Dr. John Happs
In the year 1212 tens of thousands of children from France and Germany set out to re-take Jerusalem from the Muslim inhabitants. According to a 13th century source, the Chronica regia Coloniensis (‘Royal Chronicle of Cologne’):
“Many thousands of boys, ranging in age from six years to full maturity, left the plows or carts they were driving, the flocks which they were pasturing, and anything else which they were doing. This they did despite the wishes of their parents, relatives, and friends who sought to make them draw back. Suddenly one ran after another to take the cross. Thus, by groups of twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, they put up banners and began to journey to Jerusalem.”
Of the two groups that took part in the crusade, the first started from France, led by a peasant boy called Stephen of Cloyes who claimed that Jesus had appeared to him in a dream, urging the crusade. More than 30,000 children believed Stephen and followed him to the Holy Land.
The second group, led by Nicholas of Cologne, attracted around 50,000 children, travelling across the Alps from Germany into Italy to meet the Pope before moving on towards Jerusalem. Tragically, thousands of those crusading children never returned to their homes with many being captured and sold into slavery.
We now have a climate crusade involving many children from around the world, cheered on by the media, environmental activists and a number of politicians. It is expected that this crusade will not incur any risks and everyone will return home safely to their parents, leaving behind a pile of trash after their march to save the planet.
Hopefully, no harm will be come to those children apart from having their minds filled with visions of climate catastrophe, fuelled by cynical Green Zealots.
Today’s climate crusade appears to have been catalysed by a preaching 16 year-old Swedish girl called Greta Thunberg. She probably doesn’t know the difference between an isobar and a chocolate bar but she does promise to lead us all out of an imaginary overheating world and into a new utopia where the climate never changes and every day is perfect. All we have to do is ignore what the scientific facts and tens of thousands of scientists say and simply heed her words of wisdom.
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction.”
“There are no solutions anywhere in sight.”
I suspect that some really useful solutions have already been offered in classrooms around the world where children are being told that the climate of our planet can be controlled simply by doing the following:
Turn off the light switch when we leave a room; wear extra clothing when its cold so we can turn the heater off; take off our clothes when it is hot so we can turn the air-conditioner down; stop eating meat because fewer cows mean less methane in the atmosphere; recycle everything even though this uses more energy than manufacturing the goods in the first place; produce more inefficient, unreliable wind turbines and solar panels that require 24/7 backup from hydrocarbon fuels and drive up the cost of electricity; compost your food waste; have cold showers instead of hot ones and whatever you do, don’t wash your hair so often.
Apparently the solutions for controlling the climate of the planet are on hand if only we would listen to informed people like Greta and start working through the above checklist.
I doubt that Greta was aware that her much-publicised boat trip on the 5 million USD 20 metre Malizia across the Atlantic Ocean was built for Pierre Casiraghi, the youngest son of Princess Grace Kelly. I doubt that Greta was aware she was sailing in a non-recyclable carbon fibre boat constructed from those dreaded petrochemicals – presumably the ones Greta wants to leave in the ground.
Presumably Malizia was propelled by wind in sails made from nylon, polyester or carbon fibres. Dacron is often the material of choice for mainsails, genoas and jibs. In fact all the fittings on the boat and crew clothing would have been made from hydrocarbons or constructed, using hydrocarbon fuel energy.
I doubt that Greta was aware that the owner of Malizia owns a number of similar yachts and several private jet planes. Apparently two of the crew members had to fly to New York to sail the boat back to Europe and no doubt Greta will be on a flight back home, powered by hydrocarbon fuel of course. Never mind about the big carbon footprint her sailing adventure laid down and never mind the added hypocrisy of all those UN officials flying back and forth to their regular climate meetings with the European Union planning to spend millions more Euros on private jet flights for its top officials.
This is hypocrisy on steroids but poor Greta hasn’t the maturity or education to see this, although the UN officials and Green Zealots who are exploiting her certainly know this. They also know that few will criticise Greta (poor child) without being seen as bullies.
Brendan O’Neill likens Greta to a cult member with the threat of hellfire and damnation if we don’t atone for our climate sins. He observes:
“One can imagine her in a sparse wooden church in the Plymouth Colony in the 1600s warning parishioners of the hellfire that will rain upon them if they fail to give up their witches.”
He rightly blames the Green Zealots for exploiting this naïve girl:
“What they have done to Ms Thunberg is unforgivable. They have pumped her – and millions of other children – with the politics of fear. They have convinced the next generation that the planet is on the cusp of doom. They have injected dread into the youth.”
Malena Ernman (Greta’s opera singer Mother) and Svante Thunberg (Greta’s actor Father) have written a book: Scener ur hjartat or “Scenes from the heart: Our life for the climate” in which we are told how “Greta was diagnosed as a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome, just like her younger sister Beata.”
Her Mother tells us that Greta can see what other people cannot see:
“She can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye. She sees how it flows out of chimneys and changes the atmosphere in a landfill.”
This is no mean feat with only 400 ppm of colourless, odourless carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Presumably Greta would have no trouble tracking those 33 molecules of carbon dioxide mixed in with every 85,800 molecules of other gas molecules that make up air. Who knows, Greta might even be able to isolate and identify the 1 carbon dioxide molecule that comes from human activity from those 85,800.
Not surprisingly, Greta has her followers but who are they? A recent Scott Rasmussen survey across all age ranges answers that question. The survey found that more than 70% of those polled disagreed that the Earth will become uninhabitable with all life on Earth threatened. Only 10% of those polled considered such a scenario as “Very Likely.”
So who makes up the 10% that agree with Greta’s vision of doom?
When younger voters were surveyed, 51% indicated their belief that it is “likely” humanity could be wiped out in the next decade or so.
So how does this belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming nonsense get into the minds of so many youngsters? We might consider what children are being taught in schools.
At the end of a recent public talk I gave on climate change, a lady stood up and said:
“I am a retired high school science teacher and I can tell you that much of this global warming nonsense is being taught in social studies classes by teachers who spout green activist nonsense and know less science than the kids they are teaching.”
A little harsh perhaps?
Whatever the source, Greta thinks she has a handle on the science, saying:
“For more than 30 years the science has been crystal-clear.”
Presumably Greta is referring to the “crystal-clear science” served up by the political/ideological Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and she is clearly worried about catastrophic global warming, more extreme weather, ecosystems and the bleak future for her generation.
Well here is some good news for Greta.
Sweden (Greta’s home country) is colder now than it has been for the last 9,000 years and there are many peer-reviewed, published papers that testify to this.
Objective, apolitical, unbiased science tells us that uncontaminated satellite data show that lower troposphere temperatures have been stable for more than 18 years. Climate scientist Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado says:
“Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC… .The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium… which is why ‘global warming’ is now called ‘climate change.”
Climate scientist Dr. Don Easterbrook warns:
“That global warming is over, at least for a few decades, might seem to be a relief. However, the bad news is that global cooling is even more harmful to humans than global warming and a cause for even greater concern.”
Dr. Lucia Liljegren, an atmospheric researcher with the Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University has confirmed that the IPCC computer models have predicted warming when there has been none.
Dr. Mojab Latif, climate modeller and IPCC author told more than 1,500 climate scientists at the UN’s World Climate Conference in Geneva (New Scientist, 9th September, 2009):
“We could be entering one or even two decades of cooler temperatures.”
Even the IPCC’s alarmist Dr. Kevin Trenberth admitted in a leaked email:
“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”
Dr. Khabibullo Abdusamatov, head of the space research facility at the Pulkovo observatory in St. Petersburg warns of low solar activity and global cooling which could continue for 2 or more decades. He states:
“By the mid-21st century the planet will face another Little Ice Age, similar to the Maunder Minimum, because the amount of solar radiation hitting the Earth has been constantly decreasing since the 1990s and will reach its minimum approximately in 2041.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now acknowledged that there has been no global warming for at least 18 years, despite rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Someone should tell Greta that even the alarmist IPCC has now reported that the gentle end of 20th century warming has stopped. The IPCC’s Chapter 9 of the WG1 Report discusses the hiatus under Box 9.2: Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global-Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years.
Under Box 9.2 we read:
“Nevertheless, the occurrence of the hiatus in GMST trend during the past 15 years raises the two related questions of what has caused it and whether climate models are able to reproduce it.”
Someone should tell Greta that temperature data from Greenland, Antarctica, the Himalayas, New Zealand, Portugal, China, Canada and a host of other countries show there has not been any warming for many years:
It’s such a pity that the Gretas of this world can’t read and understand the 265 peer-reviewed published papers that say the gentle late 20th century warming is not dangerous, unprecedented or globally pervasive. These can be found at:
It’s such a pity that the Gretas of this world can’t read and understand the 100 peer-reviewed published papers that point to the sun as the main driver of climate change:
Now that we have tried to re-assure all the Gretas of this world that the planet is not about to incinerate us, let’s look at those worries over mass extinctions.
It’s such a pity that all the Gretas aren’t aware that there is no empirical evidence for the hysteria about imminent mass extinction.
Der Spiegel’s Axel Bojanowski notes:
“The IPCC admits that there is no evidence climate change has led to even a single species becoming extinct thus far. At most, the draft report says, climate change may have played a role in the disappearance of a few amphibians, freshwater fish and mollusks. Yet even the icons of catastrophic global warming, the polar bears, are doing surprisingly well.”
Additionally, Dr. Philip Stott, Professor of Biogeography at the University of London, has dismissed alarmist claims about current extinction due to (imaginary) global warming. He said:
“The earth has gone through many periods of major extinctions, some much bigger in size than even being contemplated today.”
“Change is necessary to keep up with change in nature itself. In other words, change is the essence. And the idea that we can keep all species that now exist would be anti-evolutionary, anti-nature and anti the very nature of the earth in which we live.”
The most recent IPCC report (AR5) now admits that there is no evidence to show that climate change has led to even a single species becoming extinct thus far. In fact the IPCC now doubts its own computer simulations for species extinctions, saying:
“There is very little confidence that models currently predict extinction risk accurately.”
Dr. Diana Fisher and Dr. Simon Blomberg compiled a list of all mammals declared extinct since the 16th century or which were identified as being missing in scientific papers. They reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society:
“We identified 187 mammal species that have been missing since 1500. In the complete data-set, 67 species that were once missing have been rediscovered.”
“Species presumed to be extinct are often rediscovered. For example, 89 Australian vascular plants were rediscovered between 1981 and 2001, and rediscovery was the reason for disqualification of 13 mammals from a list of 144 candidate extinct species analysed in 1999.”
When it comes to mass extinctions, natural catastrophes bring these about with spectacular success. In fact 99% of species that have lived on Earth are now extinct because of massive natural disasters. The main ones are identified as the Ordovician-Silurian extinction (445 million years ago); the late Devonian extinction (370 million years ago); the Permian-Triassic extinction (250 million years ago); the Triassic-Jurassic extinction (200 million years ago) and the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction (66 million years ago).
The triggers for these mass extinctions have been asteroid or comet strike and/or the eruption of super-volcanoes, followed by dramatic global cooling as debris thrown into the atmosphere blocked out radiation from the sun for a significant period of time.
Now that we have re-assured all the Gretas that the planet is not about to burn up and there is no prospect of a planetary mass extinction, let’s look at their pessimism about the future.
It’s such a pity that the Gretas of this world aren’t aware that by almost every measure, life is much better today than at any other time in history and is continuing to improve.
How are we doing regarding child mortality?
Only 100 years ago every 3rd child died before the age of five:
In 2017 child mortality was down to 40%. This is ten times lower than it was 200 years ago.
How are we doing regarding life expectancy?
Life expectancy 200 years ago ranged on average between 20 and 30 years. Today, life expectancy has surged, averaging 80 years in the UK and over 80 years in Japan.
How are we doing regarding nourishment?
The share of the population that is undernourished continues to fall:
How are we doing regarding getting inexpensive, reliable energy to everyone?
Access to inexpensive, reliable hydrocarbon energy is essential for economic growth and the well-being of nations. Global primary energy consumption has increased, lifting more people out of poverty:
How are we doing regarding air pollution?
Death rates from outdoor ozone, particulate matter and indoor fuel burning continue to fall:
How are we doing regarding oil spills?
It’s commonly thought that, as oil shipments increase around the world, oil spills will increase. The evidence shows otherwise:
How are we doing regarding getting improved water resources to everyone?
The number of people with access to improved water resources also continues to grow:
How are we doing regarding the reduction of extreme poverty?
Extreme poverty has been falling steadily worldwide:
How are we doing regarding the reduction of child labour?
Child labour has been falling steadily worldwide:
How are we doing regarding global conflicts?
The world is far more peaceful today than at any other time:
How are we doing regarding getting education to everyone?
The world population of 15 year olds with at least a basic education has increased dramatically:
How are we doing regarding the greening of the Earth?
Very well it turns out. Dr Zaichun Zhu, from Peking University in China and lead author of a new study, reports that:
“The most comprehensive modelling of remote sensing data so far shows the area on Earth covered by plants in this time has increased by 18 million square kilometres – about 2.5 times the size of the Australian continent – largely due to the fertilising effect of carbon dioxide (CO2).”
There is an abundance of easy to find information showing how things have improved in Australia:
I wonder if this is being taught in schools?
There is an abundance of easy to find information showing how things have improved worldwide:
Greta really needs to find better science advisors. Not this one:
I wonder if Greta realises that Arnie is just another one of those publicity-seeking, globe-trotting celebrity hypocrites. He is worth 300 million USD, drives an SUV and flies around the world by private jet.
This is the mansion where Arnie lives in Los Angeles:
This is the kind of accommodation where so many people in Africa and other developing nations are living:
Greta, I suggest that you and your well-heeled hypocritical promoters visit a few shanty towns in Africa and tell the people there why they can’t have access to decent air-conditioned housing, inexpensive, reliable electricity, cars and all the trappings of civilization that you have enjoyed for so long.
Earth to Greta: Your head is being filled with alarmist nonsense and you are being manipulated for political/ideological reasons by United Nations personnel and green activists.
There is zero evidence to show that the planet is experiencing unusual warming or more extreme weather and be assured, we are not facing even a minor extinction.
Life has never been better Greta and the future looks great for your generation as you can see from real-world evidence. We can thank coal, oil and gas for giving us inexpensive, high-density reliable energy that has powered our civilization, made us healthier, provided us with more food, improved our standard of living in every way and continues to lift more and more people out of poverty.
Of course life on our planet could get even better – if we actually had some real global warming and quite a bit more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Dr. John Happs M.Sc.1st Class; D.Phil. John has an academic background in the geosciences with special interests in climate, and paleoclimate. He has been a science educator at several universities in Australia and overseas and was President of the Western Australian Skeptics for 25 years.