Practically A Summary of this Blog

In a letter of support for Lord Monckton’s recent paper in the Newsletter of the American Physical Society, APS member Roger Cohen summarized his disagreeements with the IPCC position on global warming in what could easily have been the table of contents for this blog:

I retired four years ago, and at the time of my retirement I was well convinced, as were most technically trained people, that the IPCC’s case for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is very tight. However, upon taking the time to get into the details of the science, I was appalled at how flimsy the case really is. I was also appalled at the behavior of many of those who helped produce the IPCC reports and by many of those who promote it. In particular I am referring to the arrogance; the activities aimed at shutting down debate; the outright fabrications; the mindless defense of bogus science, and the politicization of the IPCC process and the science process itself.

At this point there is little doubt that the IPCC position is seriously flawed in its central position that humanity is responsible for most of the observed warming of the last third of the 20th century, and in its projections for effects in the 21st century. Here are five key reasons for this:

  1. The recorded temperature rise is neither exceptional nor persistent. For example, the earth has not warmed since around 1997 and may in fact be in a cooling trend. Also, in particular, the Arctic and contiguous 48 states are at about the same temperature as they were in the 1930s. Also in particular the rate of global warming in the early 20th century was as great as the last third of the century, and no one seriously ascribes the early century increase to greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Predictions of climate models are demonstrably too high, indicating a significant overestimate of the climate sensitivity (the response of the earth to increases in the incident radiation caused by atmospheric greenhouse gases). This is because the models, upon which the IPCC relies for their future projections, err in their calculations of key feedback and driving forces in the climate system.
  3. Natural effects have been and continue to be important contributors to variations in the earth’s climate, especially solar variability and decadal and multidecadal ocean cycles.
  4. The recorded land-based temperature increase data are significantly exaggerated due to widespread errors in data gathering and inadequately corrected contamination by human activity.
  5. The multitude of environmental and ecological effects blamed on climate change to date is either exaggerated or nonexistent. Examples are claims of more frequent and ferocious storms, accelerated melting of terrestrial icecaps, Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier, polar bear populations, and expansive mosquito-borne diseases. All of these and many others have been claimed and ascribed to global warming and by extension to human activity, and all are bogus or highly exaggerated.

via Anthony Watts

  • Samuel Pickwick

    Practically a summary of my views also. I too believed what I was told, and then started to look into it a few years ago and was amazed at the weakness of the evidence and the misleading exaggerations of the alarmists. Hardly surprising though – these are the conclusions any rational objective observer with some understanding of the principles of science would come to.

  • Doug

    What I don’t get is how someone who is active in the field can fall in line with the propaganda, retire, and THEN see the light. Why does it take retirement to open one’s eyes? You would think that you would be at the top of your game WHILE you’re active in the biz, not after you’ve left it.

  • Scott

    Why does it take retirement to open one’s eyes? Well, that’s reason #6, if there were no “crisis” there would be less, or no, money spent on climatology. Once you’re retired, your previous concerns as to the opinions of those who sign your paychecks are a great deal less.

  • morganovich

    i would guess 2 reasons:

    1. he probably never had the time to look at the whole of the data previously. we know he is a physicist, but not what kind. he may well not have been directly involved in climate studies.

    2. disagreeing with the “consensus” jeopardizes job security and funding. lots of people have been fired, denied advancement, lost funding and been unable to publish for disagreeing with AGW. once you are retired and no longer care about these things, you can say what you like.

  • these are the conclusions any rational objective observer with some understanding of the principles of science would come to.

    But wait, there’s this guy that always comes on here, that always disagrees with these conclusions. He’s a “Scientist”, so he must be a ration…. Oooh, I get it now.

  • Raven

    “Why does it take retirement to open one’s eyes?”

    There are many social situtations where willful blindness sets in. They don’t investigate because they don’t want to know. It is completely unconscious and all to common human behavoir.

  • dreamin

    I think that there are plenty of scientists who know full well that CAGW is BS, but who are smart enough to avoid stating so publicly and/or in writing. People outside the community are much more free to speak the truth.

    By analogy, I am an attorney. Believe me when I tell you that there are a lot of things that attorneys will say in private about the judicial system that they would never say publicly and/or in writing.

    In climatology, we have The Consensus. It’s not entirely clear exactly what The Consensus is, but it’s probably a bad career move for an aspiring climatologist to go against Settled Science.

  • Gorgasal

    “Why does it take retirement to open one’s eyes?”

    I am a scientist, and I actually work in forecasting. However, to actually give an informed opinion in the IPCC’s work (as opposed to my current gut feeling which jibes quite well with this blog), I would need to invest a substantial amount of time, which I honestly right now don’t have.

    I assume this guy was interested in the topic but had other scientific main interests, so he looked at things more deeply once he got committee meetings, holding students’ hands etc. out of the way. No need to infer willful blindness or grant optimization.

  • My formal science education stopped back in the late 1970s, but I take an interest in the subject. Much like Samuel Pickwick, until fairly recently I was simply going along with the flow of people accepting that rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was shortly going to cause catastrophic warming. Then I looked at graphs showing the 20th century temperature rises, and thought: hang on. Why do they show cooling from the mid 20th century until the 1970s? That got me starting to question the whole thing – yes I read up on the “cooling aerosols” explanation for the dip in the middle, but it didn’t seem convincing, and still doesn’t. The other main reason why I became sceptical was the ongoing lack of a catastrophe – it would now take a lot to convince me again that we are facing immanent doom due to the world overheating.

  • AllenCic

    Since all the AGW proponents like Al Gore, et al, have been screaming that the science is settled, wouldn’t it make good sense for all the organizations that fund research (such as NSF) to eliminate all further grant funding? NASA could lay off people like Hansen who’s work is obviously no longer needed. All the academics whose reputations have been built on climate science grantsmanship could have their research funding brought to a screeching halt. Perhaps they could actually teach a class or two instead of writing what are obviously pointless papers. Consensus, settled science? Lets put (or take) their money where their mouths are.