by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
My friend NC State Professor Emeritus E.C. Pasour has just called my attention to this post by Matt Ridley on the Rational Optimist blog reviewing the new book Taxing Air by Bob Carter and John Spooner. Hopefully this quote from the review will stimulate your curiosity about both the book and the review.
It is deeply refreshing to read the new book called Taxing Air: Facts and Fallacies About Climate Change by the internationally respected geologist Bob Carter and illustrated by the cartoonist John Spooner, which puts climate change exactly where it should be – in perspective. After demolishing many other arguments for carbon taxes and climate alarm, Carter runs through recent weather events, showing that there is nothing exceptional, let alone unprecedented, about recent droughts, floods, heat waves, cyclones or changes to the Great Barrier Reef.
How come then that last week the World Meteorological Organisation produced a breathless report claiming that “the decadal rate of increase (of world temperature) between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented”? It took professor Ed Hawkins of Reading University a short time to point out that this was no longer true if you compared 1993-2002 and 2003-2012 – ie, if you took the most up-to-date records. In that case, the latest decade showed a smaller increase over the preceding decade than either of the preceding decades did. In other words, the temperature standstill of the past 16 years has begun to show up in the decade-by-decade data…Anyway, by “unprecedented”, the WMO meant since 1850, which is a micro-second of history to a paleo-climatologist like Carter. He takes a long-term perspective, pointing out that the world has been warming since 17,000 years ago, cooling since 8000 years ago, cooling since 2000 years ago, warming since 1850 and is little changed since 1997. Consequently, “the answer to the question ‘is global warming occurring’ depends fundamentally on the length of the piece of climate string that you wish to consider”. He goes on: “Is today’s temperature unusually warm? No – and no ifs or buts.”