Political debate | Science used to push agenda of carbon dioxide reduction, says climatologist
Tim Ball does not believe humans are causing an increase to global temperatures through carbon dioxide production or by any other means.
He questions the motives of those who do.
The former geography professor and climatologist told a meeting of the Southern Alberta Council of Public Affairs May 31 that science has been used for political purposes to push an agenda of carbon dioxide reduction.
He said the potential effects of climate change are being used to scare people and unify them against a perceived common enemy, but that enemy does not exist.
Ball has been called a climate change denier. He denies it.
“Climate changes all the time and what’s going on now is well within natural variability,” he said in an interview before his speech.
“I was called a global warming skeptic. I wasn’t. What I was skeptical about was what the cause was, and it wasn’t human CO2.”
Ball said today’s concerns about climate change are “the biggest deception in history.
“Some people call it a hoax. It’s not a hoax. It’s a deliberate deception, a deliberate attempt to lead people into believing that humans are causing global warming.”
The complexity of weather systems makes it difficult for anyone to predict what will happen, he added. Many climatologists predict that higher global temperatures would result in more Canadian prairie droughts, but Ball said precipitation is far more important to farmers than temperature changes.
In fact, he said if the earth is warming — which he doesn’t believe — there would be more evaporation, more moisture in the atmosphere and more rainfall rather than less.
“That’s the counterintuitive science that they get away with because they know the public don’t understand these things,” Ball said about mainstream scientists.
He believes the climate is in a cooling trend that will continue until 2030. Declining solar activity and a low sunspot cycle are the bases of his prediction.
“Ironically, the government is preparing for warming. It’s cooling and it’s been cooling since 2000 and we’re not ready for it. And the only hope will be genetically modified crops, but they don’t want to hear that either,” said Ball.
Only 3.4 percent of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is caused by human activity, he said. Humans are not markedly changing the climate, contrary to the science embraced by many today.
Additionally, Ball said CO2 is only one of many greenhouse gases and has been inaccurately portrayed as a primary culprit in climate change. Water vapour is a far bigger factor affecting temperature but it is not part of most predictive models.
Modern climate change models are based on less information relative to 50 years ago, as weather stations have been closed due to government cost-cutting in Canada and elsewhere, said Ball.
“In every single record we have from any time, any duration, any part of the world, the temperature changes before the CO2, in complete contradiction to their hypothesis and what they built their models on.”
In response to questions from the audience, Ball said Environment Canada has spent $6.3 billion on initiatives to combat climate change but that money would have been better spent on promotion of nuclear, natural gas and clean coal energy use.
The UN begs to differ
The United Nations says human-caused climate change could lead to a world of hurt unless we can reverse the trend. Here are some of the UN’s key points:
- The net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] watts per square metre (W/m2). CO2 radiative forcing increased by 20 percent from 1995 to 2005, the largest in any decade in the last 200 years. Radiative forcing is the energy imbalance in the lower atmosphere based on inflowing vs. outflowing energy.
- Temperatures of 1.9 C to 4.6 C warmer than pre-industrial times, sustained for millennia, will lead to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. This would raise sea level by seven metres.
- Annual average Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk by 2.7 percent per decade. Sea ice decreases overall in summer by 7.4 percent. The last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than now for an extended period (about 125,000 years ago), reductions in polar ice volume led to four to six metres of sea level rise.
- The maximum area covered by seasonally frozen ground has decreased by about seven percent in the Northern Hemisphere since 1900, in spring by up to 15 percent.
- Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at 2000 levels, a warming of about 0.1 C per decade would be expected.
- Annual fossil fuel CO2 emissions increased from an average of 6.4 gigatons of carbon (GtC) per year in the 1990s to 7.2 GtC per year in 2000-2005. For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2 C per decade is projected.
Source: United Nations