Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Recently an Open Letter was circulated and ostensibly signed by 375 members of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS). It is reported on the web page is arrogantly called “ResponsibleScientists.org. Use of the term in this context implies that those who do not belong are irresponsible scientists. Responsibility should go without saying.
I use the word “ostensibly” to describe the representation of the Open Letter. The initial impression is that it is a letter from the NAS. It is not! A separate sentence at the bottom of the letter explains.
The following signers of this letter do so as individual NAS members and not on behalf of the NAS itself or their Institutions.
Do we assume they obtained permission from all the members of the NAS? Were the contents approved by all members? Is this the behavior of “responsible” scientists?
The tactic of using a group is similar to the previous misuse of Academies of Science to promote the false narrative about global warming. Then it was orchestrated by Lord May (Brian May) when President of the Royal Society. At his instigation, all science societies were encouraged to take positions on behalf of their members. This missionary type of promotion and fervor is reflected in Lord May’s views on climate change identified in a 2009, pre-COP 15 (Copenhagen), and pre-Climategate revelations, article as follows,
“…religion may have helped protect human society from itself in the past and it may be needed again.
…the committed atheist (May) said he was worried the world was on a “calamitous trajectory” brought on by its failure to co-ordinate measures against global warming.
He said that no country was prepared to take the lead and a “punisher” was needed to make sure the rules of co-operation were not broken.
…in the past that was God and it might be time again for religion to fill the gap.
“Maybe religion is needed,” “A supernatural punisher maybe part of the solution.”
He (May) said in the past a belief in a god, or gods, that punish the unrighteous may have been part of the mechanism of evolution that maintains co-operation in a dog-eat-dog world.
Having a god as the ultimate punisher was possibly a logical step for a society to take, he added.
One of the few science societies to resist the idea was the Russian Academy of Science (RAS). The opposition was promoted by former (up to 2008) IPCC vice-chairman Yuri Israel, and Kirill Kondratieff, President of the RAS.
In all cases, the society members were not consulted on and the action taken by a few. Some individual members protested, like Emeritus Professor of Physics Harold Lewis, who resigned from the American Physical Society in October 2010. His letter said in part
“the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”
Despite the heroic action by Professor Lewis, the media picked up and pushed the collective action. As a result of May’s influence and the dictatorial actions of Society leaders the issue became a central ‘consensus’ argument against skeptics and later deniers. It was a dogmatic, almost religious argument, completely contrary to the basic requirements of science. Lord May the atheist, became Lord May the proselytizer for the new religion.
Compare Professor Lewis’s comment against the first paragraph of the Open Letter.
Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality. Fossil fuels powered the Industrial Revolution. But the burning of oil, coal, and gas also caused most of the historical increase in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This increase in greenhouse gases is changing Earth’s climate.
It is only a physical reality in the computers and Summary for Policymakers (SPM) Reports of the IPCC.
Four people, Benjamin Santer, Kerry Emmanuel, George Field, and Ray Weymann, are identified as “letter organizers.” Presumably, the word “organizer” means one of them wrote the letter and the other three peer-reviewed before circulation for general signature. 375 signatures appeals to the consensus argument that is a favorite of AGW promoters but wrong because science is not about consensus. As Albert Einstein said,
No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
The Letter also uses Argumentum Ad Verecundiam, an appeal to authority, by citing 30 Nobel Laureates. It is likely that most of them, and likely many of the 375, never read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (IPCC). If they did and knew anything about climate science they would discover what German physicist and meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls found.
“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.”
If they checked further, they would discover that every climate forecast made by the IPCC since 1990 has been wrong.
The creation of a misleading list to represent a society, or different forms of argument to support the unsupportable is not surprising. Two of the Letter organizers, Santer, and Emmanuel have been involved with the IPCC for a very long time. Santer was a graduate of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in its glory days before Climategate and the leaked emails. It is also likely that a high percentage of those signing are recipients of the “corrupting dollar” Professor Lewis identifies.
The lead name and likely the key organizer is Benjamin Santer. He is familiar with creating self-praising titles as part of the group at CRU. Under the direction of Gavin Schmidt they set up a web site titled Realclimate, presumably as opposed to what they determined was Unrealclimate. Santer was also familiar with controversy early in his career at the IPCC in what became known as the “Chapter 8” fiasco. It was also early in his career because he, like Michael Man, were appointed to senior IPCC positions shortly after graduation.
As lead author of Chapter 8 of the 1995 IPCC Report, he took wording agreed to by fellow chapter authors and modified it considerably. For example, the group wrote,
1. “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.”
2. “While some of the pattern-base discussed here have claimed detection of a significant climate change, no study to date has positively attributed all or part of climate change observed to man-made causes.”
Under Santer it became
1. “There is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcing by greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols … from the geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change … These results point toward a human influence on global climate.”
2. “The body of statistical evidence in Chapter 8, when examined in the context of our physical understanding of the climate system, now points to a discernible human influence on the global climate.”
As anticipated the media picked up on the phrase “discernible human influence on the global climate.” It became the focal point like the hockey stick did after the 2001 Report release. Avery and Singer noted in 2006 that,
“Santer single-handedly reversed the ‘climate science’ of the whole IPCC report and with it the global warming political process!
John Daly discussed the evidence for Santer’ discernible influence claim including the work of Michaels and Knappenberger.
There is no discernible human influence even today except in the deliberately limited, predetermined output, of the failed IPCC computer models. It is simple. If your predictions are wrong, your science is wrong. If you claim a consensus, it means the issue is purely political, like the words and actions used in the creation of this Open Letter.
I will not enlist the support of other scientists in a letter countering the Open Letter because that would be another consensus. Rather, I prefer people check the facts for themselves. I urge those people who signed as members of the NAS and who have not read the IPCC Reports to do like Klaus-Eckart Puls. For those members of the NAS who did not see or approve the letter, I urge action within the Society. It is not just climate science credibility in jeopardy, but science in general. The threat increases as the real climate picture are prepared by responsible scientists and the corruption exposed.