ICCC conference Day 3

I missed a good portion of the Wednesday session, so I’ll let Bob Carter describe it. -Anthony

Heartland-2: session three

by Bob Carter

March 11, 2009

John Sunumu: Nature will respond to climate change in the future in a self-stabilising way, as it always has in the past.

Willie Soon: The first order of business is that the null hypothesis is that the climate change we observe is due to natural variability.

Bob Carter: IPCC climate policy (Plan A) – to prevent hypothetical human-caused climate change by reducing CO2 emissions – hasn’t worked and won’t work. Policy Plan B needs to be that countries develop their own capacity to prepare for and adapt to real, natural climate change; they will then be well positioned to cope with hypothetical (human-caused) climate change, should any eventuate.

Lord Christopher Monckton: There was no climate crisis, there is no climate crisis and there will be no climate crisis. The correct solution to global warming is to have the courage to do nothing.

The first plenary speaker of the final day of the Heartland-2 New York climate conference was Dr. John Sununu, Chief of Staff for President George Bush Snr. between 1989 and 1992. From that unique perspective he offered an incisive commentary on current environmental activism, including particularly that directed towards global warming.

Dr Sununu advised his audience to recognize that the climate change issue will never go away, no matter how much the false alarmism of global warming is exposed. The reason is that global warming is not the real target, but just a convenient demon around which anti-growth and anti-development activism can be mounted. Early demons for the same cause after the second world war were, first, the declared “population crisis”, and then the global cooling alarmism that became prevalent in the 1970s. In turn, climate cooling alarmism transmuted into the dangerous warming cult of the 1990s and beyond.

The most significant tactical weapon that was developed along this historic path of anti-growth agitation was the use of virtual reality computer models to generate alarm. Thus the real predecessor to the present situation was the Club of Rome “we will run out of resources” exercise, which was the first large-scale, environmental, computer modelling project to base its alarms not on empirical data, but on a computer model that was predestined to give a desired result. This same predestination applies to the current IPCC computer models, which are now far too complex to be checked or debated in the public forum, and which carry great authority. Accordingly, they have become a powerful weapon in the armoury of anti-growth environmental groups.

Dr Sununu recalled a White House briefing that he received from alarmist scientists around 1990, when only the first primitive climate models were available – which did not include ocean to atmosphere interactions. Ever since, development of these faulty, but now much more sophisticated, models has continued in order to drive a predetermined climate alarmism. In consequence, the modellers have captured major parts of the funding streams now directed into global warming research, which in the US alone may total as much as $10 billion/year. “Despite this”, said Dr Sununu, the current models remain “predestined …. and are extremely far away from being able to handle the reality of nature. Nature will respond to climate change in the future in a self-stabilising way, as it always has in the past”.

In closing, Dr Sununu offered some advice towards winning over public opinion in a way that will influence policy makers. Unfortunately the press stands in the way of this process, and thrives on reinforcing climate alarmism. “I am often asked “Is the press biased or ignorant”, said Dr Sununu, “and I replythey certainly are”. Nonetheless, science must today be presented in non-technical ways which can be understood by both your neighbour and by policy makers – “If we don’t give the press sound bites, they won’t use it”, Dr Sununu said. Honest science, good science and valid science is the necessary basis for public policy.

The second breakfast plenary speaker, Dr Willie Soon, is a solar astrophysicist based at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr Soon commenced by noting, refreshingly, that “The first order of business is that the null hypothesis is that the climate change we observe is due to natural variability”. 

Dr Soon’s talk demonstrated that the IPCC’s 4AR discussion of solar forcing is inadequate and largely political. For example, in its dismissal of the importance of solar effects on climate the IPCC completely misrepresents the work of Milutin Milankovitch. Milankovitch showed that the climatic effect of the earth’s changing orbit – which demonstrably plays an important role in long-term climate change – has little to do with changes in total solar insolation (as implied by the IPCC) and everything to do with the changing distribution of that radiation across the planet (as ignored by the IPCC). When Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Science supported the IPCC’s view by stating that a sun-induced climate change theory is no longer viable, he simply demonstrated how misinformed he is.

Dr Soon also described the empirical test as to whether extra carbon dioxide will produce extra warming that is conducted in Salt Lake City, and other similar cities, every winter. There, a winter CO2 dome attains CO2 levels up to 500 ppm, as compared to the present background atmospheric level of 380 ppm. Yet no discernible enhanced warming is present in the measured temperature curve for Salt Lake City. It follows that the worldwide rush to inhibit CO2, at huge cost, will have no effect on future climate whatsoever.  “The role of CO2 in the climate system is just miniscule”, Dr Soon said.

Four parallel sessions of papers were again offered in the main programme on the third day of the conference. Science and policy bites from those few lectures that I was able to attend were as follows.

George Taylor (Oregon State University), discussing the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, concluded that it is a permanent feature of the world climate system, has a roughly 50 year periodicity, and ties in closely with ENSO phases and variation in global temperature over the last century.

David Douglass (University of Rochester) documented evidence for significant climate “step” shifts in 1958, 1973 (Great Pacific Climate Shift) and 1999, and concluded that these shifts placed a limitation on climate predictability, and that any climate forcing from CO2 is small. 

Joanne Nova (author of The Skeptics Handbook, Perth, Australia) presented a merciless analysis of the shortcomings of the science media in presenting material about global warming. New Scientist Magazine, in particular, was shown to display strong bias towards science results that reinforce an alarmist view of global warming.

The conference terminated with a lunchtime plenary session. There, the third plenary speaker of the day was Dr Bob Carter, a geologist and palaeoclimate scientist from Queensland, Australia.

Dr Carter mostly discussed climate policy matters. He compared the relative merits of the current policy of trying to “prevent global warming” by reductions of carbon dioxide emissions (Plan A), with the merits of adapting to climate change as and when it occurs (Plan B).

The IPCC’s plan of prevention has been trialled by combining regulation under the Kyoto Protocol with the dissuasive powers of a carbon dioxide trading system, for instance in Europe. From this trial it is apparent that the CO2 reductions agreed to under Kyoto, even were all to be achieved, will make no measurable difference to future temperature. Also, the experience of early mover countries on carbon dioxide taxation, such as Norway, is that at reasonable tax levels of $15-25/tonne no reduction in emissions is achieved, Norway’s having increased 15% since 1990. Thus Plan A doesn’t work, can’t work and won’t work; it is already a dead parrot.

Meanwhile, Nature has delivered powerful messages recently as to the danger of natural climate change, via Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in USA, and devastating bushfires and floods in Australia in 2009. It is obvious that countries need to be better prepared to understand, cope with and adapt to the damaging effects of these and other natural climatic events and trends. Just like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, major climatic events are unpredictable long in advance and unstoppable once started.

The appropriate response – and climate policy plan B – is to adapt to such events when and as they occur. Dr Carter also argued that adaptation to climate events is intrinsically local or regional in nature, for climate risks vary widely with geography. Importantly, a country that has prepared to deal with the wide vagaries of natural climate change within their territory is, by that very fact, positioned to deal with any human-caused climate change if and when it occurs.

The third plenary speaker was John Theon, a retired senior atmospheric scientist from NASA. Dr Theon used to be boss of notorious climate alarmist Dr James Hansen, and commenced his talk by observing wryly that “Perhaps I should have kept a closer eye on him!

Dr Theon recounted in fascinating fashion some of the ways in which the study of climate change occurred throughout his career. He was particularly incisive about the way in which models are misused. “Too many modellers tune their models”, he said, “if you have the answer before you begin, you can play with the model to get what you want”. Dr Theon concluded: “Only religion requires faith in its believers. Science cannot be based on faith. It must be based on facts alone”.

The Heartland-2 climate conference was brought to a close with a rousing closing address by Lord Christopher Monckton, former science advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Lord Monckton discussed some of the deliberately misleading myths about climate change that are propagated by warming alarmists, listing them as:

Global warming is happening now” – it’s actually cooling.

Global warming is getting worse” – it’s actually getting better.

Arctic sea ice is disappearing” – in fact, there is no discernable trend in winter sea ice area over the last 30 years.

Antarctic sea ice is disappearing” – in fact, the area of sea-ice around Antarctica reached a 30 year record high in 2007.

The Great Barrier Reef is being damaged by global warming” – in fact, there is no trend in the sea surface temperature of the reef over the last 40 years.

Hurricanes are being made worse by global warming” – rather, the accumulated cyclone energy index recorded its lowest value in the last 30 years in Oct. 2008.

Lord Monckton also commented on recent opinion polls that show a strong swing of public opinion away from climate alarmism: “Every opinion poll shows that public opinion is cooling as fast as the climate itself”, he said.

Lord Monckton concluded with some comments that will serve well as an epitaph for the entire Heartland-2 climate conference. “There was no climate crisis, there is no climate crisis and there will be no climate crisis”, he said. “The correct solution to global warming is to have the courage to do nothing”.

A strong vote of thanks is due to the Heartland Institute, and to its CEO, Joe Bast, for having again convened an outstanding conference at which rational discussions of the science, economics and policy of climate change were presented and discussed in a dignified and disinterested way. All participants in the conference must surely have left New York with a lightened heart, knowing that independent scientific approaches are at last starting to lay waste to the scourge of public climate alarmism.

Bob Carter

UPDATES:

Background to Heartland-2 here

Heartland-2: session one here

Heartland-2: session two here

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21 thoughts on “ICCC conference Day 3

  1. “I missed a good portion of the Wednesday session, so I’ll let Bob Carter describe it. -Anthony”
    Too busy signing autographs eh?
    Sounds like a great event and we look forward to some more detailed posts on it
    Tonyb

  2. “The Courage To Do Nothing”
    That’s almost bumper-sticker material…
    Thanks for filling us in on an event most of us would probably have liked to attend.

  3. I don’t agree with Lord Monckton totally… we should prepare for the worst. But the worst is certaily not global warming. There are much worse natural desasters that could fall on us… like ice age, plagues, meteorite stike, etc but certainly not global warming, even if it was cause by our emissions of CO2 because warmth and CO2 is good for life and anything else destroying or taking us away from high CO2 concentration and warmth will play against all life on this planet. Maybe I should add also bad politics in the parameters affecting and destroying life.

  4. Michael Crichton had a good take on Dr Sununu’s “demons” in his “State of Fear”, published in December 2004. He does not employ chapter headings in this particular book, so it is not easy to reference, but in my paperback copy the chapter of interest is headed “To Los Angeles, Tuesday, October 12, 10:31 P.M.” It is a 670 page book and this chapter starts onpage 462. I have long thought that the whole purpose of the book was to provide a vehicle for that chapter.
    So would it be going to far to include the Millenium Bug as a demon? I was working then in a large office, using a computer in a network. I opened windows one morning and advanced the dates past the dreaded 2000. Norhing. No matter what I did could I get that computer to misbehave. I called the IT administrator who observed my demonstration, shook his head and walked away. The company spent a small fortune on bug prevention measures. Clearly the problem was much more than my civilian status could comprehend.
    How about another candidate for Dr Sununu’s demons? The present day economic crisis? It appeared from nowhere. Oh yes, it has now been demonstrated, with hindsight, to have been forecast by forelorn lonely voices, but isn’t it really a crisis of confidence?
    Aren’t all off Dr Sununumu’s demons crises of confidence?
    We are battered with pseudo-science, until we accept it, and the demon of the moment becomes self-operating.
    If there is anything in this, and there probably isn’t, which might be a pity, then there would be hope that the present economic crisis could end sooner than the pundits (who are the same people who started it, remember) now predict.

  5. I missed this one. Thanks for taking the time to post these reports on the conference even as busy as you were. Gave your readers a sense of really being there.

  6. How about another candidate for Dr Sununu’s demons? The present day economic crisis? It appeared from nowhere. Oh yes, it has now been demonstrated, with hindsight, to have been forecast by forelorn lonely voices, but isn’t it really a crisis of confidence?
    To a large extent, it was a failure of the models used to price and trade the complex financial derivatives.
    Put another way, people put too much trust in models they didn’t (properly) understand.
    Bob Carter, thanks for the excellent conference report.

  7. Good report, but you left out one part.
    The part when Lord Monckton, in his big speech at the end, singled out Anthony Watts for particular praise!

  8. Milankovitch showed that the climatic effect of the earth’s changing orbit – which demonstrably plays an important role in long-term climate change – has little to do with changes in total solar insolation (as implied by the IPCC) and everything to do with the changing distribution of that radiation across the planet (as ignored by the IPCC).
    Yes. To put it in layman’s terms, Milkankovitch pointed out that if the heat is more evenly distributed (warmer winters, cooler summers) that occurs with lower eccentricity (more regular orbit) and less obliquity (axial tilt), there is far less ice melt during summer and therefore much greater albedo (reflection of sunlight back into space) overall, and this results in ice-age conditions.

  9. For me the most telling ‘truth’ from the above post is the statement by John Sununu :
    “Dr Sununu advised his audience to recognize that the climate change issue will never go away, no matter how much the false alarmism of global warming is exposed. The reason is that global warming is not the real target, but just a convenient demon around which anti-growth and anti-development activism can be mounted.”
    Indeed, we need to always remember this when faced with another preposterous alarmist claim. Remembering this will allow us to better frame any response.

  10. “Arctic sea ice is disappearing” – in fact, there is no discernable trend in winter sea ice area over the last 30 years.
    i am pretty shocked by this statement. it is a serious misrepresentation of the facts.
    thae arctic sea ice area is showing a significant [downward trend](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/trend).
    looking at the WINTER area, is an attempt to mislead. winter area will not show the full effect, because the arctic sea is surrounded by land.
    here is a simple experiment: put a glass full of water into the freezer for a short time. you will have a thin layer of ice. now leave it for a day. all the water will be frozen. Monckton is claiming, that because the frozen “area” is the same, there is no difference between the two situations.
    “There was no climate crisis, there is no climate crisis and there will be no climate crisis”, he said. “The correct solution to global warming is to have the courage to do nothing”.
    this conclusion is obviously based on false assumptions.

  11. Sod, interesting point about ice area. What I monitor, are the separate ice areas. Each area acts quite differently because of the following parameters:
    1. latitude address and land interactions,
    2. various oceanic warm and cold currents that are well known in the Arctic and elsewhere,
    3. the variably swirling vortex of wind that moves around the pole (so to speak) as it interacts with
    4. the main flow of the jet stream, and
    5. seasonal axial tilt
    If you study and follow these ice producing and melt condition parameters, you might come to a different conclusion as to what causes trends in both ice thickness, area, extent, and melt in the Arctic ice area. Regarding your example of the frozen water in the glass (which is simplistic but point taken), ice melt in the Arctic melts in a way nothing like the glass enclosed ice, nor does it grow and thicken in any way similar to your example.

  12. Regarding your example of the frozen water in the glass (which is simplistic but point taken), ice melt in the Arctic melts in a way nothing like the glass enclosed ice, nor does it grow and thicken in any way similar to your example.
    well, the model of the glass is pretty accurate in the most important point: arctic is enclosed by land. there is NO sea ice on land.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.some.000.png
    there is a serious limit to WINTER sea ice area.
    so it is no surprise, that the effect of the warming is stronger on SUMMER sea ice.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg
    using the winter sea ice area is misleading. it doesn t contradict that “Arctic sea ice is disappearing”

  13. For those of you interested, perhaps a read of the classic medical sitcom ‘The House of God’ will point out to you the similar scenarios played out in a fictitious (but based no doubt in Boston) hospital, where hotshot interns were confronted with life choices between common sense+human fulfilment vs submitting to authority and the daily repression which brings in status and a fat pay check.
    If Mr Watts will not be gratuitously insulted by the comparison, he probably represents ‘the Fat Man’ in THOG, whose first rule in THOG was: ‘Do Nothing!’ He played the game by his own rules, he retained sanity within medicine, but wanted his young interns to take the right decisions for their own lives, rather than conform for conformity’s sake. He was loved and admired by all those who remained human within that crucible……
    There are many lessons for climate scientists to learn from THOG. Nothing to do with climatology, a lot to do with how a bunch of very intellectually intelligent, ambitious, driven people reject emotional humanity to the detriment not only of their own lives but of those they sought to serve.
    I still think that the 21st century will see some warming due to the 75 year long-term peak of solar activity in the 20th century. There may be some short-term cooling as well if solar activity continues to decline. And if Yellowstone or Alaska goes ker-splat, then we might have more than we bargained for.
    But at least these guys are discussing everything. Not having attended and not being a specialist, I can’t be sure of their conclusions at third hand, but the first rule of good science and public policy is to understand all the variables. And to do that, you have to be both aware of them and prepared to understand their contributions in a variety of scenarios.
    Perhaps hosting this soon in Europe may help to balance the rhetoric coming out of Copenhagen, eh?

  14. Pamela Gray (06:09:38)
    I would also add increased volcanic activity because if it is true that land volcanic activity increases during low solar activity, that must also apply to sub-sea level volcano.
    Apparently, icebreaker activity would also play a very important role in the breakup of the summer ice. I thnk the Russians did a study on this. It makes sense that the ice reforming at the back of icebreakers is not as strong as that that was there before it was broken and mixed with salted water.

  15. Sod said,
    “well, the model of the glass is pretty accurate in the most important point: arctic is enclosed by land. there is NO sea ice on land.”
    Well maybe there is NO sea ice on land NOW… but there used to be…
    See this overlay an comments from Steve Keohane:
    “Regarding another popular depiction of NH ice, I spent a little time on Cryosphere the other day and noticed something odd in comparing 12/20/80 to 12/22/08 NH ice extent. Hudson Bay and the outlet of Ob river in Russia, the boot-shaped inlet next to the arctic, appeared larger in the 1980 plat. I took the landmass/shoreline from 1980 and overlaid it on the 2008 plat, and got this:
    http://i44.tinypic.com/330u63t.jpg
    The Arctic and Bering Seas appear to have been encroached upon, ie. made smaller. The white adjacent to the shoreline is the current snow/shoreline, and shows the loss of available ’sea’ area for ice. I think that the representation of the river Ob’s outlet is more realistic on the 2008 shoreline, but previously a much greater extent of ice was measured there. There are extensive areas off eastern Russia that used to be measured for ice extent but now are designated ’snow’, as is much of the shoreline of the whole arctic….
    Please note that I retained the star background in all images, and used their pixels for image registration. At full size, I see no perturbation of those pixels from one image to the other, and therefore assume they are correctly registered.”

  16. I agree the solution to global warming is to do nothing. Similarly in economics, excessive bureaucratic socialist interference in the UK recession by G Brown has just made matters far worse. A well run bank (Lloyds TSB) has been bust by Brown just to save his own political skin.

  17. “Arctic sea ice is disappearing” – in fact, there is no discernable trend in winter sea ice area over the last 30 years.
    i am pretty shocked by this statement. it is a serious misrepresentation of the facts.

    It is in no way a misrepresentation of the facts. The misrepresentation is to use the summer sea ice extent as it it were the only measure of Artic sea ice.
    You then make this misrepresentation by posting a graph of annual Arctic sea ice showing a trend as if it supports your point, which it doesn’t because the trend results from summer sea ice extent, not winter sea ice extent.
    looking at the WINTER area, is an attempt to mislead. winter area will not show the full effect, because the arctic sea is surrounded by land.
    Your point here, poorly explained I might add, is that the land that mostly surrounds the Artic Ocean limits the extent of winter sea ice and hence winter reductions in sea ice will be limited.
    Let’s call this the accident of geography argument.
    Firstly, we have no way of verifying this because we don’t have another Arctic Ocean without this geographic constraint to compare against.
    Secondly, the Arctic Ocean isn’t completely surrounded by land, and any winter melt should be found in the large areas not surrounded by land such as where the Arctic Ocean meets the North Atlantic.
    There is no significant winter melt trend in these areas.
    In fact, to measure climate warming one must use the maximum winter ice extent, as it is the only way to remove short term (intra-annual) effects, generally known as weather.

  18. Philip_B (10:38:29) :
    Also there is another whole hemisphere too this globe of ours of course… And we have sea ice here down south too 🙂 And inspite of the latest paper showing warming its been steadily growing…or maybe thats because of the warming, i think im starting too understand, any variation in anything is due to AGW.

  19. The behavior of 2007 and 08 summer melts corresponded to wind patterns and oceanic currents very closely, even hour by hour. One must remove these affects in order to talk about global warming affects on that melt, if you can find any. The problem with that is that any remaining melt assumed to be the result of AGW would be smaller than the error bars, making it proof of the null hypothesis: that AGW does not have a significant affect on summer melt. Any statement to the contrary cannot be supported by accepted scientific statistical analysis.
    It is time for those that make unsubstantiated claims to come to terms with long-standing gold standard analysis of real-time noisy data that determines measurement error bars so that the tiny affects will no longer be touted as proof of anything. If measures of anything rise above or below the error bars, then we can have a debate as to why. There is an old doctor saying: pay attention to the first encountered pathology prior to digging deeper. The summer melt of late has its cause. That cause has been proposed and accepted by the very pervayers of data we often disparage (NSIDC) and the AGW camp loves. Winds and oceanic currents.

  20. There is no significant winter melt trend in these areas.
    In fact, to measure climate warming one must use the maximum winter ice extent, as it is the only way to remove short term (intra-annual) effects, generally known as weather.

    this is simply falser. there IS a reduction in winter ice. just not as much as in all other seasons.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg
    why would “weather” have a bigger impact on summer than on winter?
    One must remove these affects in order to talk about global warming affects on that melt, if you can find any. The problem with that is that any remaining melt assumed to be the result of AGW would be smaller than the error bars, making it proof of the null hypothesis: that AGW does not have a significant affect on summer melt. Any statement to the contrary cannot be supported by accepted scientific statistical analysis.
    the TREND in summer ice is longer than 2007. the claim that it is 100% of a “wind effect” is wild, at best.

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