Guest post by Dr. Tim Ball
Proponents of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis are cornered. They made a political choice to prove rather than disprove the hypothesis, as the scientific method requires. It failed, as IPCC projections (range of predictions?) indicate, but instead of abandoning or modifying the hypothesis, as normal science requires, they’ve reverted to tactics they think worked in the first place.
One of these was a return of the “consensus argument” in a survey by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) that said “98% of all scientists believe in global warming”. It was a contrived result that wasn’t really a consensus. It didn’t matter to proponents because the headline was the objective. They know the rejoinder is not news and rarely gets reported, especially in the mainstream media. As Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson said “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
Proponents can’t make new scientific claims because the hypothesis that human CO2 is causing global warming was offset when temperatures declined and CO2 levels continued to rise. Their strategy apparently involves claiming earlier evidence was correct as confirmed by new studies. These are then trumpeted by familiar names and outlets, such as Justin Gillis or Seth Borenstein of the New York Times. Here’s Borenstein’s July 23, 2009 email to the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) gang. He wrote, “Kevin, Gavin, Mike, It’s Seth again. Attached is a paper in JGR today that Marc Morano is hyping wildly. It’s in a legit journal. Watchya think?” A journalist talking to scientists is legitimate, but like the leaked emails, tone and subjective comments are telling. “Again” means there is previous communication. Others have commented on Borenstein being “too damn cozy with the people he covers.”
Initially the Antarctic ice core was presented as 420,000 years of evidence that an increase in CO2 caused a temperature increase. Within a few years the opposite relationship was proved; temperature increased first. All other records showed the same relationship, but most continued with the assumption, in their models and elsewhere, that CO2 causes temperature increase. In April, 2012 Harvard professor Jeremy Shakun and colleagues claimed a re-examination showed the original claim for the ice core was correct. The New York Times dutifully reported the story with the desired headline, “Study of Ice Age Bolsters Carbon and Warming Link.” It didn’t take long for Eschenbach and Easterbrook among others to expose the flaws, but those weren’t reported in the New York Times.
The “hockey stick” appeared in the 2001 IPCC Report as major evidence that human CO2 caused current warming that exceeded the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). There were two problems with the claim. The MWP occurred as hundreds of papers affirm and the data selection and statistical analysis used was flawed. Two independent committees reached the conclusion that “the original hockey stick was created by a biased methodology.”
Apparently, rather than try to challenge the MWP evidence directly, some of the authors of the Antarctic ice core story incorporated it into a wider claim. The warmer than today MWP was a challenge, but equally problematic was the Holocene Optimum. This period spanned some 11,000 years from the end of the last ice advance of the Pleistocene and was mostly warmer than today reflected in rapid ice melt and sea level rise.
Shakun is now co-author in a paper by Marcotte et al., titled, “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years”, which claims current temperatures are warmer than the MWP, but also warmer than the Holocene Optimum. A New York Times headline says,“Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 years.” It was undoubtedly, exactly the headline they sought. You won’t see a story reporting expert Don Easterbrook’s analysis of their study that concludes, “In the past 10,000 years, at least six other warm periods of magnitude equal to the MWP occurred; nine other warm periods that were 0.5°C warmer than the MWP occurred; two warm periods that were 1°C warmer than the MWP occurred; and three warm periods that were 1.5°C warmer than the MWP occurred. All of these periods warmer than the MWP clearly contradict the Marcott et al. conclusions.”
A second assessment by David Middleton determined,
“This paper appears to be a text book example of creating a Hockey Stick by using a low resolution time series for the handle and a high resolution time series for the blade…”
The headline about the original article grabbed the spotlight, but the public and politicians are not paying much attention anymore. They are inured, saturated and increasingly indifferent to the daily ‘sensationalist’ headlines.
Evidence of the new PR campaign was reappearance of phrases used prior to the leaked emails. They were designed to limit experts to a discreet few “active climatologists.” The emails detail how they controlled the peer-review process to delimit who was “active.” The term appears in the AGU survey discussed earlier. It was often interchanged with “working climatologists.” The problem is “working climatologists” created the leaked emails, bypassed the peer review process and produced the unsuccessful IPCC projections (predictions). These climatologists are now playing the victim card. Mann and others claim they’re victims of an attack funded by “big oil”. As he said in 2010,
“We literally have the most powerful industry that ever existed on earth using much of their resources to smear the science and confuse the public about the adverse effects to our world of fossil fuel burning. History will look back most unkindly on industry-funded individuals and groups who sought to intentionally mislead the public about the reality and threat of human-caused climate change.”
He resurrected the claim in his 2012 book, but Joanne Nova exposed the truth.
“The money and vested interests on the pro-scare side is vastly larger, more influential, and more powerful than that on the skeptical side,” “Despite this highly asymmetrical arrangement, the skeptics are winning simply because they’re more convincing—they have the evidence,” “The other team avoid debate, try to shut down discussion (only their experts count), they imply the audience is too stupid to judge for themselves, and then call everyone who disagrees rude names. The dumb punters are figuring them out.”
Dumb punter awareness means AGW proponents are losing the political battle. Governments still wear the cloak of green, but most of them quietly reduce funding as they watch green economies and alternate energies fail. Most know political climate science is over, but a few continue to defend the indefensible. The only likely residual will be carbon taxes and carbon regulations for a political agenda, almost exclusively in the US.