Climate – The Science : in reply to Echo reporter Will Rampton’s attack on climate campaigners and, worse again, casting climate science as pseudo-science “ideology”. And this the second attack from the Echo in three weeks – the previous attack shot through with insults from Faith Eckersall 9th June. Does no-one in Newsquest group have expertise in science? – or is it US Gannett Newsquest is set on Trump style demolition of world science credibility?

Will Frampton – Echo Editors and Directors.

Dear Mr Frampton – Editors,

I read your weekend item in the Echo re climate issues and campaign groups with a great deal of dismay. And this following on from three weeks ago Faith Eckersall’s insulting tirade against climate protesters in London.

As far as I can see, taking a considerable interest in the climate issue for over ten years, the amassed scientific evidence, over a century and more, for man made carbon generated climate change, leading to destruction of life on earth as we know it, is beyond overwhelming.

We start with atmosphere and greenhouse gases. Planet Earth atmosphere, 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, with less than 1% carbon dioxide and other gases, regulates the temperature of earth. It is our protector from solar radiation.

If not for our “unique” atmosphere earth would be as Venus, with a dense atmosphere 95% CO2 locking in a surface temperature of 465C, hot enough to melt lead. Or as Mars with a very thin atmosphere, again 95% CO2, with extreme sub-zero temperatures. Making the point Earth’s atmosphere is delicate and finely balanced, within earth’s carbon cycles. Not as robust and “eternal” as we might like to think.

Solar light (including ultra-violet) streams through the atmosphere, the atmosphere (along with magnetic poles) protecting earth from the extremes of radiation. It is then the reflected light from earth – infrared reradiation – that then plays its part heating the atmosphere. CO2 absorbs and reradiates. The more CO2 the more absorption and reradiation, the warmer the atmosphere. In turn the earth’s surface becomes warmer.

This is then Will not a “hypothesis”. It is proven thermal-chemical science. CO2, and methane, and water vapour, absorb and reradiate infrared light energy. Nitrogen and oxygen, the main constituents of the atmosphere, do not absorb infrared. They allow the infrared radiation to escape out of the atmosphere into space.

And so it is we speak of greenhouse gases. In particular by quantity carbon dioxide and methane, trapping solar heat energy in the atmosphere. A very fine balance (narrow bandwidth) within earth’s carbon cycles – photosynthesis, forests and ocean sinks taking in CO2, then released again in autumn. But now the past 200 years, post 19th century industrialisation, we have enormous increase in the release of combustion carbons (many millions of tons every day) into the atmosphere.

Again it has to be repeated this science is not a hypothesis as in unproven. It is proven environmental science, bringing together chemistry, physics, geology, and astro-physics. Many websites explain the processes. The science has been standard text in GCSE and “A” level science courses for the past 30 years.

NASA – the causes of climate change : “Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the “greenhouse effect” – warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.”

NASA Gateway : Evidence, Causes, Effects, Solutions : “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

How do we know more CO2 is causing warming? “Good scientific theories have predictive power” In this case the theory, earth reradiated infrared energy is absorbed and reradiated by CO2 and other gases, is proven : “The causation connection is found in the spectrum of greenhouse radiation. Using high-resolution FTIR spectroscopy, we can measure the exact wavelengths of long-wave (infrared) radiation reaching the ground”.

The science of carbon dioxide and climate : You see here the correlation between rising CO2 levels in atmosphere and rising temperatures. Correlation over many years is proof of causation. “The vast majority of scientists around the world agree that our climate is changing at a faster rate than ever recorded in human history because of our use of fuels such as coal and oil, so-called fossil fuels”. “While natural cycles have long driven climate shifts on scales of tens, hundreds, thousands and millions of years, the rate of change we are seeing today far exceeds anything historically observed.”

NOAA – National Oceananic and Atmospheric Administration : Accumulated climate science from across the planet over decades. Huge glossary of information : climate monitoring, climate extremes, underlying science, patterns of extreme weather, global summaries.

NOAA Introduction : “Many chemical compounds present in Earth’s atmosphere behave as ‘greenhouse gases’. These are gases which allow direct sunlight (relative shortwave energy) to reach the Earth’s surface unimpeded. As the shortwave energy (that in the visible and ultraviolet portion of the spectra) heats the surface, longer-wave (infrared) energy (heat) is reradiated to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases absorb this energy, thereby allowing less heat to escape back to space, and ‘trapping’ it in the lower atmosphere.”

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change : the United National body bringing together the publications of multiple peer reviewed global science research. The best from world universities and research institutions over many decades. “IPCC reports are neutral, policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive. The assessment reports are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change.”

The Fifth Assessment Report from IPCC 2014 – for policymakers : “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

In all on the science I cannot see how anyone writing on this issue would want to launch such a dismissive and disparaging tirade against activists, worse against climate science.

The causal connections in climate science could not be more emphatic : our atmosphere is crucial to life on earth, protecting the planet form radiation, maintaining temperature ranges; there is a natural carbon cycle between photosynthesis (absorbing CO2 for growth) and CO2 generation (natural and man-made); earth climate has remained stable for life on earth for millions of years; this includes ice ages and periods of warming coming and going; the past 200 years increasing carbon outputs from fossil fuel combustion has driven C02 to levels unknown in human history; as a consequence of rise in carbon dioxide the mean temperature of the planet surface is rising, sea temperatures are rising, sea levels are rising, polar areas (Arctic and Antarctic) and glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates.

That is solid empirical proven science, drawn from observations over decades, mapping results, comparing results with other research world-wide, computer modeling, laboratory testing, and comparing theoretical predictions with data year on year, decade on decade. Anyone who has studied science at any level knows the first and highest ordinate of science is to test theories to find out if they are wrong. Karl Popper “Falsification” – we do not look only for corroborating proof, we seek to find counter evidence to show a theory or principle is wrong.

In the case of climate warming no-one has offered any evidence that shows climate warming is not the consequence of increased man-made carbon in the atmosphere.

Earth moving out of the last Ice Age is put as one reason for climate warming. The last ice age was then 12,000 years ago. There was then warming of some 3 to 8 degrees C over ten thousand years. But what is happening now (the rate of rise of carbon and temperature) is unprecedented in human history over as far as we know 50,000 years (from ice cores and fossil records). Carbon in atmosphere is rising, temperature is rising out of all proportion to any warming from an Ice Age 12,000 years ago.

On then your views in your Echo item : written in dark blue :

“The Earth’s climate is changing. It is warming up in fact, unsurprisingly since we are still emerging from the last ice age”. This is I take it sarcasm ; your view, we are emerging from the last ice age, there is no man-made climate warning.

This view is then NOT supported by world science. You (and others dismissing climate science) are flying in the face of tens of thousands of doctorate world scientists. Ice age warming and cooling is over thousands of years, moving south from the Arctic, then receding. What we are dealing with now is considerable rises in temperature, world wide, both hemispheres and poles, over two centuries, and accelerating. We are as far as I know in an interglacial period. Mapped on top of this slow change is far more rapid man-made change. That is the critical point.

“Our ability to accurately model the changing climate remains disappointingly limited, for now, but we have both a causation hypothesis for anthropogenic climate change – the greenhouse effect – and the data correlation of warming with the quantity of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere”.

I don’t know how you can claim the model for changing climate is “disappointingly limited”. We have tens of thousands of scientific papers drawn from research work (core samples, geological carbon records, satellite measurements, sea temperatures, carbon levels) over many decades. The evidence is overwhelming. It could not be clearer for those who read the papers from IPCC, NASA, NOAA, and others.

“Causation hypothesis for anthropogenic climate change …” As said above, not a hypothesis, proven factual causation, accumulating man-made carbon in the atmosphere is causing rising temperatures. When experiments along with observations correlate, giving the same results time and again, matching predictions, we have proof of causation. That is standard science methodology and the point you seem to be missing.

“Data correlation of warming with the quantity of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere”. That then is right, the data over decades correlates with climate theories showing us with “very high certainty” it is man-made carbon pollution that is driving temperature rises above and beyond any other known planetary factors.

“Earlier this year we had a run of bizarre ‘climate protests’ by school children – bizarre since it is transparently obvious that child protests are only ever a front used by manipulative adults, and nobody is fooled, and because they came out of nowhere“.

What amazing sweeping claims. So no prejudice or bigotry here Will. It’s “transparently obvious” child protests are all down to “manipulative adults …”. It wouldn’t be because young people in schools, studying GCSEs and A levels, and younger, are increasingly horrified by what is happening to the climate. All they are going to face from our mass consumption me first generations refusing to face up to hard decisions.

And now you are insulting anyone who is horrified by climate warming and aligning with Green party groups and campaigners : “Conspiracy theories are for mugs, but I note in passing that several Remain groups, such as Led By Donkeys, have been revealed to have strong links with green groups.”

So now you’re conflating climate and Brexit – we (all opposing Brexit and no less horrified by climate melt-down) are equally dense. Anyone who reads the science and sets out to do all they can to press governments to take action, and takes the view that tearing up 45 years of treaties with Europe, with increasing risks month on month of collapsing treaty confidence precipitating destructive trade wars, are bizarre, manipulative, or from the header of your item, idiots.

For the rest it’s all sweeping tabloid sarcasm isn’t it Will. I presume written to support Faith Eckersall’s Green activists onslaught three weeks back.

“I have never found the wider green movement very convincing.” And that is because Will, judging by your convoluting tirade, you’ve not read in depth a climate paper in your life. Never put in the time to think through the causation connections. Some rudimentary grasp of terms but then considerable deficit following logical connections, leading to conclusions.

And so it is we get your full blown tirade against Green activists :

“Here’s a truism, if your protest movement’s cause is enthusiastically adopted by the state, you are not a protest movement, and your cause is probably bogus.”

What is that supposed to mean? The state – the current British government – dumped Department of “Climate Change” four years ago and replaced with Dept of Energy. And have since dumped any and all assistance for wind power. And to date government (as opposed to parliament) has not declared climate emergency. So I have no idea how you can claim the current UK government has “enthusiastically adopted the protesters cause”.

And a “truism”?? The statements are not remotely anything like a truism, as in that which is logically irrefutable. All you’ve done is sling together your personal views in an attempt to cast activists as bogus.

“You don’t usually have to spend too much time speaking with Green advocates before a tendency towards misanthropy is revealed.”

This then really is extraordinary inversion of the truth. How deplorable Mr Frampton casting those putting in time and whole lives to take on climate issues as haters of humanity. On your reasoning those struggling to warn us of pending horrors of climate running out of control – trying to save humanity – are haters of humanity. What extraordinary convoluting logic.

“Like with earlier pseudo-scientific predictors of calamity …” And more astonishing claims Mr Frampton, and you pump this out to many thousands through the Echo. You haven’t got a clue have you the distinction between pseudo-science (astrology) and hard science (physics, chemistry) grounded in decades of research.

For the record early 19th century Thomas Malthus, who you cite as a case of “pseudo-scientific predictions”, on par with climate predictions, was deeply concerned with food supplies not keeping up with population growth. With now 7.5 billion on the planet, including many billions living in abject poverty and hunger, I don’t see how Thomas Malthus could be more right in his predictions, not as you want to label anyone warning of dangers a case of “pseudo-scientific predictors of calamity”. Malthus was substantially right, climate science is unequivocally right

I have then replied in depth as a challenge to pull together the science and assure myself it is sound. But the more I read of your journalese tirade the more it is clear you are running on some sort of agenda to discredit climate activists and climate science, for all I know driven by commercial interest within your news group.

There is nothing, however, in any legitimate analysis of the situation, such as that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which is freely available online, to make panic or declarations of emergency (emergency powers anyone?) justifiable.”

Extraordinary. Downight Fake News reporting Mr Frampton. As a journalist of any standing you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. Your view of “legitimate analysis” clearly nothing more than your personal view. That said this is what IPCC summary 2014 states – just one quote from 28 page document, itself part of thousands of pages of research :

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

How could that be any clearer, all the grounds on the planet (justification) to take action. And that is 2014, we are now five more years down the road with temperatures continuing to rise. And you turn this into a sarcastic joke : “emergency powers anyone?”. Beyond a disgrace. This will go as formal complaint to IPSO. Astonishing the Echo would so besmirch your own paper’s reputation.

No one wants to panic populations but the case to declare emergency powers is overwhelming. Read the papers Mr Frampton. I’m at least forty years further down life’s road than yourself, It is your generation that is going to end up horrified as temperatures soar and climate instability accelerates. It’s all in the science. That is what good science does, it explains (causation connections), and it predicts, best it can. But again you haven’t got a clue have you.

“It is for this reason (pseudo-scientific predictors of calamity), as my colleague Faith Eckersall recently outlined in these pages, that green activists are very keen to advocate what ‘you’ must do to meet their ideological goals, and for the state to use its power to make that a reality”.

How on the planet can you speak of ideology? Are you not aware that ideology (entrenched dogma) stands the polar opposite to scientific methodology grounded in observation, proof, falsification, validation? No-one is purveying any ideology of “power”. How can you possibly speak of “alliances with the state” when the state was horrified by London protests. The issue is global warming rooted in unequivocal evidence with the accelerating need for governments to take action. That is what is driving climate activists.

And finally you refer to “inevitable consequences”. But that is the very issue Mr Frampton. It does not have to be inevitable. We may or may not have passed the tipping point. With rising populations, continuing rising industrial carbon outputs, deforestation, ocean acidification, we have most likely passed the tipping point. But we don’t know and can but put the issue highest of all issues and commit to reducing carbon outputs. And that means we will become “poorer”. We can’t have everything we want. We have to change our ways and that means declaring Climate Emergency and acting accordingly.

It took Churchill to change the course of world history in 1940. With Brexit maniacs running the country, and even worse coming down the pipeline, the chances of cometh-the-hour cometh-the-man in UK I would say is close to non-existent. And for me extraordinary that someone of your age group is not working flat out to publish the best of climate science, not chucking out third rate tabloid tirades.

Jeff Williams