Climate science denier, so-called “science communicator”, and blogger JoNova went on SkyNews’s Outsiders programme last weekend.
Outsiders, in case you didn’t know, is hosted by Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean who together think human-caused climate change is a myth.
SkyNews is a bit of a haven for climate science denialists, what with Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and the Outsiders crew.
Anyway, back to JoNova (real name Joanne Codling). She was asked if there had been a “Road to Damascus” moment for her on climate change. She said it was in February 2007 when her husband had told her that in the Earth’s geological past, there had been a 700 year lag between a rise in temperatures and a rise in CO2.
This led JoNova to Google for a bit. While this didn’t shoot down the argument that CO2 causes climate change, it did make her think that “the media is hiding something.” According to Jo, all the scientists know this fact, but they don’t want to debate it.
“How come I never read that in New Scientist,” mused JoNova.
Thats pretty funny. Here’s a NewScientist article, also from 2007, explaining how this well known CO2 lag has been misused to spread doubt about human-caused climate change.
The short dissection of this myth, is that when the Earth has emerged from ice ages in the past, this happens slowly. What get’s the process going is a slight change the Earth’s tilt that causes warmer temperatures. Once that happens, the oceans get a bit warmer and start to degas the CO2, kick starting a feedback mechanism. CO2 gets released from other processes too.
None of that stops the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels from being able to kick start the warming that we’re now going through, which of course it does. CO2 can both cause warming, and be a symptom of warming.
What’s more, this apparent attempt by scientists to hide the CO2 lag from the general public that JoNova hints at, is total bullshit. The scientific literature is awash with research explaining this process. Nobody challenges it. JoNova is giving the SkyNews viewers a rolled gold strawman.
The “CO2 lags temperature” argument is a classic of the climate science denial world. Here’s a video from the Denial101x that explains this myth.
Here’s an old video from Peter Hadfield also explaining this myth and especially exposes the strawman argument that lots of scientists have been trying to hide this inconvenient fact, which isn’t inconvenient at all.