The 'Pause' of Global Warming Risks Destroying The Reputation Of Science

By Garth Paltridge

clip_image010_thumb.jpgGlobal temperatures have not risen for 17 years. The pause now threatens to expose how much scientists sold their souls for cash and fame, warns emeritus professor Garth Paltridge, former chief research scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research.

Climate Change’s Inherent Uncertainties

…there has been no significant warming over the most recent fifteen or so years…

In the light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem … in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society’s respect for scientific endeavour…

The trap was set in the late 1970s or thereabouts when the environmental movement first realised that doing something about global warming would play to quite a number of its social agendas. At much the same time, it became accepted wisdom around the corridors of power that government-funded scientists (that is, most scientists) should be required to obtain a goodly fraction of their funds and salaries from external sources—external anyway to their own particular organisation.

The scientists in environmental research laboratories, since they are not normally linked to any particular private industry, were forced to seek funds from other government departments. In turn this forced them to accept the need for advocacy and for the manipulation of public opinion. For that sort of activity, an arm’s-length association with the environmental movement would be a union made in heaven…

The trap was partially sprung in climate research when a number of the relevant scientists began to enjoy the advocacy business. The enjoyment was based on a considerable increase in funding and employment opportunity. The increase was not so much on the hard-science side of things but rather in the emerging fringe institutes and organisations devoted, at least in part, to selling the message of climatic doom. A new and rewarding research lifestyle emerged which involved the giving of advice to all types and levels of government, the broadcasting of unchallengeable opinion to the general public, and easy justification for attendance at international conferences—this last in some luxury by normal scientific experience, and at a frequency previously unheard of…

The trap was fully sprung when many of the world’s major national academies of science (such as the …  Australian Academy of Science) persuaded themselves to issue reports giving support to the conclusions of the IPCC. The reports were touted as national assessments that were supposedly independent of the IPCC and of each other, but of necessity were compiled with the assistance of, and in some cases at the behest of, many of the scientists involved in the IPCC international machinations. In effect, the academies, which are the most prestigious of the institutions of science, formally nailed their colours to the mast of the politically correct.

Since that time three or four years ago, there has been no comfortable way for the scientific community to raise the spectre of serious uncertainty about the forecasts of climatic disaster… It can no longer escape prime responsibility if it should turn out in the end that doing something in the name of mitigation of global warming is the costliest scientific mistake ever visited on humanity.

Full story here at: Quadrant Online


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Science is great, science is wonderful but people such as Al Gore or anyone else who subscribes to the GW lie should be expelled by the scientific community. GW is based on lies and falsified data. This entire GW debate almost makes me want to vomit, I am so sick of the lies. Oh, and TWC needs to refrain from naming winter storms. Idiots…

Dave R

Either they were lying when telling us that the science was settled or they weren’t very scientific about it. Either way all science is worse for it.

Science will be fine, thank you very much. Scientists who practice non-replicable “science” will not fare quite as well, despite what a few bristle-cone pines have to say.


I am constantly amazed that the professional working in climate ‘science’ cannot meet the standards in their published work which are consider the norm of a student handing in a essay .
While the author has a good point , for I guess that some who support ‘the cause ‘ in reality have little faith in the scientific validity of it. But know that having gone all in they have little choice but double down or lose the lot .
The hear no evil , see no evil , say no evil approach of the scientific establishment when to comes poor academic practice and worse personal approach of the IPCC and ‘the Team’ could end up costing is all a great deal .
But if science in general becomes to the public a untrusted joke because of AGW , it really only has itself to blame.

Science. The seeking of knowledge.
Has no reputation to lose.
Only the hubris of its proponents.


In the future this period of global warming alarmism will be compared to Lysenkoism. Many reputations will be in ruins. Hailing Dr. Homer Hansen.

Roy Spencer


LC Bennett

This well thought out article is an excellent response to the article that J.Curry referred to yesterday, “The Death of Expertise”. Laymen are not stupid. They understand how the world works. The pressure to conform, temptation to “sell their souls”, etc. Experts who assume they should be given the final word in their area of expertise underestimate the sophistication of laymen. In fact, as Curry notes, independent researchers can make valuable contributions to science.

Dodgy Geezer



While it is important to remember the names and faces of the scientists at the heart of the CAGW swindle, I believe the mainstream/consensus media must also be held to account. The large number of so-called journalists who would happily grill any wavering politician are little more than bobble-headed admirers when encountering a climate scientist. And those same media outlets are crying the blues now that fewer people want to listen to their drivel.

David in Cal

Amen. I think the reputation of all science will be harmed, particularly academic science. Sadly, I think the hit to reputation is deserved. I think more academic science is done badly than we’d care to believe, especially in the handling of statistics and inference.

Peter Miller

There is science and there is ‘climate science’.
The standards and ethics of the latter has brought the former into disrepute.
The 17 year hiatus/pause/whatever has demonstrated the current temperature cycle is no different from the many tens of thousands of other similar cycles seen throughout geological history.
The waste of money in the climate cause is truly incredible and what has it achieved apart from rising energy bills and ugly blots on the landscape?

Robin Edwards

I would like to send this essay to my Member of Parliament. Is that permitted?
He is a Financial Secretary (or some such fairly influential post) and is very numerate. He has a clear line to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and would be worth “cultivating”.

All this will not only harm science, but also the environment.
Took many years to build the environmental consciousness some, or most, of the people in the Western world and some other developed countries now have. Recycling, garbage segregation, curb emissions, etc… As soon as the myth is debunked, I am afraid what will happen.
I am afraid a lot of people will just shun whatever the correct environmental approach is. Many people might start seeing the truly good for the environment approaches as another worthless thing. It might all become in their minds either a lie or something that is an exaggeration.
Credibility to good things will now be trashed. There are so many negative things that might come out of this scam that mother nature should be able to sue everybody involved in this down to a couple generations.
In a few hundred years historians will look back and, as the 80’s are known for the fashion trends, the last two decades after 2000 will be known for the gullibility and exaggerated fears of the unaccountable. Ignorance and scares.


Far too late. What reputation? Science is dead, having accepted money to spew continuous propaganda since the ’80s, or, at the very best, failed to rise up and point out the fallacies published in Nature and Science and similar jourinals. Academia’s reputation is bit lower. Journalism is lowest of all, having maintained an inexplicable silence for the same period. People of integrity are few, these days, it would seem. ¿Why is that, I wonder. What happened?


The scientific establishment has long ago lost its credibility over the CAGW fiasco. It won’t be getting it back for a long, long time.


“rising energy bills and ugly blots on the landscape”
An example is Wolfe Island by Kingston Ont. Canada. What was beautiful has become ugly due to the many wind mills on the island. The power is very expensive, and intermittent.


dfbaskwill says:
January 26, 2014 at 8:20 am
Science will be fine, thank you very much. Scientists who practice non-replicable “science” will not fare quite as well, despite what a few bristle-cone pines have to say.
Sorry, can’t agree. Science shouldn’t be “fine”. Too many formerly respected scientists and scientific institutions have colluded in untold damage to economies and people. Too many scientists who didn’t really know the subject bad-mouthed people who knew the subject far better but had the temerity to question the “consensus”.
I doubt that I’m alone in now questioning the motives and honesty of any scientist in any field proposing anything of any significance.
A root and branch cleansing of climate “science” is necessary, both for the future of the field but as an example to others. The rest of science should be humbled and so scared by the treatment handed out to climate wrongdoers that they wouldn’t dare be anything but scrupulous themselves.
And the honest but silent ones will only have themselves to blame. If only, when CAGW became such a powerful controversy, they had examined it for themselves or at least not acquiesced in the demonizing of those who were brave enough to remain sceptical, then science as a whole wouldn’t have become tarred with the same brush as the charlatans.

Paul in Sweden

“…Risks Destroying The Reputation Of Science” When entire science academies worked to obscure the revelations of Climategate, I do believe that that ship of fools has already sailed.

@Gareth>The trap was set in the late 1970s or thereabouts ….
There is even an earlier precedent, where scientific research was similarly distorted to assist a political agenda. In the 1930’s the Soviet Union promoted Lysenko’s disastrous Lamarckian genetic theories. Those who disagreed with Lysenko’s theory were imprisoned or killed.
Today climate activists have achieved international control over scientific research on a scale that dwarfs Lysenkoism, impeding or stamping out any research that contradicts the “consensus” theory.


While I agree with the central premise of the author’s essay, I would argue that private industry is also responsible to a considerable degree in regard to the corruption of climate science. Once the enormous amounts of money at stake became visible to the captains of industry, they set about diverting as much as they could of it into their own pockets. Adept at it, they themselves became cheer leaders for bad science because it was good for business.
Carbon credits – one more commodity for the financial industry to set up a market for and skim a percentage off the top.
Oil and Gas – they pumped the meme because it improved their competitiveness versus coal
Windmill and solar manufacturers – subsidies created entire manufacturing sectors that otherwise would have been insignificant
Power generation – they were gleefully “forced” to accept “green” power into their grids, enabling them to obtain permission from regulators to raise prices accordingly, substantially increasing revenue.
I could go on, the list of beneficiaries in the private sector is exceedingly long. Once those industries had their noses in the trough right next to the public sector scientists, the whole thing veered off into lunacy with politicians being tugged toward rank stupidity in terms of economic policy by enviro loons, science loons and industry loons alike.
Costliest scientific mistake ever doesn’t begin to quantify the magnitude of the problem.

dfbaskwill says:
January 26, 2014 at 8:20 am
Science will be fine, thank you very much. Scientists who practice non-replicable “science” will not fare quite as well, despite what a few bristle-cone pines have to say.
You beat me to it. Just seems to take a long time for the reputation of scientists to decline.


Eisenhower warned about this fifty years ago in his farewell address. Unfortunately, most people just read the part about the military-industrial complex and stop there, rather than continue on to the warnings about the links between government and the ‘scientific-technological elite’.
The only solution is to cut all taxpayer funding of science, completely; let scientists do something useful that people are willing to pay for, or nothing at all. We won’t lose much, as most of the taxpayers’ money goes on generating dubious studies that are soon contradicted by other dubious studies.


Really? The loss of scientific credibility began with man-made global warming? Funny, I remember some pretty bad science in the Silent Spring, the ozone hole, acid rain, ethanol, solar energy, electric cars and the environmental list goes on. Not to mention all the hullabaloo over string theory, dark matter, dark energy and the Higgs boson. The science of economics is in complete tatters. Computer science has seen some huge disasters, a lot of them in big business, not just government. Medicine has seen some huge blunders (Eggs are bad for you! Or was it the bacon included in the test?). I think there’s more self promotion going on today than science. I wouldn’t trust a statement from a scientist further than I could spit it.

If this is the way it is going to go then there will be ‘blood on the floor’.
The cost of the entire farrago has been eye watering.
Meanwhile, some of us are just trying to work out how the climate system really works.
Motivated only by curiosity and our love of the natural world.


Unfortunately, the reputation of scientists was destroyed by Gore, et al years ago when he proclaimed the science settled. By and large, the scientific community said and did little in response. As a result, scientists have the same reputation as politicians and attorneys. The real shame is that this was all so avoidable.


Due to the nonsense “models” used in the cagw scam any time I see a study of any kind with forecasts using said models I have to be sceptical at best and at worst just think “pa rubbish,gigo…….

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the “pause” that is the downfall of global warming climatology. It is methodological shortcomings in the research that are obcured by applications of the equivocation fallacy. Prestigious scientific institutions have disgraced themselves through failure to see through this fallacy.


The author is still waiting on the weather while ignoring skeptical exposure of fraud and peer review corruption, and it continued unabated in 2013, impossibly, but so. Defrauding whole cultures is a moral crime of the highest order, as is just following orders and actively playing along.


It is becoming clear to the public that the climate alarmists are shills of Big Green. They have a well-funded organisation to spread misinformation and the denial of the significance of natural climate forcings.


When climate scientists tied their future to enviro activists and politicians, they left the realm of science and entered the world of politically correct causes. Enviro’s and politicians believe the end justifies the means. For enviro’s it is a religion, for politicians it is power. So they convinced the climate science academics to sell their reputations for passing prestige and money. In the end it will come out negative for most, the tax payers, the environment, and the academics. However for some like Hansen and Gore, the “green” technology corporations, they have become rich, so the end was justified by the means, ugly as it was.

Alan Robertson

Gareth Paltridge said:
“The trap was set in the late 1970s or thereabouts when the environmental movement first realised that doing something about global warming would play to quite a number of its social agendas.”
Go deeper…

Gary Pearse

“The ‘Pause’ of Global Warming Risks Destroying The Reputation Of Science”
Anthony, think what damage would have been done not only to science but all of mankind if we hadn’t had a pause at this time and the climate actually ends up not conferring such importance on CO2 50 years from now. We would have impoverished ourselves and when the pause finally did come, the big Ship of Fools that is the body of climate science would be congratulating themselves on having turned the tide and saved the planet. Science would be dead. There would be a special synod of scientific establishment that would mete and dole out grave punishments to skeptics who didn’t buy in by that time. Gareth says we are spending a billion a day!! This would have risen to 10 billion a day. I would be volunteering for the next trip to Mars.
Let us not lose sight of the terrible risk we were put at. Don’t let this all blow over as the rats abandon the Ship of Fools and rewrite their own personal histories. Greenpeace will give them lessons in this. Let’s not have any Truth and Reconciliation committees. This was far outside of any civilized parameters.


Gareth Paltridge:
I write to strongly support your article.
A decade ago Fred Singer organised a well-attended fringe meeting at an IPCC Meeting in The Hague. The speakers were Fred, Gerd Rainer-Weber and me.
My presentation concerned global temperature data sets and explained how the data was unreliable, inaccurate and not indicative of imminent crisis.
Near the end of that presentation I said,
“When ‘the chickens come home to roost’ – as they surely will with efluxion of time – the politicians and journalists won’t say, “It was all our fault”. They will say, “It was the scientists’ fault”, and that’s me, and I object!”
Since then I have seen nothing to change my view.
Indeed, things have gotten worse. For example, a recent scandal has removed the ability of AGW-sceptics to assert there is no evidence of AGW-sceptics practicing bad science procedures.
In the famous words from Dad’s Army, “We’re doomed, all doomed”, and I still object but to no avail.


Maybe climate scientists like Phil Jones and Michael Mann could learn from an old poem about ‘Truth’ by Arthur Hugh Clough. It contains the lines

I steadier step when I recall
That, if I slip, Thou dost not fall.

David in Cal

I’d love to see an apology from some scientists or scientific organization, but I don’t think that will happen. Recall that science never specifically admitted that there are no canals on Mars, nor did they explain why that false belief persisted for such a long time. They simply stopped talking about the canals.

Reed Coray

Gareth Paltridge has cogently summarized many of the thoughts I’ve had over the past six years–especially the relationship between global warming, scientists and social agendas. I have long held the opinion that with the breakup of the Soviet Union the people espousing socialism as the ideal form of government have thrown their saddle on global warming and are whipping their horse to the finish line–a one-world government. Given how many times the CAGW team has changed the goalposts in its attempt to hide the failure of many of its predictions projections, it’s ironic that mother nature apparently isn’t cooperating with the most important goalpost of them all: Earth temperature. As a result, CAGW proponents are finding out that if they had started their sprint to the finish line 10 to 20 before they did, they just might have achieved their goal and we’d now all be under the boot of UN control. Another ironic aspect of the CAGW fiasco is that the team only has itself to blame for the late start. In the 70s the crisis du jour was global cooling, not global warming. To maintain any semblance of credibility, the team had to wait a decent period before it could make the switch. It looks like that wait might be fatal to the team’s ultimate goal. Hallelujah!

“””””””” davidmhoffer says:
January 26, 2014 at 8:47 am
While I agree with the central premise of the author’s essay, I would
argue that private industry is also responsible to a considerable degree
in regard to the corruption of climate science””””””.
I would argue against this “considerable degree”, because I have sent my Earth
orbital and climate change analysis to hundreds of Warmist “climate scientists”
and almost none replied .
They refuse to take a look, as soon as they notice the paper is “skeptic” – they
are simply obstinate….. It doesn´t matter, whether a study is peer-reviewed or not,
see Nicolas Scafetta papers….It is Warmist policy, not to answer skeptical papers.
Myself, I complained with Stocker in Bern about AR4…..they replied: Yes, there
is something to it, you have a point……but, quote: “action is not warranted”, thus
AGW is dead scared to look into the Earth orbit matter as the cause for decadal
and centennial climate change….


I worked my entire career in managing corporate R&D labs. I love and value real science. But…
How many “scientists” gladly accepted the grants, funding, publications, meetings……….
How many spoke out Against the abuses and overstatements? As a % of community?
How many “scientific organizations” gladly embraced the warming meme for politics?
Seems like the reputation of “scientists” deserves to be lowered, many notches……….

john robertson

Good article, I too say science will be fine.
Those who disguise their advocacy in sciencey clothing will not fare so well.
The public has a nose for dishonesty and BS. (Bad Science)
While unsure, we are willing to give the “experts” the benefit of doubt, but when the consequences of having taken this expert advice are hugely damaging we are capable of being extremely unforgiving.
Science as an institution of uncertainty, has always been under attack.
The high priests and witchdoctors never left our societies, they have always resented having their grasp on the gullible pried loose, by sceptical thinkers with the freedom to speak.
The herd attraction to certainty is instinctive and comforting, we want to believe.
Human behaviour seems to cycle, from grimly pragmatic through to suicidal insanity.
The perception problem is it takes generations, exactly like those possible weather/climate cycles we are trying to decipher.
The horrible vision, the posted article gave me, ..
I forsee a time coming when those of us who have been extremely critical of the actions of modern scientists, particularly those of the “climate persuasion”, may find ourselves arguing on their behalf, against a lynch mob.
Always a possibility when you argue for fair play and civil discourse.
But I do maintain civilization is valuable.

Gary Pearse

davidmhoffer says:
January 26, 2014 at 8:47 am
“While I agree with the central premise of the author’s essay, I would argue that private industry is also responsible to a considerable degree in regard to the corruption of climate science.”
You are not wrong, of course, but don’t chastise industry for what it does best. If [your] business is production of energy and policies are being put in place to put you out of business, then you are going to also go into the green energy business and pick up subsidies and any other legal avenue to get your share. I don’t fault them. Industry responds to regulation. Making coal uneconomic in the USA and Australia leads to coal exports from their companies. You have to admire the versatility of industry. Also, at least a seasoned business is going to do this stupid deed most efficiently. Imagine what it would cost if a bunch of political scientists, environmentalists and their flacks were to go into the green energy business and we were forced to buy the energy from, say Greenpeas or World Wild Flights of Fancy organization.

Jim Cripwell

David in Cal, you write “I’d love to see an apology from some scientists or scientific organization, but I don’t think that will happen.”
I suggest there may be a difference when it comes to CAGW. Claiming there were canals on Mars did not cost taxpayers any money. Suggesting CAGW is real has cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Taxpayers can be very unforgiving.


David in Cal says:
January 26, 2014 at 9:25 am
You’re quite right David, you there will be no apology. There are too many serious losers; all the worlds Scientific Bodies including the once respected Royal Society, most of the mass media including the never-respected BBC, the once respected Nobel Foundation etc. They can never admit they were wrong, don’t even dream about it, it is not going to happen!
So, as Max Planck famously said

“Truth never triumphs — its opponents just die out. Thus, Science advances one funeral at a time”

James Strom

Paltridge in his full essay may be too pessimistic about a resolution to the problem. There are now skeptical governments scattered about the world, and as Jo Nova recently reported, Europe is beginning to swing away from its investments in alternative sources of power. Governments will probably make changes slowly, to avoid embarrassment. However, with electorates increasingly resisting the economic pain of AGW activism, we may actually see research money directed in part to skeptical scientific studies. With a balanced debate–in which Nature has a say–mainstream science may come to assess any projected warming as most likely not catastrophic.


They refuse to take a look, as soon as they notice the paper is “skeptic”
That is your assumption. You fail to consider that they did look, found your work to be without merit, and unworthy of response. Had you sent it to me, I might have responded, but I doubt you would be happy with my comments.
In any event, how publicly funded scientists responded to your missives has absolutely nothing to do with the role of private sector actors in persuading political decision makers in regard to climate policy.


BTW, his name is Garth, not Gareth.

Don’t be such a pessimist.
I still have one foot in the real world and ordinary folk have known for a while that AGW doesn’t sound ‘true’.
They are cynics as regards the conduct of big government and their lackeys in the world of ‘science’.
Just as the printing of fake money is forestalling the inevitable worldwide period of deflation the shenanigans of so called ‘scientists’ have already become a source of mere amusement.
Yet, despite the debasement of currencies worldwide, despite the stupidity of so called ‘experts’, the world is becoming richer, population growth is approaching stability and in due course a voluntary decline, natural resources are becoming more abundant through new methods of extraction, life expectancies are increasing, the power of dictators to exert their will is declining.
History flows towards a better future overall despite setbacks along the way and AGW was just one such setback which will be looked upon as an amusing example of past institutional stupidity in 100 years time.
The main culprits will get away with it, unfortunately, but the history of humankind will press on regardless.


Separating science from the cause.. Selling social engineering as some sort of quasi science like political campaign.. How can we be wrong with so many of the right people involved..
The government uses green to increase revenue and provide less infrastructure wise.. Abandoning projects just involves slapping a return to nature sign on it.. Not paying this year just involves a little more study..
Green is a governmental fudge factor to make sure there is money left in the coffers for government raises, promotions and benefits.. The public’s needs and the workers needs on a green teeter totter..
Who is not willing to put their thumb on the scale when reality is bounded by collective bargaining..
How do we get them to pay more for less.. How can we borrow on their backs so we can sell the fact that we are borrowing on their backs..
To me.. The western world sold its ability to produce profit to China.. Our elite (and their children) have no other choice but to create a new green industry that allows them to feed on the public..
Why do they need cheap power when they are NOT manufacturing here anyway.. They dont..
But.. they do need to generate some sort of profit in their own back yard to keep themselves at the top of the local heap.. Green is pushed and pulled, soiled and sold.. Keeping the lights on by slowly dimming them..
The very people who sold your future are taking your past.. This is clear..

Steve Oregon

“In the light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem ”
Overstating? How about fabricating the climate problem? That’s much worse and with such wholesale global participation from every sector of academia and governments it is inevitable that
it will turn out in the end that “global warming” is the costliest scientific mistake ever visited on humanity.
Nothing else comes close.
It’s maddening that here in Oregon the push for mitigation is soaring.
There appears to be no limit to the crimes of public deceit.


The reputation of politicians, and the profiteers who bought them their office in exchange will remain intact.