By Paul Homewood
The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures have been held every year since 1825, with the exception of 1939-42. The very first was given by Michael Faraday, and each lecture presents a scientific subject in an informative and entertaining manner, mainly nowadays to younger people.
Over the years, serious topics have been explained in bite sized, easy to understand ways, usually with the help of clever visual aids.
Sadly however, this years series, Planet Earth- A User’s Guide, has little to do with science, and is little more than an exercise in indoctrination and political messaging, on the evidence of the first episode at least.
It is presented by a geologist, Chris Jackson.
We get a clue as to what follows by his introductory comment:
How can we live sustainably on Planet Earth?
Jackson starts by presenting a potted history of the planet in a rather dumbed down way. But his central point is to show this graph of the Earth’s temperature record over hundreds of millions of years.
He then asks why these changes should have occurred. He dismisses out of hand factors such as the sun and oceanic changes, and with the help of climate scientist, Tamsin Edwards, introduces the audience to the concept of greenhouse gases, via the John Tyndall experiment in 1861, which has since been thoroughly debunked. (Interestingly, Tyndall declared that water vapour was by far the most powerful GHG, yet Jackson dismisses this out of hand, naturally declaring that CO2 is the only one that matters).
He then overlays the white CO2 graph on top of the temperature record, and does not hesitate in claiming CO2 has caused the temperature rise.
Amazingly he does not bother to tell his audience that the geological records consistently show that temperature rise predates the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere.
Nor does he think it relevant to explain a very basic scientific fact, that warmer seas can store less CO2, which is thus released into the atmosphere.
And the times when high concentrations of CO2 accompanied low temperatures? He dismisses these as irrelevant, probably due to the sun or something!
He moves on to discuss mass extinction events, which he claims without any evidence were due to rising global temperatures.
Moving forward in time, he even links the last ice age to low levels of CO2. His geological colleagues would be astounded that he has turned the truth on its head, and failed to report that it was the ice age which caused CO2 levels to drop!
Towards the end, he zooms in on the last 10,000 years, with a classic Mannian hockey stick:
His fake graph of course conveniently ignores widespread evidence that the early Holocene was much warmer than present, as were the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods.
There is abundant evidence for this, for instance Greenland ice cores below, but also from worldwide studies of glaciers, tree lines, speleothems and many other sources.
Figure 6. Alley (2000) temperature reconstruction of the GISP2 Greenland ice core for the last 10,000 years. (Plotted from data in Alley, 2000)
Jackson also conveniently ignores the fact that the Little Ice Age was probably the coldest period since the Ice Age, and that temperatures began their rise since then long before man made emissions of CO2 could have had any effect.
Any pretence that this was any sort of science lecture were surely dispelled at the end.
First he points out that the last time CO2 emissions into the atmosphere was as high as now was 65 million years ago, a time of mass extinction (hint, hint!)
Then, in his own words:
Looking at mass extinctions in the past, these big changes in CO2 and temperature have huge consequences for life on earth, and therefore could have such consequences for us.
And we’ve seen the effect of climate change all around us – we’re seeing rising seas, we’re seeing floods, we’re seeing drought, we’re seeing increased storminess on the planet.
And he ends by asking – “Can we change our ways to limit the consequences, and adapt fast enough to what is becoming a new hot house Earth?”
His illustrious predecessors must be turning in their graves to see the reputation of the Christmas Lecture trashed in this fashion.
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December 29, 2020 at 07:06AM