I make no secret of the fact that I'm sceptical of the supposed anthropogenic aspect of climate change. To me, it just doesn't make any sense, but I've not always taken that position.
Ten years ago, as much of the world was signing up to the Kyoto protocol I was one of those who believed that man was having a potentially catastrophic effect on the earth's climate. I believed that because that was what I was being told - by the newspapers, by the television and even on the Internet.
The Internet, back then was a fairly new thing still - but it was through the Internet 10 years ago that I came across the thing that was to ultimately lead me to alter my position on man-made climate change.
The Milankovitch Cycle.
For those of you not aware, the Milankovitch Cycle refers to the way the earth "wobbles" on its axis. The tilt of the earth varies from 22.1 to 24.5 degrees. As it wobbles, the seasons become more or less marked and the poles receive more or less sunlight depending on whether the earth is tilted closer to or further from the sun.
When I thought about that it made me think - if a minor deviation in the earth's tilt can have such a marked effect on the seasons (effectively warming or cooling the climate significantly) then could that be causing climate change?
But the Milankovitch Cycle in itself could not be the cause of climate change because a cycle lasts around 41,000 years. However, it made me realise that if a minor shift in a part of the planet towards the sun can increase the temperature significantly - and a similar shift away from the sun for another part can reduce the temperature significantly then that suggests that the biggest influencer on the climate must be the sun.
This seemed to be backed up the simple fact that the warmest places on earth tend to be the places that are closest to the sun - the tropics. The difference in the distance to the sun between, say, the Tropic of Cancer and Britain is, in terms of the huge distance between the sun and the earth, insignificant - but it was enough for the sun to have a significantly higher warming effect on the Tropic than on Britain.
My thinking was, of course, very unscientific - but it made me wonder if there was more to this "man-made global warming" than was meeting the eye. From that moment on I became sceptical of man-made global warming - sceptical in the true sense of the word in that I decided to look into the subject in more depth and with a more open mind. Instead of believing everything the media was telling me, I started to question everything.
Over the years I have since learned that the sun doesn't generate energy at the same rate all the time, but that it rises in falls in cycles - an indication of which are sunspots. The greater the number of sunspots the more energy the sun gives out. It's not a hard and fast rule, but it is a good indicator of the strength of the sun. And recently we have had the revelation that the suns activity has an effect on cosmic rays which play an important part in cloud formation - and cloud formation plays a hugely important part in climate.
So, over the last ten years I have gone from being a believer in anthropogenic global warming to a confirmed sceptic. When I believed in it it was because I derived almost all my information on the subject from "approved" sources - the media. But thanks to the Internet I was able to find out things that made me think and, by applying what I like to think of as common sense coupled to more scientific findings I have reached the position today where I believe that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support the belief that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the key driver behind climate change. I don't even believe they are a minor driver anymore - they are utterly insignificant.
My view is that, given current information and predictions on solar activity, we are likely as not to see a significant decrease in that activity in the near future - in the next 10-20 years - which will lay to rest this myth once and for all. If these predictions are correct - and there is no guarantee they will be, after all, they are just predictions - then the earth is about to enter a significant cooling phase that may equal conditions of Dalton Minimum or even the Maunder Minimum - periods when freezing winters were common place in Britain.
I wonder, if this happens as I expect, what will happen then to all those people who have supported and propagated the AGW myth? For instance, the IPCC? If we do enter a cooling phase and if we do see temperatures plummet (without any decrease in CO2 levels - what will the reaction of people be to the IPCC? Or the NGO's like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth? And what about the national governments and politicians? And what will be the response to science?
If, as I expect, it is revealed in the near future that all these groups have been lying to us for years and years then I believe it is entirely possible that we will see a collapse of the current establishment. People just will not trust these groups again - not the UN, not the EU, not the NGO's, not the scientists, not the media (especially the BBC) and not the old political parties - for a very long time.
It could mean anarchy, though I suspect it will just mean a return to sensible politics again - with new parties filling the void. Crucially, though, I believe it will see the end of the liberal left - the principle group behind the propagation of the AGW myth.
I have been told that by pinning my beliefs on the prospect of this coming cooling phase, I have built a straw man for myself. Ignoring that the use of "straw man" in this instance is incorrect and assuming they mean an argument that will easily be refuted if we do not enter a cooling phase, I beg to differ. the "cooling phase" is dependent on the predictions of sun activity being right - they may not be and the sun may continue at its current level for some time.
And even if the suns activities don't make a difference and climate change really is driven by man then what does it matter to me? I'm just a blogger who is swimming against the tide. If I'm proven wrong so what? What have I got to lose other than looking a bit silly?
The real straw man has been built by the AGW supporters - and it is massive. And hiding behind this straw man are the reputations and interests of huge organisations, massive political structures and even science itself. These are the groups and people who really have something at stake and that really is a straw man to be proud of.
I also wonder what lengths they will go to to protect their interests and reputations and preserve their power?