May 24, 2010

Peter Bonk: The Opposite of Warming and a Brit Quotes Lincoln - the Last, Dramatic Day of the 4th ICCC

Engaged Citizen

I attend talks focusing on the influence of solar activity on climate, and the news is not good. Both speakers suggest that we will soon be entering another Little Ice Age! For those of you keeping score, the Little Ice Age is a well documented period from 1300 to 1850 AD when generally cooler temperatures were the norm. It followed the Medieval Warming Period of 950-1250 AD.

I find the evidence fascinating. The earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle and has wobbles and wiggles and oscillations, all on time scales of thousands of years that bring it closer and farther away from the sun in a manner that is complex but well researched and predictable. This is one piece of the puzzle, the other being cyclic changes in the activity of the sun itself. The most well known change is the ~22 (or 11) year sunspot cycle. Solar activity also influences how many cosmic rays hit the earth’s atmosphere and make certain isotopes, including the well known Carbon 14. The measurement of these special isotopes in terrestrial samples often serves as proxies for solar activity over the ages.

To my mind, when one realizes all the factors at play that define and shape climate, the idea of hanging all the changes (and saying that they are all bad) on CO2, an important but minor atmospheric component, seem beyond all reason. But that’s me. The sun is huge, and since we know some cycles occur every 22 years, it suggests that other longer term cycles of solar size, luminosity or energy output would easily influence climate here on earth.

As was the case at the Second and Third Conferences, Lord Christopher Monckton is the final speaker during the last plenary session after lunch, giving the Benediction and dismissal. Monckton is a very gifted speaker, and to a large degree personifies much of what we in the USA like about the Brits.

Monckton is from the United Kingdom, of course, but it is clear that he truly loves the United States as well.

Monckton can be deadpan and hilariously sarcastic in the same breath. Some felt he went over the edge at his sendoff at the Second ICCC in NYC in March 2009, which can be best described as scathing, and he referenced that criticism in DC three months later. Lord Monckton has testified before the US Congress on the issue of global warming "alarmism" several times, and the technical part of his talk goes over his recent testimony in Washington earlier in May. His bottom line is that cap and trade will at best do nothing to alleviate CO2 levels, and that society will easily adapt to modest changes in climate that may occur.

He concludes his remarks by emphasizing that "Cap and Trade" (as well as Obamacare) are core threats to freedom and the ideals that have formed the USA. He ends in a bare whisper, very close to breaking down, quoting a portion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Video should be up soon of this and all the plenary sessions from this conference at the Heartland website.

Peter Bonk resides in Westerly. A chemist by training and profession, he, along with millions of us, scientists and laymen, has been attempting to discern whether the core science supports the policy positions, enacted and proposed, that have evolved out of the debate on anthropogenic global warming.