Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

For  years we have heard that we humans have caused CO2 to rise—and hence it is “physics,” to  use Al Gore’s terminology—that we are causing warming.  Proof was in the ice core pudding.  But then, we found that the earth warmed before the CO2 level rose in the past.  But why let that interfere with an easy to sell government/GWH complex story line?

Noted science writer, Matt Ridley. explains in the Wall Street Journal how “the scientists’” climate models may be way off base because they are putting the cart before the horse.  From “When Scientists Confuse Cause and Effect:”

When in 1999 Antarctic ice cores revealed carbon-dioxide concentrations and temperature marching in lockstep over 400,000 years, many—including me— found this a convincing argument for attributing past climate change to carbon dioxide. (About 95% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is natural, coming from the exhalations of living things. In the past, carbon-dioxide levels rose as the earth warmed at the end of ice ages and fell as it cooled at the end of interglacial periods.)

Then four years later came clear evidence from finer-grained analysis of ice cores that temperature changes preceded carbon-dioxide changes by at least 800 years. Effects cannot precede their causes by eight centuries, so temperatures must drive carbon dioxide, chiefly by warming the sea and causing carbon dioxide dissolved in water to “out-gas” into the air.

That should have led the scientists back to the drawing board.  Instead, they tried to make lemonade out of lemons:
Climate scientists fell back on a “feedback” hypothesis, arguing that an initial change, probably caused by variations in the earth’s orbit that affect the warmth of the sun, was then amplified by changes in carbon-dioxide levels. But this made the attribution argument circular and left the reversal of the trend after a period of warming (when amplification should be at its strongest) still harder to explain. If carbon dioxide is still driving the temperature upward but it falls instead, then other factors must be stronger than expected. Some climate scientists see cause-effect confusion at the heart of climate modeling.

They shouldn’t have “fallen back” on anything but looked for new hypotheses.  But that would have deleteriously impacted many political agendas that depend on GWH as their pretext, cost scientists a lot of grant money, and reddened many faces.  We have our story and we’re stickin’ to it!


And while I’m on the subject of hysteria, Al Gore’s bellowing should just be ignored.  He apparently told some young activists today that the Pakistani floods of last year were an example of the impact of global warming—when it has been determined that it was an El Nino/La Nina-related phenomenon that was within “natural variability” of weather events for that area.  Never let an extreme weather crisis go to waste!

Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before July 1.

First Things is a proudly reader-supported enterprise. The gifts of readers like you— often of $50, $100, or $250—make articles like the one you just read possible.

This Spring Campaign—one of our two annual reader giving drives—comes at a pivotal season for America and the church. With your support, many more people will turn to First Things for thoughtful religious perspectives on pressing issues of politics, culture, and public life.

All thanks to you. Will you answer the call?

Make My Gift

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles