The climate change cult is dying. Unfortunately, it’s mostly for the wrong reasons. A very cold winter on the east coast of the US, even fifteen consecutive years of cooling, are not enough to undermine any climate change model based on a thousand years of observation. There are better reasons to finish off the beast though. Unfortunately, they are usually presented in a way that is too difficult or too time-consuming for the normal working person.
Fortunately, there is a very good summary of the debacle in the WSJ of Fr 26/2010. I am going to try to summarize the summary. There is going to be a quiz but it will not be that hard. The summary is mostly about the way scientific reports were handled by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( the “panel”).
1 According to the UN panel that has been caught with its pants down repeatedly, the average yearly rise in temperature since 1900 amounts to 6/10 of a degree centigrade. That’s very small. If it happened while you were sitting outside, you would not feel it. A cloud going over the sun does more in the opposite direction.
2 The geo-physicist who wrote the panel’s chapter on the melting of ice (North Pole, South Pole) said that, “Ice-sheet models are not very good.” Repeat, “…not very good.” He teaches at Penn State.
3 There is a graph going back 1,000 years showing clearly a sudden rise in average temperature beginning a little before 1900. That’s important because this abrupt rise is compatible with man-made causes. (But it does not constitute strong evidence; many other things may have happened between the late 1800s and today.) Let’s talk about this graph, often called the “hockey-stick” graph.
From about 1900 until now, the graph is based on temperature readings from thermometers. No problem. From 1000 to about 1900, the graph is based on tree- rings reading.
The sudden rise in temperature around 1900 corresponds almost exactly to the period of thermometer reading.
Let me say it another way: When we use thermometers, the temperature keeps rising. When we use tree rings, the temperature is lower and fairly steady. It’s lower from 1000 to 1900. If it were not lower, there would be no reason at all to say that human activity has been making the temperature rise. None given by the panel.
What does the man who invented the tree rings reading method of re-constructing past temperatures have to say? (His name is Briffa.) He says that when you look side by side at thermometer readings and at tree rings – using his method – they don’t agree. Of course, you can do this for contemporary times, since 1900. This practice is a basic check on the validity of your measurements. That’s true in any field, including carpentry. If you have two measurement methods for the same thing, you check them against each other. If you don’t, you are negligent. Or something, or someone, is stopping you.
In good logic, if the panel cannot reconcile the tree-ring readings with the thermometer readings for the period when we have both, one of two things must happen: We must throw away the tree-ring method of re-constructing temperature; or, we must throw away thermometers.
Summary of summaries: There is no solid reason to believe that temperatures have risen since the industrial revolution and since the automobile. There may be nothing going on!
What happened? The scientists interviewed by the WSJ, the people on whose work the panel report is based, all complain of having been pressured. By whom? Politicians, policy-makers. When one of them said: “ It’s possible that the ice is melting” it became in the panel report: “ The ice is melting.”
It gets worse: The panel has a chairman named Pachauri, an Indian scientist (not a cousin of my Indian-born wife, I checked). Dr Pachauri does consulting for multinationals on environmental issues in addition to his high position with the UN. “No conflict of interest – he says – because I give all my fees to my private foundation.”
Not good enough. How many of his worthless sons are supported by the foundation? How many lazy nephews, nieces, siblings? I don’t see how one can be a successful Indian, career-wise, and not practice nepotism. You heard me right. (I will post unedited and unbridged any contradiction to this statement by anyone born and reared in India. Use the comment form.) Even if the answer is, “zero relatives,” there are other reasons why people have their own foundations. Some of these are: vainglory, prestige, earning forgiveness for one’s sins. This is all psychic income. It all counts. It undermines your objectivity.
Dr Pachaury is a political appointee of the UN, an organization with a long history of extreme corruption. Is he going to be fired? No.
Instead, intellectually corrupt Dr Pachaury has promised to enforce at the panel the rules that were on the book all along: “OK, we cheated some but no more, we promise to be honest from now on!” This is more amazing than anything I imagined.
Does any of this prove that there is no man-made global warming? It does not. It tells me that the advocates should start again from scratch, in full daylight, with frequent public audits. And it tells me that there is no rush. Same as American health care reform.
The most alarming, the worst panel prediction – based on exaggerations, we know now – was of a less than three-foot rise in the Ocean in the next hundred years, Lots of time to build dikes and move cities to higher elevation, I think. And yes, I know about the Maldives, a small country of very low-lying and poor islands.
I want to show my open-mindedness in spite of the scientific meltdown at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We should think of building the best dike money can buy for the Maldives. I say: Let’s have a public subscription and invest the proceeds at 3% per year compounded annually. I will be first and contribute $3. By the time the water has risen one and half foot around the archipelago, there will be in the fund: $_______________ Then, we should start building.
If the sea never threatens to engulf the Maldives, I want my share to be forwarded to an institute for the intellectual independence of science. You, on the other hand, should feel free to use your share to take a winter vacation in that wonderful country. Watch out for the local toddy; it’s a killer!