Today I’d like to more thoroughly address specific planks of Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory (AGW) that I think deserve further scrutiny. Over the past year AGW rhetoric has reached deafening levels, and advocates have successfully framed the hypothesis as unassailable. Propagandists have yolked AGW with “wise stewardship” and today it’s common for skeptics of AGW to be derided as ignorant anti-environmentalists. But I don’t think that things are nearly so simple.
Unfortunately, once people become emotionally invested in a position, it can be very difficult to provoke them into changing course. Liberals and progressives hailed the election of Obama as the most wonderful thing since sliced-bread. A year into his presidency, with a battlefield full of broken promises behind him and the insinuation of institutionalized corruption and illegal forced detentions stretching into the foreseeable future, many of those same liberals and progressives have fallen into an exasperated, listless complacency. They became emotionally invested in the “hope” engendered by Obama, and when the reality failed to live up to the myth, they were forced into cognitive dissonance, apathy, or synthesis. If you meet someone who still supports Obama, dig a little and you’ll find the cognitive dissonance – and, I would argue, the same could be said of supporters of AGW.
To get us started, I think we should rehash the essential assumptions of AGW:
• As atmospheric levels of C02 increase, Earth’s median temperature increases.
• As Earth’s median temperature increases, atmospheric imbalances precipitate increases in the frequency and strength of weather events (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts).
• Humans are directly exacerbating this process through the burning of fossil fuels and any activity that yields C02 as a byproduct.
• Increased median temperatures are melting the polar ice caps and causing glaciers to recede or vanish.
Since AGW has the pleasant benefit of being a bonafide scientific theory, it suggests falsifiable claims. If these claims can be demonstrated invalid, the theory is in need of reconsideration. On the other hand, if emotional investment and cognitive dissonance are high enough, no amount of contradictory data will matter. Young Earth Creationists make a fine example of this psychopathology. In spite of overwhelming tangible evidence that their theory is invalid, they fall back on dogma or the Bible – and no amount of science will provoke them into reconsidering their position. Thankfully, AGW is far easier to invalidate than dogma from the Bible, because it makes so many suppositions that are easily testable.
Let’s begin with the most crucial component of AGW – C02. Here’s a graph of historical global C02 levels and temperatures. According to their analysis:
“Current climate levels of both C02 and global temperatures are relatively low versus past periods. Throughout time, C02 and temperatures have been radically different and have gone in different directions. As this graph reveals, there is little, if any correlation, between an increase of C02 and a resulting increase in temperatures.”
If we realize that C02’s correlation with global temperature is not a given, the entire edifice of AGW begins to crumble. Therefore, it’s difficult to get adherents of AGW to accept the implications of this data. Again and again they’ll fall back on the assumption that the correlation between C02 and global temperatures is incontrovertible, but they must avoid an ever-expanding amount of dissonant data:
MIT’s professor Richard Lindzen’s peer reviewed work states “we now know that the effect of CO2 on temperature is small, we know why it is small, and we know that it is having very little effect on the climate.”
The global surface temperature record, which we update and publish every month, has shown no statistically-significant “global warming” for almost 15 years. Statistically-significant global cooling has now persisted for very nearly eight years. Even a strong el Nino – expected in the coming months – will be unlikely to reverse the cooling trend. More significantly, the ARGO bathythermographs deployed throughout the world’s oceans since 2003 show that the top 400 fathoms of the oceans, where it is agreed between all parties that at least 80% of all heat caused by manmade “global warming” must accumulate, have been cooling over the past six years. That now prolonged ocean cooling is fatal to the “official” theory that “global warming” will happen on anything other than a minute scale. – Science & Public Policy Institute: Monthly CO2 Report: July 2009
“Just how much of the “Greenhouse Effect” is caused by human activity?
It is about 0.28%, if water vapor is taken into account– about 5.53%, if not.
This point is so crucial to the debate over global warming that how water vapor is or isn’t factored into an analysis of Earth’s greenhouse gases makes the difference between describing a significant human contribution to the greenhouse effect, or a negligible one.” – Geocraft
Next, let’s further consider the hypothetical tangential effects of AGW – e.g., rising global temperatures melt icecaps, etc.:
• Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out: “Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.”
• ‘AGW – I refute it thus!’: Central England Temperatures 1659 – 2009: “Summary: Unprecedented warming did not occur in central England during the first decade of the 21st century, nor during the last decade of the 20th century. As the CET dataset is considered a decent proxy for Northern Hemisphere temperatures, and since global temperature trends follow a similar pattern to Northern Hemisphere temps, then the same conclusion about recent warming can potentially be inferred globally. Based on the CET dataset, the global warming scare has been totally blown out of proportion by those who can benefit from the fear.”
• 50 Years of Cooling Predicted: “‘My findings do not agree with the climate models that conventionally thought that greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, are the major culprits for the global warming seen in the late 20th century,’ Lu said. ‘Instead, the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming….’
In his research, Lu discovers that while there was global warming from 1950 to 2000, there has been global cooling since 2002. The cooling trend will continue for the next 50 years, according to his new research observations.”
A comparison of GISS data for the last 111 years show US cities getting warmer but rural sites are not increasing in temperature at all. Urban Heat Islands may be the only areas warming.
Rise of sea levels is ‘the greatest lie ever told’:
If there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story.
Despite fluctuations down as well as up, “the sea is not rising,” he says. “It hasn’t risen in 50 years.” If there is any rise this century it will “not be more than 10cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10cm”. And quite apart from examining the hard evidence, he says, the elementary laws of physics (latent heat needed to melt ice) tell us that the apocalypse conjured up by Al Gore and Co could not possibly come about.
The reason why Dr Mörner, formerly a Stockholm professor, is so certain that these claims about sea level rise are 100 per cent wrong is that they are all based on computer model predictions, whereas his findings are based on “going into the field to observe what is actually happening in the real world”. – Telegraph.co.uk
Since the early Holocene, according to the findings of the six scientists, sea-ice cover in the eastern Chuckchi Sea appears to have exhibited a general decreasing trend, in contrast to the eastern Arctic, where sea-ice cover was substantially reduced during the early to mid-Holocene and has increased over the last 3000 years. Superimposed on both of these long-term changes, however, are what they describe as “millennial-scale variations that appear to be quasi-cyclic.” And they write that “it is important to note that the amplitude of these millennial-scale changes in sea-surface conditions far exceed [our italics] those observed at the end of the 20th century.”
Since the change in sea-ice cover observed at the end of the 20th century (which climate alarmists claim to be unnatural) was far exceeded by changes observed multiple times over the past several thousand years of relatively stable atmospheric CO2 concentrations (when values never strayed much below 250 ppm or much above 275 ppm), there is no compelling reason to believe that the increase in the air’s CO2 content that has occurred since the start of the Industrial Revolution has had anything at all to do with the declining sea-ice cover of the recent past; for at a current concentration of 385 ppm, the recent rise in the air’s CO2 content should have led to a decrease in sea-ice cover that far exceeds what has occurred multiple times in the past without any significant change in CO2. – C02 Science.org
• The Global Warming Scandal Heats Up: “The IPCC has been forced to admit that the claim made was actually taken from an article published in 1999. The article was based around a telephone interview with an Indian scientist who has admitted that he was working from pure speculation and his claims were not backed by research.”
• The Dam is Cracking: “[The claims of Himalayan glacial melting] turned out to have no basis in scientific fact, even though everything the IPCC produces is meant to be rigorously peer-reviewed, but simply an error recycled by the WWF, which the IPCC swallowed whole.
The truth, as seen by India’s leading expert in glaciers, is that “Himalayan glaciers have not in anyway exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.” …
Then at the weekend another howler was exposed. The IPCC 2007 report claimed that global warming was leading to an increase in extreme weather, such as hurricanes and floods. Like its claims about the glaciers, this was also based on an unpublished report which had not been subject to scientific scrutiny — indeed several experts warned the IPCC not to rely on it.”
• Arctic Sea Ice Since 2007: “According to the World Meteorological Organization, Arctic sea ice has increased by 19 percent since its minimum in 2007, though they don’t make it very easy to see this in the way that they report the data.”
Now let’s consider some of the agents and institutions that are strong advocates of AGW:
Howard C. Hayden, emeritus professor of physics from the University of Connecticut, told a Pueblo West audience that he was prompted to speak out after a visit to New York where he learned that scaremongering billboards about the long-term effects of global warming were being purchased at a cost of $700,000 a month.
“Someone is willing to spend a huge amount of money to scare us about global warming,” Hayden said. “Big money is behind the global-warming propaganda.”
Lawrence Solomon: Wikipedia’s Climate Doctor:
Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the bands members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.
All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.” – National Post
The ‘ClimateGate’ scandal that broke a couple of months ago warrants some elaboration, too. For previous posts on this topic, see:
That foundation established, let’s take a closer look at who was involved with ClimateGate:
For a thorough, email-by-email elaboration of exactly what the ‘big deal’ is, see here:
Climategate publicly began on November 19, 2009, when a whistle-blower leaked thousands of emails and documents central to a Freedom of Information request placed with the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. This institution had played a central role in the “climate change” debate: its scientists, together with their international colleagues, quite literally put the “warming” into Global Warming: they were responsible for analyzing and collating the various measurements of temperature from around the globe and going back into the depths of time, that collectively underpinned the entire scientific argument that mankind’s liberation of “greenhouse” gases—such as carbon dioxide—was leading to a relentless, unprecedented, and ultimately catastrophic warming of the entire planet.
The key phrase here, from a scientific point of view, is that it is “unprecedented” warming.
• The Proof Behind the CRU ClimateGate Debacle: Because Computers Do Lie When Humans Tell Them Too: “As you can see, (potentially) valid temperature station readings were taken and skewed to fabricate the results the “scientists” at the CRU wanted to believe, not what actually occurred.”
• Unearthed Files Include “Rules” for Mass Mind Control Campaign: “The intruded central computer was not only filled to the brim with obvious and attempted ostracizing of scientists who don’t blindly follow the leader, the files also reveal that the folks of the IPCC made use or considered making use of a disinformation campaign through a ‘communication agency’ called Futerra.
The agency describes itself as ‘the sustainability communications agency’ and serves such global players as Shell, Microsoft, BBC, the UN Environment Programme, the UK government and the list goes on. The co-founder of Futerra, Ed Gillespie explains: ‘For brands to succeed in this new world order, they will have to become eco, ethical and wellness champions.’
The document included within the climategate treasure-chest is called ‘Rules of the Game’ and shows deliberate deception on the part of this agency to ensure that the debate would indeed be perceived as being settled. When facts do not convince, they reasoned, let us appeal to emotions in order to get the job done.”
• Climategate goes SERIAL: now the Russians confirm that UK climate scientists manipulated data to exaggerate global warming: “Climategate has already affected Russia. On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.
The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.”
• ClimateGate Expanding, Including Russian Data and Another Research Center: “Well now some Russian climate officials have come forward stating that the data they handed over to the Hadley Centre in England has been cherry-picked, leaving out as much as 40% of the cooler temperature readings and choosing the hottest readings to make it appear things were warmer than they actually are (regardless of whether the temperature is human-induced or natural).”
Scientists using selective temperature data, sceptics say:
Two American researchers allege that U.S. government scientists have skewed global temperature trends by ignoring readings from thousands of local weather stations around the world, particularly those in colder altitudes and more northerly latitudes, such as Canada.
In the 1970s, nearly 600 Canadian weather stations fed surface temperature readings into a global database assembled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Today, NOAA only collects data from 35 stations across Canada.
Worse, only one station — at Eureka on Ellesmere Island — is now used by NOAA as a temperature gauge for all Canadian territory above the Arctic Circle.
The Canadian government, meanwhile, operates 1,400 surface weather stations across the country, and more than 100 above the Arctic Circle, according to Environment Canada. – Canada.com
The ClimateGate emails were highly damning, and have led to Phil Jones’ (one of the researchers at the centre of the scandal) resignation and an investigation into Michael Mann’s ’scholarship’. Furthermore, the UN is also ‘investigating’ the ’scholarship’ underlying the scandal, but if something as incontrovertible as the Goldstone Report can get whitewashed, I have little hope for a meaningful or just analysis in a scandal of this magnitude. In theory, science is self-correcting; but in practice it’s “defend your thesis at all costs”.
Nevertheless, each of our original four suppositions are demonstrably ambiguous – if not outright invalid. Therefore, science – and empiricism – invalidates AGW.
Humanity has irrevocably altered – blighted? – the Earth, but C02 levels are far less relevant than other forms of industrial pollution: mercury-seeping lightbulbs, dioxin pollution, gene drift, cell phone-induced genetic damage, and all manner of other harmful and silly endeavours pose greater unambiguous threats to humanity than C02. Therefore, if you really want to help clean up the Earth, leave the AGW rhetoric in the dustbin and let’s get on with disempowering the hegemons.
- NCSE: When Is purported Science not Science? (wattsupwiththat.com)