Eight climate claims debunked, debunked

the atmosphere

Part of the atmosphere from above. Thin, isn’t it? All the weather we’ll ever see happens right there.

Climate counter-claims

AGW theory may not be a hoax, but it fails because it’s wrong

I’d never heard of Bill Moyers until Bob Carter circulated the link to what Bob calls this piece of malignant venality (have to love that wordsmithing!).

Mr Moyers, an ancient US journalist, runs billmoyers.com, on which Joshua Holland, a few days (oops) three weeks ago, published “pseudo-scientific climate claims debunked by real scientists“, which he sought from climate scientists and offered “as a public service.” Joshua gets sceptical thinking all wrong and regurgitates errors, while the arguments his scientists rely on have been widely discredited. Still, he does us a service, conveniently listing eight arguments for us to refute. Mr Holland finally reveals, at the very end of his post, that they come from the famous alarmist web site, home of John Cook, Stephan Lewandowski and their disreputable, widely discredited and fraudulent “97% consensus” paper: the Skeptical Science web site.

Joshua introduces the sceptics:

Most people who deny that human activity is warming the planet just dismiss a massive body of scientific evidence as a big hoax.

This is not true. People who decide to check the facts of global warming for themselves don’t find a hoax, they find errors. For example, they might decide to search out the global temperature records, only to discover that it hasn’t been warming for the last 17 years or more. Their natural curiosity is aroused at this unexpected dichotomy between the forecasts of catastrophe and the facts.

When the science contains major mistakes, it’s obviously wrong, so the dangerous anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory dies and is no longer a target for public policy. The main reason why international conferences have failed to forge a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol is there’s no need for it. So it might be interesting to discuss where it came from, but the AGW theory remains irrelevant.

Joshua reckons sceptics deny any human contribution to global warming. But there’s actually no evidence either way, so we say sure, there could well be a human influence at the global level, since we see it clearly at the local and regional scale—it’s just that so far it’s been undetectable. We know our emissions have increased the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, but how much temperature rise that has caused remains indistinct. Even the IPCC has to guess.

Some elements of the AGW theory are accepted on both sides of the debate. For example, both sides agree that there has been some global warming with some human contribution during some periods. But how much warming there’s been, exactly which periods have warmed and the magnitude of the human contribution to that warming are all vigorously disputed. It’s wickedly inaccurate to say that sceptics “dismiss a massive body of scientific evidence as a big hoax.”

There are points that are bitterly contested, such as whether the atmosphere can warm the oceans, or heat “hide” in the ocean depths without being detected passing through the surface layers, or atmospheric water vapour provide feedback sufficient to cause dangerous warming, or whether clouds globally cause warming or cooling (yes, scientists don’t know), or whether the tiny human emissions of CO2 could cause ocean acidification (of course not), or even whether sea level rise has accelerated over the last decade or two (it hasn’t). To overreach all those uncertainties and claim boldly that the AGW theory as a whole is “settled science” is uneducated drivel. Only non-scientists could confess holding that outrageous belief. Except for Jim Hansen, but he’s a full-time fanatical crusader now and no longer qualifies as a scientist.

Birth shaped by a conspiracy?

If you’re looking for a conspiracy you might find one right back at the beginning, in 1988. The WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), in creating the IPCC, constructed a definition of “climate change” to mean, precisely, that we cause it. Quite clever (in much the same way as a punch in the face is subtle) because, by definition, it’s always our fault, isn’t it? Here’s the definition:

2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.– UNFCCC (pdf, 51 kB), page 7.

Note that it need only be attributed to human activity—even in ignorance. Whether it’s true or not is unimportant. Now, that’s a real global conspiracy, not one of these imaginary conspiracies!

That conspiracy definition has meant that for the last 26 years, when we thought the IPCC was objectively investigating the science behind global warming, it wasn’t. The IPCC didn’t need to research whether we were causing warming or how much of it might be natural. The IPCC already knew there was climate change and it had been told that we were causing it. Its only task was to say how bad it was going to get. That’s not science, it’s politics. Left-wing, control-everyone politics. Humbug.

Joshua also says:

But there’s a more sophisticated set of climate “skeptics” who make arguments that, at least to the lay ear, sound like they’re grounded in scientific evidence. And because most of us lack the background to evaluate their claims, they can muddy the waters around an issue that’s been settled in the scientific community.

He casually reviles sceptics with a feeble-minded generalisation and, in claiming sceptics “muddy the waters,” he blames them for his own sin.

This is too long now. These are Joshua’s eight climate claims; I’ll start on the first claim in a separate post. It’ll be fun. 🙂

Climate claims

  1. No, the Earth Hasn’t Stopped Warming Since 1998
  2. No, the IPCC Makes Projections, Not Predictions
  3. Yes, the Temperature Readings Are Reliable
  4. Yes, There Is a Scientific Consensus
  5. It’s Not the Sun’s Fault
  6. Doubling Down With “Global Cooling”
  7. Yes, It’s Been Warm Before
  8. No, Antarctic Ice Isn’t Increasing


Visits: 137

21 Thoughts on “Eight climate claims debunked, debunked

  1. Andy on 10/06/2014 at 7:08 am said:

    On the 97% figure, Richard Tol has a well argued piece, in The Guardian, of all places.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 4:53 pm said:

      Cook et al (97%) include papers on impacts and mitigation of which there are thousands. And of which, and of necessity, there is unanimity on the consensus — duh!

  2. Bob D on 10/06/2014 at 8:38 am said:

    This is at the heart of the problem:

    “Most people who deny that human activity is warming the planet just dismiss a massive body of scientific evidence as a big hoax.”

    And later:

    “But there’s a more sophisticated set of climate “skeptics” who make arguments that, at least to the lay ear, sound like they’re grounded in scientific evidence. And because most of us lack the background to evaluate their claims, they can muddy the waters around an issue that’s been settled in the scientific community.”

    What’s going on here is that people like Joshua have no idea about the science. And yet they bleat on that evil sceptics are wrong. And when the sceptics try to show the Joshuas where the alarmists are in fact wrong the Joshuas just stick their fingers in their ears and go “Nanana, not listening!”

    And they wonder why we laugh at them.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 6:47 pm said:

      >And when the sceptics try to show the Joshuas where the alarmists are in fact wrong the Joshuas just stick their fingers in their ears and go “Nanana, not listening!”

      To be fair, Joshua does defer to “Real Scientists”. Like John Abraham (2.):

      John Abraham adds that “the atmosphere heated faster than the projections from about 1990 to 2000, and then they rose slower from 2000 to the present. And now, with a new El Niño forming, we’re probably going to see a new record and erase that slower trend.”


      Ah yes, the El Niño get-out-of-jail card. Much anticipated by all warmists, whether “real scientists” or not.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 7:16 pm said:

      [John Abraham] – “the atmosphere heated faster than the projections from about 1990 to 2000, and then and then they rose slower from 2000 to the present”

      Actually they’ve flatlined from 2000 to the present when anthro emissions were higher than at any other time in industrial history including 1990 to 2000.

      Begs the question doesn’t it?

      Also see:

      ‘Ignoring Statistical Significance to Promote Climate Alarmism’
      By Sierra Rayne

      Each day I read new pieces in the mainstream media on climate change, and I continue to be amazed by the poor quality of science journalism and how this is misleading the public on critical policy issues.

      Seth Borenstein of the the Associated Press has published a truly staggering piece on temperature trends across the United States over the past three decades that is getting picked up by various media outlets around the world. I simply cannot believe that the scientific community is allowing this article to stand without major correction or a full retraction. The end days for science are upon us.


      Here is what happened. The AP used “the least squares regression method” to calculate the annual temperature trend for all these regions, but then proceeded to ignore entirely whether the regression method indicated if the trend was statistically significant (the typical criteria would be a p-value<0.05).

      This is first-year statistics level stuff. Quite simply, if your statistical test ("least squares regression method") tells you the trend isn't significant, you cannot claim there is a trend, since the null hypothesis (i.e., no trend) cannot be rejected with any reasonable degree of confidence.

      This isn't the first time I've seen statistical troubles from this journalism source. In August 2012, Borenstein attempted to analogize the odds of consecutive warm months to coin-flipping statistics, which – as I noted – was not a valid analogy, as it violated the requirement of independent events.

      To correct Borenstein's reporting on this latest topic, I analyzed the 1984-2013 period of annual temperatures for "the lower 48 states" using "the least squares regression method," as the AP did. Here is what I found.

      Borenstein claims that "all but one of the lower 48 states have warmed since 1984." Wrong. Only the following 18 states (i.e., 37 percent of the lower 48 states, not 98 percent of them, as the AP claims) exhibit statistically significant positive trends in annual temperature since 1984: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.

      To illustrate how scientifically ridiculous the AP's claims are, the AP article claims there is a cooling trend since 1984 in North Dakota and a warming trend in Washington over this same timeframe. Here is a plot of annual temperatures in these two states over the past 30 years.


      You're kidding me. Claims that Washington is warming and North Dakota is cooling? The linear regression p-value is 0.94 for North Dakota and 0.66 for Washington. Keep in mind for statistical significance the p-values must be below 0.05 (or even 0.01 if you wish to be truly rigorous). Both these states show almost perfect non-correlations. In other words, there is no hope of a temperature trend (towards either warming or cooling) in either state, contrary to what the AP is claiming.



  3. Alexander K on 10/06/2014 at 9:29 am said:

    A late and sadly missed friend who posessed a very wry and understated brand of humour used to say when people were talking nonsense
    ‘Pooling ignorance is never very productive’.
    Says it all about ignoramii such as Joshua.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 2:24 pm said:

    >“just dismiss a massive body of scientific evidence as a big hoax.”

    Massive body? Even the fingerprint has yet to be positively identified and then the assumptions are wrong anyway, viz:

    ‘IPCC false assumptions about evaporation & clouds cause 5-fold exaggeration of global warming’


    >”5. It’s Not the Sun’s Fault”

    It’s not? Let’s check the latest literature, viz:

    ‘Chinese Study Puts Sun In Frame For Global Warming’


    >”2. No, the IPCC Makes Projections, Not Predictions”

    And the material difference is? The IPCC also admit that they don’t monitor climate metrics which explains in small part the discrepancy between their projections and what the metrics are returning, viz:

    ’90 CMIP5 Climate Models vs. Observations’


    Six other counterclaims, five of doubtful relevance to proof or not of AGW. The one last straw remaining for AGW to clutch (1. CO2-forced “heat going into the ocean”) has yet to have a mechanism established and totally implausible physically.

    Conclusion: Joshua Holland is an idjit.

  5. Dear Richard
    I want to let you know of my new book for your perusal.
    ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’
    I have been silenced for 40 years by the MSM.
    Thank you.
    Historical Climatologist

    PS My website is

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 3:38 pm said:

    From the “science is science” guy, Barack Obama:

    “The science is compelling… The baseline fact of climate change is not something we can afford to deny”

    “The good news is that the public may get out ahead of some of their politicians,” Obama said, suggesting that as people see the effects of weather disasters like hurricanes and droughts, they might begin to change their minds.

    [Compelling huh?]



    “Science is science,” he [Obama] said. “And there is no doubt that if we burned all the fossil fuel that’s in the ground right now that the planet’s going to get too hot and the consequences could be dire.”

    [No doubt at all?]


  7. Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 4:04 pm said:

    2. No, the IPCC Makes Projections, Not Predictions

    In the real world, we have natural climate variability, and then we have human-caused warming,” says Ben Santer, a climate researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who ranked 12th in a 2002 study of the most frequently cited scientists in the field. “And that human-caused warming is embedded in the rich, day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year and decade-to-decade noise of natural climate variability.”
    Ben Santer Climate researcher, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Santer was explaining the misleading nature of the claim that because the earth hasn’t warmed as quickly as some previous projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested it would, the science is somehow suspect.

    “Lord” Monckton and other skeptics make much of the fact that the IPCC’s first model projected that the planet would warm at a rate of 3.5 degrees Celsius, when real-world readings since then have shown a warming rate of 1.4 degrees per century.

    According to Santer, “The inherent fallacy here is that they’re looking at very short-term changes over a decade or so and saying that if there’s some mismatch between modeled and observed changes over a short period of time, then that falsifies all climate models, and all of their projections of future climate change — but it does no such thing.

    “What we do in our line of work is we beat down that short term noise of natural climate variability by looking at changes over long sweeps of time. This claim is classic cherrypicking — it’s treating IPCC results from previous assessments as predictions rather than projections, and exploiting short-term climate noise to argue that there’s some fundamental mismatch between the models and observations. If that were right, you’d see evidence of such a mismatch over long sweeps of time, but we don’t.”


    Except for this problem,

    ‘RSS Reaches Santer’s 17 Years’

    Guest Post By Werner Brozek, Edited By Just The Facts

    RSS stands for Remote Sensing Systems, which is a satellite temperature data set similar to the University of Alabama – Huntsville (UAH) dataset that John Christy and Roy Spencer manage. Information about RSS can be found at here and the data set can be found here.

    The plot of the number on the left column from November 1, 1996 to October 31, 2013 can be found in the graph at the head of his article and here. When the “Raw data” is clicked, we see that for 204 months, the slope is = -0.000122111 per year. I wish to make it perfectly clear that the focus is not on the magnitude of the negative number since this number is zero for all intents and purposes. The only thing that is noteworthy is that the slope is not positive.

    And of course, 204 months is equal to 17 years. In the “Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale” Benjamin Santer et al. stated that:

    “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

    I am sure that I will be corrected if I am wrong, but in plain English, my interpretation of this statement is as follows:

    “There is a lot of noise in the climate system and it is quite possible that the noise can mask the effects of man-made carbon dioxide for a period of time. However if the slope is zero for 17 years, then we cannot blame noise any more but we have to face the facts that we humans do not affect the climate to any great extent.”

    Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?

    Richard Courtney offered a very interesting perspective in a comment previously:

    “The Santer statement says that a period of at least 17 years is needed to see an anthropogenic effect. It is a political statement because “at least 17 years” could be any length of time longer than 17 years. It is not a scientific statement because it is not falsifiable.

    However, if the Santer statement is claimed to be a scientific statement then any period longer than 17 years would indicate an anthropogenic effect. So, a 17-year period of no discernible global warming would indicate no anthropogenic global warming.

    In my opinion, Santer made a political statement so it should be answered with a political response: i.e. it should be insisted that he said 17 years of no global warming means no anthropogenic global warming because any anthropogenic effect would have been observed.

    Santer made his petard and he should be hoisted on it.”



  8. Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 4:45 pm said:

    4. Yes, There Is a Scientific Consensus

    No there isn’t:

    ‘Earth scientists split on climate change statement’

    Graham Lloyd, The Australian

    AUSTRALIA’S peak body of earth scientists has declared itself unable to publish a position statement on climate change due to the deep divisions within its membership on the issue.

    After more than five years of debate and two false starts, Geological Society of Australia president Laurie Hutton said a statement on climate change was too difficult to achieve.

    Mr Hutton said the issue “had the potential to be too divisive and would not serve the best interests of the society as a whole.”

    The backdown, published in the GSA quarterly newsletter, is the culmination of two rejected position statements and years of furious correspondence among members. Some members believe the failure to make a strong statement on climate change is an embarrassment that puts Australian earth scientists at odds with their international peers.

    It undermines the often cited stance that there is near unanimity among climate scientists on the issue.

    GSA represents more than 2000 Australian earth scientists from academe, industry, government and research organisations.

    A position statement published in 2009 said the society was concerned about the potentially harmful effects of carbon dioxide emissions and favoured “strong action to substantially reduce current levels’’.


  9. Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 6:24 pm said:

    8. No, Antarctic Ice Isn’t Increasing

    SIE is at record high levels, WAIS has a non-anthropogenic heat problem:

    ‘Researchers find major West Antarctic glacier melting from geothermal sources’

    Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it’s being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.

    The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts.

    Using radar techniques to map how water flows under ice sheets, UTIG researchers were able to estimate ice melting rates and thus identify significant sources of geothermal heat under Thwaites Glacier. They found these sources are distributed over a wider area and are much hotter than previously assumed.

    The geothermal heat contributed significantly to melting of the underside of the glacier, and it might be a key factor in allowing the ice sheet to slide, affecting the ice sheet’s stability and its contribution to future sea level rise.

    The cause of the variable distribution of heat beneath the glacier is thought to be the movement of magma and associated volcanic activity arising from the rifting of the Earth’s crust beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-major-west-antarctic-glacier-geothermal.html#jCp

    >”…..the movement of magma and associated volcanic activity arising from the rifting of the Earth’s crust beneath the…..”

    Beneath the ocean too? But of course geothermal heat sources cannot contribute to ocean heat in the AGW scheme of things except for the assumed globally averaged 0.087 W.m2 geo flux (single hydrovent flux 450 MW – see below) even though that same heat melts land ice in Antarctica (and think magma in direct contact with sea water along mid-Atlantic rift) but only a small fraction of volcanic activity occurs on land (about 10% – see below):

    ‘Do volcanoes occur in the ocean?’

    The greatest number of the Earth’s volcanoes occur on the ocean floor.

    Volcanic eruptions occur only in certain places and do not occur randomly. This is because the Earth’s crust is broken into a series of slabs known as tectonic plates. These plates are rigid, but they “float” on a hotter, softer layer in the Earth’s interior. As the plates move, they spread apart, collide, or slide past each other.

    Sixty percent of all active volcanoes occur at the boundaries between tectonic plates. Most volcanoes are found along a belt, called the “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Pacific Ocean. Some volcanoes, like those that form the Hawaiian Islands, occur in the interior of plates at areas called “hot spots.”

    Although most of the active volcanoes we see on land occur where plates collide, the greatest number of the Earth’s volcanoes are hidden from view, occurring on the ocean floor along spreading ridges.



    Ninety percent of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans. In 1993, scientists located the largest known concentration of active volcanoes on the sea floor in the South Pacific. This area, the size of New York state, hosts 1,133 volcanic cones and sea mounts. Two or three could erupt at any moment.


    Then there’s the hydrothermal venting e.g. for just ONE vent:

    ‘Submarine Geothermics; Hydrothermal Vents and Electricity Generation’

    Page 4,

    Regarding the vent, we will assume a vent diameter of 24” and a velocity of 1 meter per second, which becomes a mass flow of 0.3 m3/s. If we take as an example a depth of 2000 meters, the saturation temperature will be 365 °C, so the total heat from this vent will be 450 MWt……


    But apart from the newly discovered geothermal heat under Thwaites Glacier on land, oceanic geothermal heating, either magma proximity or hydroventing, only occurs at 0.087 W.m2 in Warmer World.

  10. Richard C (NZ) on 10/06/2014 at 8:35 pm said:

    ‘Will we die if the world gets hot, daddy?’

    ‘What do you say to a kid?’: the writer’s daughter was in tears after watching part of a new (sic) broadcast about climate change.

    By Sam de Brito, SMH

    A couple of Sundays ago, I was watching TV with my four-year-old daughter and we caught a news story about climate change. I zoned out and got us some chocolate from the kitchen but when we started to snuggle again she asked me “Will we die if the world gets too hot, daddy?”


    Bear in mind what prompted this exchange was my daughter catching the end of a 6pm commerical news broadcast. I didn’t stoke her with horror stories. It was the first time we’d ever discussed global warming. She simply intuited danger from the voice of a TV reporter.

    When I picked up my daughter from her mum’s house later in the week, my ex told me Noush had been crying, saying the world was going to get too hot and we’d all die. We both went to work on her, explaining it wasn’t a certainty this would happen, and that we all had to do our part to help the planet.


    I don’t pretend to completely understand the science behind climate change


    Every minute of the day we defer to greater minds than ours, when we flick a light switch, sip tap water or eat from a can – we accept the science behind these things because they are beyond argument.The scientific community has reached such vast and enduring consensus on subjects like germ theory, Newtowian psychics, evolution and antibiotics, we accept them as fact.

    No one, save fringe lunatics would dare to question their veracity, yet people on the street (or Twitter), not to mention politicians with absolutely no scientific training, like our PM [Abbott], are prepared to speak with certainty about issues like climate change.

    As Obama told The New York Times recently, “Science is science .. We can argue about how. But let’s not argue about what’s going on. The science is compelling.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/will-we-die-if-the-world-gets-hot-daddy-20140610-zs2fj.html#ixzz34E2CNCMB

    # # #

    Dad “zoned out”, four-year-old daughter (the remaining audience) scared to tears.
    Dad doesn’t understand the science but explains the (un)certainty anyway with certainty.
    Dad doesn’t like Abbott speaking “with certainty” because “absolutely no scientific training”.
    Dad defers to the authority of Obama that we “defer to greater minds than ours” on climate change.
    Dad sees climate change in same light as germ theory, Newtowian psychics, evolution and antibiotics.
    Dad thinks “we accept them as fact”, “beyond argument”, and so with climate change as a matter of course because “The scientific community has reached such vast and enduring consensus”

    It’s not the four year old’s mind I fear for.

    • Andy on 10/06/2014 at 11:13 pm said:

      ” Newtowian psychics”

      I see a dark stranger with an apple falling off a tree…

      It must be a sign.

    • Nice. Spelling mistakes can provide such rapid digressions. Gotta love ’em.

    • Mike Jowsey on 13/06/2014 at 11:09 am said:

      Nice analysis RC. I particularly like the contradiction of decrying Abbott’s lack of training against the lauding of the untrained science-is-science guy.

    • Andy on 13/06/2014 at 1:48 pm said:

      “The world will get too hot and we will all die”

      Amazing that people even think this. If the world got 4 degrees warmer, Christchurch would resemble Auckland.

      Some may think that this is a fate worse than death. Possibly true if the beer became as expensive as it is in Ponsonby

  11. BobD on 14/06/2014 at 11:26 am said:

    “Possibly true if the beer became as expensive as it is in Ponsonby”
    And it gives you a headache. That last time I suffered the whole of the next morning. Of course, it may also have been that several jugs vanished somewhere…
    [The posting of this comment was delayed because it went to moderation, but I can’t see why, except it mentioned alcohol. Watch yourself in future, buddy. Anyway, I never saw no vanishing Ponsonby jugs. Actually, I never saw much at all after the first few… – RT]

  12. stan stendera on 16/06/2014 at 5:54 pm said:

    The warmists are hanging their hat on the speculated El Nino. I’m not going to dig into all I’ve read on this subject but I project they are going to be sadly disappointed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation