Climate Change over Dinner

We had dinner with some friends recently. It would not be polite to name names, but it was a really excellent meal. The conversation turned to climate change and I was interested to know why their son and his girlfriend, both very bright people finishing engineering and science degrees at a prestigious university, believed that a rising CO2 level is to blame.

I asked why when CO2 levels have been so much higher in the past is today’s relatively low level such a cause for concern. Surprisingly, the physics major assured me that today’s level is the highest it has ever been. Rather than argue the point, when I got home I dug out the following graph:


The key points are obvious. Not only have CO2 levels been much higher over geological timescales, but temperature and CO2 levels are not correlated, at least not in the simplistic way that the IPCC and media would have us believe.

I have emailed them a link to the following paper (which discusses this graph in more detail) and it will be interesting to see whether one or both of them is able to overcome the painful cognitive dissonance that I remember well on first encountering inconvenient data like this.

Geologic Global Climate Changes, Nasif Nahle, 2007, Biology Cabinet


2 thoughts on “Climate Change over Dinner

  1. Well the interesting bit is when/if they get back to you.
    They may have been fed the line
    “never engage with deniers, cos they are dangerous and funded by big oil’

    – always try to pause and clarify
    “What do you mean by ever?”
    He doesn’t realise he means in the history of man but not in the history of mammals.

    Plus there may have been high blips in man’s time but the proxies have not had enough samples to pick that up.

    How much did you know about Islam at age 21? Far less than you know now I guess.


    • I agree and will be updating if I get some feedback or not after a suitable “pause”. You are quite right about the way to approach this – it’s all too easy to get evangelical and it always backfires. The best I get at those times is “It is nice to see someone so enthusiastic about their subject” – ahem…

      The funny thing is that the father is one of my best friends who got me started down this road about 10 years ago when I suggested if we were going to go skiing we needed to do it soon before the alps were snow free – hard to believe I said this now! The only thing he said at the time is “there is other data” and I was so incensed I said I would come back with a list of research papers to prove it … and the rest is history.

      Unfortunately that single small conversation led to a major obsession for me. I wonder whether I might sue him now under Human Rights legislation – extended disturbance to peace of mind?


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