Saturday, September 6, 2014

Good-bye, Global Warming

So long, global warming. It’s been nice knowing you.

Many of us do not know the science well enough to have an educated opinion about global warming. Some of us admit it. Others do not.

The science notwithstanding, belief in global warming has always felt, to me at least, like a religious dogma. If true science requires skepticism, the dogma of global warming admitted none. Those who did not believe it are often accused of being like Holocaust deniers.

The rhetoric gave it away. The effort to threaten, harass and intimidate people into believing in global warming knew no limits.

Most scientists seemed to believe in it, so it had to be true. In fact, major scientists, like the emeritus head of climate science at MIT, Richard Lindzen did not believe it. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel prize-winning physicist quit the American Physical Society because he was distressed to see scientists pressured by politicians to favor of the dogma of global warming.

Politically, the hysteria over global warming felt like yet another effort to repeal the Industrial Revolution. If things were as dire as Al Gore believed they were, we would have to shut down all fossil fuel production and get along on wind and solar and biomass. Returning to the state of nature would probably mean less economic growth, less energy and more starvation.

Of course, we can’t. The cost is prohibitively expensive. And yet, global warmists in the administration are happily shutting down coal-fired plants, thus raising the price of electricity and imposing a grossly regressive tax on the population.

Global warmists did not much care about America. They did not much care about what would happen to those who made their living through coal. They did not much care about the cost of energy or the number of blackouts we would suffer.

They had transcended mere economic nationalism and had arrived at a higher form of pagan idolatry. They loved Nature; they were going to save Mother Earth.

What could be wrong with that?

If the cost of saving the planet was the sacrifice of human lives, a lot was wrong with that.

The global warmists cared so much about Nature that they had no caring left for human beings. The more fanatical among them believed that human beings were the earth’s biggest problem.

Of course, there was reason to force people to believe in global warming. There was reason to threaten, harass and intimidate them into signing on to this latest piece of pseudo-science. It made no sense.

We must keep reminding ourselves of the simplest of simple facts, one that you can grasp even if you know nothing about climate science. That is, there is no such thing as a scientific fact about tomorrow. You can hypothesize, you can predict, you can prophesize… but tomorrow’s weather and the next century’s climate are not and cannot possibly be facts!

As for the facts about the world’s climate in recent years, it turns out that the globe is not warming. The climate has been relatively stable for the past fifteen years. Now, as the United Nations is calling for a grand meeting on global warming, China, India and Germany have announced that they will not be attending.

Matt Ridley reports on the latest science (via Maggie's Farm):

The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades. Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietlydowngraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).

Even that is likely to be too high. The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began.

Climate scientists are worried. If there is no global warming their power, their influence, their authority and their grant money will vanish into the night.

So, they have been engaged in damage control:

First the climate-research establishment denied that a pause existed, noting that if there was a pause, it would invalidate their theories. Now they say there is a pause (or "hiatus"), but that it doesn't after all invalidate their theories.

Alas, their explanations have made their predicament worse by implying that man-made climate change is so slow and tentative that it can be easily overwhelmed by natural variation in temperature—a possibility that they had previously all but ruled out.

When the climate scientist and geologist Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia wrote an article in 2006 saying that there had been no global warming since 1998 according to the most widely used measure of average global air temperatures, there was an outcry. A year later, when David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London made the same point, the environmentalist and journalist Mark Lynas said in the New Statesman that Mr. Whitehouse was "wrong, completely wrong," and was "deliberately, or otherwise, misleading the public."

We know now that it was Mr. Lynas who was wrong. Two years before Mr. Whitehouse's article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s. "The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998," wrote Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2005. He went on: "Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn't statistically significant."

If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built. A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: "The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more."

Well, the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years—depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere. That's according to a new statisticalcalculation by Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.

It has been roughly two decades since there was a trend in temperature significantly different from zero. The burst of warming that preceded the millennium lasted about 20 years and was preceded by 30 years of slight cooling after 1940.

This might easily become a major embarrassment, so scientists have been hard at work explaining it away.

Ridley reports:

Last month two scientists wrote in Science that they had instead found the explanation in natural fluctuations in currents in the Atlantic Ocean. For the last 30 years of the 20th century, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung suggested, these currents had been boosting the warming by bringing heat to the surface, then for the past 15 years the currents had been counteracting it by taking heat down deep.

The warming in the last three decades of the 20th century, to quote the news release that accompanied their paper, "was roughly half due to global warming and half to the natural Atlantic Ocean cycle." In other words, even the modest warming in the 1980s and 1990s—which never achieved the 0.3 degrees Celsius per decade necessary to satisfy the feedback-enhanced models that predict about three degrees of warming by the end of the century—had been exaggerated by natural causes. The man-made warming of the past 20 years has been so feeble that a shifting current in one ocean was enough to wipe it out altogether.

Putting the icing on the cake of good news, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung think the Atlantic Ocean may continue to prevent any warming for the next two decades. So in their quest to explain the pause, scientists have made the future sound even less alarming than before. Let's hope that the United Nations admits as much on day one of its coming jamboree and asks the delegates to pack up, go home and concentrate on more pressing global problems like war, terror, disease, poverty, habitat loss and the 1.3 billion people with no electricity.

Thank God for the Atlantic Ocean. It will continue protecting us from the baneful effects of the global warming that may or may not exist.

Now we can worry, Ridley says, about disease, habitat loss and more than one billion people who have no electricity. Doesn’t that seem more sensible, and dare I say, more humane? Wouldn’t it be better if we concerned ourselves with the quality of life of suffering humanity than chase after phantoms like global warming?


JKB said...

It's almost like the planet has built in feedback systems that work to maintain the balance of heating. Who'd a thunk it. Not the "scientists" who had predetermined their outcome, that's for sure.

BTW, it is not necessary that a skeptic be able to offer a complete re-analysis of the science. Only that the skeptic see the fundamental flaw in the offered "science".

If you ever managed "experts" or skilled workers, you know, you trust their expertise but always look for the flaws to discover when they are blowing smoke or following an erroneous path. It doesn't mean their method isn't correct, but they must account for the flaw. Once you get a reputation for management by paying attention, you don't have to be so skeptical as your employees will do that before they bring the solution to you.

Ares Olympus said...

re: the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietlydowngraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).

Apparently not everyone is impressed by Christopher Monckton's expert abilities to read reports.

I remember back 20 years ago I found Rush Limbaugh's book at my girlfriend's parent's house, and did a quick read, and the most important lesson I found and accepted from him was something like "Don't trust the facts of people with causes."

It is sensible advice, and so I try to check facts, but the thing is it go both ways. People with causes tend to be opposed with other people with causes, so you can do the best you can to check individual facts from both sides, but in the end, whatever you have left, someone has to interpret those facts.

I believe if you want science to tell you the answers, you're going to be disappointed. You're going to always have honest scientific doubt, and be a passive observer who refuses to take a stand on anything that is uncertain.

The "correct" objective solution is called "Risk management" and it means you stop requiring certainty to act, but look at costs and risks and put them into perspect of other costs and risks:

So basically what comes out is you do the "easy stuff first" that you'd do anyway for other reasons, and secondly you look at full systems, and you try to isolate components of systems, so if some parts of a system fail, it doesn't take down the whole system.

The reason I don't personally worry about climate change is that it is slow and unpredictable, and I think our financial system, our dependence upon ever greater debt to keep everything going, and our dependence upon using ever more energy every year, those disasters will all hit us long before climate change.

But like one of the realities of long term climate change is the world has a lot of people living in vulnerable places, and that's without war and humanity stupidity, so with 7 billion people on earth, you can assume from whatever causes, there will be large scale local catastrophies that will overwhelm their resources, and then you still need rational efforts to decide how much you can afford to help others.

And its like the Ant and the Grasshopper fable. If you're the Ant prudently planning for the future, when the winter comes, do you want to reward the grasshoppers who planned for nothing? But on the other hand, perhaps you were the grasshopper, and just happened upon a dead ant's food stash, and then what's your moral obligation to sharing something you gained by luck?

To me those are the real dilemmas, and I accept the Liberal idealism of "We're all one human family" fails to consider the reality the suviviors of the future may not be those most generous, but those who planned the best.

So I'm content to agree there's little we can do politically about climate change, with our dependencies upon burning carbon, if we can't stop then, we still need to ask what we'll do when the carbon is gone, or when its finally all buried under someone else's sand, or whatever.

I don't see climate scientists or skeptics can touch any of those questions, but an honest society should ask them, and do some preparation, and be honest that we're not being honest, but being desperate in our choices.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I love all the jet fuel that these elite bureaucrats will utilize getting to a U.N. conference to gather with people who all agree that we need to immediately tax and regulate the use of fossil fuels. It may strike most as ironic, perhaps, but I'm not so sure... Elite activists are usually not willing to live under the rules they think are best for everyone else. After all, why would the need to do that? They're saving the planet!

And then there are those who would like to live their lives in a way that acknowledges the need for some level of human joy and connection. These universal needs are why we have conveniences and comforts in the first place, though the elites inevitably will classify them as wants, not needs. This is because elites of leisure historically presented the comforts of modern life as progress that should be available for all; while our elites today have come to view the automobile, furnace, air conditioner, etc. as energy-hogging luxuries. And they have to travel by jet to a U.N. conference to agree with each other about a problem they so desperately need to remain relevant, but increasingly doesn't seem to exist. Matt Ridley uses the referenced column here to suggest they'd be best staying home. Most sensible, which is why it won't happen. The show must go on!

All us little people out here in fly-over country would also like to be able to conduct commerce, heat/cool our homes, drive or fly to see friends and relatives, and cut our grass. Most of us would like to do these things without having to do budgetary calculations on how much tax we're going to pay to do things a normal human being wants to do, like the items listed in the prior sentence. Certainly enjoying life is a modest request.

The environmentalists cannot accept any energy sources -- fossil or "alternatives" -- because the the truth is no one can get something for nothing. The world was not an Eden or utopia before the Industrial Revolution. Lefties want to lift everyone out of poverty but can't accept the trade-offs that come with it. So they further impoverish the very people they want to help, because environmentalism is expensive.

Fossil fuels are abundant, flexible and thus inexpensive when compared to other trendy energy sources. Nuclear power, which is the only non-wind/solar energy source that is zero-carbon, is out of the question to environmentalists. Aspiring college activists come to my door every summer to tell me how the environment is being destroyed, and that the petition they want me to sign is "taking action." I ask one question: "What is your stance on nuclear power?" I get the reflexive "Oh, ummm, it's bad... like, really bad." And I ask what they would offer in its place. Of course, the answer is wind and solar. That tells be that (a) they have no idea what they're talking about, as a 1000% increase in wind and solar cannot possibly supply a fraction of our energy needs; and thus (b) they are indifferent to the resulting suffering of human beings in order to save the earth that gives us the option of fossil fuels in the first place. And this is when I conclude that the educational system and media are indoctrinating young people to believe a simplistic, nonsensical, misanthropic narrative about a future no one would want to live in. I think that's sad.

Matt Ridley is an intelligent thoughtful science writer who is nit a firebrand. He knows and understands his beat. He came to the idea that Climate Change is dubious by looking at the claims and comparing them with the actual outcomes. The data showed the climate model hypothesis was flawed, and there was great gnashing of teeth on the part if scientists, who were (and continue to be) alarmed about the ramifications to their research and scientific standing in the most pop-science subject for armchair activists that perhaps the world has ever seen... at least since eugenics.

Ares Olympus said...

Looks like hasn't gotten the Good News. They just released a new propaganda video TODAY, 52 minutes long, available online:

Featuring Chris Hayes, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, James Hanson, Heidi Cullen, George Marshall, and others.

They're calling for a March on September 21, in New York City, and maybe other cities?

If there happens to be one in my city of Minneapolis, I'll check it out. I'm not convinced any good can come from it.

If I go, it'll be by bicycle, I'll tell everyone "Carbon taxes" are the market answer to make alternative energy, and we should expect to pay $10/gallon for gasoline, and $0.50/kwh for electricity, and see how many are still excited about their carbon free future.

Meanwhile we can still get our cheap stuff from China, who will continue doubling their CO2 production every decade if they can get away with it.

Anonymous said...

Many of us do not know the science well enough to have an educated opinion about global warming. Some of us admit it. Others do not.

I actually do know the science of data reduction, sample-size and normalization to know the climate "scientists" normalized data based on a rising trend, throwing out any data points below a certain threshold "cuz that can't be right! The Earth is warming!"

They collected "global temperatures" (the vast majority in the Northern Hemisphere) of dubious accuracy and then threw out all the readings "that seems too low"!

Your hunch is correct: it is not science, it is a mechanism to scare governments out of taxpayer money and gain power.

Consider: Once, there was a vast science of deciding who was a witch based on signs, characteristics and behaviors all undergirded by the received science of Holy Writ.

Consider now, those dark times are back....


Ares Olympus said...

Gray, those are pretty serious charges.

If scientific research is already so corrupt, only exposed by the 1% of honest skeptics who are ignored, we've surely entered a new dark ages already, and we don't even know it.

Dennis said...

Gray is correct,
One has to recognize that computer modeling is based on the assumptions of those who create the models. Someone decides the attributes, how to weight those attributes and how those attributes will be evaluated. It was/is not a surprise that many of the periods utilized in these models start after a time when that data could affect the model's results and also afterwards as well. In many cases temperature reading were taken in zones that were known to be above average at the expense of the mean averages in the surrounding zones.
Given that these models are adjusted to meet the suppositions of the grant money recipients one should be cynical. It is truly amazing how many variables get tossed. So yes in many ways scientific research is corrupted by governments and interest groups with the money to affect outcomes. It is why so many predictions are wrong. Why would anyone believe that scientists are not driven by money and fame?

Sam L. said...

The Warmies claim "The Science Is Settled!" Science is never settled, but the Warmies' brains are accepting no questions, and yelling some approximation of WITCH at anyone not accepting their claims.

As Prof. Reynolds says, "I'll believe the situation is serious when those who claim it's serious live and act like the situation is serious." Al Gore is not living in a modest house and driving a small car.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Greens believe they can create heaven on earth, if only there is enough government intervention. Taxes fuel greater government intervention, as does deficit spending. To Sam's point, if the Climate Change crowd actually believed what they said, they'd behave very differently. If they really cared about the long-term impact on earth, you'd think they'd care about the long-term impact of stealing their children's future by running up a gargantuan national debt. But they don't care about that sort of fiscal ruin, do they? The irony is delicious.

The government gets a greater share of each person's pocketbook, and liberty further erodes... by design, out of "necessity." Everyone wants to be important, and politics draws a lot of type-A people. After all, there is suffering, and they say action must be taken now. You'd think there'd be some success after the New Deal and the Great Society (remember "guns and butter"?), but need has no season. The government grows larger and larger, there's a greater need for lawyers to sift through the laws nobody needs and fewer understand. Regulators speculate on how to stop humans from being human, in a never-ending cacophony of rules to stop bad people, which end up stopping good people, too. We have so much central planning, subsidy and government intervention, but no one seems happier. It's a never-ending call for more, more, more.

I don't fully understand the Climate Change science, but what I experience doesn't make sense to me. It's heads they win, tails I lose. And in the end, more money flows to a bureaucracy arrogant enough to believe it can change the weather. Our wretched consumer lifestyle is always a convenient place to blame, yet 7 of the top-10 wealthiest ZIP codes in the United States are metropolitan Washington, D.C. China and India will never take meaningful action against carbon "pollution." So what are we doing? Making a lot of bureaucrats (who don't understand Climate Change science, either) a lot of money and a lot more power over our day-to-day lives.

Pardon my skepticism, Ares. I don't work for Exxon or a right-wing think tank. You ride your bicycle all you want, but recognize that you have some kind of deep interest in believing in Climate Change, Global Warming, or whatever you wanna call it. I wonder why that is. I don't trust the idea because I'm not arrogant enough to believe that human beings can massively impact the climate anymore than the humans who were on this planet when the last Ice Age retreated amidst a grand warming cycle 10,000 years ago... before automobiles. What's different now? .

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

We're told the Earth is dynamic, in constant flux, shaped by powerful geological, meteorological, etc. forces that we can't possibly comprehend... all in action at the same time. We're told through chaos theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can create thunderstorms in Colorado. That's incredibly complex. But science can also tell us simply, with unflinching certainty, that human beings are the scourge of this earth for burning (for our convenience, comfort and safety) ancient liquid organic matter that comes out of the ground after forming over millions of years. And CO2, which is essential for photosynthesis in plant life, is yo be regulated by the EPA as a pollutant. Really? But after all this, we can somehow comprehend and shape something as mindboggling and complex as climate, and cause catastrophe as global temperatures rise in "hockey stick" like fashion. And don't give me this baloney that the hockey stick has been debunked or rethought... that theory was used for years to scare the living daylights out of people. What a fraud! Next thing we'll hear is that the Koch Brothers are trying to buy the Earth's radiation belts from a sinister religious conservative named Van Allen.

Follow the money, and you'll see it ends up in the pockets of a lot of unaccountable people (bureaucrats, non-profits, environmental activists, et al) who have a vested interest in telling you the right way to live, while living their lives however they want. In fact, I'd go as far to say they don't like human beings very much, and buy into all the Malthusian garbage they can ingest. It's the same old story: man is the problem. Man is not the problem. Men who seek to control other man are the problem, especially when it's by any means necessary

Dennis said...


Not to be forgotten is the Middle East and Russia have a financial interest in keeping the US from developing its resources. Take away the money that both Russia and the ME garner from the very resources they pay environmentalists to damn and both regions would lose their power to shape events.
It is not only the Earth that is dynamic. The land we live on is moving at the speed of about a quarter of an inch a year and in many cases in different directions (Plate Tectonics.) I suspect that one day we might realize that that movement, especially starting at the subduction zones is one of the reasons we will not run out of fossil fuels.
The universe is in constant flux. There is an axial tilt the does fluctuate affecting how the Sun's radiations affect us.'s_axis Then one has to consider Solar flares and an number of other cyclical variations. We are only just beginning to understand a small bit of the variables involved. The science is NOT settled and never will be if science is to mean anything.
I have stated before that many people reach the level of education that they become dangerous to themselves and everyone else. They can justify almost any idea no matter how ridiculous or poorly thought out it is especially in academe. There comes a time when one has to get past the rigidity of the academy and start asking the who, what why, where, et al questions that are behind real science.

Ares Olympus said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD: "I don't trust the idea because I'm not arrogant enough to believe that human beings can massively impact the climate anymore than the humans who were on this planet when the last Ice Age retreated amidst a grand warming cycle 10,000 years ago... before automobiles. What's different now?"

I don't understand why it would be arrogant to believe humans can change the earth's climate. It seems equally arrogant to assume we can't.

And the worst future in my mind is after all the deniers have died or in their nursing home care, say 2030, when the evidence is clear, and we're still no closer to figuring out how to run a civilization without fossil fuels, fools will say we just need to seed the atmosphere with some reflective nanotech fairy dust until the end of time, just adding an extra 1% every year, and we can keep burning all we like.

I have to think China will wake up to their disastrous real pollution, its hard to believe they've not yet had their environmental movement, given their smog cities and those much more obvious health costs. But maybe their billion+ people will actually find new energy by their greater necessity?

My no less unhappy bet is still that economics takes us down much sooner, and war and stupidity finishes the job, and then CO2 will do its 1000 year warming, and the future generations, as nature allows, will adapt to a different world, Eaarth as Bill McKibben call it.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that mankind will do what has always been done, with government or without.

When the water starts to rise, we'll move to higher ground. When it gets too warm, we'll wear lighter clothes, turn on the ac, or move to a cooler place. If it becomes too cold, we'll wear warmer clothes, bump the thermostat, or move to a more agreeable climate. When it gets dark, we'll turn on a light.

In short, we'll do what we have always done -- adapt. It's the essence of our history and our success as a species. We don't need the government to tell us to come in out of the rain.