The science linking human activities to climate change is simplistic and his arguments are assisted by the fact we are in a period of apparent warming. … The focus on carbon dioxide as a driver of climate change overlooks the importance of water vapour as a greenhouse gas and the hydrological cycle’s role in regulating the temperatures of our climate system.
Water vapour is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and the formation and dissipation of clouds has a bigger impact on the climate.
This is more than a little misleading since it implies that the “simplistic” science ignores the role of water vapour even though it does not.
endless repetition of inaccuracies, or facts out of context;
The Earth’s comfortable (for us) average temperature of about 15C is maintained that way by the atmosphere. The presence of small amounts of water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – the “greenhouse gases” which absorb Earth’s outgoing heat radiation and re-emit some of it downwards – causes warming. Most of the total warming of 33 degrees is caused by water vapour (more than 30 degrees), carbon dioxide contributing only about 1.2 degrees worth. And of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, just 3 per cent comes from human sources, which equates to a warming effect of about four-hundredths of a degree.
His calculation is out by a factor of twenty. Carbon dioxide contributes about 3 degrees towards the natural greenhouse effect. And over 25% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from human sources. 25% of 3 degrees is 3/4 of a degree Celsius, not four-hundredths as Carter claims. But he keeps repeating this false claim.
Next up is Andrew Bolt, who in this column claimed to have found many serious errors in Flannery’s work, and here complained that Flannery had not corrected the alleged errors. Not surprisingly, Bolt’s bias and ignorance of science has led him astray and Flannery sets him straight in this column.
The “errors” that Bolt supposedly discovers in my work, extracted in The Age, are in fact howlers on his part. Indeed, so egregious are some that it’s hard to believe that Bolt has not set out to mislead his readers. Let’s look at five of the biggest whoppers.
You should read Flannery’s article to find out what the five whoppers are, but fortunately for me there are plenty more misleading statements in Bolt’s column for me to chew on. Bolt writes:
Says Philip Stott, London University professor emeritus of bio-geography: “During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was warmer even than today.” It was nice.
OK, Stott says that, but he has no qualifications as a climate scientist. So what was the basis for his claim? It turns out that it was the infamous Soon and Baliunas paper,
which was so badly flawed that six editors resigned from the journal that drafted it because they felt that it should not have been drafted.
Bolt also claims:
Flannery says: By late 2004, my interest had turned to anxiety. The world’s leading science journals were full of reports that glaciers were melting 10 times faster than previously thought . . .
Fact: More booga-booga to scare you into believing. But as glacier researcher Roger Braithwaite noted in Progress in Physical Geography, some glaciers are growing and “there is no obvious common or global trend of increasing glacier melt in recent years”.
I’ve saved the worst for last: Christopher Pearson who spends most of his column in a dishonest attempt to paint Flannery as some kind of weird mystic because he uses the Gaia hypothesis to help focus on “the complex system that makes life possible”. But the funniest part of Pearson’s column is this:
Flannery doesn’t feel any personal need to defend himself in the public arena. Nor does he feel, as a museum director, that the prestige of the scientific institution he heads obliges him to do so.
Unfortunately for Pearson, his column came out the same day as Flannery’s demolition of Bolt‘s criticism. Oops.