Wow! No wonder the ecofascists fired him
Prof Caleb Rossiter is a sincere Leftist. He really does want to help the poor -- particularly in Africa. So the ecofascist determination to reduce EVERYONE'S living standards disgusts him. And it disgusts him most of all because it has only pseudo-science behind it. Below he gives a comprehensive demolition of the whole of Warmism
The Debate is finally over on “Global Warming” – Because Nobody will Debate
I am deserting from the Climate War. I will never write another climate article or give another climate talk, and I’ll bite my tongue and say oooooooooooom when I hear or see the sort of exaggerations and certainties about the dangers of heat-trapping gasses that tend to make my blood boil at their absurdity. For a decade I’ve been a busy soldier for the scientific method, and hence a “skeptic” to climate alarmism. I’ve said all I think and know about this repetitive, unresolveable topic. I’ll save hundreds of hours a year for other pursuits!
This is not like my pledge to my wife after a marathon that “I’ll never do another one.” This is real. There is simply too little room for true debate, because the policy space is dominated by people who approach this issue not like scholars weighing evidence, but like lawyers inflaming a jury with suspect data and illogical and emotional arguments.
The believers in human–induced catastrophic climate change, strongly represented among the liberal and radical left of American and international politics, have won the mainstream media and government battle for the conventional wisdom, but lost the war for policy change. None of the governmental and few of the institutional and individual actors who claim to fear climate change will take real steps to reduce their use of energy, choosing instead to put on phony shows of “green-ness” and carbon-trading shell games. So it’s over, on both fronts.
I guess I should be happy, since in the other two areas, and blogs, in which I expend professional and personal blood, sweat, and tears (the American empire, and school “reform”) I am usually in agreement with the radical left, and never win. I nod my head happily when reading the Nation magazine and listening to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, yet am sadly on the losing end of the policy fights in my areas that they describe. Politicians and well-paid reformers continue to double down on the disaster of nearly 30 years of the blame-the-teacher, mistest-the-student regime, and U.S. arms and training for dictators have reached new heights under every president from Carter to Obama.
Finally, I’m a winner, but for all the wrong reasons. The leaders of the big governments who control global policy aren’t avoiding change because they disagree with the conventional wisdom. They’re avoiding change because it would be politically uncomfortable for them. Thank goodness, because the change they’re mouthing would be more than uncomfortable for developing countries. It would be a disaster, de-industrializing them and taking decades off their citizens’ life expectancy.
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Climate Claims and Fears Can Drive You Crazy
I never expected to be in the Climate War. I have enough wars to fight as an anti-imperialist and an activist supporting development and democracy in Africa against a U.S. policy of backing dictators and American corporations. Only by chance did I get drafted for climate duty. About 10 years ago, when a graduate student in my class on international research statistics wrote a required analysis of any peer-reviewed study in the field, she chose a journal article on some aspect of climate science. Her paper reported data and conclusions about human-induced global warming that were so weak and illogical in their own terms that I gave her a poor grade, noting: “You can’t have read this study carefully.”
She protested, and brought me the article, and indeed I saw that one of the most respected names in climate science and climate policy was writing flights of fancy and getting them published in refereed journals. I raised her grade, of course, but not all the way to an A, because she had been so smitten with the credibility of the author and the journal that she forgot to check his logic.
Since then I have assigned hundreds of climate articles as I taught and learned about the physics of climate, the construction of climate models, and the statistical evidence of extreme weather. My justification to my department has been that there may be no issue in global politics more important to more people worldwide than the claim of catastrophic, human-induced warming. If it’s true, billions will suffer from its effects if we do not act; if it’s false, billions will suffer from needless restrictions on energy, growth, and life expectancy if we do act.
Africans will be foremost among those suffering in both cases.
As an academic, in both employment and inclination, I wanted to learn, to promote inquiry and debate, and that it why I now need to stop. My blood simply boils too hot when I read the blather, daily, about climate catastrophe. It is so well-meaning, and so misguided. I feel like I am watching the modern version of Phrenology, the racist “science” of skull shape that permeated academia and public opinion about Africans and Africa-Americans throughout the 19th century in Europe and white America. That conventional wisdom conveniently justified colonialism and segregation as systems in which intelligent and benevolent whites ruled colored people.
And it pains me to see climate hysteria spread, because Africans again could pay the price. It will inevitably put pressure on Western lenders like the World Bank to reduce funding for power generation in Africa, leading to less economic growth, less personal income, and lower life expectancy.
When the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) butchers basic statistical concepts in its findings and its charts; when students call on their universities to divest from energy companies and their presidents argue financial impact but proffer the assumption that greenhouse gasses are a threat to survival; when advocates of African development call for the World Bank to block energy projects; or when the Nation magazine publishes a call to lower the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 400 parts per million to 300, which would require an end to all world industry for 100 years, and has a picture of the globe on its cover with the caption, “It’s not warming, it’s dying,” I become a man on the verge of doing something I’ll certainly regret.
I don’t want to be driven to crime like climate alarmist Peter Gleick, who stole, leaked, and attributed forged materials from the pro-growth Heartland Institute in 2012, or the climate skeptics who stole and leaked the “Climategate” memos from the University of East Anglia’s Central Research Unit (CRU) in Britain in 2009, facing certain moral sanction and possible criminal investigation. I don’t want, to cite Gleick’s partial confession, to wake up and find that “my judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts” that disrupt “the rational public debate that is desperately needed.”
I don’t want go raving around, making absurd statements like President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban, or World Bank President Kim. Obama has long been delusional on this issue, speaking of a coming catastrophe and seeing himself as King Canute, stopping the rise in sea-level. But he really went off the chain in his state of the union address this year. “For the sake of our children and our future” he issued an appeal to authority with no authority behind it:
"We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it's too late."
There is no judgment of science, overwhelming or other, that human-induced warming has led to any of the events cited. In fact, there is little conclusive science on the causes of these extreme events at all, except to say that like their predecessors at earlier times in recorded history, they require rare coincidences in many weather building blocks and are unpredictable.
Then Obama pulled out the IPCC’s illogical last refuge, the hoary claim that “the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15.” That record started in 1860, when a 150-year warming began that even the IPCC concedes had nothing to do with industrial emissions in its first 75 years. At the high point of a warming period you will of course have a concentration of high years!
And of course this trivial claim says nothing about the cause of the warming, or the temperature in previous warm periods, of which we would probably find quite a few since the end of the Ice Age 15,000 years ago, if we had always had today’s measuring devices. (A 100,000 year oscillation in our orbit of the Sun from perfect circle to five percent elliptical drives temperatures up and down on the order of 20 degrees, and we happen to be at the high end right now.)
Ban, in a speech on the “Threat of Climate Catastrophe,” recently warned that “if we continue along the current path, we are close to a 6 degree increase. You all know the potential consequences: a downward global spiral of extreme weather and disaster; reversals in development gains; increases in displacement; aggravated tensions over water and land; fragile States tipping into chaos.”
Actually, the IPCC’s models, which are fundamentally mathematical data-fitting exercises with little real-life scientific basis, predict a 4 degree rise at most over 100 years, but actual temperatures have been running at about one-third of that rate in the 30 years since the models first made that prediction.
Kim tells us: “If we do not act to curb climate change immediately we will leave our children and grandchildren an unrecognizable planet.” That’s sort of like the CRU’s David Viner saying in 2000, a decade before two winters of dramatic snowfall on England’s green and pleasant land: “Children just aren't going to know what snow is.”
Acting for children is definitely a big theme here: an analyst at a left-leaning think-tank wrote about yelling out the names of Obama’s children when subjecting herself to arrest as part of a campaign to block the Keystone oil pipeline. Fortunately the World Bank has not followed another hip American campaign and tried to reduce today’s 400 parts of carbon dioxide per million in the atmosphere to 350, which would require an end to all industry on earth for 100 years. The Bank still funds power plants based on coal and gas. Coal is an inexpensive African resource that can be scrubbed with modern technology to eliminate the real pollution, which is not carbon dioxide but sulfur dioxide, and gas has nearly no dangerous residue when burned.
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“The Debate is Over” Indeed
“The debate is over on Global Warming.” That statement has been popular for 25 years with a group I call the catastrophists. During this period they have held true to their claim, consistently refusing to engage in debate, as opposed to polemics.
As a result, the catastrophists have perversely made it true for all of us, as not just public discourse but scientific inquiry, not just interpretive models and statistical studies but the basic data itself, about human influence on global climate have all been hopelessly politicized in a scurry for money, loyalty, and reputation. Finally, the catastrophists are right: the debate is over, because the fundamental elements of a useful debate are lacking.
I define a catastrophist as someone who insists that any debate is dilatory and therefore immoral because the evidence is so clear and overwhelming that:
the roughly one degree rise in average global temperature since 1860 has been triggered by industrial emissions (I say triggered because the climate models that attribute the one degree rise to emissions do so by tripling their purported impact through theoretical cloud feedbacks to the initial increase in heat);
this slight warming has increased storms, droughts, and sea levels; and
these effects will turn into a catastrophe that threatens life on earth if we don’t replace fossil fuels with other forms of energy.
Catastrophists are generally environmental activists, politicians, and journalists. They come from the rich tradition of Malthusians, Luddites, and Greens, by which I generally mean the apocalyptic, anti-growth, environmental left. They still celebrate tarnished figures and institutions, such as:
Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 book The Silent Spring, who called the pesticide DDT cancerous to humans without any evidence (and the CDC has found that there still is none), resulting in an effective ban on DDT that led to millions of deaths in Africa from malaria before it was reversed;
Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 book The Population Bomb, who predicted billions of deaths from starvation and the end of nations from India to the United Kingdom within decades, only to see the greatest increase in well-being in human history over the next thirty years. Population did double, but energy production and real average income tripled, and life expectancy rose 15 years in poor countries and 12 years worldwide. (Poor Professor Ehrlich – his belief in scarcity due to high demand caused him to lose his famed 1980 bet on commodity prices with economist Julian Simon, who held that scarcity is redefined constantly by technology and human ingenuity.)
Mother Jones magazine, which claimed in 1982 that men’s sperm counts were falling to infertile levels because of industrial chemicals and radioactivity, a claim that had little basis then and has been thoroughly debunked by now. However, as in the case of Erin Brockovitch, portrayed in an Oscar-winning movie for suing over a harmful chemical in a town’s water when that chemical is not harmful in water, the facts have never caught up with the sensational allegation.
The late Stephen Schneider, a leading warming alarmist who in the 1970’s was a cooling alarmist, as was the first director of the data and modeling pinnacle of warming alarmism today, the CRU.
Catastrophists have taken over the workings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body comprised not of scientists, but of governments. The IPCC was formed in 1988 not to test the assumption that emissions were driving heat and heat was driving dangerous “climate change,” but to broadcast it. The IPCC was supposed to be the gold standard for climate claims, but as it become a politicized forum, pushing out scientists who were frustrated by the way careful discussions of findings and theories in its working papers were distilled into political alarms in the summary materials used by politicians and the press.
The IPCC uses tricks that scientists and statisticians rage about, almost like a mimicking of the classic text, How to Lie with Statistics. For example, the IPCC claims “90 percent certainty” in its attribution of most of the warming of the past 50 years to human causes. All scientists know that using this phrase implies that a statistical test has been performed on random data, leaving only a ten percent chance that the conclusion is incorrect. But there is no testing, and there are no statistics, involved in the IPCC’s statement -- just a number pulled from thin air.
The IPCC also featured a misleading trend line chart in its latest report, in which convenient starting points and different time periods were used to show a constantly “accelerating” change in temperature when there was no true acceleration. The chart was eventually pulled, but the IPCC’s favorite physicist, catastrophist guru James Hansen, continues to use similar tricks in showing temperature and shifts in number of hot days, comparing different time periods of different lengths.
The IPCC's tricks show that it is too politicized to trust. In addition to its repeated claims about the recent number of “hottest years on record” it has reversed its earlier judgment that proxy data like tree rings showed that global average temperature was much higher just a few hundred years ago, during the Medieval Warming period. In either case, the proxy data is so rough that nothing conclusive or meaningful can be said about past temperatures at anywhere near the scale of accuracy we use today, but the reversal was politically significant.
The reversal resulted from a concerted campaign by catastrophists who saw that the Medieval warming might imply that the cooling afterwards was an oscillation, caused by nothing but the natural regression to a long-term mean. That, in turn, might imply that the recent warming is just another natural counter to that, without the need for SUV’s to explain it.
The reversal was fraudulent in two ways: technical, by using data manipulation and ignoring error margins to create a “hockey stick” that shows a recent spike up in temperature (the stick’s blade) after a thousand year flat-line (its handle), and theoretical, by arguing that logically the recent increase from a flat-line, even if true, is somehow evidence of human cause.
Finally, the IPCC is flat out wrong about the computer models of the atmosphere that sit at the core of its claim that the recent correlation of carbon dioxide levels and temperatures is a causal relationship. (Note that the models say nothing useful about the effects of temperature on weather events, which is the holy grail of catastrophists. Those claims are made from statistical studies of the frequency of rare events, are handicapped by poor data for the past, and are generally inconclusive even in their own terms.)
The IPCC argues that the models are based on physical science, unlike social science models. This is not true. While the models use physical equations about the theoretical rate of heat transfer, like social science models they rely on estimates and parameters for those equations, and more importantly are just as helpless before the many interactions of key variables.
The IPCC argues that the models take the numerical relationships that best explain the temperature record of the past 150 years and simply apply them to the next 100. This is not true. Models as big as these run away, up or down, very quickly, and arrive at nonsensical answers. They must be “tuned” carefully, not just for the past but for the future.
The IPCC argues that the models reveal a strong “sensitivity” of temperature to increases in carbon dioxide. This is not true. The models build in a theoretical sensitivity and then triple it through proposed feedbacks in cloud formation.
The IPCC argues, and this is its supposed clinching argument, that the fit between physics and temperature in the model is best captured by its claims on carbon sensitivity, and that no other variable works as well. This is preposterously incorrect.
Physicist Richard Lindzen caustically calls this “proof by lassitude,” since it implies that if the modelers can’t think of any other reasons for warming, there must be none. (The proof is a little strange, when you think that the mechanism through which the 100,000 year, 20 degree cycle based on the earth’s ellipse is also physically unknown.)
But the problem is far greater than that. With just a bit of the level of scrubbing the IPCC models undergo, one could indeed fit the temperature series beautifully to baseball scores, or snail lengths, or any series of data. That is the nature of modeling, and why Wall Street geniuses go broke with close-fit models of the past: they may have no predictive value for the future, because the associations are correlational, not causal.
There are a few scientists, statisticians, and mathematical modelers among the catastrophists, but most of their peers don’t qualify, because of our caution about data and models. Let me summarize the more cautious position:
We know that, all things being equal, industrial emissions lead to warming because their frequencies of oscillation match some of the frequencies of infra-red heat leaving the earth -- although the warming response generally lessens over time as the absorption bands in those frequencies become full.
But we also know that all things are never equal. It is the interactions and feedbacks that determine the true impact of a physical change, and there is little physical evidence to support the assumption in the IPCC’s models that the feedback from initial emissions-based warming is on the order of a tripling.
Finally, we know that the lack of decent long-term data on all sorts of contributing variables keeps us from concluding much of anything about the effects of the roughly one degree rise in temperature since 1860 on hurricanes, drought, floods, storms, wild-fires, sea-level, and other present-day “climate catastrophes.”
As a statistician who teaches about the fundamental uncertainties of global climate models and the difficulty of finding data series that are good enough and long enough to find a recent trend in extreme weather and sea levels, I have for years scoffed at claims that “the debate is over.” The climate system is so complex and chaotic, and its many interactions so poorly understood on so many time scales, that I more think that there is little useful information with which to begin, let alone end, a debate.
“Anti-intellectual, and anti-science,” I would complain, as the catastrophists dominated mainstream debate, turning the noble scientific title of “skeptic” into the horrific libel of being a “denier” of a coming Holocaust.
At least I could be thankful that the domination of mainstream and leftist debate did not translate into domination of policy. Both rich and poor countries continue to talk down fossil fuels while using them every chance they get, because these low-cost forms of energy have been the source of the economic growth and longer life expectancy the world has experienced in two dramatic waves: the industrialization of Europe, the United States and Japan in the 19th century and the industrialization of Korea, China, India, and others in Asia and to a lesser extent in Latin America and Africa in the 20th century.
But after a decade of trying to engage in public discourse on the various issues relating to carbon power, now I have concluded that the catastrophists are finally right – the debate IS over on global warming:
Both sides have their scientists (Lindzen versus Hansen, Happer versus the pack)), both sides have their media (Washington Post versus Wall Street Journal, Time versus Forbes, Fox versus ABC).
Both sides even have their own data streams (CRU’s ground instrument set and the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s satellite wave-length set) that require significant and judgment-laden adjustments. (Unlike the case of the U.S. Consumer Price Index, the measurements and corrections are not handled by an unbiased, protected team, but by the protagonists themselves!)
Both sides have their central websites that constantly compile articles and arguments for the media and public: the catastrophists’ realclimate.org and Union of Concerned Scientists versus the skeptics’ staid Science and Environmental Policy “The Week that Was” at sepp.org and the wild and wooly climatedepot.org.
(Wonderful exceptions to all this gloom about partisanship are environmental scientist Roger Pielke Jr.’s blog and climate physicist Fred Taylor’s books, which show a clarity and restraint I admire but can no longer replicate. Their scientific expertise, of course, I never could.)
Both sides shamelessly, immediately, and viciously attack the findings and background of those they oppose.
Both sides resort to silly arguments that would be laughed out of an introductory statistics or logic course. The catastrophists seize on a decade of rising temperatures in the 1980’s, some hot days and rain storms, and recent extreme weather and damages, and they issue ingenious interpretation of ancient proxies to show a current high, along with misleading charts.
The skeptics similarly seize on a decade of flat temperatures in the 2000’s, some cool days and snow storms, and extreme weather and damages in decades past, and they issue their own interpretations of ancient proxies to show higher temperatures a thousand years ago, and their own misleading charts. None of these tricks, none, are relevant to determining the cause and effect of the one degree rise in global temperature since 1860.
But only one side, the catastrophists, won’t debate, fearing to give credibility to their opponents and preferring to cast them as kooks. I have given up on inviting my colleagues from environmental and left-leaning think tanks to debate me and more distinguished skeptics on my campus. They just won’t do it.
Useful inquiry cannot be conducted in this politicized environment, and without useful inquiry, relevant public discourse is impossible. So much money, and so many jobs and reputations, are wrapped up in the core creation of data and models and the analysis of proposed policies that the debate is effectively over.
Even the language of the issue is politicized. At first, catastrophists used the term “global warming.” While not quite accurate (the warming has been concentrated on the higher latitudes, suspiciously near the entirely natural North Atlantic Oscillation), it is something that can at least be measured with a consistent methodology, at least since 1980 and the advent of satellite sensing with global coverage.
One can say today if the average global temperature is rising, and if it is rising in some regions but not others, with much more certainty than before 1980. In that earlier era, and in the series the IPCC still uses today, global temperature was estimated from averaging data from weather collection stations that stood in as proxies for thousands of square miles of land and ship collection stations that stood in for hundreds of thousands of square miles of sea. Hilariously, the pre-1980 estimates are accorded respect down to the tenth of a degree, and included in comparisons with the satellite data, when their uncertainty is many orders more massive.
Then, coincident with the satellite data showing a flat line in global temperature for five-year averages from the mid-1990’s to today, the term “climate change” completely replaced “global warming.” Now, climate is always changing, so this doesn’t mean anything more than when my students tell me that studying abroad “changed their life.” I always ask: how did their life change, and was it for the worse or the better?
“Climate change” has inappropriately become short-hand for “extreme heat and droughts, extreme rainfall and snowfall (which seem contradictory…), extreme winds, and floods that emerge from them.” It includes by incorporation a rise in sea-level from warmer water (which expands in size) and melting ice on land (melting sea ice, as in the Arctic, already displaces its weight in sea-level).
Every time the phrase is used, it is loaded, a claim already assumed. The New York Times reported a rise in carbon dioxide levels with this headline: “CO2 at Level Not Seen in Millions of Years, Portending Major Climate Changes.” The article provided no evidence, of course, about which changes were portended – and that word itself implies calamitous changes.
What finally brought me to my retirement from the Climate War was my attempt to think through the claims in a recent film about the Maldives Islands that my think-tank had sponsored. The former president had been a darling of the catastrophists, holding a cabinet meeting under water to show how his country would look if the wicked West didn’t stop warming the planet.
A trip through journal articles, particularly one by a noted sea-level expert, Nils Axel-Morner, that disputed the rise in detail, showed me that the president’s claim is very hard to evaluate. Nowhere could I find evidence for dramatic changes over the past 40 years in the Maldives -- which of course does not rule out dramatic changes being on the way -- and I discovered that land sinks, and rises, to the clock of its underlying tectonic plates and geological formations as well as to the sea’s clock. Sea level is difficult to measure because it sloshes around, over tens of thousands of miles, and the measuring devices must be relative to some standard – the land, a dock, the bottom, all of which are always changing.
So here we are again on the Maldives, facing a question that relies on good historical data, systematic corrections and interpretations, and careful modeling. I could tell even before I read competing studies how the dispute would go. Just as with temperature, hurricanes, droughts, and global sea level, interested parties on both sides, skeptics and catastrophists, control the data and its manipulation, as well as the modeling.
Even disinterested scientists are forced into line by the high political stakes, finding themselves either hailed and rewarded or castigated and exiled based on their results. I realized that no matter how much I studied the issue, I could never trust the data, the manipulation, and the models, because of the partisanship. And that is why the debate is over.
I’m gonna miss a lot of it – the excitement of learning about modeling, paleoclimate, satellite sounding, the 100,000 year cycles, how ice cores can provide temperature estimates, and the fun of watching students grapple with the possibility that everything they have been taught about climate change in college might be wrong.
But I’m not gonna miss the stress of being the odd man out in my lefty think-tank, or of being in agreement with my usual foes. All I can say is, to people in both developed and developing countries, I hope I’ve helped just a little bit by being part of the resistance to the plan to de-industrialize your economies. So far, so good -- not because we skeptics convinced anybody about the dangers of emissions, but because people remain convinced of their benefits.
Ohio Governor Freezes State's Clean Energy Law
Ohio Governor John Kasich on Friday signed legislation to freeze a six-year old law that required utilities to sell increasing amounts of green energy, making the state the first in the country to roll back a clean energy mandate.
Kasich, a Republican mentioned as a possible contender for the 2016 presidential race, signed Senate Bill 310, which passed in the state's legislature with strong support from some of Ohio's biggest industrial power users, such as Alcoa, and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
A number of other companies with operations in the state, including Honda Motor, Honeywell and Whirlpool , opposed the freeze, and have said it will risk new jobs in the state.
The original 2008 Ohio law called on utilities to sell more green power each year. The Senate bill freezes the mandate at current levels until 2017.
The move comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposal on June 2 to put the U.S. power sector on track to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.
Each state has been given an individual target. Ohio needs to cut the amount of carbon it emits per megawatt hour of electricity produced by 28 percent.
Environmental groups have said that suspending the clean energy plan means Ohio will not be able to meet the recently introduced EPA carbon emission limits.
The original law passed easily under Kasich's predecessor, Democrat Ted Strickland. It required Ohio utilities to sell at least 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources like wind or solar by 2025.
The law also required utilities to boost energy efficiency, reducing customers' power usage by 22 percent.
In announcing on Friday afternoon that Kasich signed the bill, his office did not offer a comment
Peer-Reviewed Survey (By Warmists) Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis
It is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.
Don’t look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.
The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.
According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”
The authors of the survey report, however, note that the overwhelming majority of scientists fall within four other models, each of which is skeptical of alarmist global warming claims.
The survey finds that 24 percent of the scientist respondents fit the “Nature Is Overwhelming” model. “In their diagnostic framing, they believe that changes to the climate are natural, normal cycles of the Earth.” Moreover, “they strongly disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal lives.”
Another group of scientists fit the “Fatalists” model. These scientists, comprising 17 percent of the respondents, “diagnose climate change as both human- and naturally caused. ‘Fatalists’ consider climate change to be a smaller public risk with little impact on their personal life. They are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the IPCC modeling.” These scientists are likely to ask, “How can anyone take action if research is biased?”
The next largest group of scientists, comprising 10 percent of respondents, fit the “Economic Responsibility” model. These scientists “diagnose climate change as being natural or human caused. More than any other group, they underscore that the ‘real’ cause of climate change is unknown as nature is forever changing and uncontrollable. Similar to the ‘nature is overwhelming’ adherents, they disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal life. They are also less likely to believe that the scientific debate is settled and that the IPCC modeling is accurate. In their prognostic framing, they point to the harm the Kyoto Protocol and all regulation will do to the economy.”
The final group of scientists, comprising 5 percent of the respondents, fit the “Regulation Activists” model. These scientists “diagnose climate change as being both human- and naturally caused, posing a moderate public risk, with only slight impact on their personal life.” Moreover, “They are also skeptical with regard to the scientific debate being settled and are the most indecisive whether IPCC modeling is accurate.”
Taken together, these four skeptical groups numerically blow away the 36 percent of scientists who believe global warming is human caused and a serious concern.
One interesting aspect of this new survey is the unmistakably alarmist bent of the survey takers. They frequently use terms such as “denier” to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as “speaking against climate science” rather than “speaking against asserted climate projections.” Accordingly, alarmists will have a hard time arguing the survey is biased or somehow connected to the ‘vast right-wing climate denial machine.’
Another interesting aspect of this new survey is that it reports on the beliefs of scientists themselves rather than bureaucrats who often publish alarmist statements without polling their member scientists. We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe.
People who look behind the self-serving statements by global warming alarmists about an alleged “consensus” have always known that no such alarmist consensus exists among scientists. Now that we have access to hard surveys of scientists themselves, it is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.
Obama resorts to abuse
Mentions not a single scientific datum. His entire speech relies on one of the informal fallacies of logic: The appeal to authority
United States President Barack Obama, appearing emboldened after his recent move to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, ridiculed members of the US Congress for denying climate change or pleading scientific ignorance as an alibi for avoiding an inconvenient truth.
Speaking in gleefully sarcastic terms to a commencement ceremony at the University of California, Irvine, on Saturday, Mr Obama likened those who deny climate change to people who would have told US president John Kennedy, at the dawn of the space program, that the moon ''was made of cheese''.
He saved his most scathing words for lawmakers who say they are not qualified to judge the issue because they are not scientists. These people, Mr Obama said, recognise the truth but will not utter it for fear of being ''run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot''.
''I'm not a scientist either,'' Mr Obama told the young audience, "but we've got some good ones at NASA. I do know the overwhelming majority of scientists who work on climate change, including some who once disputed the data, have put the debate to rest.''
Mr Obama also said he had hit upon a novel way to speed up the nation's response to hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, wildfires, mudslides and other natural disasters: Make states and cities compete for a $US1 billion pot of money.
Mr Obama announced the competition, which would award funds to state and local authorities with the most innovative plans for rebuilding in a way that protects against future disasters.
''We also have to realise, as hundreds of scientists declared last month, that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but 'has moved firmly into the present','' Mr Obama said.
''Today's Congress,'' he declared, "is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence. They will tell you climate change is a hoax or a fad. One member of Congress actually says the world might be cooling."
He added: "I want to tell you this to light a fire under you. As the generation getting short-changed by inaction on this issue, I want to tell you that you cannot accept that this is the way it has to be."
THE SCIENCE OF DIETS AND HEALTH VERSUS THE SCIENCE OF MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE
Daniel Aronstein runs a blog where his own comments are mostly in all-caps. He has excelled himself below, however
YOUR AVERAGE NYTIMES-READING LIBERAL AGREES THAT THE SCIENCE REVOLVING AROUND OUR DIETS AND OUR HEALTH IS ALL OVER THE PLACE:
SOME STUDIES SHOW THAT CARBS ARE POISON AND PROTEIN AND FAT ARE GOOD
SOME STUDIES SHOW VEGETARIAN DIETS ARE BEST
SOME STUDIES SHOW THAT SATURATED FATS ARE BAD - OTHERS THAT THEY ARE HARMLESS
OLD STUDIES MADE OUT SALT AS A POISON. RECENT STUDIES SHOW SALT IS HARMLESS AND NECESSARY...
AND SO ON...
SO - ON THIS ISSUE - LIBERALS HAVE NO PROBLEM AGREEING WITH THE IDEA THAT THE STUDIES SHOULD ALL BE MET WITH A FAIR DEGREE OF SKEPTICISM.
THE SAME LIBERALS, THOUGH, ACCEPT THEORIES ABOUT MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE AS IF THEY WERE PROVEN BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT ...
DESPITE THE FACT THAT GLOBAL CLIMATE IS AT LEAST AS COMPLEX AS DIET AND DESPITE THE FACT THAT UNLIKE DIET STUDIES THERE ARE VERY FEW TESTS THAT PROVE ANYTHING ABOUT MAN-MADE CLIMATE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
AND BECAUSE THE CLIMATE MODELS HAVE ALL BEEN WAY WAY WAY OFF, MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE THEORIES SHOULD REALLY BE MET WITH EVEN MORE SKEPTICISM THAN DIET STUDIES.
THE REASON LIBS'N LEFTIES DON'T QUESTION CLIMATE CHANGE THEORIES IS THAT THEY ARE NOW AN INTEGRAL PARTY OF THE PARTY PLATFORM AND A LITMUS TEST FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE MACHINE.
IF YOU ARE A SKEPTIC, THEN YOUR MEMBERSHIP ON THE LEFT AND AFFILIATION WITH ALL THAT IS CONSIDERED BY THE MASS MEDIA AND ACADEMY (WHICH ARE BOTH DOMINATED BY THE LEFT) AS SMART AND COOL IS THREATENED.
KEEP IT UP AND YOU'LL BE SHUNNED. CALLED A "DENIER" AND REVILED AS A KNUCKLE-DRAGGING FOX-WATCHING G-D-FEARING WAR-MONGERING GAS-GUZZLING... RACIST!!!!!!!
AND LEFTISM IS, ABOVE ALL ELSE, AN AFFILIATION WITH A MACHINE AND NOT A SET OF PRINCIPLES OR VALUES OR BELIEFS.
SUPPORTING THE PARTY ON AGW/CLIMATE CHANGE/"CLIMATE DISRUPTION" IS NOW A PREREQUISITE AND IF YOU AND YOUR FAVORED GROUPS WANT ANY OF THE GOODIES THE MACHINE CAN DOLE OUT WHEN THEY'RE IN POWER, THEN YOU HAVE TO PLAY ALONG.
THE CLIMATE CHANGE HOAX IS A PERFECT ONE FOR THE LEFT AS IT ALLOWS THEM TO TAX ANYTHING/EVERYTHING AND TO REDISTRIBUTE IT TO THE MEMBERS OF THEIR MACHINE.
NEXT TIME YOU RUN INTO A LIBERAL WHO FEELS THAT AS FAR AS MAN--MADE CLIMATE CHANGE IS CONCERNED "THE DEBATE IS OVER" AND "THE SCIENCE SETTLED" ASK THEM WHY CLIMATE SCIENCE IS ANY BETTER THAN DIET SCIENCE.
IF THEY HAVE A SHRED OF INTELLECTUAL HONESTY, IT SHOULD OPEN THEIR EYES.
Glaciers and Global Warming
The melting of glaciers is often cited as evidence mankind is causing global warming through carbon dioxide emissions. A corollary of this is that melting glaciers raise sea levels, which will reach catastrophic levels unless CO2 emissions are reduced. Adding to the massive evidence already refuting these assertions, a recent paper provides more accurate reconstruction of two centuries of previous data “by using many more stations, particularly in the polar regions, and recently processed historic data series from isolated island stations.” The new study is based on monthly mean sea level data from 1807 to 2010. Regarding this new study, well-known meteorologist Anthony Watts wrote “this newest analysis of the most comprehensive data set available suggests that there has been no dramatic increase—or any increase, for that matter—in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration. [Therefore, there is no evidence of any human influence on sea levels.]” The last sentence, in brackets, is Mr. Watt’s.
Two other recent studies conclude that global warming of two glaciers in Antarctica will undermine the entire West Antarctic ice sheet, causing it to collapse and slide into the ocean. The authors contend that the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are melting on their undersides due to warm ocean water. As a result, the glacier is no longer held in place, they say. As pieces of the ice shelf break off, the ice behind slides forward. The authors assert “…we find no major bed or obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down of the entire basin.” This, they suggest, would raise sea level 10 feet or more in coming centuries.
Dr. Don Easterbrook, geology professor emeritus, Western Washington University, provides an illuminating explanation of why this dire prediction will not come true. With the aid of excellent maps, he provides a useful perspective on the geologic setting, the location of mountains, the drainage patterns and outlets of the two glaciers, and the scale of the size and thickness of the West Antarctic ice sheet relative to the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. For example, the East Antarctic ice sheet has more than 90% of the continent’s ice; the West Antarctic ice sheet, only about 8 and 1/2%, and the Pine Island Glacier only about 10% of that.
But most surprising—and convincing—is Easterbrook’s statement: “The importance of ice thickness is that virtually all of the ice sheet is considerably thicker than the depth below sea level to bedrock, so the ice is grounded and will not float.” He demonstrates this with the graph below accompanied by the following explanation.
“[This] is a profile of the West Antarctic ice sheet from the east coast to the Transantarctic Mts., showing thickness of the ice sheet, sea level, and the subglacial floor. At its deepest part, the subglacial floor is 2,000 m (6,500 ft) below sea level, but almost all of the subglacial floor in this profile is less than1,000 m (3,300 ft) below sea level. The ice is mostly more than 2,500 m (8,000 ft.) thick, sobasic physics tell us it will not float in 1,000 m (3,300 ft.) of water nor will sea water melt its way under the ice.”
Easterbrook also notes that “at least half a dozen potential grounding lines may be seen” in the above graph. This refutes the claim “that there is nowhere that the glacier can ground so it will all collapse into the sea.”
A Look at Other Glaciers
A book published in 1926, Climate Through the Ages by C.P.E. Brooks, states “the period from 1600 to 1850 has been termed the ‘Little Ice-Age.’ There were minor maxima of glaciation about 1820 and 1850; since then the glaciers and ice-sheets have been in rapid retreat in all parts of the world.”Today, 88 years later, the necessity of an adequate historical sample is evident. A website on global warming stresses this: “When examining claims made about glaciers, it is important to have historical data back to at least the early 1900s – otherwise the information is out of context for a climatic assessment. Statements about changes over the last few decades are meaningless without a longer term context…
“Most glaciers around the world (alpine and Greenland ice-sheet glaciers) have been melting as part of the long-term warming trend since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 1700s (although some are actually increasing). The recession of glaciers started long before anthropogenic CO2 levels rose…the recession of glaciers cannot be due to anthropogenic CO2-based global warming…
“The IPCC only needs CO2 for the climate models and only for the northern hemisphere…. The anthropogenic CO2 based theory is based strictly on computer models – the empirical data do not support it.
“The United Nations IPCC was founded in 1988 with the purpose of assessing “the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.” —i.e. it is based on the assumption of “human-induced climate change” – there was no attempt to evaluate the scientific evidence of the cause of the warming….[The IPCC] always makes statements regarding the definite human causation; it has never provided substantial scientific evidence that anthropogenic CO2 is the cause. The only evidence provided is the output of computer models.
This website shows this chart of 169 glaciers with the comment it is “consistent for most glaciers worldwide – the recession of the glaciers started at the end of the Little Ice Age.”
The graph shows the glaciers have been receding since 1750, with the trend accelerating after about 1820. This is long before global industrialization, which didn’t get underway until the middle of the 20th Century. The electric light bulb and the telephone hadn’t been invented yet. (Thomas Edison wasn’t even born.) The first commercial electric power plant was not built until 1881-82. Henry Ford began assembly line production of automobiles in 1913, but by then half of the glacier loss from 1800 to 2000 had already occurred. And 70 percent of the glacier shortening occurred before 1940. Obviously the global retreat of the glaciers was not caused by increased CO2 from factories and automobiles. So it is perhaps surprising that new studies keep springing up trying to blame the melting of glaciers on increases in carbon dioxide emissions. But it should not be surprising in light of the fact the IPCC was founded for the purpose of gathering evidence for “human-induced climate change.”
The Kilimanjaro Story
About a decade ago there was rising concern about the melting of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s icecap, which was widely blamed on global warming. That presumption did not fit with the available data.
Measurements were made of the Kilimanjaro icecap in 1912, 1953, 1976 and 1979. Kilimanjaro lost 45% of its icecap between 1912 and 1953. Had that trend continued, those glaciers would already be gone. But the period 1953 to 1976 was a period of global COOLING (minus 0.13 degrees F.)—and Kilimanjaro’s glaciers still lost another 21%. Another 12% disappeared since 1976, the lowest rate since 1912. Thus contrary to the hype of the global warming alarmists, Kilimanjaro’s icecap melted more slowly in recent decades, not faster.
Moreover, since 1979 we have satellite measurements, which are far more accurate than ground-based measurements and give us measurements at various elevations. At the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro, 19,000 feet, they show a cooling of the Kilimanjaro area of 0.40 degrees F. beginning in 1979. This cooling rate (0.17 degrees F. per decade) is exactly the same as the warming rate 1912 to 1953. Kilimanjaro is just one more example of trying to scare the public with a global warming story that has no basis in fact.
In the journal Nature, researcher Betsy Mason wrote,“Although it’s tempting to blame the (Kilimanjaro) ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit….Without the forests’ humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine.” Mason’s work has since been confirmed by several other researchers.
Ten major ice ages have occurred during the past one million years, and another ten occurred in the prior million or so years. These ice ages lasted about 90,000 years and were separated by warm interglacial periods lasting about 10,000 years. We are currently in the Holocene interglacial period. Since this began about 11,500 years ago, we are no doubt very late in this cycle, after which the earth will again experience an ice age.
Sea levels have fluctuated widely as the ice advanced and retreated in accordance with the 90,000- and 10,000-year cycles. Since the most recent period of maximum glaciation, 18,000 years ago, the sea level has risen more than 300 feet without CO2 emissions from industrialization. A land bridge had existed across the Bering Strait, so it was possible to walk from Siberia to Alaska.
The hype of global warming alarmism claimed the temperatures in the 1990s were “unprecedented” and required drastic limiting of CO2emissions to prevent “catastrophic” global warming. But if we compare the mean temperature of the 1990s to the warmest temperatures of the four prior interglacials, we see the 1990s weremuch cooler than all of these corresponding periods. In fact, all four were warmer than the current one by an average temperature of more than 2 degrees C.
120,000 years ago, during the last interglacial period, the Eemian, global sea level was about 8 m (26 feet) higher than today. Globally, temperatures were 1-2 degrees C. higher, and the water temperature of the North Sea was about 2 degrees C. higher than today.
The climate in Greenland during the Eemian period was about 8 degrees C. higher than today. At the beginning of the Eemian, 128,000 years ago, the ice sheet in northwest Greenland was 200 meters higher than today. It regressed during the warm Eemian period, so by 122,000 years ago that ice sheet had sunk to 130 meters below the current level.
The foregoing facts show that current temperatures, glaciers and sea levels are well within the natural range of fluctuations. Far more extreme climate conditions existed many times in the past without ever causing the catastrophic consequences predicted from the far more modest climate changes we see today or are likely to see in the future. Arguments to the contrary are simply baseless and implausible.
It is also baseless and implausible that carbon dioxide is the “culprit” in global warming and a threat to the future. CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas and comprises only 0.04% of our atmosphere. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas and is responsible for at least 95% of any greenhouse effect. If we could eliminate all of the threat from CO2, we would still have that 95% of greenhouse effect (plus about one percent from minor gases.)
Since the greenhouse effect of CO2 is so minor, all of the computer models assume it will be amplified by water vapor, without which there would be no disaster scenario. But in the many documented periods of higher carbon dioxide levels, even during much warmer climate periods, such amplification never happened. During the time of the dinosaurs, the carbon dioxide levels were 300-500% greater than today. Five hundred million years ago, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 15-20 times what it is today. Yet the catastrophic water-vapor amplification of carbon dioxide warming never occurred. Today we’re told catastrophe will result if carbon dioxide doubles. But during the Ordovician Period the carbon dioxide level was 12 times what it is today, and the earth was in an Ice Age. That’s exactly opposite to the “runaway” warming that computer models predict should occur.
It is also implausible that mankind has a significant—much less a decisive—effect on atmospheric CO2. Of the CO2 that constitutes 5% or less of the greenhouse effect, 97% of that comes from nature, not man. By far the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions is the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It produces 72% of the earth’s emissions of carbon dioxide, and the rest of the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and the other waters also contribute. Volcanoes, swamps, rice paddies, fallen leaves, and even insects and bacteria produce carbon dioxide, as well as methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Termites alone emit far more CO2 than all the fossil fuels burned annually, and plant respiration and decay emit 10 to 15 times more CO2 than termites, according to P. R. Zimmerman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Human emissions are trivial to the climate.
So why all the hysteria about controlling global warming? It’s really not about global warming at all. It’s about controlling people for ideological reasons. It would be futile to campaign against global warming from water vapor. Or the sun. (See my previous posting, “It’s the Sun, Stupid.”) But if you can scare the public that global warming is a threat to humanity and the future of the planet because of CO2and industrial progress, they are likely to vote for those proposing “solutions” for controlling people and progress to avert disaster even if it isn’t real. Global warming is a way of smuggling collectivist ideology into political power, broadening economic controls, social engineering and effacing individual rights, all under the banner of collective good.
The global warming issue is really a political ticket to a dangerous future of centralized control. It is the future version of George Orwell’s 1984. If the government says something is “true,” it is, even if it isn’t. If it says global warming is occurring, that is “true,” even if it isn’t. If it says it is caused by CO2, that is “true,” even if it isn’t. If EPA says CO2 must be regulated because it is a health hazard, that is “true” even if it isn’t.
"It isn’t just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn’t happen even if the models were right" –Richard Lindzen, climatologist, MIT professor of meteorology.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here