Global cooling update

We’re happy to report that global temperatures have stabilized.  In fact, there is significant evidence that some key areas of the globe are getting markedly cooler.

Al Gore should be celebrating.  He is not.

First, let’s visit the Antartic, where we have the following temperature trend.

A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980–2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008–2009 melt season.


Figure 1. Standardized values of the Antarctic snow melt index (October-January) from 1980-2009 (adapted from Tedesco and Monaghan, 2009).

You can read more about this chart here.

Meanwhile, the oceans are getting noticeably cooler, especially the Arctic, although it’s worth pointing out they are still warm compared to three decades ago.

 

So, how about the Arctic ice cover, something that especially worries global warming alarmists.   Well, we had a pretty good year in 2009, although it is worth pointing out that the ice cover is relatively thin compared to some years in the past, but not as bad as the worst year, 2007.

Overall, when you look at satellite-based temperature trends, temperatures are slightly higher than the 1970s (which were so cold that many publications worried about a new ice age) but lower than the 1998 high.

UAH_LT_1979_thru_Sept_09

Well, what about the IPCC and its famous hockey stick?  If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve seen the alarming temperature trends that show temperatures going up in our days.  Well, the problem is that there are serious problems with the data that were used to create the hockey sticks.  You can read about it here.

We have reached a critical juncture.  Despite Al Gore’s herculean efforts to stifle debate and declare the end of the world is near, the world is rejecting his message.  A British court recently declared that “An Inconvenient Truth” is so misleading and inaccurate that it could not be shown in British schools without warnings.  You can read the court’s opinion here.

Even the BBC, the longtime promoter of global warming alarmism, has had to admit that global temperatures have not gone up since 1998 and asks “what happened to global warming?”

Why do I care?  Attempts to force worldwide government-led “solutions” to global warming are unnecessary and likely to be highly counterproductive.  There is no reason to believe that we are in any kind of crisis.  Any governmental solution will mean unnecessary higher taxes, and the Obama administration estimates them at more than $1700 per family.  In addition, cap and trade means interference with businesses and additional costs, which will inevitably cause corporations to downsize.  This is the last thing we need with unemployment approaching 10 percent.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

55 thoughts on “Global cooling update

  1. I wrote my Senator and urged him to vote no on the cap & trade bill passed by the House. He assured me he would not only vote no but also work to persuade fellow Senators on both sides of the aisle to vote no as well.

    With the economy on life support, this is no time to increase taxes and regulations on US industry. If it were to pass, unemployment would certainly go higher.

  2. Funny how people can usually agree that raising taxes and regulations on industry is bad during times of economic distress and recession. The logic, however, is never taken to the next conclusion.

  3. Brian, I am very worried about those flies, and to protect them I would like 100 million people to lose their jobs. That seems a fair exchange.

    Justin, I think we all need to contact our elected representatives to oppose this bill. So far, it looks like it won’t pass in the Senate, but you never know.

    Michael, I can take your comment two ways, either 1)that taxes and regulations are always bad, in good times or bad or 2)that we should raise taxes and regulations during good economic times. Personally, I like the logic of 1) better. :)

  4. Sorry for the ambiguity of my post. I didn’t sleep much last night and it shows!

    Geoff, I hold to No. 1: I absolutely detest taxes of all kinds, and believe them to always be harmful by nature.

  5. I appreciate your views on the subject, but would like to present another viewpoint. First off, the link between carbon emissions, global warming, and sea level rise over the long term has become increasingly clear (1). While global warming is certainly not going to have any drastic effects on the human population (for whom this Earth was created) in the near future, if global emissions continue to increase as nations develop, it will most certainly lead to an increase of disease, disaster, and malnutrition/food shortage (2). In addition, like it or not our dependence on foreign oil is becoming an increasing threat to national security. The problem, while not urgent, will become so if we don’t act sooner rather than later, and several analyses have shown that quicker action actually makes good economic sense (3). It may throw a bit of salt in the wound now, but it will save the necks of our grandkids!

    1. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/upsDownsGlobalWarming.html
    2. http://cnsnews.com/news/article/54122
    3. http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/the-economics-of-climate-stabilization

  6. Kit, I always appreciate calm disagreement. I usually learn something when somebody disagrees in a rational way.

    1)There are of course a large number of scientists who believe this point. I think the Nasa piece you link does a good job of summarizing the global warming alarmist position. I would also point out to you that there are an increasing number of scientists who do not accept that position. They either doubt that the Earth is warming unusually (warming and cooling always take place) and/or they doubt that any warming is caused by CO2 and/or they doubt that the warming is harmful enough to warrant unnecessary government action. You can read a good summary of these opinions here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    My major point is that the alarmists keep on saying the sky is falling, but so far it hasn’t fallen, and all the evidence seems to indicate it is not going to fall. So, when do you start accepting the evidence that actually exists, rather than the evidence that will come someday in the future — maybe?

    2)I don’t think the connection between CO2 and global warming has been proven in any way. However, even if it had, it is far from clear that warming will necessarily lead to an “increase in disease, disaster and malnutrition/food storage.” If warming were to take effect, vast new areas that are not currently arable would become arable. Warmer temperatures generally lead to lower disease, not greater. There has been no evidence of more disasters (hurricanes, for example) because of warming. There were much worse hurricanes during the 1920s and 1930s than today. I think you could in fact make a strong case that warming would cause more food production and lower malnutrition.

    3)I agree that decreasing our dependence on foreign oil is urgent. There are many ways of doing that: 1)alternative energy (great idea — support it). 2)new drilling (support it). 3)Nuclear (support it). You can do all of these things without supporting cap and trade.

    As a last point, I would point out that additional taxes put more of a burden on our grandkids than creating a more streamlined, efficient government with lower taxes, a lower budget deficit, etc.

  7. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, says “never let a good crisis go to waste”. I think that says it all. “Cap and Trade” just joins the Stimulus and Healthcare bills to load on taxes on everyone – including the middle class, and point us to George Soros’s World Government.

  8. Geoff, thanks for the reply. I completely agree with you on many of your points. For example, I think a lot of focus needs to be on alternative energy (including nuclear) and making government more efficient. I also believe additional taxes for high emitters should be minimal and not a main actuator of carbon reduction. I disagree, however, that simply because the sky isn’t going to fall in the next 50 years, or even because we aren’t sure that the sky ever will fall, that we should not take steps to prevent it from falling just in case. Sure, there are several scientists who are skeptical of climate change, but the overwhelming majority still look at the evidence and see a clear link and long-term trend. As for the effects of global warming (4), while I think some of the predictions are a bit of a stretch, the majority of research articles I have read forecasting problems such as disease and food shortage actually present valid evidence and make a lot of sense. I suppose my feeling is that sufficient evidence does exist to begin looking for (and implementing) efficient, effective long-term solutions, even if it ends up being just in case (akin to installing seatbelts in cars).

    4. http://green.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-impacts-interactive.html

  9. A couple of years ago New Scientist put together some climate change myths, several of which seem applicable here.

    PolitiFact.org has examined the $1700 number here. Short version: “incorrect assumptions and overly simple math.”

    I hope you find the links useful.

  10. Jared, a lot of the information in your outdated “climate change myths” is directly contradicted by the actual updated information in this very post. You may want to take a second look.

    As for the $1700 number, it is certainly much too low, not too high. Regulation inevitably costs more than any initial estimate. When you start including the costs increases in products and services, the number is probably significantly higher. Example: regulations involved in car manufacturing processes causes the cost of an average car to be much higher than it would be otherwise.

    The cap and trade bill would cause whole new government agencies and offices dedicated to new regulations. The costs would be a nightmare, would cause higher prices and would cause companies to go out of business and hire fewer people.

  11. I am highly disappointed. I was hoping for some nice Global Warming. History proves that warmer climes increase the benefits to man and other earth-life, while colder temps end up bringing death and disease. The mini-Ice Age in 1300 brought the black death. Cold temperatures closed down the Viking settlements in North America.

    Meanwhile, warmer temperatures increased agricultural lands and rain forests, etc. Polar bears can and will adapt, as they have to previous global climate change periods.

  12. Geoff,

    I’m not an economist, but Paul Krugman explained that the assumptions behind the $1700 estimate go against basic economics. But, you may be right that there will be unanticipated costs.

    Re: New Scientist myths. They may not have the latest numbers, but the general principles are still relevant. Maybe I’m just missing it–could you please give me an example of a direct contradiction?

    The recent State of the Climate in 2008 report (chapter 2) explains that the lack of continued warming is thus far consistent with models, and appears to be natural variation overlaid on the warming trend. And speaking of trends, the global surface temperature record gives a different flavor from the troposphere measurements in your post (which also look at little different when extended back another couple of decades as in Fig. 2.4 of the above mentioned report).

  13. Jared, Paul Krugman stopped being an actual economist a long time ago. You can ask just about any economist about that, and they will agree. The only thing that will significantly change emissions is innovation. Let’s put it this way: do you know what the major worries were for cities in the 1890s? Coal smoke and horse manure. People heated their homes with coal, and people got around on horses. Horse manure attracts flies and disease. Coal causes significant lung problems and makes all the buildings dark. So, did those problems go away because of governmental intervention or did they go away because of innovation? They went away because people discovered new technologies (electicity, cars, trains, etc).

    If people are worried about car emissions, the situation will not change through governmental intervention. The government has been talking about alternate energy sources since the early 1970s, and has spent hundreds of billions on subsidies. True innovation will come by creating an entrepreneurial marketplace where people can make money inventing new, clean stuff to replace the old, dirty stuff. One good example is the Prius — everybody wants one NOT because the government tells you to want one but instead because you can drive seemingly forever between gas tank fill-ups. Allow the marketplace to work and the environment will take care of itself.

    Cap and trade has literally hundreds of hidden costs, as all government regulations do. This is basic common sense. Goods and service cost less when companies are allowed to deliver them with the greatest amount of efficiency. Think about Wal-Mart. Why is stuff so cheap there? I can get the same DVD at Wal-Mart for $5 that you get at Best Buy for $20 and the same jeans for $15 that you get at another store for $30. Why is that? Economies of scale and efficiency. The moment government interferes with that in any way, the cost for Wal-Mart goes up and Wal-Mart has no choice but to pass that additional cost on to you and me and all consumers.

    So, what happens under cap-and-trade? Wal-Mart has to hire teams of new people to make sure it is complying. Extra cost. Wal-Mart’s delivery trucks have new restrictions that interfere with efficient, on-time delivery of goods. Extra cost. Wal-Mart’s managers need to worry about satisfying bureaucrats rather than running their stores. Extra cost. All of a sudden you can’t buy the DVDs for $5 anymore — they are now $7. Add that by thousands of products and thousands of stores and goods that people buy and you have a lot of hidden costs caused by cap and trade.

    Look at the updated Arctic ice shelf information. Ice appears to be returning.

    Jared, given that you are a scientist, I hope you can step back and look at the ridiculousness of the position of the global warming alarmist. If global temperatures go up, it is caused by CO2. If they stay the same, it also fits in the model. If they go down, it also fits in the model. Under all possible scenarios — we are all going to die! In addition, I would expect thinking scientists like yourself to decry Al Gore’s alarmist tactics. He makes all scientists look bad in the eyes of non-scientists because of his willingness to exaggerate and indeed falsify and hide information to further his cause. He refuses to debate the data and only addresses favorable audiences. Does that seem like good science to you? Study the history of the “hockey stick” exaggeration, which as been completely discredited. Until scientists get together and collectively shun people like Al Gore, the general population will never, I repeat never, take global warming alarmists seriously.

  14. I have to disagree with some of your take on pollution being eliminated if government will just get out of the way. For a few years, about half of my work was helping operators of coal-fired power plants reduce their emissions. It is possibly the case that I have done more to reduce air pollution than a hundred environmental activists. Yet I couldn’t have done my work if the government didn’t enforce through the EPA the desire of millions of citizens to have clean air. Operators I worked with were very scrupulous about abiding EPA regulations and sought my company’s help to do so efficiently. If a unit was emitting too much, it had to cut back production, and that was a loss of big money. No one ever cared about surpassing the EPA requirements, just meeting them. Without the threat of the EPA, American coal-fired plants would be as dirty as China’s.

  15. John M, I think you make a good point. I went too far is saying “Allow the marketplace to work and the environment will take care of itself.” There is room for some environmental clean-up efforts by government. I think LA air is a lot cleaner today because California and regional government enforced rules on emissions and lead, etc. But there are several points: such rules ALWAYS have costs. Krugman, et al ignore these costs. A car costs more today than it would without emissions restrictions (which is why a car costs more in California than most other states). In Colorado we have emissions tests every year for cars. This is a COST. The second point is that there is a tipping point when these costs become too high and/or costs more jobs than the associated benefits. That is the case with cap and trade legislation.

  16. Geoff,

    What the experts say, is that you can’t make judgments about climate (long-term) trends based on a few years worth of data. The climate is complicated and is influenced by many factors. However, the mainstream scientific conclusions thus far are that the climate is warming, and that the warming of the last 50 years is very likely human caused.

    I don’t see the wisdom of holding the science hostage to y

  17. Oops–premature comment submission.

    I don’t see the wisdom of holding the science hostage to your dislike of Al Gore and regulation. I think good science should be the starting point of policy decisions.

    I know you have better things to do than read all the links people post, but Krugman did not ignore the costs–and neither did the CBO (summarized here), which he cited.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me express my view.

  18. Jared, to be clear, I have nothing against Al Gore — or more accurately I didn’t until he began exaggerating the science and falsifying data for political reasons. His debate with Ross Perot on free trade (which he won) was one of the highest moments of the Clinton administration. Personally, I came VERY close to voting for Al Gore in 2000, and if it hadn’t been for the Supreme Court I would have.

    I would urge you to read the British’s court decision on “An Inconvenient Truth.” (linked above) As I say above, the court found the movie so biased and unscientific that it cannot be shown in British schools without a warning and without actual scientific counter-arguments being presented to students. I would think the scientist in you would embrace truth and real science rather than the polemics of Al Gore.

  19. Jared, the link you provide pretty much provides the consensus of global warming alarmists. I have read it and many other like it. You may want to look into the political nature of such claims. Government scientists are regularly pressured into providing “evidence” that supports AGW:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/29/gop-senator-calls-inquiry-supressed-climate-change-report/

    In addition, as mentioned above, the conclusions from the report don’t even pass a basic common sense sanity test. If warming has been happening for decades, why has there been no evidence of rising sea waters off of the East Coast, which has barrier islands from Cape Cod to Texas? Warming climates are generally healthier and provide more arable land for cultivation, yet the report concludes automatically that warming will be disastrous for crops. Personally, I find such conclusions laughable and a result of the same bad science that is embarrassing Al Gore around the world.

  20. Jared:

    Fewer and fewer people are buying the global warming hype:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/gallup-rising-sense-of-climate-hype/

    Why? Because it isn’t true. Please watch the following video with Joe Bastardi, who has actual facts and data, as opposed to your link from an entire governmental bureaucracy whose jobs depend on exaggerating a risk that does not exist.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6Y2iF99kOY

    Joe Bastardi also did the following video to explain the disconnect between CO2 and lower temperatures. The reality is there are other factors at work on global temperatures, especially ocean temperatures. I think the following video will help you understand the situation a bit better:

    http://www.accuweather.com/video-on-demand.asp?video=41870064001&channel=VBLOG_BASTARDI&title=Is%20the%20Earth%20Cooling,%20or%20Is%20the%20Data%20Just%20Fooling

  21. Geoff,

    I don’t want to wear out my welcome, and I had intended my last comment to be my last, but I thought I should respond to your latest comments because I did look at your links.

    Frankly, I don’t keep close track of Al Gore and I haven’t seen his movie. (Maybe now that I have Netflix I will). I read through the document you linked to, and I think you mis-characterize it to say that the film was “so biased and unscientific….” On the contrary, the judge held that “it is substantially founded upon scientific research and fact,” and that “the film was broadly accurate.” The judge held the film to the standard of the IPCC 2007 report and found the film to have either exaggerated or over-reached in interpretation on a few things. But as the Guidance Note ordered by the judge said, “AIT was made before these latest reports had been published, but it is important that pupils should have access to the latest and most authoritative scientific information.” Even the two examples of corrections/clarifications of the 9 errors basically reinforce the point behind the error. Yes, I prefer accuracy. But I can hardly see this document as a smack-down of Al Gore’s science.

    Sea levels are rising, albeit slower than grass grows, so it’s not very noticeable. There is some uncertainty about how sea level rises will play out.

    Overall I have no problem with the second video of Joe Bastardi. The climate is indeed complicated. Certainly CO2 is not the whole story. That’s why I think his comparison of CO2 vs temperature or temperature vs IPCC predictions over a 10 year period is pointless. I think he is essentially attacking a straw man and pushing the IPCC prediction beyond its intended meaning.

    Anyway, I don’t wish to be a pest. Thanks for the stimulating discussion, and I wish you well.

  22. Sorry. Missed this discussion. Regarding the purported “cooling” it comes by cherry picking dates. But there are other problems such as the dataset used excluding the arctic where most of the warming is going on. Real Climate has the take down of this latest talking point.

    I do think there is a fair debate to be had over what to do about global warming. I think most economists are agreed that cap and trade is a bad idea. New taxes aren’t necessarily bad if they are compensated for elsewhere. If carbon emissions have disproportionate cost to society then of course they ought be taxed disproportionately relative to cleaner energies. While there is a Libertarian case to be made for a flat tax equal on everything from drugs to alcohol to junk food to gas, if you aren’t suggesting such a flat tax then opposition to the carbon tax makes little sense. Likewise while I oppose big spending increases during the recession as well as big new taxes, shifting the tax structure around seems quite different and it’s hard to see the recession argument here. (Especially since the plants being taxes are effectively part of regulated monopolies)

  23. Clark, there is in fact a pretty robust debate on this issue. Real Climate has admitted lack of warming since 1998 in the past:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/14/real-climate-gives-reason-to-cheer/

    Now they are trying to debunk their own position because the truth may actually make people less likely to panic. That’s what we all need: panic. The lack of panic is truly distressing to the global warming fanatics.

    Clark, you have been in business long enough to know that “shifting the tax structure around” is very unlikely to happen with this administration. Taxes will go up, but they won’t go down. This is the last thing anybody needs.

    Thank you for recognizing that economists agree that cap and trade is a bad idea. It is nice to hear some sanity on this issue.

  24. “Paul Krugman stopped being an actual economist a long time ago. You can ask just about any economist about that, and they will agree.”

    That one gave me a good giggle. I just love your style Geoff.

  25. Geoff. I’m confused. The point Real Climate was making in the post your blog link linked to was that the underlying driving force appears on larger time scales and that the noise in the short term can make it appear mislead which is exactly what they said in the link I gave.

    As to your theory on motivations, are you seriously saying that the vast majority of scientists are really trying to cause panic for political ends? Seriously, how many climate scientists accept global warming as fact? Nearly all of them. The conspiracy theory some put out is Glen Beck nuttiness. But when the vast, vast, vast majority of scientists not only agree but consider it settled science then I suppose the only alternative is to ascribe conspiracy theories. What’s odd is causing the overwhelming majority of scientists fanatics. (grin) I’m sure you’re not really going that route Geoff. I know you and this is almost certainly just hyperbole on your point. After all it’s one thing to think the scientists are wrong (although I note it’s typically the doubters in the media engaging in shady arguments) but to ascribe panic causing as the motivation for covering up truth is just plain silly.

    In the end what counts are competing theories. While global warming theories can’t explain everything, they can explain considerably more data than the alternatives.

    What’s odd to me is why doubters keep cherry picking 1998. If you look at the time series you can see lots of periods with relatively short periods of no warming. Look at say around 1960 or even the mid 90′s. As Real Climate notes, when you have other factors providing “noise” in the short term you’ll get such fluctuations but in the long term the driving force wins out.

    The most important point to make is that every year of this century thus far has been warming than any year in the 20th century except 1998 (which is why it is the date picked by deniers to start their trend – any other year would give a completely different curve). 1998 was special relative to the surrounding years due to an unusually strong El Niño.

  26. Geoff, the problem with cap and trade is that effectively you have “credits” which can be given to various groups. It’s more or less just a give away to special interest groups which is probably why Congress likes it. It’s a nice way to reward special groups. A specific tax treats everyone equally, can’t be rigged as obviously but then doesn’t given Democrats a way to reward friends or supporters. What’s weird to me is how many Republicans favored a cap and trade approach – but I think that’s because of the knee jerk reaction to taxes.

    Regarding the Obama administration, I think it clear that while they rhetorically talk about no spending increases and no tax increases except on the wealthy it’s misleading at best and most likely very overtly deceptful. With their medical insurance changes there will be large increases due to unfunded mandates (both on the states but also increases in your premiums which is effectively a hidden tax on you). More significantly there are already reports that excise taxes on the middle class will be part of it despite Obama’s promises.

  27. A couple of other points. In your original post you said, “Meanwhile, the oceans are getting noticeably cooler, especially the Arctic, although it’s worth pointing out they are still warm compared to three decades ago.” This seems blatantly wrong. 2009 was the third worst year in history. “Sea surface temperatures in the Arctic this season remained higher than normal, but slightly lower than the past two years.” While one could portray that as “getting noticeably cooler” I’m not sure one ought do so. Likewise global ocean temperatures in 2009 broke all records.

    I had a few other corrections, but I’m out of time.

  28. Clark, I agree with your #31.

    As for your #30 and #32, not so much. Actually, as you know 2009 for Arctic ice wasn’t the third worst in history, is was the third worst during our current warming trend. There probably have been dozens of other times in the history of the Earth when Arctic sea ice has been lower or perhaps even disappeared, only to appear again later. The Earth has a way of recovering. Global ocean temperatures in 2009 were the coolest they have been in some time. Just look at the link higher up.

    Clark, regarding the whole panic thing, as I’ve said before, I think most scientists are honest. But there are many of them whose jobs depend on maintaining the global warming hype. And there are others who feel it necessary to exaggerate because they are “true believers.” But, again, it’s mostly the idiot politicians who are trying to panic people. I clearly blame Al Gore and the worst British prime minister in recent history, Gordon Brown.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8313672.stm

    I mean, give me a break! “Catastrophe!” The funny thing is that the more people like Brown and Al Gore yell the sky is falling, the less people tend to believe them, and the more believable the “skeptic” position becomes.

  29. Clark, to back up my point about “true believers” needing to exaggerate, you may want to read up on the history of Steve McIntyre’s attempts to get the data behind the “hockey stick” graph.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy

    If you are truly interested in all of the sad details, you should go back and read “Climate Audit” for the last two months.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/

    To sum up, there appear to have been significant attempts by Mann and Briffa to hide the data that was used to create the discredited “hockey stick.” Once independent observers were able to get the data, it was shown that the data was severely flawed. You can read more here:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/01/ross-mckitrick-defects-in-key-climate-data-are-uncovered.aspx

    The article sums up:

    “I have been probing the arguments for global warming for well over a decade. In collaboration with a lot of excellent coauthors I have consistently found that when the layers get peeled back, what lies at the core is either flawed, misleading or simply non-existent. The surface temperature data is a contaminated mess with a significant warm bias, and as I have detailed elsewhere the IPCC fabricated evidence in its 2007 report to cover up the problem. Climate models are in gross disagreement with observations, and the discrepancy is growing with each passing year. The often-hyped claim that the modern climate has departed from natural variability depended on flawed statistical methods and low-quality data. The IPCC review process, of which I was a member last time, is nothing at all like what the public has been told: Conflicts of interest are endemic, critical evidence is systematically ignored and there are no effective checks and balances against bias or distortion.

    I get exasperated with fellow academics, and others who ought to know better, who pile on to the supposed global warming consensus without bothering to investigate any of the glaring scientific discrepancies and procedural flaws.”

  30. Clark, I would also like to point out that it is the global warming fanatics who are fanning the flames of hyperbole on this issue. I have been following the global warming debate since 1988, when we first began hearing about this from Al Gore and his buddies. The claim was that the barrier islands off of the East Coast (where Miami Beach is, for example) would all disappear within a couple decades. Well, 21 years later, the islands are still there. Al Gore claimed a 20-foot increase in ocean levels was imminent. Hasn’t happened, and won’t happen anytime soon.

    People who point out that such claims have not proven to be true are called “deniers” and “silly.” The claim always is that “deniers” are being paid off by the oil industry (still waiting for my check, btw). Just go to Real Climate and read the posts and the comments — the rhetoric used there is truly sad.

    The scientific consensus should change based on new discoveries and new data. That is in fact what is happening. The data are beginning to question the models of recent claims. I would also like to point out that I have, in this very post, mentioned in my links literally hundreds of climate and other scientists who question the whole AGW thesis. Yet, you and other continue to claim “settled science.” Well, to coin a new phrase, it ain’t settled until it’s settled, and it ain’t settled.

  31. Geoff, sadly I don’t have time to continue the debate too much. I’ll just say that when one is up against nearly all scientists who disagree (the scientific doubters are a tiny sliver of a minority) then one really has to come up with conspiracy theories to discount their arguments and views. I think it pretty silly to suggest that all these tenured scientists are saying these out of pressure. But what other alternative can doubters present for why nearly all scientists agree? There’s not a lot of wiggle room.

    I’d never suggest there isn’t hyperbole on the side of believers in global warming. However the deniers simply engage in far, far more of it. Likewise, it’s a fact that big oil and a few other industries do fund opposition. It’s hardly a secret. No conspiracy needed. That doesn’t in the least mean all do. Rather I think that the issue has sadly been politicized (and I blame Gore a lot for this) such that it’s moved down into left – right groupthink. People reject global warming because Democrats believe it. After folks like Limbaugh and company picked up on it then it’s become hopelessly tied to identity politics. Sadly. And yes, I think a lot of well meaning people deserve the blame for that. I think the way it has been politicized is horrible.

    The data simply isn’t beginning to question the models of recent claims. Sorry, it just isn’t. There are unsettled areas, for sure, as well as some things not well understood. But some things simply are settled. And no, the “hockey stick” isn’t discredited. Sorry, it just isn’t. There was a new study, as I’m sure you know, done in 2006 and publicly available. There have also been investigations of Mann’s data. Most show at best minor variations. (see here for instance) The NRC also released a report on the hockey graph. (see Deltoid for responses) But also note that many, if not most of the claims about global warming do not depend upon the hockey stick graph.

  32. BTW – by history I meant human history. There’s no doubt that hundreds of thousands and millions of years ago the climate was quite different. If someone doesn’t mind the climate changing and is willing to live the social upheaval then that’s of course a different issue. My personal feeling is that even in Europe, the most aware of global warming, there isn’t the political will to do much about it, let along in places like the US where it has been so politicized. So I think at best we’ll be able to slow the growth of warming until significant technological changes take place. But I think that a completely different issue from whether it has been happening.

    In any case it is just deceptive to suggest there has been significant cooling. Rather there is the typical noise with the last decade being extremely hot relative to the 20th century. I don’t think anyone can doubt that. At best they can portray the noise a signifying more than it can by avoiding looking at larger data sets.

  33. There are other ways of determining that anthropogenic global warming is real than just by looking at the (inherently noisy) weather for the last few years. The oceans act as a sink for excess carbon dioxide, decreasing the effect on the weather, but causing a different problem, ocean acidification. There’s no sign that the oceans have stopped becoming more acidic; rather the continuing change in pH is now threatening marine life, especially coral reefs (which are bleaching) and shellfish–whose shells are measurably thinner.

  34. Clark, I would suggest that your analysis of “nearly all scientists” is simply not true. The ranks of “doubters” increases every day as new information comes along to make the AGW theory seem wrong and outdated and not reflected by the evidence. Even such mainstream journals as “Science” and “Nature” are beginning to notice the change, which is why a longtime AGW promoter like the BBC picked up the story that global warming is not happening.

    However, I will count you as an ally as long as you continue to speak common sense on the cap and trade issue, which as you note is a big waste of time. The primary reason for me bringing this issue up is I want to save jobs, save people’s livelihoods and avoid an unnecessary economic slowdown.

    djinn, are you really claiming that the weather has been unusual lately? Compared to what time? I’d be interested in looking at your evidence regarding marine life. I’ve heard hundreds of such claims, and when you examine the evidence there’s nothing there, just the same natural processes that have existed forever.

  35. Clark, regarding the hockey stick issue, I am just going to assume you have chosen not to look at Steve McIntyre’s work on the issue. That’s OK — that what the majority of AGW scientists have chosen to do. At some point, it might be interesting for you to put on your “impartial scientist only looking at the evidence” hat and take a look. You might be surprised.

  36. Geoff, I have read McIntyre’s work as well as the various responses including many investigations to the issue. To assume that those who see McIntyre at best making criticisms that entail small adjustments have not investigated the issue strikes me as odd. To assume that “the majority of AGW scientists” aren’t familiar with the issue strikes me as more conspiratorial thinking.

    As for the idea that scientists are coming to McIntyre’s side is just plain wrong. As you know the vast, vast, vast majority of peer reviewed work accepts global warming. Even the criticisms that are peer reviewed aren’t criticisms of global warming but minor adjustments or particular narrow theories.

    If you look at the percentage of scientists who accept global warming I’m sure you’re familiar with the recent poll data on this. They polled 3146 scientists from the American Geological Institute’s “Directory of Geoscience Departments.” They were asked two questions: “Have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels?” and, “Has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures?” About 90 percent of the respondents agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second. Doran determined that climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role. Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.

    So when 97% of the people expert in the field think there is global warming anyone portraying scientists as going the other way have either been grossly misinformed or are being disingenuous at best.

  37. Clark, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on McIntyre. I continue to believe that most scientists don’t want to look at the evidence in front of their eyes, but we’re just going to go around and around on that. Could you send me a link to that poll? Thanks.

  38. Geoff, there was a link to it in my post.

    BTW – that last post illustrates exactly the problem. Critics have this ridiculous tendency to only want to look at the last few years of data.

  39. Clark, I think the graph is actually quite significant. It shows that we are clearly entering a global cooling phase or at the very least a stage of long-term stabilization of global temperatures. I know it is frustrating for many AGW promoters that the Earth doesn’t seem to be cooperating by heating up, but the fact may be that cooling and heating are simply a natural part of the Earth’s processes and that there’s not much we can do to control the weather.

    Question to you: if it is “ridiculous” to only look at the last few years (from 1980 on) how many more years of cooling do we need before we can notice that global warming isn’t happening? Five more years, 10 more?

    By the way, the number of leading scientists who dissent from the AGW “consensus” is now up to 700. This may be some interesting reading for you:

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=83947f5d-d84a-4a84-ad5d-6e2d71db52d9

  40. More interesting news: Japanese scientists questions AGW and the IPCC:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25182520-2703,00.html

    A poll of Canadian scientists show a clear lack of “consensus” on AGW:

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=1d688937-54b7-48f4-a4be-d6979dada5df&k=65311#

    Here are some key quotations:

    “I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” – Nobel Prize Winner for
    Physics, Ivar Giaever.

    Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to
    know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC
    Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical
    chemist.
    “The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t
    have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on
    scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” – Indian geologist
    Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported
    International Year of the Planet.
    “So far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future
    warming.” – Scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi
    University in Finland, author of 200 scientific publications and former Greenpeace
    member.
    “Anyone who claims that the debate is over and the conclusions are firm has a
    fundamentally unscientific approach to one of the most momentous issues of our time.”
    - Solar physicist Dr. Pal Brekke, senior advisor to the Norwegian Space Centre in Oslo.
    Brekke has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the sun and solar
    interaction with the Earth.

    Me Again: I remember how convinced I was just a year ago that the Iraq war was a just cause. And now I look at trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and I am truly worried about the future of our country for the first time in my life. I think with new information, people can change. I hold out hope this will happen for you, Clark.

  41. Geoff, most of those are anything but “leading scientists.”

    The other poll you gave wasn’t of climatologists or even just scientists. How engineers view the topic if they are not experts in the field is misleading, don’t you think? Further if you look at the poll I noted, among the field the poll you gave surveys you’ll find similar low belief.

    Also one should be careful about the meaning of polls. A poll showing 97% of experts in the field accepting a theoretic result is quite significant. A poll showing many who aren’t experts has less significance. But ultimately what counts in science aren’t beliefs but results of peer reviewed studies. And once again there if you look at the peer reviewed literature there is no real questioning of global warming. All the peer reviewed studies published in legitimate journals supports it. There are of course questions and critiques, but they relate to the details of particular issues rather than the broader conclusions.

    So finding that geophysicists and geochemists typically working with the petroleum industry are doubters is about on part with finding out many doctors don’t believe in evolution and then making a claim about the status of evolution in biology on that basis.

  42. I couldn’t have said it better myself:

    “In words quoted on the cover of my new book, Prof Lindzen wrote: “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly exaggerated computer predictions combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”

    Such is the truly extraordinary position in which we find ourselves.

    Thanks to misreading the significance of a brief period of rising temperatures at the end of the 20th century, the Western world (but not India or China) is now contemplating measures that add up to the most expensive economic suicide note ever written.

    How long will it be before sanity and sound science break in on what begins to look like one of the most bizarre collective delusions ever to grip the human race?”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6425269/The-real-climate-change-catastrophe.html#

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