Friday, October 24, 2014

Oreskes, merchant of smear

Fred Singer has decided not to sue over the grievous libel directed at him by Naomi Oreskes & Co. but he has suggested that his supporters reprint two articles from a few years back wherein both he and another writer have critiqued her work.  What she says now is more shrill than in the past but her accusations are basically now old ones so the effort of composing a new reply would be superfluous.The two articles follow the backgrounder below:

Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer pioneered upper-atmosphere ozone measurements with rockets and later devised the satellite instrument used to monitor ozone. He is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service (now NESDIS-NOAA). He is a Fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute. His book Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1500 Years (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007) presents the evidence for natural climate cycles of warming and cooling and became a NY Times best-seller. He is the organizer of NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change), editor of its 2008 report "Nature - Not Human Activity - Rules the Climate" , and coauthor of "Climate Change Reconsidered," published in 2009, with conclusions contrary to those of the IPCC . As a reviewer of IPCC reports, he presumably shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and 2,000 others.

Naomi Oreskes, Conspiracy Queen

By Norman Rogers

Naomi Oreskes is the environmentalist Noam Chomsky.  She thinks that anyone who questions environmentalist doctrine is evil.  Her crusade is to expose the presumed ulterior motives of the critics.   According to Oreskes, if you question the dubious studies concerning secondhand tobacco smoke, you must be in the pay of tobacco companies.  If you question global warming, you must be working for a fossil fuel company.  If you question the DDT ban, you must part of a right wing conspiracy to weaken faith in government regulators.

Oreskes is the author of one of the silliest articles ever to appear in the journal Science.  She claimed that she analyzed 928 peer-reviewed papers on global warming and 100% agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning global warming.  If you go to the website of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) you can find hundreds of peer reviewed papers that disagree with the IPCC in one way or another.

Her latest book, with co-author Erik Conway, is Merchants of Doubt.  In this tedious book she treats us to the details of numerous disputes between those who subscribe to normative environmental theology and those who don't.  Normative environmental theology is the sort of theology that is preached by the Sierra Club or the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Oreskes is a professor and an important administrator at the University of California.  Like Chomsky, she cloaks her endless conspiracy theories in the machinery of scholarship.  Her 343 page book has 64 pages of notes.  A pig with lipstick is still a pig.

 Neither Oreskes nor her co-author have strong scientific educations and it shows.  From her book it is obvious that she enjoyed access to many scientists, but somehow none of her scientist friends found the time to proof read Merchants of Doubt.  This is not hard to understand.  Merchants of Doubt is a book of unsurpassed monotony.  Conspiracy theories get boring very quickly, especially when the conspiracies are all variations of a few crude plots.  A number of informed critiques of Merchants of Doubt can be seen in the 1-star Amazon reviews.

In the introduction to Merchants of Doubt the fact that adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes the stratosphere to cool and the troposphere to warm is explained as follows:

But if the warming is caused by greenhouse gases emitted at the surface and largely trapped in the lower atmosphere, then we expect the troposphere to warm, but the stratosphere to cool.

It is a bit difficult to know what this sentence means but it is clear that Oreskes hasn't the faintest idea concerning radiation and the role of greenhouse gases.  Greenhouse gases (mostly CO2) are not trapped in the lower atmosphere but are well mixed up to and including the stratosphere.  CO2 causes the stratosphere to cool because CO2 is a good radiator of infrared radiation and thus improves the capability to exhaust stratospheric heat to space as radiation.  Cooling of the stratosphere is not evidence of global warming.  It is evidence of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.  The distinction is important.

The climategate emails are hundreds of emails among important scientists that show them to be perverting scientific protocols and practicing propaganda to promote global warming alarmism.  Ben Santer is a prominent player in the climategate emails.  He is most famous for saying this about the global warming skeptic scientist Patrick Michaels:

"Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I'll be tempted to beat  the crap out of him.  Very tempted."

Oreskes, apparently before the release of the climategate emails, said this about Ben Santer:

"He's thoroughly moderate...  soft-spoken, almost self-effacing ...  you might think he was an accountant..."[i]

Ben Santer, who may be Oreskes' favorite scientist, has been struggling for years with the skeptics concerning the relative heating of the upper troposphere.  He has resorted to publishing papers with as many of 24 co-authors, apparently in an attempt to make his arguments more credible by collecting a lot of scientists willing to support him.

In Oreskes' milieu, it is apparently a bad thing to be anti-communist.  She attacks and psychoanalyzes the physicist Frederick Seitz for his "strident" and "unalloyed" anti-communism.  She puts thoughts in Seitz's head.  He thinks his colleagues are "ingrates" and he "has an uneasy time with the masses." He was "hawkish" and "superior." Another physicist, William Nierenberg, is also psychoanalyzed by Oreskes.   According to her Nierenberg "hated environmentalists" and was "overconfident."  Nierenberg's son Nicholas Nierenberg has been so upset by Oreskes' distortions of his father's work that he started a website to refute Oreskes.  The sin of these eminent physicists for Oreskes is that they were critics of environmental extremism and strong supporters of the United States in the Cold War.  Seitz and Nierenberg are both dead and thus cannot defend themselves.

Fred Singer is a scientist who has been in the forefront of defending science against junk science.  This is not an easy road to take.  Junk science is a basic tool for groups that are pushing ideological positions.  Subtle distinctions are not welcomed by the ideological groups.  If you acknowledge that smoking cigarettes causes cancer, but then you dare to say that the hazard presented by secondhand smoke is exaggerated, you are tagged as a supporter of cancer.  If you say that the case for man-caused global warming is full of holes you are tagged as an agent of fossil fuel companies.  Very few scientists are brave enough to take the heat and personal attacks the come from standing up to junk science.  Fred Singer has been doing it for a long time.  In his late 80's, he is still writing scientific papers and traveling the world giving lectures.  Oreskes is a promoter of junk science and for that reason cannot abide Fred Singer.  Singer is her favorite punching bag.  His name appears dozens of times in Merchants of Doubt.

Should we be surprised that Naomi Oreskes is a professor at the University of California and has been promoted to an administrative position?  After all Noam Chomsky was a professor at MIT.  But Chomsky was a professor because of his work in linguistics, not because he believes in crazy conspiracies.  It seems that Naomi Oreskes is successful not in spite of her love of conspiracy, but exactly because she promotes conspiracies.  This makes one wonder what has happened to the intellectual climate at the University of California.

The science establishment has fallen so low that it thinks it is a useful tactic to deal with its critics by accusing them of conspiracies financed by tobacco companies and oil companies.   For the last 50 years, starting with DDT, we have been subjected to junk science scares.  The scares were invariably false or exaggerated.  Most of these scares were not more than brief media sensations, but some scares have been disruptive, diverting attention from real problems.  The king of all scares is global warming.  Taken seriously, it requires revamping the entire world economy and making us all poorer.  The predictions of global warming disaster are deeply flawed junk science dressed up with an impressive "scientific" structure of panels, committees and organizations.  The global warming scare is rapidly collapsing.  Scientists outside of the global warming bubble are pointing out the flaws in the science and a coterie of well-informed bloggers is getting out the message by bypassing the establishment media where critics' voices are generally blocked.  Nature is helping because the earth and the oceans are failing to warm according to script.

That a conspiracist like Naomi Oreskes would be welcomed by the global warming scientific establishment and invited to speak at the December 2010 American Geophysical Union meeting is a symptom of increasing desperation.  The global warming advocates have dug themselves into a deep hole and they can't seem to stop digging.  Ironically Oreskes spoke at a meeting where Exxon Mobil was the biggest financial contributor[ii].  Apparently it's not a conspiracy if Exxon Mobil gives its money to the right people.


Science and Smear Merchants

By S. Fred Singer

Professor Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California in San Diego, claims to be a science historian.  One can readily demonstrate that she is neither a credible scientist nor a credible historian; the best evidence is right there in her recent book, "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming," coauthored with Eric Conway.  Her science is faulty; her historical procedures are thoroughly unprofessional.  She is, however, an accomplished polemicist, who has found time for world lecture tours, promoting her book and her ideological views, while being paid by the citizens of California.  Her book tries to smear four senior physicists -- of whom I am the only surviving one.  I view it as my obligation to defend the reputations of my late colleagues and good friends against her libelous charges.

Oreskes is well-known from her 2004 article in Science that claimed a complete scientific consensus about manmade global warming; it launched her career as a polemicist.  Her claim was based on examining the abstracts of some 900 published papers.  Unfortunately, she missed more than 11,000 papers through an incorrect Internet search.  She published a discreet "Correction"; yet she has never retracted her ideologically based claim about consensus.  Al Gore still quotes her result, which has been contradicted by several, more competent studies (by Peiser, Schulte, Bray and von Storch; Lemonick in SciAm, etc).

Turning first to the her science, her book discusses acidification, as measured by the pH coefficient.  She states that a pH of 6.0 denotes neutrality (page 67, MoD).  Let's be charitable and chalk this off to sloppy proofreading.

Elsewhere in the book (page 29), she claims that beryllium is a "heavy metal" and tries to back this up with references.  I wonder if she knows that the atomic weight of beryllium is only 9, compared to, say, uranium, which is mostly 238.  A comparison of these two numbers should tell anyone which one is the heavy metal.

 Her understanding of the Greenhouse Effect is plain comical; she posits that CO2 is "trapped" in the troposphere -- and that's why the stratosphere is cooling.  Equally wrong is her understanding of what climate models are capable of; she actually believes that they can predict forest fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and China -- nothing but calamities everywhere -- and tells climate scientists in a recent lecture: If the predictions of climate models have come true, then why don't people believe them [see this]?  Perhaps because people are not gullible.

But the most amazing science blunder in her book is her hypothesis about how cigarette-smoking causes cancer (page 28).  She blames it on oxygen-15, a radioactive isotope of the common oxygen-16.  I wonder if she knows that the half-life of O-15 is only 122 seconds.  Of course, she does not spell out how O-15 gets into cigarette smoke, whether it is in the paper or in the tobacco itself.  If the latter, does she believe that the O-15 is created by the burning of tobacco?  If so, this would be a fantastic discovery, worthy of an alchemist.  Perhaps someone should make her aware of the difference between radioactive and "reactive" oxygen; the two words do sound similar.

I am sure one would find more examples of scientific ignorance in a careful reading of the rest of the book.  But why bother?

Having demonstrated her scientific "expertise," let's turn to her historical expertise.  Any careful historian would use primary sources and would at least try to interview the scientists she proceeds to smear.  There is no trace of that in Oreskes' book.  She has never taken the trouble to interview Dr. Robert Jastrow, founder of the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and later Director of the Mt. Wilson Astronomical Observatory and founding president of the renowned George C Marshall Institute in Washington, DC.  I can find no evidence that she ever interviewed Dr. William Nierenberg, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who actually lived in San Diego and was readily accessible.  And I doubt if she ever even met Dr. Frederick Seitz, the main target of her venom.

Seitz was the most distinguished of the group of physicists that are attacked in the book.  He had served as President of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the American Physical Society, and later as President of Rockefeller University.  He had been awarded numerous honorary degrees from universities here and abroad, as well as the prestigious National Medal of Science from the White House.

Instead of seeking firsthand information in the tradition of historical research, Oreskes relies on secondary or tertiary sources, quoting people who agree with her ideology.  A good example of this is her discussion of acid rain and of the White House panel (under Reagan, in 1982) chaired by Bill Nierenberg, on which I also served.  Here she relies on what she was told by Dr. Gene Likens, whose research funding depends on portraying acid rain as a very serious environmental problem.  It most definitely is not -- and indeed disappeared from view as soon as Congress passed legislation designed to reduce the effect.

An amazing discovery: I found that Oreskes gives me credit (or blames me) for inventing "cap-and-trade," the trading of emission rights under a fixed cap of total emissions (see pp. 91-93).  I had never claimed such a priority because I honestly don't know if this idea had been published anywhere.  It seemed like the natural thing to suggest in order to reduce total cost -- once an emission cap had been set.

My example involved smelters that emit SO2 copiously versus electric utilities that burn coal containing some sulfur.  I even constructed what amounts to a "supply curve" in which the bulk of the emission control is borne initially by the lowest-cost units.  Of course, Likens and some others on the panel, antagonistic to coal-burning electric utilities, objected to having my discussion included in the panel report.  Nierenberg solved the problem neatly by putting my contribution into a signed Appendix, thereby satisfying some panel members who did not want be responsible for a proposal that might let some electric utilities off the hook.

We have established so far that Oreskes is neither a scientist of any sort nor a careful professional historian.  She is, however, a "pop-psychologist."  It seems she has figured out what motivates the four senior physicists she libels in her book; it is "anti-communism."  Really!  This is not only stated explicitly but she also identifies them throughout as "Cold Warriors."

Well, now we know at least where Oreskes stands in the political spectrum.


Global warming and African religion

Does global warming affect African religion?  Of course it does!  Global warming affects everything!  I can't say I am strongly seized by the urgency of the "problem", however.  Maybe a devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ could as a result supplant African native religions, something I would applaud.  At any event the paper is rubbish.  It is just a series of assertions based on opinion rather than any quantified research

The Impact of Climate Change on African Traditional Religious Practices

By Christian NG


Developing countries especially in the African continent are bearing the brunt of the impact of climate change. However, what have not been brought to the fore are the impacts of the phenomenon of climate change on African traditional religious practices. This paper, therefore attempts to critically evaluate the impact of climate change on African traditional religious practices. This study is based on two basic assumptions-first, the African traditional religion employs natural elements as mode of expression of its faith. Secondly, the African world is suffused with religion. Using a critical phenomenological method of analysis, it was found that African traditional religion has directly and indirectly been affected by the consequences of climate change in Africa. The paper, however, recommended among other things, a collective cum community adjustment approach to the realities of climate change.

J Earth Sci Clim Change 5:209. doi: 10.4172/2157-7617.1000209

Smoking Gun Of Massive Climate Fraud At NCDC And The EPA

The EPA has this graph on their website, based on the NCDC Climate Extremes Index

It shows that the area of the US with hot daily summer temperatures is at record levels.

The graph is completely fraudulent. In fact it is inverted. Prior to 1960, the area of the US which reached 100 degrees during summer was quite a bit higher, and in 1936 seventy-five percent of stations reached 100 degrees. The percentage of the US reaching 100 degrees every year is much lower now, with 2014 close to a record low.

The EPA graph shows 2012 as the hottest, when in fact it wasn’t even in the top ten. They show 1936 at 50%, when in fact it was 75%.

Next is the minimum temperature graph – again in sharp disagreement with the EPA graph.

This metric is not affected by TOBS or homogenization. Apparently the good people at NCDC are simply fabricating numbers, because I used their thermometer data in this analysis.


Fossil-Fueled Fiction

By weather forecaster Joe Bastardi

It’s been a heck of a week for hysteria in the so-called Climate War. Apparently, with all the other things going on in the world, the hysteria has to be whipped up so people actually pay attention to this trumped-up agenda.

Look at this, an inconvenient truth if hysteria is your agenda: “World Disasters Report for 2013 – lowest number of catastrophies and deaths in 10 years.”

That’s right. All this screaming and yelling about how bad it is, and we find that we are at a decade low in terms of catastrophes and deaths. Wait a minute – isn’t this extreme of non-extremes an extreme in itself? This lack of disasters is a disaster since it’s a sign there has to be more disasters. After all, how can there be any less? Don’t be surprised if that argument shows up. After all, only in the world of the AGW alarmists can a record-breaking amount of ice in the Southern Hemisphere and the third highest snow total for September in the Northern Hemisphere be a sign it’s getting warmer. Apparently, humans are also changing the freeze process. Perhaps water now freezes at higher temperatures and that’s the reason increases in snow and ice are a sign it’s warmer? (Sarcasm.)

And then we get this from the founder of the “#ClimateSilence” and “#DontFundEvil” campaigns, Brad Johnson, who calls himself “Climatebrad”: “Dangerous, Fossil-Fueled Hurricane Gonzalo Barrels Toward Bermuda.”

Is that so? Gonzalo went through the area we said in April would be primed for the strongest storms. We predicted one or two major hurricanes.

Guess what? Gonzalo was the second major hurricane of the year.

Apparently, this “fossil fuel” didn’t work too well. It weakened from Category 4 to Category 2 as it reached Bermuda – quite a bit different from the non-fossil fuel Hazel in October 1954 which hit the North Carolina coast as a Category 4 and caused hurricane force winds all the way into Canada.

Moreover, the hurricane season this year has gone almost exactly as our non-fossil fuel-based forecast said it would when we put it out in April! Look at the tracks of the storms, where we had the two prime regions for storm. All of the hurricanes had hit maximum intensity in our two main areas. We had little activity in the deep tropics. Over 80% of the total ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) index this year is in the two shaded areas. If there is any criticism, it’s that the area of highest threat should have been centered east about 300 miles. But without any of this fossil fuel nonsense, this forecast from April targeted the season we have had. We are within one now of the total number and all the hurricanes (Dolly was tropical storm) have gone through our areas. If we get a late season development later this week, it reaches the low end of the total number. The forecast had one or two major hurricanes, and we’ve had two form. As of Sunday PM, we are near 75% of total ACE.

Or how about this for a headline: “Some cities try to stem the fossil-fueled flood in South Florida.”

There's the strategy! Every event is fossil-fueled now. This example is from someone who could not possibly have had the life he has had, or could do what he does (this applies to all of us) without fossil fuels. Which is one of the things that bugs me so much about the whole AGW movement. Here we are, all nice and warm with our marvelous technology, and the same people and industries that help so much make it that way are now demonized and destroyed. I believe the word to describe someone that does that is “ingrate.”

Just a reminder folks: The true"hockey sticks" of fossil fuel, given the fact there are tree ring studies such as Liu’s from China, are not with temperatures, but with world wide GDP and life expectancy.

Temperatures from 400BC -- no hockeystick

Wealth from 1500 AD.  A REAL hockeystick

Another real hockestick

Though showing you only a couple of examples, it’s obvious the strategy of the AGW alarmists is to simply blame everything on fossil fuels. Even in the year of a lack of extreme events, they are trumpeting all weather events as evidence they are right. In a way, they are playing an “Everybody Gets a Trophy” card (no matter what we say, we are right, give me my trophy) and a victim card (the evil fossil fuel people are destroying us; never mind we are far better off than we would have been if what we are pushing was enacted from the get-go).

I guess then it’s okay for me to call what they do what it is: FOSSIL-FUELED PROPAGANDA.  Why not? They claim everything else is.


No apologies to Bob Carter?

When Carter first drew attention to the cessation of global warming after 1998, he was roundly abused, condemned and told he was wrong.  Now that even Warmists admit to what they call the "pause" in warming, is anybody apologizing to Carter and admitting that he was right after all?  Certainly no Warmists are

It was an Australian scientist, Bob Carter, who first drew attention to the flattening trend in an article in Britain’s The Telegraph in April 2006. Carter reviewed the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia for the years 1998 to 2005 and asked: “Does something not strike you as odd?”

Carter’s reward for identifying the lack of global warming was to have his professional reputation trashed. When Carter repeated his suggestion in the Australian press a year later, the CSIRO felt obliged to respond. Carter had presented “an unethical misrepresentation of the facts”, wrote Andrew Ash, acting director of the CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship. “All scientists welcome honest criticism since it helps to sharpen our analyses and improve our understanding, but scepticism based on half-truths and misrepresentation of facts is not helpful.”

ABC online’s The Drum refused to run his commentary. ABC Radio National’s science broadcaster Robyn Williams gave an open microphone to Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change communications director Bob Ward, who accused Carter of “desperately seeking bits of information to back up a ­theory”.

Political scientist Robert Manne said the likes of Carter, award-winning geologist Ian Plimer and former head of the National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology William Kininmonth “have to be resisted and indeed denounced” along with the “anti-political correctness and anti-collectivist ideologues, the right-wing media and the fossil fuel corporations”.

As recently as two years ago, former finance minister Nick Minchin was mocked on the ABC’s Q&A for suggesting that temperatures had plateaued. “There is a major problem with the warmist argument because we have had rising CO2 but we haven’t had the commensurate rise in temperature that the IPCC predicted,” he said.

“That’s just not true Nick,” responded Anna Rose, chairwoman of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

The University of NSW’s Matthew England joined in. “What Nick just said is actually not true. The IPCC projections of 1990 have borne out very accurately the projections now 22 years old.”

As it happens, it was true. The 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report predicted temperature rises of 0.3C each decade. In fact, according to the latest report global temperatures have risen only 0.14C per decade since 1978.

In September last year a draft version of the fifth assessment report of the IPCC’s working group 1 that assesses the physical science of climate finally acknowledged the gap between computer projections and observed surface temperatures between 1998 and 2012. The IPCC was not so bold as to admit that its previous reports were wrong. It did accept, however, that there had been a “global mean surface temperature trend hiatus”, which amounts to the same thing.

If science worked as purely as Francis Bacon suggested it should, by the application of induction and observation, climate science would have moved on by now. Experts, however, are only human. Too many professional reputations have been invested in a fixed idea for it to be simply abandoned.

The heating has not stopped, we are told, it has simply “paused”. The word bristles with presumption. Despite their appalling track record in the past 20 years, climate scientists still believe they can predict how temperatures will move in the future.

“The ocean is absorbing huge amounts of heat energy and then will toss it back on us further along,” Dr Karl told Delroy.

Nobody suggested that temperatures should rise in a straight line, he said. “It’s much more complicated than that … there are so many factors involved, El Nino, La Nina, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, etc, that suggests that you need a 17-year window to able to look past the noise.

“And here they are saying we’re looking at a nine-year window and it looks sort of not as uppity as before. Well that’s easy, it’s not a 17-year window.” Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is ignoring facts that even Warmists now admit -- the "pause" has gone on for 18 years]



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