Guest opinion by Mike Smith
Let’s begin by re-stating information about which we can be confident:
- The earth is warmer than it was sixty years ago. Mostly unreported is the warmer climate has, on balance, been great for humanity.
- Humans affect the climate in many ways.
- Continued increases in greenhouse gases, other factors equal, will promote additional warming. However, many processes affect climate. CO2 concentration is absolutely not a thermostat for earth’s temperature, especially since ocean heat content is more important than atmospheric heat content.
- We know far less about the processes governing earth’s climate than most climate practitioners would have you believe. In no way is the science settled. For example, we don’t even know the optimum temperature of the earth’s atmosphere.
- We have almost no ability to meaningfully forecast future climate. We can’t even make climate forecasts for a year or two ahead let alone decades ahead.
- “Consensus” has no role in science.
- We should slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gas, primarily through the adoption of new-generation nuclear.
- Regardless of earth’s temperature, we should build a more resilient society.
I suspect most ordinary people and most scientists outside of the climate debate would find the above to be pretty reasonable. Unfortunately, many climate ‘scientists’ do not. I am constantly criticized (in some cases vehemently) by the global warming alarmists and advocates because I keep pointing out the occasional (large!) errors of science in general and climate ‘science’ in particular.
Saturday, I was strongly criticized by a Virginia “paleo”-climatologist because I did not agree that a perfectly accurate temperature reading was “noise.” In no way is an accurate measurement of temperature “noise” when it comes to weather, the climate debate or any other purpose. But, he fancies himself an expert even though he neither understands atmospheric processes or instrumentation.
Why do I put up with this grief?
Two reasons: The increasing despair among some about the future of our civilization and because, to the extent I can, I wish to limit the inevitable backlash against atmospheric science when these exaggerations become evident in future years. I’ve devoted my career to atmospheric science and am passionate about it. I don’t wish to see all of the good we have accomplished put under a cloud by the global warming clique.
The mainstream media has almost completely bought in to global warming alarmism which, in turn, has been spread by global warming ‘experts’ (like the below) who know nothing about climate or how the atmosphere actually works. Below, is a very recent example from the United Nations’ climate meeting that ended in Europe last week.
Why was her statement so absurd?
Let’s use the Fahrenheit scale since that is the more familiar: Absolute zero is -460°F. The earth’s current temperature is around +58°F. So, if the earth doubled its temperature, it would be over 1,000 degrees! Impossible.
Because politicians and other ‘leaders’ know nothing about the climate they believe the utter nonsense of Greta Thunberg and her ilk.
Now we probably don’t even have a future any more.Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It makes me sad to have to write Thunberg is what Vladimir Lenin called a “useful idiot.” She is being used and exploited by the people who use climate alarmism as a tool to gain power and money. Big Climate doesn’t like people very much.
The alarmists’ work is facilitated by a media that has no interest in science other than reprinting press releases that agree with their “narrative.” They give all types of science far too much credit. My single most interesting college course was History of Science. In it, I learned history, the Scientific Method, the many wonderful things science has accomplished, and the occasional things it has botched. That knowledge has allowed me to be more discerning of scientific claims throughout my adult life.
We’ve often talked about how the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2005 was awarded to two obscure Australian physicians who discovered ulcers are caused by a bacterium rather than stress which had thought to be the cause. For decades, the medical journals would not even publish their experimental results because the “consensus” (there’s that terribly un-scientific word) said, “stress.” In desperation, one of them had to prove he didn’t have an ulcer, swallow the bacterium and give himself an ulcer to get heard! In the meantime, millions were suffering and even dying due mis-treatment.
Medical science also told us for years that eating pasta was a great way to lose weight. Wrong! And, many knew it was wrong.
Medical science also told us the Sabin polio vaccine was better than the Salk vaccine even though, in rare cases, the Sabin vaccine could give innocent children polio — the disease it was supposed to prevent! The Salk vaccine never gave anyone polio and was 100% effective. Sabin had the better PR.
For a provocative and gripping story about science’s other major errors in recent times (beyond those of medicine), go here. And, yes, the story includes how climate science got on the wrong track and still hasn’t recovered.
According to the scientific method, this should never be the case. Science is supposed to be self-correcting because it is supposed to rely on objective experimental truths. The problem is that scientists are human like the rest of us. A former science editor of a well-known publication told me, “If global warming isn’t a catastrophe, I’ve wasted my career.” What sort of incentive does he, for example, have to publish information — no matter how solid — that is skeptical of catastrophic global warming?
Global warming is, by far, the biggest financial gravy train in the history of atmospheric science. As a result, not only are individual researchers getting large grants, universities have spent and are spending millions building and staffing interdisciplinary ‘centers’ for climate research. If global warming isn’t catastrophic, that funding will dry up overnight. Think about the peer pressure to prevent the loss of jobs. What sort of institutional research is there to disprove catastrophic global warming?
To keep the money flowing, the field of climate it has its own PR flacks!
Last time I checked, focus groups and “emotions” were not tools genuine physical science.
The purpose of the Yale group and the others? To keep things stirred up (which helps keep the money flowing) after storms and other weather “opportunities” as well as to use the tools of public relations — the same tools used to sell you toothpaste — to convince the public there is a crisis.
For many reasons it makes good sense to transition, as soon as possible, to next-generation nuclear and to use it as a tool to bring electricity to remote areas (many in Africa) so as to bring them out of poverty. There is a strong correlation between inexpensive energy and prosperity. Also, it makes incredibly good sense to build a more resilient society no matter what the future weather may bring.
The warmer climate has allowed the world’s population to enjoy the most prosperity and the least privation in the entire history of the planet. The world is (relatively) at peace.
My Christmas Gift to You: Stop worrying about global warming. It is an issue but it is not a catastrophe by any measure. Allow your family to enjoy the holiday season. The earth will be here — and will be livable — in a decade, in five decades and beyond.
Originally published here, reprinted at WUWT with permission:
More about Mike Smith: https://www.msecreativeconsulting.com/the-studio