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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Catastrophic Warming Alarmism Falls at all 7 Hurdles - "Very Few Scientists" Support It

  Last week I said I would respond to Professor Wolff's response to my 7 questions, each one of which individually, if it cannot be answered in a way supportive of the hypothesis of dangerous warming, essentially disproves it. They have also been discussed on Bishop Hill here and here, with him replying on the latter of these.

  So here they are again with my responses highlighted this time.

1 - Do you accept Professor Jones' acknowledgement that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995?
*I have not heard this statement. However, because the climate system is inherently noisy, with alternating short runs of cold years and of warm years, there could NEVER be a statistically significant trend over just a few years. One can only determine a multidecadal trend by looking at the gradient over multi-decades. If you insist on taking trends over a decade, you will find periods with a positive gradient, a negative gradient or flat, but none of them significant. This was exactly my point about the analogy with months. There will quite certainly be a warming trend in temperature between January and July, but you will certainly find periods of 10, perhaps even 20 days, that have no, or even a negative, gradient.

However the warming period from which this theory was derived started in 1979. Up till then the environmental alarm had been cooling “
The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist 1970
So the multidecadal trend was cooling for about 30 years, followed by warming for 16 years followed by flatlining for 16 years (or you can class it as warming for 19 years to 1998 and cooling for the next 13 years). If there is no "multidecadal" warming trend stronger than that there is nothing worth worrying about.

2 - Do you accept that the rise in CO2 has improved crop growth by around 10% & that the consequent influence on world hunger is more beneficial than any currently detectable destructive action of alleged global warming?

*I am not an agricultural scientist, and have not looked into this, but yes, in general increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are likely to increase crop yields. The second half of the question asks me to make a moral and economic value judgement. While I may have a view on it as a citizen, this has nothing to do with the science.

I would respectfully suggest that anybody saying that alleged warming is in any way bad is making a moral and economic value judgement. If CO2 rise considerably alleviates world hunger I do not think that it is a controversial value judgement that this is a good thing. Certainly if there is no evidence of any harm comparable to the benefit the dangerous warming claims are false. I would also point out that the Climate Optimum, 9,000-5,000 BC was "up to 4 degrees warmer" and not only was it not catastrophic it produced such fertility that ""Green Sahara" was dotted with numerous lakes containing typical African lake crocodile and hippopotamu". So even ignoring the CO2 benefit any warming up to 4 C is overwhelmingly likely to produce not catastrophe but benefit.

3 - Do you accept that the Hockey Stick, as originally presented by Mann and the IPCC contained calculations that were inconsistent with good science and that Mann's refusal to make calculations and algorithms available for checking were inconsistent with scientific principle?

*The Mann reconstruction was a first attempt at doing an exceptionally difficult job. There are now numerous other attempts (shown in IPCC AR4) which all tell roughly the same story, but that have suggested better ways of doing some aspects of the job. This is how science works - someone does their best, then someone else comes along and shows you how to do it better.

The best single short article on Mann's Hockey Stick is this one from Orson Scott Card. It includes this which proves unequivocally that Mann was not only wrong but fraudulent includes "extrapolated" data, which means that sometimes, where there were holes, Mann just made the numbers up and plugged them in. This is sloppy and lazy -- but it's just the beginning.

What's crucial is that Steve now understands why the "censored" data sets are smaller than the ones Mann used. The full source data includes those misleading results that shouldn't have been used. But the "censored" data sets leave it out.

This means that Mann knew exactly what he was doing. This was not an accident. Mann ran the program on the data without the misleading numbers, and then he ran it with the misleading numbers. What he published was the results that made his ideological case.
4 - Do you accept that many claims from people and organisations on the alarmist side, from Al Gore's claim that South Sea islands had already been abandoned due to rising sea levels and Pachauri's claim that any dispute that the Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 was "voodoo" are wholly untruthful.
*There was clearly an error in the IPCC WGII report regarding Himalayan glaciers. This has been acknowledged as soon as the error was recognised. Even one error in 3000 pages is unacceptable, no disagreement from me on that. I am less clear why you are asking a scientist to comment on a film by a politician; I have never cited this film as a source for my science and I don't plan to.

The Professor is wrong here. The IPCC did not acknowledge this error as soon as they found out about it. Instead Dr Pachauri publicly denounced the people who said the Himalayas weren't going to melt by 2035 as practicing "voodoo science". It took considerable time to get the OPCC to change the report and Pachauri has never apologised for refusing to discuss the science and adopting the approach of using such ad hominem and lying tactics. Nor is this the only error in the IPCC's report it is simply the most egregious. Gore is the recipient of a Nobel Prize for an allegedly scientific work and was once described by BBC news as "a climate scientist". Of course this was a total and deliberate lie but I think it is incumbent on scientists to point out when science is being traduced, particularly by people claiming their support -  and the failure of individual scientists and even moreso their professional organisations, often funded by the state (eg Royal Society gets £45 million) has greatly harmed the reputation of science. "For evil to triumph it is only necessary that good men do nothing" Burke.

5 - Do you accept that there are a number of geoengineering solutions which arithmetically can be shown would work (including stratospheric dust, the geritol solution or even just replacing CO2 burning with nuclear power) which would work at a small fraction of the cost of the war against fire, or in the case of nuclear, at negative cost?

*There are definitely geoengineering solutions that might theoretically work. Much more research will be needed to assess whether they can be implemented at reasonable cost and without excessive side effects. But yes, they are certainly among the options that have to be considered. My view is that all different energy options should also be considered, and may be needed: but this is again a personal view not a scientific one.

The cheapest option is putting sulphur crystals into the stratosphere. This has been costed at $100 million a year - well under 1,000th of what Kyoto costs. The engineering of this involves nothing new and we know it would work because Krakatoa and Timbora produced "years without a summer" by this method. The degree of certainty about this solution is far greater than that about any aspect of anthropogenic warming itself. We should not do it unless we know it is solving a real problem since cooling is not inherently desirable. However if the problem, if it exists, can be solved at a reasonable cost hysterical calls to destroy our economy are clearly unjustified.

6 - Do you accept that the refusal of alarmists to denounce fraud on their side, or even its active support or covering up, detracts from the credibility of the entire movement?

*No scientist I know would accept fraud. Luckily so far no fraud has been proven in climate science. I don't know many alarmists, and I don't know what movement you are referring to.

#3 above shows clear evidence of Mann's fraud. There have been others such as the IPCC's Himalayas claim and refusal to retract it when informed. and Jones'"hide the decline". Perhaps the worst aspect of #3 was Nature's repeated refusal to publish Stephen McIntyre's criticisms of Mann's paper, while publishing ad hominem attacks on him for daring to question, and the abject failure of any of the alleged 2,500 scientists at the IPCC to check his figures before the IPCC adopted his graph, many times, in their report. Certainly no scientist should accept fraud. I believe the existence of a climate alarmist movement is difficult to dispute. So long as fraud is winked at the entire movement cannot reasonably be trusted.

7 - Of the alleged "consensus" - can you name 2 scientists, out of the roughly 60%, worldwide who are not paid by the state, who support catastrophic warming & if not can you explain how something can be a consensus when no member of a subset of 60% of the alleged consenting, consent?

*There are several problems with the question as written. Firstly, I assume you are asking whether people support the idea that significant warming will take place (not whether they want it to happen). I also can name only a very few scientists who would say "catastrophic". I don't really know many private companies that carry out climate science, so I am not sure how one should compare these two groups. However, I frequently speak to ordinary scientists in private companies who seem happy to accept the points I made in the left hand column of the original post on Bishop Hill, including the warming range projected in the studies cited by IPCC, which I assume is what you are asking. They are not however people who consider themselves experts on climate, so they would not expect to be making public pronouncements, nor to be asked to be part of a consensus. However, if you really want two names of people who have had a major stake in the oil industry in particular, then Lord Oxburgh (formerly Shell Chairman) and Bryan Lovell (formerly Chief Sedimentologist and Exploration Manager with BP) would be a good start.

Lord Oxburgh gets a substantial amount of government money through his windfarm company. Checking Bryan Lovell online I find that he has indeed written this pdf on how higher temperatures 55 million years ago can be deduced from stone formations and at the end takes this as evidence of catastrophic warming, other environmental scare and the need to accept the "small is beautiful philosophy. Despite it having apparently also been published in the Times I do not find that argument convincing. However he now works for the University of Cambridge and is presumably thus paid out of public funds so we still have not one instance of a scientist, not funded by government supporting claims of dangerous warming. With the majority of the world's scientists not being government employees and 31,000 of them having signed the Oregon Petition saying there is no cause for alarm there clearly can be no question of any honest politician, journalist of scientist claiming the existence of a "scientific consensus" for catastrophic warming (though it would be possible to claim a "consensus of independent scientists" against it)

    With millions of scientists worldwide the statistical chance that all.the scientists supporting catastrophic warming are government funded and all the ones prominently opposing it are independent being an accident is statistically far less likely than the odds of winning the national lottery jackpot twice running. I regard this as absolute proof that the source of this scare story is government, doing so because "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."(Henry Louis Mencken). However if somebody has evidence to the contrary I would be interested.

   I am very pleased that Professor Wolf says that "very few scientists" would describe any warming trend as catastrophic. I entirely agree.

  I consider that on all 7 fences the case for warming alarmism has fallen and on most of them broken a leg.

   If it isn't catastrophic and indeed is likely to be significantly beneficial I see no justification whatsoever for spending trillions in what are said to be attempts to ameliorate this non-problem.

   But again if somebody can give any reason why we should I would be interested. So far the silence from all the other alarmist scientists, politicians and media controllers, worldwide, seems to conclusively show they know they can't.

   Once again I thank Professor Wolff for, alone, having the integrity to try.

from  - their "most terrifying global warming" photoshop

UPDATE Professor Wolff has replied on 2 of the 7 points. I made a small error on point 5 which is now corrected

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