on 25 September 2013
Vahrenholt's and Lüning's book looks at hundreds of peer-reviewed climate studies that contradict the claims of a catastrophic man-made global warming. Moreover, they it shows how climate science has been to a considerable degree corrupted by politicians and activist scientists. The Foreword alone cites almost 100 sources and captures the reader. From that point on, the book is impossible to put down. The book presents a solid case that shows man is not guilty of climate change after all and convinces the reader that the impact of CO2 on temperature is exaggerated and that the sun's impact has been woefully neglected by climate models. It explains how the IPCC willfully ignored important, well-known climate factors and manipulated climate models in order to make CO2 appear as the climate changing culprit. After reading this book, readers will surely conclude that climate is far more complex than a single trace gas, that the IPCC played it loose with the science, and that there is an activist agenda driving current climate policy. Moreover, readers will come away assured that the climate catastrophe is the nothing but the latest in the string of scare stories we've seen from charlatans throughout human history.
on 4 November 2013
This is a well written, well compiled book which should be required reading for anyone interested in, or concerned by, the present so-called global warming hysteria. In this book a truly balanced assessment is presented but the end result is to raise grave doubts about the IPCC's position and, indeed, to query the possible bias of some of the main contributors to its reports. The subject discussed is too important for us all for this important contribution to be sidelined or ignored. The book also raises the question as to how an object which we see everyday as having a seemingly dominant effect on our lives can be neglected, but neglected it is. Maybe now a more serious study of our Sun and its effects on our lives and our planet will be undertaken and undertaken without any prejudice imposed by the dictats of 'conventional wisdom'.
This book gives a very readable and excellent rational explanation about climate science.
A minor niggle is that they could have used a clearer font to make it easier to read. My eyesight is quite reasonable, but I found the text, particularly on the diagrams, a bit of a strain.
A better title might have been, "The Climate Science wilfully ignored by the IPCC". It quite clearly shows that climate science is most certainly far from complete or settled, as the dogma of the green activists, climate alarmists and vested interest vehemently insist we should believe.
This book has been thoroughly researched, with nearly 1300 references, 4 to 5 per page of text, by two experts who clearly know what they are talking about and have been on both sides of the debate.
There are 93 references for the preface alone, 230 for chapter 3, "Our Temperamental Sun", 215 for chapter 4, "A brief history of temperature", 247 for chapter 5, "Has the IPCC really done its homework", 153 for chapter 6, "The misunderstood climate amplifiers", and 212 for chapter 7, "A look into the future".
There are also four short chapters, of 5 to 7 pages each, by guest authors, Nir Shaviv, Nicola Scafetta, Henrik Svensmark and Werner Weber.
The principle argument is that the climate has always been changing, ever since it came into existence, due to natural effects, long before humans could have any significant influence, and it will continue to change, irrespective of any manmade contribution. It shows there are many and varied effects acting on the climate, other than manmade greenhouse gasses, and concludes that cloud variations, mostly related to sunspot activity, is likely to be the major factor, most likely via the Svensmark cosmic ray mechanism.
One issue that was not adequately explained is the difference between amplification and positive feedback. Both can magnify the effect due to some cause, i.e. temperature rise due to increasing CO2 gas, but amplification does this in a well-controlled manner, while positive feedback can produce a much less stable result, which can lead to runaway instability. Given the amount of positive feedback the IPCC seems to assume for water vapour, the climate should show much greater instability than it actual does. This indicates that the magnifying effect of water vapour is much less than the IPCC has claimed.
It is very unlikely, as the IPCC put it, to be 95% certain that global warming is primarily caused by manmade CO2 emissions. The book shows that the effect of manmade CO2 emissions on the climate has been greatly exaggerated and that natural effects, mostly related to solar activity, are much more important than the IPCC is prepared to accept.
It quite clearly shows that there is unlikely to be any further global warming for at least 40years, with some global cooling expected for the next 30 years, with only a moderate increase by the end of the century, when there is then likely to be a further decline.
It shows how, for far too long, we have been duped by the IPCC's political junk "science" in the interest of green activist dogma and vested interests. They have taken in our gullible politicians with their pseudo-science which has resulted in near disastrous policies for energy and climate change.
The authors accept that manmade greenhouse emissions do make a contribution to climate change that will have an increasing effect over time. They claim we will, in the long term, have to greatly reduce manmade CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, but that can be an organised, rational and effective process over substantial time. It need not be the alarmist, rushed, hugely costly and totally ineffective renewable energy policies we have had so far, which are crippling our energy supply and impoverishing many of our people.
The weakest part of this book would seem to be the last chapter, "A new energy agenda emerges". They, like many others, and despite all their previous discussion, seem to fall into the trap of assuming renewable energy can meet our needs. They still seem to think that wind energy can make a substantial contribution, providing it supported by energy storage and other backup generation. In this they seem to have failed to understand the energy losses and very considerable costs associated with all the extra facilities that would be required, which will be uneconomical with the vagaries of wind energy.
They seem unwilling to accept that in the end the only realistic way of generating the necessary amounts of sustainable low carbon energy will have to be with some kind of nuclear power. What we will need is to develop much safer, much cleaner, much more compact and much less costly forms of nuclear energy, perhaps, for example, using thorium in molten salt reactors.
on 29 September 2013
This book is an updated and expanded translation of the German bestseller 'Die Kalte Sonne' which was published in Germany in February 2012. The two German authors are Prof Fritz Vahrenholt, an energy expert and former managing director of RWE Innogy, and Dr Sebastian Lüning a geoscientists who spend most of his working life studying the earth's climate and history. So they are not some liberal arts graduates that cannot comment with authority on serious technical and scientific matters.
Given the technical background of the authors, it is therefore not surprising that they can comment with great insight and command of the subject matter, the influence of the trace gas carbon dioxide on the climate. The authors do not deny the fact, as most sane people do, that the increase of carbon dioxide concentrations in the earth's atmosphere has an effect on the climate, and that the continued release of carbon dioxide will most definitely change the climate.
The question the authors tackle is: What will the influence of the increased carbon dioxide be on the climate. Starting from an historical overview of past temperatures, the book tease out the various factors that influence the climate, and surprising enough, they found that the sun also has a role to play, in addition to carbon dioxide. The book discusses what change in the climate can be attributed to carbon dioxide, and what change can be attributed to other factors, mainly the sun.
The conclusion of the book is that the sun also has a role to play on the climate and this fact has been understated by the IPCC reports to date. The sun is entering a cooling, or less active, phase and this will buy time to put appropriate sustainable low carbon energy generating systems in place. There is no need for the mad dash to a low carbon future, and market forces must be allowed to find the best alternatives.
Despite the fact that this book is a translation from German, it reads very easy, almost as if it was written by a native English speaker. The translators did an excellent job and we can thank them for making this very important book available to the wider English reading public. We had to wait more than a year for the English version and I can say that the wait was worthwhile.
Lastly, thank you to the publishers for printing all the graphs and figure in colour, it was such a pleasure to be able to read and follow all the supporting figures and graphs, and trust me there are lots, as you would expect in a technical book.
on 5 November 2013
The title refers to the sun's neglected role in climate change as portrayed by the IPCC script writers whose sole concern is, of course, to cast CO2 as the lead villain because that is what the UN engaged them to do and that is where the money is.
The book demolishes the IPCC's simplistic premise: that because solar irradiance remains essentially constant the sun can make no other contribution to climate change. It shows that when proper account is taken of what else the sun was doing during historic cycles of climate change, over timescales from decades to millennia, our current warming phase makes more sense than when human contributions to greenhouse gases and aerosols alone are taken to be the forcing influences.
The IPCC unfortunately also gets to occupy far to great a part of the contents by way of a systematic critique of its working methods, bias, conflicts of interest and so on, all of which has already been done in many other works, among which Andrew Montford's contributions are notably readable.
The present account is at its most compelling where it sticks to recounting the sun's many contributions to naturally occurring climate cycles. These include cyclical variability in the UV spectrum, in particulate emissions, magnetic field and sunspot numbers as well as a role in the variable penetration of galactic cosmic rays. All of these phenomena have been well-documented; some remain unexplained. A regular sixty year oscillation is tentatively linked with alignments of planets, which may sound like astrology but has been reliably linked to observed changes in solar rotation rate.
Cosmic rays and sixty year cycles each have a chapter with an addendum from a notable contributor to the science. Henrik Svensmark, in his book "The Chilling Stars", gives a more comprehensive treatment of the cosmic ray story than he does here. To read more about the sixty year cycle the reader has a list of references to consult. These are two quite amazing fields of discovery.
There is nothing much about the millennial cycle which is conjectured to link the Roman and mediaeval warm periods with our present one. Nor is there any proper evaluation of the much longer Milankovitch cycles, thought to be prominent in relation to ice ages. And, despite the space devoted to criticism of the IPCC models, nor is there much of an attempt at quantitative treatment of the radiation balance of the Earth. (These last two subjects have been dealt with extremely well in John Kerr's book, "The Inconvenient Skeptic".)
Another notable lack is an index. This makes it difficult to check back on earlier material to which reference is routinely made, sometimes with wrong links to pages and diagrams.
Concluding chapters are largely devoted to predictions of the climate over the coming century using revised sensitivity of temperature to CO2 and extrapolations of various natural cycles. The authors' prognosis is reassuringly optimistic but in making such long range extrapolations they do seem to be repeating the very errors which they have devoted so much space to criticising. Some of their imaginative interpretations of cycles, coincidences and trends in graphs are as unconvincing as anything in the IPCC's Assessment Reports.
A section on the power generating industry reveals the crisis building as a result of governmental panic responses to global warming alarms. Professor Vahrenholt's combination of learning and experience in power supply management underpin his more balanced approach to devising planning strategies.
What would be very useful now is an executive summary capable of being read in ministerial circles and restoring objectivity and calm.