By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
» Several members of the American Physical Society have contacted me to ask how they should respond to a tokenistic “consultation” by the Society’s “Panel on Public Affairs” about its proposed amendment to its existing daft “Statement on Climate Change”. They invited me to submit this to WattsUpWithThat for publication as a message to our American cousins. APS members, please send comments on the draft statement to APS before the May 6 deadline. Please copy them to Judith Curry’s website, Climate Etc., which has a thread devoted to the draft statement: http://judithcurry.com/2015/04/20/aps-discussion-thread/.
Climate change is now a political issue. It is not the business of the American Physical Society to take sides and make what amount to partisan political statements, particularly when the activists promoting the APS’ revised “statement on climate change” have taken care to restrict members to one comment each on the draft. That restriction, for which your rules do not provide, prevents the development of a proper debate between the nest of activists behind the statement and the membership as a whole.
Onlookers have begun to notice how willing climate skeptics are to debate, and how unwilling the profiteers of doom. Shutting off debate by limiting comments confirms the growing impression among impartial observers that those who profit from the climate story are now nakedly fearful and intellectually incapable of defending a scientific position that becomes less tenable month by month:
Your note to APS members (which, incidentally, has not been sent to every member, as your rules require) does not even indicate that members who comment will get a reply. Again, the intention seems to be to stifle debate and keep control in the hands of a politically-correct gaggle of militants.
Worst of all, there will be no ballot of the membership on whether the statement in its final form should be promulgated as an APS statement. Your rules do not require a ballot but they do not forbid one either. It would be sensible if you were to give all members a free vote on the statement so that, for once, it will be reflect the scientific opinion not of a clique miscalling itself a consensus but of many.
Otherwise, the draft will not be a statement of or by or on behalf of the Society as a whole, and must not be presented as though it were. Instead, the document, if there is one, must state explicitly that your “APS statement” is the view of a single group of activists at the Society, and not a statement by the APS as a whole.
So to science. There is now a statable case that undue concern about our effect on the climate is misplaced. The original wild predictions on which that concern was built have proven much exaggerated. Even the IPCC has implicitly accepted this fact by substituting what it ambitiously describes as its “expert judgment” for the meaningless output of the computer models on which the excessive predictions of doom that originally fueled the climate scare were based. It has slashed its near-term projections of global warming by getting on for half, though your statement somehow fails to take note of this significant retreat:
Furthermore, the economic literature is near-unanimous in concluding that the cost of attempted mitigation today outweighs that of focused adaptation the day after tomorrow, though, again, your statement is culpably silent on this fact:
Accordingly, the American Physical Society runs the real risk of jeopardizing not only its own reputation but also the standing of science itself in the public mind if your activists’ superfluous, “me-too” climate statement eventually turns out to have been predicated far more on politics and peculation than on sound science and effective economics.
It would be preferable if the American Physical Society were either quietly to withdraw its current embarrassing statement without replacing it at all, or to scrap the present unacceptable redraft and replace it with the more sensible, more scientific and less politically prejudiced draft that now follows.
The new version corrects the many scientific errors in your draft, and takes a balanced position on the climate question, based not on politics nor on prejudice nor on profit but on evidence.
Climate change: risks and rewards, benefits and costs
Either: The following statement has not been voted on by the members of the American Physical Society. Accordingly, it may not represent their opinions.
Or: The following statement was approved by a two-thirds majority in a ballot of the members of the American Physical Society on [date of ballot].
Climate change is not new. The climate has been changing for millenia:
Disruption has often resulted. It can be expected to continue to occur in future. Therefore, as even the IPCC concedes, it is not appropriate to attribute each individual extreme-weather event to manmade global warming. We call upon the scientific community and the news media to take a more balanced and responsible and less exploitative attitude to the aetiology of extreme-weather events in future.
It is not clear whether natural or anthropogenic forcings currently dominate. Of the abstracts of 11,944 climate-related papers published in the reviewed journals over the 21 years 1991-2011, only 41 (0.3%) were found to have stated explicitly that most warming since 1950 was manmade (Legates et al., 2013). This is not a “97% consensus” and we express our dismay at the attempts in some scientific journals and in much of the news media to suggest near-unanimity on a scientific question that very much remains open.
No survey of scientists in climate and related fields has ever asked more than a statistically-inadequate handful of climatologists whether they consider our influence on the weather potentially dangerous. What is clear is that, though the concentration of CO2 is growing at a rate consistent with the IPCC’s 1990 “business-as-usual” scenario A (Le Quéré et al., 2014), the IPCC’s then-predicted consequential short-run central rate of global warming in the quarter-century since 1990 has proven to be double the observed trend on the mean of the monthly anomalies in the three longest-standing terrestrial datasets with the two satellite lower-troposphere datasets. The models have failed.
Near-term projections of global warming at a rate equivalent to 2.8 [1.9, 4.2] K/century, made with “substantial confidence” in IPCC (1990), for the 303 months January 1990 to March 2015 (orange region and red trend line), are all well above the observed anomalies (dark blue) and trend (bright blue) at less than 1.4 K/century equivalent, taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH satellite monthly mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.
One satellite dataset (RSS, 2015) shows no global warming for 18 years 4 months:
The influence of each additional CO2 molecule is less than that of each of its predecessors (Myhre et al., 1998). Affordably-recoverable fossil-fuel reserves are finite and may be largely exhausted by the end of the century in any event.
Until then, no significant reductions in CO2 emissions are foreseeable because China, which now burns half the world’s coal and is its largest CO2 emitter, has been effectively exempted from any requirement to curb emissions:
Furthermore, the mean atmospheric residence time of an individual CO2 molecule is 5-10 years. After allowing for biosphere exchanges, the mean persistence time of our added CO2 is 30-50 years, not the “thousands of years” your draft ludicrously suggests. The influence of our emissions will be short-lived once they cease, whether through regulation or through exhaustion.
Intergovernmental climate science has injected politics into the climate question in a manner often incompatible with independent scientific enquiry. The IPCC’s documents are not peer-reviewed: instead, the authors have – and use – the power to override the reviewers.
Worse, the IPCC has not always been honest. For instance, its persistence in insisting that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 20 years hence in the face of objections from its own reviewers is a case in point.
Also, the IPCC’s statistical manipulation of the global temperature data by a technique that enabled it falsely to maintain that the rate of global warming is accelerating (a technique that would just as falsely show a sine-wave as having a rising trend when the trend on a sine-wave is by definition zero) and its refusal to correct the resulting error in its Fourth Assessment Report upon a request from an expert reviewer that it should remove that now-discredited artifice demonstrate its self-serving and partisan intent and its panicky and now-flagrant disregard of the scientific method:
We call upon the IPCC and all others who profit from magnifying global warming to cease and desist from the corruption of science.
The IPCC’s predictions have not been skillful. The underlying warming rate is small: the models did not predict the current near-stasis in global temperatures, and the oceans – ignoring the very poor resolution of the measurements – appear to be warming at a rate equivalent to only 0.2 Cº/century.
The ARGO network of bathythermograph buoys does not provide much comfort for those who have tried to maintain that the “missing heat” predicted by the failed models has gone into hiding in the oceans:
An increasing body of reviewed research indicates that climate sensitivity is one-half to one-fifth of the IPCC’s estimates. On the evidence, there should be less climate research: other research fields in the physical sciences are suffering from the undue concentration of public funds on what now seems a non-problem:
At present, therefore, there is no scientific and still less economic case for any policy that would in any way regulate or control emissions of greenhouse gases. Indeed, there are benefits as well as risks in rising CO2 concentration: CO2 fertilization, for instance. The climate is currently undergoing no change that would – whether or not the change is anthropogenic – take the world beyond natural variability:
It is, in any event, not the role of scientific societies to make political recommendations. It is the APS’ role to be honest about science, not partisan about politics. To be honest, on the evidence now before us the certainty about the rightness of the IPCC’s profitably alarmist stance that the APS’ activists expressed in their previous statement on climate change was inappropriate.