Wednesday, August 09, 2006

There Is No Global Warming Consensus

I have recently been involved in an online discussion centered around global warming. It started out innocently enough, when in response to a blog post touting the global warming movie "An Inconvenient Truth", I expressed my uncertainty on the subject. I was then asked by another commenter to provide proof of scientists that don't subscribe to the "truth" that global warming is mankind's fault. So I did.

Apparently the blog owner and the commenter didn't appreciate it.

I asked them to critique my initial findings, but instead I was told I was biased and immoral. They accused me of refusing to listen to their mountains of scientific evidence; the only problem with that being they never provided any. I was amazed and dismayed by how quickly they backtracked from discussing science.

I had no idea what a hornet's nest I was uncovering by daring to ask questions. Coincidentally, Reach Upward posted on the subject of the almost religious fanatacism of environmentalists about the same time I was busily swatting hornets. It has been a fascinating experience for me. Here I was, an honest seeker of knowledge, and my very integrity was called into question.

It was not all a loss, however. While I didn't get much pro-global warming info from Juniper West and friends, I did find enormous evidence that a scientific consensus does not exist. In presenting this evidence, I have realized that the global warming community desperately wants to move past actually discussing their theories. They want action, and they want it NOW. This is why they incessantly claim that the "science has spoken", a consensus has been reached, and wo to anyone that stands in their way.

Here are a few dissenting voices for your consideration:

On April 6, 2006 60 scientists signed a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada asking him to "examine the scientific foundation of the federal governments climate change plans." They go on to say that, "We appreciate the difficulty any government has formulating sensible science-based policy when the loudest voices always seem to be pushing in the opposite direction. However, by convening open, unbiased consultations, Canadians will be permitted to hear from experts on both sides of the debate in the climate-science community. When the public comes to understand that there is no "consensus" among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change, the government will be in a far better position to develop plans that reflect reality and so benefit both the environment and the economy."

Richard Lindzen is a Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, and also one of the most outspoken critics of the global warming hysterics. On July 2, 2006 his op-ed was printed in the Wall Street Journal. His was a piercing critique of "An Inconvenient Truth."

"A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended- at least not in terms of the actual science."

Indeed, natural climate variability and our own inability to really understand the compliated and convoluted forces that make up the Earth's climate seems to be a common thread amongst dissenters. A Petr Chylek, Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, worte a fascinating paper entitled, "A Long-Term Perspective on Climate Change." I have been too busy swatting hornets to delve deeper into his claims, but he makes a strong case for our current warm spell being nothing more than natural climate activity, especially when viewed in the context of thousands of years worth of the Earth's temperature. He claims, among other things, that we are currently in one of a few of the warming periods the Earth has experienced over the las 420,000 years. Temperatures have consistently risen and fallen over time, we are simply in a rising period that has been extremely beneficial to humankind, allowing us to live and prosper.

Basically, what many of these scientists seem to be saying is that we don’t understand the weather. Crazy, I know. In fact, the text of the IPCC Working Group I Third Assessment Report reads, “…the accuracy of these estimates continues to be limited by uncertainties in estimates of internal variability, natural and anthropogenic forcing, and the climate response to external forcing.” There are so many factors involved in the earth’s constantly changing weather that great uncertainty remains as to what the major causes may be; or if there even is one major cause.

The scientists I have quoted here are not alone. Lest you think that there are only a few, and that those few are greedily taking Big Oil’s money in return for their dissenting view, I refer you to a petition compiled by the Oregon Petition Project, and signed by over 19,700 scientists since 1998. The petition says, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

Claims of a scientific “consensus” are false. It is the product of desperate people desperately seeking to steamroll their agenda over anything and anyone in their way. It is unfortunate that the discussion has come to this. Discussions of public policy choices should be just that: Discussions. Instead, my own foray into the world of environmentalists seems to be the rule and not the exception, even among scientists. Those that dare to speak up and speak out are treated as heretics; rarely is their science even discussed, rather they themselves are attacked and belittled. Unfortunately, in so doing, science and scientists lose sight of what is most interesting and most beneficial about their work: the search for truth.


Cameron said...

I found this in the Deseret News today, written by Thomas Sowell. I think it applies quite nicely.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are a dope. Absolutely none, NONE of the signatory's claims for the Oregon Petition Project were verified. Their claim is only that "we represent what are thought to be 19,700 voices of concern in the scientific community." Less than 35% of the signatories CLAIMED to even hold a science degree - only 12% CLAIMED to have an advance degree, and those were not even verified. In addition, ALL of the signatures were collected previous to the conclusions of the seminole Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change's findings of 2001. You also mislead by saying the president of the NAS signed the petition as he was, even then, a past president of the Academy and no longer a member at the time of his signature. The NAS drew attention to this and categorically contradicted every claim of the petition: The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal. The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy."

Scientific American debunked the petition in 2005 with some basic investigation: looking at "a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community."

The Hawaii reporter did better than that in debunking the petition, also in 2005: "In less than 10 minutes of casual scanning, I found duplicate names (Did two Joe R. Eaglemans and two David Tompkins sign the petition, or were some individuals counted twice?), single names without even an initial (Biolchini), corporate names (Graybeal & Sayre, Inc. How does a business sign a petition?), and an apparently phony single name (Redwine, Ph.D.). These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided."

As for you "letter from 60 scientists" disputing global warming you should be aware that again, the group is mostly made up of self described "scientists." Many of the signatories are non-scientists, or lack relevant scientific backgrounds. This was pointed out by non other than the recepient of the open letter, Rona Ambrose, Candadian Minister of the Environment who noted that one signature, David Wojick, was a conservative journalist - and barely one at that. (Here is his less than impressive online resume: Others, like Benny Peiser, were social anthropologists.

In addition, more than half the signatories to this letter were again citing past or emeritus positions as their main appointments. Only TWO actually indicated a current appointment in a university department or accredited research institute that was related to climate science. One of the signatories has RECANTED. One claimed that his signature was obtained through a misleading statement of the letter's intent.

Still, there are some - two at least - who deny human intervention as the main cause of current glabal warming. You must admit that is A VERY SMALL fraction compared today with the uncontradicted information that I provided. The National Academy of Sciences, the World Meteorlogical Association, the United Nations Environmental Programme; and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change represents the VAST majority of Western scientists and all of those organizations are unanimous that human intervention is a main cause in the current global warming trend.

It is a shame that you cannot accept that.

Cameron said...


What you have done with my global warming "consensus" essay is exactly what my blogger friends did last summer. That is, they abandoned the consensus argument and devolved into a "my scientist is bigger than your scientist" neener neener third grade argument. I will ask you what I asked them months ago. If it is all so settled, why can't anyone clearly and concisely prove it? When I ask a question based on information from climatologists, why is the questioner impuned rather than just answering the question?