Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast for tomorrow? If not, then why should this country bet billions on global warming predictions that have even less foundation? Thomas Sowell
A concerned friend wrote to warn me of a scientific mistake I was making in a recent post I made of the nonsense that this year was already the hottest on record.
I thanked him for what I took to be a constructive criticism and yet again pondered why there is such a breakdown between the two sides of the debate on climate change.
I have also been struck by the futility of both sides hurling cherry-picked contradictions at each other on almost every possible detailed point in the science, mainly because the science is diabolically complex and most or us are not scientific experts. It always ends up as an exhausting and ultimately futile tit for tat way to proceed, particularly between friends.
So I thought I should respond to my friend by finding questions of fact that we could agree on and then explore the answers to see if we could come to some better understanding. The distinguished science philosopher Karl Popper once said that “no one can give us more service than by showing us what is wrong with what we think or do, and the bigger the fault, the bigger the improvement made possible by its revelation”.
It was in this noble spirit I embarked on this piece.
The most important question that needs to be asked is: why, after so many billions of dollars of research by leading science institutions throughout the world is it that the warmists have failed to convince me and half of the rest of the world of rapid and catastrophic climate change?
The first problem I have is with all the hundreds of failed claims. Here is a short list of five. I ask therefore, why should I now trust any predictions about future weather from anyone in our climate science community?
1. Whilst not a climate scientist himself, Tim Flannery was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Australian Government to tell us “that the science was clear”, that all the major capitals in Australia would run out of water. He was successful. Our governments believed him and spent billions of dollars on now useless mothballed desal plants.
2. Similarly, the BOM and CSIRO both claimed the science showed that the long drought we had at the turn of this century was the sign of a new climate — “so get used to it” — due to anthropogenic climate change. Later, when the rains returned, they themselves admitted they were wrong.
3. In March 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia said that the science showed that within a few years winter snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said. The British Met Bureau concurred and spent the next few years spectacularly predicting warmer winters that ended up bitter and snow bound.
4. Michael Mann produced a Hockey Stick graph, used in at least two IPCC reports as definitive proof of spectacular and unusually rapid warming due to man-made climate change, only to be found to be a fraud by a US Senate Committee. The Hockey Stick was quietly dropped from the 5th IPCC Report and is now no longer used.
5. On the ‘mistake’ reported by my friend, on the “hottest year on record, this turned out to be a trivial claim. Matt Ridley, a British science writer in The Times observed “that the World Meteorological Organisation … issued a press release which confirmed that this is likely to be the warmest year in a century or more, based on surface temperatures. Yet this predicted record would be only one-hundredth of a degree above 2010 and two-hundredths of a degree above 2005 — with an error range of one-tenth of a degree. True scientists would have said: this year is unlikely to be significantly warmer than 2010 or 2005 and left it at that.”
These five points indicates gross errors, admissions of errors down to trivial conclusions about 1/100 of one degree temperature rises. This is not reassuring and essentially no warmist will address any of these points honestly when asked.
THE IPCC CONSENSUS
To understand clearly what scientists mean by a “consensus” the IPCC 5th Summary Document for Policy Makers. September 2013 is essential reading.
It is a key document which reflects the most recent thinking from our international climate scientists.
1. The IPCC admits that insignificant warming has occurred in the last 15 years.
2. The IPCC admits that in 34 years there has been no new assessment made as to the effect a doubling of CO2 will have on temperature.
3. The IPCC admits a “low confidence” that damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity due to climate warming.
4. The IPCC admits uncertainty to the positive or negative radiative effect of clouds [the most important green house gas].
All of these statements were made in the report and yet there is a baffling claim of settled science and 95 percent certainty in the consensus view of the science. I have never heard anyone in the ABC or Fairfax admit the uncertainties expressed here in the report itself.
CLIMATE MODELS HAVE COMPLETELY FAILED
As a result of these uncertainties and the failure to address them, it has now been realised that the Climate Models are seriously wrong. IPCC scientists themselves have now admitted that they cannot explain why their climate models did not predict the present 17-18 year pause in warming. According to one independent climate scientist, former NASA scientist Dr Roy Spencer, almost all of the climate models used by government agencies and scientists to calculate and predict this century’s weather are completely wrong, going back to 1975.
One look at this graph shows why:
Therefore, I ask, on what basis is anyone to believe a thing these people say when it is from these models that they issue their dire warnings.
GLOBAL WARMING VERSUS CLIMATE CHANGE
Evidence shows that the world has been warming for the last two centuries but this proves nothing about what is causing it. Up until about 2008 my superannuation fund was also rising but then it stopped. I am mildly panicking but should I blame the Earth’s temperature pause. On the other hand, my house has gained in price as has the CO2 content of the atmosphere. Should I thank carbon di-oxide?
This may sound silly or trivial but correlations are important, and at the moment there is a stronger correlation between these things than temperature to CO2.
Nobody that I know disagrees that the Earth has been warming; both warmists and sceptics agree, although most warmists don’t know this. The only reason that sceptics constantly bring attention to the pause in warming is simply because it exposes ALL the predictions listed above to a failure of the theory. This is why Global Warming became Climate Change.
I asked my friend, given the above facts, whether it wasn’t reasonable to be at least a little sceptical about the certainty claimed by climate scientists?
Uncertainty and the desire to test theories by falsification is one of the fundamental demarcations of science claimed by Karl Popper in his Logic of Scientific Method. He was a highly critical falsificationist and urged scientists at a methodological level not to evade refutation of their theories. It is this systematic failure of climate scientists to willingly question their assumptions or even begin to consider the legitimate questions of sceptics that has brought them to the present failure. As the Chinese proverb says, “To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous”
AN IMPORTANT UPDATE
After writing this, I received in the post this morning the most timely of Christmas presents: a new, comprehensive book on climate change, Climate Change: The Facts 2014. It addresses the problems I raise here in great detail.
Published by the Institute of Public Affairs, it is edited by Alan Moran. It has brilliant contributions from a range of the best Australian and international climate scientists and journalists. A delightful, entertaining and informative read. I urge anyone grappling with the issue to have a read over Christmas. It is the perfect reference book. I hope copies have been sent to all ABC producers and journalists.
In a blog today, Andrew Bolt, a contributor to the book, gives a detailed list of the crazy false alarms that warmist scientists and the media have promoted. When will the veil lift from the warmists’ eyes?