Winning theme soaked in ignorance

A key argument much used by the IPCC to claim that we cause dangerous global warming is nothing but an unsophisticated display of ignorance decked out as knowledge.

Reasonable men and women must see through this subterfuge and openly deplore its use by the learned warmists running (or overrunning) the IPCC.

The argument aims to prove that only our GHG emissions cause global warming and says “we haven’t seen anything else it could be.” As it plainly admits to a complete absence of observation, and its reasoning is unpersuasive (“it must be this, for we can think of nothing else”), it will never be a leading endorsement of the age of science. Yet it was written into the AR4 in 2007 by “thousands of leading scientists” using real ink instead of crayon and became permanent.

Because of this barbarous offence against logic people now call global warming “the greatest challenge we have faced,” clamour to humbly “redistribute” our wealth around the world to atone for our “climate crimes” against vaguely-defined “undeveloped nations”, gamble with humanity’s economic future and plan alarming experiments with our planet to “save” it from warming.

You’d think all the greatest advances in human civilisation hadn’t occurred during periods of warming. But they did – during cold times we don’t develop, we die.

The Wall Street Journal carried a statement on 26 January by a group of scientists, climatologists and engineers (“the group”) disputing this established view. Concerned that candidates for public office feel great pressure to “do something” about the dangers forecast from man-made global warming, they offered their expert reassurance that belief in such dangers was unjustified.

Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to “decarbonize” the world’s economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

They cited Yale economist William Nordhaus, claiming that he showed recently that one of the best economic futures would be achieved by doing nothing at all about greenhouse gas emissions for 50 years. All countries would grow bigger and richer and thus be in a better position to tackle the predicted drawbacks from anthro-induced global warming, if any, than by crippling their industry in the meantime. They said:

About a month after their statement in the WSJ, Professor Nordhaus penned a refutation of it in The New York Review of Books.

He was particularly concerned to point out the group’s incorrect summary of his results, but what interests me is his citation of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report in defending climate models. The group alleges that models exaggerate warming and, in reply, Nordhaus’s description of the “experiments” carried out with climate models is a fine example of dazzling us with science.

First he correctly quotes the group saying:

The lack of warming for more than a decade — indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections — suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause.

Then he asks a misleading question to set up a straw-man argument: “Do they predict the historical trend accurately?” This does not at all address the matter of exaggeration of future warming, but he describes how models might compare scenarios. He makes it sound as though the models precisely understand the physics of greenhouse gases, but of course they only reflect present human understanding, and that is woeful, as nobody knows how greenhouse gases actually influence the temperature in the real world.

If they knew, they would tell us without using the words “likely”, “could” or “might”.

He calls these model exercises “experiments”, as though they have been fully verified against the real world and produce real data. But that’s not true – they are only speculative. If the climate models produced real data, like the models do that now accurately simulate nuclear explosions in the place of the real thing, thus saving the real world from dangerous radioactive fallout, that fact would be trumpeted loud and clear. We would all know about it.

But they don’t. So, instead of stating plainly that the models give a true picture of the future, they must write weasel words like “This experiment has been performed many times using climate models” and thus avoid telling us the truth, which is that none of those results can be trusted.

Instead of saying clearly that the models prove that humans cause global warming, they have to talk with forked tongues with such phrases as: “This experiment showed that the projections of climate models are consistent with recorded temperature trends over recent decades only if human impacts are included.”

If it wasn’t so serious, that would be laughable. Their overmodest restraint has nothing to do with a natural scientific caution and everything to do with being found out in a big fat lie, either now or later. Their caution is to cover their lying, tremulous bottoms.

The fact is that natural variability is all that is required to explain the global temperature history over the last 150 years. There is no need to invent a human forcing because the warming has not been unprecedented in either magnitude or rate.

How does the IPCC report endorse the models? Nordhaus reports it, accurately, saying:

No climate model using natural forcings [i.e., natural warming factors] alone has reproduced the observed global warming trend in the second half of the twentieth century.

Translated, it means you must include what we calculate for man-made warming just to match the past. Of course, we make assumptions about the amount of warming caused by CO2, but we won’t say that too loudly.

Nor will we stop our supporters claiming the models perfectly reproduce the “physics” of global warming (though we know they don’t). You can’t fight science, and if you question us, we’ll just have to call you a denier.

But I was tickled by what a New Zealand climate scientist pointed out the other day and I think you’ll enjoy it, too. He said that what the IPCC meant to say was:

No climate model using the current understanding of a selected subset of natural forcings has reproduced the observed global warming trend in the second half of the twentieth century.

And I think that’s a perfectly reasonable adjustment which improves the formerly misleading IPCC statement. The adjustment enables credence where credence was difficult.

Quite simply, it turns falsehood into truth.

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7 Thoughts on “Winning theme soaked in ignorance

  1. val majkus on 08/03/2012 at 11:17 am said:

    Love Dr S Fred Singer
    an update of US EPA endangerment cases

    Last week, a three-judge panel of the federal District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard two days of oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act. The consolidated suit, Coalition for Responsible Regulation vs. EPA, challenges the EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding (EF) that greenhouse gas emissions “endanger human health and welfare,” the automobile tailpipe emissions rule, and the “tailoring rule” that exempts smaller stationary emissions sources from being regulated — in contradiction of the explicit language in the 1970 Clean Air Act….
    But the main objection to the EF — and the one that we have concentrated on — is the EPA’s so-called “evidence” that a rise in CO2 will have a noticeable impact on global climate. In fact, since we filed the objection to the EF and TSD and agreed to become a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, the scientific evidence has moved even farther in our favor. We feel more sure now that the continuing increase in CO2 has caused no appreciable warming in the crucial interval 1978-1997 — contradicting all climate-model results. There has been no observed warming trend of Earth’s atmosphere, either — which atmospheric theory predicts should have been about double that of the surface. There has been no observed warming trend in the oceans, and most of the geological, non-thermometer (“proxy”) data we have studied show no warming in recent decades. …

    • That’s a revealing analysis, Val, thanks. The SEPP is doing tremendous work over there, and Fred Singer is always clarity itself. With the legal and scientific problems with the EPA’s proposal it’s hard to see it succeeding without a lot of deliberate closing of eyes.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/03/2012 at 6:17 pm said:

      The warmists of course, point to the “long-term” (TM gavin @ RC) trend Val.

      Repeat after me – the long-term trend…..the long-term trend……the long-term trend…….

      The words: “cycle”, “harmonic” or “phase” do not appear in the warmist lexicon. Those are nebulous concepts to them; to be dismissed from consciousness in case they “muddy the waters”.

      Ohmmm…….the long-term trend…….the long-term trend…….

      There, Yang restored to its proper vector.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/03/2012 at 7:43 am said:

      I propose that in view of the Yin Yang theory, warmists be known as ‘Yangers’ when appropriate.

  2. Australis on 08/03/2012 at 5:43 pm said:

    This is the sole evidence of the DAGW theory – the models can’t reproduce the 1978-98 warming when human forcing is excluded. These are not just any old models. They are the 17 GCMs selected by the IPCC – highly specialised and pre-programmed.

    Judith Currie points out that all the computerised climate models naturally include human greenhouse effects, and assumptions regarding feedbacks. And they remain unfinished until various tweaks ensure they can ‘hind-cast’ the recent global temperature record. So what would you expect to happen in any model run which then excludes human greenhouse effects?

    Completely circular.

    Nordhaus is a distinguished economist. Every econometric or financial model is “curve-fitted” to match the known past record before it is unleashed on the future. Nordhaus MUST know that, so why is he impressed by the fact that a model won’t work well if you drop out one of its key variables?

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 08/03/2012 at 5:47 pm said:

    Nordhaus (and IPCC) – “No climate model using natural forcings”

    What a load of baloney. The IPCC’s only natural forcing is TSI – probably the very least of the plethora of natural cycles, oscillations etc.

    And add “suggests” to “likely”, “could” or “might” as in IPCC AR4 2007:-

    “Formal attribution studies now suggest that it is likely that anthropogenic forcing has contributed to the observed warming of the upper several hundred metres of the global ocean during the latter half of the 20th century {5.2, 9.5} ”

    “Suggest that it is likely” ???

    {5.2, 9.5} provides no mechanism – I suggest they’re spinning a yarn.

  4. Clarence on 08/03/2012 at 5:54 pm said:

    A number of the more cautious climate scientists are now starting to say that a decade or two of cooling (during solar 24) won’t disprove a continuing underlying warming trend.

    But, as Richard points out, the world believes that a warming trend must exist only because the record of 1978-98 empirically proves it exists. If that record then says the trend stopped around 1998, then it is empirically proved that the trend was short-term.

    Can the warmists have it both ways? Believe the pre-’98 readings, but disbelieve the post-’98 readings by the same instruments.

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