Reciting the Litturgy

In a number of past posts over at Coyote Blog, I have noticed the phenomenon of published studies whose data does nothing to bolster the theory of anthropogenic global warming adding in a line or two in the article saying that "of course the author’s support anthorpogenic global warming theory" in the same way movies routinely assure audiences that "no animals were hurt in the filiming of this movie."

Here is one example:  If you have seen An Inconvinient Truth, then you may remember a Really Big Chart shown by Gore with 650,000 years of temperature history.  In case you missed it, here is the data, derived from ice cores:

The red line is CO2 concentrations, while the black line is a proxy for temperatures.  When it first came out, it was compelling evidence that CO2 was not only a major driver of temperature, it may be the main driver.  However, followup work showed that when you zoom in on the scale, the temperature in each spike starts rising 800 years before the CO2 rises, implying instead that temperature is driving CO2 (via outgassing from oceans) rather than the other way around.  Many call this problem the 800-year lag.  Anyway, the scientists who discovered this 800-year lag felt compelled to add this line to their publication.  They said the team

… is still in full agreement with the idea that CO2 plays, through its greenhouse effect, a key role in amplifying the initial orbital forcing …

You can just see the fear.  Please, don’t take our climate funding away.  We didn’t mean to find this evidence.  We’re sorry.  We’re still believers.  Another example here.

Anyway, this week Steven Milloy has an even more stark example:

Veizer reluctantly told me the "text" of the Nature study, that is, the above-quoted conclusion, represented a "compromise" between the study’s disagreeing authors where Veizer’s side apparently did all the compromising for reasons that had little to do with the science.

While Veizer didn’t want to elaborate on the politics of the Nature study, he told me "not to take the tone of the paper as the definitive last word."…

There’s another point worth spotlighting in all this. It seems that the politics of global warming including the multibillion-dollar-funding of global warming research resulted in the publication in a prestigious science journal of a "compromise" conclusion that is not supported by the study’s own data.

"Science should never be adjusted to fit policy," was the reprimand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received from its own Science Advisory Board in 1992. But that’s exactly what seems to be happening to climate science. It’s a situation reminiscent of George Orwell’s "1984," in which Ministry of Truth worker Winston Smith wonders if the State could get away with declaring that "two and two made five."

Who’s wondering now? A recent series of reports from the Science and Public Policy Institute spotlights problems with the peer review process of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and efforts to create the illusion of scientific consensus on global warming.

4 thoughts on “Reciting the Litturgy”

  1. Questions for you:

    I just read a report from Nov 2006, here,
    which talks about the NorthWest Passage opening up due to warming.

    How much of the Arctic ice loss can be accounted for, at least in part,
    from natural variations in currents and such. I seem to remember you
    addressing that in the other site, but I couldn’t find it right off.

    Wouldn’t a change in currents melt the ice much faster than warmer air?

    Is there any way of knowing how much the Artic ice cap shrank in
    prior warm periods, such as the 30s and 40s, medieval warm period, etc?

    Thanks for all the effort you put into this site, and into Coyoteblog.

  2. I don’t know the answers to Greg’s questions beyond “currents and other things change” so it makes sense to me.

    But the open passage is not a new thing:

    1940 Canadian RCMP officer Henry Larsen
    1957 the United States Coast Guard cutter Storis
    1977 sailor Willy de Roos
    2005 47 ft aluminium sailboat, Northabout, built and captained by Jarlath Cunnane

    and (I don’t agree that that is in the 21st century, however.)

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