Yes, we have no bananas
From The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley in Cancun, Mexico at COP16 via SPPI
I dined with Dr. Roy Spencer as the Atlantic rollers swished and crashed against the long, sandy beach here in Cancun. We ate coconut-crusted camarones. Appropriately, shrimps in the Spanish-speaking world are named after the British Prime Minister, the truest of true believers in the New-Age religion that is the Church of “Global Warming”.
Cameron, or “Dave”, as he matily likes to be known, had been careful not to reveal his blind faith in the febrile fatuities of the forecasters of fashionable fatalism to his followers in Not The Conservative Party before they picked him as their leader: but, in his very first speech as Supreme Shrimp, he made it plain to the fawning news media that Saving The Planet would be his very firstest priority, yes indeedy.
One had rather hoped to accompany the crusted Daves with a bottle of Château Cameron, a Sauternes that would have set them off nicely. My noble friend and genial Highland next-door neighbour Lord Pearson of Rannoch, until recently the popular leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party that is springing Britain free from the same grasping tentacles of unelected, supranational bureaucracy in which the UN’s climate panel would like to engulf the planet, always serves this palatable little pudding wine at dinner, and murmurs as he pours is, “A taste of Château Pointless?”
Château Pointless, however, is not on the wine-list in the grim, crumbling concrete bunkers of more than usually repellent aspect that ruin the splendid Cancun beach for miles and miles and are amusingly called “hotels”. The Stalinist gruesomeness of the architecture recalls a joke going the rounds among the British ex-pats sipping their masticha on the 20-mile strip of ugly ribbon development that is the Limassol shoreline:
“I say, I say, I say, old boy, remind me of the Cypriot Greek for ‘concrete box’.”
“Can’t say I remember that one, Carruthers.”
[In an exaggerated peasant accent] “Lag-shoo-ree veellaa!”
So sorry, Señor: no Château Cameron. Indeed, no Château anything. Dr. Spencer and I decided to try banana daiquiris instead. After a good 20 minutes – well, this is the Mañana Republic – the head waiter hovered along to our table and told us our daiquiris would be along in a minute. He had hardly made this ambitious promise when the wine waiter shimmered in and explained that there would be no banana daiquiris because – yes, you guessed it – “we have no bananas”.
Ah, the sufferings we endure in your honor, gentle reader, as we save the planet from those intent on Saving The Planet. We had to put up with frozen margaritas instead. They were delicious. “Num, num”, as Malcolm Pearson would have put it had he not had the good sense to go to Davos instead.
Dr. Spencer, my urbane dinner companion, is one of the small, courageous band of eminent scientists who have not kow-towed to the New Religion and have not yet been fired for their recusancy.
He wears his profound knowledge with great gentleness, and thinks nothing of spending a year doing complex, difficult research to prepare for a single scientific paper that he knows will prove contentious.
His latest research demonstrates that – in the short term, at any rate – the temperature feedbacks that the IPCC imagines will greatly amplify any initial warming caused by CO2 are net-negative, attenuating the warming they are supposed to enhance. His best estimate is that the warming in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration, which may happen this century unless the usual suspects get away with shutting down the economies of the West, will be a harmless 1 Fahrenheit degree, not the 6 F predicted by the IPCC.
Dr. Spencer’s results, published some months ago, have gone entirely unreported in the mainstream news media. However, a mere restatement of the IPCC’s position published this week by a scientist who carefully skated round Dr. Spencer’s work with a single sentence to the effect that El Niño events had disrupted the temperature record has been publicized everywhere.
Last year the formidable Professor Richard Lindzen, whom I call “my professor” because he has so patiently answered so many of my fumbling, inadequate questions about climate science over the years, published a paper demonstrating that the outgoing radiation reaching the satellites is escaping to space much as it always has. Greenhouse gases are not, after all, trapping it in the atmosphere to anything like the extent that the IPCC would have us believe.
Since the radiation is escaping to space much as it always has, it is not causing as much warming as the IPCC thinks. Professor Lindzen’s estimate is that the warming in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration is around 1.3 F, similar to Dr. Spencer’s estimate.
Within months, a savagely-phrased and deliberately-wounding rebuttal was published by one of the most prominent of the Climategate emailers. It was one of those tiresome papers that pointed out one or two supposed defects in Professor Lindzen’s analysis, but without being honest enough to conclude that these defects could not and did not alter the Professor’s conclusion.
The discrepancy between the IPCC’s predictions and what the satellite data demonstrated was so wide that the pernickety demands of the Climategate emailers for greater precision were simply unnecessary. Nevertheless, as with Dr. Spencer’s paper, so with Professor Lindzen’s, the original research was not mentioned in the mainstream media, but the attempted rebuttal was.
Another example. Meet Dr. David Douglass, Professor of Physics at Rochester University in upper New York State. This very gentle soul – one of the most charming scientists working on the climate today – wrote a paper two years ago confirming his previously-published research pointing out yet another serious discrepancy between the IPCC’s model-based predictions and the inconvenient truths of observed reality.
According to a paper by one of the Climategate emailers, cited with approval by the IPCC in its Fourth Assessment Report, the wretched models predicted that, if and only if Man’s greenhouse-gas emissions were to blame for “global warming”, the tropical upper air would warm two or three times faster than the tropical surface.
Unfortunately for the IPCC’s theory, once again observation demonstrated its falsity. Fifty years of measurements of the upper atmosphere by radiosondes, drop-sondes and, more recently, satellites show no differential whatsoever between the rate of warming at the surface and higher up. Professor Douglass’ paper drew attention to this evidence that Man cannot be responsible for most of the warming observed over the past half-century.
Within a month, Professor Douglass’ paper was rebutted by the very Climategate emailer who had first proposed the existence of the absent tropical upper-troposphere “hot-spot”. Since none of the dozen datasets that recorded temperatures in the tropical upper air showed the “hot-spot”, the Climategate team had to create a new one.
The Climategate emails demonstrate that Professor Douglass, who is referred to 71 times, was hated by The Team (as they call themselves). The emailers had leaned heavily on the editor of the journal to which he had submitted his paper, bullying the editor into delaying publication until they could cobble together their attempt at a rebuttal.
Once again, Professor Douglass’ research went unnoticed in the mainstream media, which, however, crowed about the rebuttal.
Herein lies one of the central wickednesses of the IPCC’s modus operandi. Every time a scientist publishes a paper that strikes at the very heart of the IPCC’s climate-extremist case (and these devastating papers appear far more often than is generally realized), one of that small and poisonous group of true-believing scientists whose identities were so unexpectedly revealed in the Climategate emails swiftly publishes a rebuttal.
“And why is this a wickedness?” you may ask. “Surely the scientific method requires exactly this kind of point and counterpoint between scientists?”
It is a wickedness because of the way the IPCC operates. “IPeCaC”, as senior UN officials here in Cancun delightfully call it when they think no one is listening, does no original research itself. Each of Ipecac’s reports is, in effect, a giant review paper, trawling through the published scientific literature and reporting what it finds.
This approach requires Ipecac – let us all call it that from now on – to report not only the papers that support its political viewpoint but also some of the papers that do not: otherwise, its sullen prejudice in favor of climate-extremist alarm would be just a little too obvious.
For the extremists, it is accordingly vital that any sufficiently devastating paper showing up Ipecac’s computer models as defective must be rebutted, so that the next Assessment Report can nullify the critical paper by recording that it has been rebutted. If the rebuttal is full of bad science, no matter: the chapter authors can merely mention its existence without admitting that it is nonsense. Then the mainstream media can report that the original paper (whose existence they had not mentioned in the first place) has been rebutted, and that the rebuttal has been sanctified by an honorable mention in the Holy Scriptures of Ipecac, yea, verily.
A revealing episode shows what happens when a scientist writes a paper critical of the official position and times its publication so that it appears just before the deadline for papers considered by Ipecac’s working groups. Professor Ross McKitrick, who demolished the absurd “hockey-stick” graph purporting to demonstrate that the medieval warm period had not happened, wrote a further paper destroying the official temperature record.
His method was characteristically ingenious. He showed a strongly-significant statistical correlation between temperature change as reported by ground stations and economic growth in the regions where the measuring stations were located. No such correlation should exist if the compilers of the official surface-temperature records have made due allowance for the urban heat-island effect.
The inescapable conclusion was that insufficient allowance had been made for the growth of industrial activity close to numerous temperature monitoring stations, and that consequently the true rate of warming over land in the past half-century had been little more than half of what the official record showed.
Professor McKitrick published his paper just before the deadline for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. None of the Climategate emailers had time to rebut it. Ipecac mentioned it, through gritted teeth, and added that it disagreed with the paper. However, it was unable to give even a single scientific reason why it disagreed. If a nice, handy rebuttal had been available, Ipecac would have been able to cover its prejudice and reassure the faithful that the New Religion remained unsullied merely by citing the rebuttal (however unmeritorious).
Many worshipers in the Church of “Global Warming” here in Cancun have begun to realize that the game is up, the science is in, the truth is out, and the scare is over. To these pious believers, it is now becoming essential to be able to say that no one could possibly have known that Ipecac had made so many fundamental mistakes, just a few of which I have outlined here.
The mood is subdued, even sombre. The Nazified triumphalism of Copenhagen, with the green banners and political slogans (e.g. “Brad Pitt Saves The Planet”) draped over every public building, and the hobnail-booted Communists frog-marching past the now-redundant Danish Parliament building carrying red flags bearing the hated hammer-and-sickle emblem of Marxist tyranny for the first time since the Berlin Wall came down, are absent here.
A sullen, gloomy realization that maybe, just maybe, they got it all wrong is beginning to dawn upon the less unintelligent delegates. So the exit strategy is being quietly, hastily constructed.
Not the least element in the escape plan is a continuing and increasingly vicious denigration of any small boy who has dared to point out that the Emperor has no clothes. Dr. Spencer and I will be giving a press conference here in a couple of days’ time. I’d put quite a large bet on one of the mainstream media types asking a question designed to cast both of us an unfavorable light: “Dr. Spencer, why have you agreed to share a platform with that loony charlatan Monckton, who is not a scientist and is not even a real Lord?”
It is always a sad business when a religion passes into the night. A religion it is – or, rather, a superstition of the most childish kind. The president of the conference, a Ms. Figueres from Costa Rica, set the anti-scientific tone of the proceedings by opening them with a prayer to the Mayan Goddess of the Moon. Ms. Figurehead no doubt thought that this would be a nice way for the true-believers to pay a compliment to our Mexican hosts.
Be that as it may, I have important work to do. I must go to the market and get the hotel some bananas.
See also Monckton’s Mexico Missive #1