Atmospheric CO2 steady over the last 150 years

Posted on January 2, 2010


A new study by Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol has found that atmospheric carbon dioxide has not increased in either the last 150 years or the last five decades. Knorr reanalyzed available atmospheric CO2 and emissions data going back to 1850, and his findings impact computer models which assume that the atmospheric CO2 levels increase and have resulted in the dire predictions that have been loudly trumpeted by the cap-and-trade crowd. That reality does not match assumptions means that the computer models have yet another major flaw and hence shouldn’t be used as a justification for sweeping global carbon taxation and regulation.

I just ran across this story yesterday, but the findings were released back in November, and meteorologist Anthony Watts was on top of it (which he gently reminds his readers wondering he’s not covering the fact that the rest of us caught up). It’s not the one data point that refutes anthropogenic global warming, but it is one among many that draws into serious question the source and degree of climate change. Indeed, when you realize that temperatures are rising on other planets in our solar system and take into account the ClimateGate e-mails that show a reluctance among leading climate scientists to allow the publication of dissenting data, you begin to see why so many are unwilling to blindly trust potentially flawed computer models as a basis for governmental taxation and regulation of a gas which we all exhale roughly every five seconds.

Does that mean that if you doubt the veracity of carbon climate models you are pro-pollution? Supporters of a carbon credit regime would have you think so, but the truth is that the discussion of global CO2 levels and pollution are two completely separate issues. Conservation of resources and preservation of the natural areas of our planet are sensible concepts, and every thinking person should advocate responsible stewardship of the Earth. But it’s a separate discussion to have concerns about regulation of industry and individual carbon emissions when the data is becoming increasingly more clouded.

The power of ClimateGate will ultimately not be in the initial proof of shadiness among leading climate scientists, but in the scandal inevitably leading to more dissenting researchers becoming more willing to speak up and publish contrary studies. We’ll see a more rigorous examination of facts, studies, and computer models which will lead to a more widely accepted understanding of the nature of human impact on climate. That rigorous discourse should always be the true goal of science in place of declaring debate over and name-calling doubters, and it seems to me that politics and ideology have played too large a role in the debate so far. Knorr’s study may prove to be the first among many that set us back on the path of dialing down the fear-mongering rhetoric and leads to more responsible scrutiny of the effects of human activity on climate.

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Posted in: News, Politics, Science