Science - September 23, 2004

Post: Climate policy

The article in last week’s Wb 26 ‘Stricter climate policy needed’ contains an incredible amount of rubbish, cited from a report by ‘climate researchers’ to the Dutch House of Representatives. I will be brief: 1. Humans cannot influence the global climate. 2. Humans cannot alter the course of potential natural climate changes. 3. Climate policy is therefore an impossibility.

The report is based on the widely-held belief that the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which may be partially caused by large-scale burning of fossil fuels, will lead to a noticeable temperature rise. This superstition is based on an obsolete hypothesis, and appears to be supported by mistaken interpretation of scientific data.

‘The global temperature has risen by 0.6 degrees since 1996, which has led to a rise in sea levels of between ten and twenty centimetres,’ according to the article. In fact the average temperature since 1975 has risen by less than 0.02 degrees. And sea levels have not risen at all, except where land has subsided. ‘If no action is undertaken, the temperature will continue to rise by as much as 5.8 degrees Celsius in the period up to 2100.’ This is impossible: to achieve this we would have to have far more fuel reserves than there are in the earth.

It is all untrue, but these statements are often complemented with a phrase to the effect that ‘most researchers agree with this’, covering up the enormous discussion that rages. The public is not allowed to know! Unfortunately there are many lobby groups who want the public to believe all this.

For more information check these websites:, or You’re in for a surprise.

Professor D. Thoenes, emeritus chair of chemical engineering, Technical University Eindhoven.