Some people thought Pope Francis was going to pull an Al Gore last week and denounce global warming. A number of climatologists did go to the Vatican and the Holy Father did speak in general terms about the subject humanity’s responsibility for nature. But maybe he had second thoughts after reading an open letter from a number of Catholic scholars on the topic of warming who think the issue is either over-stated or mis-stated.
Sometime this summer he may have more to say on the topic, but it is hard to see how he might leap into a subject where, let us say, expressing climate alarm would win him praise mainly from people who disagree with him on everything else.
Yesterday, I mentioned the excellent site for following the climate conflict.
But meanwhile, our Sr. Fellow Jay Richards summarizes the topic neatly thus:
“Ninety five percent of the debate has to do with the degree to which the climate ‘feedbacks’ amplify or counteract the natural effects (‘forcing’) of carbon dioxide. By itself, every doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere should add one degree Centigrade of warming, so that it would becoming increasingly difficult to add more warming (since you keep having to double the amount). The reason the IPCC assumes catastrophic warming is because they (also) assume that virtually all of the feedbacks are (1) known and (2) positive-—that is, that they magnify the effects of increased CO2. All the IPCC models are built on that premise, but virtually all the models overestimate the rate of warming (in many cases, doubling) that has actually been observed. And this can’t be random error, because none underestimate the warming observed. Every year since about 1996 the models have gotten more and more out of sync with the actual observations. See here But rather than thinking, ‘Hey, some of these feedbacks must be neutral or even negative’ (thus mitigating the effects), they double down and opt for the theoretical expectations over the observations.
“So it all comes down to the question of feedbacks, and the debate over the degree to which they magnify or counterbalance the natural warming of CO2. We know the models must be wrong, but exactly why is the open question. Anyone who claims to have complete knowledge or understanding of these is either lying or deeply confused.”
Here’s the thing, folks. Either the models are wrong, or they are right and the evidence is just not living up to its assigned role.