Review of Climate Change: Natural or Manmade?, by Joe Fone (Stacey International, 2013), 208 pages, ISBN- 978-1906768959
Author Joe Fone of Christchurch, New Zealand has spent many years researching current and historical data on climate change, with the help of the finest scientists down under. His new book, Climate Change: Natural or Manmade? gives a clear, unbiased view of what is reasonably true and what is clearly incorrect. The book shows his strong intellect and unrestricted effort to find the truth wherever it lay.
Alarmism Devoid of Science
Fone really won me over with Chapter 2, titled “Sagan’s Problem Planet,” where he describes Carl Sagan as a science populist rather than the great astronomer of public myth. I have taken Sagan to task on a wide variety of subjects, but Fone usefully concentrates on Sagan’s theories about the atmosphere of Venus, which Sagan used to support his belief in anthropomorphic global warming.
Fone accurately calls global warming today’s cause célèbre, “promoted by an army of enthusiasts from scientists and politicians to environmentalists, celebrities and now even theologians, all of whom declare it to be the most pressing issue facing us since the last such scare—the 1970s ice age panic promoted by a similar army.”
Fone aptly describes the global warming movement as a juggernaut of unprecedented proportions, an unstoppable monster threatening to engulf every facet of our lives.
From there, he mounts an impressive 250-year history of the semi-scientific issues that led to the possibility the world might eventually be held hostage by a truly unprovable theory. First among these was the belief in a solar constant, which removed from the equation the reality that solar variance is a major player in the earth’s climate. Fone also provides an excellent analysis of what glaciers have taught us regarding the causes and effects of natural climate fluctuations.
Fone’s uncovering of the scientific errors that led to and supported the mythical global warming crisis is as detailed as any you will find. The documentation of such scientific errors will be especially interesting to the scientifically trained reader. Fone provides a compelling narrative of how even Margaret Thatcher, the sharp, conservative former British prime minister, bought into the false global warming crisis.
In the early 1980s, Thatcher’s government was beset by union-led coal mine strikes. Thatcher saw an opportunity to undermine the miners and their exceptional demands by joining forces with the global warming alarmists calling for less coal power and more nuclear power. Thatcher’s plan resulted in a short-term political victory over the coal miner’s union, but at the long-term price of rendering Great Britain subject to economically punishing and scientifically unjustified global warming extremism.
Thatcher bought into global warming alarmism for more than 10 years before recognizing that joining forces with socialist environmental activists who sought to dismantle market economies was a big mistake. By then, however, it was far too late to undo the damage she had done.
Shortcomings in IPCC Models
Getting back to the science, Fone adeptly explains the important role clouds play in changing climate conditions. By their very nature, clouds present extremely complex problems to climate modelers. Despite such complex uncertainties, climate modelers with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) always assume clouds will serve as a positive feedback mechanism, amplifying any global warming caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Fone demonstrates the faultiness of this assumption, quoting Princeton University physicist Freeman Dyson, who pointed out the failure of IPCC’s climate model assumptions. Fone also quotes dozens of additional climatologists meticulously tearing apart the IPCC models.
Debunking Other Myths
One of his most interesting assessments is his discussion of tipping points. Global warming activists often claim our planet is approaching a tipping point that will cause a rapid acceleration of global warming and global warming impacts. These activists seek to create a sense of fear by selling the idea that we are fast reaching a point of no return where we have sealed our collective doom. Fone presents the overwhelming verdict of science that no such tipping points are likely in the foreseeable future. To the extent future warming may occur, it is likely to continue at its present modest pace. Such modest warming continues to provide net human welfare benefits rather than overall harm.
Fone also does a superb job of debunking the myth that scientists have reached a consensus that humans are creating a global warming crisis. To the extent some scientists claim a consensus exists, they are merely parroting a predetermined agenda. Memorably, Fone quotes MIT atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen saying, “A consensus was reached before the research had even begun.”
The science presented to support global warming alarmism, Fone says, was convincingly debunked well before the formation of the IPCC, even before the Thatcher government poisoned the political well with her brief but damaging alliance with global warming alarmists. Sadly, it was political intervention that encouraged some agenda-driven scientists to manipulate the evidence to support their political masters, who then rewarded them with lucrative research grants. This created the foundations of a corrupt, self-sustaining industry driven by politics and money.
Fone presents a compelling narrative of why the mythical human-caused global warming crisis is a dangerous illusion. I highly recommend this book.
Jay Lehr, Ph.D. (leh[email protected]) is science director of The Heartland Institute.