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Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? Part 5: CO2 Emissions Versus Temperature

The public might not understand the science, but they do understand cheating

Dr. David Evans

6 October 2010

[A series of articles reviewing the western climate establishment and the media. The first and second discussed air temperatures, the third discussed ocean temperatures, and the fourth discussed past temperatures.]

Click to download a pdf file containing the whole series

Notice How They Never Directly Compare Temperature With Human Emissions of CO2?

According to the man-made theory of global warming promoted by the western climate establishment, the recent global warming is due to human emissions of greenhouse gases, which are dominated by carbon dioxide (CO2).

So let’s compare the alleged cause (human emissions of CO2) with the alleged effect (temperature).

Human emissions of CO2 have been estimated from historical data for the period 1751 (before the industrial revolution) to 2007 for the major sources—coal, gas, and petroleum use, cement production, and gas flaring—by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center within the US Department of Energy. (The cumulative figures below extrapolate to 2010 using average annual emissions for the previous 14 years.)

These CO2 emissions figures aren’t perfect, principally because they omit some causes. The major omission is deforestation, but it is relatively minor:

  • Deforestation is widely assumed to be about 20% of emissions in the last couple of decades, but recent calculations show it is more like 12% of emissions for 2008).
  • Deforestation is counteracted to a large degree by reforestation, afforestation, and the growth of plants in the deforested areas. These new plants are consumers of CO2 from the air. Despite deforestation in places like the Amazon and southeast Asia, the total amount of plant growth on the planet increased by 6% over 1982 – 1999 (from NASA satellite observations, page 19 here).
  • By 1500 Europe had cleared nearly all its forests, then switched to charcoal then coal for fuel. The world fossil-fuel emissions in 1751 were negligible on DOE figures—so the coal consumption in Europe and the deforestation it replaced were both small compared to today’s emission rates.
  • Global deforestation sharply accelerated around 1852, roughly in parallel with fossil fuel use (fossil fuels make deforestation much faster). This suggests that deforestation might have been roughly proportional to fossil fuel use or availability.

No one knows what the net effect of deforestation, reforestation, afforestation, and any replacement plants are, even today, let alone in the distant past. It is not even clear what ought to count as a “forest emission due to humans”, especially when forest and agricultural products are accounted for. In any case, they don’t add more than few percent to the DOE emissions figures.

Human emissions and temperatures last 1000 years Figure 21: Comparison of temperature with human emissions of carbon dioxide. Human emissions were negligible before 1850, so how could they have caused the global warming from 1700 to 1850? Source: Temperature as per Figure 17, emissions see text.


The current global warming trend started before 1700, yet human CO2 emissions were negligible before 1850. So the theory that humans started the recent global warming is absurd and obviously wrong.

Have you ever seen a graph of human CO2 emissions versus temperature (the alleged cause and effect) anywhere in the media or from the climate establishment? Why not?

Why do the climate establishment and mainstream media instead show us graphs of atmospheric CO2 levels versus temperature? Isn’t this misdirection to disguise the almost complete non-correlation between our emissions and the temperature?

Perhaps human emissions of CO2 merely aggravated or extended the current global warming trend? Let’s zoom in on the era since 1850, when human emissions are significant:

Human Emissions and Temperature last 150 years Figure 22: Comparison of temperature with human emissions of carbon dioxide, over the period when the latter are significant. Source: As per Figure 21 (warning: the temperatures from 1850 to 1980 are suspect because they come from land-thermometers).


Important admission. Leading member of the climate establishment, Dr. Phil Jones, again: the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998:

“are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other”.

The rates of warming during the warming periods are the same. We know theoretically that CO2 emissions must cause some warming, but that warming does not appear to be large enough to show up in a comparison with temperature.

Nearly all our emissions are quite recent—85% of all our emissions ever occurred after 1945, as post-WWII industrialization greatly accelerated emissions:

Year Percentage of All Human CO2 Emissions (to 2010) Emitted By That Year
1850 < 1%
1910 5%
1945 15%
1963 25%
1984 50%
1998 75%
2010 100%

There has been no significant global warming since 1998 (as Figure 17 shows, and Dr Phil Jones agrees). Yet a quarter of our emissions have occurred since then. If our emissions cause global warming, how come the last 25% of our emissions, concentrated in just 12 years, have not caused further global warming?


Summary | PART I | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7 | PART 8 | PART 9 | PART 10 | PART 11

Full PDF versions for printing and emailing are available from the summary page.

Image from wikimedia: Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1990-0509-018,_Umweltbelastung_in_Lauchhammer.jpg


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