Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Denialism is defined as “the practice of creating the illusion of debate when there is none.” In climate the problem is those who label others deniers are the real deniers. They don’t even acknowledge there is a debate to deny.
Even the Pope denied the deniers by excluding them from his climate conclave while he ordered priests to forgive those who had abortions. Apparently there are limits to Papal forgiveness. Sadly he doesn’t know enough to know who the real deniers are, which tends to dent infallibility. There is a long list including the President of the US and his cabinet, most world leaders, a majority of the world’s politicians, all environmental groups and their followers, and most with a left political leaning. Sadly, most have no understanding of the science, but typically they have very definitive positions; it is emotional and politically fuelled ignorance.
Recently Lord Monckton provided details of the continuing period of 18 years and 8 months with no global warming (Figure 1). Ross McKitrick puts the hiatus at 19 years at the surface and 16-26 years in the lower troposphere. Regardless, it contradicts the basic assumption of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis because CO2 levels continued to rise. Proponents only acknowledged these events by calling it climate change instead of global warming.
They then came up with 52 and counting excuses for the facts not fitting the hypothesis. These are similar attempts to explain away or deny conflicting evidence. AGW proponents even set up web sites to obfuscate, deflect and deny, The first was Realclimate set up at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). As Gavin Schmidt explained in a December 2004 email,
Colleagues, No doubt some of you share our frustration with the current state of media reporting on the climate change issue. Far too often we see agenda-driven “commentary” on the Internet and in the opinion columns of newspapers crowding out careful analysis. Many of us work hard on educating the public and journalists through lectures, interviews and letters to the editor, but this is often a thankless task. In order to be a little bit more pro-active, a group of us (see below) have recently got together to build a new ‘climate blog’ website: RealClimate.org which will be launched over the next few days:
Scepticalscience is another web page designed to contradict or deny evidence that shows the AGW hypothesis is wrong. Joanne Nova and Lubos Motl completed two incisive decimations of the validity of John Cook and his web page. A woman who spoke with Gavin Schmidt after a presentation at the University of Victoria wrote to me on July 26, 2015, with questions. She noted that,
“He (Schmidt) also directed me to the website www.scepticalscience.com to do my own research.”
This recommendation is not surprising because John Cook credits Schmidt for coming up with the idea for the web page.
An anonymous adage says,
“When you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you.”
Finger pointing rarely includes facts, especially in the climate debate. The first finger was pointed at global warming skeptics who tried to practice real science by questioning the AGW hypothesis. The slur was averted when the facts no longer fit the AGW story global warming story. Now it became Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC) and the second finger pointed at climate change deniers. This charge was rejected because enough people knew that climate change was natural. Besides, the opposite is true; opponents to AGCC are telling the public about the extent and speed of natural climate change.
As Paris nears, it’s evident no agreement is possible so rhetoric, and alarmism abound. Finger pointing has a new form, being a denier is now a disease, like leprosy. George Monbiot identified denial as a disease.
“There is no point in denying it: we’re losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease. It exists in a sphere that cannot be reached by evidence or reasoned argument; any attempt to draw attention to scientific findings is greeted with furious invective. This sphere is expanding with astonishing speed.”
Pope Francis limited his welcome to his recent climate conclave by not inviting disease carriers. Hardly an action Jesus would approve. In doing so, Francis created two groups. Those who knowingly deny the failure of the hypothesis and those who don’t know or want to know the hypothesis failed. Either way they are the real deniers.
Monbiot ignored all the facts I provided when he pointed the finger at me. Ignoring facts makes it easy to claim the deniers are at fault. The facts are the reason the sphere is expanding. Here are just a few, but sufficient to expose the deniers.
· As Monckton demonstrates, the global average temperature has not risen for 19 years.
· Over the same period CO2 levels continued to rise.
· Every IPCC temperature projection was wrong.
· Temperature increases before CO2 in every single record for any period. The only place in the world where CO2 increase precedes a temperature increase is in the IPCC computer models.
· CO2 is only 4 percent of the total greenhouse gasses and the human portion is only 3.4 percent of that total.
· Predictions of more severe weather are proving incorrect.
· The continued failure of medium forecasts, such as the most recent debacle in the UK, further the already high public skepticism about weather forecasts.
The Ulitmate Sign Of Denial
The worst level of denying is least seen by the public. It is the adjustment of data and records to ensure the deception continues. We knew about the adjustment of the New Zealand record by NIWA (Figure 2) and the claims against the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) by Jennifer Marohasy and others (Figure 3).
As Chris Booker points out, few exposed the extent of the manipulation, especially in the US, better than Stephen Goddard through his web site Real Science. In an article titled “Hansen – The Climate Chiropractor” Goddard asks, “Need your climate adjusted? – call Dr. James Hansen at GISS.” Figure 4 illustrates what Goddard describes as
“…Hansen’s remarkable changes to the pre-1975 temperature data. He simply removed that pesky warm period from 1890 to 1940.”
The most recent and egregious adjustments to data are those of Thomas Karl at the United States Historical Climate Network (USHCN) of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Karl has a long history of adjusting records as Steve McIntyre identified in 2007. In an open letter to Karl, Bob Tisdale questioned the method and the objective of the most recent adjustments. The phrase “cherry-picking” is all too familiar to those following the history of the real deniers. However, Judith Curry found it appropriate to describe what Karl did.
This new paper is especially interesting in context of the Karl et al paper, that ‘disappears’ the hiatus. I suspect that the main take home message for the public (those paying attention, anyways) is that the data is really uncertain and there is plenty of opportunity for scientists to ‘cherry pick’ methods to get desired results.
Apparently in a determination to say 2014 and 2015 are the warmest years on record and prove the hiatus Lord Monckton identifies didn’t exist he created a more than questionable method. These issues are crucial to supporting and continuation of the denial as a prelude to the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21). It is as important a deception to persuade politicians as the leaked emails were an exposure to stop COP 15 in Copenhagen.
The good news for Karl is he now has support for what he did from Michael Mann.
“Tom Karl and colleagues have done solid work here, but they’ve mostly just confirmed what we already knew,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “There is no true ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in warming.”
Mann’s credibility with scientists is clearly delineated in Mark Steyn’s latest book.
Who Has The Political Prejudice To Deny?
Logic says it’s those who want to stifle debate, to silence individuals and groups, who are the real deniers. President Obama in his State of the Union political speech said,
“So unfortunately, inside of Washington we’ve still got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they’re wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate,” “Climate change is a fact.”
Yes, Mr. President it is a fact but in stating it you cherry-pick the more accurate and complete statement that “Climate change is a fact, but anthropogenic climate change is not.” It appears the President is the denier in chief. Further proof of who the real deniers are is found in the anonymous observation that,
If an honest man is wrong, after demonstrating that he is wrong, he either stops being wrong, or he stops being honest.
In the case of the real climate deniers, they ignore the demonstrable facts and compound their denial by changing the record.