GCR link of Global warming – a new Contrarian twist?

Aug 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: CLIMATE SCIENCE, Global Warming, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Opinion, Youth Speak

Pabitra Mukhopadhyay: Dr. Kelvin Klemm’s post Indian study shows climate change is probably caused by natural factors is what scientists call false positive. It apparently praises an Indian perspective and may turn out to be quite popular for Indian readers but I have few reservations about the enthusiasm it apparently invokes. I feel that it is necessary that environment enthusiasts, particularly young people and students in India should examine the alternative perspectives before coming to any conclusion, let alone a stand.

Notwithstanding what Sri Jairam Ramesh’s ‘quote’ that Dr. Klemm has based his opinion on expresses [“There is a groupthink in climate science today. Anyone who raises alternative climate theories is immediately branded a climate atheist in an atmosphere of climate evangelists.” “Climate science is incredibly more complex than negotiators make it out to be . . . Climate science should not be driven by the West. We should not always be dependent on outside reports.”], no science, in its true spirit, is sole territory of any cultural, national or regional divide. If anything is driven anywhere in either east or west, they are biases, interpretations and world views that we borrow from science. Science is what it exactly is, a pursuit to logically and coherently describe the physical world based on empiricism, experiments and documents keeping open it’s every theory subjected to falsification. Nothing is sacrosanct in science, Einstein or Stephen Hawking do not stand as prophets. There is a tendency in US to color everything with religion, economics and popular politics, unfortunately even science cannot escape it, and this whole business of Climate Atheists/Evangelist has nothing to do with science per se. India is largely a country of poor people and there are many things wanting here, but not secular ideals that we have upheld for six decades. I don’t think youth of my country has anything to learn from this debate; in terms of values I mean.

It’s not often that an Indian Cabinet minister’s response is welcomed in the US, which incidentally refrained from signing the Kyoto Protocol all along during its pendency. Now that it is practically dead, any contention that undermines the basic connection of CO2 (and thereby use of oil and coal, huge energy consumption by developed countries and a possible question regarding the morality of consumerist economic models of the west) with Global Warming will be rejoiced and there is no surprise in that observation. We in India are no less gullible in desiring to secure a vetting of our stand, the stand of a developing country having its unique problems of population, poverty, illiteracy, cross-border terrorism, from a developed country having completely different economic and social realities. As people we are friendly and open, that’s alright, but youth of India do not need endorsement of their aspiration from anybody other than Indian people and soil.

And what the heck is Science Theology? That’s an oxymoron and a media crap. Science has its principles, scientists work to prove nothing other than physical laws and events, in its body science contains skepticism and each piece of scientific literature needs to go through peer review and earn credibility and acceptance. Theology is required by religion where ‘faith’ rules over reason. Science Theology is a forced marriage between two opposites, which our youth should appreciate to keep separate.

I have a strong feeling that when Dr. Rao was writing his paper, he was least bothered about Climate Atheists/Evangelists. As a scientist he proposed what logically followed from his long years of observations, painstaking analyses and his groundbreaking research and true to science, he did not deliver an edict, but with all humility proposed a review of IPCC’s general claim that Global Warming has only CO2 link as a sole or primary contributor need to give the GCR-Cloud Cover and Cloud nucleation it’s due weightage. It’s silly labeling a scientist of Dr. Rao’s caliber as an Indian scientist, which despite being politically correct; belie the borderless pedestal from where scientists work.

What I find the most frustrating over-simplification by Dr. Klemm is that if GCR connection of Global warming is proved to be true then there is nothing that mankind can do about it. Such sweeping assessment of mankind completely ignores its profound capacities to adapt to situations, fight nature’s adversities to an astounding scale and mankind’s almost limitless innovations and technological advancements. It also diverts our focus from the simple fact, evidenced by tons of peer reviewed research that anthropological global warming is at least a part of Global Warming, and as such we still remain responsible for that part. I, by no means, am taking sides with the IPCC, which is hardly a scientific body in the same breath we speak of, say CERN, but cheering India to sell GCR connection in Durban (COP 17) as an agenda should not be taken too seriously or we may lose focus on other issues like Climate Change Adaptation and Fast Start Finance.

For more scientifically oriented readers, there is little evidence for a connection between solar activity (as inferred from trends in galactic cosmic rays) and recent global warming. Read report here. You may also find this interesting. And it may also be very good idea to read the original work of Dr. Rao as published in the Current Science magazine and Ministry of Environment and Forest publication of Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) Discussion paper #2 by Dr. V. Ramanathan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego here.

As for a quote, this is what Professor Ramanathan says, “Empirical studies that have attempted to either prove or disprove the GCR-cloud linkage are not conclusive since they have to rely on flawed satellite cloudiness data.”

[Picture Source: Polls Botique ]

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Youth Leaders SpeakAuthor: Pabitra Mukhopadhyay has written this article for Climate Himalaya Initiative’s Youth Leaders Speak Column. Pabitra is an environment enthusiast and amateur blogger and keen to network with everyone with active interest on issues related to the Himalayas.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Himalaya Initiative’s team.

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2 Comments to “GCR link of Global warming – a new Contrarian twist?”

  1. Thanks Pabitra for putting Kemm’s “opinion” in perspective. Dr Kelvin Kemm is a global warming denialist who I’m afraid doesn’t have much of a clue about climate science. He may have studied nuclear physics years ago but is no longer a practicing scientist, if he ever was once he got his PhD (do a google scholar search – he’s definitely not a climate scientist). In an event he has no scientific credibility regarding climate science and is well known in South Africa as one of a handful of vocal denialists who misrepresent the science to promote a “business as usual agenda”. Pretending that their arguments are supported by solid scientific evidence they lack integrity – in other words,their behaviour is unethical in that it misleads the gullible public. GRC theory was at best tentative and has since shown not to be able to account for any significant effect, if any. Pabitra, I see you referenced realclimate.org for the debunking – couldn’t have done better myself.
    If you are reading this Kelvin – shame on you!! You are an embarrassment to science.
    You guys have a real problem coming with the melting glaciers and water supply – you really don’t need misinformants such as Kemm giving the politicians any excuse for not immediately taking dramatic mitigation actions.
    Check out postcarbon.org for the big picture (peak oil, limits to growth, industrial farming) of how we got to this sorry state and how we can choose to change or will be forced to.

  2. Pabitra says:

    Thanks Hugh. I am not a journalist so I do not suffer from any professional neutrality as far as Climate Change is concerned. In fact, I feel that the media at large has done a sloppy work by reporting the AGW and the denialists as two equally credible sides of a debate (if there is any at all). That greatly undermined a truth based on solid science and served political interests of Coal and Oil lobbies.

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