Climate change – no panic!

by Dr Ing. Christian Fischer

Turning away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources has been politically desired and practiced in German-speaking countries for many years. So we are doing something. Nevertheless, for some time now we have been witnessing political movements such as “Fridays for future” or more recently “Extinction rebellion”, who are painting a gloomy picture of a forthcoming doomsday, which makes it almost pointless to go to school, as there is no future for today’s youth without radical reversal anyway. These campaigns are based on long-established findings and information, but also on mistakes and polemics, which were originally fueled by the Green political movement, but are now seen as a consensus by most political camps, with a different weighting. This article tries to separate the wheat from the chaff, knowledge from open questions, so that panic attacks can be replaced by increased reflection.


Carbon dioxide CO2 is a “greenhouse gas” – just like other greenhouse gases, methane CH4, nitrous oxide N2O, sulphur hexafluoride SF6, water vapour H2O. Our earth owes life to them, because without these gases in the atmosphere, the average global temperature would have been -18 degrees Celsius instead of +15 degrees Celsius today. After water vapour, CO2 is considered the most important temperature-affecting gas and – besides CH4 – the only one that can be significantly influenced by humans. Dr Ernst Pauli, for example, has illustrated in his article “Background to the problem of global warming”1 how the “greenhouse” physically works. Of course, our atmosphere is not a closed “greenhouse”; this is just an analogy which should not be taken too literally. The question is not whether these gases make a warming effect, but what effect? Which part of it is anthropogenic (=man-made), i.e. influenceable? What other influences on temperature development with what effects are there? And how exactly is our knowledge about their causes? These questions are not answered comprehensively here, but they should be discussed in order to objectify the debate.

Where do we get our knowledge from? How reliable is it?

Data on temperatures and gas proportions in the atmosphere vary considerably from one epoch to another. For about 70 years there have been monitoring observatories all around the globe which provide us with comprehensive and accurate data about the present as we haven’t had in any other epoch in earth’s history. More simple temperature measurements date back to the 19th century. Before that, we had not just historical reports, paintings and documents, but especially tree rings, which give us information about temperature fluctuations uninterrupted until about 12,000 years ago. For the last half a million years we have relied on ice cores, in which the air composition of past times is trapped, even further back also on geological stratifications. These data sources are described in more detail in Dr E. Pauli’s article “Background to the problem of global warming”.
When looking at data of earlier times one must consider that they are not comparable with the accuracy of today’s data. In the case of ice cores, they may contain impurities. They only allow statements within certain range and, above all, they do not form such a global network as today’s data. No ice cores can be extracted near the equator ... Anyone who claims with certainty that there has never been such a steep rise in temperature as today or there has never been such a CO2 content in the air, principally deserves our mistrust.
In fact, despite the caution required when using older data, we know that, especially at the end of the ice ages, there were significantly larger temperature fluctuations than today. For example, at the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago, there has been a temperature rise estimated at 10 degrees in one century.2 Even if it had been two centuries (data uncertainty!), against this “hockey stick” temperature rise, our present rise has at best the magnitude of a soup ladle rise.

CO2 and temperature – Correlation? Causality?

According to various sources, the link between CO2 increase and subsequent temperature rise is not as clear as the climate mainstream claims. Overall, the curves are parallel and linear, but not in detail. In order to show the “politically correct” linearity, statistics have already been changed to show the public the “correct” picture.3 Although the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere has increased very linearly since 1950, temperatures have moved up and down in larger movements. There must (also) be other influences. Moreover, there are observations over long periods of time that the CO2 increase follows the temperature rise in the longer term, and not the other way round! A time lag of several hundred years is observed,4 which, among other things, is associated with the storage capacity of the oceans. Cooler water absorbs CO2, warmer water releases it again. The temperature inertia of the seas may cause that slowly warming seas release CO2 only after a few hundred years of storage. From that point of view the cause of warming cannot be explained by CO2. Currently the seas still absorb CO2. They are still cool enough! These coherences are not fully understood yet, but at least there are doubts to which extent a CO2 increase causes the rise in temperature – or (even?) follows it!
The last 140 years in which CO2 and temperature have increased rapidly are often cited. During this time, CO2 has actually increased continuously. At the same time, the temperature has risen by 1.5 degrees if you look at the large average, but actually very discontinuous over time.3 In 1883 there was an immense volcanic eruption in Indonesia (Krakatau), which caused a global drop of temperature. This is a nice starting point if you want to prove a sharp increase without naming the causes! In fact, from the certainly “preindustrial” 12th century until today, the temperature has hardly risen.

Other causes?

The CO2 content in the atmosphere has risen from 0.028 per cent in pre-industrial times to just over 0.04 per cent today; according to various estimates, around 1-4 per cent of this is anthropogenic (caused by humans). So, we know that every 200,000th to a maximum of 50,000th air molecule is a human-caused CO2 molecule. So much about the order of magnitude we are talking about or, unfortunately, most of the time do not talk about.
Klaus-Eckart Puls5 states that there is scientific agreement in the basic documents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the warming effect of CO2 molecules is not a constant property but decreases with the quantity of molecules in the atmosphere. An extensive “saturation” is already given from 200 ppm, after which the long-wave radiation effect, i.e. the warming effect, rapidly decreases. This effect is therefore hardly any different with today’s concentration than it is from the pre-industrial concentration. According to another source5 this is confirmed in principle, but somewhat put into perspective. However, whether or how these findings are taken into account in simulation calculations, we do not know.
In any case, the IPCC had to look for another factor to explain the current climate harmfulness of CO2 and found it in water vapour. If the concentration increases - according to laboratory tests and simulation models - the radiation effect of the CO2 molecules also works with higher concentrations. But: The “necessary” increase in water vapour in the atmosphere does, “unfortunately”, not take place. This is proven by extensive worldwide measurement data, which can be found in IPCC documents themselves and also in documents of the Max Planck Institutes.6 However, this shortcoming does not appear in the IPCC’s political recommendations. Nevertheless, the thesis of a further rise in temperature with a further rise in CO2 emissions lacks misses an important (but suppressed) argument.
Other researchers point for the temperature development to the influence of the sun, which is by no means a constant quantity. There is not only the well-known eleven-year sunspot cycle, which leads to more or less regular weather fluctuations. There are also larger cycles to be measured in centuries and millennia.7 This is due to long-term “regular irregularities” in the Earth’s orbit around the sun; these are the Milankovitch cycles quoted by Dr E. Pauli. They partly explain the ice ages, of which there were a good half a dozen in the last million years, each with warm periods in between.
Thereby, the solar activity preceded the temperature and CO2 rise. These astronomical influences have stronger effects than the atmospheric molecule compositions in the parts-per-thousand range. But anyone who today points to the sun and its fluctuations in connection with the climate debate, quickly finds himself discriminated in the scientific world.8
In fact, it has to be said that the gradually rising CO2 curve in the last century cannot be the whole and perhaps not even the most important explanation for the relatively moderate temperature increase of the last 100 years. One thing is for certain: the interaction of greenhouse gases (not only CO2), cloud formation, storage capacities of the oceans, solar influences etc. are not yet sufficiently understood.

Propagandistic “fake news”

The climate alarmists, who in the form of the exponent Greta Thunberg expressly demand more panic, tell us different quite stories. The Greenpeace homepage, for example, reads literally: “Over millions of years, the Earth’s climate has been in equilibrium. Now it threatens to tip due to human intervention.”9 Ok. Greenpeace seems to be on a pre-industrial stage of knowledge here, when people still believed in a world created as unchangeable. Don’t these activists know that in the course of the last million years there have been glaciers with a thickness of several kilometres and sometimes warmer times than today, for example in Hamburg, where Greenpeace has its headquarters? If that was a “climate equilibrium”, then the current fluctuations cannot even be seen under the microscope. This is where the true deniers of climate change emerge, namely a climate change that has always taken place independently of humans.
This publicly spread stupidity is unfortunately a kind of general “knowledge” among those who proclaim the climate emergency: The stable nature is disturbed by man – this is the omnipresent chorus. In fact, this is not just lack of knowledge, but active ignorance. People who are concerned about this “politically correct” announcement are consistently harassed and discriminated against all over the country.

This publicly spread stupidity is unfortunately a kind of general “knowledge” among those who proclaim the climate emergency: The stable nature is disturbed by man – this is the omnipresent chorus. In fact, this is not just lack of knowledge, but active ignorance. People who are concerned about this “politically correct” announcement are consistently harassed and discriminated against all over the country.
Why is this? Without deepening this further, only so much: the demand for a policy against climate emergency is naturally a cross-border issue. Measures cannot be limited nationally, but must be developed at least on a continental scale, if not globally. This requires central political empowerments, which should not take national borders and sovereignty into consideration. Is it a coincidence that the same CO2 protagonists also operate this programme at other political levels? You don’t necessarily have to try a Rudolf Bahro, who already 40 years ago – when the CO2 emergency was not yet on the agenda – demanded a green dictator. It is enough to look at today’s political mainstream, led by the Greens and the Left, but now followed by most political camps, to see the parallels. The disintegration of national sovereignties towards the construction of an EU10, being anything but democratically organised, is today just as much a matter of course as the CO2 propaganda. The opponents of the centralisation mainstream are also discriminated against everywhere, mostly with the same slogans. The fascist mace is always ready at hand.
The EU’s centralisation policy certainly has other goals than honest climate activists might wish; but the “populist” (?!) slogan “Away with borders” creates a broad consensus, especially among large sections of the youth. A “narrative” is launched with which one can identify if one wants to “do something” (or demands others to do something). And one hardly notices, which anti-democratic tendencies one paves the way for. At the same time, political, geographical and historical education in schools was massively reduced or replaced by projects. That, too, is part of the theme.

Real Problems

Climate change is a characteristic of our planet, a planet that has displayed more extreme caprioles than those we have experienced since the 19th century. In our time, the human CO2 emission may have contributed to the measurable warming during this period. The size of this effect cannot be reliably estimated: To do this, we would have to observe two planets, with and without this anthropogenic effect, while keeping all other conditions constant. Impossible. All statements rely on simulation models whose parameters, initial size and algorithms are unknown to ordinary citizens and which are, in addition, also influenced by political interests7a. There are many reasons to believe that the current rise in temperature is neither as dramatic as claimed nor exclusively man-made. The available sources have too many inconsistencies and contradictions. Deliberate omissions and selective perceptions are needed to maintain the strong statements of the current propaganda.
Of course there is no reason not to reduce the CO2 emissions and to support this politically – as long as it is not massively obstructing economic life. The author of this article has spent his professional life consulting for energy-conserving construction and also received his PhD for a thesis on this topic11. But there are many reasons not to make the anthropogenic climate change, supported by a doomsday scenario, the dominant political issue. It would be much more important to better understand global processes in order to be able to protect the ever increasing number of humans on earth from the consequences of climate changes which also happen independent from human influence. We do not need to protect the climate from ourselves, but we have to protect ourselves from the climate. Of course we also need to reduce the destruction and pollution of nature – but this should not be mixed up with climate change, as is often done.
Clearly, not all processes which climate change is blamed for can really be attributed to it. Take the rising sea level, for instance. Yes, the sea level is rising. For 30 years precise measuring methods are available and a rise of 8 cm has been observed since then, differing from place to place12. Water expands when it gets warmer and there is also melting water from inland glaciers. But some south pacific atolls are flooded not because the sea level is rising but because one tectonic plate is sliding under another and the islands are sinking. And in coastal megacities the level of ground water and the ground level itself have sunk due to excessive development, in Jakarta and Bangkok by 1-2 metres, in New Orleans by 4 metres13. These are important issues, but of a different kind. We do not get a clear picture if all these issues are reduced to anthropogenic climate change.
There is no planet earth that is stable and is only changed by humans. This view, however, is implicit in the current panic propaganda. It is not only a wrong but also presumptuous view; it could be called anthropo-arrogant: The extra human nature is seen as a saint on a pedestal who is being destroyed by mankind. Nature is not understood as a complex and necessary part of our activity and life, which we need to adapt to due to its own laws and rules. From here, it is only a short and simple path to an apocalyptic pessimism, which, for example, laments about over-population in general14 and quickly ends up in an esoterically flavoured deep ecology15. The route, however, should lead towards unprejudiced and precise research, which develops strategies for action and political agreements where causes can be clearly determined and the consequences of our actions can sufficiently be estimated. It should be more about technical progress than about regression.
Especially regarding climate change, there are still many unanswered questions that must be clarified by scientific efforts. If our action plans do not take effect where we have reliable knowledge, we may contribute more to destruction than to the preservation of “nature”. With anthropogenic climate change, our findings are still very patchy, and there is much to suggest that the current politically correct view of things is not sufficiently scientifically correct.
Nevertheless, I would prefer to heat my house with geothermal energy rather than with gas – if I had the possibility.    •

1    Pauli, Ernst. “Background to the problem of global warming”. In: Current Concerns. No. 22 from 15 Oktober
2    Kehl, Harald. Kurzer Überblick zur Klimageschichte; (Short Overview on Climate History)
3    Ewert, Friedrich-Karl. NASA-GISS Temperatur-daten wurden geändert – warum? (Temperature data was changed – why?)
4    Kirstein, Werner. Klimawandel – wird die Wissenschaft politisch beeinflusst? (Climate change - is research politically influenced?) (hier zum Beispiel Minute 17–20 des Videos) (i.g. minutes 17-20 of the video)
5    Puls, Klaus-Eckart. Die Achillesferse der Klimamodelle.  (The Achilles heel of the climate models)
6    Halle Spektrum. Experten antworten auf Klima-skeptiker;  (Experts naswer climate sceptics)
7    Lüdecke, Horst-Joachim. Jüngste Forschungsergebnisse zu Klimazyklen.  (Latest research results on climate cycles)
7a     Calder, Nigel. Die launische Sonne, Wiesbaden 1997 (The capricous sun)
8    Heumann, Pierre. Der Mann, dem sie die Sonne übelnehmen; (The man whom they resent the sun)
9    Greenpeace. CO2 & Co
10    Fischer, Christian. Demokratie braucht Nation (Democracy needs nation);
11    Fischer, Christian. Planung von energiesparenden Gebäuden (Planning of energy conserving buildings), Frankfurt 1992
12    Klima-Wiki:
13    Rist, Manfred. Sind Asiens Metropolen noch zu retten? (Can Asia’s megacities still be saved?) In “Neue Zürcher Zeitung International” from 26 September
14    Mies, Ulrich. Planetarer Supergau.  (Planetary worst case)
15    Rottenfusser, Roland. Die Tiefen-Ökologie (Deep ecology).

(Translation Current Concerns)


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