Now the concept of "solar forcing" is moving front and center in the warming debate. The Telegraph reports:
Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research.Interesting, and there's this:
Dr Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research, said: "The Sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.
"The Sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently - in the last 100 to 150 years."
The research adds weight to the views of David Bellamy, the conservationist. "Global warming - at least the modern nightmare version - is a myth," he said. "I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world's politicians and policy-makers are not.
"Instead, they have an unshakeable faith in what has, unfortunately, become one of the central credos of the environmental movement: humans burn fossil fuels, which release increased levels of carbon dioxide - the principal so-called greenhouse gas - into the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to heat up. They say this is global warming: I say this is poppycock."
Read it here.
In the 2002 Harold Jeffreys Lecture to the Royal Astronomical Society in London, Solanki said: After 1980, however, the Earth's temperature exhibits a remarkably steep rise, while the sun's irradiance displays at the most a weak secular trend. Hence the sun cannot be the dominant source of this latest temperature increase, with man-made greenhouse gases being the likely dominant alternative.Read it here.
Now there's nothing wrong with scientists changing their mind as new evidence comes in. That sort of thing lies at the heart of scientific inquiry. But, as I have argued time and again, the shifting sand of scientific opinion is a very unreliable foundation on which to build public policy.
My lunch with Dr. Baliunas made me aware of another thing. IAt one point I observed that it was a bit disquieting to hear that the Sun is a variable star. Everyone chuckled, but there was a serious and obvious point behind my observation. If solar output waxes or wanes there is absolutely nothing to do about it. We fry or freeze no matter what we do. In comparison, the idea of anthropogenic warming is downright comforting. The "unshakeable faith" in human agency in the matter of global warming might be based in the psychological need to believe that nature is benign and, more importantly, that we can control our own futures.