Saturday, February 04, 2012

Yet More Dissent on Global Warming

From the Wall Street Journal, a statement signed by sixteen eminent scientists:
In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.’ In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”

In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the “pollutant” carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific “heretics” is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 “Climategate” email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.
“But” the warmists will say, “there is a scientific concensus supporting anthropogenic global warming.”

But “science” is hardly the pristine enterprise the naïve think.
Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word “incontrovertible” from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question “cui bono?” Or the modern update, “Follow the money.”

Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.

Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to “decarbonize” the world’s economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.
Anybody who thinks the scientists who signed the statement are somehow marginal or unqualified, should read the list of the names and positions.

The simple fact is that “climate scientists” are just a bunch of professors. And like other people (but much more so) the are subject to the influence of ideology, professional self-interest and groupthink.

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Blogger jimspice said...

You are really WAY behind on this one. It has been thoroughly picked through and found to be, shall we say, lacking. VERY lacking.

11:55 PM  
Blogger jimspice said...

Only 4 of the 16 are actual scientists who have published in the field (one actually has no college degree!) 2 fewer than the number that has received funding directly from Exxon.

Whereas the WSJ had previously turned down a contrary opinion from 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

And perhaps most damning, here is a rebuttal by 26 real climate scientists.

As for the no-warming-in-ten-years claim, please consider viewing this short video by an eminent scientist which demonstrates how cherry picking data can support unsupportable conclusions. But I'm sure you know that.

If you doubt a consensus, please read this.

I hope this is no indication of how you conduct your professional scholarship?

12:36 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...


I don't doubt there is a "consensus." The point of my post is that a "concensus" can be based on groupthink, ideology and professional interest.

The link you posted seems to admit that there has been no increase in temperatures over the last decade or so, and just claims that elsewhere, things are getting warmer.

Saying that the last decade is the warmest on record? You mean in the last 100 years, or the last 10,000? Over a long time span, it has been warmer than this.

Of course, if it has gotten warmer, and is now on a plateau, the plateau will bring up the average. But you need some years exceeding the previous high (at least in the last 100 years) to make you point.

10:22 PM  
Blogger jimspice said...

I challenge you to statistically demonstrate there has been no warming for "well over 10 years now." You pick the dataset. Run a regression line through it and show me flat or negative slope. Should take all of ten minutes. Go ahead. I'll wait.

8:31 AM  

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