The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change is the latest book by Roger Pielke, Jr., noted political scientist and professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). In it he addresses the controversial subject of whether natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more fearsome due to manmade climate change. This short volume is an excellent summary of his work in this area and a reference that anyone serious about climate change should have on their shelf. After receiving an advance copy of the work, here is my review.
You may be aware of a movement of conspiracy theorists labeled 9/11 truthers. These benighted souls refuse to believe that al-Qaeda terrorists intentionally crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocent people. Instead they blame the government or other shady characters. Their beliefs are not important but the mindset exhibited by the truthers is. You see, they will not stand for any debunking of their theories or even doubts about their beliefs. In this way they are a reflection of the mindset that infects believers in anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Climate change true believers also will brook no descent nor tolerate any deviation from their conviction that humanity is destroying Earth's climate through CO2 emissions. Obsession, irrational thought and religious adherence to unsubstantiated theories are not limited to political conspiracy nuts.
It is no secret that there is much misinformation bandied about regarding climate change and the related subject of green energy. Half-truths and lies are spread by advocates on both sides of the debate, most often via the Internet. Recently, climate alarmists trumpeted a report claiming that 23% of the world's energy was now being supplied by renewable sources, clearly an attempt to bolster the claims of the wind and solar industry. At the same time, a report appeared that powering a car via electricity is 10 times less efficient than via fossil fuel. These are only two of the bogus, misleading reports to surface recently, promoted by both warmists and skeptics. Sadly, the public is caught in the middle without the scientific or technical background to judge the truth of such pronouncements.
In 2013 a group of climate researchers published a study using statistics and the output of the latest crop of climate models. Their purpose was to show when surface temperatures could be expected to permanently depart from previous historical ranges. Such an event is called an expulsion. Camilo Mora et al. presented precise projections for when these unprecedented regional climates would emerge. Now a second group of researchers argue that their methodology produces artificially early dates at which specific regions will permanently experience unprecedented climates and artificially low uncertainty in those dates everywhere. This is an example of what happens when untrustworthy model outputs are combined with specious statistical methods. The resulting predictions are scary enough to be published in a major journal, but so false that even other climate scientists are moved to protest.
Hoards of non-scientists have been making a career out of pushing “settled science,” particularly when it come to climate change, the eco-socialists' favorite excuse for dismantling the world's existing economic and industrial base. Unlike the notoriously squishy science of climate change, physics is viewed as being mature and on a more solid foundation, at least by those who are physicists. Given the recent furor caused by the IPCC and NCA reports, plus the US EPA's ham handed attempt to institute CO2 Cap & Trade without the agreement of Congress, it is instructional for scientific outsiders to review recent events in both fields. Read on, believers in the myth of settled science and those who think scientific questions are resolved by consensus.
The science is settled, the President of the United States assures us. His pet scientists have produced yet another frightening climate report to prove it. Given this President's tenuous relationship with the truth on other matters, a citizen might pause to ask if the claim of settled science is, in fact, true. In the recent past scientific papers have discovered some “unexpected” phenomena that help to regulate climate. In fact, one of the climate change faithful proposed a mechanism affecting the jet stream that could be responsible for this winter's unexpected weather in the northern hemisphere. Only problem, a number of climate alarmist luminaries have dissented from her idea. Remember the consensus that was supposed to shut down all opposing opinions? Never mind. Another study shows statistically that there is no way to establish a human caused warming trend without another 100 years of observation. Of course, if you believe the climate catastrophists the world as we know it will have vanished by then. So is climate science really settled? Here are just some of the most recent indications that it is not.
As this blog has previously noted, the mainstream media are all a twitter over the IPCC's latest screed, advising, no, demanding that governments around the world take decisive action to combat that mythical bugaboo, anthropogenic global warming. Their own supporters, including President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, have been generating a lot of hot air about AGW but doing precious little, mainly because cooler heads in Congress have prevailed. What hasn't been widely presented are the counter arguments. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), has issued its own report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, to counter the half truths and outright lies in the IPCC propaganda piece but it seems that information about the report has been suppressed. As a public service we proudly present an op-ed by Dr. Craig Idso, lead editor and scientist for the NIPCC.
On March 31, 2014 the fifth in a series of scholarly reports produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, was released to the public. While little reported in the main stream media, this new publication represents an independent, comprehensive, and authoritative report on the current state of climate science. It is an answer to the propaganda put out by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its lackeys and a direct refutation that no real climate scientists dispute the conclusions of the climate change alarmists. For those who do not accept the claims of consensus science or the fatuous assurances that global warming is an imminent threat by vacuous politicians, this report sheds light on the real science behind global warming and its possible effects.
Supporters of the CO2 driven theory of anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) are in full panic mode. The continued hiatus in global temperature increase has led to a flurry of statements denying “the pause,” as climate scientists have named it. This new denialism even extends to international organizations like the WHO, that just recently claimed that global warming had not ceased, even though numerous organizations—including Britain’s Meteorological Office, NASA, and the IPCC—have admitted that it has. Among climate change true believers there is a scramble on to “find the missing heat” that would explain the pause. Strangely, among these practitioners of group think there is no consensus about the cause of the pause. At the same time, the IPCC is about to release its latest screed regarding climate change and the leaks have been flowing fast and furious, saying there is dissent in the land of consensus. This may well be the turning of the tide on the greatest scientific hoax in history.
While the debate rages regarding global warming and mankind's role in climate change there is one area that is not in dispute: the steady rise in atmospheric CO2 over the last century. Indeed, climate change alarmists celebrated CO2 readings passing 400ppm at Mauna Loa with news releases and renewed predictions of the coming Apocalypse. But carbon dioxide has other impacts, one of which has recently been documented by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency. According to CSIRO, increased levels of CO2 have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years. This is because of a process called CO2 fertilization, which unequivocally shows that carbon dioxide is plant food.
One of the scary scenarios frequently trotted out by climate change alarmists is the possible shutdown of the ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean. This would disrupt northern hemisphere climate, particularly in Europe. Indeed, one Hollywood disaster movie had frozen military helicopters falling from the skies in the UK and Manhattan buried under a tsunami of ice. We are told this could happen at any time, if the world gets too hot from all that CO2 our species is churning out. Now a shocking new paper in the journal Science implies that the standard view of a relatively stable interglacial circulation may not hold for conditions warmer/fresher than at present. Why? Because it happened before, over 100,000 years ago, without the help of man made global warming. Another catastrophic climate threat is shown to be totally natural and to have happened before our species began burning coal and driving SUVs.
A recent article in Nature has the on-line scientific community all a twitter. A news feature has declared “P values, the 'gold standard' of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume.” This is one of science's dirty little secrets, a way of providing proof of your work using a supposedly impartial statistical measure. In truth, the P value is susceptible to a legion of poor assumptions that make it not just meaningless but often misleading. In an age when historical climate data are being aggressively subjected to reanalysis and 95 percent of climate models have been wrong it is time to stop taking scientific results at face value, because they are most probably wrong.
California, the state that raises 30% of US fresh produce, is in the grip of a severe drought. Billed as the driest period in the state's recorded rainfall history, climate change alarmists have hastened to blame the parched conditions on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Paleoclimate history tells a different story, however, and highlights the amazingly short attention span of AGW advocates. Going beyond the 163-year historical period, science shows that there have been other, longer lasting and more severe droughts than the current dry spell. Today's drought is minor when compared with ancient Megadroughts, which occurred between 850 to 1090 and 1140 to 1320. In fact, the worst droughts suffered by the American Southwest all happened so long ago that human memory fails us.
The world is entering the 16th year of the greatest climate science embarrassment in modern history—the pause in global warming. Despite rising IPCC confidence levels and hundreds of computer model predictions, that darned old climate is just not behaving like the boffins say it should. After all, CO2 keeps rising, and we all know that CO2 drives Earth's climate like the thermostat in a house... or not. No longer able to sweep the lack of warming under the observational rug, the climate change community had started flailing about for answers: the heat must be hiding deep in the ocean, it must be soot from China, some have even begun to wonder whether there is something wrong with their models. Most are still convinced that the missing heat is hidden somewhere because they will not accept the simplest explanation—the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming is fundamentally incorrect.
You may have notice that the news media talking heads and TV weather presenters have discovered a new term recently—the Arctic Vortex. In a splendid demonstration of how the weak minded are quickly consumed by group think, and ill understood terms get repeated ad nauseum, the Arctic Vortex has dominated the news during the past week in the US. In truth, the phenomenon is not new. What is new is that its current foray south is being loudly attributed to global warming. For years the effects of a warming Arctic have been the subject of scientific speculation. Dubbed Arctic amplification, some claim it will enhanced extreme weather in the middle latitudes. The fact that such linkage is tenuous at best has not stopped ignorant politicians like the UK's David Cameron and the US's Barack Obama from blaming recent nasty weather on that old nugget, anthropogenic global warming. There is, however, some evidence to the contrary from one scientist who studies atmospheric dynamics and variability under different climates.