Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't worry

"Don’t worry. The planet isn’t warming up at all – the temperature record has been tampered with by dodgy climate scientists, in order to justify their funding, and anyway all the measuring devices are next to hot air vents in town centers. Actually, the planet has been warming, but it
stopped in 1998 – that’s why the sea ice has been growing this year. In the winter.

"Having said all that, the planet is in fact warming rapidly, but it’s nothing to do with CO2 – it’s all about sunspots and cosmic rays. Those crazy climate scientists were telling us there was going to be an ice age, and now they say we’re warming up! Which of course we are. Except there was a record cold winter in my town this year – where’s your global warming now, eh?

"The fact that CO2 is warming the planet is not in dispute – but humans make only a tiny contribution to it. The rest comes from volcanoes, and anyway if you look at the prehistoric record the warming came first, then the CO2! Carbon dioxide is good for us, it makes plants grow. Plus it’s warming on Mars, and it was warm in medieval times, I expect our 4x4s caused that too did they?

"The endless flaws and errors in the IPCC reports, plus the scandalous data from the hacked CRU emails shows that global warming alarmists are being used as the tool of governments to raise all our taxes and usher in a new communist world order. It’s a huge hoax, and they’re all in on it – the 7,000 measurement stations, the migrating birds, whoever’s making Greenland melt, all those carefully staged natural disasters – they do it in the same studio where they faked the moon landings, did you know that? Plus, global warming will be great! We’ll grow grapes in London and plant crops in the Arctic and no-one will freeze in the winter. Except it’s not happening at all, and is all part of a natural cycle – the world has always changed temperature, you know. And it’s all China’s fault.

"We can all adapt to it easily enough, and should be spending our time and money on the real problems. It’s all based on computer models, for goodness’ sake! Meanwhile, it’s too late to do anything and we’re all doomed anyway – we may as well party while we can. Because it’s not happening, except it is, and it isn’t our fault, although it is, but it’s not that serious, except it is, but there’s nothing we can do.

"In summary: Relax. It’s all going to be fine. You don’t have to do anything. Don’t look at the nasty scientific reports, or the people dying in floods and droughts and storms, or the melting icecaps, or the way the seasons have started getting really weird, or the strange insects showing up in your local park. Shhhhh. Settle down now. Everything’s going to be just fine.

"- Compiled by the Innocuous-Sounding Institute for Common Sense Climate Solutions, with thanks to various funders that you really don’t need to know about and don’t exist anyway."

- Danny Chiver, The No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change, chapter 3.

For those who might still be feeling confused over whether the climate really is changing in the ways expected by climate scientists, this summary puts together a wide range of evidence. It is not comprehensive, and doesn't show the human fingerprints, yet it is still a very helpful compilation.
Image by ALS.

17 comments:

craigbenno1 said...

Hi Byron.

I would like your opinion of this report http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=595F6F41-802A-23AD-4BC4-B364B623ADA3

Byron Smith said...

Craig - I only have a couple of minutes online at the moment so a full reply will have to wait. My brief reply is that I have little respect left for Senator Inhofe after years of his flagrant misinformation campaign (at least regarding his opinions on climate science - he might be very good on other topics, I simply don't know). I will happily provide plenty of references to back this up when I get a chance in a week or two. Sorry for the delay.

craigbenno1 said...

Thanks Byron. No rush.

Sam Norton said...

Hi Byron - if you're up for it, I'd be particularly grateful if you were able to take up my offer in my latest blog post http://bit.ly/mgOHrd

Jeremy Kidwell said...

Brilliant post - thanks for sharing that!

byron smith said...

SMH: John Cook argues that a half truth is a whole lie. A good response for the format.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Leading climate sceptic Willie Soon received US$1m from oil companies over the last decade.

I may have missed something, but I am not aware of any published sceptics (there are only a handful of individuals in this category to begin with) who do not have significant ties to fossil fuel funding.

byron smith said...

Craig - That was a 2007 speech that claimed that alarm about and within climate science was going to visibly crumble. If you have followed any of the recent major publications by major scientific bodies (NOAA, NAS, CSIRO, Australian Climate Commission, International Program on the State of the Oceans and so on and so on), then you may have noticed that mainstream scientists are finding their observations even more alarming than they were back in 2007.

As for consensus, a number of studies to have come out since 2007 have looked at the level of agreement amongst the most respected and well-published climate scientists and have found that the more that a scientist has published concerning climate, the more likely they are to accept the mainstream position of alarming anthropogenic climate change. At the most senior level, 97% of the most widely published experts agree.

His statistics about the large number of papers that do not explicitly or implicitly endorse the mainstream understanding is entirely understandable in a mature field with widespread agreement. Few papers in astrophysics would feel the need to explicitly or implicitly endorse the theory of gravity; most papers in biology are able to assume the theory of evolution.

Senator Inhofe's claim that only 52 scientists participated in the final drafting of the IPCC AR4 Summary for Policymakers reveals his ignorance of the review process. The final drafting of the SPM represented the penultimate stage in an 11-step operation whose earlier drafts did indeed involve hundreds of scientists summarising the work of thousands of scientists in tens of thousands of publications. You can get a sense of the process by looking at Figure 13 on page 20 of this report, which was recently published by the Australian Climate Commission.

byron smith said...

Senator Inhofe quotes John McLean, an Australian amateur computer consultant and self-proclaimed climate expert (who is yet to show evidence of holding any degree other than a Bachelor of Architecture), who has a history of padding his resumé (links available upon request). In reality, at the time of Inhofe's address, McLean had not published a single peer-reviewed paper. He has since co-authored one paper that was comprehensively rebutted by a comment published in the next edition of the same journal. You can get a sense of the problems here. McLean has also recently predicted that 2011 will be the “coolest year globally since 1956 or even earlier”. As for the specific (non-peer reviewed) piece that Senator Inhofe quotes, its flaws are well documented here and here.

Inhofe repeats the much debunked idea that climate scientists were all predicting an ice age in the 1970s.

I could go on. Was there something specific you wanted me to comment on? Addressing every claim Inhofe makes would take some time.

byron smith said...

In short, Inhofe is out of touch with the science. There are human fingerprints on the wide variety of observed changes in the climate system that are most coherently explained by an account that fits well with what we know in other fields and which gives us good reasons to be very concerned about the threats we face and which are already becoming manifest.

If you would like to look at some very readable discussions of where Inhofe is coming from and why he keeps getting the wrong end of the stick, try this book or this one (or you can watch a lecture by the author here to get the gist of the book).

I hope this answer helps.

Grace & peace,
Byron

byron smith said...

Hamilton: The Social Psychology of Climate Change.

byron smith said...

Crickey: On debating a denier.

byron smith said...

DSB: What's up with conservative white men?

byron smith said...

Video: The Kochtopus.

byron smith said...

David Roberts: What's the best strategy for dealing with deniers?

byron smith said...

AP: The American allergy to Global Warming.

byron smith said...

The Conversation: A journey into the weird and wacky world of climate denial. This piece links to another story on the site that points out the tragic cost of years of HIV/AIDS denialism in South Africa.