With Time magazine naming 16 year-old Greta Thunberg as their ‘Person of the Year,’ one has to wonder what that means in a world dominated by political correctness and Leftist ideology. Greta is an autistic Swedish child who has been programmed by her parents to promote a children’s crusade against climate change. Never mind that Greta has no knowledge of science and no ability to understand that she is being used as a pawn in the climate battles. She might well be the ‘Abused Child of the Year,’ not a person held up as some sort of hero. Or as Time explains it, “a person, a group, an idea, or an object that for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year.”
The very first Time magazine ‘Man of the Year’ was Charles Lindbergh in 1927, a choice that was very appropriate. Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight was a sensation. Later choices in the 1930s, from Mahatma Gandhi (1930) to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1932+) to Haile Selassie (1935) to Chiang Kai-Shek (1937) were likewise men of great stature. But then Time faltered, choosing Adolph Hitler in 1938 and Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1942. They were certainly newsworthy but clearly monsters.
Following the Second World War, Time continued its tradition of recognizing the best of humanity, from just about all United States Presidents to Winston Churchill (1949) and Queen Elizabeth II (1952). But they also faltered with Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) and Yasser Arafat (1993), again monsters.
In years when they could not find suitable individuals, they named “The American Fighting Man” (1950), “US Scientists” (1960), and Apollo 8 Astronauts” (1968). Then they got into identity and environmental politics with “The Middle Americans” (1969), “American Women” (1973), and “The Endangered Earth” (1988). Now it is primarily “The Whistleblowers” (2002), “The Protesters” (2011), and “The Silence Breakers” (2017).
They are still choosing a few giants, notably President Donald Trump (2016).
Scientists of the Year
But there are also important heroes among us whom Time would never consider. Although completely unknown outside of scientific circles, they deserve great recognition for their service to science and to humanity. Atmospheric Physicist Murry Salby, PhD and Theoretical Physicist Ed Berry, PhD proved over this past year that humans are not significantly responsible for driving up atmospheric carbon dioxide, thereby completely undercutting the so-called ‘settled science’ of the Climate Cartel. The Cartel demonizes carbon dioxide so that their $1.7 trillion per year business keeps going full steam.
The Global Warming paradigm, currently enjoying great popularity, depends on a string of arguments that are very weak. That is why hardly any of the promoters are willing to discuss details. In addition, those most loudly proclaiming a ‘climate emergency,’ like Greta, have no credentials to suggest that they understand the first things about climate. They are ‘climate zombies.’
Popular lore says that human emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels are driving up atmospheric levels that are in turn driving up the ‘global temperature.’ Because carbon dioxide is a ‘greenhouse gas’ like water vapor, it prevents the escape of some incoming sunlight after that sunlight is converted into infrared heat energy.
All of that is true, but extremely, deceptive. Proponents like to point to a tiny measured warming that is far from correlated with human emissions. They claim substantial amplification (feedback) from the ultimate climate gas, water vapor. But none is to be found. They put forth computer simulations that are programmed to show relentless warming in response to rising CO2. But these fail elementary verification tests. And so on.
The remarkable new research undercuts the most basic premise of all, that humans are responsible for significantly driving up atmospheric CO2. That has been the rock solid foundation of climate hysteria. ‘My God, we humans are increasing atmospheric CO2! We are all going to die.’
As Murry Salby is fond of saying with a smile, “Well….NO!”
He and Ed Berry have shown that the atmospheric carbon dioxide level measured on Mauna Loa in Hawaii is a balance between emission and absorption rates, where human emissions of 10 GtC/year add to natural emissions from the biosphere and ocean surface of about 200 GtC/year. That makes the human contribution roughly 5%. Since Mother Nature cannot distinguish between our emissions and natural emissions, she absorbs both in the same fashion, leaving the net amount in the atmosphere largely driven by natural conditions, such as sea surface and soil temperatures and plant growth.
Humans are therefore 5% of ‘the problem’ if there is a problem. And of course there is no problem.
The alarmist view from the UN IPCC uses the same estimates but assumes that Mother Nature absorbs exactly the same amount she emits each year. This is a sort of ‘Garden of Eden’ argument that says this planet was in perfect balance before Adam and Eve spoiled it.
That is great religion but poor science. Mother Nature, in fact, absorbs natural and human CO2 in proportion to what is there and naturally drives atmospheric CO2 up or down, depending on the sum of local surface temperature conditions.
This breakthrough in our understanding is sufficiently straightforward and spectacular that it should be readily accepted by those scientists still interested in the truth. That is generally those who are not earning their living from climate fraud.
Scientists of the Decade
Scientific heroes of the decade have to be those who heeded the warnings from the Climategate scandal ten years ago and worked to return science to the status it once enjoyed as mankind’s premier intellectual pursuit. They are mostly experts in climate science, because that is where science has gone farthest astray. But some are from other fields where science is also faltering, due to relaxed academic standards, careerism, and the ever present lure of money, sometimes big money, sometimes merely a comfortable position with a big title like “Professor.”
All of the scientists who have stood up for science have put their professions above their personal well-being, often enduring harsh attacks from those who want the status quo to continue.
It is difficult to list all, because there are so many. One exhaustive list comes from the Oregon Petition Project, which gathered the names of 31,000 American scientists (9,000 with PhDs) opposed to climate hysteria. A shorter list (Figure 3) highlights those who were vigorous in their defense of science. A few have died but are not forgotten. We should honor them all.
Scientists of the Century
Since the history of the 21st century has yet to be written, we cannot possibly tell who will turn out to be most worthy. But we can be sure that it won’t be Greta Thunberg, unless Time magazine is correct that her type of superstition is fast replacing science, her propaganda replacing knowledge, and her childish ways replacing adult behavior in a stark new world. If such a nightmare were to become reality, it would doom civilization to the Dark Ages where religion and politics ruled and all but a few elites lived in poverty.
Contrast this to the 20th century where physicists led the way to many remarkable discoveries that vastly improved the human condition. Will the 21st century be similarly spectacular or a spectacular failure, because too many were simply too greedy? Time will tell.
Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at email@example.com. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research and has no conflicts of interest on this subject.