A broad survey of climate change literature for 2017 reveals that the alleged “consensus” behind the dangers of anthropogenic global warming is not nearly as settled among climate scientists as people imagine.
Author Kenneth Richard found that during the course of the year 2017, at least 485 scientific papers were published that in some way questioned the supposed consensus regarding the perils of human CO2 emissions or the efficacy of climate models to predict the future.
According to Richard’s analysis, the 485 new papers underscore the “significant limitations and uncertainties inherent in our understanding of climate and climate changes,” which in turn suggests that climate science is not nearly as settled as media reports and some policymakers would have people believe.
Richard broke the skeptical positions into four main categories, with each of the individual papers expounding at least one of these positions, and sometimes more.
The first position attributes greater weight to the role of natural mechanisms in changes to the climate system than are acknowledged by climate alarmists, while giving correspondingly less importance to the influence of increased CO2 concentrations on climatic changes. Over 100 of these papers, for instance, examine the substantial solar influence on climate and weather, such as temperature variations and precipitation patterns.
The second position questions the allegedly “unprecedented” nature of modern climate phenomena such as warming, sea levels, glacier and sea ice retreat, and hurricane and drought intensities. Thirteen of the papers suggested that these events fall within the range of natural variability, while 38 found an absence of significant anthropogenic causality in rising sea levels.
The third position casts doubt upon the efficacy and reliability of computer climate models for projecting future climate states, suggesting that such predictions are “little more than speculation” given the enormous uncertainty and margins of error in a non-linear climate system with nearly infinite variables. Twenty-eight of the articles in question examined climate model unreliability, including factual errors and the influence of biases, while an additional 12 found no net global warming during the 20th/21st century.
The fourth position questioned the effectiveness of current policies aimed at curbing emissions and pushing renewable energy, finding them both ineffective and even harmful to the environment. This position also offered a more sanguine evaluation of the projected effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 and a warmer climate, questioning doomsday scenarios and proposing net benefits to the biosphere such as a greener planet and enhanced crop yields.
In this category, 12 of the papers documented the failures of policies targeting renewable energy and climate, 8 contended that wind power is harming the environment and biosphere, 13 argued that elevated CO2 levels make for a greener planet with higher crop yields, and 5 proposed that warming is beneficial to both humans and wildlife.
All of these factors, Richard declares, substantially undermine the claims of climate alarmists that scientific opinion on climate change is “settled enough” and that “the time for debate has ended.”
The articles, in fact, are not written by uninformed “climate deniers,” but by serious scientists who believe that the true nature of scientific inquiry is not to bow to some proposed “dogma”—especially where significant ideological, political and economic interests are at play—but to see where the facts lead on their own.
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