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The Relationship between Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration and Global Temperature for the Last 425 Million Years

April 7, 2021
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By Paul Homewood


You may recall the BBC’s Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on, yes you’ve guessed it, climate change. It presented this graph purportedly proving that temperature changes (yellow) followed CO2 changes (white):




As I pointed out at the time, the bits of string were horridly fake and misleading.

Perhaps, instead of treating children like, well children, they might have given them the facts:





This is all highly technical, apart from the last sentence. But the Conclusions do not beat around the bush:


“Atmospheric concentration of CO2 is not correlated with temperature.”

“The absence of correlation proves conclusively the absence of causality

It can’t be any clearer than that.

I think the BBC owes its audience an abject apology for misleading them so seriously. And perhaps next time they should get a proper scientist to host their Christmas Lecture.

  1. 2hmp permalink
    April 7, 2021 7:27 pm

    i am sure most readers of your site are utterly fed up with the nonsenses so frequently spouted by the BBC.I have been a follower and admirer of this website for a long time and have recommended it to many. Recently I was asked where sound science about climate could be found, and I suggested this site, and also that she viewed three lectures available on YouTube. Richard Lindzen
    Robert Carter and William Happer
    After viewing them she was impressed but confounded. She asked why the Government and journalists are appearing blind to the truth and were proposing actions which did not tie in with the facts ? I simply replied, I wish I knew, but probably ‘money’.

    • Tonyb permalink
      April 7, 2021 9:24 pm

      I think the problem is that people buy into an ideology and it is very difficult for them to admit they may have got a central part of their reason for living wrong, as that is to admit they were fooled or hadn’t understood everything clearly

      We saw that with communism, whereby even when Stalin or Mao were shown to have killed millions of people the convinced communists could not accept this was true or made excuses for them. We had Britsh traitors in the sixties who still carried on spying for the soviets and the flaws in the system remained hidden from them.

      Being green is seen as noble and virtuous and that may be so, but the flaws in green ideology are considerable but the zealots can’t see it and would rather believe that, for example, solar power can really provide energy for a 24/7 society and that green slavery to mine rare earths is entirely different to any other form of slavery

      • April 8, 2021 12:03 pm

        An example of what we are dealing with would be to take believers is a range of the world’s religions and show them if not that what they “believe” could not possibly have happened but that scientifically it is impossible. I doubt you would get a single convert except one who was wavering from the very start.

        Also think how many of those religions threaten disaster or harm if you doubt?

        For me the absurdity is that people really want climate disaster. Doomaggedon has been “just around the corner” and part of human culture around the world thoughout history. They claim to be supporting efforts for mystical climate mitigation but if you proved to the self same people tomorrow conclusively that man is not controlling the climate a lot of people would be angry and you would have to get protection and go into hiding! This is an entrenched perversion of the human psyche which is being actively exploited by dangerous people for political ends.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      April 7, 2021 10:15 pm

      Tolstoy, 1898:
      I know that most men – not only those considered clever, but even those who are clever and capable of understanding the most difficult scientific, mathematical or philosophical problems – can seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as obliges them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty -conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.

      • markl permalink
        April 8, 2021 3:33 am

        Thank you for that insightful quote by Tolstoy. So True.

      • April 8, 2021 8:47 am

        Yes. How true. This syndrome now has the label of “Cognitive Dissonance”. We all suffer from this to some extent in our reluctance to admit when we are wrong. It becomes serious the higher up in the influence hierarchy you are and at corporate and government levels it can be lethal.
        Currently the IPCC in its Assessment Reports is riddled with it.

    • Mewswithaview permalink
      April 8, 2021 9:06 am

      There is upper middle class political correctness to consider. Kristian Niemietz in the video makes the observation that politically correct opinions are a marker of social status. The idea being you meet with strangers at an event and you know nothing about them having never met before and one individual starts talking about climate change . . .

      CAGW is really about social consensus, the great and the good with higher social status express the opinion that climate change is bad because “the science” (i.e. political consensus) and without batting an eyelid they will hop on a private planes to warm locations on the planet for their vacations. They don’t see the contradiction in their behaviour because having the right opinion obout climate change is about social status.

    • April 8, 2021 9:25 am

      Hi 2HMP
      Thank you for the references I enjoyed Will Happer but you seem to have repeated the Lindzen lecture reference twice. Please can you provide the Richard Carter reference

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 8, 2021 9:29 am

        Robert? Carter.

      • 2hmp permalink
        April 8, 2021 11:14 am

        My apologies for the wrong link. This is the Robert Carter lecture.

      • April 9, 2021 7:24 am

        Many thanks. Just watched the EIKE YouTube lecture.

        What a huge loss was the untimely death of Bob Carter. He could have lead the world with his logic against the irrational religious belief in Man-made guilt for Global warming.

        Of course the was one of the earliest victims of the cancel culture in his university like Peter Ridd.

  2. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    April 7, 2021 7:40 pm

    I’d suggest a Christmas Lecture provide an uplifting message about the good things in the world.
    But what do I know. I don’t get paid by the UK citizens.

    • Malcolm Skipper permalink
      April 7, 2021 9:51 pm

      John, I agree.

      From the BBC Website: Started by Michael Faraday in 1825, and now broadcast on national television every year, the Christmas Lectures are THE UK’S FLAGSHIP SCIENCE SERIES. Sadly, there were a number of scientific errors I would not expect my 14/15 year old students to have made.

      Michael Faraday never broadcast a “flagship science series”. However, his famous lecture on The Chemical History of a candle is available as a free download:
      It is worth a read just to show how real science can be communicated (albeit in Victorian English) to ‘juveniles’.

  3. 1saveenergy permalink
    April 7, 2021 8:17 pm

    “I think the BBC owes its audience an abject apology for misleading them”

    Well don’t hold your breath whilst waiting.

  4. Broadlands permalink
    April 7, 2021 9:27 pm

    “Atmospheric concentration of CO2 is not correlated with temperature.”

    Guy Calendar, in his 1938 paper on the greenhouse effect, had thought that he proven that for temperatures rising since ~1900,, but by an unfortunate coincidence for the next 37 years the temperatures dropped while the CO2 continued to rise.

    • Tonyb permalink
      April 7, 2021 9:46 pm

      Guy Callendar died in 1964 and according to his archives thought his theory was wrong when he experienced the very severe winter of 1962/63 , one of the coldest in centuries.

      Ironically his archives also show that to get fog away from airfields during world war 2 he burnt huge amounts of petrol thereby creating considerable co2 .

      The modern British forces would presumably be horrified by this pragmatic solution as they try to switch to renewables to somehow power their planes and tanks.

  5. Gamecock permalink
    April 7, 2021 10:16 pm

    Man had no means to measure global mean temperature til the satellite era, 1979. Annual changes in GMT vs changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration since 1979 show no correlation. None. MMGW/Climate Change falsified. That’s it. That’s all there is to know. All else is intrigue.

  6. Cheshire Red permalink
    April 7, 2021 10:26 pm

    OK, so this is the end of AGW theory, right? If not, why not?

    • Gamecock permalink
      April 8, 2021 2:17 am

      Because Climate Change is not science. It’s politics. As long as the Left can get some mileage out of it, it will be worse than they thought.

      Scientific arguments are useless against politics of fear.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      April 8, 2021 8:23 am

      It’s easier to fool people than to get them to accept they’ve been fooled.

  7. Mack permalink
    April 7, 2021 10:29 pm

    W. Jackson Davis also released a very interesting paper late last year that pinned cycles of global cooling and warming squarely on the interaction of the sun and ocean currents, particularly around Antarctica. Whilst dismissive of Co2 as a driver of global temperatures, as in his previous paper referred to above, I think he did say that a reduction in Co2 emissions was desirable in order to improve ‘biodiversity’ but that may have just been a sop to get his main arguments through peer review!

  8. paul weldon permalink
    April 8, 2021 8:08 am

    It really makes one wonder where they got the graph from and how long it took them to find it (or did they make it up?). There are so many graphs around using proxies from ice cores that show just how close the correlation is, and that CO2 follows temperature, though not by much. A typical example here:

  9. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 8, 2021 9:09 am

    Yes but MUONS!

    The Standard Model looks increasingly likely to be wrong! Goodbye Dark Matter?

    Imagine all those science deniers who said Dark Matter was a fudge. Imagine such actual science not being settled despite the consensus.

  10. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 8, 2021 9:32 am

    What would be a killer is if a CMIP5 model was run with the CO2/T correlations of this paper. Perhaps it may even project the cold spell to come….

  11. europeanonion permalink
    April 8, 2021 9:48 am

    In a championship bout, one of the protagonists staggers back to his corner. His Second, attempting to spur the man, on imparts that the opponent has hardly laid a glove in him. Bleeding and bruised, his fighter replies, “Then someone oughta keep an eye on the ref”. It’s how I feel about our climate jousts. If, as researched, CO2 is our fighter, then someone should keep and eye on water vapour or clean air, or …

  12. Ben Vorlich permalink
    April 8, 2021 11:19 am

    Perhaps the BBC could add a little correction at the start and end of the much hyped series of Greta Thunberg Climate Alarmist broadcasts.

    Then again I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.

  13. April 8, 2021 12:12 pm

    There is a figure (figure 5) which is worth including in your piece from the paper which will stand as a challenge to that outrageous curve from the BBC describing the authors reconstruction of Phanerozoic temp and CO2 data. It is pretty similar to the reconstructions of Berner and Scotese from 2001.

    How any who claim to be scientists dare stand up and spout garbage and ignore this data is a testament to what we are actually dealing with brute politics aided and abetted by the corrupting influence of easy money.

  14. 2hmp permalink
    April 8, 2021 1:47 pm

    I wonder how many UK MPs watch this site. Even more, how do they explain to their constituents ?

  15. Colin R Brooks permalink
    April 8, 2021 1:59 pm

    The problem with discussing climate is that there is as yet no full explanation available in human knowledge, if this were to be acknowledged and we then behaved accordingly, life would be better ^.^

  16. A man of no rank permalink
    April 8, 2021 3:44 pm

    Wonderful comment that I must try to remember:
    ‘the absence of correlation proves conclusively the absence of causality’ That will shut them up in the pub.
    Funny that an invisible, trace gas called CO2 has split the worlds politics and economies into two. China, India and Russia vs Australia, USA, Europe and the UK – even more effective than Hitler could manage. And this time, we are on the wrong side!

  17. Jack Broughton permalink
    April 8, 2021 8:36 pm

    Perhaps someone could tell Sky News, they now have a nightly programme on how to reverse the effects of climate change. I cannot bring myself to watch such drivel, which could finish off my tv.

    None of the mighty meja seem willing to challenge the fear campaign.

    • Athelstan permalink
      April 9, 2021 6:53 am

      Political fictions are all about money and control ref the ‘rona’, always money and power, but insofar as the great global warming swindle is, sweet fanny adams to do with CO2.

  18. Brian Squires permalink
    April 8, 2021 9:55 pm

    I thought this article showed that (at least) 50,000 years ago anyway the link between a warm Greenland and high atmospheric CO2 was not there.

  19. April 9, 2021 8:10 am

    The Times has rejected my comment quoting the highlighted conclusions in the article:

    “Atmospheric concentration of CO2 is not correlated with temperature.”

    “The absence of correlation proves conclusively the absence of causality “

    And I tried to link to the original academic article and that was rejected too.

    Incidentally, the headline of the Times article I tried to comment on was “CO2 levels 50% higher than before industrial revolution” 8th April 2021.

  20. April 9, 2021 10:34 am

    That is a very important paper, but I am afraid it will gain no traction with those in power because they probably will never see it, let alone understand it. If someone were to point it out to Boris or Lord Deben they would simply dismiss it and say that they go by the IPCC. Politics only deals in certainty, they have no room for doubt as it would confuse the public. If only Trump had given sceptic scientists the public platform to put their case. That was the best chance for a serious challenge.

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