When we write about environmental funds that harp on about global warming, we are talking to fund managers and not qualified scientists. Many of these financiers declare an abhorrence of global warming -- possibly because it is a theme around which a profitable product can be draped. Saying that man-made carbon dioxide is causing global warming is known to even infants. It's a fact, isn't it? If you don't agree with it, you are a pariah. "Oh, so you like global warming do you?"
However, many scientists, none of whom are anti-Mother Earth, say this hypothesis is not true, and it's a fake science that has been hardwired into our brains by a programme of propaganda worthy of Josef Goebbels.
The conclusions are belying the evidence according to scientist Ralph Alexander (brother of Jakarta-based private equity financier Patrick Alexander). He has written a book entitled Global Warming False Alarm (sub-titled 'The bad science behind the United Nations' assertion that man-made CO2 causes global warming').
He casts the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the problem. He points out that were the IPCC an organisation of scientists, its pronouncements might be more believable, but it includes an army of budget-seeking ministers, bureaucrats and government representatives (all presumably getting high taxpayer funded wages and keen for first class flights to the next climate change summit), who are hell-bent on validating the original hypothesis that global warming is man-made.
It has become political, not because the thesis is necessarily true, but because politicians love causes and power, and then being able to tax people to support them. (Though you have to wonder how much of the green taxes they charge go to cleaning up the planet, compared to cleaning up their banking systems and paying their political expenses.)
The IPCC says it is 90% certain that global warming in the last 50 years is caused by man-made CO2. However, Alexander points out that our understanding of clouds and water vapour (a far more prolific greenhouse gas, he says), is so primitive, that you couldn't have that degree of certainty.
In balance he says that the other potential causes may be esoteric, but instead of acknowledging the possibility of their culpability, the IPCC simply ignores them and blames carbon 100%.
The case he makes is that the IPCC is cherry picking the statistics that makes its graphs look good, for example, plucking out one of the lowest available estimates of the boost in solar output (one possible cause of global warming he believes) or being incredibly selective about historical data on temperature, and ignoring all the others. Putting on a slick presentation is what drives them, rather than science.
In 2008, AsianInvestor interviewed a Hong Kong stockbroker (not a scientist), who professed knowledge on the subject. When asked whether solar activity was a cause of global warming, he shrugged and said that most intelligent people didn't agree. That is not a hard conclusion to reach if all the evidence to the contrary is being trivialised.
Ralph Alexander quotes studies by atmospheric researchers who reckon solar influence might be being underestimated by a factor of three, but he says such findings are ignored by the IPCC because they don't stick to the script.
He points out that if you are a scientist who produces a report that doesn't parrot the IPCC line, you are bound by the following rule that cooks the books: "Changes made after acceptance by the working group or the panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the summary for policymakers or the overview chapter."
Their minds are made up already and in a cliche he often hears, 'the debate is over'. If you don't agree (despite the woolly science) you are a heretic.
If you're a scientist, and you want to get funding to investigate frog proliferation in Phuket, you may only get your cash grant when you add the rider 'and the effect of global warming on reproduction patterns', so it's quite an incentive to stay on track and massage results to fit the bill. It happens.
Alexander became disillusioned on the party line when he was teaching a course on global warming and found that the text book he was teaching from only presented the man-made CO2 version as hard fact. The zealots were in control of the school text books.
The author of the book wonders why the media is so compliant about parroting the IPCC global warming line. What he probably doesn't realise is that a typical journalist likes an easy story (particularly a 'doomsday' one) served up to him neatly in the form of a press release. The same reporter might fancy getting a well paid job in the United Nations Press Office if he is seen to genuflect often enough.
The IPCC bases a lot of conclusions on its computer models, but Ralph Alexander is sceptical about these, pointing out that so much of our planet is beyond our current knowledge that to be definitive on the basis of a computer model is foolish. (If the IPCC's computer models are anything like as bad as Lehman Brothers' then they aren't worth much.)
'We're at the tipping point,' is an oft-repeated cry. 'We can't take the chance we're wrong. We must act now'. Well it makes for a lot of nice civil service jobs and fund management schemes, carbon credit millionaires, and taxes (taxes that still don't stop China's coal burning power stations) but the science might still be plain incorrect.
Ironically when we speak to financiers who toe the global warming line, when we point out that their firm gives 'buy' recommendations on coal companies, and indulges in a great deal of wasteful business class air flights, their line swiftly changes to 'the world must go on, we can't go back to the stone ages'. Coincidentally, every example where they are being non-green falls into that category. Funny that.
For the billions being paid to support the IPCC hypothesis on the off-chance, just about every other environmental problem could be solved, including cleaning up the planet's water systems and siphoning up the plastic clag floating around in the Pacific Ocean in a plastic-island the size of a European country. To those who feel that the current tub-thumping might be a case of 'emperor's new clothes', this book is a breath of fresh air.