Unsettled Climate Science: 30 Years Apace

Reposed from the Institute of Energy Research

By Robert L. Bradley, Jr.

February 14, 2020

Climate activist Emily Akin has called it “the most important climate story of the last 10 years: The quiet, concerted effort by fossil fuel interests to conceal and deny climate science, for the purposes of preventing climate action.” The bad guys had been at it for “the last three decades,” she contends, creating an illusion of unsettled science that “allowed the public to take their minds off the problem.”

In the oil and gas capital of the world, the business editorialist of the Houston Chronicle, Chris Tomlinson concluded: “Exxon scientists … have accepted climate change as fact since at least the mid-1980s.”

True, some tasked Exxon employees opined about the potential of carbon dioxide (CO2) to warm the planet with negative effects. But other employees rejected a dire result, as did the company as a whole. And, in fact, external experts, in and out of the scientific community, did not know the answers either. And in some fundamental ways, they still do not.

Global Cooling?

A much smaller climate-science community 45 years ago was conflicted over the human influence on global climate from industrial emissions. Important scientists tilted toward global cooling and the threat of a new Ice Age from sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from coal plants in particular.

Future Obama science advisor John Holdren, for one, noted that aerosol pollution was blocking sunlight with the potential to “start another ice age.”

Scientists also debated how humans were artificially influencing the climate in offsetting ways. “[T]here can be scant consolation in the idea that a man-made warming trend might cancel out a natural cooling trend,” declared Paul Ehrlich and Holdren in 1977. “Since the different factors producing the two trends do so by influencing different parts of Earth’s complicated climatic machinery, it is most unlikely that the associated effects on circulation patterns would cancel each other.”

“Predictions of future climate trends by Stephen Schneider and other leading climatologists, based on the prevailing knowledge of the atmosphere in the early 1970s,” Paul and Anne Ehrlich would later admit, “gave more weight to the potential problem of global cooling than it now appears to merit.”

Cooling, warming, or both—it was industrial-related and thus bad. Welcome to the deep-ecology bias against “human centeredness” at the expense of pristine nature. This is Al Gore’s “dysfunctional civilization” where fossil fuels (aka dense, mineral energies) have disconnected us from “the vividness, vibrancy, and aliveness of the rest of the natural world.”

Global Warming Controversy

The scientific consensus would shift to global warming with carbon dioxide (CO2) outdistancing the cooling influence of SO2. But James Hansen’s dramatic testimony in the summer of 1988, the beginning of the consensus, was quite controversial among his peers.

Hansen vs. the World on the Greenhouse Threat,” read a headline in Science magazine by climate scribe Dr. Richard Kerr. Dissent ran high. Wrote Kerr: “What really bothers [fellow scientists] is not that they believe Hansen is demonstrably wrong, but that he fails to hedge his conclusions with the appropriate qualifiers that reflect the imprecise science of climate modeling.”

“The [natural] variability of climate from decade to decade is monstrous,” stated one leading scientist. “To say that we’ve seen the greenhouse signal is ridiculous.” Said another to Kerr: “Confidence in detection [of anthropogenic warming] is now down near zero.”

This uncertainty and debate led one cooling-to-warming climatologist to go political. Stated Stephen Schneider in 1989:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.

On the other hand, we … need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.

Schneider then offered a “hope.”

This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

But by prejudging the enhanced greenhouse effect as highly negative, and by blessing politicization, Schneider doubly violated the science. Meanwhile, more than thirty years later, we are still arguably a decade away—if not more—from getting a firm handle on climate forcings, natural and anthropogenic.

Uncertain Science

The untidiness of climate science regarding fundamental questions has been recognized by alarmists, not only skeptics. James Hansen noted in 1993:

Climate is always changing. Climate would fluctuate without any change of climate forcings. The chaotic aspect of climate is an innate characteristic of the coupled fundamental equations describing climate system dynamics.

And in 1998: “The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.”

Mainstream climatologist Gerald North has repeatedly described uncertain science trying to sort itself out. “There is a good reason for a lack of consensus on the science,” he stated in 1998. “It is simply too early. The problem is difficult, and there are pitifully few ways to test climate models.”

And in 2010 (279):

In another decade of research we will have squared away a lot of our uncertainties about forced climate change. As this approaches we can be thinking about what to do if the warming does indeed appear to be caused by humans and to what extent things are changing as result.

In a Climategate email dated 2009, scientist Kevin Trenberth lamented the state of climate science:

Well, I have my own article on where the heck is global warming… The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

Was cloud behavior negating the assumed-to-be strongly positive feedback from the initial warming? Was the heat disappearing into a well-mixed ocean to remain for decades, centuries, or longer? Trenberth admitted “we are nowhere close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget….”

Today, climate models are significantly overestimating global warming, suggesting that there is a complicated, subtle answer that only the distant future will know.

IPCC Reports

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has periodically updated different aspects of the climate change issue, including the physical science. Although the rush to portray “consensus science” has proven controversial, the IPCC reports from inception have indicated great uncertainty and a wide range of estimates from tremulous climate models.

While presenting “climate sensitivity” estimates ranging from benign (1.5ºC) to problematic (4.5ºC) from a doubling of atmospheric CO2, the report stated (1990: xxv) that “climate models give no consistent indication whether tropical storms will increase or decrease in frequency or intensity as climate changes; neither is there any evidence that this has occurred over the past few decades.”

And in the 1995 IPCC report (173): “Overall, there is no evidence that extreme weather events, or climate variability, has increased, in a global sense, throughout the 20th century, although data and analyses are poor and not comprehensive.”

In the third assessment in 2001 (33, 15):

There is no compelling evidence to indicate that the characteristics of tropical and extratropical storms have changed…. For some other extreme phenomena, many of which may have important impacts on the environment and society, there is currently insufficient information to assess recent trends….

And in the fourth assessment (2007: 9, 308):

There is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclone activity…. Changes in tropical storm and hurricane frequency and intensity are masked by large internal variability.

Climate models, too, came with words of caution (2007: 805):

[T]he set of available models may share fundamental inadequacies, the effects of which cannot be quantified…. The potential for missing or inadequately parameterized processes to broaden the simulated range of future changes is not clear….

In the most recent (5th) assessment, the IPCC stated (2013: 216):

Current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century and it remains uncertain whether any reported long-term increases in tropical cyclone frequency are robust….

Climate models had “improved” since the prior assessment, but (2013: 824)

every bit of added complexity … also introduces new sources of possible error (e.g., via uncertain parameters) and new interactions between model components that may, if only temporarily, degrade a model’s simulation of other aspects of the climate system…. [S]cientific uncertainly regarding the details of many processes remains.

Models were grappling with a slowdown of surface warming (“the hiatus”) in the last 15 years than the previous 30–60 years (769).

Climate Economics

Versus unsettled climate science, the science of plant physiology points toward the direct benefits of carbon dioxide via photosynthesis. Global greening is reason to celebrate, as Matt Ridley recently opined.

CO2 is plant food. The greening of the earth means more food for animals and greater crop yields for humans. Why is no one talking about it?

Another part of settled science is the modest direct warming from CO2 (about 1.2ºC) as compared to feedback effects that are in dispute. Climate economists welcome warmth. “Given that mankind, over the last million or so years, has evolved in climates that were both hotter and colder than today’s,” wrote Thomas Gale Moore in 1998, “how is it that we in the 20th century are so fortunate as to have been born into the ideal global climate?”

In the late 1990s, twenty-six climate economists from 11 universities and three federal agencies were tasked with evaluating the benefits and costs from the IPCC’s “best guess” sensitivity estimate of 2.5ºC and a 7 percent increase in precipitation (forecast to occur in 2060). Study chapters were prepared for agriculture, timber, water, coastal communities (sea level rise), energy, commercial fishing, and outdoor recreation. The assumption was that actors would adapt to change, capitalizing on benefits and mitigating costs.

The overall result, The Impact of Climate Change on the United States Economy (Cambridge University Press: 2009), edited by Robert Mendelsohn and James Newmann, concluded:

  • “The likely warming over the next century is expected to make the US economy better off on average.” (321)
  • “Agronomic studies suggest that carbon fertilization is likely to offset some if not all of the damages from warming.” (ibid.)
  • “Both analysis suggest that a 2.5C warming would result in small market benefits for the United States….” (324)

The public policy conclusions?

  • “The results suggest that aggregate market impacts in the United States are not a motivating favor for near-term action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.” (328)
  • “… there is a growing consensus among economists that near-term reductions in greenhouse gases could result in substantial costs.” (1)

Climatologist Gerald North commented:

Mendelsohn … believes the impacts are not negative at all for the US and most of the developed countries. Most impact studies seem to be showing this. It leads us to think that a little warming is not so bad. Glad I have kept my mouth shut on this issue of which I know so little.

This was mainstream analysis at end of the twentieth century—and in the second full decade of the climate alarm—refuting the premise of lawsuits against energy companies and all of us as consumers.


The global warming debate begins—but does not end—with physical science. And a review of mainstream climate science, complemented by mainstream climate economics, unmasks the fallacy of settled alarm in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s—and more recently.

Today, the debate over physical climate change roars. If the uncertainties were not great enough within the IPCC, dissident scientists gathered as the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) have issued their own weighty volumes emphasizing natural, not manmade, climate forcing and the benefits of CO2.

Still, taking the IPCC’s “consensus” at face value, the wide range of sensitivity estimates from the enhanced greenhouse effect, ranging from a positive externality at the lower end to a negative externality at the upper end, awaits further clarification.

92 thoughts on “Unsettled Climate Science: 30 Years Apace

  1. Great 2,000 word run down. Too bad it’s not going to be picked up by the left wing press.

    I read that several cities, not all of them in California have banned natural gas in new construction.


    You can bet that requirements to secure gas cut offs for buying and selling existing homes will soon follow and spread to more than just a few cities and a few states. It seems that the other side wants to provoke an insurrection.

    First they came for my gas hook up but …

    • ” It seems that the other side wants to provoke an insurrection. ”
      Yes …. and I have seen a seriously large group of citizens who are more than ready to take them on .
      Cold hard anger .
      The idiots pushing for no gas are risking everything they have and perhaps their lives .
      I was shocked at the depth of their opponents’ anger .
      If they push this , they will deeply regret it .

      • Sweet Old Bob February 15, 2020 at 7:04 am

        Being forced (to put all your eggs in one basket) into an all electric dependence and then during the fire season have it turned off – happened in CA this past year – isn’t going to be received very well by the natives.

        • I wish I could agree with you. The people are voting in these idiots. When the stuff hits the fan, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.

          Of course, the wealthy (Hollywood, politicos) will have diesel generator backup. They’ll feel no pain. The MSM will tell the poor and what’s left of the middle class that they are saving the planet – and rather than accept that they and their fellow voters are responsible for this condition, they’ll believe the MSM. Since most of the population of California lives on the coast where the temperatures are milder, only Eastern part of the state will really suffer – and who cares about them?

    • Steve,
      If they ban fracking, then nat gas will get so expensive most middle class will covert to electricity without being told to. That was their original gameplan until shale revolution with fracking came along. Thats why all the Democrats advocate a fracking ban. Its a payoff to their GreenSlime Masters.

      • The running up of the cost of natural gas was what ultimately brought ENRON down. They were attempting to corner the US market for NG. They were after the N Dakota gas fields and were doing quite well at gaining control. That was when NG was in the $20’s. They were squeezing the supply.

        I presume the idea was to get an effective monopoly then run the cost to $50. They were undone in part by an emerging fracking technology. Certainly the odds of pulling off something like the (attempted) Hunt brothers silver monopoly (failed 1980) was 0:1 after 2000.

        Something that will once gain make coal seem attractive in spite of mining costs is to ban fracking and shut down or greatly decrease the supply of NG. These guys are fully aware that the currently fashionable renewables are unviable in the presence of cheap natural gas. The supply of such gas is unending. There is probably more available off the E Coast of the US that is known in the world at present.

      • Crispin in Waterloo February 15, 2020 at 10:04 am

        “Something that will once gain make coal seem attractive in spite of mining costs is to ban fracking and shut down or greatly decrease the supply of NG. These guys are fully aware that the currently fashionable renewables are unviable in the presence of cheap natural gas.”

        Interesting idea; not to pursue further:

        Before a fracking ban there sure would be a coal mining ban.

    • “I read that several cities, not all of them in California have banned natural gas in new construction.”

      Note only that, but a new law in California requires that all single family and multiple family housing up to three stories high constructed after Jan 1, 2020 come equipped with rooftop solar PV panels (I’m not clear on what the average power output must be per family unit).

      I conclude that laws banning natural gas hookups are a tacit admission that these solar PV panels will not be adequate to provide all needed energy use (with or without battery storage) . . . and that the government bureaucracy want’s to force homeowners to use only grid electricity to make up the difference.

      As if grid electricity is “more green” than on-site-use of natural gas . . . it isn’t and probably never will be, if for nothing more than the inefficiencies associated with grid transmission losses.

      • Gordon Dressler February 15, 2020 at 8:52 am
        ….California requires that all single family and multiple family housing up to three stories high constructed after Jan 1, 2020 come equipped with rooftop solar PV panels

        Not that I support that but, denying access to a major energy source is odious, requiring access not so much.

        • Requiring a solar PV system on each new house imposes on the buyer of that house an immediate price increase as well as future costs associated with maintenance/repair and insurance liability (personal, as well as fire) associated with having the panels, the electrical interconnect wiring, and the (optional?) battery storage system. Considering these costs and the time-value of money over the time-of-ownership, there is no guarantee that the PV system will even pay for itself before needing replacement. Yet the buyer cannot “opt out” of having the PV system, short of buying a pre-2020 used home.

          You don’t think that is odious?

          • Gordon Dressler February 15, 2020 at 12:38 pm
            You don’t think that is odious?

            Telling people what they shall and shall not do for no good reason is odious. Denying them access to the means to support their life is worse.

          • And of course the cost is added to the mortgage, adding to personal and mational debt, and hiding more of the cost of alternative energy, keeping it off the billed (visible) cost of electricity.

      • Locating solar panels on rooftops is for political reasons.

        An interesting fact is that solar panels can lose roughly 20% to 30% of there nameplate output due to dust which reflects and absorbs light.

        Commercial solar ‘farms’ use deionized water to clean off the accumulated dust. The solar farm I am familiar in Canada, uses deionized water daily to clean off dust.

        • Accumulated dust . . . plus snow, plus accumulation of fallen leaves, plus tree shading, plus clouds. Know of many places in California where none of these are a factor?

          • Here in Kansas for the month of January and the first half of February we have had more overcast weather than sunny weather. The 2amp PV installation I use to charge my ham radio’s 12v, deep-cycle battery couldn’t keep up for most of the year so far. I have beenb forced to run my radio off the mains. My panel was running at about 33% efficiency during daylight hours – about 0.7amp at maximum output.

    • “Reposed from the Institute of Energy Research”


      An Institute of energy research ought to have more oomph than to be merely reposed.

  2. The IPCC’s sensitivity estimate is 3C +/- 1.5C per doubling. How can anyone say that a metric with +/-50% uncertainty is ‘settled’, specially since the lower bound exceeds what the physics can support unless some unknown magic allows the next Joule of forcing to do many times more work at sustaining the surface temperature than the average Joule of forcing. The only people denying anything are the alarmists who deny that the science is controversial.

    • 50% uncertainty????

      The Celsius scale does not start at zero.

      Convert to Kelvin to get the proper percentage. 276K +/- 1.5K = 0.543%

        • Got there first, Nick! Henry is obviously another of those who doesn’t understand the difference between C° and °C!

      • Henry && Nick,

        No. The IPCC’s metric of sensitivity is an incremental metric, not an absolute metric. They purposefully ignore the solar forcing that’s warming the planet because if they do, then they can’t distance their bogus ECS estimate from the average surface emissions sensitivity of 1.62 W/m^2 per W/m^2 of solar forcing. To get the IPCC’s nominal 0.8C per W/m^2 requires the next W/m^2 of solar forcing to result in 4.4 W/m^2 of incremental surface emissions which requires the next Joule to do far more work at sustaining the planets new warmer temperature than the average Joule does to sustain its current temperature. Which do you want to explain? How the next Joule can be so much more powrfull than the average Joule at maintaing the surface temperature or how do you justify any metric with +/- 50% uncertainty as ‘settled’.

        If you want to hand wave feedback, then you need to explain why the next Joule is subject to far more feedback than the average Joule. You still need to explain how the climate can tell the next Joule from the average Joule.

          • Your linear ratio of degrees (C or K) to W/m^2 is what’s incoherent as it defies first principles physics in many ways. The fact that the IPCC considers this relationship to be linear is the Achilles heel of their embarrassingly broken fake science. The only relevant metric is the fourth root of degrees (C or K) per W/m^2 such that T increases at a far lower rate relative to W/m^2 than the IPCC requires to preserve their existence and that of the UNFCCC.

  3. Post says: “modest direct warming from CO2 (about 1.2ºC) …”.

    Please explain the mechanism for this.

    • mkelly February 15, 2020 at 7:02 am

      CO2 blocks some of the radiation. Hence the Earth doesn’t cool as fast, but the sun at 5,000 K continues to warm the planet until the amount of energy blocked by the CO2 escapes via other shorter wavelength’s of radiation.

      • until the amount of energy blocked by the CO2

        Steve Case, …… quit talking “trash”, ……. atmospheric CO2 doesn‘t block anything.

        The best one can hope that the atmospheric CO2 can do, …. is temporarily re-direct a portion or part of the IR that has entered into the atmosphere.

          • MarkW: Exactly, but one should include convection and advection of heat in the atmosphere as a component of warming in the atmosphere following a compelling analysis done by Geoff Sherrington here in WUWT last year.

            Basically any mechanism slower than the speed of light for ‘heat’ from insolation on the earth’s surface leaving the top of the atmosphere will heat the atmosphere. Absorption and re-emission of LWIR delays the exit to space, but so does the movement of heated air upwards with later emission to space at altitude. Geoff’s calculations suggest that the latter makes up most of heating and CO2 affect is only minor.

          • Agree that CO2 affect is minor, however just because the air is rising doesn’t mean that absorption and re-admittance of photons to and from CO2 molecules has stopped.

          • “It slows down how quickly energy can escape.
            Saying it blocks is a reasonable interpretation.”

            Except you don’t have any evidence of this.

            More hypothesising rubbish.

          • In this debate it is important to use the correct terminology or language IMO as concepts can be misinterpreted, ie, media saying CO2 “traps heat” when it does nothing of the sort. Saying it blocks is not reasonable, “slowing down” or “blocking” are two entirely different physical conditions. It would be better to say partially blocks.

          • MarkW February 15, 2020 at 8:37 am

            Saying it blocks is a reasonable interpretation.

            Markw, ….. that just hadda, justa been a partisan Democrat definition.

            block – verb: 1. make the movement or flow in (a passage, pipe, road, etc.) difficult or impossible.

            And Gary Pearse to the rescue with a CYA: “MarkW: Exactly, but one should include …….

            Then MarkW responds inkind: “Agree that CO2 affect is minor, however ….

            You two should take a trip to the US’s “desert southwest” to see iffen you can measure that “minor CO2 effect”, …….. it would be worth a Nobel Prize for both of you.

          • Leitmof, CO2 absorbs IR photons, that’s all the evidence that is needed.
            The rest follows from basic physics.

          • Sam, it’s been measured in the lab, many times.
            It’s too small of an effect to be measured in the wild yet. Not until we have a better grasp of the range of natural variation.

          • Sam, it’s been measured in the lab, many times.

            NO, … NO, … NO, …… MarkW, ….. it has never been measured in a lab, ….. it has been calculated in a lab via “fuzzy” mathematics.

            If they can measure it in a lab then they should know how to and be able to measure it in nature.

            Anyone that repeats a known lie is ……………….

        • Samuel

          “Steve Case, …… quit talking “trash”, ……. atmospheric CO2 doesn‘t block anything.

          The best one can hope that the atmospheric CO2 can do, …. is temporarily re-direct a portion or part of the IR that has entered into the atmosphere.”

          At 1 in 2,500 molecules of the atmosphere, I can’t see CO2 doing anything to affect the overall temperature of the atmosphere or the planet surface. Pure sophistry.

          • CO2 absorbs the a photon, then passes the energy to other atoms.
            It repeats this millions of times a second.
            The fact that it isn’t a major component of the atmosphere does not prevent the affect.

            A couple atoms per million of cyanide is enough to kill someone.
            Small doesn’t always mean inconsequential.

          • Now MarkW, …… you are losing it.

            An atmospheric CO2 molecule can’t possibly be doing that “millions of times a second” …… when the atmosphere only contains 0.0004% (400 ppm) CO2. That means, compared to N2 and O2, …. CO2 is scares as hen’s teeth.

      • CO2 in one sense “blocks” Earth’s LWIR radiation in its specific spectral absorption bands (which are a relatively small fraction of total atmospheric absorption of the full LWIR spectrum). However, it simultaneously “thermally partitions” most of that absorbed IR energy via collisions with other less energetic atmospheric molecules (N2, O2, and water vapor), with a very much smaller portion of the energy also being re-radiated to other less-energetic atmospheric molecules and/or directly back to Earth and/or directly to deep space.

        If CO2 did not balance its net energy input (absorption) with its net energy output ( thermalization and re-radiation), it would fairly rapidly exceed temperatures of more than 10,000 K.

        • That’s not quite right. If CO2 did not thermalized the absorbed energy as you already stipulated (correctly) then as soon as almost all of the CO2 molexules had absorbed a single photon in the relavent IR band the absorption would be saturated and no more absorption would occur. Because the energy would be trapped in this non-thermalized state the CO2 would not have a thermodynamic temperature, per se, but the total energy per CO2 molecule in this saturated state would be way below the temperature you suggest were that energy thermalized.

          • My understanding is that CO2 absorption of LWIR radiation goes directly into stretching and bending of the dipole moments of the CO2 molecule (i.e., molecular vibration modes) as well as into translation kinetic energy (KE-velocity= 3*(1/2)*k*T^2 = 3/2*k+T^2). This is “sensible” temperature of the molecule, and it is NOT equivalent to a direct change in CO2’s electronic cloud quantum state, which does have a limit (i.e, ionization of sufficient electrons leading to molecular dissociation).

            If this was not true, it would be impossible to increase any amount of CO2 to a sensible temperature of, say, 4,000 K, as might occur in a plasma arc. I am not aware of any physics that says there are limitation on the the sensible temperature that CO2 (are other other molecule) might achieve, short of molecule disassociation temperatures.

            In fact, “It will be observed that the extent of dissociation [of CO2] reaches a maximum at about 3500° C at all pressures, . . .” — source: http://carbon.atomistry.com/decomposition_carbon_dioxide.html

            So, yes, I was bit aggressive in referencing a CO2 temperature up to 10,000 K (i.e., I should have limited it to about 3,800 K, but the central point is still the same: if energy input exceeds energy output for any ANYTHING contained in an arbitrary control surface, the energy (i.e., “temperature”, to first order) must necessarily increase without bounds.

          • No, that’s not the point. In your scenario no CO2 molecule can absorb more than one lwir quantum because the mode is not thermaaly partitioning – that’s what you stipulated. If the energy is stuck in that mode then that mode will absorb no more energy. If your going to speculate about non-physical situations you at least need to stick with your stipulations. If you imagine a low pressure scenario where collisions are very rare you are sayimg the temperature of these CO2 molecules would soar rapidly to the point tbey would fly apart. That’s simply not going to happen.

      • How much energy is available to be “blocked” from the earth day at 15 C?

        If CO2 does this why don’t specific heat tables mention it?

    • “Post says: “modest direct warming from CO2 (about 1.2ºC) …”.

      Please explain the mechanism for this.”

      Don’t worry, mkelly, it’s a lukewarmer term.

    • mkelly, the assumed 1.2°C of warming comes from MODTRAN I believe. It is based on assuming an increase absorptivity based on pressure broadening due to increases in the partial pressure of CO2. This is actually not settled science. If you measure pressure broadening using absolute pressure increases then the addition of CO2 has almost no effect whatsoever. The base frequencies are already saturated.

      • … and if you take into account the increased greenhouses gases causes the lapse rate to reduce then there is almost no surface warming.

        The so called one-dimension studies assumed the lapse rate does not change and ignored the fact that the lower troposphere in the tropics is saturated with water vapor so there is almost no surface warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2.

        The GCM models have a hundred variables so they can be ‘tuned’ to give any answer.

        As there is a great deal of water vapor in the lower levels of the atmosphere, particularly in the tropics, the overlap of spectral absorption of water vapor and CO2 significantly reduce the forcing for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, again reducing the surface warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from 1.5 C to around 0.2C.

        Collapse of the Anthropogenic Warming Theory of the IPCC

        4. Conclusions
        In physical reality, the surface climate sensitivity is 0.1~0.2K from the energy budget of the earth and the surface radiative forcing of 1.1W.m2 for 2xCO2. Since there is no positive feedback from water vapor and ice albedo at the surface, the zero feedback climate sensitivity CS (FAH) is also 0.1~0.2K. A 1K warming occurs in responding to the radiative forcing of 3.7W/m2 for 2xCO2 at the effective radiation height of 5km. This gives the slightly reduced lapse rate of 6.3K/km from 6.5K/km as shown in Fig.2.

        The modern anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory began from the one dimensional radiative convective equilibrium model (1DRCM) studies with the fixed absolute and relative humidity utilizing the fixed lapse rate assumption of 6.5K/km (FLRA) for 1xCO2 and 2xCO2 [Manabe & Strickler, 1964; Manabe & Wetherald, 1967; Hansen et al., 1981]. Table 1 shows the obtained climate sensitivities for 2xCO2 in these studies, in which the climate sensitivity with the fixed absolute humidity CS (FAH) is 1.2~1.3K [Hansen et al., 1984].

        In the 1DRCM studies, the most basic assumption is the fixed lapse rate of 6.5K/km for 1xCO2 and 2xCO2. The lapse rate of 6.5K/km is defined for 1xCO2 in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere (1962) [Ramanathan & Coakley, 1978]. There is no guarantee, however, for the same lapse rate maintained in the perturbed atmosphere with 2xCO2 [Chylek & Kiehl, 1981; Sinha, 1995]. Therefore, the lapse rate for 2xCO2 is a parameter requiring a sensitivity analysis as shown in Fig.1.

        The followings are supporting data (William: In peer reviewed papers, published more than 20 years ago that support the assertion that convection cooling increases when there is an increase in greenhouse gases and support the assertion that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will cause surface warming of less than 0.3C) for the Kimoto lapse rate theory above.

        (A) Kiehl & Ramanathan (1982) shows the following radiative forcing for 2xCO2.
        Radiative forcing at the tropopause: 3.7W/m2.

        Radiative forcing at the surface: 0.55~1.56W/m2 (averaged 1.1W/m2).
        This denies the FLRA giving the uniform warming throughout the troposphere in
        the 1DRCM and the 3DGCMs studies.

        (B) Newell & Dopplick (1979) obtained a climate sensitivity of 0.24K considering the
        evaporation cooling from the surface of the ocean.

        (C) Ramanathan (1981) shows the surface temperature increase of 0.17K with the
        direct heating of 1.2W/m2 for 2xCO2 at the surface.

        Transcript of a portion of Weart’s interview with Hansen concerning the ‘scientific’ basis for CAGW.

        This was a radiative convective model, so where’s the convective part come in. Again, are you using somebody else’s…
        That’s trivial. You just put in…
        … a lapse rate…

        Yes. So it’s a fudge. That’s why you have to have a 3-D model to do it properly. In the 1-D model, it’s just a fudge, and you can choose different lapse rates and you get somewhat different answers So you try to pick something that has some physical justification. But the best justification is probably trying to put in the fundamental equations into a 3-D model.

    • There is no mechanism for this. It is “hypothetical bullshit” which incorporates the ASSUMPTION “All Other Things Held Equal,” which has never, is not, and will never occur. In the actual atmosphere, “other things” WILL change, the net “feedbacks,” as can be seen from Earth’s climate history being inclusive of long periods of stability, are negative, offsetting feedbacks, and the ACTUAL, as opposed to HYPOTHETICAL, effect of CO2 on temperature is not distinguishable from ZERO.

      • That’s a very interestingly argued *assumption* – can you nustify it with something better than assertions in bold caps?

  4. Look at which political party is pushing energy restrictions and promoting green energy. Translation: Green energy not available on demand. and at a higher cost.

  5. According to the above article, Emily Akin has stated: “The quiet, concerted effort by fossil fuel interests to conceal and deny climate science . . .”

    Uhhhh . . . two simple questions: (1) What, exactly is “climate science”?, and (2) Is it based on the scientific method, or on consensus rule?

    And didn’t I read somewhere that it was recently adjudicated that Exxon “didn’t know”, after all?

          • Isn’t the trick to flying without an airplane to throw oneself at the ground and miss? (h/t Douglas Adams).
            And as for the duration, this method seems to keep satellites afloat for quite some time.

    • I think it was more like “they knew what everybody else knew about the purely hypothetical effect of CO2 on temperature, and what they knew was made available to the public – it wasn’t “concealed” in any manner whatsoever.”

    • “CO2 reduction schemes such as the Green New Deal and “Carbon-free By 2050” are destructive nonsense, promoted by scoundrels and believed in by imbeciles.
      The Green New Deal is essentially a suicide pact for modern society – think hard before you drink the Kool-Aid.”

      So my hypothetical question is:
      If ONLY the Climate Extremists drank the Kool-Aid, would there be a statistically significant increase in human intelligence, and by how much?

      I’d guess about +10-20 IQ points.

  6. Had a brief but enlightening “climate science” conversation the other day at a cafe in down-town Bozeman, MT. My wife and I were having breakfast and I overheard two ladies With note pads strategizing at the adjacent table. They discussed climate science as an issue and were talking about contacting local churches – I assume they were strategizing working through local churches to spread their message. Keep in mind that the streets outside were snow packed and curbside snow was up to your knees after record snow accumulation in early February. As we got up to leave, I briefly introduced myself as skeptical based mostly on biased reporting. One lady asked me if I knew that the all-time record high temperature had been set in Antarctica. I said that it was a result of a weather event from the north and offered to show her the info on my iPhone. She said for me not to bother. I told her that in recent years the July low record was set in Greenland and I also noted that weather is not climate. She introduced the other lady as having a Doctorate in Climatology. As we finished the conversation, I asked that any policy actions they pursue do more good than harm. We departed at that point.
    My takeaway is that Ph D Climatologists are using one-sided weather events to spread the climate message in a very organized way including though the church.

    • “They discussed climate science as an issue and were talking about contacting local churches”

      Church congregations are used to believing strange theory’s with no backup data other than ‘settled story’s’ (complete with SINS that result in fire + brimstone, storm & tempest, plagues, floods & everything bad) that must be accepted without question.

      Should be an easy sell for them !!!

      • I’m one of them and was not sold. I do believe there is intelligent life but am convinced it’s not mankind.

      • If you believe that you’re more settled on, “strange theories with no backup data,’ than those you accuse.

  7. “Still, taking the IPCC’s “consensus” at face value, the wide range of sensitivity estimates from the enhanced greenhouse effect, ranging from a positive externality at the lower end to a negative externality at the upper end, awaits further clarification.”

    It is all clarified by now.
    1. There is anthropogenic global warming.
    2. It is not cause by CO2, but by contrails.
    3. Equally the “GHE” is largely caused by clouds, not by GHGs
    4. For this reason the warming is where there is air travel, that is mainly in the NH, far less in the SH, and none in Antarctica.
    5. Also the “when” supports the correct theory, and falsifies the wrong one. Considering solar activity, autonomous warming of Earth only started in the 1970ies and increased steadily since. This is perfectly in line with the evolution of air travel and no way fits the CO2 narrative.

    • Btw.. this also explains the “mystery” of the missing “hot spot”, that is an over-proportionate warming of the higher troposphere especially in the tropics. It is predicted by climate models, but simple does not exist in reality.

      Vapour effectively transports heat from the surface into the higher troposphere thereby countering, or reducing the adiabatic lapse rate. The warmer it is, the more vapour, the “flatter” the adiabatic lapse rate so the logic goes. And indeed it is much flatter in the tropics as compared to colder regions. So why does it not materialize with “global warming”?

      Contrails are not the result of vapour transported into the higher troposphere, but that of passengers being transported through the higher troposphere. Even though contrails provide warming, they also shadow the sun and reduce the amount of direct solar radiation. Evaporation however is not just a function of temperature (and others), but mostly of direct exposure to sun light. So while contrails cause warming, they also more than offset that effect on evaporation.

    • Certainly cloud cover has a marked effect on local temperatures. Clear night skies lead to rapid cooling and in winter to ground frosts. Cloud cover reflects and large % of ground radiation (infra red) back to the ground preventing low night time temperatures. The GHE concerns the absorption of infra red at the molecular level – clouds contain a lot of condensed moisture that reflect rather than absorb infra red.

  8. From the above article:
    James Hansen noted in 1993: “The chaotic aspect of climate is an innate characteristic of the coupled fundamental equations describing climate system dynamics.”

    Ah, ha! . . . clear evidence that the alarmist AGW scientists have long thought that climate must agree with the their models (the “coupled fundamental equations describing climate system dynamics”) rather than more reasonable inverse that it is the models that must consider the “chaotic aspect of climate.”

  9. “Three decades” is a pretty telling statement. Three decades and it just didn’t happen. Their predictions did not materialize. That pretty much settles it. Their hypothesis is wrong. Talk about “settled science.”

  10. If sulfur dioxide was causing cooling and we cleaned up the air, wouldn’t some amount of warming be a natural effect?

  11. I remember the alarmists stating that it would take at least 30 years to announce a “climate” change as opposed to “weather” anomalies. What happened to that goalpost? Anyone that has been following AGW knows the alarmists are just making up everything as they go. And those that don’t follow it but are constantly bombarded with hysterical prognostications about climate are starting to understand the reality because you can only shout “the sky is falling” for so long. Time IS on the skeptics side because the chances of weaning the world from fossil fuels by mid century is mid to none.

  12. “we … need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

    Where is the “need” to garner public support? For what? This is only a problem if you have an agenda that does not match the science. Where is it part of the scientists’ goals to produce broad-based support?

    If your goals are to create concern in the public that allows you to be able to beg for massively increased funding, this would be the way to go. So, despite the political agenda of grabbing power and wealth by terrifying the public with doomsday scenarios, many scientists see their role as including the production of public concern to increase their own funding. The two groups, politicians and scientists, both have the same goals. That is what we see today with the massive funding of “climate science” and the plethora of political pushes pretending to fight global warming.

  13. Thanks for a great essay on the subject. It will be ignored by the MSM. For those of us who can remember a childhood in the 1950’s and whose memories are still functioning, the fact that one can find no significant change in the climate in over 70 years in something of a clue to a rational assessment of the situation, and it is not an Alarmist one.

  14. Every responsible company does this: Contemplating the IF’s. When I worked for a big Central European Energy Trading company the operational management sometimes got together and considered the more outlandish scenarios. Not that we attributed a lot of probability to those but we wanted to have them discussed in order to ready for the unlikely case any of them might hit us. Nobody seriously thought that any of them were any likely. It goes like this: “I think this is bunk and I don’t think it will ever amount to anything but thee are some outside the company who say it might well become reality. Any ideas about how we position ourselves if any of this gets real?” This is very far from “being aware that something will happen” as those activists suggest.

  15. Read a few articles that attempt to answer the question, why don’t we care about climate change? The answer in all of them is that we’re selfish, short-term goalers, and we’re essentially cowards who flinch from even thinking about the inevitable horrific results of climate change. Not one of these articles will actually consider the possibility that the reason we don’t care about catastrophic climate change is that there is no compelling evidence to suggest that it exists.

    I live in Edmonton, and there are smart people here who claim to be worried about climate change. This is absurd to me, since there is nothing in Edmonton’s recent or current weather that is in any way alarming. The hottest day in Edmonton in 2019 was 28 degrees C. That doesn’t even qualify as a hot day in Dallas. We had two days of smoky air from wildfires in B.C. There were articles in the Edmonton Journal that this presaged the end of the world.

    Why does anyone care about”the climate,” meaning the world’s climate? The world’s climate is an abstraction, and has no practical relevance to anyone. If there are wildfires in Australia, this has no practical effects for me, but there are people whose thinking is so disordered that they believe that a wildfire in Australia is a predictor of catastrophic heat waves in Canada. You can’t really argue with that kind of muddled thinking, because the people who are capable of it in the first place don’t respond to rational argument.

  16. Those who believe in Mann-made climate “disruption” are ignorant. The Climategate dump in 2009 showed incontrovertible proof that those involved were committing fraud. They were discussing it openly in their e-mails by saying things like “how do we hide the current cooling trends?”, and “how do we hide the medieval warm period?” And now, in two lawsuits, one in Canada and one in the USA, where Michael Mann (the creator of the fake “hokey stick” graph), who was suing people who had publicly accused him of fraud, failed to even show up for the court dates for HIS lawsuits. All he had to do was provide his raw data which showed that the hokey stick was real, and he’d have won the suit. His lack of appearance may cost him dearly, as in Canada, he’s now legally considered to have admitted to committing fraud by his failure to appear (and remember, we’re talking about a suit which HE filed, supposedly to defend himself against accusations of fraud). Since his fraud resulted in Billions of Canadian dollars being spent, the government there may choose to punish him for the crime.

  17. The global warming debate begins with physics. There is no way that 400ppm CO2 in the atmosphere or even double that concentration will cause catastrophic global warming as the photons in the restricted CO2 wave bands are soon (within 4000m of traverse) absorbed to extinction – with only a relatively small % of the emitted infra red absorbed. Increasing concs of CO2 will not lead to more absorption just a decrease in the traverse through the atmosphere to extinction. Physics and recourse to Planck’s Law clearly show this

  18. This is Al Gore’s “dysfunctional civilization” where fossil fuels (aka dense, mineral energies) have disconnected us from “the vividness, vibrancy, and aliveness of the rest of the natural world.”

    Good Lawd, is Gore’s brain total excrement or what?

  19. “Meanwhile, more than thirty years later, we are still arguably a decade away—if not more—from getting a firm handle on climate forcings, natural and anthropogenic.”

    Said “firm handle on climate forcing” is illusory since –

    The Earth’s Climate System is “a coupled system of non-linear functions with chaotic behavior”.

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