- Energy use is voluntary and consumption varies between countries.
- Energy use costs natural resources, human toil and expenditure.
- No energy can be recycled to the same use
- No energy sources can be renewed.
- Pollution by combustion of fossil fuels is mostly from heat and water vapour emissions.
- Carbon dioxide does not trap infrared in the atmosphere more than other gases. Causes of any warming and cooling trends are unresolved.
- Thermal pollution can accumulate on Earth.
- Energy consumption is unlimited except by cost and is a status symbol of wealth.
- Energy ends up warming oceans, warms the atmospheric and goes out into space.
- Heat emissions from devices increase entropy (low temperature heat), are unrecyclable and cause warming.
- To reduce global warming, we need to use less energy. Replacing efficient fossil fuel suppliers of electricity with ‘renewable’ supplies will cause more warming, not less.
These answers are theories forming a paradigm shift in climate science, explained in a satirical fiction story.
Like understanding in other fields of science, climate has had phases, punctuated by crises of individual scientists’ faith, with breakdown and replacement, referred to as ‘paradigm shifts’*.
PARADIGM 1 Until 1945
Our understanding of climate was of regular procession of the seasons. Extreme events were divinely caused. Conditions and climates would continue favourably by prayer, diligent duty and sacrifice.
PARADIGM 2 1946 – 1987
With scientific understanding, the behaviour of the atmosphere, oceans and earth became predictable causes of weather but variations in climate statistics were understood only superficially. Another ice age was possible. Weather forecasts were uncertain within days and speculative further ahead. Energy supply was managed by laissez-faire economic supply and demand. Scientific theories were tested by experiment. There was no possibility of changing climates, although there were experiments to increase rainfall by cloud seeding.
PARADIGM 3 1988 – ?
Pollutant gases seemed linked to climate after a ‘hole’ in the ozone layer was claimed to have been repaired by limiting accidental release of chlorofluorocarbons, having a catalytic effect on ozone. When there seemed to be polar ice melting, glacier retreat and higher sea levels, global warming was attributed to greenhouse gases, especially by the increase in carbon dioxide from fossil fuels combustion. When science theories could not be tested, credible assertion and modelling that explained adjusted data was accepted. Energy supply became controlled by governments. Worldwide restructuring of energy supply without fossil fuels turned to renewable energy, especially from solar and wind. Reduction of energy consumption was not considered.
PARADIGM 4 2021 – ?
The link between global warming and fossil fuel combustion is realized tenuous. Increasing carbon dioxide in air has other possible explanations and in any case its effect is non-catalytic, benign and its warming effect is unsubstantiated. Warming by other combustion products, heat and water vapour, can no longer be ignored. Carbon dioxide is recognised to be benign. Renewable energy is realised to cause warming equal to or greater than fossil fuels. To prevent global warming, energy use should be scaled back if possible in industry and all other human activities, especially in high energy-using countries such as Australia; Canada; USA; Europe.
*The term ‘paradigm shift’ is explained in Godfrey-Smith, Theory and Realist, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, 2003. My coming novel ‘Animal Farm 2’ explains these views https://martinknox.com
Why Blame Carbon Dioxide?
Can there be evidence that carbon dioxide causes global warming? We can see that there is less arctic ice and shrinking of glaciers but the explanation could conceivably be that snowfall in their catchments has reduced. Even if there is warming, attributing these effects to it cannot be tested because causality is invisible and cannot be identified with certainty. Attributing the effect to carbon dioxide cannot be observed or tested directly. It’s too important to guess.
Scientists often establish causality by testing with a physical model. If there warming was observed in many tests and few results were without warming, nor many with cooling, then by the principle of induction the warming could be associated with carbon dioxide, under those conditions. No physical model can be large enough to approximate the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Models could possibly corroborate that carbon dioxide does cause warming (I haven’t heard of any such tests). Even so, models could add their logic to the theory but can never verify it absolutely.
People who use the reduced ice effects as evidence can be deceived by an a priori result, because melting was assumed to cause the reduction in ice observed, a circular argument and false.
Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a smoking gun. Warming of the oceans is causing them to release some of their dissolved store of carbon dioxide. Warming has caused the carbon dioxide increase, not vice versa.
Attributing the cause of ice reduction to carbon dioxide with reasonable confidence requires that possible alternative causes are eliminated. The effect on ice of co-products of fossil fuel combustion, heat and water vapour, could also be to reduce it. Alternatively, Earth warming by the Sun has variable solar processes and Earth orbits that could cause warming and melting.
Other science theories, such as gravity, evolution and relativity, also have invisible causality and were adopted before their science was fully understood. Philosophies of science were modified to accommodate these theories. Carbon dioxide’s culpability could be accepted without evidence, provided it is logical, if it is not contradicted and if other explanations are not credible.
I have mentioned several alternative theories of ice reduction. William of Occam wanted preference to be given to the simplest theory. Thermal emissions explain warming more simply than does carbon dioxide. The significance of carbon dioxide needs to be reconsidered.
My coming novel Animal Farm 2 is a sequel to George Orwell’s Animal Farm and satirizes totalitarianism, animal liberation and climate change. martinknox.com