The Death of Man-Made Climate Change: the last nail is in the coffin, so why didn't it die?

Fifteen months ago a paper was published which scientifically killed the idea of man-made climate change. Kenneth Skrable, George Chabot, and Clayton French at the University of Massachusetts Lowell published (Health Physics 122(2):p 291-305, February 2022) an analysis of the NOAA carbon isotope data which has been collected since 2003. I honestly thought this research had been done dozens of times and was inconclusive. I was wrong.

The Research

The amount of carbon dioxide in the air has gone up, from 280 ppm (parts per million) in the mid-1700s to 410 pm, a 46% increase

Carbon in CO2 comes from three sources: living matter decaying to release the CO2, carbon created in nuclear reactions turning nitrogen into carbon high in the atmosphere (not very much), and carbon that we dug up and burned in air to produce energy and anthropogenic ("man-made") carbon dioxide. The carbon from those nuclear reactions always comes as the radioactive carbon-14 isotope, and it keeps the carbon in carbon dioxide at 1.1% carbon-14. Carbon from underground, since it's been there a very long time, has no more carbon-14 left; it's all carbon-12. The carbon from decaying matter is recent enough that it is also that 1.1% carbon-14. By examining the ratios of carbon-12 and carbon-14 an estimate can be made of the amount of carbon-12 added to the atmosphere by man burning fossil fuels.

It's 11.6% of the 2018 total, according to the NOAA data. Or about 48 parts per million (ppm) of the current increase of +130 ppm. One third of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Now here's the problem for the story of anthropogenic fossil fuel production of carbon dioxide causing climate change: it's gone up 130 ppm. Less than half is caused by us. Why is this a problem for man-made climate change? Because a one-third (or one-half) increase isn't enough for the climate models to produce any change, so it proves the climate models are all wrong, along with the predictions. And the bigger problem is we hear only silence where they should be explaining where the other two-thirds of the increased CO2 came from. Satisfyingly, though, it does explain why the model predictions keep not happening.

To quote the authors, 

Our results show that the percentage of the total CO2 due to the use of fossil fuels from 1750 to 2018 increased from 0% in 1750 to 12% in 2018, much too low to be the cause of global warming.

To be the cause the percent must be 46%. So that's the final nail in the coffin. Any climate change we see isn't caused by fossil fuels. Attribute it to the solar cycles, to chaotic variations of weather, wherever, but it's not from fossil fuels.

But The Corpse is Still Alive

So why is global warming still a thing? That's the $1M question.

Possible reasons:

  1. Global warming activists (they must be called that now) don't care about science.
  2. Global warming activists like global warming so much they defy science to keep believing.
  3. Global warming activists can't, or won't, read.
  4. Global warming activists are in it for some other reason.

I'll address each option.

Global warming activists don't care about science.

But they do care about science, at least the science that supports their position. It's probably a form of confirmation bias. If you're not a scientist, confirmation bias can sustain a belief very well. If you are a scientist than it can't. And scientists like Michael Mann have not backed off their beliefs at all. So even when they do care, it doesn't matter. So this gets a check mark.

Global warming activists like global warming so much they defy science to keep believing.

This seems likely to me. They appear not to like the consequences, but they clearly love to talk about the disaster in the offing, and probably love feeling "right." This gets back to my previous posts and presentations about alchemy believing for 2000 years ideas which never worked: they liked the story so much it was very difficult for them to drop it. Even after alchemy was dead it took another 100 years before chemistry was being done. Very likely; big checkmark.

Global warming activists can't read.

An absurd assertion, which I reject.

Global warming activists are in it for some other reason.

Almost certainly true, given the certainty of the believers. What do they get? Money? Social status? Friends? All are strong drivers of beliefs. Huge check mark.

Does this mean we reject the global warming activists? Not really, because of all these things, none are malicious, they are just being human. We all do this stuff, supporting our beliefs for a variety of reasons, some are good beliefs, helpful to ourselves and to others; other times we believe things that harm ourselves and others, or just ourselves, or just others. But it's a human thing to do.

I have no idea how to distract them from this belief, or get them to take science seriously even when it goes against their expectation. 

So I write blogs which might get read. Like the authors wrote a paper which might change the discussion. I hope that this blog helps. The authors hope their work might change the discussion. We all live in hope.

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