When President Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty, there were distraught outcries by many who consider global warming one of the major problems facing this generation. The predictions of catastrophic events resulting from global warming written by Al Gore and many others have not materialized, but they continue to loom as possibilities.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change remains the dominant scientific voice regarding climate change and global warming. They support the claim for global warming that the Earth’s temperatures are being shaped by increasing levels of CO2 caused by human activities. Scientists and climatologists with different opinions often find themselves unwelcome in professional conventions where research about climate is presented. This action alone makes me a climate change skeptic, because real science is open to debate and analysis of all available evidence.
A case in point is research presented by Professor Valentina Zharkova and a team of scientist in 2015 at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales that may add a new dimension to the debate. The study predicted that the earth is likely to go into a cooling period from 2030 to 2040 as a result of decreased solar activity!
As a disclaimer, I remain neutral on this research, but am using it as an example of how new ideas often tend to be dismissed without consideration. The present generation of students and future scientists in universities seem to be missing the lesson that allowing all relevant evidence to be considered and having reasoned debate on the evidence is how professionals resolve issues. Insulting remarks and trying to keep opposition out of places where information is normally shared is an immature reaction that does not belong in the field of science.
The report began with a period in history that lasted from 1645 to 1715, when the Thames River in southern England and other rivers throughout Europe froze over during winter months. The evidence for the cooling period includes a 1677 oil painting by Abraham Hondius that shows people playing on the thick ice of the Thames River with the London Bridge in the background.
Even more significant evidence was collected from records of sunspots. Repeating short cycles occur roughly every 11 years from years when the sun has a large number of sunspots to years when it only has a few back to years it has many sunspots. There are also longer periods of reduced solar activity that tend to last approximately 88 years, which are even more significant. Sunspots are relatively easy to observe and document, and records of sunspots have been found throughout the past 400 years. Throughout the unusually cool period from 1645 to 1715, historical records indicated much fewer sunspots on the Sun’s surface than during other time periods.
The causes for climate change during history may be up for debate, but history documents that there have been changes in the climate in the past. During the Medieval Period from about 950 to 1250, the temperatures were much warmer than average.
Part of the Zarkova research consisted in identifying the sun’s magnetic waves and documenting their activity. They found that there were two sets of waves from within the sun coming from different sources. At times the waves reinforced each other, resulting in increased solar activity. At other times the waves cancelled each other out, resulting in fewer sunspots and solar flares.
The research is certainly worth the time to debate and analyze. However, a group of climate scientists contacted the U.K’s Royal Astronomical Society, demanding that they withdraw the press release on Zharkovas team’s research and suppress their findings. Along with professional critiques of the research, other responses were no more than insulting remarks. Overall, most mainstream scientists were not accepting of a new theory about climate change that didn’t agree with human-caused increases in CO2.
The astronomers who did this research were cautious about making comments regarding carbon dioxide levels or human influence on climate change. Carbon dioxide levels were not ruled out as a possible effect on global temperature, but Dr. Helen Popova, one of the authors of the article, commented that she saw no strong evidence that global warming is caused by human activity.
On one end of the spectrum, global warming is attributed to increased CO2 levels caused by human activity. On the other end, global warming is said to be a completely false idea. In between, there are theories about solar activity, volcanic eruptions, and other natural and non-natural cyclic changes.
Massive human-caused increases in CO2 may be true; it may be partially true; it may not be true at all. Increased CO2 may be a minor problem, a major problem, and may not even be an environmental problem at all. There may be multiple causes for climate changes. Real science has methods for critiquing, analyzing, and debating all available evidence in a professional manner. New scientific research projects should not be judged as “inadmissible evidence” because they don’t agree with mainstream science.
The Paris Climate Accord is not a benign agreement. If it is implemented, it will cost every American a large increase in taxes and likely a loss of conveniences as well. There may never be a point when anyone can say with absolutely certainty which of the possibilities is true, but like in a jury trial, the jury can render a verdict that is free from reasonable doubt. It would be worth applying stringent scientific methods and rules to discover what the evidence seems to be affirming or not affirming.