Popular Questions

  • Why did you launch this site?
  • There is a widespread belief amongst the scientific community that humans are causing dangerous global warming, by increasing the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

    However, when we investigated the basis for this belief, we found that:

    1. Increases in atmospheric CO2 do not and cannot cause global warming.

    2. The global warming that was apparently detected had been significantly overestimated. Although there has been some global warming in recent decades, it followed a period of global cooling, and temperatures seem to have been comparable in the 1930s and 1940s.

    In other words, the belief that we need to urgently reduce our carbon footprint is no longer valid.

    These findings are quite startling and so we have submitted our technical analysis for peer review by the scientific community in a new open peer review forum we have founded. But, we believe our findings are also of relevance to the general public, so we decided to create this blog to allow a wider discussion of our results.

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  • Is your work peer reviewed?
  • (Updated: 22 May 2017)

    We have submitted eight scientific articles summarising our main findings for peer review in the Open Peer Review Journal (OPRJ). This is a new forum we have founded to offer a more rigorous and open peer review system than the conventional “closed” peer review system used until now. See our “Start here” page for links to our papers, and non-technical summaries of them.

    Readers who want to offer scientific criticism of our OPRJ papers are welcome to do so by creating an account at the Open Peer Review Journal.

    When we are collaborating with other researchers, we also use the more conventional peer reviewed process if our co-authors prefer.
    Below are two articles we published recently using the conventional closed peer review system. We are currently working on several other papers.

    R. Connolly, M. Connolly & W. Soon, 2017. Re-calibration of Arctic sea ice extent datasets using Arctic surface air temperature records>. Hydrological Sciences Journal. In press. doi: 10.1080/02626667.2017.1324974.
    You can download a pre-print here.

    W. Soon, R. Connolly & M. Connolly, 2015. Re-evaluating the role of solar variability on Northern Hemisphere temperature trends since the 19th century. Earth-Science Reviews. Vol. 150, 409-452. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2015.08.010.
    You can download a preprint here.

    We also post our analysis of various topics related to climate science and other similar subjects on this blog. While we take care to be accurate, relevant and relatively comprehensive in these essays, readers should recognise that the analysis we publish in our blog essays is usually more preliminary and/or less comprehensive than what we would submit for formal peer review. Nonetheless, readers are welcome to offer constructive criticism on such analysis in the comments section below each essay.

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  • Does your work contradict other peer reviewed papers?
  • Yes. There have been many peer reviewed studies which have claimed that man-made global warming is both real and dangerous. Our findings show that both claims are wrong.
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  • Does the current peer review system work?
  • (Updated: 22 May 2017)

    We believe that the conventional “closed” peer review system which has been used by most of the scientific community until now is fundamentally flawed. We argue that the conventional system mistakenly leads to premature “scientific consensuses” and/or bitter scientific controversies. We think this is what happened to the debate over man-made global warming. But, it has probably occurred in other fields too. This is why we believe the scientific community should switch to using a more modern “open peer review system”.

    However, we appreciate that the conventional closed system has a long legacy, and so when we are collaborating with others, we also use the conventional closed peer review system.

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  • What makes you think your findings are correct, when so many others have been saying the opposite?
  • It doesn’t really matter what we think. Our analysis has shown that the theory of man-made global warming is contradicted by the experimental data. In other words, it is “Nature” that is saying the theory was wrong. We are just reporting the data and trying to explain it. Hard though it may be to accept, “Nature” doesn’t care what any of us think of the way it behaves! It seems our analysis is another example of:

    The great tragedy of science, the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact. – Thomas Huxley (1825-1895)

    It is surprising that nobody else seems to have carried out our analysis before. We are not sure why we were able to do this analysis, when nobody else seems to have done so. We suspect it comes down to a number of factors:

    1. We are independent scientists, who carried out this research out of a deep love of science. As a result, we did not have to plan the direction of our research in terms of a research grant, but rather were able to follow whatever directions our findings took us. It also meant that we were not driven by any agenda, other than curiousity.

    2. Although we have considerable experience as theoreticians, as scientists, we fundamentally consider ourselves experimentalists. Hence we assess theories primarily by how well they explain the experimental data (the “data is king” approach). However, it appears many climate scientists assess theories primarily on how self-consistent the theories are (the “theory is king” approach), or more recently on what computer models predict (the “models are king” approach).

    3. Because we have practical experience in a number of different scientific and engineering fields (chemistry, physics, aquaculture, environmentalism, biology, genetics, mathematics, statistics, computer modelling and analysis, etc) and a general interest in most scientific topics, we are not hindered by the problem of overspecialisation which affects many scientists – see About us.

    4. We do not rely on whether an article is “peer-reviewed” or not, when judging its merits. Instead, we judge its merits on the article’s content.

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  • What if you’re wrong?
  • Science can never definitively prove a theory. Even if a theory appears to explain all the available data, there is always the possibility that some future experiment or analysis will show the theory to be wrong, or insufficient.

    But, science can definitively disprove a specific theory. If a theory makes certain predictions, and the experiments give a different answer, then the theory is inadequate.

    It may be that the theory can be adapted to accomodate the extra experimental results, or the theory may need to be completely discarded.

    Our analysis has shown that the experimental data disproves the theory of man-made global warming. It doesn’t matter what we think. What matters is what the data says, and the data says that atmospheric temperatures are not controlled by the so-called “greenhouse effect”.

    Now, we have also come up with our own theories to explain the experimental data, and why the atmosphere behaves as it does. It is possible that these theories will eventually shown to be incomplete, inadequate, or even wrong. That’s the beauty of the scientific process. But, for now they appear to explain the available experimental data, something man-made global warming theory is unable to do.

    Nonetheless, whatever happens to our replacement theories, it will not affect the fact that the current man-made global warming theory is disproved.

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  • I’ve heard that “climate sceptics” are all being paid by fossil fuel companies (like ExxonMobil/Esso) to spread misinformation. Is this true?
  • We’ve heard that too. However, it seems to be just a conspiracy theory. We can’t speak for others, but in our case, it is not true.

    The conspiracy theory seems to originate from just a few groups: Greenpeace’s “Exxonsecrets“, the Union of Concerned Scientists and a website called DeSmogBlog.
    As far as we can tell, these groups mistakenly assume that the science behind man-made global warming theory is 100% definite. As a result, they conclude that anybody who disagrees with any aspect of it has to be either stupid or lying. But, a number of prominent climate sceptics are clearly intelligent, well-informed and are familiar with the data, e.g., see this 2009 debate between Prof. S. Fred Singer (a sceptic) and Prof. Bob Watson (former chairman of the IPCC).

    If you recognise that there are intelligent, well-informed sceptics, but are still convinced that they are “wrong”, this might seem to be a paradox. It seems that some people have concluded that these sceptics are somehow lying, and that they are doing so for some vested interest.

    To us, the logical error in that conspiracy theory is the mistaken assumption that the science behind man-made global warming theory is 100% definite.

    The alleged evidence for these theories seems to be selective misrepresentation of the funding sources for various think tanks which have taken a stance on climate change. Particularly in North America several think tanks have been supportive of man-made global warming theory, and others have been critical of man-made global warming theory. Think tanks from both sides of the debate often receive funding from corporations and industries through Corporate Social Responsibility policies. But, by selectively highlighting the funding sources on one side, it creates the impression that that side is receiving special funding, even if the opposite is true! See for example this 2012 analysis by Reason.com.

    Ironically, many of the groups publishing these conspiracies seem to have their own vested interests in vilifying climate sceptics. For instance, in 2006, Greenpeace spent 31.7% of their campaign expenditure (€15.9 million) on its “Climate & Energy campaign”. And, although the Union of Concerned Scientists receives most of their funding from member donations and fees, they also receive funds and grants from several large foundations (Web archive) that explicitly regard reducing the effects of man-made global warming as top priorities. Finally, Jim Hoggan (the leader of DeSmogBlog)’s PR company represents a number of alternative energy companies, and interestingly also represents one of ExxonMobil’s main rivals, Shell.

    A similar conspiracy theory has also been proposed by the science historian, Prof. Naomi Oreskes. She believes that most of the climate scepticism since the 1980s has been organized by four well-respected scientists (three of whom are now deceased) who she maintains have been trying to spread doubt about man-made global warming theory for political reasons – she argues that they are libertarians, and so don’t want governments to raise taxes. See here for a 73 minute video presentation of her ideas.

    Needless to say, we disagree with both of these theories. In any case, our results are based on experimental data, not conspiracies. You can check our results yourself, and see what you think.

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  • How has your research been funded?
  • We received no funding for our research. However, we felt that our findings on man-made global warming were sufficiently important to pursue without funding.
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  • Are you saying there’s been no global warming?
  • No, but global warming and global cooling are natural phenomena.

    Our analysis shows that there was indeed some global warming from 1980s-2000s. But, it followed a period of global cooling from 1950s-1970s, and before that an earlier period of global warming from 1920s-1940s. There is less data available for earlier years, but there are also suggestions of a period of global cooling ending in the late 1890s.

    In other words, global temperatures seem to alternate between periods of global warming and periods of global cooling, lasting several decades.

    We found that the groups previously analysing the data failed to properly account for various biases in the data, and so underestimated the rate of 1950s-1970s cooling, and overestimated the rate of 1980s-2000s warming. In other words, it was probably just as warm in the 1930s/1940s.

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  • Is the Arctic sea ice melting?
  • It is true that since satellite records began, there seems to have been a general decline in average Arctic (but not Antarctic) sea ice extent. However, the satellite records only began in October 1978, i.e., around the start of a recent warming trend in the Arctic. From the 1950s-1970s, Arctic temperatures were cooling. So, it is quite likely that in the decades immediately before the satellite records began, average Arctic sea ice extent was increasing. We present some evidence which suggests this is the case here.
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  • Are sea levels rising?
  • This is a tricky question. The main estimates of long-term sea level changes are based on data from various “tidal gauges” located across the globe. These estimates apparently suggest a sea level rise of about 1 to 3mm a year since records began.

    This works out at about 10-30cm (4-12 inch) per century. So, the scary stories you often hear from Hollywood and the media, of cities becoming flooded by several metres of sea level rise in a few decades are not based on actual data.

    The rate still seems to be about the same as it was at the end of the 19th century, so it doesn’t seem to be in any way related to carbon dioxide emissions.

    Finally, as we discuss here, there are a number of problems with the tidal gauge data, so even that estimate of a 1 foot rise every 100-300 years is probably an overestimate.

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  • Are the glaciers melting?
  • During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, it is thought that across the world a number of glaciers went through periods of advancing. For this reason, the era is often referred to as the “Little Ice Age”.

    In recent years, a number of glaciologists have claimed that man-made global warming has had the opposite effect and glaciers across the world are melting dramatically. However, there are a number of serious problems with that claim:

    1. The fraction of known glaciers which actually have enough data to even estimate whether they are advancing or retreating is tiny.

    2. Of that tiny fraction, most of the data collection didn’t start until after the late 1950s, and often comprises only a handful of measurements. So, we don’t know how they behaved during the early 20th century warm period (1920s-1940s).

    3. Although local seasonal temperatures are one factor in determining whether a glacier advances or retreats, there are many others, e.g., the annual amount and type of precipitation (snow, rain, etc.) falling on the glacier; the shape and landscape of the glaciers, and the underlying mountains; cloud cover; prevailing wind patterns; the presence of soot (sometimes called “black carbon”). Therefore, glacier fluctuations are not a direct measure of global temperatures.

    4. Even if all the glaciers were retreating (a few of the glaciers with measurements actually seem to be advancing), and this was an indication of “global warming”, this would not mean it was “man-made global warming”. If the suggested glacial advances of the Little Ice Age are accurate, then it happened long before the Industrial Revolution, and so presumably had nothing to do with human CO2 emissions. So, why should we assume that glacial retreats are CO2-related?

    For these reasons, we are unimpressed by the claim that man-made global warming is causing glaciers to melt.

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  • Is the number of hurricanes increasing?
  • There does appear to have been an increase in hurricane activity in the 1990s and 2000s, compared to the 1970s and 1980s. But, this seems to have been a relatively calm period.

    If the raw hurricane data is analysed, it initially suggests that recent hurricane activity is unusual. Unfortunately, it is difficult to compare recent hurricane activity to that of earlier periods, because the technology for hurricane detection has dramatically improved in recent years. In other words, the ratio of recorded to undetected hurricanes has dramatically improved. When these improvements are taken into account, the recent activity becomes comparable to that in the 1920s-1930s and 1870s-1890s.

    One thing that has increased over the last few decades is the economic costs of the devastation from hurricanes and other tropical storms, and the tragic loss of life when tropical cyclones hit a populated area. However, this has nothing to do with global warming. Instead, it is mainly because the number of people living in at-risk areas has been steadily increasing, due to world population growth.

    So, we should be investing in better storm prediction, response and relief efforts. But, this has nothing to do with man-made global warming.

    See here for further discussion.

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  • Can CO2 cause global warming?
  • Simplistic models which assume energy transfer in the atmosphere is dominated by radiative transfer predict that “greenhouse gases” such as H2O and CO2 slow the rate at which energy is lost to space. So, these models predict that increasing CO2 concentrations should theoretically cause “global warming”.

    However, when we actually looked at the experimental data, we discovered that atmospheric temperatures are independent of the concentration of “greenhouse gases”. In other words, the models were wrong. CO2 doesn’t cause global warming.

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  • Is there a greenhouse effect?
  • The main atmospheric gases (oxygen, nitrogen and argon) don’t have what is called an infrared spectrum. In contrast, many of the trace atmospheric gases (e.g., water vapour and carbon dioxide) do.

    Some theoreticians proposed that these infrared-active gases should slow down the rate at which the Earth’s atmosphere loses energy to space (known as the rate of “infrared cooling”), and so keep the lower atmosphere warmer than it would be otherwise, e.g., Stone & Manabe, 1968 (Open access). This theory became known as the “greenhouse effect theory”, and the infrared-active gases became known as “greenhouse gases”.

    However, our analysis of the experimental data shows that atmospheric temperatures are determined by gas laws, which are independent of the infrared activity of the gases. So, if greenhouse gases do cause a “greenhouse effect”, then it is probably negligible.

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  • Do you not think we should be trying to reduce pollution?
  • Of course, we should. However, even though the name “carbon dioxide” (or its chemical formula CO2) sounds like it’s some sort of harmful man-made chemical, it is actually a naturally occurring molecule, which is very important for life on our planet. So, while we should definitely be trying to reduce the amount of pollution society creates, that does not include CO2.
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  • Do your findings have implications for government policies?
  • Our findings show that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming. So, any government policies which have been proposed to attempt to “stop global warming” are misguided.

    However, our findings also show that, whatever humans do, the world naturally goes through periods of global warming and periods of global cooling. More importantly for governments, over the years, different areas seem to undergo local natural climate change. Such climate changes can have important social and economic consequences for a country. But, they happen independently of human activity, so thinking we can somehow “stop” the climate from changing (as it has always done) is unwise.

    So, government policies which attempt to better prepare countries for climate change (as opposed to trying to “stop” it) are a good idea. However, governments should not rely on the man-made global warming computer models for developing those policies.

    To try and reduce CO2 emissions, a number of governments have proposed or adopted policies to promote the use of alternative energy sources to fossil fuels. This is no longer necessary, as we have shown CO2 emissions do not cause global warming.

    Governments are still right to look at diversifying their energy portfolio. However, the difference is that policies should be directed towards optimising the cost, constancy and reliability of their country’s energy supply.

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  • Should we abandon carbon taxes?
  • Our results show that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations does not cause global warming. So, the scientific argument for “carbon taxes” is no longer valid.

    However, before the idea of carbon taxes became popular, many governments already had similar taxes in place, i.e., fuel and energy taxes. They just had different names. Although these were sometimes unpopular, governments often used them as convenient methods for raising revenue, regardless of CO2 production.

    In other words, if a government chooses to charge an “energy tax”, “fuel tax” or something like that, then that is a political decision. However, they would be wrong to claim that “carbon taxes” can in any way stop the climate from changing. Global warming is not man-made.

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  • What should we do about carbon credits and similar schemes?
  • Our results show that the size of the world’s “carbon footprint” has no impact on climate. So, the various different financial schemes, such as cap-and-trade carbon markets which have been developed specifically to try to prevent global warming by reducing our global carbon footprint are irrelevant.

    We are not sure what should be done about it. These markets are already quite substantial, so shutting them down could have serious economic consequences. For instance, in 2011, $176 billion was traded on the carbon market – see the World Bank’s “State and Trends of the Carbon Market Report 2012” Perhaps if there was enough agreement, those groups trading in carbon credits could reassign the current notion of a “carbon credit” (which currently represents the right to emit one cubic metre of CO2 gas) into something else – maybe something with an actual relevance for the environment. Such a restructuring might avoid a total collapse of a large financial system, and could even be of benefit to the environment.

    In any case, we now know that trading “carbon credits” will make no difference to global temperatures, and since the product was introduced to “reduce man-made global warming”, it is probably time to reassess the purpose of “carbon credits”.

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  • Is man-made global warming a big scam?
  • No, we do not believe so. We think that most of the scientists who have been voicing their fears about man-made global warming genuinely believe what they are saying. We are optimistic that when our new findings are considered by the scientific community, most open-minded scientists will agree with us that man-made global warming theory was flawed.
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Have we left out any questions? If you think we’ve left some question unanswered, ask us in the comments below, and we’ll try to get back to you…

14 comments on “Popular Questions

  1. About pervection; doesn’t it need a forced direction to work? Like the lined up balls in Newton’s cradle, or a hose of air in your experiment. I suspect the force will otherwise blur out in different directions and doesn’t come far at all.

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