4. Influence of Human Activity on Climate
In an interview transcribed below and organized by topics (cf. Catolicismo, No. 705, September 2009), another renowned Brazilian scientist, Prof. José Carlos de Almeida Azevedo, Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with his experience and authority as former president of the University of Brasilia dealt with scientific aspects of human influence on climate.
a) Huge Disparity between the Forces of Nature and Those of Man
“There is no proportion between human activity and that of nature. Man is unable to change the weather; the difference is simply inconceivable, overwhelming. How can anyone, in the face of everything that has been here for millions of years, think that man influences the forces of nature? Nature is there the way it is and will continue to be for many millions of years.
“Many things influence the climate, and man has to find ways to live with climate change. The major human migrations occurred first of all because of the weather. So it was with those that occurred in Persia, in the Akkadian civilization (Mesopotamia) and in Mesoamerica. The climate changed, the temperature went up I don’t know how many degrees, and waters flowed elsewhere. And populations moved and began to live in another climate. If there had been no climate changes we would still be living in Africa. All humanity would be living there, on a continent which today is largely a desert.
“I began studying the subject and discovered a number of discrepancies and inconsistencies. This is a relevant issue because of the immeasurable disproportion between what they are spending or plan to spend and what they can accomplish. Just figure that studies carried out for example by the Copenhagen Consensus indicate that it will cost 13 trillion dollars to prevent the said increase in Earth temperature from exceeding 2 degrees (as announced in the last G8)! Where will that money come from?”
b) There Is No Scientific Basis for Asserting That Global Warming Is Man-Made
“The Earth is a dynamic whole. The CO2 we are emitting will go somewhere, for it will not disappear. Deforestation, combustion engines, fires, tree felling, all this has an influence. The important thing is to know to what degree and whether this is important in the sense that it will influence life on Earth if it continues to happen.
“As for current CO2 levels, all surveys show that they were much higher in the past. Carbon concentration in the air reached 1,500 or 2,000 parts per million (ppm). It is currently around 380 ppm.
[Global warming] alarmists refer to data they cannot prove. For example, they say that the level of CO2 began to grow with the advent of fossil fuels, i.e. the industrial era. That is not true. Nor are data on CO2 levels in the air at the beginning of the industrial era fully known. Some say it was 400 ppm, others that it was 160. The IPCC itself admits this.
“There is no concrete data on the levels of carbon dioxide to substantiate a decision as important as the one expressed in this formulation: ‘The developed countries must cut 20%, 30%, 40% of fossil fuels by such year.’ A decision like that will break the world economy. Who will suffer? The poorest peoples, African nations and nations in the poor world, including Latin America.
“Yes we use fossil fuels: beyond them there is almost nothing. Alarmists say: ‘There are alternative energies and renewable energy sources.’ What are alternative energies? The wind, the tide, the sun. Usage of all these energies added together now accounts for 5% of consumption on Earth. How are we going to change an entire energy park in 20 or 30 years to meet the vested interests – as I see it – of certain people or economic groups interested in hurting the economic development of poorer countries while at the same time harming richer countries?
“This is what is at stake, and there is no scientific basis for it. No scientific study can assert that if CO2 levels increase by so much, this or that will happen. They are based on two works, one by Jean-Baptiste Fourier and another by Svante Arrhenius. When were these studies made? From the year 1830 to 1896! Fourrier’s work precedes the discovery of the effects of radiation. At that time no one knew anything about it.”
c) The Greenhouse Effect, an Unscientific Invention
“Is there any relationship between CO2 and global warming? They are two different things. First, the name, greenhouse effect is wrong from the scientific and technical viewpoints. They coined that name to draw people’s attention, trying to establish a correlation between what is happening in the atmosphere and what happens inside a glass case where plants are placed to be kept at a certain temperature. Inside the glass dome you have the greenhouse effect, which arises from the following: solar radiation enters and heats the ground, warming everything that exists inside, and the heat cannot get out, not because the glass blocks the radiation but because the air has been heated. And if the air is unable to escape it stays warm inside. What happens is analogous to cases of children dying in cars left in the sun with the windows closed. All that gradually warms up, but the hot air can exit when the windows are open. It turns out that in the atmosphere there is no glass, the air is free. So the alarmists hypothesize that radiation rises and is reflected. This has no scientific basis at all.
“Does CO2 have an influence? Yes, but how much? Fossil fuels emit 6 or 7 billion tons of CO2 per year. This is about fifteen times less than the seas, which emit 90 billion tons. It is a fantastic disproportion between one thing and the other. Plants emit an almost equal amount.”
d) The Sea Level Is Not Rising and Will Not Rise
“There is no scientific evidence at all that sea levels are rising, and glaciers are dying. Alarmists say that glaciers are melting, but what they are not saying is that it is summer in the North Pole.
How will glaciers not melt in summer? They have to melt; they have always melted in this season. Alarmists say that Antarctica is melting. It is not. The Antarctic ice is increasing. And where is it headed? For the Antarctic Peninsula, that promontory pointing toward the south of the American continent where there is a glacier which occupies less than 1% of all glaciers in Antarctica! The glacier is melting because it is slipping into the sea. That is all it does: it increases in size and slides into the sea, breaking up and floating.
“’Eco-alarmists’ proclaim that the seas are rising and islands are disappearing. None of this is proven. They mix all these things to confuse the public. In Rio de Janeiro a person sold his apartment on Ipanema beach after reading an article claiming that the sea level would rise by seven meters. Those who benefit from this are profiteers who invest in carbon credits, solar panels, wind power and all that stuff. They are making colossal fortunes.
“A ruling by the High Court of England and Wales banned the movie by former U.S. vice president Al Gore from showing in schools; it is distributed for free in schools precisely to cause commotion. The English court analyzed the film, found 11 [scientific] errors and ruled that the movie cannot be shown without pointing out those errors. In fact, there are not only 11 errors but 35. It is a Hollywood piece with no scientific basis. It is all bunk, special effects.”
e) Distorted Utilization of IPCC Reports
“The IPCC does not carry out scientific studies. It brings together scientific studies, even good ones, related to climate. In theory, IPCC assessment reports (for advisers and policy makers) are good because they are based on serious scientific studies prepared by scientists competent to make them. That is when trickery begins to seep in. The IPCC mixes everything together; and from then on, the whole thing changes.
“At a meeting of the SBPC (Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science) in Manaus, climatologist Luiz Carlos Molion scientifically substantiated the thesis that large climate changes do not occur because of human action. More important than the latter, for example, are the thermal oscillations of the Pacific Ocean. At the bottom of the Pacific Ocean there are volcanoes. The greatest numbers of volcanoes on Earth are found in the seabed. In the south, the Antarctic, there are volcanoes; and there are rivers and lakes beneath the Antarctic ice.
“This data was recently uncovered by radar and laser techniques but remains undisclosed. They keep harping that the sea level will rise, islands will disappear, that inhabitants of the Pacific islands on a major migration to Australia and New Zealand. This is not true; everyone is in the same place. They contend that if there are no changes the apple crops of Santa Catarina will disappear. If any public agency such as the Public Prosecutor, the Bar or some representative entity asks them for a proof, they fail to produce it.”
f) Dispelling Some Scarecrows
“All life on earth depends on CO2. All organic matter has carbon. The existing carbon appeared through geological processes and is also buried in the rocks and seas. Plants absorb CO2 and will not grow without it.
“What is the real impact of Amazonian deforestation on global warming? Apparently none. The sand that falls on the Amazon comes from the Sahara, which was once a forest and had large rivers. The weather changes a lot and it will always keep changing.
“The ice cap on the poles does only two things: increase and decrease in size. In the latest major glacial era, there was ice worldwide above 12° latitude, both north and south. Brazil was covered by ice and so were Africa and all of Europe. In the latest major cold period, about 18,000 or 20,000 years ago (it was not exactly a glaciation) there was ice in Europe two miles thick. That ice melted, vanished.
“Rocks exploded and formed those fjords in Norway. Those huge valleys opened up in mountains of rocks. Water seeped in, froze and burst the rock. It is all there and can be proven. This has always happened and will always occur; it has nothing to do with pollution and deforestation. Deforestation is harmful, and pollution is more a problem of education than climate.”
g) Computer Climate Projections and Predictions Are Worthless
“Governments, in particular our own, have invested heavily in equipment, supercomputers to make these climate projections that are absolutely worthless. From these supercomputers you draw any result you want. Computers are about garbage in and garbage out. The computer will process whatever you place into it to be processed. If I enter today’s CO2 level as being 20% and ask what it will be in an x number of years from now, it will process that gunk at a fantastic cost and spew a whole series of falsely scientific, pseudo-scientific works and hypotheses that have no importance at all.
“It is a curious thing, but competent and dedicated meteorologists work on a day-to-day basis, make projections or forecasts for a week or at most for 10 to 15 days. These IPCC personnel who take care of climate projections by computer make projections for 20 or 100 years in the future. No one will double check the level of the seas one hundred years from now…
“The concrete question is this: Is there any scientific evidence that relates human action with climate change? Answer: There is none. Can there be any in the future? I think it will be very difficult for that to happen because this is an incredibly complex system and no scientific or mathematical treatment can be processed with a minimum of security to enable us to make statements of this nature. In my opinion, in order to finish with global warming as it exists, it suffices to unplug these computers from their outlets. This is not an irony: it is a statement that I make with some scientific responsibility.”
 Catolicismo, No. 705, September 2009.