An article with a scientific claim, whose statements are supported by easily accessible references, should actually speak for itself, the intention of the article is that the content is logical, clear and understandable in itself, regardless of the person who wrote it.
The website was hardly “live” on the Internet when I was asked to write something about my vita, because apparently many people ask: “Who is he?”, “Another one who spits in the soup…”, etc.
Since this request comes from a good, well-meaning friend who is very competent in the climate discussion, I would like to take it seriously and write something about my personal relationship to the topic and my motivation.
I have a PhD and a Habilitation (the qualification in Germany which used to be the precondition for becoming a professor) in Physics. At the time when I was doing my doctorate in Heidelberg (1985), the requirement for the doctoral examination was “that one is at home in physics”. This meant that each of the examiners involved could ask any question from any field of physics. As a physicist with a doctorate, I can be expected to be able to deal with questions in physics, even if they are not directly in my area of specialization. That was digital image analysis at the time.
I wrote my postdoctoral thesis “Grundlagen optimaler Modellbildung” (“Basics of Optimal Modeling”) in 1990 during a guest researcher stay at MIT in Boston (Mass./USA). The focus here was also on digital image analysis, but the concepts used and developed are not limited to this. Today, this knowledge makes it easier for me to analyse and evaluate the various climate models.
The occupation with environment, solar energy and climate was never the means to earn the living of my family, but these questions ran like a thread through my biography:
- As a child I asked my father where all the exhaust fumes from the cars go. I remember that his answer that they would simply dilute themselves in the air didn’t quite satisfy me (they had to get more and more…)
- During school time, the friend mentioned above took us classmates (“in the middle of the night”) to the nearby forest area “Schönbuch” to observe deer and other wild animals. His committed conviction for nature already infected us at that time.
- Motivated by the book “Limits to Growth” and E.F. Schumacher’s appeal to “Small is beautiful — Return to the Human Measure”, we founded an ecological working group as students, and among other things built a prototype of a parabolic mirror to motivate the use of solar energy.
- Since 1978 I was a member of the German Society for Solar Energy for 25 years, in order to be informed at first hand about the latest developments. In this context, I tried to motivate Siemens to build a “solar breeder”, i.e. a plant for the production of PV-cells, which is purely solar powered. This seemed to me to be a very convincing concept. Obviously, it has not yet been realized anywhere. Why?
- 1981 I was in charge of organizing Frederic Vester’s travelling exhibition “Our world, a networked system” at the University of Heidelberg.
- I spent some time in India (1981/82) and built several working prototypes of solar cookers (cooking boxes) from locally available resources at a price of 100 rupees each (12 USD at that time) to show the poor rural population an alternative to the tedious cooking with firewood. This was accompanied by an action to plant fast-growing trees (already at that time it was “5 to 12”), as well as a solar-powered plant to produce warm water (with the Hindi-English advertising slogan of a friend “garam pani machine hai, fully automatic”).
I did not only get to know the limits of the “development aid” coming “from outside”, but also a certain scepticism towards the solar technology, which manifested itself in rather clear jokes, such as:
Doctor to patient: “Your diagnosis is starvation, you shouldn’t use the solar cooker during the rainy season”.
During my professional career I have always followed the discussion on climate change and have noticed with increasing concern that the discussion is increasingly less oriented to physical facts than to political interests and policies. To put this discussion again “from the head to the feet” is the motivation of this website.
From my point of view we are facing this alternative:
If the situation is as serious as the “alarmists” maintain, then it must be possible to prove the seriousness of the situation also seriously and for the majority of the population comprehensibly. The discussion does not become credible if one hides behind complicated and obscure “models” and on this basis gradually transforms our society into a dictatorship.
On the other hand, it is not very fruitful if the “skeptics” “dig up” a new publication every few months and claim that everything the IPCC announces is nonsense. If you look closely, there is usually “something to these publications”, but there might sometimes be another, contradictory view with equally good arguments. Should it really be harmless, if additional CO2 is produced, then not only a good theory is needed, but also plausible explanations for e.g. weather phenomena, which frighten other contemporaries.
I would like to inspire with this website to free speech in the sense, that serious contributions will be heard if they are relevant to the issue, and are consistent with the foundations, which physics gives us.
Constructively, I hope that these foundations will also be taught in schools so that pupils become responsible citizens and not victims of ideologists.