Posted by: erl happ | January 30, 2009

The ‘global financial crisis’, the ‘climate change crisis’ and David Archibald’s new book Solar Cycle 24.

In my view the so called ‘Global Financial Crisis’ has its roots in unprincipled behaviour relating to borrowing and lending and also the use of the US dollar as a means of settling international obligations.

There is another impending crisis relating to unprincipled behaviour in the world of science and the environment. The chattering classes, who are not capable of thinking for themselves, have been told that carbon dioxide is the source of impending catastrophic climate change. I hear them on the radio and my heart sinks.

I have been at some pains in this blog to point out that climate change is a natural and inevitable consequence of the relationship between the Earth and the Sun. Unfortunately; the message is not simple and will not be easily grasped. People seem to like the simplicity of the notion that a heavy molecule absorbs energy and reflects it back upon the Earth. They forget that the sea stores energy and is responsible for the equability of coastal climates and the globe as a whole. Few people live in desert environments where radiation is the dominant method by which the Earth loses energy and yet overnight temperature plummets. Where is the greenhouse effect in Marble Bar?

Carbon dioxide is a trace gas (0.038%), that from the point of plant nutrition is maintained in a position of chronic under-supply by the avid demand of plants and its ready solubility in water. Plants use it to build carbohydrate, the source of energy for all living things. If we could triple the quantity of carbon dioxide in the air, plant growth would respond in a way that is demonstrated in controlled atmosphere greenhouses. Under a regime of supplemented carbon dioxide, plants use less water and grow faster. If we could raise the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere to 0.2% we could green the deserts with no change in air temperature and no change in water supply. Just keep breathing and driving your car. You are doing the right thing.

The temperature of the Earth depends upon the absorption of energy by evaporating water and the displacement of warm air by cooler denser air rushing in to take its place. That is what drives the wind and nothing will stop it. The fastest growth of temperature on the globe is seen above the tropics where water vapour condenses to form cloud. The increase of temperature just one mile up is three times as fast as at the surface. None of that energy finds its way back to the surface because it has a ticket on the fastest elevator on Earth.

Humans require oxygen and there is more than 20% oxygen in the air that we breathe. Spare a thought for plants that get by on a gas that is just one five hundredth as abundant as oxygen.

As an antidote for the notion that carbon dioxide is the root of all environmental evils I thoroughly recommend David Archibald’s book ‘Solar Cycle 24’. David has a geologists perspective that gives due weight to what we know of how the Earth has evolved. He is also an avid student of solar processes. Above all he has an incisive mind and a very strong sense of self referral. This book will help you to get a proper perspective on carbon dioxide.

David’s book can be obtained via his website at


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