Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
An article by Lord Monckton outlined his involvements with Thomas Karl, Director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville NC. It arose from a publication by Karl and others regarding global temperatures. The article, was apparently designed to influence the public debate as the COP21 climate conference in Paris looms. Monckton identified his appearance on behalf of the Republicans and Karl for the Democrats. According to Monckton, Karl said, “How do you expect to be taken seriously?” Monckton’s response that the data must be taken seriously is appropriate. However Karl appears to be speaking from the power of his position as a bureaucrat who controls the data and the politicians. It parallels a comment made by a bureaucrat after I gave a presentation, “What is your motive?” I replied, “Something apparently unfamiliar to you, the truth” The episodes identifies two major issues. First, the idea that if you accept AGW and the government position as correct you are left of center politically and even if you only challenge it you are right of center. To test this, ask yourself what the chances are of Monckton appearing for the Democrats or Karl for the Republicans. Second, is the power of bureaucrats to control the science and the politicians? For them the science is settled and therein is the problem of bureaucratic climate scientists.
It is time for skeptics in every nation to openly challenge what is going on in their national weather offices. It is occurring in some countries, but a greater effort is required. The public needs to know the extent of their role in the IPCC. They also need to know the level of inaccuracy in their short, medium and long-term forecasts, the latter exemplified by the failed IPCC forecasts. The focus here is on the role of bureaucratic control in climate and environmental issues, but it is part of the larger recovery of control of government. Politicians don’t seem willing to tackle the problem so it has to be a grassroots effort to remind them government is by the people and for the people.
Climate skepticism exists in some larger western nations. Where it does, and is effective, it is actively and excessively challenged. An example is the recent claim that skeptics should be charged under the organized crime legislation, or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Generally, the nations actively involved produced computer models as part of the ensemble of model process, CMIP5, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This involves 20 models, but approximately 11 countries.
The challenge is in the smaller nations. I recently completed several hours of interviews for Romanian TV. The science reporter involved began writing a book on climate and realized that only the IPCC side was known in Romania. It is the case in most countries. The smaller nations only participate as members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), but are valuable for political objectives as their one vote is as valuable as a larger nations vote. This is the constant problem of the UN in all matters. The Maldives and sea level claims are an example of this exploitation. As Richard Lindzen explained:
IPCC’s emphasis, however, isn’t on getting qualified scientists, but on getting representatives from over 100 countries, said Lindzen. The truth is only a handful of countries do quality climate research. Most of the so-called experts served merely to pad the numbers.
Again Lindzen from his direct involvement with the IPCC wrote:
It is no small matter that routine weather service functionaries from New Zealand to Tanzania are referred to as ‘the world’s leading climate scientists.’ It should come as no surprise that they will be determinedly supportive of the process.
Maurice Strong deliberately set up the IPCC through the UN and the WMO. As Elaine Dewar concluded in her book Cloak of Green, Strong liked the UN because:
He could raise his own money from whomever he liked, appoint anyone he wanted, and control the agenda.
Strong controlled the political and science agendas through the weather offices of every nation. He wanted to create the science to prove human CO2 was the problem and then convince the public that lack of action is catastrophic. Using Weather Departments gave bureaucrats ascendancy over politicians because to challenge them put them in contradiction with their own experts, as the Karl Congressional appearance and comments confirm. They control the flow of information in every WMO country.
In 2007 Director of NASA GISS James Hansen, charged the White House with limiting his ability to speak out publicly. Several authorities challenged his claim, but especially his boss at NASA. The larger question is why NASA didn’t charge Hansen with a breach of the Hatch Act, which is specific legislation to limit political activities of Federal bureaucrats. From personal communication with Hansen’s boss, I know the answer was “word from above”. Ironically, the problem is not political interference, that always occurs and is their role, but rather that more and more bureaucrats are political. Who is in charge? If people can’t see the dangers of control by unelected officials then democracy is doomed. Mary McCarthy explains the problem. “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.”
Recently a Canadian headline read “Liberal MPs hold press conference on muzzling of scientists”. As usual, the story is different than the headline. The real story is the growth of bureaucratic power in all parts of government. The more dangerous trend is bureaucrats establishing policy and effectively running governments.
Three Canadian MP’s repeated the views of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the largest Canadian multi-professional union. The Union held public rallies a week before the MP’s announcement protesting Prime Minister Harper’s government interference. An anonymous bureaucrat explained the protestations.
The challenge, he said, is two-fold: for one, lack of freedom to speak freely with the media; and second, the inability to freely disseminate research to the public in a meaningful way.
“Basically, whenever there’s a call or a need to speak to the public or an opportunity to speak to the public, everything has to be approved at generally a fairly high level,” he said. “Particularly if it’s going to be a national story or it’s going to be something that would be of general interest.”
Though local stories are generally approved, he said he still has to go through a “hierarchy of approval.”
This is a person who either did not read or understand the conditions of employment. Canadian Federal bureaucrats are appointed by the Public Service Commission Board, which requires people “refrain from overt political activity once in office, lest their appearance of partisan neutrality be compromised.” It is perfectly within the government’s purview to control policy and bureaucrats. The story illustrates the problems guaranteed to occur with bureaucratic scientists.
The protesting scientists are, almost all employees of Environment Canada. They are trying to prevent the Harper government redressing the use of that agency for a political agenda under a previous government. That government deliberately excluded Canadian climate scientists from participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
For example, I travelled with eight others to Ottawa for a press conference to contradict Minister of the Environment David Anderson’s claim that they consulted all Canadian climate scientists about the Kyoto Protocol. We announced we were not consulted. At the time Anderson had not announced his climate policy and said he was in no hurry to do so. Suddenly, he said he would present the policy in the House of Commons and by coincidence it was at exactly the same time as our press conference. As a result, few media attended our conference.
The Canadian scientists protesting about government interference clearly don’t realize they are not practicing science. They promote an untested, unproven hypothesis when it is the role of scientists to challenge any hypothesis. Scientists must be skeptics otherwise they are not practicing science. Bureaucratic scientists must produce support for their government’s political positions or risk losing their jobs.
Environment Canada’s IPCC Role And The Damage Done.
Environment Canada was very active with the IPCC and promoting their agenda from the start. It is no coincidence that the Chair of the 1985 meeting in Villach Austria at which the structure of the IPCC was formulated was Gordon McBean, Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada (EC).
It took a massive diversion of funds within EC to pursue their goal. The Auditor General said EC spent $6.8 billion from 1997 to 2005 on climate change. Almost all of this went to people and programs supporting the government position. Diversion of funding to climate change left other legislated requirements incomplete.
To cover these diversions they took money from other programs. There are fewer weather stations in Canada now than in 1960, many replaced with unreliable Automatic Weather Observing Stations (AWOS). Many important activities and data collection practices were abandoned. While I was chair of the Assiniboine River Management Advisory Board (ARMAB) in Manitoba the worst flood on record occurred. We asked Water Resources why they didn’t forecast the event. They said they had no data on the amount of water in the snow in the valley. We learned EC canceled flights that used special radar to determine water content. Savings, as I recall, were $26,000. The cost of unexpected flood damage was $7 million to one level of government alone. Loss of weather data means long continuous records, essential to any climate studies, are impossible.
EC failures caused public protest forcing them to take action. They commissioned an internal study and report titled “Action Plan for Climate Science Research at Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC)” prepared by a group called The Impact Group. This was obtained by Canada’s Access to Information (ATI) provision. Ken Green wrote an article in the National Post on December 12, 2003 identifying some of the issues. Here is the major conclusion of the Impact Report that shows why EC did not want it disclosed.
Elements of an “Action Plan for Climate Science Research at MSC” (obtained through an Access to Information request) indicate that Canada’s climate change science program is being driven by a predetermined political agenda with a clear disregard of scientific needs. The Impact Group observes for example, that Canada collects “less climate science data per-square-kilometer of any other major country.” It observes that “the archiving of climate data is so highly fragmented that it is difficult to find out what datasets are available, let alone how to access them.”
Yet the report shows that our resources are not being directed to remedy those information gaps. Rather, our climate resources are being directed toward finding ways to “mitigate” climate change before it’s even adequately measured. The Impact Group also points out that we are only just beginning “to unravel the complexity of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions that determine climate” and suggests that the manmade component of climate change is still to be discerned. Coming from a contractor to Environment Canada, that’s a pretty sharp divergence from the claims by Environment Minister David Anderson that the science of climate change is “solid” and “settled.”
Gordon McBean was a major participant in the singular and devastating direction EC took. He brought his political view of environmental issues and particularly global warming expressed in a speech to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1995.
As the Canadian government web page noted at the time;
Environment Canada is a strong supporter of, and an active participant in, the IPCC. Dr. John Stone (Environment Canada, retired), holds a position on the Bureau and Working Group II, Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Art Jaques, Director, Greenhouse Gas Division, Environment Canada, is a member of the Task Force Bureau on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. As well, over 30 Canadian scientists from government, universities and the private sector are participating as authors and editors for the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.
John Stone’s position is critical as the liaison between the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) group directed by McBean and the IPCC. The ACIA Reports are almost the sole source for Arctic coverage in the 2007 IPCC Report.
Green spoke about the exclusion of Canadian skeptics that the Report confirms.
Skeptics of catastrophic climate change theory such as myself have long complained that the way governmental agencies conduct science is badly politicized. We have also complained about a lack of consultation – although some of the most reputable climate scientists in the world work in Canada, they have rarely been consulted or asked to advise the government on the science of climate change.
In 2006, 60 prominent Canadian climate experts wrote a letter to Prime Minister Harper asking for an open debate on global warming. It began,
As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government’s climate-change plans.
McBean orchestrated a response letter with another IPCC member, computer modeler Andrew Weaver. They got 90 signatures, but most were Environment Canada employees or people benefiting from government largess.
Another egregious example of EC’s failure was cancellation of their financial support for a joint program with the National Museum of Canada in the 1980s and 1990s. Run under the auspices of the National Museum of Natural Sciences it was titled “Climatic Change in Canada During the Past 20,000 years.” This program brought together a multitude of experts in all different aspects of climate and climate reconstruction and produced volumes of collected papers, published in Syllogeus by the museum that put Canada in the forefront of climate research and reconstruction. To my knowledge none of these experts was called to testify before Parliamentary hearings on Kyoto or were appointed to the IPCC. EC deliberately excluded Canadian climate experts – something that continues to this day. Climate change became political and unaccountable because bureaucrats at EC controlled it.
But McBean wasn’t done. He also established his post-bureaucratic career by using $61 million of taxpayer money to set up the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) “Canada’s main funding body for university-based research on climate, atmospheric and related oceanic work.” Its job was to fund climate research beyond EC, he took over as Chair shortly after he retired. CFCAS did what EC did, that is essentially only fund people who agreed with their political position. As Wikipedia notes, “The foundation has invested over $117 million in university-based research related to climate and atmospheric sciences.” McBean continues to serve on the CFCAS Board but is also Research Chair of The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. His work is widely recognized by the insurance industry.
A simple definition of science is the ability to predict. If your prediction is wrong your science is wrong. How good is the “science” these Canadian bureaucrats produce? The answer is, by their measure, a complete failure. Figure 1 shows the accuracy of their weather prediction for 12 months over the 30-year span from 1981 to 2010.
Notice that for 90 percent of Canada the forecast average accuracy is given as 41.5 percent. A coin toss is far better odds.
They are no better at longer forecasts. They spend millions on computer model projections for the IPCC. Several nations produce model projections that are averaged to make claims about future temperature. All the models are wrong, but the Canadian model performs worse than any other (Figure2).
Here is what two climate experts said about the Canadian model.
“The differences between the predictions and the observed temperatures were significantly greater (by a factor of two) than what one would get just applying random numbers.”
As Ken Gregory explained,
They explained that a series of random numbers contain no information. The Canadian climate model produces results that are much worse than no information, which the authors call “anti-information”.
Any scientist or academic who carves a career out of a particular topic or position is in danger of the predicament Tolstoi identified.
“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
The problem is even worse for a scientist/bureaucrat, especially those at Environment Canada. Once they convinced the politicians that CO2 and global warming was a problem they were on a treadmill. They could not tell politicians, who based strong public positions on the information obtained from EC, that they were wrong. They could not act, as science requires, by adjusting to new evidence. They set out to guarantee the truth of their claim that the science is settled. Worse, as members of the IPCC they ignored evidence, created false data, adjusted records to create desired results. They effectively said the science was settled, which is never true. If you collect the Nobel Prize together you accept the blame together. This is what happens when scientists are bureaucrats.
Skeptics make scientific critiques showing the errors of IPCC science, but avoid the political issues. That is understandable, but will not stop the corruption of climate science. It is time to change tactics. I know simple logic works. I also know most scientists avoid politics of the climate agenda so here is a very effective message for skeptics using simple science when talking to the public. Point out what the public already laugh about, namely that weather forecasts of even a few days ahead are consistently wrong, yet the weather offices talk with certainty about global warming in 20, 30 and 50 years. The usual explanation is that weather forecasts are different than climate forecasts. Point out that climate is the average of the weather, so if the weather is wrong the climate is wrong.
It’s time for skeptics of every nation to look at what is going on in their weather office. There is something seriously wrong when they can publish completely failed results with impunity and yet still demand credibility over policy. Skeptics need to expose how the bureaucracies are used for a political agenda and do it with inadequate data and corrupted science.
 Cloak of Green: The Links between Key Environmental Groups, Government and Big Business, Elaine Dewar, Lorimer Press, 1995.
An abbreviated version of parts of this article appeared here.