Dr. Craig Idso, world famous scientist involved in climate change research for over two decades, gave an exclusive interview to Vila Times. According to Dr. Idso, rising CO2 emissions is a great benefit to natural and managed ecosystems, governmental programs to reduce emissions and deforestation in South Pacific will have almost zero impact on future climate, and government is wasting our resources by pouring money into the climate change issue.
Vila Times update: it is worth mentioning that Dr. Craig Idso is quite a controversial figure in scientific community. According to leaked internal documents from the Heartland Institute in 2012, Craig Idso was receiving $11,600 a month from the oil industry-tied Heartland Institute through his Center for the Study of CO2 & Global Change.
‘Planet won’t see future catastrophe predicted by climate alarmists because of rising atmospheric CO2 emissions’
Hi Dr. Idso. Could you tell us just a little bit about yourself, and your work in relation to the climate change topic?
Yes, my name is Dr. Craig Idso. I have been involved in the climate change debate for well over two decades, researching about the effects and non-effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on the biosphere. This includes studying both the climatological and biological impacts of rising atmospheric CO2. I have published multiple papers, reports and books on these subjects. Over the past 20 years I have archived most all of my work and studies on my CO2 Science website (co2science.org), which is freely available on the Internet.
Could you please shortly explain your position on the climate change topic, and what makes it different from the “common” formally-accepted views regarding this issue?
There is little doubt the air’s CO2 concentration has risen significantly since the inception of the Industrial Revolution; and there are few who do not attribute the CO2 increase to the increase in humanity’s use of fossil fuels. There is also little doubt the earth has warmed slightly over the same period; but there is no compelling reason to believe that the rise in temperature was caused by the rise in CO2. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that future increases in the air’s CO2 content will produce any global warming; for there are numerous problems with the popular hypothesis that links the two phenomena.
Where others see global catastrophe and harm from rising atmospheric CO2 emissions, my view is that the climate may warm by an amount that is an order of magnitude below what most climate models project and that most of that warming will be beneficial to both society and nature. The planet will see nothing of the future catastrophe that is predicted by climate alarmists because of rising atmospheric CO2 emissions. In contrast, the extra CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is proving to be a great benefit to natural and managed ecosystems, which rely on carbon dioxide as the basic building block to their existence and well-being.
What you do NOT hear about in the media is the basic truth that CO2 is an aerial fertilizer that is (1) increasing the productivity and biomass of the globe, (2) enhancing the water-use efficiency of plants and (3) helping them to better cope with resource limitations and environmental stresses.
‘Sea levels have been rising for the past 18,000 to 20,000 years’
The climate change topic has been very popular in Pacific. You can see it in media all the time, officials and politicians mention it all the time, there are regional meetings and conferences related to climate change, and relatively significant funds are provided for climate change-related projects.
And the main effects of climate change for common people are: more frequent and strong natural disasters (cyclones here in Vanuatu) and rising sea level.
So I would like to ask you about your views on these issues.
Cyclones coming more frequently as a result of CO2 emissions and generally human activity on the planet. You agree with that? You think there is a correlation between CO2 and more often natural disasters, cyclones in particular?
Some, but not all, climate models project increases in extreme weather events, such as tropical cyclones, or hurricanes. Yet the task of confirming those predictions has remained elusive.
Extreme weather events are the product of multiple factors, which factors vary on multiple time scales. It is no easy task for scientists to learn about, understand and then forecast extreme weather events with a high degree of accuracy. But that is what climate models attempt to do – accurately forecast how CO2-induced global warming may impact such events.
Three years ago I wrote a report that provides an objective methodology for properly assessing the impacts (or non-impacts) of CO2-induced global warming on extreme weather events. Most people do not realize the extreme scientific care and analysis that must be performed before one can conclude with scientific accuracy whether or not an extreme weather event or series of events were influenced by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Most take the ill-founded path of blaming CO2 because it is the politically-correct thing to do, or simply because some climate models suggest that may happen. But without a rigorous scientific analysis to back their claims, such claims are akin to climate astrology.
Proper scientific analysis is key, and when such analyses have been conducted, without fail, there is no compelling evidence to conclude that rising atmospheric CO2 emissions is causing any kind of extreme weather to become more frequent or more severe, including for tropical cyclones. This conclusion is evident from a multitude of scientific studies published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Rising sea level. From your perspective, is it something that is really happening (at the extent we are told) and will happen in the future in line with modern predictions? What CO2 has to do with that?
Measuring sea level to obtain its relative change over time is also a complex subject. There are many factors influencing sea level rise and fall, and over multiple timescales. This is why scientists can measure short-term trends (of a few years to a couple of decades) that vary from a relative sea level fall to a relative increase.
Sea levels have been rising for the past 18,000 to 20,000 years since the height of the last great Ice Age, when the pinnacle of land ice was locked up in the great glaciers and ice sheets during the approximately 100,000 year long ice age cycle. As the planet emerged from this great cool period into the current interglacial period of warmth, ice has been melting and sea levels have been rising. And, all things considered, they will likely continue to rise independent of ANY influence from CO2 for the foreseeable future. That is not the question of debate. The question is whether or not CO2 is having or will have a measurable influence in the future that causes that rise to accelerate. Hence, scientists have long searched for sea level rise accelerations.
Here again, however, one must take into account the many natural factors, besides CO2, that contribute to sea level rise on multiple time scales. And based upon the best available tide gauge data that exist for 60 or more years, there has been no acceleration of sea level rise and no fingerprint of CO2 on the data.
Plus, you can read the findings of numerous other rigorous scientific works on the subject from all corners of the globe on this page under the headings for Sea Level.
Here in Pacific there are quite a lot of governmental and NGO programs directed to reduce emissions and deforestation, forests conservation and all that. You think this is something that would really help us to deal with climate change, maybe reduce its effects?
No, such actions will have almost ZERO impact on future climate. These exercises are generally feel-good solutions that will not change the climate or slow greenhouse gas emissions. Further, these actions in almost all cases hurt the economic prowess of the poor, while benefiting the pocketbooks of those who promote them.
‘Governments that pour money into climate change issue are wasting resources’
One of the reasons I am interested to cover the climate change topic more is that nowadays significant funds are given to different climate change-related programs, but it is quite often not clear where these funds go and if there is any positive effect from these activities.
I know it’s not the area of your expertise, but still, where you think all these climate change-related programs should be directed to? What are the main priorities in dealing with this issue?
Governments that pour money into the climate change issue are wasting the resources of their citizens. As I mentioned earlier, such actions have a near-zero effect on climate. That said, what I do believe is a prudent course of action is for governments to work with and help their citizens prepare for the extreme weather events and natural disasters to which they are prone to experience. Stop wasting money on trying to halt climate change. Utilize those resources to help your country prepare for those natural weather events by improving infrastructure and your ability to cope with them. All this nonsense about CO2 being a pollutant is just that – utter nonsense. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is essential to life on earth. Its increase is helping to improve the biosphere and feed the growing population of the planet while providing for all the other human-benefits we achieve from industrialization that is fueled by carbon-based energy.
Would you agree on a common opinion that South Pacific island countries are the most vulnerable to climate change effects?
There is no compelling evidence that CO2 is having ANY impact on extreme weather events, which is really what you are asking about in your question – is CO2 induced global warming causing more hurricanes, drought, etc.? That said, all locations have to deal with extreme weather events/climate change of some sort or another. Such fluctuations occur naturally. For the South Pacific island countries, I would expect that your concerns would be most related to tropical cyclone activity and sea level rise. Sea level rise is something that is naturally occurring and will continue to occur at manageable rates. You do not need to sound the alarm bells and worry about sea levels drowning your islands. Tropical cyclones, on the other hand, are a natural phenomenon to which I would suspect you are most vulnerable to. Therefore, efforts should be undertaken to reduce your vulnerability to that phenomenon to which you have experienced in the past and will likely experience in the future, regardless of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
Scientists should examine the periodicity of all sorts of climate, weather and geologic events and determine the frequencies in which such events naturally occur and the damage that is caused from them. That is the prudent way to begin developing a plan of resilience in dealing with these issues. It will determine the priority of projects that need to be addressed to best protect the citizens. Stop focusing on the hypothetical issue of CO2-induced climate change, which model projections have failed to materialize in terms of both extreme weather events and sea level rise. Set the emphasis on protecting from those events which have repeatedly occurred naturally and which will continue to occur in the future.