It’s been 6 weeks since Professor Fritz Vahrenholt’s and Dr. Sebastian Lüning’s bestselling skeptic book “Die kalte Sonne” was released. The Greens have been attacking the book – but their arguments have been astonishingly weak. Some Greens wrote a paper listing their arguments against the book.
Vahrenholt and Lüning have since posted here a list of the most common arguments and their rebuttals (which I have paraphrased) as follows:
1. Fritz Vahrenholt used old and already refuted claims.
Rebuttal: “Die kalte Sonne“ bases its arguments on hundreds of publications from renowned scientists. There’s a wide range of scientific opinions. A number of scientists whose opinions deviate from the IPCC have stopped participating in the IPCC due to the frustration of being constantly ignored. The selection of material assessed by the IPCC is incomplete. Natural climate factors and processes have not been taken into account by the IPCC and are not included in their models. Therefore the IPCC does not in any way represent a consensus. The claims made by Die kalte Sonne have not been refuted. Just the missing warming of the last 12 years should tell anyone that something is amiss, and that natural processes have to be at work.
2. The scientific data and facts leave no room to doubt the accelerating man-made climate change.
No one doubts that man plays a role in climate change and out book projects a warming of about 1°C by the year 2100, caused by CO2. The issue is not black or white, but rather how gray? The greens ignore the complexity of the climate system..
3. All scientific measurements clearly show that climate change is happening faster than before.
Rebuttal: Wrong. How the Greens reach that statement is a mystery. Global temperatures have not risen in 12 years. Not one single IPCC model predicted that. How can climate change progress faster than expected when temperatures have failed to rise, contrary to projections?
4. 2010 was one of the hottest measured years – equal to the record year of 2005 (as to the Goddard Institute).
Rebuttal: 2010 is also part of the temperature plateau of the last decade. The fact remains: no warming in over 10 years. The Greens cherry-picked the year 2010, which happens to be an El Nino year (see p. 98-101 in “Die kalte Sonne”). You can plot temperatures yourself at Woodfortrees.org. Or you can refer to authors such as Kaufmann et al (2011) or Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), or even climate scientist and warmist Prof. Jochem Marotzke confirmed the same in interviews with the taz (9 February 2012) and Spiegel (27 February 2012; p. 113).
5. In 2010 the Earth’s surface, both land and sea, was 0.74° Celsius warmer than the average.
Rebuttal: True, but what does that prove? Warm temperatures are normal as we find ourselves in the Modern Warm Period, which is for the most part a positive phase of a millennial cycle. Temperatures were just as warm, if not warmer, 1000 years ago. The two phases are separated by the natural cold phase known as the Little Ice Age (LIA) 400 years ago. What baseline do the Greens use? Do they use the zero-line of the natural millennial cycle? It is widely known that the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 has been about 0.8°C. As a measure of solar activity, the solar magnetic field has more than doubled since the end of the LIA. And because of the well documented geological sun-climate coupling over the last 10,000 years, it is clearly visible that a significant part of the observed recent warming is due to the increased solar activity (see ZEIT).
6. The measured mean temperatures are at the upper limit of the worst scenarios provided by the IPCC in 2007.
Rebuttal: Wrong, (see chart that follows).
7. That CO2 and other climate gases are in large part responsible for the climate change is scientifically without doubt.
Rebuttal: CO2 is certainly responsible for a part of the warming since 1850. But what do the Greens understand from “in large part“? Would that also include 50/50, i.e. half due to man, just as Mojib Latif recently stated in an interview with Austrian daily Die Presse? We also assume such an estimate for the development of the climate until 2100. The climate debate is all about how much each factor individually contributes. A 50/50 weighting of anthropogenic and natural climate drivers is also assumed by Prof. Nicola Scafetta of Duke University (see pages 135 “Die kalte Sonne“) and Prof. Nir Shaviv (see pages 86).
8. For the solar radiation budget, only three possibilities come into question: 1. the change in solar irradiation on the Earth’s surface, 2. the change in the reflected share of sunlight from the Earth, e.g. changed albedo from deforestation or clouds and 3. the increase in greenhouse gases.
Rebuttal: Correct. But the sun and solar amplifiers involve points (1) and (2). In addition to the UV solar amplifier, there’s also an impressive series of indices for a solar impact on cloud formation via solar activity and cosmic radiation (Svensmark Amplifier). Here experiments are currently now underway at CERN, Phase 2 of the CLOUD project.
9. The individual contributions are measurable and correspond to the IPCC report and include the range of uncertainties.
Rebuttal: Just with the factors of clouds and aerosols there are huge uncertainties. One crucial question is whether cloud cover is a consequence or a cause of the observed temperature development. According to the Svensmark process, a major part of changes in cloud cover would be controlled by solar activity (stronger solar magnetic field over the last 100 years keeping more cosmic rays out, and thus leading to less cloud formation). But the IPCC assumes because of the temperature rise that the clouds as a positive feedback have reduced. The IPCC’s assessment is subjective and ignores the scientific reality.
10. Greenhouse gases are clearly the dominant factor.
Rebuttal: As mentioned earlier, this claim is based on a series of false assumptions, and thus no longer scientifically acceptable. [Note: greenhouse gases were never the dominant role in the past].
11. The sun has little influence compared to greenhouse gases. Measurements show that during an 11-year solar cycle, the solar radiation changes only by 0.2 W/sq m. Just the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere causes an effect that is 10 times more.
Rebuttal: The fluctuation in solar irradiation is indeed too little to cause any significant climate change. However, geological analyses of the last 10,000 years clearly show that the sun is indeed a major factor. So how can the sun have little impact today when fluctuations of 1°C or more were caused by it in the past? Is it pure coincidence that solar activity increased immensely in parallel with the warming of the last 150 years up to the Grand Maximum reached just recently? According to Max-Planck solar physicist Sami Solanki the last years were among the most solar active of the last 10,000 years. So if the sun indeed has a great influence, then the climate sensitivity of CO2 must be accordingly less.
12. It is not a surprise that we find ourselves in a phase of low solar activity, but at the same time, global temperatures continue their rise with 2010 being one of the warmest on record.
Rebuttal: Here the Greens make a huge blunder. First off, there’s not been any warming in 12 years. So how can anyone claim temperatures continue their rise? The end of the warming coincided with the end of the 60-year PDO warm phase, which has impacted temperatures over the last several hundred years, see the correlation in the chart that follows:
During the positive PDO phases, the temperature increases by 0.2°C, and the opposite occurs when it is in the cold phase. Also the year 2000 23rd solar cycle was less than the previous cycles. Solar cycles numbers 21 and 22 during the 1980s and 90s were particularly strong, and thus may have led to strong warming. All this coincided with the strong warming of 1977-2000, a time when the global temperature climbed 0.5°C, see the following chart:
Here the sun’s effect is like a pot of water on the stove, which does not get hot immediately if subjected to a strong flame. There’s a time lag. Two strong cycles in a row can cause more warming then one single record solar cycle. Then one has to factor in the overlapping ocean cycles.
13. Natural catastrophes, of which 90% were weather-related, have increased massively in 2010, says the Munich Re reinsurer.
Rebuttal: This claim is false and misleading. Numerous studies show that storms (p. 202-208 in “Die kalte Sonne“), river flooding, and droughts are all well within their natural range of variation when it comes to intensity and frequency. Because of decadal scales, it is not enough to go back only 30 years.
14. The damage for the year totalled $130 billion, making 2010 the sixth most destructive year for the insurance industry since 1980.
Rebuttal: A large reason for the high level of damage is because the standards of living and assets have risen immensely worldwide since 1980. More and more people are living in areas prone to flooding. If the damage amounts are normalised, then, according to a new study by the London School of Economics and Political Science, statistically there is no detectable global increase in the damage trend. The authors conclude: “Climate change is not, and cannot be the the main concern of the insurance industry. The accumulation of values in natural catastrophe vulnerable areas is and always will be the main cause of the future damage development.“ Also see Roger Pielke, Jr..
15. The recent temperature records and the increasing frequency of natural catastrophes are clear signs of galloping climate change.
Rebuttal: As already shown, there has not been any warming in 12 years and there has not been an increase in natural disaster frequency. So it is dubious to say that climate change is galloping away.
16. Also the observed sudden cold snaps od the last winters are no reason for a sigh of relief, to the contrary works by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) that hard winters do not refute in any way global warming, but, to the contrary support it.
Rebuttal: Single cold winters or hot summers are no evidence of a climate trend. And a warm winter cannot be elevated to being a sign of a missing climate warming. What doesn’t fit, is made to look like it fits.