“Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceeding generation . . . As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” — Richard Feynman (1918-1988), Nobel-prize-winning physicist.
Are carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases we humans have been adding to the atmosphere really the cause of global warming? If so, why has the world stopped warming over the past 17 years despite the continuing buildup of greenhouse gasses? Climate reality has not lived up to the scary predictions of Al Gore, James Hansen, IPCC and other climate change/global warming propagandists.
Here’s what climate scientist Kevin Trenberth admitted in an email to colleagues in 2009: “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.” Dr. Trenberth was a lead author of the 1995, 2001, and 2007 IPCC Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and is head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder Colorado.**
Last year, John Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama, constructed the following graph which clearly shows how the Earth has not warmed anything like the IPCC’s climate models have predicted. The thick red and blue lines near the bottom of the graph represent actual temperature data. The solid black line is the average of 44 predictive models. Obviously, the models are grossly overestimating global warming. In fact, the models’ average has overestimated warming by about 3 times.
(Graph: John Christy and DrRoySpencer.com)
So why would any government formulate energy policies based on conclusions drawn from these severely flawed models? Well, that’s what the Obama Administration is doing and what other developed countries like Australia, Germany, Spain and Japan have already done. Now some of those countries are beginning to regret it.
The Earth’s recent climate history seems to indicate that our planet is not as sensitive to greenhouse gasses as we have been led to believe and that natural variability plays a much larger role in determining global and regional climates.
Why should we blindly accept the policies of the environmentalists and their accomplices in government who claim the burning of fossil fuels is the main reason for global warming?* Should we allow them to put coal and natural gas companies out of business and put our energy supplies at risk? The Environmental Left’s desire to tax and regulate energy production and energy consumption for the purpose of “saving” the planet will make everything we do and everything we buy more expensive. Should we allow this to happen? Can the poor and the middle class afford to pay for these misguided “green” schemes? Is the planet really on the verge of environmental destruction and in need of being “saved?”
Why shouldn’t we be skeptical about the climate science that is presented to policy makers and the public? We should be and here’s a quote from the late climate scientist Stephen Schneider (1945-2010) to remind us why:
“On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
Stephen Schneider spent a lot of time and energy trying to explain that this quote was taken out of context and twisted by his critics, but I think most people with average intelligence do not need an explanation. Schneider’s original meaning is quite clear.
In fairness, the link to Schneider’s ex post facto explanation can be seen here.
Forget about climate science for two seconds – In general, skepticism is a healthy defense against the flaws of human nature. So the next time you hear a news story confidently reporting that mankind is destroying the global climate by burning fossil fuels, you may want to ask yourself – are the producers of the story offering up a scary story in order to strike a balance “between being effective and being honest?”
*Since there has been no significant global warming in the past 17 years or so the propagandists have had a tough time convincing the public that global warming is a problem and that mankind has something to do with it. Instead, they have resorted to pointing to severe weather and call it “climate change.”
Note: The author of this piece would like to explain his position on man-made global warming: He believes that global and regional climates have always been changing, are changing now, and will always change regardless of what the human race does. The Earth’s climate is always changing. It changed in the past without man’s help. The tiny population of hunter-gatherers that lived 11,000 years ago were not burning massive amounts of fossil fuels and therefore were not responsible for ending the last Ice Age. The shift on Earth from a glacial period to a warmer interglacial period, which we are still in, was caused by natural events. The Sun has cycles, the Earth has cycles. These cycles are natural. Man’s burning of fossil fuels does contribute to a greenhouse effect, but the effect is probably not as catastrophic as we have been lead to believe. The climate and temperature trends we are able to identify are caused mostly by natural forces. Although mankind has some impact on the Earth’s climate, our burning of fossil fuels does not override the natural forces that largely determine it.
Archaeologists working in my native state of New Jersey are well aware that the Atlantic coastline extended much farther east in times of old. They tell us that much archaeological evidence from ancient Indian sites along the coast has been lost to the rising ocean. This has been going on for a long time, a lot longer than man has been burning fossil fuels. With the strides we have made in science and technology we are now able to measure the sea levels with great accuracy. Since the data shows that the sea levels are still rising, it’s imperative that we develop a more sensible approach to development along our coasts. Since the probability is very high that development directly along our low lying coasts will suffer destruction from the rising waters it is totally irresponsible to ask federal taxpayers to foot any part of the bill to rebuild along these areas after destruction from rising waters occurs. Why should a waitress in land locked Nebraska be asked to fork over part of her paycheck in order to subsidize the rebuilding of million dollar summer homes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean? Let the fat cats pay 100% of the cost to rebuild their own homes.
Why “Global Warming” has been replaced by “Climate Change”
That our scientific instruments have not measured any statistically significant global warming for about 17 years now is a fact. Things have levelled out a bit. Unfortunately, IPCC climate scientists do not understand the climate system sufficiently enough to say exactly why. If they did, then some of the climate models represented in the figure above that we have been asked to rely on for policy decisions would have predicted this leveling off of temperatures. But the fact is they did not. This probably means that one or more assumptions that climate scientists have built into these models are just plain wrong.
If the warming trend resumes, the term “global warming” will regain its popularity and it will be blamed on the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. If the Earth enters another natural cooling phase, we might look back and give thanks for any bit of warming we may have contributed to. And if a decades long cooling trend manifests itself, then the climate scientists who claimed that “the science is settled” should have their funding severely trimmed and the IPCC should be completely disbanded.
Since carbon fuels and the energy they provide are in large measure responsible for powering an economy that has brought us so many incredible benefits, we should be extremely wary of those who want to artificially raise the cost of energy by imposing taxes and regulation on it. Some environmental extremists favor politicians who promise to tax and regulate fossil fuels like coal and natural gas and make them so expensive that businesses and people cannot afford to use them. In fact, this is the plan that President Obama has already begun to implement and it is extremely dangerous.
Carbon to the Rescue
“Carbon to the Rescue” was the title of a great Wall Street Journal piece that touched on these points.The Journal piece pointed to a story in the news recently about a ship carrying eco-tourists and climate scientists that set out on a summer expedition to the Antarctic to report on how the climate there had changed since Sir Douglas Mawson explored the region 100 years ago. On Christmas day last the ship carrying the eco-tourists became stranded when shifting winds surrounded the vessel with ice and blizzard like conditions. The ice was so thick that the Chinese ice breaker initially sent to rescue the stranded ship had to turn back and eventually became stuck itself. Finally after waiting helplessly for over a week the 52 eco-tourists and climate scientists were rescued. The helicopters and ships that participated in the rescue were not powered by windmills and solar energy. Instead it was “carbon to the rescue.” The Wall Street Journal pointed out that, “In an earlier age, explorers who so badly underestimated the expanse of polar ice would surely have perished.” How true. Maybe fossil fuels are not so evil after all.
Hopefully the irony in this story will help open some eyes to the fact that fossil fuels are immensely beneficial. The Environmental Left’s War on Fossil Fuels is really a war on modern society itself and could have catastrophic consequences particularly if our power grids are not sufficiently equipped to supply the energy needed to heat our homes, power our cities, and run our hospitals. Obama’s EPA is already forcing coal-fired power plants to close and they have no workable plans that will immediately replace that lost energy. It’s a very dangerous situation. It’s time we begin to demand a more sane approach to our energy policies from our leaders.
**Kevin Trenberth’s full email from 2009 reads:
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).
Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)
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. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO. People like CPC are tracking PDO on a monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO. Most of what they are seeing is the change in ENSO not real PDO. It surely isn’t decadal. The PDO is already reversing with the switch to El Nino. The PDO index became positive in September for first time since Sept 2007.seehttp://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/GODAS/ocean_briefing_gif/global_ocean_monitoring_c urrent.ppt