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  • What is Climate Change doing to Science ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on October 18th, 2015 (All posts by )

    The discussion on Global Warming, has shifted to “Climate Change” as the warming has slowed or stopped, depending on your politics. Now there are a few rather timid questions being asked about this highly charged topic.

    “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”.

    This is the consensus of politicians. Scientists ? Read the resumes of the people pontificating on Climate Change. How many are real scientists ?

    A Member of Parliament with a Physics degree, was ridiculed by the BBC for questioning Climate Change.

    Peter Lilley, a long standing member of the energy and climate select committee, has made a formal complaint to director general Lord Hall after discovering that mandarins had issued an apology following claims he made that the effects of climate change were being exaggerated.

    Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s ‘What’s the Point of The Met Office’, Mr Lilley stated that, while he “accepted the thesis that more CO2 in the atmosphere will marginally warm up the earth”, he questioned the assertion that global warming would be as dramatic as is being portrayed in some scientific circles.

    Mr Lilley, who graduated with a degree in natural sciences at Cambridge University, said: “I’m a ‘lukewarmist’, one who thinks that there won’t be much warming as a result of it, and that’s the scientifically proven bit of the theory. Anything going on the alarmist scale is pure speculation.”

    Sounds mild to me.

    Mr Lilley was horrified to discover that the BBC later placed “health warnings” on the programme’s website, and issued an apology for “giving voice to climate sceptics” and failing to “make clear that they are a minority, out of step with the scientific consensus.”

    The apology was written to listeners who had complained, including academic Dr Andrew Smedley, of Manchester University, and then re-stated on the BBC Rado 4’s programme Feedback.

    That sounds like “Trigger Warnings” in American university life. This sort of thing has gotten more common the past 20 years. Why ?

    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.

    Why would people who are real scientists do this ?

    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.

    Why would Michael Mann and the people at East Anglia University do this ?

    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.

    What did the Bible call “The Root of All Evil ?

    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.

    His conclusion, and you really should read the article, is that it is all about money.

    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.

    The similarity to Lysenko and to Phlogiston in previous centuries is striking. Lysenko did not survive the end of Stalin and Phlogiston was disproven by the discovery of oxygen. Climate Change may have to wait for a coming Ice Age.

    Temperatures are currently five to 10 degrees below average in parts of western Russia and eastern Europe and are expected to drop to the minus 30s.

    The prediction by a Russian scientist may be tested in the next few years. We’ll see.

    In the meantime, heretics are burned at the stake or whatever the current method of punishment is.

     

    11 Responses to “What is Climate Change doing to Science ?”

    1. Roy Lofquist Says:

      Love of money is the root of evil. Love of theory is the root of folly.

      The same scenario is played out in other areas, such as cosmology and evolution, where there are no practical experimental tests. The fiefdoms are fiercely defended.

    2. dies irae Says:

      Some scientists have proved, based on Sacred Writings, that The Final Judgement (which involves high ambient temperatures) will soon happen unless we all stop sinning. Same message as the climate change message.

      Right now 25% of girls on campus are being raped. Perhaps if we stop the all the college rapes we will keep climate change from happening.

    3. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Something I saw in passing in the last day or so. It was from the Brit paper THE EXPRESS, which yes, automatically demands multiple fact checks. The article was claiming that for the next 50 years or so Britain was scrod, because temperatures were about to drop precipitously to the point where as historical records indicate has happened, the Thames would freeze solid and they would have the Thames River Frost Fairs on the ice in the middle of the river. Q.v.:Great Frost of 1683–84.

      Now, the accuracy of predictions in the EXPRESS may be questionable, but Britain is arguably worse off if there is a major cold spell than it has been for generations. The power plant capacities are such that it would not take much to have rolling [or steady] blackouts. I read the Brit papers, and every winter they find a bunch of old age pensioners frozen to death because they can’t heat their homes.

      So let us say that instead of another full blown Little Ice Age, we just have a series of a few years where it gets bloody cold and nasty, power outages become the norm, transportation and food supplies get dicey, and everything is aggravated by the Brit ‘Ealth and Safety bureaucrats cracking down on people trying to avoid frostbite.

      If someone lights a fireplace or wood/coal stove; will the Climate Change Inquisition drag people off, torture them to confess their sins against Holy Mother Gaia, and then … well, they can’t burn them at the stake, because that would emit carbon and cause global warming … so probably hose them down with water and expose them to the weather so they freeze?

      Yeah, tongue a little bit in cheek there, but there is the question about what level of event it would take to have reality intrude upon the Inquisitors, and what, if any, consequences they would face for their backing the wrong side?

    4. Veryretired Says:

      Money and power, power and money.

      The endless renaming of the alleged climate phenomenon should be a clue s to it’s poor theoretical formulation.

      A well respected scientist graphed the temperature patterns from available sources a few years ago. The timeline shows a generally regular pattern of alternating warm and cool periods that each last fora few centuries before starting the other way.

      We know of the Mideval warm period through numerous historical documents which talked of weather, crops, and farming conditions. We are well aware of the Little Ice Age, which caused numerous reports of low temperatures, poor crops, famines, and lost colonies such as the Norse settlements in Greenland.

      It is well worth noting one particular characteristic of the climate change scenario which it shares with every other alleged crisis of the last century plus—the remedy is always and forever that individual choices must be severely restricted, and the power, resources, and scope of state control must be increased exponentially, with no end point ever in sight.

      Even if the alleged ravages of man made climate change were totally obvious and compelling, it still does not follow that the only possible response is for free people to curtail their freedom significantly, while empowering political operatives around the world whose most glaring characteristics are incompetence and corruption at levels that would make the court of the French kings blush.

      Once again, it’s not the possible change in our climate that poses a threat to free citizens, but the endless demands for more power and social resources to be placed into the hands of a ruling class that has repeatedly demonstrated levels of incompetence and corruption so outrageous that they would not be considered as suitable to manage the evening shift at any ordinary fast food franchise.

      It is a basic fact of their mindset that statists are one-trick ponies, whose single answer to any social problem, real or imagined, is more state power for them and their cronies. Nothing else is even considered as a possibility.

    5. Mike K Says:

      The left is getting progressively (yes, a pun) more intolerant of dissent in all fields. The latest is Elizabeth Warren getting a Brookings scholar fired for disagreeing with the administration’s new regulation for retirement fund advisors.

      A longtime fellow at the Brookings Institution abruptly cut ties with the prestigious think tank Tuesday hours after Senator Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to the institution complaining about an industry-funded study he cowrote.

      “I think the Warren letter has created discomfort at Brookings,” Robert Litan said by phone. “I don’t want to make people there feel any more uncomfortable than needed.”

      Litan said he believes Warren’s complaints were largely unfounded, noting that he disclosed the funding source for his study during Senate testimony he gave on it over the summer. He also said that Warren didn’t attack the substance of his argument — only the perceived conflict.

      At WSJ Report today, they pointed out that his disclosure of funding by a mutual fund was the first item in his testimony.

      The consensus was that Brookings is now an arm of the Democrat Party and no longer trustworthy. Senator Menendez found out the price of dissent.

    6. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Anyone at all interested in skeptical, but scientific, and well reasoned reporting on climate change theories should read:

      “Watts Up With That?: The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change”
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/

      Today, they posted:

      Deconstruction Of The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Hypothesis
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/10/17/deconstruction-of-the-anthropogenic-global-warming-agw-hypothesis-2/

      RTWT, as the man says.

    7. Whitehall Says:

      I too thought there was merit in the global warming hypothesis at first. The greenhouse gas effect is real enough and long known. Plus, it seemed to play into my self-interest as a nuclear engineer who designs and builds nuclear power plants.

      Then I read the 2001 UN report and suddenly my eyes were opened. The rational list of unknowns, variables, and feedback loops was enough, but really got me were the “tells” – those subtle clues that someone is pulling a fraud. They just added up to a clear conspiracy.

      A couple of things – the executive summary did NOT match the conclusions of the technical report. And there was no advocacy of increased nuclear power, the ONLY way to power modern civilization without CO2 emissions.

      Since then the evidence grows by the day of the evil intent of global warming advocates.

    8. Mike K Says:

      “there was no advocacy of increased nuclear power,”

      That is the tell. I was sympathetic and then came the UEA program comments.

    9. ErisGuy Says:

      Terrible to see the Enlightenment founder so thoroughly in our lifetime, isn’t it? The conceit that science is self correcting has run aground by political factions.

    10. dearieme Says:

      “The conceit that science is self correcting …”: not once it’s industrialised, bureaucratised, governmentised, and generally a part of mass-society.

    11. Mike K Says:

      It is useful to look at the “credentials” of most of these warming alarmists.

      The recently “retired” head of IPCC, for example. Pachauri

      Pachauri was born in Nainital, India. He was educated at La Martiniere College in Lucknow[4] and at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Jamalpur, Bihar. He belongs to the Special Class Railway Apprentices, 1958 Batch, an elite scheme which heralded the beginning of mechanical engineering education in India.[5] He began his career with the Indian Railways at the Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi.

      Scientist to the core.

      The new head of IPCC after Pachauri left town suddenly, is an economist

      He is professor in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development in the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Policy & Technology at Korea University in the Republic of Korea.

      Another scientist.

      One of his elder brothers is Lee Hoi-chang, who is well known politician.[