “  (Alternatively, CO2 would have to have some truly remarkable “off the chart” heat retention or transfer characteristics, which it does not.)


“The (scientific) reality is that CO2 has a specific heat and a refractive index which puts it right there in the ballpark with all the other gasses in our atmosphere, such as N2 and O2 (which constitute most of our atmosphere). So, as far as changing the climate, or changing the amount of heat (calories) in the atmosphere, CO2 doesn't retain, or transfer, heat any better or worse than the rest of our atmospheric gaseous molecules.”

“Therefore, the net change in the amount of CO2, or for that matter, any of the atmospheric gasses (all of which retain heat approximately the same) would not affect the NET balance of the earth's retained HEAT.  (The atmosphere remains 100 percent of it's original self.) This is the physical model (as in Physics), and not a political model.”


Why is controlling the three, at the most five, man-generated CO2 molecules per hundred thousand molecules in the atmosphere considered so important?


That controlling CO2 emissions is vitally important is the stance of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the related Kyoto protocols. One begins to wonder if the carbon footprint standards and carbon credits trading program reflect a political agenda rather than a scientific issue.


  • Hmmm, ponders the reader, CO2 is one molecule in 2,500 of the atmosphere, has thermal metrics that are similar to the other atmospheric gases, and has NO historical cause and effect relationship with temperature changes. But that can’t be all there is to it. What else is there to worry about?



QUESTION 7:  What other emissions should we be controlling? Specifically, what about the planet’s CO2-O2 balance? Or, if water vapor is the major factor in the greenhouse effect,  shouldn’t we be controlling steam emissions? (This last question is factious.)


Norm asks:


“What about the planet's CO2 - O2 balance?


Approximately half of the world's tropical forests have been cleared since 1947 - but does this make a difference?  


Forest loss by reasonable estimates is plus or minus 13 million hectares per year, or an area the size of Panama. 


Where:  1 hectare - 2.471 acres: -

13,000,000 x 2.471 = 32,123,000 acres per year (over 50,000 square miles!) - lost and not coming back. That's 3,667 acres per hour ( or ~5.7 square miles per hour of deforestation, 14.76 square kilometers). But does this make a difference?


Experts such as National Geographic estimate forest loss, the earth's decreasing ability to convert CO2 to oxygen through photosynthesis, contributes between 12 percent and 17 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions (an equivalency, of course). Therefore, even if one subscribes to the obviously heretofore unproven models of the "greenhouse gas emissions" factions, then why is no one concerned - not even a little bit, over our loss of forests (and real increase in CO2 and loss of oxygen)?”


(The silence of the UN’s IPCC on deforestation regulation has been deafening. Both Norm and I would happily be proved wrong about this silence on tree planting requirements. We like trees and thinking planting many of them all over the place should be on everyone’s “green” agenda.)


QUESTION 8: What effect is global warming having on the frequency and violence of storms?


Most meteorologists agree that the frequency and violence of storms over the past 10, 50 and 100 years fall within expected limits.


  • But wait a second now, grumbles the reader, shelf ice and CO2 aside, I thought there was an overwhelming consensus among ALL scientists about the impact of global warming. In fact, I have seen the figure 97%.



QUESTION 9: What is the source for the consensus figure of 97% among scientists about climate change and what specifically is that consensus on?


Let us begin by answering the easier, second part of question. The consensus is that (1) the earth’s climate is changing and (2) that mankind plays some role in that. In both cases the consensus has been given as 97%.


Frankly, for the first statement 97% strains credulity. You can certainly find religious fundamentalists who do not believe in the Pleistocene glacial epoch or the Mesozoic era. (The former lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning repeated glaciations - the ice ages. The latter was 160 million years ago, a time marked by dinosaurs, flying reptiles and forests of evergreen trees.) But a bona-fide scientist who does not? The first consensus, that the climate changes, should clearly be 100%.


The second 97% is also interesting. The implication is that 3% of scientists believe that mankind is not responsible for any percent of climate change, nothing, nada, nichts, not even a one-millionth part of it. Presumably these are scientists who think in geological terms, i.e. in cycles of 100,000 years. Granted, in those terms mankind has not effected climate change.


Returning to the first, more challenging question, what is the source of the 97% consensus?


The number of scientists whose research concerns climate change is commonly cited as 35,000. About 2,500 of them state a concern about global warming. A common denominator for many of them is their being funded by UN or government programs concerned with Carbon Footprints, Carbon Credits Trading and the like. 


Often they are associated with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the progenitor of the Kyoto Protocol. Unfortunately IPCC is a political and not a scientific body. That has been pointed out with varying degrees of dismay by directors of scientific organizations ranging from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Society to the Russian Academy of Sciences.22  


The publications of the 32,000 non-aligned scientists whose research concerns climate change do not support the global alarmist position. Furthermore, many of them actively dispute it. The Petition Project organized by a group of physicists and physical chemists out of La Jolla, CA in 2009 has been signed by 30,000 individuals in the U.S. with science degrees, including over 18,000 with advanced degrees.23 That is a total of 18,000 U.S. naysayers versus 2,500 adherents worldwide, a 7 to 1 ratio in favor of the opponents.


One could argue that the ratio is skewed because all of the proponents study aspects of the climate, whereas not all of the opponents do. Nevertheless the majority of the opponents are involved in work in climatological, meteorological, atmospheric, environmental, geophysical, astronomical, and biological fields related to one aspect or another of climate change and its impact on humans.


In fact the ratio could be closer to 10 to 1 in favor of opponents because of the “silent” 32,000 non-aligned scientists whose publications do not support the global alarmist position.


The “vocal” opponents affirmed in writing the statement that:


"there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." 


Two thousand five hundred adherents out of 35,000 works out to roughly a seven percent, not a ninety-seven percent, consensus in support of the IPCC position on the dangers and urgency of global warming. 


Climate change, a non-linear chaotic system, is not very well understood. That was the conclusion Michael Crichton reached ten years ago. Almost every aspect of it was subject to vigorous scientific debate then -- and continues to be so through today. Some well-known studies, which have been attacked in peer reviews, i.e. hardly have a 97% consensus, include:


  • The Mann, Bradley & Hughes study extrapolates a "hockey stick" curve and assumes that before 1900 the climate was not changing much.



  • Various computer models (deterministic ones) predict that temperature will increase dramatically over the next century. Allegedly one predicts a rise of 60 degrees Celsius! That would be unprecedented in the last few thousand, few ten thousand, and few hundred thousand years. Other computer models (empirical ones) do not. 


Computer models for the weather cannot accurately predict it ten days out, let alone a month. No one familiar with such models would believe that, at the current state of the art, a computer model could accurately predict the climate one hundred years out.




Statistics can indeed take on a life of their own.


1) Wikipedia is an obvious culprit, especially if one only reads the article “Global Warning Controversy.” The author states: “No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view . . .”,24  i.e. that global warming is caused primarily by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. Apparently this comment was made in a report by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2007.


2) NASA mildly states on its website: "Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities."


3) President Obama on May 16th, 2014 raised the bar. He sent a tweet that "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous."


4) Secretary of State John Kerry the next week gave a speech to the graduating students of Boston College in which he raised the bar yet again. He warned about the "crippling consequences" of climate change, stating: "Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists tell us this is urgent."


5) Bill Maher of HBO’s Real Time and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks are respectively liberal and progressive talk show hosts and political pundits. They are committed proponents of global warming as a looming crisis. The strength of their conviction borders on religious fervor. Every now and again they refer to the consensus.


Of the myriad journalists and television commentators who support the alarmist position on global warming, why are these two singled out? Precisely because they are not lightweights to be dismissed out of hand; quite the contrary, they are very bright, very successful. This combination has earned them more credibility than most.


Bill Maher graduated from Cornell with a double major in English and history and has earned millions from television. Cenk Uygur is a Wharton grad from the University of Pennsylvania who went on to get a law degree from Columbia University. He is well on his way to serious earnings on the Internet.


Both of them generally follow the “proper party line” to be politically correct, but not slavishly so. Their intelligence coupled with their considerable egos does indeed lead them to independent thought, swimming against the stream. Not often, no, but it


24.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy


does happen. Yet in the case of global warming neither one seems to have done much research on the subject. Surely they have fact-checking staff, who review sources? Well, maybe not; they are after all in the entertainment business.


Well, where are the statesmen and public figures getting the 97% consensus from? To a certain extent from one another, but what is the original source? For those who are interested in this kind of forensic fact checking, see Appendix III - Consensus Controversy? Extent & Sources.


QUESTION 10: How urgent is this issue, and what should one, can one do personally and as a firm?


You decide! Has Alice met Kafka in the political Wonderlands of Washington DC and the UN? Perhaps you remain concerned about the Pandora’s box of warnings this article has not addressed at all:


??? devastating drought, species extinction (polar bears), a huge increase in the incidence of disease and the "tipping point" argument. ???


Console yourself with the thought that there might be a margin of error in Pandora’s box: “In medicine, up to 5% carbon dioxide (130 times atmospheric concentration) is added to oxygen for stimulation of breathing after apnea and to stabilize the O2/CO2 balance in blood.” 25 So at least humans will still be able to breath for a while. If upon reflection you are inclined to give Alice and Kafka their due, roll over and go back to sleep.


Or:  Cognitive dissonance is nonsense. After finishing this article your faith in the importance and urgency of global warming has become even stronger. In that case, for God’s sake, get out of bed and do something!


For the faithful firm believers, here is a “to do” list or action plan with three suggestions, two personal and one for your firm:


1) Stop throwing logs on the fire! For instance, stop driving a car. I, for one, do not own, and rarely rent, an automobile. Granted, that has nothing to do with my take on global warming. I just could not resist pointing out that this “not burning fossil fuel” decision of mine puts me squarely in the camp of the “good guys”. Oh ye of little faith, all those who subscribe to a global warming crisis and yet still own cars, heating up the planet each and every time you drive, many of you daily, what hypocrisy, shame on you!


2) Do something for the planet’s O2 - C02 balance. Plant some trees! Or at least make a donation. Consider organizations such as the Canopy Project from the Earthday Network. The website claims one tree is planted for every dollar donated. Of course one should conduct due diligence. (Anyone can claim anything on a website.) But the statement below is appealing:


“Over the past three years, The Canopy Project has planted over 1.5 million trees in 18 countries. In the US, projects to restore urban canopies have been completed in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Flint, and Chicago.” 26

If you hypocritically insist on driving a car, a humble suggestion is that every time you fill the gas tank, set aside the cost of one gallon (or liter) of gas or diesel for the planting of trees. At the end of the year you might even have done more good than harm!


25.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide


26.  http://www.earthday.org/campaign/canopy-project?gclid=CNOp487hssICFQ6WtAodYzkARQ


Sadly through gross property mismanagement I confess I have been guilty of allowing 65 trees to be murdered, including a wonderful 200 year-old oak and two magnificent towering trees even grander than it. (The rationalization was, “now you can see the house much better from the highway.”) Although I did fire the reprehensible troglodyte morons responsible for this carnage, the damage was done -- and not reversible, at least not in my lifetime. My half-heartedly having had a couple of dozen saplings planted in the resultant wasteland is hardly adequate retribution.


3) Carbon Footprint and Trading Credit regulations are important from the perspective of legal compliance. Beyond that, there is considerable doubt as to whether the regulations have accomplished anything, even if one is concerned about greenhouse gases. The Hartwell Paper out of the London School of Economics in 2010 stated: “the Kyoto Protocol crashed in late 2009 and has failed to produce any discernable real world reductions in greenhouse gases in fifteen years." 27 


As far as an environmental commitment to being a good corporate citizen is concerned, see (2) above.


Part III - Ten Conclusions and the Elephant in the Room




Considering climate change is confused by the quantity and quality of the studies about it. The quantity is vast; one overview showed over 11,900 articles in academic journals in a 20 year period. (It is discussed in Appendix III - Consensus Controversy? Extent & Sources.) The quality is mixed. Contradictory studies can be driven by the competing political agendas of the left and the right.


  • On the one hand, a large body of studies, frequently but by no means always associated with the UN's IPCC, present evidence for global warming. These are supported by a body of studies by opponents of global warming as a crisis that also present evidence of warming. The key dispute is not so much about whether some warming is occurring (although this point too is contested) but about whether the warming is SIGNIFICANT. A notable overview is that of the Petition Project (signed by 9,000 PhDs) organized to contest the Kyoto Protocols, cf. the comments on it in Appendix V. Article Genesis, Sources & Suggestions for Further Reading. The 12 page article concludes that global warming has been steadily occurring since the Little Ice Age AD 1400 - 1700, but is minimal.


  • On the other hand, some studies present a case for global cooling having begun in the past few years. 28 Interestingly, the study referenced in the preceding footnote states: "The predicted temperature decline will continue for the next fifteen years and likely will be the steepest ever recorded in human history discounting past short term volcanic events." That sounds ominous, although not as alarming as some of the global warming prognostications. 




1) A Summary Conclusion and answers to the two main scientific questions posed at the beginning of this article follow.


Summary: Global Warming Periods are real. The three most recent are the Roman Warming Period 200BC - 600AD, the Medieval Warming Period AD 900 - 1300 (or AD 950 - 1050), and the Modern Warming Period, which began in 1850/1900 and continued through the 1990s AND PERHAPS THEREAFTER through today. Notable is that atmospheric temperature measurements since 1960 show fluctuations, but not a trend. The studies for the past decade of ground and ocean temperatures become increasingly disparate, with some showing a decline in temperature. These studies appear accurate, at the very least, regionally. The larger question is whether they indicate a fluctuation within a continuing warming trend, or the end of the Modern Warming Period.


a) How important is global warming? Three factors to consider are:

(1) how much the temperature has been increasing - less than 1 degree Celsius per century the past 150 years.

(2) will increase - contradictory studies predict an unprecedented increase, a continuing small increase and a decline.

(3) the consequences thereof - Apocalypse if you accept the hypothesis of "unprecedented", otherwise not so much.


b) How important is CO2?  Five factors to consider are:

(1) its specific heat - at 275 K (approximately 0 degrees Celsius), the isobaric specific heat of CO2 is 633.9 J/(kgK) Joules per kilogram Kelvin, for oxygen 916.9 and for nitrogen 1041. Its specific heat is therefore less than that of  O2 and N2, oxygen and nitrogen, the gases that make up about 99% of our atmosphere.

(2) its refractive index -  The refractive index, with a reference temperature of 0 degrees Celsius, of CO2 is 1.00028829, of N2 1.0002984, of O2 1.0002710. Its refractive index therefor lies in between those of N2 and O2, and is about the same as for other gases.

(3) whether it could be a thermal catalyst for other atmospheric gases, e.g. for N2 and O2, alone or in combination with other (trace) gases - no.

(4) whether it could have a threshold (tipping point or "butterfly's wings") effect - no, at any rate no more so than for any other gas.

(5) how much of it there is in the atmosphere - very little, of 10,000 molecules in the atmosphere 4 are CO2.


The combination of these five factors determines CO2's role in the greenhouse effect, which in turn determines our climate. None of these five factors indicate that CO2 could influence global warming. What other factors could there be?


2) Global warming is mild for both sides.  Proponents should realize that the "warming studies" show temperature has risen by less than 1 degree Celsius in the past 60 years (supported by pretty accurate data) as well as for the past 130 years (supported by less robust data). Some studies show it rising about one half of one degree Celsius per century for the past 150 years, i.e. since the beginning of the Modern Warming Period dated to 1850.

Opponents should realize that reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting back on fossil fuels, (and best, if ever accomplished, cutting down fewer forests) is unlikely to kill many people. It will not be relegating any countries that depend on fossil fuels, such as oil magnate Saudi Arabia, to poverty either.


Misunderstanding the science of climate change will lead to wasting money, but not to much death and destruction. In contrast, misunderstanding the science of DDT has killed lots of people, conceivably to the tune of over 100,000 children annually. See Appendix III - Environmental Ethics versus Malaria Mortality, or the footnote below, which gives a one paragraph summary.29 


As an aside, an argument can be made that for the U.S. medical insurance seems a more pressing concern. After the introduction of Obamacare 38 million adults remain without heath care coverage. How many people die annually as a result?


3) Global warming -- and cooling -- are largely due to the sun, via a process that is not very well understood.


4) Empirical evidence and geological data do not show that CO2 was responsible for previous warm periods. CO2 seems highly unlikely to play a role, let alone be responsible for, any current one either.



27. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy#Kyoto_Protocol


28. An example of an intersting study of global cooling is the one by John Casey, published Dec. 13th, 2014 at   http://drrichswier.com/2014/12/13/released-global-climate-status-report-edition-3-2014/


29. Extensive use of DDT against mosquitoes led to malaria being defeated in many countries. Environmental concerns led to its use being restricted. Malaria came back with a vengeance. WHO estimates there were 243 million cases and 863,000 deaths in 2008. About 89% of these deaths occurred in Africa. Most of the victims were children under the age of 5.




5) Scientists overwhelmingly concur that the climate changes. (Not too many of them are in denial about dinosaurs and the ice ages.)


The points above are supported by both geological data, which indicate a climate cycle of 1,470 years, 30 and historical evidence. The Roman Warming of 200BC - 600AD was greater than the Medieval Warming of 900AD - 1300AD, which in regions was greater than the Modern Warming since 1850AD.


6) Many scientists concur that man plays some roll (how much is in debate) in climate change. Given all the heat he generates by burning fossil fuels and all those forests he smears down, this hypothesis seems reasonable enough.


7) In contrast, there is no consensus about the dangers of global warming. On the one hand, of the approximately 35,000 scientists whose work is related to some aspect of the climate, between 2,400 and 3,000 of them worldwide are on record as being alarmed by global warming.


On the other hand, in the U.S. (as of Dec. 2014) a little over 9,000 PhDs, 7,000 Master of Science holders and 2,500 MDs and DVMs for a total of 18,500 are on record as opposing the alarmist position. Indeed, this count indicates that the alarmist position is a minority position. These scientists actually went so far as to sign the Petition Project, which was organized against the Kyoto Protocols, cf. the review of it in Appendix V - Article Genesis, Sources & Suggestions for Further Reading.


8) Climate change is a non-linear, dynamic chaotic system. At the current state of the art, computer simulations cannot forecast it accurately medium term, let alone long term, any more than they can the weather a fortnight in advance, let alone months in advance.


9) Correction: that is not an elephant in the room, but Kyoto the 800 lb. gorilla, the mascot of cognitive dissonance. The net effect of this article on the beliefs of those who read it will be essentially zero. Either it is “preaching to the choir” or it will serve to increase the conviction of the faithful about the magnitude and urgency of global warming.


10) Global warming policies such as those mandated by the Kyoto Protocols entail wasting a fair amount of money.


To elaborate on the last conclusion: hundreds of millions (billions?) of dollars and Euros are being spent as a result of IPCC and the Kyoto protocols. (Or then again perhaps the Harwell Paper referenced in the preceding footnote 22 indicates that companies have become cleverer about circumventing them and are spending less.) Andre Illarianov, a senior science advisor to the Russian president Putin, went so far as to state that Kyoto represents: "one of the most aggressive, intrusive, destructive ideologies since the collapse of communism and fascism".31 


He exaggerates. For governments to waste money is nothing new; it comes with the territory. What is truly pernicious is when misplaced environmental concerns kill people. Such concerns have greatly restricted the use of DDT, an extremely effective


30. This cycle is discussed at length in Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, Updated and Expanded Edition Paperback  2007 by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. In the 1980s the cycle was noted by Willi Dansgaard and Hans Oeschger in Greenland ice cores and by Claude Lorius and his team in Antarctic ice cores. Further supporting evidence comes from glaciers, tree lines, tree rings (living, preserved and fossilized), pollen, boreholes, stalagmites, coral, and sea sediments.



agent against mosquitoes. Its restriction has led to a resurgence of mosquitoes and with them, malaria. Conceivably over a 100,000 children a year could be dying as a result. Appendix III - Environmental Ethics versus Malaria Mortality elaborates on this sad possibility.


Some scientists are so committed to a political agenda that they relentlessly tout the politically correct line, regardless of what the data show. This commitment appears to be more frequent among the supporters of the Kyoto protocols than among its opponents. Others, to be applauded, let the data drive the conclusions. Global warming and the role of the sun are not, after all, very well understood.


The “committed” are not exactly a credit to science and its mantra of “objective, theory-proving empirical research”, no. They may be politicized or just plain venal, but they are hardly the devil incarnate. In fact, should some esteemed government bureaucrat or oil industry executive see fit to give the humble author a 100,000€ grant to run a study about Carbon, for instance its Footprint or Credit Trading, please do not hesitate to call.


I can pivot to a 100% pro or contra position!  I assure you that although I am a layman, I happen to possess some fairly reasonable academic credentials (including a degree from M.I.T.) as a basis for generating computer models that will give the right answers.


How about some cross-sectional regression analysis with appropriate Durbin-Watson statistics? Or would you prefer a more sophisticated approach entailing moment generating and probability density functions? Perhaps I can develop a nice Poisson distribution to calculate the time to first cataclysmic climate conflagration (without emission controls) -- or to catastrophic global economic collapse (because of emission controls)? Note that both entail mankind's return to the stone ages. Please see Appendix VI “ Last and Least: A Possible Pivot” for a specific proposal.


Note to scientists: upon reading portions of this essay to correct it for egregious errors in the science, a reviewer objected to the possible pivot. He felt this approach would be counter-productive for obtaining grants. Mind you, this person is exceptionally intelligent and knowledgeable. Apparently irony and sarcasm are not always in the vocabulary of otherwise brilliant scientists.



APPENDIX I - The Roman and Medieval Warming, the Little Ice Age


A. The Roman Warm Period, ca. 250 BC to 400 AD.32 


Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BC) wrote that date trees could grow in Greece if planted, but could not set fruit there, as is true today. This suggests that summer temperatures in the fourth and fifth centuries BC were within a degree of modern temperatures. Other literary fragments from the time confirm that the Greek climate during that period was basically the same as currently.


Supporting evidence in chronological order includes:


Glaciers:  Röthlisberger, F. (1986), 10,000 Jahre Gletschergeschichte der Erde, Sauerländer, ISBN 3794127978.  A study of Alpine glaciers leads to the conclusion that the period from 100AD to 400AD was considerably warmer than the immediately preceding and following periods.


Deep ocean sediment: Bianchi GG, McCave IN; McCave (February 1999), "Holocene periodicity in North Atlantic climate and deep-ocean flow south of Iceland", Nature 397 (6719): 515–7, Bibcode:1999Natur.397..515B, doi:10.1038/17362. A 1999 reconstruction of Ocean current patterns were reconstructed from the granularity of deep ocean sediment. The conclusion was that the Roman Warm Period peaked around 150 AD.


Pollen: Desprat, S., Goñi, M.F.S. and Loutre, M.-F. 2003. "Revealing climatic variability of the last three millennia in northwestern Iberia using pollen influx data". Earth and Planetary Science Letters 213: 63-78. This study was based on a high resolution pollen analysis of a core from Galicia. It indicated that the Roman Warm Period lasted from 250 BC-450 AD in northwestern Iberia.


Tree rings:  An article written by Scheidel, Morris & Saller, 2007, showed that at the time Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants there were mild conditions there.


Mollusk shells: Patterson WP, Dietrich KA, Holmden C, Andrews JT; Dietrich; Holmden; Andrews (March 2010), "Two millennia of North Atlantic seasonality and implications for Norse colonies", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107 (12). The authors examined oxygen isotopes from mollusk shells in an Icelandic inlet. These indicated that Iceland had experienced an exceptionally warm period from 230 BC to 40 AD.


B. Medieval Warm Period (ca. 950–1250AD) and the Little Ice Age (ca. 1400–1700AD)


The Vikings took advantage of ice-free seas to colonize areas at the southern tip of Greenland and as well as outlying lands of the far north about 1000AD. The Vikings had pretty much left Greenland by1408 as the climate had become colder.


To quote from Wikipedia:33 


In 1965 Hubert Lamb, one of the first paleoclimatologists, published research based on data from botany, historical document research and meteorology combined with records indicating prevailing temperature and rainfall in England around 1200 and around 1600. He proposed that "Evidence has been accumulating in many fields of investigation pointing to a notably warm climate in many parts of the world, that lasted a few centuries around A.D. 1000–1200, and was followed by a decline of temperature levels till between 1500 and 1700 the coldest phase since the last ice age occurred.


The UN’s IPCC is frequently demonized by global warming opponents for its political bias and the Kyoto Protocols. However to give the demon its due, its 2007 report concluded that the warmest period prior to the 20th century very likely occurred between 950 and 1100. “...The evidence currently available indicates that NH mean temperatures during medieval times (950–1100) were indeed warm in a 2-kyr context and even warmer in relation to the less sparse but still limited evidence of widespread average cool conditions in the 17th century.” (Osborn & Briffa 2006).


This statement was followed by a caveat: the evidence was not sufficient to conclude that temperatures were as warm as those in the 20th century as a whole.


C. Recapitulation


Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010. “A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical northern hemisphere during the last two millenia”. Geografiska Annaler 92A(3):339-351


A portion of the abstract follows.


“A new temperature reconstruction with decadal resolution, covering the last two millennia, is presented for the extratropical Northern Hemisphere (90–30°N), utilizing many palaeotemperature proxy records never previously included in any large scale temperature reconstruction. The amplitude of the reconstructed temperature variability on centennial time-scales exceeds 0.6°C.”


“This reconstruction is the first to show a distinct Roman Warm Period c. AD 1–300, reaching up to the 1961–1990 mean temperature level, followed by the Dark Age Cold Period c. AD 300–800.“


“The Medieval Warm Period is seen c. AD 800–1300 and the Little Ice Age is clearly visible c. AD 1300–1900, followed by a rapid temperature increase in the twentieth century. The highest average temperatures in the reconstruction are encountered in the mid to late tenth century and the lowest in the late seventeenth century. Decadal mean temperatures seem to have reached or exceeded the 1961–1990 mean temperature level during substantial parts of the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period.”


The abstract concludes with a pivot, a politically correct observation to support the disputed "hockey stick" temperature spikes of Moberg et al. (2005) and Mann et al. (2008): "The temperature of the last two decades, however, is possibly higher than during any previous time in the past two millennia, although this is only seen in the instrumental temperature data and not in the multi-proxy reconstruction itself (i.e the main part of the study)."


A follow-up study was done in 2012 by Christiansen, B. and Ljungqvist, F. C.: "The extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere temperature in the last two millennia: reconstructions of low-frequency variability", Clim. Past, 8, 765-786, doi:10.5194/cp-8-765-2012, 2012. (http://www.clim-past.net/8/765/2012/cp-8-765-2012.html) The authors are respectively at the Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark and the Department of History, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.


The abstract states:


". . . We present two new multi-proxy reconstructions of the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere (30–90° N) mean temperature: a two-millennia long reconstruction reaching back to 1 AD and a 500-yr long reconstruction reaching back to 1500 AD.  . . .The two-millennia long reconstruction shows a well defined Medieval Warm Period, with a peak warming ca. 950–1050 AD reaching 0.6 °C relative to the reference period 1880–1960 AD.


The 500-yr long reconstruction confirms previous results obtained with the LOC method applied to a smaller proxy compilation; in particular it shows the Little Ice Age cumulating in 1580–1720 AD with a temperature minimum of −1.0 °C below the reference period. The reconstructed local temperatures, the magnitude of which are subject to wide confidence intervals, show a rather geographically homogeneous Little Ice Age, while more geographical inhomogeneities (sic - the correct word is heterogeneity) are found for the Medieval Warm Period. . . "


Some date the Little Ice Age at AD 1400 - 1700AD and others, such as the studies above, range between AD 1580 - 1720 to AD 1300 -1900. Furthermore studies overlap and conflict with one another about the temperature trends between 1850 and 1900. Sometimes the "temperature glass" is half full, other times half empty. These 50 years are seen either as the end of a cooling period (whether included in the Little Ice Age or not) or as the beginning of the Modern Warming Period. In any case, the average global temperature in the Little Ice Age is not thought to have gotten below 13 degrees Celsius.


D. Conclusion


There is strong historical and empirical evidence for the Roman and Medieval Warming Periods. CO2 emissions from pre-industrial man could hardly have contributed to either one of them.



32. These comments are summarized from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Warm_Period


33. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period




APPENDIX II - Thermal Metrics

Question 5 - Annotated


QUESTION 5: What are the heat measurements for atmospheric gases in the greenhouse effect?


There are five ways a gas could conceivably affect heat and therefore global warming.


ANNOTATION: Norm suggested using www.wolframalpha.com instead of Wikipedia for scientific constants. I share his skepticism about Wikipedia but not quite his enthusiasm for WolframAlpha, although I did in fact partially use it. The reason is that the reference temperatures used by WolframAlpha for the specific heat of various gases are not clear to me. For instance, the specific heat for CO2 without entering a temperature is given as 843 (Joules per kilogram, Kelvin). That appears to reflect a reference temperature of 526.75K, which equals 253.6 Celsius and 488.48 Fahrenheit.


The specific heat for O2 without entering a temperature is given as 918.8 J/(kgK). That appears to reflect a reference temperature of 291.7K, which equals 18.55 Celsius and 65.39 Fahrenheit.


However common reference temperatures are 0 degrees and 20 degrees Celsius. Therefore reference temperatures of 275K (close to 0 Celsius) and 550K (double that) were arbitrarily selected and the Joules calculated accordingly in the text that follows.


Further reservations are at the conclusion of this appendix, the WolframAlpha Confusion, with a sample calculation in footnote 40.


1) It generates heat, such as by burning. The atmospheric gases (AGs) are not burning.


2) It retains heat. The AGs do. Specific heat is the amount of calories something will hold at a given temperature. A thermochemical calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C, about 4.2 Joules.


A Joule is a measure of energy transferred (or work done) by applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter. So how much force is a newton? For example, the force of earth’s gravity on an object with a mass of one kilogram (2.2 lbs.) is 9.8 newtons. Appendix I - Thermal Metrics, elaborates. 


ANNOTATION: Specific heat is the amount of heat per unit mass required to raise the temperature by one degree Celsius. It is measured in calories. A calorie is usually defined as 4.1868 Joules.


A Joule, named after an English physicist (1818-1889), is the equivalent of passing an electric current of one ampere through a resistance of one ohm for one second. In turn that represents the energy transferred (or work done) by  applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter. 


A newton is the amount of force needed to accelerate 1 kilogram of mass at the rate of 1 meter per second squared. For example, the force of earth’s gravity on an object with a mass of one kilogram (2.2. lbs.) is 9.8 newtons.34 


The melting point of ice is 273.15 Kevin, 0 degrees Celsius and 32 degrees Fahrenheit.


34.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule  The article goes into the associated mathematics.



At 275 K, the isobaric specific heat of CO2 is 633.9 J/(kgK) Joules per kilogram Kelvin, for oxygen 916.9 and for nitrogen 1041.


If the temperature doubles to 550 K, the isobaric specific heat of CO2 is 857.5 J/(kgK), for oxygen 988 and for nitrogen 1065.


 3) It transfers heat. The AGs do. The refractive index R is easier to grasp. The index is:35


R =  c /v


where c is the speed of light in a vacuum and v is the speed of light in the substance. The refractive index of water is 1.33, meaning that light travels 1.33 times faster in a vacuum than it does in water.


ANNOTATION: The English (and German) Wikipedia versions are usually good sources for scientific questions. Norm pointed out that the English Wikipedia article on refraction is a surprising exception:


“. . . down half a page that the same formula n =  c /v  can be applied to sound, simply by rewriting the formula to include the letter designator for 'sound'.  In fact, sound travels faster in denser objects, and not at all in a vacuum. That would render the formula nonsensical.”


“. . . does not properly highlight that light is refracted greater or lesser in the same material at different temperatures (whenever there is a change in the density), therefore, the reference temperature must also be given when stating refractive index. (This makes for a complicated model, when considering that our atmosphere is very warm at lower altitudes, and very cold at higher altitudes. Not to mention the difference in density in air and its constituent gasses, due to less air pressure at altitude. But for discussion purposes, this is usually glossed over using an agreed upon average.  - Which may or may not be agreed upon!!)”


“Refractive index is also specific to the medium it is passing through, not just varying density of materials - and this is not stressed properly in the article. For example diamond, which is not very dense, has a very high refractive index because of it's atomic structure.”


“The next assumptions would follow-on regarding base reference for air pressure (is it 1.0 atmosphere, or is it averaged over the entire depth [height] of the earth's air envelope?), humidity. . . (and use a) weighted average refractive index at and through that range of temperatures (and altitudes). . . but that the variances are so small that they do not affect the outcome (or outcomes, if one wants to compare all outcomes) to a SIGNIFICANT FIGURE.”


The refractive index of CO2 is 1.00028829, of nitrogen 1.0002984, of oxygen 1.0002710.36 



36. Unfortunately the reference temperatures used by WolframAlpha for the refractive index are not clear. Therefore a reference temperature of 0 degrees Celsius was used with the additional sources: http://refractiveindex.info and http://www.kayelaby.npl.co.uk/general_physics/2_5/2_5_7.html



For air without precipitation present it is 1.00028. For water it is 1.333, for water vapor (the single largest component of the greenhouse effect) 1.00026.


ANNOTATION: An example of the calculations is the one for air. The refractive  index is R. In the visible region (405–705 nm) the following approximate expression gives a maximum discrepancy of only 1.4 × 10−8 and is convenient:37 


R  − 1 = 0.047 2326(173.3 − σ2)−1


            where σ = 1/λvac and λvac is expressed in μm.


The R values cited for air, water and water vapor above are a consensus from various Internet sources. Neither their reference temperatures nor their underlying formulas and assumptions were validated.


4) It acts as a catalyst to another atmospheric gas, dramatically changing the influenced gas’s specific heat or its refraction index, or causes a gas to create (more) heat.


This is not the case. In fact CO2 is inert to the extent it is used to stop thermal reactions by denying oxygen to other earth gases in flame.


5) It has an effect at a very low threshold - a “butterfly” effect. A tiny change in the initial condition of a dynamic system can have a domino effect leading to large-scale alterations of outcomes.38  The meteorological example is the famous question:


“Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”


It was suggested in 1972 as the title for a talk by Edward Lorenz. In 1961 he had truncated the decimal 0.506127 to 0.506 in a computer model.39  To his astonishment, the result was a completely different weather scenario. A tiny change in the initial condition of a dynamic system can have a domino effect leading to large-scale alterations of outcomes.


ANNOTATION: Some mathematicians have objected that the Lorenz equations are highly simplified. They do not contain terms that represent viscous effects, which tend to dampen out small perturbations. Further discussion involves chaos theory, which is beyond the scope of this appendix.


CO2 has not been demonstrated to have any extraordinary thermal “butterfly” characteristics. There is no evidence that a CO2 “flapped wing” (molecular level change) would have any more or less consequence than a “flapped wing” of a major atmospheric gas, i.e. N2 or O2, or of another trace gas, e.g. methane, or that it happens more often.


In short, the thermal metrics for CO2 are similar to those of the other AGs. CO2 has about 60 to 90% as much specific heat as nitrogen and oxygen do, depending on the reference temperature. Its refractive index lies between that of nitrogen and oxygen. It is not an atmospheric thermal catalyst and no threshold (butterfly wing) effects have been determined.


ANNOTATION: Furthermore the effects of CO2 are not necessarily linear. If one doubles the amount of CO2 in a controlled gas mixture, depending on the experiment, one does not see a doubling of CO2-driven effects.


To conclude, Norm commented that: (yellow highlighting added)


"The study of the holistic relationship between electromagnetic waves striking a mass seems to be the ideal background study for the subject at hand.  An electromagnetic wave striking a solid does one or more of the following 3 things;  it reflects, it refracts, it absorbs.  The one thing it always does, even if sometimes only to a small degree, is absorb. This is determined by the wavelength of the electromagnetic emission and  physical properties of the mass being struck, of course, and the result of absorption is usually heating. This gets into transparency and opacity at different wavelengths. And should be appropriately applied to all the atmospheric gasses.  (We see water as almost entirely transparent, however at certain microwave frequencies, it is so 'opaque' that it absorbs almost all the electromagnetic energy and boils away.)"
"It is important to understand that the gasses - as found in our atmosphere, are highly 'transparent' and minimally 'opaque'  and minimally 'reflective' - for the operative wavelengths of electromagnetic wave contact. This is the "WHY" of using specific heat and refractive indices as a means of comparison.  One might also want to be even more thorough by examining which gasses are less transparent and more opaque (and perhaps heat-absorbing) at some critical electromagnetic wavelengths.  But this doesn't change the final outcome of the analysis. It is further interesting to see that ranges of refractive index, for example 1.0 to 2.0 in transparent media also have other common properties with regards to reflection, absorption, etc." 

38. This consideration is important for carcinogens, e.g. one molecule causing caner. (Whether this happens is disputed.) The prion diseases are the classic toxicological example. A single abnormal form of a protein causes other proteins to adopt the same shape, which is what is happening in mad cow disease.




WolframAlpha Confusion


A scientific constant is supposed to be replicable. Using 22/7 or 3.14 usually makes sense for pi. But if one sees pi to ten digits, AND with different sources SOME OF THOSE DIGITS CHANGE, for a constant (???), one wants to know why. In fact, for pi you see the same 10, 100 and even 1,000 plus digits (except for typos) no matter what source you go to. Should someone generate a different series of digits for places 11 to 100, people would wonder what was going on, despite these digits not being used for practical calculations.


WolframAlpha is generating values that I cannot replicate.40 For example it gives the “standard” refractive index of CO2 as 1.112. However this value is relatively far away from the refractive indices of other gases -- and from that given by other sources, such as http://refractiveindex.info or

http://www.kayelaby.npl.co.uk/general_physics/2_5/2_5_7.html: 1.0004489 for a reference temperature of 0 degrees Celsius.


For a reference temperature of 0 degrees Celsius, WolframAlpha gives the refractive index of CO2 as 1.00028829. That value is in line with other gases and may in fact be correct. The footnote shows my difficulty.

40. Here is the calculation that indicates to me that WolframAlpha's value of 1.112 for the "standard" refractive index of CO2 is wrong. (This value also appears in the Wikipedia article about CO2.) It was given at http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=CO2+refractive+index repeatedly in Dec. 2014.


I tried to iterate into the reference temperature for this value by asking what the CO2 refractive index, R, was at different temperatures. The colder it gets, the higher R for CO2 becomes.


I started with the maximum temperature I could, which was 100 degrees Celsius. Above that the calculation was flagged as "out of range."


At 100 degrees Celsius, R = 1.000195752.


I kept on decreasing the temperature until the calculation was again flagged.


At  -50 degrees Celsius, R = 1.000353352


WITH A MOVEMENT OF 150 degrees Celsius WE HAVE A CORRESPONDING MOVEMENT IN THE REFRACTIVE INDEX OF .0001576. To reach 1.112, the "standard" CO2 refractive index, we need 1.112 - 1.000353352 = .111646648.


Now a drop of 150 degrees Celsius (from +100 to - 50) represents an increase in R of .0001576. For this calculation, let us make the simplifying assumption that the progression is linear. We divide .0001576 by 150 to determine that a drop of one degree Celsius raises R by .0000105.


We need .111646648 divided by .0000105 equals about 10,633 degrees Celsius to reach R = 1.112. Let us say I mistakenly entered an extra zero in my calculator, leading to an order of magnitude error. We would still need to drop the temperature 1,063 degrees Celsius. However absolute zero is at -273.15 Celsius. Granted, the progression is not linear.


Nevertheless, something is foul in the state of Denmark here. Perhaps the error lies in my methodology or in my use of the wonderful HP 12C programmable calculator with its reverse Polish logic. (The HP-12C is Hewlett Packard's longest and best-selling product. It has been in continual production since its introduction in 1981.)


Regardless, the "standard" CO2 refractive index of 1.112 is too far away from anything I can reach with a temperature input. Therefore I used the value calculated at 0 degrees Celsius of 1.00028829.



APPENDIX III - Consensus Controversy? Extent & Sources


Interestingly when one follows the trail back to the source of the 97%, one finds not one, but a dozen. The four most prominent ones are presented in reverse chronological order below, counting backwards. All four come in at 97%. The information primarily comes from a Wall St. Journal article by Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer, May 26, 2014.41  The countdown begins:


4) 2014 & thereafterIPCC: the annual reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This political, not scientific, organization reports the views of 2,500 “aligned” climate scientists (sometimes reported as 3,000) versus the views of roughly 32,000 unaligned ones. “Aligned” means that the scientists support the IPCC (and more often than not - are supported by the IPCC), to a certain extent making for a self-fulfilling prophecy. Regardless, 2500 proponents out of a group of 34,000 to 35,000 works out to about 7 percent, not 97.


3) 2013 - John Cook and team from Australia allegedly examined 11,944 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2011. He claimed that of those articles expressing an opinion, implicitly (?) or explicitly, 97% maintained humans were responsible for “some climate warming.”  Well, “some” can mean one millionth part, so who can argue with that? Apparently one can, as a number of scientists such as Craig Idso, Nils- Axel Morner, Nicola Scafetta, and Nir J. Shaviv protested that they had been misrepresented. 


The refutation of this study also asked a loaded question, viz. if humans were “responsible for most climate warming?” It was conducted by David R. Legates, a professor at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research. Not surprisingly, not too many folk took this extreme position either. Of the 4,014 abstracts that expressed an opinion, 41 voiced this position (badly hurting the feelings of the sun, which flared in anger).


2) 2009 -  The Zimmer/Doran survey  Maggie Zimmerman and Peter Doran, the advisor for her Master’s thesis at the University of Illinois, sent out a two question on-line survey to 3,146 scientists. To arrive at the consensus, the “non-climate” scientists were excluded, such as cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists, astronomers, and, well, just about everyone whose studies are related to climate change, 3,067 all told, or 97.5% of them! That left a target group of 79 “climate” scientists.


There are two basic ways to run a questionnaire:


a) Carefully select one’s sample group and analyze the results. One can tweak the analysis, such as by eliminating outlying variables ( = unwanted answers). 


b) If you really wish to get creative, cherry-pick your final sample group from the  (two or three percent of) respondents who were obliging enough to support your hypothesis. Disregard other respondents; just flat eliminate their answers. 


41. „The Myth of the Climate Change '97%' What is the origin of the false belief—constantly repeated—that almost all scientists agree about global warming?“ by Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer May 26, 2014 http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136




The number of scientists whose studies relate to some aspect of the climate is commonly given as 35,000. Assuming a normal distribution, a sample of 3,146 scientists (the number sent the on-line questionnaire) for a population of 35,000 is enough for a 99% confidence limit with a 2.5% margin of error. However a sample size of 79 for a population of 35,000, or one of 3,146 for that matter, is not large enough for statistical significance. One needs a sample size of a few hundred for a population of 3,146, as is demonstrated in the footnote below.42


1) 2004 -  Naomi Oreskes, Science Magazine  The very first, the origin of  it all, is Naomi Oreskes. She is a science historian, currently a professor at Harvard. Her article examined the abstracts of 928 articles published between 1993 and 2003.  Apparently the question posed was whether human activity caused “some climate change” instead of asking about a “dangerous” or “significant” change. One can hardly argue against “some” (e.g. one millionth part).


Nevertheless the way she presented the results exhibited enough bias as to raise ire. Vigorous criticism of the methodology and its conclusions resulted. One point made was that scores of dissenting articles from prominent scientists in this field were just flat excluded, including ones from such authorities as John Christy, Richard Lindzen and Patrick Michaels.


S. Fred Singer, an eminent scientist who has published widely in environmental fields including global warming, defends himself against some “Naomi bias” in a long quotation in  Appendix V- Genesis, Sources & Suggestions for Further Reading.


Tracking back other sources just about always leads to these four. Nowhere in the literature is there mention of a paradigm shift, either at the time Michael Crichton wrote his bibliography on this subject in 2004 or since then. To shift the roughly 32,000 non-aligned scientists doing work associated with climate change into the global warming, CO2 concerned, carbon footprint camp would surely have required a groundbreaking study, a quantum leap, which would be repeatedly cited.


42. If the two question survey only gave a yes/no or agree/disagree choice, than one would use a binominal sample size calculation. The different formulas underlying confidence limits for a binomial distribution include the normal approximation as well as the Wilson score, Agresti-Coull, and Jeffreys intervals. The exact methods are essentially variants of the Clopper-Pearson interval.


If the two questions involved ranking (i.e. strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree) than one would assume a normal distribution. (Actually one should test this assumption, but that is often omitted.) As this procedure is the standard one, it will be further considered.

As a point of departure, one could do a „quick and dirty“ calculation at Creative Research Systems with its Sample Size Calculator at http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm.  A first attempt yielded 380 as the needed sample size for a population of 35,000 for a 95% confidence limit with a 5% margin of error.


If you reduce the population to consider just the 3,146 scientists, you would still need responses from 342 of them for a 95% confidence limit with a 5% margin of error. Unfortunately the formulas used by Creative Research Systems are not evident, complicating verification.


Standard tables, such as those at http://www.research-advisors.com/tools/SampleSize.htm, suggest a sample size, given a (normally distributed) population of 25,000, of 378 for a 95% confidence limit with a 5% margin of error. (This number is in line with the 380 given by Creative Research Systems for a sample size of 35,000.) With 25,000, one needs a sample of 646 for a 99% confidence limit with a 5% margin of error, and of 9,972 for a 99% confidence limit with a 1% margin of error.


With a small population, you need a large sample. For instance with a population of 100, you need a sample size of 80 for a 95% confidence limit with a 5% margin of error, and of 99 (!) for a 99% confidence limit with 1% of error.


Interestingly, with a very large population that is normally distributed the increase in suggested sample size is not that much greater than for a population of 25,000. Given a population of 300 million (i.e. close to that of the U.S.) if your sample properly reflects the normal distribution of the population, only 384 respondents/subjects are suggested for a 95% confidence limit with a 5% margin of error, and 16,586 for a 99% confidence limit with 1% error.


Below is a simplified example of calculating the needed sample size for a normal distribution with a desired confidence limit of 99%, .5 standard deviation, and a confidence interval (margin of error) of +/- 5%. The simplification lies in the omission of the population size.


Necessary Sample Size = (Z-score)² * StdDev*(1-StdDev) / (confidence interval)²


((2.326)² x .5(.5)) / (.05)²

(5.410 x .25) / .0025

1.3526 / .0025

541.03, so that the sample size needed is 541. Obviously this sample is excessive for a population of 550 and questionable for theoretical considerations involving googol-sized populations. (A googol is the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.)








APPENDIX III - Environmental Ethics versus Malaria Mortality


Has politics here distorted science into a Kafkaesque outcome?


  • Michael Crichton, the renowned science fiction and fact writer, received his MD from Harvard Medical School. In 2004 he wrote that restricting the use of DDT had killed more people than Adolph Hitler. He was referring to the resurgence of malaria that followed after its restriction. 


  • Robert Gwadz of the US National Institutes of Health said in 2007, "The ban on DDT may have killed 20 million children." He was referring to the fact that the majority of malaria deaths occur with children five years old and younger.


Just how extreme are the above statements? Read the following brief history of DDT, summarized from the long Wikipedia article about it.43  Then, you decide: Where lies the Aristotelian mean of common sense for DDT?


The Rise and Fall of DDT


Executive Summary


Extensive use of DDT against mosquitoes led to malaria being defeated in many countries. Environmental concerns led to its use being restricted. Malaria came back with a vengeance. WHO estimates there were 243 million cases, and 863,000 deaths in 2008. About 89% of these deaths occurred in Africa. Most of the victims were children under the age of 5.


IMAGE of Malaria Map


Note: some may wonder why the issue of DDT is belabored in an article about the climate. The climate considerations incorporate the impact of science that to at least some extent is going awry because it is reflecting political agendas. DDT is an example of the impact of science that went awry -- because of a political agenda.


At one point in my career I held a position at Olin Corp., at that time a Fortune 500 chemical multinational. My area of responsibility was Africa. For three years I spent almost half my time in Africa, on constant business trips to over 20 countries. I saw the devastating impact of malaria first hand. 44



44. As far as health in the U.S. is concerned, Nixon called for universal health care coverage in his State of the Union address of 1974. Unfortunately his plan fell victim to partisan politics. Health care has remained a political football ever since. Consequently the U.S. system is one of the worst in the developed world in terms of multiple measurements, from infant mortality to cancer treatment for the elderly, from a lack of health care coverage to ever escalating health care costs.


That was the state of affairs before Obamacare and remains so afterwards. Obamacare is not throwing drops of water at a bonfire, no. It is more like dumping some truckloads of water on a forest fire -- a start, but hardly enough to get matters under control. In 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 48 million Americans without health care insurance. In 2014 after Obamacare there were “only” 38 million uninsured. About 13% of adults (i.e over the age of 18) have no health care coverage. How many people die annually as a result?



The Rise and the Fall


DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was first synthesized in 1874. In 1939 the Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller discovered its effectiveness as an insecticide. (He wound up receiving a Nobel Prize for that in 1948.) In the second half of World War II DDT was used to control malaria and typhus. After the war, it became increasingly popular as an agricultural insecticide.


In 1955, the World Health Organization (WHO) began a program to eradicate malaria. It relied on DDT for mosquito control.




The program also emphasized rapid diagnosis and treatment to reduce malaria’s spread. Initially it was highly successful. It essentially eliminated the disease in "Taiwan, much of the Caribbean, the Balkans, parts of northern Africa, the northern region of Australia, and a large swath of the South Pacific". The program also dramatically reduced mortality in Sri Lanka and India.


DDT was less effective in tropical regions due to the continuous life cycle of mosquitoes and poor infrastructure. Therefore it was not applied in sub-Saharan Africa.


Rachel Carson, an American biologist, published Silent Spring in 1962. She argued that pesticides, including DDT, were poisoning the environment and wildlife. Because DDT has lipophilic properties, it tends to remain in the system (bioaccumulation) especially in predatory birds. DDT magnifies through the food chain. Apex predators such as raptor birds, e.g. the American bald eagle, concentrate more chemicals than other animals in the same environment.


Furthermore DDT was also dangerous for humans. It is one of the 100 + known carcinogens. (These range from relatively mild ones, such as those associated with drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages or handling steel and iron to severe ones, such as those associated with smoking and exposure to radiation.)


Public reaction to Silent Spring, a bestseller, launched the modern environmental movement in the United States. Although Rachel Carson had not called for a ban on DDT in her book, it did eventually lead to one in the U.S. (for its agricultural use) in 1972.


There are some sobering “before and after” examples about the impact of restricting DDT on the incidence of malaria.


  • Sri Lanka had an anti-malaria program that was based on heavy use of DDT. It reduced malaria cases from about one million per year before spraying to just 18 in 1963 and 29 in 1964. After the program was halted to save money malaria rebounded to 600,000 cases in 1968 and the first quarter of 1969.


  • Ecuador increased its use of DDT fro 1993 to 1995 and achieved a 61% reduction in malaria rates, while each of the other countries that gradually decreased its DDT use had large increase in malaria rates. In other South America countries malaria cases increased dramatically after countries ceased using DDT.


  • South Africa in 1996 switched to alternative insecticides and malaria incidence increased dramatically. Returning to DDT and introducing new drugs brought malaria back under control.


In contrast there have also been some significant victories against malaria without having used DDT.


  • Vietnam achieved a 97% mortality reduction after switching in 1991 from a poorly funded DDT-based campaign to a program based on prompt treatment, bednets, and pyrethroid group insecticides.


  • Rwanda and Ethiopia cut malaria deaths in half through that mass distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and artemisinin–based drugs.


  • Mexico used a combination strategy of chemical and non-chemical agents so effectively that the plant that produced DDT there closed due to lack of demand.


In 2004 the Stockholm Convention, ratified by over 170 countries, took effect, with 31 countries requesting an exemption. It outlaws several persistent organic pollutants, and restricts DDT use to vector control. DDT is applied to the inside walls of homes to kill or repel mosquitoes. This intervention, called indoor residual spraying (IRS), greatly reduces environmental damage. It also reduces the incidence of DDT resistance. Mosquitoes, also ones resistant to DDT, avoid huts that have been sprayed with it.


Nevertheless, many governments restricted or curtailed the use of DDT even for vector control. Furthermore it was no longer sprayed on still bodies of water to kill mosquito larvae.


In 2006 the WHO reversed its longstanding policy against DDT. It recommended that it be used as an indoor pesticide in regions where malaria is a major problem. As of 2008 only 12 countries are officially using DDT. Nevertheless DDT does remain “around and about.”


Illegal diversion to agriculture occurs, certainly in India, particularly with mango production. There are reports of librarians using it to protect books. Other examples include Ethiopia, where DDT intended for malaria control is allegedly used in coffee production and Ghana, where it is used for fishing.


Malaria remains a major public health challenge in many countries:


WHO estimates there were 243 million cases, and 863,000 deaths in 2008. About 89% of these deaths occurred in Africa. Most of the victims were children under the age of 5.


 There is plenty of blame to share here. Where exactly does it lie:*

DDT is one of many tools that public health officials use to fight the disease. Its use in this context has been called everything from a "miracle weapon [that is] like Kryptonite to the mosquitoes," to "toxic colonialism." The WHO currently is committed to the total phase-out of DDT by the early 2020s if not sooner.


Where lies the Aristotelian mean of common sense for DDT?


And where lies the Aristotelian mean of common sense for global warming and CO2?


* Decision ID 10503244 © | Dreamstime.com



APPENDIX IV - Article Genesis, Sources & Suggestions for Further Reading


My first exposure to global warming and CO2 as an issue was a slide presentation by Al Gore at the turn of the millennium. As Clinton’s Vice-President he had pushed for a carbon tax in the early 1990s. In 1997 he helped broker the Kyoto Protocol about controlling the emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.


In 2000 he ran for President and made the Kyoto Protocol part of his political platform. After losing to George W. Bush, he updated and “turbocharged” a slide show on the subject he had made years earlier. He presented it, not just in the U.S., but around the world -- over one thousand times.


On the one hand, I considered the contents of the slide show eye opening, above all the impending ozone hole. As an example of outstanding public speaking I found it even more impressive. I would regularly encourage my students to look at it with a view to polishing their own presentation skills.


On the other hand, I felt that there were numerous issues in the U.S. that were far more important to address. To name just three: health care, education and crime. Still, I conveyed my “carbon concerns” to my students, especially my undergraduate ones (younger and easier to influence) whenever the “green” question arose. (“Greenness,” from separating ones garbage to alternative energy, is treated far more seriously in Germany, where I teach, than in the U.S.) No one ever challenged me about these concerns.


A pivoting impetus: In 2014 I read a thriller by Michael Crichton (1942 -2008), State of Fear, 2004. It was an entertaining story about a terrorist group with an environmental agenda. Michael Crichton is renowned for his science based novels such as The Andromeda Strain, The Lost World and especially Jurassic Park, from which a terrific “dinosaur film” was made. He typically includes a science bibliography in his books. He was a Harvard Medical School graduate who did not seem to be pushing either a left or right wing agenda in the science presented in other books of his I had read.

R.P. Cotta Jr. wrote an excellent review, entitled “Challenges Your Preconceived Ideas, Whatever They May Be” about State of Fear for Amazon.com.45 In it he states: “. . . long gone, along with any assumptions many readers may have regarding the environment, global climate change, the objectivity of science, the independence of the main-stream media, and possibly other comfortable delusions.”  That statement was certainly true for me.

In 2004 when the book was published the political argument over this issue had already become divisive. The many scientific studies Michael Crichton cited indicated that climate change was not very well understood. Certainly there was no consensus that it was an urgent problem, a significant one, or even any problem at all.

In that same bibliography Crichton mentioned in passing that DDT was considered environmentally dangerous by countries in the West. That had led to severe


restrictions of its use to control mosquitoes in developing countries. Malaria, almost defeated, came back with a vengeance. (At the risk of relentless repetition: WHO estimates there were 243 million cases, and 863,000 deaths in 2008. About 89% of these deaths occurred in Africa. Most of the victims were children under the age of 5.)


My respect for Michael Crichton’s ability to understand articles in scientific journals gave me pause about climate change. Furthermore I agreed with his moral premise. For governments to spend huge sums -- their constituents’ tax dollars -- on not very well understood science while ignoring immediate deaths from disease and malnutrition made no sense. It was morally wrong and financially irresponsible


Well, what was the opinion on global warming ten years later? Come to think of it, the ozone hole so alarmingly predicted by Al Gore did not seem to have had such serious consequences after all. Had the Al Gore slide show led to my having mutated into Chicken Little, warning trusting students that “the sky was falling” for years? 46


The pivot: Mortified, I took a second, much harder, look. I was surprised to encounter such a shrill tone in much of my reading. In contrast take the issue of globalization. From a long ago economics course I vaguely recall David Ricardo's Theory of Comparative Advantage, published in 1817. He presents the famous example of England and Portugal producing wine and cloth. Each country should specialize in what it is best at, and they should trade. The pro-globalization folk who favor trade and the anti-globalization folk (with some absolutely legitimate concerns, such as child labor) seem fairly rational in their arguments with one another. Granted, globalization does attract some hysterical hair-pulling and breast beating every now and again. However for the most part it remains a sober economic discourse.


The discourse over climate control seems to have become increasingly divisive, not to say hysterical, over the decades. Clearly it has become an article of faith for many, hence subject to cognitive dissonance.


Further Reading, an Annotated Bibliography



As a layman I found most of the articles in the popular press and also in professional journals unconvincing. The arguments seemed a little fuzzy, the logic somewhat inconsistent. More often than not a political agenda (of the right or the left) was peeking around the corner.


I also did not find many articles in the academic journals that were speaking to me. Often the writing was dense, making for hard going. How that particular piece of the puzzle fitted into the jigsaw of climate change was not clear. Sometimes even the empirical evidence was wanting. To my surprise, from time to time I again encountered a political agenda peeking around the corner. Nothing approaching the compelling power of a rigorously designed and properly conducted double blind test was presented. 


My frustration with the literature in the journals, let alone in the popular press, was a key driver in my deciding to have a shot at writing an article myself, at the risk of


 46.  „The sky is falling.“ is a phrase in a folk tale with origins that are over 2,500 years old. The modern English version stems from 1840 when J.G. Chandler published an illustrated children’s book, The Remarkable Story of Chicken Little. The main character, also known as Henny Penny, believes the world is coming to an end. For her pains in warning one and all of the impending doom she winds up getting eaten by Fox Lox.




appearing intellectually arrogant or foolish. Whatever the outcome, the course of writing it would make for an interesting learning experience.


As far as articles are concerned, my suggestion is to seek for ones that credibly explain:


1) how the at most current mild global warming (assuming there is not now actually a cooling) of less than one degree Celsius in the past 60 (to 130) years shifts to a rise in temperature over the next century that is over an order of magnitude greater, -- and an imminent threat. There is no geological evidence supporting that large of a temperature “spike” in the past ten thousand years, or historical records supporting such a spike in the last two thousand.


2) how a computer simulation can make an accurate prediction of the climate years out, even one hundred years out, when the most sophisticated non-linear dynamic programming models run on supercomputers can not make accurate predictions of the weather ten days out, let alone 30 days, a mere month.


3) how CO2, a trace gas (one molecule of 2,500 in the atmosphere) with similar thermal metrics to the dominant gases (oxygen and nitrogen that together constitute 99% of the atmosphere) and no atmospheric catalytic effects could possibly contribute significantly to a global rise in temperature.


Having found such articles, compare and contrast them with:


4) Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon „Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”, p. 3, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine http://www.petitionproject.org/gw_article/GWReview_OISM600.pdfA


This 12-page article about the human-caused global warming hypothesis is the best short overview of the science encountered. Yet it too is not entirely satisfactory, as discussed below. The article is circulated by the Petition Project, organized by a group of U.S. physicists and chemical physicists. To view the entire article in html, 150-dpi PDF, 300-dpi PDF, 600-dpi PDF, Spanish or figures alone in powerpoint or flash, click on the appropriate item at: http://www.petitionproject.org/review_article.php  


Unfortunately the main body of the article, chock full of what appears to be legitimate, thought-provoking science, is considerably diminished when it suddenly states (p.3).


??? If, through misunderstanding of the underlying science and through misguided public fear and hysteria, mankind significantly rations and restricts the use of hydrocarbons, the worldwide increase in prosperity will stop. The result would be vast human suffering and the loss of hundreds of millions of human lives. ???


Is that a typo and “hundreds of millions” should read “millions of lives”? In either case that sentence ironically has crossed the line from hyperbole to the hysteria criticized in the preceding sentence. On page five is a statement that pretty well summarizes the science presented -- and still to come: 


The overall experimental record is self-consistent. The Earth has been warming as it recovers from the Little Ice Age an average rate of 0.5 degrees C per century. Fluctuations within this temperature trend include periods of more rapid increase and also periods of temperature decrease. These fluctuations correlate well with conccomitant fluctuations in the activity of the sun. Neither the trends nor the fluctutions within the trends correlate with hydrocarbon use.


Let us take the controversial Keystone Pipeline as an example of what "misunderstanding the underlying science" could lead to. If approved, it will transport crude oil derived from oil sands in Alberta, Canada to destinations in the United States. Opponents warn that it is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen and will contribute to global warming through increased greenhouse gas emissions.


Let us say it is prohibited, environmental politics driving economics. But the reverse can also happen, with economics driving the politicians. A century or two later oil has become worth its weight in gold. And that ancient idea, the Keystone Pipeline, rises from the dead. Politicians scent billions in lobbying bribes and tax revenues. The pipeline starts looking very good indeed to them. A political pivot follows as surely as night follows day. 


Alternatively energy has finally caught the curve. The public’s better understanding of nuclear (perhaps even fusion) energy has made it politically acceptable; solar energy has become cost efficient; batteries for electric cars have improved by an order of magnitude, etc. In either case, oil as gold, or technological progress, the U.S. moves on -- with or without the Keystone Pipeline. (The last two books on this bibliography are about the Keystone Pipeline.)




Some of the books encountered were excellent, both entertaining and informative. (Good, I do not have to try to write a book!)


1) Michael Crichton, State of Fear, 2004 ($5.00 used as of Dec. 2014)




R.B. Cotta Jr. wrote an excellent review, “Challenges Your Preconceived Ideas, Whatever They May Be” on Amazon.com. The story is about a terrorist group with an environmental agenda. By the end of it:


 “. . . long gong (are) any assumptions many readers may have regarding the environment, global climate change, the objectivity of science, the independence of  the main-stream media, and possibly other comfortable delusions. This is Crichton's  real genius in this work -- he forces a reconsideration of popular assumptions about the environment through the unfolding plot and storyline.”


Throughout the story Crichton gives footnotes to scientific sources for environmental subjects, as well as an extensive scientific bibliography at the end of the book.


The main characters include an eccentric tycoon, a nefarious attorney, two interesting women, an arrogant Hollywood actor and the hero, the quiet attorney Peter Evans. His law firm has given him the assignment of working full time for the tycoon.


I share R.B. Cotta’s reservation about the story, which led him to give the book four stars instead of five. The repeated near brushes with death and “just in time” appearance of the heroes to save whomever are a little over the top and strain credulity. However with some tolerance and a good-humored “willing suspension of disbelief” the story is fun to read. The extensive scientific footnotes are informative. They, in contrast, do not strain credulity.


This book is certainly an entertaining way to learn more about environmental issues.


2) S. Fred Singer (Author, Editor), Craig Idso (Author) and 35 contributors,  Climate Change Reconsidered: The Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) Paperback – June 1, 2009 ($74.51, used from $15 as of Dec. 2014)




Dr. S. Fred Singer received a PhD in Physics from Princeton in 1948 and is professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. He is an atmospheric and space physicist who has published widely on climate, energy and environmental issues. Among other achievements, he designed the first satellite instrument for measuring atmospheric ozone and was a principal developer of scientific and weather satellites. He founded the nonprofit Science and Environmental Policy Project in 1990 after retiring from the University of Virginia.


He has written extensively about the environment, over a dozen books, including five since 1989 specifically about the climate. The two other recent ones are:


with Frederick Seitz, 

Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate Paperback, 2001


with Dennis T. Avery,

Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, Updated and Expanded Edition Paperback  2007


He has been associated with conservative think-tanks and his books criticized as a result. He is particularly subject to ad hominem attacks, a kind of backhanded compliment to the quality of his scientific publications -- easier to attack the man than what he actually writes.


The long quotation below is to let him speak for himself. It will also give you a good impression of his writing style, so that you can decide if you wish to read more by him. Thomas Lifson, an editor at American Thinker, graciously and promptly gave the copyright permission on December 12th, 2014 for the quotation. To read the entire article, go to:




QUOTE:  . . . A prime example is the book Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, which attacks several well-known senior physicists, including the late Dr. Fred Seitz, a former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, and (most recently) Rockefeller University.


No matter what the environmental issue -- ozone depletion, acid rain, pesticides, etc. -- any and all scientific opposition based on objective facts is blamed on an imagined involvement with tobacco companies. None of this is true, of course. Oreskes and Conway claim to be academic historians, yet they have consistently ignored factual information, have not bothered to consult primary sources, have never interviewed any of the scientists they try to smear, and generally have operated in a completely unprofessional way.


Oreskes' and Conway's science is as poor as their historical expertise. To cite just one example, their book blames lung cancer from cigarette smoking on the radioactive oxygen-15 isotope. They cannot explain, of course, how O-15 gets into cigarettes, or how it is created. They seem to be unaware that its half-life is only 122 seconds. In other words, they have no clue about the science, and apparently, they assume that the burning of tobacco creates isotopes -- a remarkable discovery worthy of alchemists. As an aside, when not engaged in smearing scientists by linking them to the tobacco lobby, Oreskes' and Conway's book claims that opposition to environmental regulation of greenhouse gases and other "pollutants" is based on anti-communism!


The ultimate aim of these attacks, at least in my case, has been to discredit my work and publications on global warming. I am a nonsmoker, find SHS to be an irritant and unpleasant, have certainly not been paid by Philip Morris and the tobacco lobby, and have never joined any of their front organizations. And I serve on the advisory board of an anti-smoking organization. My father, who was a heavy smoker, died of emphysema while relatively young. I personally believe that SHS, in addition to being objectionable, cannot possibly be healthy.


So what is the truth about SHS and lung cancer? I am neither an oncologist nor a chemical toxicologist, but I do know some statistics, which allows me to examine the EPA study without bias. I can demonstrate that the EPA fudged their analysis to reach a predetermined conclusion -- using thoroughly dishonest procedures. EPA "scientists" made three major errors: 1) They ignored "publication bias."  2) They arbitrarily shifted the statistical "confidence intervals."  3) They drew unjustified conclusions from a risk ratio that was barely greater than 1.0.  END QUOTE


A reviewer (“amazon customer”) of Climate Change Reconsidered, after mentioning that the credentials of the two authors and 35 contributors were impressive, went on to state that he liked the interdisciplinary approach. He also valued the emphasis on distinguishing among land, ocean and atmospheric temperature measurements. “As a scientifically literate layman who has read nearly 30 books on climate change science, including large parts of the IPCC's assessment reports, I found Climate Change Reconsidered far and away the most helpful publication in the field to date.”



3) Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, 2010  ($9.00 used as of Dec. 2014)




The lead author, Naomi Oreskes, is a preeminent proponent of global warming as a crisis and  the primary source for the 97% “consensus” (cf. Appendix III - Consensus Controversy? Extent & Sources). She is a Professor at Harvard for the History of Science. 


This book is a political document implying a conspiracy funded by the right, prominently by the tobacco industry, to minimize the consequences of several issues. It supports positions of varying validity, some probably correct, some not. In his review on amazon.com Mark S. Lawson points out two “errors of omission” in the chapter on global warming.47 In it the principal opposition scientist considered (attacked) is the eminent F. Fred Singer -- and his links with conservative think-tanks.


The reviewer points out that the current leading opposition scientists, among them Richard Lindzen, Professors William Gray and Roger Pielke Jr. as well as Roy W. Spencer at the University of Alabama, do not have such links. Their not being mentioned in the book is the first error of omission. The second is that the climategate incident of 2009 with its notorious "hide the decline" comments is also not mentioned.


Nevertheless any book that attacks the tobacco industry cannot be all bad! To fire a couple of rounds at the tobacco industry too an excursion similar to the DDT rant is added at the conclusion of this bibliography. The rant is entitled "The Big Three, the Recreational Alkaloids".


Two books about a major environmental issue where greenhouse gases are a tangential issue warrant mention. Their appeal lies in a “pro and con” approach.


3) Jonathan L. Ramseur with four co-authors, Oil Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline: Background and Selected Environmental Issues, Paperback 2012 ( $14.38  as of Dec. 2014).




The Keystone pipeline will transport crude oil derived from oil sands in Alberta, Canada to destinations in the United States. This book is a refreshingly unbiased and fairly technical review of the pros and cons of the pipeline, including its impact on greenhouse gases.


4) Steven Mufson Keystone XL: Down the Line (Kindle Single) (TED Books Book 34) [Kindle Edition], 2013 ($2.99 as of Dec. 2014)




The author is an energy correspondent for the Washington Post and makes a legitimate effort to be unbiased. He and his team traveled the 1,700 miles long pipeline and interviewed a variety of people on both sides of the issue.


The Big Three, the Recreational Alkaloids


The press may have exaggerated the dangers of second hand smoke, but the outcome of smoke-free buildings is still to be welcomed. In contrast, the dangers of nicotine for smokers can hardly be emphasized enough. It is the most lethal of a family of three common addictive alkaloids, the other two being cocaine and heroin. And, like cocaine, it is free-based to give you a faster hit. The tobacco companies have thoughtfully already added the free-basing chemicals to your cigarette.



Nicotine is the drug of choice for the roughly 45 million smokers in the U.S. -- out of a population of 320 million. The long term mortality rate is almost 50%. In other words the chance that eventually it will kill you is about fifty/fifty. A slow-motion death from cancer is not an easy way to go. Annually about 480,000 people die from smoking, a little over 1% of smokers. Year in, year out, nicotine is killing 40 to 50 times as many people as heroin and cocaine combined!


Heroin has a wide range of estimates for its users. A reasonable number for habitual users is between 250,000 and 500,000. About 4,000 to 5,000 people a year die from it, from 1 to 2% of its users.


Cocaine also has a wide estimate range, 1.5 million to 3 million users. About 5,000 people a year die from it, from one sixth to one third of one percent of its users.


Marijuana has perhaps 10 million regular users in the U.S. No-one dies from it.


Forget marijuana. Instead incarcerate the dealers of the two really lethal addictive alkaloid drugs: nicotine and heroin. The suggested mandatory sentencing for the nicotine dealer, first offense, is lifetime confinement in a supermax prison. It should entail 23-hour lockdown in a single cell, windowless, no TV, no books or magazines, no activities. His assets are confiscated to pay for the incarceration. (This last penalty might give the high earning tobacco company executive pause.) The heroin dealer can have a Bible or Koran.


The extent of the relationship among the “Big Three” is shown by their chemical formulas:


                       1)  C17H21NO4   - cocaine

                       2)  C21H23NO5     - heroin

                       3)  C10H14N2      - nicotine


The old mortality rate of "one in three" was revised to "about one half" in the U.S. surgeon general´s report on smoking of December 2010. Of course the "one half" only refers to the death rate. Lots of people get a smoking induced illness and recover, doing just fine. Consider a couple of the minor afflictions (minor in the sense that you survive): tongue cancer and blindness. 


Tongue cancer is one of the most common "minor" afflictions. First your tongue is surgically removed. If that does not get the job done, the next step is to cut away one quarter of your face. Good news, quite often that works. You are cancer free!  Unfortunately, you are now a monster who cannot speak and has to wear a mask to go out in public. But  think of all the pleasure the modestly priced cigarettes gave you prior to that.


Blindness perhaps seems preferable? Going blind is another statistic that does not show up in the smoking mortality rates. The tobacco smoke drifting past your eyes has nicotine and tar, both of which damage the eyes. More harmful, and what many people do not realize, is that the smoke is also full of carbon monoxide -- which has a really potent effect on the sensitive retina. Over the years the effect is cumulative and there you are, going blind four times as often, and a full ten years earlier, than your non-smoking colleagues.


The U.S. surgeon general´s report also points out that the tobacco companies have made substantial improvements in their nicotine delivery systems in recent years. Modern cigarettes are therefore far more addictive than those of 10 or 20 years ago. "Spiking" or freebasing is done to create a more intense effect with the same amount of the addictive substance. For instance, one freebases the related drug cocaine by converting it from a salt to its base form.


Similarly, the cigarette companies freebase nicotine by adding ammonia. Actually the preceding sentence is an over-simplification that does not do the world-class research at these companies justice. They are continually optimizing the chemical additives to create the fastest, most powerful nicotine hit. The scientists at the tobacco companies are so good, that by now about one adolescent in three who experiments with the occasional cigarette winds up hooked, a heavy smoker.


To quote a comment out of the C-suites of a tobacco multinational: "We have the perfect product. It costs pennies to make and sells for dollars. And it is addictive." And, the modern executive might add, "with no pesky restrictions on freebasing." If you smoke (crack) cocaine, heroin or nicotine, make no mistake; you are using a hard addictive drug.





APPENDIX VI  - Last and Least: A Possible Pivot


Both proponents and opponents of global warming delight in cherry-picking data. Of course I would never do that. However I would like to re-affirm that if you feel that CO2, or just plain old O2 for that matter, is imperiling the world AND have that six figure budget to disburse, please make contact.


Come to think of it, I never did buy into the scenario that oxygen was all that good for you anyway. In fact, inhaling 100% O2 might well kill you in less than a day.


The air we breathe is about 78% nitrogen and almost 21% oxygen. The oxygen binds with hemoglobin. Pure oxygen in the lungs would overwhelm the hemoglobin. The excess oxygen would bind to the surface proteins of the lungs. Oxygen toxicity would lead to irreversible lung damage and interfere with the operation of the central nervous system.


Eventually you would die, certainly in less than a week, probably in less than a day. That is a scientific fact. Now if 100% O2 kills you in less than a week, the logical deduction is intuitively obvious. The higher the O2 content of the air, the more dangerous breathing it becomes. Plants, through photosynthesis, convert CO2 into O2. We have to get plants under control! Otherwise we will be relegating future generations to miserable slow motion asphyxiation in an oxygen-enriched atmosphere.


An on-line questionnaire was sent to over 30,000 scientists including physicians specializing in pulmonary diseases, anesthesiologists and physical chemists from all over the world. Two questions were posed:


1) Will you die within 125 years if you breathe only pure O2?


2) Will you still be alive in 1.25 years (i.e. one year and one quarter) if, otherwise healthy, you breathe a 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, 1% trace gases mix?


An overwhelming majority of 97% of the scientists polled answered both questions in the affirmative. The consensus is clear. There is no reputable scientific organization that rejects the oxygen toxicity hypothesis. 


O2 no can do.

O2 can kill you.

Just say NO to O.

Reduce O2!


Fortunately we are making giant strides in this area. As was pointed out in question 7 in the main body of the text, about half of the world's tropical forests have been cleared since 1947. Deforestation is proceeding at the rate of about 13 million hectares a year. That is about 5,261,000 acres a year, over 50,000 square miles! In other words about 5.73 square miles, or 14.76 square kilometers, of forest are lost PER HOUR and not coming back.


Smear down those life-threatening forests!

Take out those deadly city park trees!

Eliminate gardens, forbid private ownership of plants!