Archive for July, 2008

Published by on 30 Jul 2008

What has ‘consensus’ climate science got right? (Hint: not much)

Paul MacRae, July 30, 2008

The determinants of complex processes are invariably plural and interrelated.

— David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, p. 517

Most of what “consensus” climate science tells the public about human-caused global warming is, I believe, misleading, exaggerated, or plain wrong. But what are the consensus climate scientists saying that isn’t misleading, exaggerated, or wrong? These are scientists, after all, men and women of high intelligence, years of academic study and, one can assume, high integrity. Surely they can’t be that wrong. What are they getting right?

First, let’s look at what orthodox climate science is arguing. Here’s as good a statement of the consensus hypothesis as any, from R.A. Warrick, E.M. Barrow and T.M.L. Wigley, all recognized climatologists and self-described climate “alarmists” (in Climate and Sea Level Change: Observations, Projections and Implications, from which the hypothesis is taken, they note “the alarming rate of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide”). They write:

The potential rates and magnitudes of the GHG-induced change … give rise to legitimate concerns about the future. These concerns include the following:

  • first, that humankind may now be a potent factor in causing unidirectional global changes which could dominate over natural changes on the decade-to-century time scale;
  • secondly, that, in terms of recent human experience, changes in climate and sea level could accelerate to unprecedented rates;
  • thirdly, that human tinkering with the global climate system could have unforeseen catastrophic consequences (e.g., ‘runaway’ warming or sea level rise from strong positive feedbacks); and
  • finally, that the quickened rates of change could exceed the capacity of natural and human systems to adapt without undue disruption or cost.(1)

In other words, it’s the classic consensus position that the build-up of human carbon emissions rather than natural factors is driving climate change and that we may be heading for disaster. What’s right about this hypothesis?

Continue Reading »

Published by on 11 Jul 2008

How the Hadley Centre spins the data on non-warming

Paul MacRae, July 11, 2008

Mystification is the process of explaining away what might otherwise be evident.

— John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research is in a spot of bother at the moment.

On the one hand, the Hadley Centre is a firm believer in the hypothesis that humans are the main cause of global warming and that we’re heading toward catastrophe. It even devotes several of its web pages to waving a nagging finger at those foolish enough or unprincipled enough to believe otherwise.

On the other hand, the Hadley Centre, as part of the British Meteorological Office and one of the world’s foremost climate-monitoring sites, is also churning out data showing that the planet isn’t warming at the moment, and hasn’t for the past 10 years or so. Clearly, increasing human carbon emissions aren’t causing the warming that was expected.

What to do? Continue Reading »

Published by on 09 Jul 2008

Confessions of a (fictional) ‘consensus’ climate scientist

Paul MacRae, July 9, 2008

In proportion as religious sects exalt feeling above intellect, and believe themselves to be guided by direct inspiration rather than by a spontaneous exertion of their faculties — that is, in proportion as they are removed from rationalism — their sense of truthfulness is misty and confused.

— George Eliot, “Evangelical teaching: Dr. Cumming.”

After more than year’s intensive research for a book on the bizarre distortions that make up the global warming issue, I now wonder how anyone in the “consensus” climate scientist community sleeps at night. And yet, individually, I’m certain that 99 per cent of them are highly principled human beings.

If more climate scientists spoke out about what they really believe, here’s what I think the silent minority (majority?) might say:

Hello. I am a “consensus” climate scientist, and I must confess that I and many of my fellow climate scientists haven’t been entirely honest with the public over the last 20 years or so on the issue of global warming, what causes it, and what damage it is likely to cause. Therefore, I have decided to come clean and tell the public honestly what “consensus” climate science is really all about.

First, many of us are genuinely afraid that human beings are the main cause of the planetary warming of the past century and that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be a serious problem, maybe even catastrophic. That’s why we’ve felt it necessary to lie to you. We’re afraid you won’t take the threat seriously if we tell you the truth – that there may not be a threat because we have absolutely no scientific evidence to back up our beliefs. None. Continue Reading »