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Topic: Pathological Science (Read 176231 times)
Pathological Science: Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago
Reply #800 on:
December 31, 2014, 10:18:29 AM »
Cherry pick your data point and prove any trend that you want.
The area of Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago
All of these things are the exact opposite of what experts forecast. Hansen predicted peak sea ice loss in the Weddell Sea, right where the peak gain has occurred.
Re: Pathological Science
Reply #801 on:
December 31, 2014, 10:24:04 AM »
Weddell Sea being in Antarctica just to clarify (photos show the Artic Ocean and some may state "yes, but... Antarctica...").
Singing in the rain...
Pathological Science, Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months
Reply #802 on:
December 31, 2014, 10:44:14 AM »
Quote from: DDF on December 31, 2014, 10:24:04 AM
Weddell Sea being in Antarctica just to clarify (photos show the Arctic Ocean and some may state "yes, but... Antarctica...").
Thanks DDF for the clarification. I was picking different excerpts hoping to encourage people to read the source. Yes there is a global map at the link showing the antarctic sea marking "scientist" Hanson's colossal error.
Overnight windchill in the Twin Cities was -25 F last night. (
) Where does global warming occur if not here, arctic, antarctic or anywhere else?
Satellite Temperatures Reveal the ‘Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months
Which of the alarmists' models predicted warming would take a two decade pause?
Re: Pathological Science, Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months
Reply #803 on:
December 31, 2014, 11:05:10 AM »
Quote from: DougMacG on December 31, 2014, 10:44:14 AM
Quote from: DDF on December 31, 2014, 10:24:04 AM
Weddell Sea being in Antarctica just to clarify (photos show the Arctic Ocean and some may state "yes, but... Antarctica...").
Where does global warming occur if not here, arctic, antarctic or anywhere else?
The $64,000 question.
"In the hearts and minds of idealists around the world, for the win Chuck."
Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 11:12:58 AM by DDF
Singing in the rain...
CLimate Scientist censored
Reply #804 on:
January 01, 2015, 11:49:44 AM »
From May of last year
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Revealed: How green zealots gagged professor who dared to question global warming
• Professor Lennart Bengtsson's study was rejected and branded 'harmful'
• This sparked accusations that scientists are censoring findings
• The 79-year-old is one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists
• Last week, he resigned from the Global Warming Policy Foundation's advisory council
By David Rose
Row: Renowned Swedish scientist Professor Lennart Bengtsson of Reading University was at the centre of an international row last week
Ground-breaking climate research that was controversially ‘covered up’ suggests the rate that greenhouse gases are heating the Earth has been significantly exaggerated,
The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Renowned Swedish scientist Professor Lennart Bengtsson of Reading University was at the centre of an international row last week when his study was rejected by a leading science journal after it was said to be ‘harmful’ and have a ‘negative impact’.
The rejection sparked accusations that scientists had crossed an important line by censoring findings that were not helpful to their views.
Prof Bengtsson further claims one of the world’s most recognised science publications also decided not to use his research findings, because, he said, they were considered to be ‘uninteresting’.
Prof Bengtsson’s critical paper was co-authored with four colleagues. It focused on the growing gap between real temperatures and predictions made by computers.
In a recent key report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated the ‘climate sensitivity’ – the amount the world will warm each time carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere double – was between 1.5C and 4.5C. According to Prof Bengtsson’s paper, it is more likely to be 1.2C to 2.7C. The implications of the difference are huge. If the planet is warming half as fast as previously thought in response to emissions, many assumptions behind targets for reducing emissions and green energy subsidies are wrong. The subsidies in turn have led to a significant increase in consumers’ power bills. Last week, it was revealed Environmental Research Letters had rejected his paper because it would be seized on by climate ‘sceptics’ in the media.
Fear: Professor Bengtsson of the University of Reading said the pressure was so great he feared for his health
Established: The Global Warming Policy Foundation was set up by former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson and is regarded as being part of the 'sceptic camp' when it comes to climate change Later the journal said it had rejected the paper because the reviewers questioned the paper’s methods. But another journal turned it down without it even being sent out for peer review. Prof Bengtsson says this only normally happens if the editors believe the work is ‘trivial’ or ‘unimportant’. Prof Bengtsson, 79, is one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists. Last week he was forced to step down from the council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the sceptical think-tank set up by Lord Lawson.
• I was victimised for challenging zealots, says Professor: Poison, plots and a battle to neuter climate change critics
• Billionaires are 'scary smart' and more likely to have attended elite schools such as Harvard
• Climate change scientist claims he has been forced from new job in 'McCarthy'-style witch-hunt by academics across the world
He was accused by former friends and colleagues of ‘crossing into the deniers’ camp’. Prof Bengtsson said the pressure was so great he had feared for his health. He said he had been stunned by the ‘emotional’ reaction to his joining the GWPF.
‘The way some in the climate community behaved shocked me,’ he said. ‘It was as if I had been married for many years, and then discovered my wife was a completely different person.’
Prof Bengtsson said the paper was now being considered by a third journal, after some revisions. But he had asked for his name to be to be removed in the wake of the row over the GWPF.
Is this the tipping point for climate McCarthyism?
Some climate scientists have long been warning that the planet is approaching a tipping point. Future historians may one day reflect that we reached it last week.
If they do, they won’t mean that this was when global warming became unstoppable. Instead, they’ll be pointing to the curious affair of Professor Lennart Bengtsson of Reading University as the moment that the rigid, authoritarian campaign to shut down debate on climate science and policy finally began to unravel.
For several years, this newspaper has been at the forefront of efforts to publicise the highly inconvenient truth that real world temperatures have not risen nearly as fast as computer models say they should have, thanks to the unexpected ‘pause’ in global warming which has so far lasted some 17 years.
As Prof Bengtsson has now discovered, anyone who draws attention to this will be vilified and accused of ‘denying’ supposedly ‘settled’ science.
The dogma – the insistence, as Bengtsson put it yesterday, that ‘greenhouse gas emissions are leading us towards the end of the world in the not-too-distant future’ – dominates many aspects of our lives, from lessons taught in primary schools to the vast and rising ‘green’ energy subsidies on household fuel bills.
To be sure, Bengtsson’s treatment is not encouraging. As a former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, he is one of the world’s most eminent experts. Yet last week, he was accused of having joined the equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan and the Flat Earth Society, and of peddling ‘junk science’ – all because he accepted a place on the council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Some climate scientists have long been warning that the planet is approaching a tipping point. Future historians may one day reflect that we reached it last week
So great was the pressure, he feared for his health, and decided to resign. The most cursory look at the GWPF’s website makes clear it does not ‘deny’ any aspect of the science of global warming, nor that this has happened in response to human activity.
Its focus (as its name rather suggests) is on policy, where it has indeed been critical of the approach thus far. But for the climate enforcers, that was enough. Bengtsson said: ‘I was labelled a heretic. I felt as if I was dealing with the medieval church.’ It also emerged that a paper he co-authored, arguing that temperatures would rise by only half as much as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims, had been rejected by a prestigious journal – after an anonymous reviewer said publishing it would be ‘harmful’ to the environmental cause, because it was bound to be reported by media sceptics.
Nevertheless, there are grounds for optimism. Perhaps it was simply that a man of Bengtsson’s stature who is still producing research at the age of 79 deserves respect, but the story was reported – not favourably, from the enforcers’ point of view – around the world. It even made the front page of The Times.
Some of those who deplored the ‘climate McCarthyism’ that Bengtsson experienced, such as Prof Judith Curry of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, have received similar treatment for saying global warming may not pose the imminent threat so many want us to fear.
Others, however, were from the very centre of the climate science mainstream, such as Prof Mike Hulme of King’s College, London.
He condemned scientists who ‘harassed’ those with whom they disagreed until they ‘fall into line’.
But if this really was a tipping point, it will be because the areas of uncertainty in climate science are simply too big to be ignored: claiming the debate is over does not make this true.
As former Nasa scientist Roy Spencer put it: ‘We might be seeing the death throes of alarmist climate science. They know they are on the ropes, and are pulling out all the stops in a last-ditch effort to shore up their crumbling storyline.’
So here’s a question. Like Bengtsson, this newspaper believes global warming is real, and caused by CO2.
It’s also clear that, thus far, the computer models have exaggerated its speed.
So what exactly are we and others who hold such views denying?
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Reply #805 on:
January 23, 2015, 11:39:04 AM »
Hot Stuff, Cold Logic
Politically correct climate change orthodoxy has completely destroyed our ability to think rationally about the environment.
Climate change is sometimes called humanity’s biggest problem. Ban Ki-moon, Christine Lagarde, and John Kerry have all said as much recently. The mainstream Western media often discuss climate change in catastrophic, or even apocalyptic, terms. Indeed, if you take newspaper headlines seriously, the Fifth Assessment Report of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came accompanied by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; predictions of famine, pestilence, war, and death proliferated hither and yon. Conversely, when, on November 11, 2014, the United States and China inked an agreement on climate whose actual consequences are at best liable to be indistinct, banner headlines broke out, as though messianic times were nigh.
Assuming it falls somewhat short of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, how serious will the impact of climate change be really? How much do we know about these impacts? What are the implications for policy?
It’s helpful to recall here that climate change means a lot more than just different temperatures. It means more or less rain, snow, wind, and clouds in various places. It means different outcomes for plants, whether direct or, since plants compete for resources, indirect. It means changes for the animals that eat those plants. And this includes changes for everything that hitches a ride on those plants and animals, and hence changes for all sorts of pathogens. Nature, agriculture, forestry, and health will all be different in the future. The seas will rise as water expands and glacial ice melts, affecting coastlines and everyone and everything that resides there. Water supplies will be affected by changing rainfall patterns, but water demand will also be altered by changing temperatures. Energy demands will change, too; there may be less need to heat houses in winter and perhaps greater need to cool them in summer. Traffic, transport, building, recreation, and tourism, too, will all feel the impact of a changing climate.
For some, the mere fact of these impacts is reason enough for governments, businesses, and individuals to exert themselves to reduce greenhouse gases to minimize the change. That is strange logic, however. Change, after all, can be for the better or the worse, and at any rate it is inevitable; there has never been a lengthy period of climate stasis.
Just as there is no logical or scientific basis for thinking that climate change is new, there is no self-evident reason to assume that the climate of the past is “better” than the climate of the future. With just as little logic, we might assume that women’s rights, health care, or education were necessarily better in the past. Any such judgment also contradicts Hume’s Law and, perhaps worse, is grounded in a fallacious appeal to nature understood in a very slanted way.
There is no prima facie reason to assume that any given past climate was better than the prospective one. The climate of the 21stcentury may well be unprecedented in the history of human civilization; the number of people living in countries with free and fair elections is unprecedented, too. So what? “Unprecedented” is not a synonym for “bad.”
Others argue that the impacts of climate change are largely unknown but may be catastrophic. The precautionary principle thus enjoins that we should work hard, if not do our utmost, to avoid even the slim possibility of catastrophe. This logic works fine for one-sided risks: We ban carcinogenic material in toys because we do not want our kids to get cancer. Safe materials are only slightly more expensive, and there is no likely or even imaginable “upside” to children having cancer. Climate policy, on the other hand, is about balancing risks, and there are risks to climate policies as well as risks caused by climate change. Sharp increases in energy prices have caused devastating economic recessions in the past, for example. Cheap energy fueled the industrial revolution, and lack of access to reliable energy is one factor holding back economic growth in most developing countries. In the short run, we rely on fossil fuels to keep us warm and keep the lights on, to grow our food, and to purify our drinking water. So there is a cost to human well-being in constraining fossil fuel use.
What this means is that, instead of assuming the worst, we should study the impacts of climate change and seek to balance them against the negative effects of climate policy. This is what climatologists and economists actually have done for years, but their efforts have been overshadowed by the hysteria of the Greens and the Left, and the more subtle lobbying of companies yearning for renewables subsidies and other government hand-outs. It is especially important to maintain an objective attitude toward the tradeoff between possible dangers and the costs of policy, because estimating the impacts of climate change has proven to be remarkably hard. Past climate change is not much of a guide. The climate supposedly changed much less over the previous century than it is projected to do over the current one, but global mean surface air temperature has barely moved over the past two decades—and this is the period with the best data, in which almost all climate change impact studies have been done.
Besides, the faint signal of past climate change is drowned out by all the other things that have changed. If one tries to study the impacts of climate change on crops, for example, one must factor in the impact of new seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and a host of other confounding variables such as air pollution and atmospheric deposition of nutrients. If one is interested in commercial agriculture, one needs to consider subsidies and international trade. If one studies the impacts of climate change on health, one needs to control for progress in medical technology, different diets, changes in work and leisure, aging, migration, and so on and so forth. If one studies the impacts of sea-level rise, one needs to cope with subsidence and tectonic movements, changing land use, shifting priorities in coastal zone management, eutrophication, and more besides. The same is true for all past climate change impacts: Many things are changing, often much faster than the climate, and in ways that confound all unifactoral explanations potentially relevant to policy.
The same is true for the impacts of future climate change. The confounding factors will not go away. In academic papers, we typically do the scientifically respectable thing and change one variable at a time. Controlled experiments make great science—even if done in silico—and since we cannot observe the future, experiments with computer models are the only option available to study the impacts of climate change. Controlled experiments make for poor predictions, however. The future is not ceteris paribus. It’s ceteris imparibus. Change happens, pretty much all the time.
We know a lot about some of the impacts of climate change, such as those on agriculture, human health, and coastal zones. Other impacts are not as well understood even to the point of opacity, such as those on transport, production, and water resources. This partly reflects the differences in the complexity of the impact. Projections of future sea-level rise agree on the direction of the change and its order of magnitude. Projections of future rainfall, however, are all over the place. But our differential knowledge also reflects variations in attention. Academic incentives do not help. It is much easier to publish a paper in a good journal if it improves on a previous one. It is much easier to get funding if you have a track record on a particular subject. Papers or proposals that are genuinely new are often ill-regarded. This implies that some impacts of climate change have been extensively studied whereas other impacts have been largely ignored.
Impacts of climate change are so many and so diverse, varying over space, over time, between impacts, and across scenarios, that it makes no sense to speak of “the” impact of climate change. People have tended to produce two solutions for this problem. Some just write about their favorite impact (or perhaps about the impact that supports their political position), pretending that this impact is somehow representative of all other impacts. Others add up impacts. This exercise is just as fraught as adding up all those proverbial apples and oranges, but it at least reflects the sum total of our knowledge, and the inescapably subjective elements in aggregation are well understood. (Below I use human welfare to add up impacts.)
Understanding what the science of climate does and does not enable us to do readily in a policy vein is hard enough for some people. If one adds to that a requirement to know some basic economics, a good number of deeply concerned people appear to be rendered completely incapable of anything we should wish to bless with the term “thought.” And indeed, many an otherwise intelligent economist has lost his marbles when confronted with global warming.
In a barter economy, one needs to know the price of everything relative to everything else. How many eggs for a liter of milk? How many slices of bread for a liter of beer? How many iPads for a yacht? In a monetary economy, however, one needs to know the price of everything in money only. In a barter economy, there are n2-2n prices (with n being the number of goods and services for sale). In a monetary economy, there are only n prices. That is why, at some time in the deep past, many human civilizations of diverse origins independently invented money.
If one knows the prices of the things one wishes to buy, and one knows one’s own budget, informed trade-offs become possible. Most of us have to make choices. We cannot go on expensive holidays, send our kids to posh schools, drive fancy cars, and quit work all at the same time. In our daily life, we constantly choose among things that are otherwise incomparable. We may choose to pay more for a product because it says on the tin that it is good for the environment. We may opt to buy products that we think are good for our health. The same is true in the public domain. We vote for politicians who promise to do more (or less) for environmental protection and health care. From this, we can deduce our willingness to pay for a better environment or a healthier life. We can then apply these “prices” to the impacts of climate change.
Studies, assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest report, that have used such methods find that the initial, net impacts of climate change are small (about 1 percent of income) and may even be positive. Many people, including supposedly objective academics, find it hard to admit that climate change can have positive impacts. But, as already noted, warmer winters mean less money spent on heating. They also mean fewer people dying prematurely of cold. Carbon dioxide makes plants grow, and makes them more drought-tolerant, a boon particularly to poorer countries. In the short run, these positive impacts may well be larger than the negative impacts.
In the long run, however, negative impacts may surge ahead of positive ones. The positive impacts saturate quickly; one cannot save more on winter heating than one spends. The negative impacts do not saturate quickly; air conditioning bills will keep rising as summers get hotter. The long-run impacts are what matter most for policy. The climate responds only slowly to changes in emissions, and emissions respond only slowly to changes in policy. The climate of the next few decades is therefore largely beyond our control. It is only in the longer term that our choices affect climate change, and by then its impacts are likely to be negative on net. This implies that climate change is an economic problem, and that if economics could be rid of politics, greenhouse gas emissions should be taxed.
The economic case for emission reduction is thus remarkably simple and robust. We only need to argue that in the long run unabated climate change will do more harm than good. If so, we need to start moving away from using fossil fuels. The question is therefore not whether there is an economic case for climate policy; it’s how much emission reduction can be justified at given losses to social welfare. To answer that question, we need to understand the size of the impacts of climate change. The current evidence, weak and incomplete as it may be, as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggests that moderate warming—say, what we might expect around the year 2075—would make the average person feel as if she had lost 0.2 to 2.0 percent of her income.
In other words, a century worth of climate change is about as bad as losing a year of economic growth.
Larger climate change would have more profound impacts. Negative surprises are more likely than positive surprises. But even if we take this into account, a century of climate change is not worse than losing a decade of growth. So if, as Bjørn Lomborg has been at pains to point out, we “spend” the equivalent of a decade of growth or more trying to mitigate climate change, we will not have spent wisely.
Climate change is a problem, but at least as an economics problem, it is certainly not the biggest problem humankind faces. The euro crisis knocked off a third of the income of the people in Greece in five years’ time. Climate change does not even come close. And the people of Syria wish their problems were as trivial as those of the Greeks. Climate change is not even that large compared to other environmental problems. Urban air pollution kills millions of people per year in Asia. Indoor air pollution kills millions of people per year in Africa. The health problems related to climate change are unlikely to cause similar carnage before the end of the century.
The estimates of the total impact of climate change call for a modest tax on greenhouse gas emissions—or perhaps a cap-and-trade system with a generous allocation of emission permits. The best course of action is to slowly but surely move away from fossil fuels, and in that, as usual, both markets and the parameters governments invariably set for markets to function have roles to play.
Many disagree with this plan of action, of course, calling for a rapid retirement of fossil fuel use. Economically, their justification rests on assuming that we should care more about the future than we do in contexts other than climate change, that we should care more about small risks than we do, or that we should care more about poor people than we do. These justifications rest in politics or raw moral logic, not economics. Each of these arguments would affect not just climate policy but other areas, too. If one argues we should care more about the future, one argues not just for increased investment in greenhouse gas-emission reduction, but also, logically, in pensions, in education, in health care, and so on. If one argues we should be more wary of risk, one argues not only for increased investment in greenhouse gas-emission reduction, but also in road safety, in food safety, in meteorite detection, and whatnot. Ditto for concern about the poor.
Speaking of the poor: Poorer countries are notably more vulnerable to climate change than richer ones. They tend to have a larger share of their economic activity in areas that are directly exposed to the weather, particularly agriculture. Poorer countries often lack access to modern technology and institutions that can protect against the weather; for example, air conditioning, malaria medicine, crop insurance. Poorer countries may lack the ability, and sometimes the political will, to mobilize the resources for large-scale infrastructure—irrigation and coastal protection, for example.
Bangladesh and the Netherlands are two densely populated, low-lying countries at risk from flooding by river and sea. Bangladesh is generally seen to be very vulnerable to climate change, whereas most think that the Netherlands will be able to cope; the Netherlands is famous for thriving below sea level, after all. The Netherlands started its modern, large-scale dike building program only in 1850. Before that, dike building was local, primitive, and not very effective: The country was regularly plagued by devastating floods. In 1850, the Netherlands was only slightly richer than Bangladesh is now, but Bangladesh now of course has access to much better technology than the Netherlands did then.
However, the main difference between the Netherlands in 1850 and Bangladesh in 2014 is political. In response to the European Spring of 1848, the Netherlands adopted a new constitution in 1849 that introduced a powerful central government broadly representative of the population (or rather, the male Protestant part of the population). The new Dutch government promptly went after public enemy number one: floods.
Bangladesh is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and its political elite is more interested in partisan fights and self-enrichment than in the well-being of its citizens. Floods primarily hurt the poor, who live near the river and the coastal flats where land is cheap. There is no political reason to protect them; after all, floods are thought to be an act of Allah rather than a consequence of decisions made or not made by incompetent and indifferent politicians. As long as this is the case, Bangladesh will be vulnerable to climate change.
The disproportionate exposure to climate change of those most vulnerable is a good reason to be cautious about greenhouse gas emissions. The case has been exaggerated, however.
It is peculiar to express great concern about the plight of the poor when it comes to climate but not in other policy domains. Levels of charitable giving and official development aid suggest that we are actually not that bothered. Our trade and migration policies would even suggest that we like to see them suffer. More importantly, there are two ways to mitigate the excessive impact of climate change on the poor: Reduce climate change, and reduce poverty.
In the worst projections, climate change could cut crop yields in Africa by half. At present, subsistence farmers often get no more from their land than one-tenth of what is achieved at model farms working the same soil in the same climate. The immediate reason for the so-called yield gap is a lack of access to high-quality seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, tools, and things like that. The underlying causes include a lack of access to capital and product markets due to poor roads and insecure land tenure. Closing the yield gap would do more good sooner than climate change would do harm later. If one really wants to spend money to help farmers in Africa, one should invest in the land registry rather than in solar power.
Indeed, modernizing agriculture in Africa would also make it less vulnerable to climate change. African farming is particularly vulnerable, because isolated, undercapitalized farmers struggle to cope with any change, climatic or otherwise. Infectious diseases illustrate the same point. There were outbreaks of malaria in Murmansk until the 1920s. Sweden suffered malaria epidemics in the 1870s, and the disease was endemic in Stockholm. George Washington did not want the new capital to be built in the estuary of the Potomac because of the malaria risk. Nowadays, malaria only occasionally returns to these places by plane, and it rarely kills.
Largely as a consequence, malaria has become a tropical disease. Many fear that climate change would spread malaria because the parasite is more vigorous in hot weather and mosquitoes thrive in hotter and wetter places. However, in the rich world, habitat reduction, mosquito control, and medicine long ago tamed malaria. Mosquitoes need warm, still-standing water to breed. As we roofed houses, paved roads, and drained wetlands, their habitats disappeared. Clouds of DDT helped bring about the demise of the mosquito as well. Malaria medicine stops one from getting (seriously) ill, and from infecting others.
These things cost money. A dose of malaria medicine costs $100—small change in the United States but a fortune in South Sudan. Therefore, malaria is first and foremost a disease of poverty. We can spend our money on combatting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing malaria risks for future generations. We can also spend our money on insecticides and bed nets, reducing malaria risks today. We can also invest in medical research. A malaria vaccine holds the prospect of a world free of this awful disease, regardless of climate. If our resources were unlimited, we could do all things worthwhile. With a limited budget, we should focus on those investments with the greatest return.
These three examples—of coastal protection, agriculture, and malaria—show that development and vulnerability to climate change are closely intertwined. Slowing economic growth to reduce climate change may therefore do more harm than good. Concentrating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in rich countries will not solve the climate problem. And slower growth in rich countries means less export from and investment in poor countries.
There is an even more direct link between climate policy and development. Cheap and abundant energy fueled the industrial revolution. Sudden increases in the price of oil caused many of the economic recessions since World War II. Lack of (reliable) electricity retards growth in poor countries, not just today through its effect on production, but also in the future, as electric light allows kids to do their homework after sunset.
A fifth of official development aid is now diverted to climate policy. Money that used to be spent on strengthening the rule of law, better education for girls, and improved health care, for instance, is now used to plug methane leaks and destroy hydrofluorocarbons. Some donors no longer support the use of coal, by far the cheapest way to generate electricity. Instead, poor people are offered intermittent wind power and biomass energy, which drives up the price of food. But the self-satisfaction environmentalists derive from these programs does not put food on poor peoples’ tables.
In sum, while climate change is a problem that must be tackled, we should not lose our sense of proportion or advocate solutions that would do more harm than good. Unfortunately, common sense is sometimes hard to find in the climate debate. Desmond Tutu recently compared climate change to apartheid.1 Climate experts Michael Mann and Daniel Kammen compared it to the “gathering storm” of Nazism in Europe before World War II.2 That sort of nonsense just gets in the way of a rational discussion about what climate policy we should pursue, and how vigorously we should pursue it.
1Tutu, “We Fought Apartheid. Now Climate Change Is Our Global Enemy”, Guardian, September 20, 2014.
2Mann and Kammen, “The Gathering Storm”, Huffington Post, September 19, 2014.
Richard Tol teaches economics at the University of Sussex and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is a veteran of four assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
If global warming is true, why do they have to lie about it?
Reply #806 on:
February 09, 2015, 05:49:15 AM »
Re: If global warming is true, why do they have to lie about it?
Reply #807 on:
February 09, 2015, 11:54:17 AM »
Quote from: G M on February 09, 2015, 05:49:15 AM
Great post. Persuasive evidence and an excellent question: If true, why the constant need to lie, deceive, alter, doctor, embellish the sketchy facts?
Those who truly believe there is a human crisis should be the most offended by the chicanery that is distracting the discussion.
Link from inside the post:
Amazing documentation of graphical evidence turned upside to suit the agenda. What kind of scientist approves of "adjusting" data?
global warming will continue to cause increasingly extreme weather, - 41 degrees
Reply #808 on:
February 19, 2015, 11:29:24 AM »
"Left unmitigated, global warming will continue to cause increasingly extreme weather."
“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."
– said President Obama
And extremes like this, 41 degrees below zero -- without wind chill - today.
We never had extremes in weather before man-made global warming, or did we??
Failure to disclose
Reply #809 on:
February 23, 2015, 09:12:40 AM »
Sky's not Falling as Fast as we Thought
Reply #810 on:
March 28, 2015, 08:42:37 PM »
Reply #811 on:
April 05, 2015, 03:15:48 PM »
I suspect social activism disguised as science and pressure to be one with the homogenous herd lest one be labeled a "denier" has a lot to do with this:
Most if not all medical studies are now in question
Reply #812 on:
April 05, 2015, 06:50:22 PM »
Thanks for the post.
I am glad some one like Arthur Caplan is sounding the alarm besides me. At least in journals with "peer review" there would be some checks and balances. But this does not guarantee truth and veracity. Who is checking the data that is collected much less the evaluation of data.
Excerpt from my post #1261 01/03/14 under the politics of healthcare thread. I warned to beware of the proliferation of "studies". I am concluding more and more there is at least as much fraud in medical studies as there is in the entertainment industry, or say in our government. I've talked to people in academia. Some have great integrity. But there are many stories of petty, crooked, selfish, phony, shenanigans as well. And now with THIS WH and its Democrat Party machine I am certain much of what is published is pure politics. For Gods sake the new Surgeon General's only claim to fame is he is a cheerleader for Obamacare.
I couldn't agree more with Arthur Caplan a famous medical ethicist from University of Penn (I believe):
**********From the education thread is my proposal to beware the academic industrial government complex.
OF course there is much to learn from our scientific community. But much harm can come from it too.
We are seeing an infinite exponential rise in "studies" and experiments the vast majority of which are total BS. We see it in the health field ALL the time. If one or two percent of all the research done actually gives us new meaningful information that changes the way we practice medicine that is a lot.
Indeed look at how many times over the last decade we in the medical community have kept changing our recommendations.
For example I just read online that Vit E supposedly helps delay Alzheimer's ( a tad by maybe six months - at best). In the nineties this was claimed too until additional tests suggested it might worsen or not help. So which the "f" is it? I would not recommend anyone waste their money on high doses of Vit E (2,000 IU per day).
I guarantee one thing. We will hear over the radio, the cable, the online airwaves many shysters selling us their Vit E promoting with this study as the evidence that it is real.
I do question whether these professors have already cut deals with the promoters of these products to cash in. They are supposed to report "conflict of interests". Don't count on it. And don't think for one second this doesn't happen either.
There are many great men and women in academia. But there are just as many scum bags as every other sector of society. So GM is absolutely correct in taking academic's claims with some skepticism.
The spread of controlled trials into economics is just another example of the tumbleweed spreading of "science". Also I have shown in posts years past how anyone can often juggle the data to suggest any outcome best for their cause.
The academic industrial government complex. To all of us - BEWARE.**********
Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 07:06:22 PM by ccp
Pathological Science, Climate Change is no longer an issue
Reply #813 on:
May 05, 2015, 09:04:03 PM »
Effective today, Earth Day, May 5, 2015, Castostrophic, Human-caused Global Warming (aka. Climate Change) is no longer an issue. It's too late now. Just enjoy the limited days of hell-like heat you have left and that's it.
According to the UN IPCC, we had only 8 years to act 8 years ago and our time is up. Nothing we can do now can stop it from being an out-of-control death spiral. I'm sorry to tell everyone this.
The fact was that government needed to be more global and more coercive. From the report:
"governments must act quickly to force through changes across all sectors of society"
We didn't do that to their satisfaction and now it's over. Global warming is already here and already irreversible.
May 5, 2007: "there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C [2 degrees Celsius, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit] or more."
Look for "global temperatures up as much as 6C by 2100, triggering a surge in ocean levels, destruction of vast numbers of species, economic devastation in tropical zones and mass human migrations."
Not only that, "climate change will worsen violent conflicts and refugee problems and could hinder efforts to grow more food."
The UN IPCC also said it would rather we die of the heat than generate electricity with carbon-free nuclear power.
What we have left to look forward to is nothing but mayhem, like in the All State commercials.
This isn't funny. The science is settled. It's all over.
Further your affiant sayeth not.
... Except that the oceans didn't rise. The Arctic isn't ice-free. Hurricanes and typhoons did not get worse. Food Production has never been better. And there has been no measurable warming on earth in NINETEEN YEARS!
Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 09:45:05 PM by DougMacG
Pathological Science: NOAA CAUGHT REWRITING US TEMPERATURE HISTORY (AGAIN)
Reply #814 on:
May 06, 2015, 09:49:28 AM »
Past temperatures were LOWERED by an accumulated 151.2°F to make current temps look warmer.
Actual temps in Maine:
Thermometers have recorded no net warming since 1895.
Who are the deniers of math and science? And why do we pay government to desecrate science?
NOAA CAUGHT REWRITING US TEMPERATURE HISTORY (AGAIN)
We have written a number of times about how government agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here in the U.S., have systematically adjusted temperature history to make the past look colder. They apparently do this, usually surreptitiously and without explanation, in order to stoke global warming hysteria. See, for example, He Who Controls the Present Controls the Past
and Inside the Global Warming Scandal.
Now Mike Brakey, an engineering physicist and heat transfer specialist, has caught NOAA revising historic temperature data for Maine–as always, to make the past look cooler and the present warmer by comparison:
Over the last months I have discovered that between 2013 and 2015 some government bureaucrats have rewritten Maine climate history… (and New England’s and of the U.S.). This statement is not based on my opinion, but on facts drawn from NOAA 2013 climate data vs. NOAA 2015 climate data after they re-wrote it.
We need only compare the data. They cooked their own books (see numbers below).
This graph presents the data visually. The black line shows average annual temperatures for Maine from 1895 to the present as they were recorded at the time, and as NOAA published them in 2013. Thermometers have recorded no net warming since 1895. The blue line represents NOAA rewritten history as it appears in 2015. Note how NOAA reduces earlier temperatures more than recent ones to give the graph a plausibly warming trend. The green line shows average annual temperatures for a single location, Lewiston-Auburn, showing a steep decline since 2000.
NOAA has made similar adjustments to past temperatures around the United States. Brakey writes:
It appears NOAA panicked and did a massive rewrite of Maine temperature history (they used the same algorithm for U.S. in general). The new official temperatures from Maine between 1895 and present were LOWERED by an accumulated 151.2°F between 1895 and 2012.
In my opinion, this is out-and-out fraud. Why did they corrupt national climate data? Global warming is a $27 billion business on an annual basis in the U.S alone.
Now NOAA data revised in 2015 indicate that 1904, 1919 and 1925 in Maine were much colder than anything we experience today. (See the scorecard above comparing the NOAA data that are 18 months apart). Note how for 1913 the NOAA lowered the annual temperature a whole 4°F!
For the balance of the years, as they get closer to the present, the NOAA tweaks less and less. They have corrupted Maine climate data between 1895 and present by a whopping accumulated 151.2°F.
Their cooling of the past to keep the global warming meme alive reminds me of the old Soviet joke – the future is known, it is the past that keeps changing.
Would someone please try to explain why this isn’t the biggest scandal in the history of science?
Perverse Incentives Create Perverse Results, Duh
Reply #815 on:
May 22, 2015, 08:16:46 PM »
I've encountered several pieces like this lately, all of which steer clear of including climate science in the mix. I suspect the subtexts, however, suggest that the most panic mongering of "sciences" is likely the one most guilty of the practices noted here:
Re: Pathological Science
Reply #816 on:
May 26, 2015, 10:56:52 AM »
Missing Heat is Missing Squared
Reply #817 on:
May 28, 2015, 08:40:54 AM »
Oh dear, the missing heat presumed to be in the deep ocean is so missing that the Atlantic is cooling:
Re: Pathological Science
Reply #818 on:
May 28, 2015, 09:40:32 AM »
I've posted this on my FB page to poke at some climate change folks I know.
Bad Science Begets. . . .
Reply #819 on:
June 07, 2015, 05:28:51 PM »
Bad science begets perverse incentives begets failed solutions:
Perpetual Dragon Hunt
Reply #820 on:
June 10, 2015, 12:36:16 PM »
Ignite the Deniers!
Reply #821 on:
June 18, 2015, 02:49:04 PM »
Everything old is new again:
Myrmidons of Furious Defenders
Reply #822 on:
June 19, 2015, 08:28:29 PM »
Boom. Game, set, match.
The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science
The great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses tested -- or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I see bad ideas can persist for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they become intolerant dogmas
For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.
Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science.
Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas.
This should have been obvious to me. Lysenkoism, a pseudo-biological theory that plants (and people) could be trained to change their heritable natures, helped starve millions and yet persisted for decades in the Soviet Union, reaching its zenith under Nikita Khrushchev. The theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s, became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly.
What these two ideas have in common is that they had political support, which enabled them to monopolise debate. Scientists are just as prone as anybody else to “confirmation bias”, the tendency we all have to seek evidence that supports our favoured hypothesis and dismiss evidence that contradicts it—as if we were counsel for the defence. It’s tosh that scientists always try to disprove their own theories, as they sometimes claim, and nor should they. But they do try to disprove each other’s. Science has always been decentralised, so Professor Smith challenges Professor Jones’s claims, and that’s what keeps science honest.
What went wrong with Lysenko and dietary fat was that in each case a monopoly was established. Lysenko’s opponents were imprisoned or killed. Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise shows in devastating detail how opponents of Ancel Keys’s dietary fat hypothesis were starved of grants and frozen out of the debate by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests, echoed and amplified by a docile press.
Cheerleaders for alarm
This is precisely what has happened with the climate debate and it is at risk of damaging the whole reputation of science. The “bad idea” in this case is not that climate changes, nor that human beings influence climate change; but that the impending change is sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses. In the 1970s, when global temperatures were cooling, some scientists could not resist the lure of press attention by arguing that a new ice age was imminent. Others called this nonsense and the World Meteorological Organisation rightly refused to endorse the alarm. That’s science working as it should. In the 1980s, as temperatures began to rise again, some of the same scientists dusted off the greenhouse effect and began to argue that runaway warming was now likely.
At first, the science establishment reacted sceptically and a diversity of views was aired. It’s hard to recall now just how much you were allowed to question the claims in those days. As Bernie Lewin reminds us in one chapter of a fascinating new book of essays called Climate Change: The Facts (hereafter The Facts), as late as 1995 when the second assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its last-minute additional claim of a “discernible human influence” on climate, Nature magazine warned scientists against overheating the debate.
Since then, however, inch by inch, the huge green pressure groups have grown fat on a diet of constant but ever-changing alarm about the future. That these alarms—over population growth, pesticides, rain forests, acid rain, ozone holes, sperm counts, genetically modified crops—have often proved wildly exaggerated does not matter: the organisations that did the most exaggeration trousered the most money. In the case of climate, the alarm is always in the distant future, so can never be debunked.
These huge green multinationals, with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, have now systematically infiltrated science, as well as industry and media, with the result that many high-profile climate scientists and the journalists who cover them have become one-sided cheerleaders for alarm, while a hit squad of increasingly vicious bloggers polices the debate to ensure that anybody who steps out of line is punished. They insist on stamping out all mention of the heresy that climate change might not be lethally dangerous.
Today’s climate science, as Ian Plimer points out in his chapter in The Facts, is based on a “pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored and analytical procedures are treated as evidence”. Funds are not available to investigate alternative theories. Those who express even the mildest doubts about dangerous climate change are ostracised, accused of being in the pay of fossil-fuel interests or starved of funds; those who take money from green pressure groups and make wildly exaggerated statements are showered with rewards and treated by the media as neutral.
Look what happened to a butterfly ecologist named Camille Parmesan when she published a paper on “Climate and Species Range” that blamed climate change for threatening the Edith checkerspot butterfly with extinction in California by driving its range northward. The paper was cited more than 500 times, she was invited to speak at the White House and she was asked to contribute to the IPCC’s third assessment report.
Unfortunately, a distinguished ecologist called Jim Steele found fault with her conclusion: there had been more local extinctions in the southern part of the butterfly’s range due to urban development than in the north, so only the statistical averages moved north, not the butterflies. There was no correlated local change in temperature anyway, and the butterflies have since recovered throughout their range. When Steele asked Parmesan for her data, she refused. Parmesan’s paper continues to be cited as evidence of climate change. Steele meanwhile is derided as a “denier”. No wonder a highly sceptical ecologist I know is very reluctant to break cover.
Jim Hansen, recently retired as head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at NASA, won over a million dollars in lucrative green prizes, regularly joined protests against coal plants and got himself arrested while at the same time he was in charge of adjusting and homogenising one of the supposedly objective data sets on global surface temperature. How would he be likely to react if told of evidence that climate change is not such a big problem?
Michael Oppenheimer, of Princeton University, who frequently testifies before Congress in favour of urgent action on climate change, was the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior scientist for nineteen years and continues to advise it. The EDF has assets of $209 million and since 2008 has had over $540 million from charitable foundations, plus $2.8 million in federal grants. In that time it has spent $11.3 million on lobbying, and has fifty-five people on thirty-two federal advisory committees. How likely is it that they or Oppenheimer would turn around and say global warming is not likely to be dangerous?
Why is it acceptable, asks the blogger Donna Laframboise, for the IPCC to “put a man who has spent his career cashing cheques from both the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace in charge of its latest chapter on the world’s oceans?” She’s referring to the University of Queensland’s Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.
These scientists and their guardians of the flame repeatedly insist that there are only two ways of thinking about climate change—that it’s real, man-made and dangerous (the right way), or that it’s not happening (the wrong way). But this is a false dichotomy. There is a third possibility: that it’s real, partly man-made and not dangerous. This is the “lukewarmer” school, and I am happy to put myself in this category. Lukewarmers do not think dangerous climate change is impossible; but they think it is unlikely.
I find that very few people even know of this. Most ordinary people who do not follow climate debates assume that either it’s not happening or it’s dangerous. This suits those with vested interests in renewable energy, since it implies that the only way you would be against their boondoggles is if you “didn’t believe” in climate change.
What consensus about the future?
Sceptics such as Plimer often complain that “consensus” has no place in science. Strictly they are right, but I think it is a red herring. I happily agree that you can have some degree of scientific consensus about the past and the present. The earth is a sphere; evolution is true; carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The IPCC claims in its most recent report that it is “95 per cent” sure that “more than half” of the (gentle) warming “since 1950” is man-made. I’ll drink to that, though it’s a pretty vague claim. But you really cannot have much of a consensus about the future. Scientists are terrible at making forecasts—indeed as Dan Gardner documents in his book Future Babble they are often worse than laymen. And the climate is a chaotic system with multiple influences of which human emissions are just one, which makes prediction even harder.
The IPCC actually admits the possibility of lukewarming within its consensus, because it gives a range of possible future temperatures: it thinks the world will be between about 1.5 and four degrees warmer on average by the end of the century. That’s a huge range, from marginally beneficial to terrifyingly harmful, so it is hardly a consensus of danger, and if you look at the “probability density functions” of climate sensitivity, they always cluster towards the lower end.
What is more, in the small print describing the assumptions of the “representative concentration pathways”, it admits that the top of the range will only be reached if sensitivity to carbon dioxide is high (which is doubtful); if world population growth re-accelerates (which is unlikely); if carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans slows down (which is improbable); and if the world economy goes in a very odd direction, giving up gas but increasing coal use tenfold (which is implausible).
But the commentators ignore all these caveats and babble on about warming of “up to” four degrees (or even more), then castigate as a “denier” anybody who says, as I do, the lower end of the scale looks much more likely given the actual data. This is a deliberate tactic. Following what the psychologist Philip Tetlock called the “psychology of taboo”, there has been a systematic and thorough campaign to rule out the middle ground as heretical: not just wrong, but mistaken, immoral and beyond the pale. That’s what the word denier with its deliberate connotations of Holocaust denial is intended to do. For reasons I do not fully understand, journalists have been shamefully happy to go along with this fundamentally religious project.
Politicians love this polarising because it means they can attack a straw man. It’s what they are good at. “Doubt has been eliminated,” said Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and UN Special Representative on Climate Change, in a speech in 2007: “It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.” John Kerry says we have no time for a meeting of the flat-earth society. Barack Obama says that 97 per cent of scientists agree that climate change is “real, man-made and dangerous”. That’s just a lie (or a very ignorant remark): as I point out above, there is no consensus that it’s dangerous.
So where’s the outrage from scientists at this presidential distortion? It’s worse than that, actually. The 97 per cent figure is derived from two pieces of pseudoscience that would have embarrassed a homeopath. The first was a poll that found that 97 per cent of just seventy-nine scientists thought climate change was man-made—not that it was dangerous. A more recent poll of 1854 members of the American Meteorological Society found the true number is 52 per cent.
The second source of the 97 per cent number was a survey of scientific papers, which has now been comprehensively demolished by Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University, who is probably the world’s leading climate economist. As the Australian blogger Joanne Nova summarised Tol’s findings, John Cook of the University of Queensland and his team used an unrepresentative sample, left out much useful data, used biased observers who disagreed with the authors of the papers they were classifying nearly two-thirds of the time, and collected and analysed the data in such a way as to allow the authors to adjust their preliminary conclusions as they went along, a scientific no-no if ever there was one. The data could not be replicated, and Cook himself threatened legal action to hide them. Yet neither the journal nor the university where Cook works has retracted the paper, and the scientific establishment refuses to stop citing it, let alone blow the whistle on it. Its conclusion is too useful.
This should be a huge scandal, not fodder for a tweet by the leader of the free world. Joanne Nova, incidentally, is an example of a new breed of science critic that the climate debate has spawned. With little backing, and facing ostracism for her heresy, this talented science journalist had abandoned any chance of a normal, lucrative career and systematically set out to expose the way the huge financial gravy train that is climate science has distorted the methods of science. In her chapter in The Facts, Nova points out that the entire trillion-dollar industry of climate change policy rests on a single hypothetical assumption, first advanced in 1896, for which to this day there is no evidence.
The assumption is that modest warming from carbon dioxide must be trebly amplified by extra water vapour—that as the air warms there will be an increase in absolute humidity providing “a positive feedback”. That assumption led to specific predictions that could be tested. And the tests come back negative again and again. The large positive feedback that can turn a mild warming into a dangerous one just is not there. There is no tropical troposphere hot-spot. Ice cores unambiguously show that temperature can fall while carbon dioxide stays high. Estimates of climate sensitivity, which should be high if positive feedbacks are strong, are instead getting lower and lower. Above all, the temperature has failed to rise as predicted by the models.
Scandal after scandal
The Cook paper is one of many scandals and blunders in climate science. There was the occasion in 2012 when the climate scientist Peter Gleick stole the identity of a member of the (sceptical) Heartland Institute’s board of directors, leaked confidential documents, and included also a “strategy memo” purporting to describe Heartland’s plans, which was a straight forgery. Gleick apologised but continues to be a respected climate scientist.
There was Stephan Lewandowsky, then at the University of Western Australia, who published a paper titled “NASA faked the moon landing therefore [climate] science is a hoax”, from which readers might have deduced, in the words of a Guardian headline, that “new research finds that sceptics also tend to support conspiracy theories such as the moon landing being faked”. Yet in fact in the survey for the paper, only ten respondents out of 1145 thought that the moon landing was a hoax, and seven of those did not think climate change was a hoax. A particular irony here is that two of the men who have actually been to the moon are vocal climate sceptics: Harrison Schmitt and Buzz Aldrin.
It took years of persistence before physicist Jonathan Jones and political scientist Ruth Dixon even managed to get into print (in March this year) a detailed and devastating critique of the Lewandowsky article’s methodological flaws and bizarre reasoning, with one journal allowing Lewandowsky himself to oppose the publication of their riposte. Lewandowsky published a later paper claiming that the reactions to his previous paper proved he was right, but it was so flawed it had to be retracted.
If these examples of odd scientific practice sound too obscure, try Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC for thirteen years and often described as the “world’s top climate scientist”. He once dismissed as “voodoo science” an official report by India’s leading glaciologist, Vijay Raina, because it had challenged a bizarre claim in an IPCC report (citing a WWF report which cited an article in New Scientist), that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. The claim originated with Syed Hasnain, who subsequently took a job at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general, and there his glacier claim enabled TERI to win a share of a three-million-euro grant from the European Union. No wonder Dr Pachauri might well not have wanted the 2035 claim challenged.
Yet Raina was right, it proved to be the IPCC’s most high-profile blunder, and Dr Pachauri had to withdraw both it and his “voodoo” remark. The scandal led to a highly critical report into the IPCC by several of the world’s top science academics, which recommended among other things that the IPCC chair stand down after one term. Dr Pachauri ignored this, kept his job, toured the world while urging others not to, and published a novel, with steamy scenes of seduction of an older man by young women. (He resigned this year following criminal allegations of sexual misconduct with a twenty-nine-year-old female employee, which he denies, and which are subject to police investigation.)
Yet the climate bloggers who constantly smear sceptics managed to avoid even reporting most of this. If you want to follow Dr Pachauri’s career you have to rely on a tireless but self-funded investigative journalist: the Canadian Donna Laframboise. In her chapter in The Facts, Laframboise details how Dr Pachauri has managed to get the world to describe him as a Nobel laureate, even though this is simply not true.
Notice, by the way, how many of these fearless free-thinkers prepared to tell emperors they are naked are women. Susan Crockford, a Canadian zoologist, has steadfastly exposed the myth-making that goes into polar bear alarmism, to the obvious discomfort of the doyens of that field. Jennifer Marohasy of Central Queensland University, by persistently asking why cooling trends recorded at Australian weather stations with no recorded moves were being altered to warming trends, has embarrassed the Bureau of Meteorology into a review of their procedures. Her chapter in The Facts underlines the failure of computer models to predict rainfall.
But male sceptics have scored successes too. There was the case of the paper the IPCC relied upon to show that urban heat islands (the fact that cities are generally warmer than the surrounding countryside, so urbanisation causes local, but not global, warming) had not exaggerated recent warming. This paper turned out—as the sceptic Doug Keenan proved—to be based partly on non-existent data on forty-nine weather stations in China. When corrected, it emerged that the urban heat island effect actually accounted for 40 per cent of the warming in China.
There was the Scandinavian lake sediment core that was cited as evidence of sudden recent warming, when it was actually being used “upside down”—the opposite way the authors of the study thought it should be used: so if anything it showed cooling.
There was the graph showing unprecedented recent warming that turned out to depend on just one larch tree in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.
There was the southern hemisphere hockey-stick that had been created by the omission of inconvenient data series.
There was the infamous “hide the decline” incident when a tree-ring-derived graph had been truncated to disguise the fact that it seemed to show recent cooling.
And of course there was the mother of all scandals, the “hockey stick” itself: a graph that purported to show the warming of the last three decades of the twentieth century as unprecedented in a millennium, a graph that the IPCC was so thrilled with that it published it six times in its third assessment report and displayed it behind the IPCC chairman at his press conference. It was a graph that persuaded me to abandon my scepticism (until I found out about its flaws), because I thought Nature magazine would never have published it without checking. And it is a graph that was systematically shown by Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick to be wholly misleading, as McKitrick recounts in glorious detail in his chapter in The Facts.
Its hockey-stick shape depended heavily on one set of data from bristlecone pine trees in the American south-west, enhanced by a statistical approach to over-emphasise some 200 times any hockey-stick shaped graph. Yet bristlecone tree-rings do not, according to those who collected the data, reflect temperature at all. What is more, the scientist behind the original paper, Michael Mann, had known all along that his data depended heavily on these inappropriate trees and a few other series, because when finally prevailed upon to release his data he accidentally included a file called “censored” that proved as much: he had tested the effect of removing the bristlecone pine series and one other, and found that the hockey-stick shape disappeared.
In March this year Dr Mann published a paper claiming the Gulf Stream was slowing down. This garnered headlines all across the world. Astonishingly, his evidence that the Gulf Stream is slowing down came not from the Gulf Stream, but from “proxies” which included—yes—bristlecone pine trees in Arizona, upside-down lake sediments in Scandinavia and larch trees in Siberia.
The democratisation of science
Any one of these scandals in, say, medicine might result in suspensions, inquiries or retractions. Yet the climate scientific establishment repeatedly reacts as if nothing is wrong. It calls out any errors on the lukewarming end, but ignores those on the exaggeration end. That complacency has shocked me, and done more than anything else to weaken my long-standing support for science as an institution. I repeat that I am not a full sceptic of climate change, let alone a “denier”. I think carbon-dioxide-induced warming during this century is likely, though I think it is unlikely to prove rapid and dangerous. So I don’t agree with those who say the warming is all natural, or all driven by the sun, or only an artefact of bad measurement, but nor do I think anything excuses bad scientific practice in support of the carbon dioxide theory, and every time one of these scandals erupts and the scientific establishment asks us to ignore it, I wonder if the extreme sceptics are not on to something. I feel genuinely betrayed by the profession that I have spent so much of my career championing.
There is, however, one good thing that has happened to science as a result of the climate debate: the democratisation of science by sceptic bloggers. It is no accident that sceptic sites keep winning the “Bloggies” awards. There is nothing quite like them for massive traffic, rich debate and genuinely open peer review. Following Steven McIntyre on tree rings, Anthony Watts or Paul Homewood on temperature records, Judith Curry on uncertainty, Willis Eschenbach on clouds or ice cores, or Andrew Montford on media coverage has been one of the delights of recent years for those interested in science. Papers that had passed formal peer review and been published in journals have nonetheless been torn apart in minutes on the blogs. There was the time Steven McIntyre found that an Antarctic temperature trend arose “entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together”. Or when Willis Eschenbach showed a published chart had “cut the modern end of the ice core carbon dioxide record short, right at the time when carbon dioxide started to rise again” about 8000 years ago, thus omitting the startling but inconvenient fact that carbon dioxide levels rose while temperatures fell over the following millennia.
Scientists don’t like this lèse majesté, of course. But it’s the citizen science that the internet has long promised. This is what eavesdropping on science should be like—following the twists and turns of each story, the ripostes and counter-ripostes, making up your own mind based on the evidence. And that is precisely what the non-sceptical side just does not get. Its bloggers are almost universally wearily condescending. They are behaving like sixteenth-century priests who do not think the Bible should be translated into English.
Renegade heretics in science itself are especially targeted. The BBC was subjected to torrents of abuse for even interviewing Bob Carter, a distinguished geologist and climate science expert who does not toe the alarmed line and who is one of the editors of Climate Change Reconsidered, a serious and comprehensive survey of the state of climate science organised by the Non-governmental Panel on Climate Change and ignored by the mainstream media.
Judith Curry of Georgia Tech moved from alarm to mild scepticism and has endured vitriolic criticism for it. She recently wrote:
There is enormous pressure for climate scientists to conform to the so-called consensus. This pressure comes not only from politicians, but from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists and advocates. Reinforcing this consensus are strong monetary, reputational, and authority interests. The closing of minds on the climate change issue is a tragedy for both science and society.
The distinguished Swedish meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson was so frightened for his own family and his health after he announced last year that he was joining the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation that he withdrew, saying, “It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy.”
The astrophysicist Willie Soon was falsely accused by a Greenpeace activist of failing to disclose conflicts of interest to an academic journal, an accusation widely repeated by mainstream media.
Clearing the middle ground
Much of this climate war parallels what has happened with Islamism, and it is the result of a similar deliberate policy of polarisation and silencing of debate. Labelling opponents “Islamophobes” or “deniers” is in the vast majority of cases equally inaccurate and equally intended to polarise. As Asra Nomani wrote in the Washington Post recently, a community of anti-blasphemy police arose out of a deliberate policy decision by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:
and began trying to control the debate on Islam. This wider corps throws the label of “Islamophobe” on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion … The insults may look similar to Internet trolling and vitriolic comments you can find on any blog or news site. But they’re more coordinated, frightening and persistent.
Compare that to what happened to Roger Pielke Jr, as recounted by James Delingpole in The Facts. Pielke is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and a hugely respected expert on disasters. He is no denier, thinking man-made global warming is real. But in his own area of expertise he is very clear that the rise in insurance losses is because the world is getting wealthier and we have more stuff to lose, not because more storms are happening. This is incontrovertibly true, and the IPCC agrees with him. But when he said this on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website he and Silver were savaged by commenters, led by one Rob Honeycutt. Crushed by the fury he had unleashed, Silver apologised and dropped Pielke as a contributor.
Rob Honeycutt and his allies knew what they were doing. Delingpole points out that Honeycutt (on a different website) urged people to “send in the troops to hammer down” anything moderate or sceptical, and to “grow the team of crushers”. Those of us who have been on the end of this sort of stuff know it is exactly like what the blasphemy police do with Islamophobia. We get falsely labelled “deniers” and attacked for heresy in often the most ad-hominem way.
Even more shocking has been the bullying lynch mob assembled this year by alarmists to prevent the University of Western Australia, erstwhile employers of the serially debunked conspiracy theorist Stephan Lewandowsky, giving a job to the economist Bjorn Lomborg. The grounds were that Lomborg is a “denier”. But he’s not. He does not challenge the science at all. He challenges on economic grounds some climate change policies, and the skewed priorities that lead to the ineffective spending of money on the wrong environmental solutions. His approach has been repeatedly vindicated over many years in many different topics, by many of the world’s leading economists. Yet there was barely a squeak of protest from the academic establishment at the way he was howled down and defamed for having the temerity to try to set up a research group at a university.
Well, internet trolls are roaming the woods in every subject, so what am I complaining about? The difference is that in the climate debate they have the tacit or explicit support of the scientific establishment. Venerable bodies like the Royal Society almost never criticise journalists for being excessively alarmist, only for being too lukewarm, and increasingly behave like pseudoscientists, explaining away inconvenient facts.
Making excuses for failed predictions
For example, scientists predicted a retreat of Antarctic sea ice but it has expanded instead, and nowadays they are claiming, like any astrologer, that this is because of warming after all. “Please,” says Mark Steyn in The Facts:
No tittering, it’s so puerile—every professor of climatology knows that the thickest ice ever is a clear sign of thin ice, because as the oceans warm, glaciers break off the Himalayas and are carried by the El Ninja down the Gore Stream past the Cape of Good Horn where they merge into the melting ice sheet, named after the awareness-raising rapper Ice Sheet …
Or consider this example, from the Royal Society’s recent booklet on climate change:
Does the recent slowdown of warming mean that climate change is no longer happening? No. Since the very warm surface temperatures of 1998 which followed the strong 1997-98 El Niño, the increase in average surface temperature has slowed relative to the previous decade of rapid temperature increases, with more of the excess heat being stored in the oceans.
You would never know from this that the “it’s hiding in the oceans” excuse is just one unproven hypothesis—and one that implies that natural variation exaggerated the warming in the 1990s, so reinforcing the lukewarm argument. Nor would you know (as Andrew Bolt recounts in his chapter in The Facts) that the pause in global warming contradicts specific and explicit predictions such as this, from the UK Met Office: “by 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than in 2004”. Or that the length of the pause is now past the point where many scientists said it would disprove the hypothesis of rapid man-made warming. Dr Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said in 2009: “Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.” It now has.
Excusing failed predictions is a staple of astrology; it’s the way pseudoscientists argue. In science, as Karl Popper long ago insisted, if you make predictions and they fail, you don’t just make excuses and insist you’re even more right than before. The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. Surely, the handing down of dogmas is for churches, not science academies. Expertise, authority and leadership should count for nothing in science. The great Thomas Henry Huxley put it this way: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” Richard Feynman was even pithier: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”
The harm to science
I dread to think what harm this episode will have done to the reputation of science in general when the dust has settled. Science will need a reformation. Garth Paltridge is a distinguished Australian climate scientist, who, in The Facts, pens a wise paragraph that I fear will be the epitaph of climate science:
We have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis for society’s respect for scientific endeavour.
And it’s not working anyway. Despite avalanches of money being spent on research to find evidence of rapid man-made warming, despite even more spent on propaganda and marketing and subsidising renewable energy, the public remains unconvinced. The most recent polling data from Gallup shows the number of Americans who worry “a great deal” about climate change is down slightly on thirty years ago, while the number who worry “not at all” has doubled from 12 per cent to 24 per cent—and now exceeds the number who worry “only a little” or “a fair amount”. All that fear-mongering has achieved less than nothing: if anything it has hardened scepticism.
None of this would matter if it was just scientific inquiry, though that rarely comes cheap in itself. The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don’t, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people’s livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible. And they want us to do that even if it hurts poor people today, because, they say, their grandchildren (who, as Nigel Lawson points out, in The Facts, and their models assume, are going to be very wealthy) matter more.
Yet they are not prepared to debate the science behind their concern. That seems wrong to me.
Matt Ridley is an English science journalist whose books include The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. A member of the House of Lords, he has a website at
. He declares an interest in coal through the leasing of land for mining.
Re: Pathological Science
Reply #823 on:
June 19, 2015, 10:04:09 PM »
Good to have you with us once again BBG!
Solar Activity Decline
Reply #824 on:
June 25, 2015, 07:29:37 PM »
UK's MET, hardly a friend to global warming skeptics, are noticing the sun's impact on warming:
Tell Us how You Really Feel
Reply #825 on:
June 30, 2015, 10:29:14 PM »
Space and Science Research Corporation
P.O. Box 607841 * Orlando, FL 32860
(407) 667-4757 *
Government Climate Data Found Unreliable
Monday, June 29, 2015 Press Release 4-2015
9:00 AM EDT
Effective immediately, the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC), a leader in climate prediction, has dropped the US government's ground based global temperature data from its list of reliable sources.
This significant step has been made by the SSRC after extensive review of the US government's ground temperature data and its wide divergence from more reliable sources of climate data, namely satellite systems.
The SSRC has found multiple flaws that it says render the US government's climate data virtually unusable. The SSRC has further observed that the US government and specifically, President Barack Obama, have routinely deceived the people regarding the true status of the Earth's climate, its causes, and where the global climate is heading.
In the past, the SSRC has used five global temperature data sets, three ground based (NOAA, NASA and HADCRUT) and two satellite data sets (RSS, UAH). These data sets are analyzed and an integrated picture of all five allows the SSRC to produce its semi-annual Global Climate Status Report (GCSR). HADCRUT is a combined set from two UK science groups.
As of today, the SSRC will no longer use the ground based data sets of NASA and NOAA because of serious questions about their credibility and allegations of data manipulation to support President Obama's climate change policies. Use of HADCRUT will also be suspended on similar grounds.
According to SSRC President, Mr. John L. Casey, "It is clear that during the administration of President Barack Obama, there has developed a culture of scientific corruption permitting the alteration or modification of global temperature data in a way that supports the myth of manmade global warming. This situation has come about because of Presidential Executive Orders, science agencies producing unreliable and inaccurate climate reports, and also with statements by the President about the climate that are patently false.
For example, the President has said that global warming is not only a global threat but that it is "accelerating" (Georgetown Univ. June 2015). Further, he has said that "2014 was the planet's warmest year on record" (State of the Union Address, January 2015). Both these statements are simply not true. He has also publicly ridiculed those who have correctly stated that there has been no global warming for eighteen years therefore nullifying any need for US government actions to control greenhouse gas emissions for any reason. Climate mendacity seems to be the rule and not the exception in this administration.
"As a result, the US government's apparently politically manipulated ground based temperature data sets can no longer be regarded as credible from a climate analysis standpoint. Until scientific integrity is restored in the White House and the rest of the federal government, we will henceforth be forced to rely solely on satellite measurements.
"Most disturbing of course, is that the President has failed to prepare the country for the difficult times ahead as a result of the ominous changes taking place on the Sun. Not only is the Sun the primary agent of climate change, but it is now cutting back on life giving warmth, bringing a new cold climate period. We will all face a more difficult future, one which the President is ensuring we will be totally unprepared for."
Dr. Ole Humlum, a Professor of Physical Geology at the University of Oslo, Norway and an expert of global glacial activity, is the co-editor of the SSRC's Global Climate Status Report (GCSR). He adds to Mr. Casey's comment with, "It is regrettable to see the politically forced changing of temperature data which will of course lead to the wrong conclusions about the causes and effects of climate change. Recently, NOAA indicated that May 2015 was the warmest May since 1880. Yet, this cannot be verified by satellite measurements which show that May was in the average range for the month over the past ten years. Also, on page 41 of the June 10, 2015 GCSR, we noted that the temperature spread between ground based and satellite based data sets, has now widened to a point that is problematic. The average in degrees Centigrade among the three ground based sets shows a 0.45 C warming in temperature since 1979. For the more reliable satellite systems, it is only 0.17 C warming. This 264% (0.45/0.17) differential is scientifically unacceptable and warrants ending the reliance on the ground based data sets until some independent investigation of the variance resolves the matter. While the use of satellite data only, will limit the depth of quality of the Global Climate Status Report, it will at the same time allow us to still provide the best available climate assessment and climate predictions possible using only the most reliable data."
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