Detrimental effects of carbon dioxide 'exaggerated'

HEATwaves, as we have experienced in the past few weeks, are a regular feature of Australian summers. However in recent years heatwaves have been less frequent, and this coincides with the plateauing of global temperatures since 1998. 

Climate scientists (e.g. the UK Meteorological Office, The Australian 28/1/13, p12) have now conceded the reality of this plateauing, and they are now predicting that temperatures will not rise for another five years.

As expected, some people are claiming this current heatwave is a result of human-induced climate change. Of course, most if not all of them did not live through the record heatwave of January, 1939, which I still remember, and there have been many heatwaves since then. 

Early explorers of inland Australia reported temperatures of 55 degrees Celsius during their travels. The important point is that severe heatwaves have occurred in Australia well before carbon dioxide emissions started to increase after World War II.

The lack of any consistent increase in global temperatures since 1998 has been despite regular increases in carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide saturation levels in 1998 were 367 parts per million and have risen to 392ppm in 2011. This is a faster rate of increase than in any comparable period 

in the past. Global temperatures also declined between 1944 to 1976 while carbon dioxide levels increased from about 300ppm to 332ppm. 

This lack of effect of increasing carbon dioxide levels during these two periods is strong evidence that increasing levels of this gas are not the major cause of global warming or of climate change. 

Despite this, our Australian government, as well as other western governments, erroneously believe that carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations must be reduced or eliminated to reduce global warming. 

The continuous and rapid increase in emissions, despite huge investments (trillions of dollars) in renewable energy, especially in Europe, demonstrate this is not achievable, and even if it was, there is no evidence global temperatures would decrease.

It is an historical fact that the enormous increase in the prosperity of western countries coincided with the exploitation of coal to produce cheap electricity. 

It is unfair and unjust to expect developing nations to use very expensive renewable energy rather than cheap coal-sourced energy to reduce their carbon emissions. 

Furthermore, the prosperity of industrialised nations will also decline without any evidence of achieving any beneficial results. 

There is little doubt that the possible detrimental effects of increasing carbon dioxide levels have been exaggerated and that the beneficial effects, which are gradually being reported in the media, will outweigh any detrimental effects. 

The more real climate data becomes available, the less credible the case for a carbon tax or carbon trading.


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