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February 17th 2015 print

Tony Thomas

You Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

But then most of us aren't "climate scientists", who have once again granted themselves permission to assemble a cavalcade of conjecture and omission and parade it as "evidence", courtesy of the Australian Academy of Science. They do, however, care deeply about puppies and kittens

puppies mugThe Australian Academy of Science  has hitched its wagon to the “climate change will kill kittens and puppies” school of science. This kittens-and-puppies theme was dreamed up by Harvard University’s Naomi Oreskes and endorsed by Academician and ABC Science Show host Robyn Williams — a device quite deliberately intended to make householders sit up, take notice and believe in the scariness of computer-model forecasts.

The Australian Academy of Science leadership on Monday (Feb. 16) rolled out its much-delayed booklet “Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers”, updating its 2010 version. Its website includes a three-minute video (below) of Academy luminaries such as astronomer Nobel winner Brian Schmidt saying scary stuff.

geekasaurus climatowankii smallThe Academy’s clip has been teamed by YouTube with another another clip called “Why people don’t believe in climate science” featuring a youthful Dr Joe Hanson — the geeky guy (pictured at right) who appears toward the end of the clip, borrowed from Public Broadcasting Service channel, the US near-equivalent of our own ABC. In Hanson’s full video (below), he psychoanalyses why ‘deniers’ stubbornly refuse to go along with climate religion, and how psychologists’ arsenal of brainwashing tricks can ensure the public gets an effective message. His advice comes at the 1.35 mark of the video below

“Climate change is a gradual, impersonal thing, it always seems to live in the future. But if climate threatened [he drops his voice meaningfully] these puppies, wouldn’t you pay more attention?”

puppies drowning

The three little brown puppies are on a tiny island and about to be drowned by the rising seas of climate change. They have long floppy ears, like my own spaniel, Natasha. Stop it, Academy of Science! You’re breaking my heart!

The puppies bring to mind the iconic and genuine pic of a polar bear sitting on top of a dissolving ice floe, which was supposed, by the likes of Al Gore, to represent proof the polar bear populations’ peril from climate change. The truth was otherwise, as the depicted polar bear was just doing what polar bears do, taking time out from crunching seals. As generally occurs with climate change ‘science’, the polar bears extinction meme was shown to be rubbish and bear populations are doing fine, thank you very much.

Anyway, the Academy’s new booklet will doubtless enjoy the same exposure among impressionable schoolchildren as the previous version (1 million-plus circulation). Teachers will cite it as holy writ.

Actually, the  peculiarities start on the first-page introduction by Academy president, Andrew Holmes, who cites sceptic scientist Bill Kininmonth as a reviewer of the draft paper. The wording implies that Kininmonth joined the consensus on the draft. He didn’t*.

Holmes, clearly not across his subject, also makes the claim that “enormous scientific progress has been made in our understanding of climate change
 and its causes and implications.” This progress is so “enormous” that, 34 years ago, climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 was assessed at 1.5 to 4.5 degrees. Today, after countless billions of dollars spent on further modelling and research, the IPCC estimate of climate sensitivity remains in the range of, yes, 1.5 to 4.5deg!

The low end means “nothing to worry about”. The high end means, “We’re all going to fry by 2100”.   Enormous progress indeed.

What’s the Academy line on the 18-year  atmospheric warming halt (which it pretends is only a 13-year “slowing”)? It merits a three-paragraph box on Page 10  in the 31 pages of text. The box is titled, “Has climate warming recently stopped?” This is at least at least more honest than the Academy’s 2010 “discussion”, in which it set up and knocked down a straw-man argument about whether the planet is “cooling”.

There are, so far, 66 different and often contradictory explanations in the warmist literature for the 18-year warming halt. About the only explanation not canvassed is that the CO2 control-knob theory is wrong.  So the Academy had a rich field to cherry-pick. Paragraph One on the hiatus says: “This slowdown is consistent with known climate variability. Indeed, decades of little or no temperature trend can be seen throughout the last century, superimposed on the long-term warming trend.”

This is cute, very cute. It pretends the halt was somehow foreseen or expected, when the 2001 and 2007 IPCC reports (and every warmist authority in the world) was predicting temperature doom and disaster from this decade on. The statement also alludes to the 30-year warming halt from 1940-70,  which the warmist community cannot explain. Perhaps another 30-year halt is under way?

Paragraph Two explains the halt by citing some desperate claims that the deep ocean is absorbing the (assumed) extra heat. Now let’s get real. The Argo buoy program since 2005 is the only decent ocean-testing apparatus and even then, there’s just one buoy per 200,000 cubic kilometres of ocean and that buoy drifts around, so its ability to test trends even in its 2000m depth range is hampered. Claims about tiny recent temperature changes in the deep ocean are a stretch.

One of the three studies cited in support of ‘the oceans ate my warming’ is Academy stalwart Matthew England and his claim that “wind-driven circulation in the Pacific” is what the hiatus is all about. The second claim is in a paper by Kevin Trenberth, “An apparent hiatus in global warming?” (Note the question mark).

Just for interest, this is the same Climategate Trenberth who emailed, in 2009,

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

Moreover, Trenberth’s  2013 study about the mysterious deep oceans is in the very first issue of some new warmist journal called “Future Earth”. Not much of an academic track record for that journal, despite examinations of life-and-death topics such as “Closing the Gender Gap in Farming Under Climate Change“.

In his paper’s summary, Trenberth says the halt has only been on-going for ten years. (Can he count?). The paper’s summary says,

  • “Global warming continues but manifested in different ways
  • Natural variability is playing the major role in the hiatus, through the PDO  [Pacific decadal oscillation].”

The term “natural variability”, to warmists, means “stuff we can’t explain”.

On such a weak reed rests the most important part of the Academy paper, purportedly explaining the warming halt. The Academy three-para  box continues that the weak sun, aerosols and volcanos have been “temporary cooling factors” and tautologically, “None of these influences is likely to continue over the long term.” Another Trenberth paper is cited, “Model-based evidence of deep-ocean heat uptake during surface-temperature hiatus periods.” Apart from providing the useful clue that we’re talking computer games here, rather than observations, note the climate-science peculiarity that model output is described as  “evidence”.

The three paragraphs conclude with “Some models predict that, when the current slowdown ends, renewed warming will be rapid.”

A check on the cited footnote finds this lame conclusion is derived from the same Academy member, Matthew England, and from his same paper about “wind-driven circulation in the Pacific”.

Thus one paper, by a colleague of all the Academy authors, gets cited twice to back up two different conclusions.

Returning now to the start of the Academy paper, the first introductory paragraph suggests either sloppy drafting or ignorance. Referring to the past century’s warming, it says, “The best available evidence indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the main cause. Continuing increases in greenhouse gases will produce further warming…”

The IPCC position, which the document is trying to endorse, is that human-generated CO2 is responsible for most of the past half-century’s warming. The Academy summary downgrades this to CO2 being the “main” cause —  which could mean much less than 51% responsibility for warming.

Well, guess what? That’s the sceptic position – that CO2 is causing some, but not most, of the recent warming. An own-goal for the Academy warmists!

The Academy also needs some remedial education about the scientific process.  In the introduction, the Academy itself refers to   output from computer climate modeling as “evidence”, indeed, “compelling evidence”. I’m no scientist but even I know that observations, and not high-level computer-game outputs, are “evidence”.  Here’s the Academy:

“Climate models allow us
 to understand the causes of past climate changes, and to project climate change into the future.  Together with physical principles and knowledge of past variations, models provide compelling evidence that recent changes are due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They tell
 us that, unless greenhouse 
gas emissions are reduced greatly and greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised, greenhouse warming will continue to increase.” (My emphasis)

Climate models weren’t de rigueur when Nobel physicist Richard Feynman was around, but he nailed it:

“It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is. It doesn’t make a difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.”

So the IPCC (5th report) last year tested the warming cult’s computer modeling against observations, and found that 111 out of 114 model forecasts exaggerated the warming. Why are the models faulty? The IPCC has no idea:

… an analysis of the full suite of CMIP5 historical simulations [computer models]   reveals that 111 out of 114 realisations show a [temperature] trend over 1998–2012 that is higher than the entire HadCRUT4 trend [actual temperatures] ensemble. This difference between simulated and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability, (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing, and (c) model response error.   [chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769]

Moreover  (and you won’t find this in the Academy paper), even if you believe, wrongly, that 2014 was the hottest year on record, 2014 was yet another year where the deviation widened between the models’ hot forecasts and the actual cooler temperatures.

Still staying with the models, the Academy paper maintains the fiction that climate models accurately modeled all significant natural climate forcings in the recent past. This perfect, god-like knowledge enabled the modellers to attribute all residuals to human-caused CO2: that’s their ‘proof’ of the warmist hypothesis.

The Academy authors must have found it hard to carry off, with a straight face, this fiction of perfect knowledge.  The paper itself acknowledges that there are significant uncertainties in the impact of water vapor, clouds, aerosols, the carbon cycle, the sun, the catch-all “internal fluctuations” etc (the Academy doesn’t even mention the king-sized uncertainties about the influence of multi-decadal Pacific and Atlantic oscillations). And whatever ‘validation’ of the models occurred with respect to past temperatures, it was achieved by endless tweaking of parameters using the benefits of hindsight.

The document repeatedly asserts that the late 20th century warming is unprecedented in the past several thousand years. In fact, as any perusal of the global temperature record shows, the recent warming (now stalled) was not even unprecedented in the past century – the non-CO2 warming from 1900 to 1940 was just as strong as the late 20th century warming.

There are hundreds of peer-reviewed science papers suggesting the Medieval, Roman and Minoan non-CO2 warmings were as strong or stronger than today’s. But the Academy paper prefers to push the ‘unprecedented’ meme.

Note, also, that the Academy has never polled members about their views on the global-warming scare – that could be dangerous, as other scientific bodies have discovered.

The document instead distils the views of the small but influential group of Academy members who happen to be careerists in the $1 billion-a-day global-warming industry.

* Why has the Academy not included a contribution from its Fellow, Dr Tim Flannery, head of Australia’s  very important Climate Council? Tim, for a fat fee, could have done a section expanding on his prediction that this planet, this Gaia, will have acquired a brain and a nervous system. That will make it act as a living animal, as a living organism, at some sort of level.”

Footnote: The Academy has informed us that it has no control whatsoever over what appears to the right of a posted clip. The algorithms at YouTube pick up key words in video titles and post ‘suggestions’ to the right hand side based on common key words. Because the puppies video (along with many others) includes the words ‘climate science’, YouTube has placed it next to our clip. This is in no way an Academy endorsement of the clips that appear to the right, the Academy says.

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)

Comments [3]

  1. Geoffrey Luck says:

    Isn’t it time to stop dignifying these people with the term “warmists”? What about calling them HOT ‘n TOTS? After all they’re always beating around the bush. (See definition below)

    Urban Dictionary
    To talk about something without mentioning it directly or avoid getting to the core of the subject–to try to bring up a subject in a roundabout way. Often motivated from a desire not to speak frankly about the subject, either because the subject is taboo, it’s impolite to bring it up directly, or the conversation is perceived likely to be painful.

  2. Jody says:

    Trouble is that this kind of thinking and talk is pervasive in our culture thanks to a thoroughgoing propaganda starting with in education system. We can drill down beyond all this surface talk of “warming” to find that the majority of these people spruiking such cant are only to happy for ‘the system’ to collapse upon itself; serves us all right for being hedonistic decadents immersed in ugly capitalism – which has excluded them, presumably and quite ironically. Tim Flannery and is warnings about water armadeggon should have left him with egg on his face; the sense of moral vanity is so immense that it actually excludes the possibility of self-examination.

    Meantime, none of this helps us to clean up our environment and make the world a better place – it merely positions two contesting points of view in intractable opposition.

  3. Patrick McCauley says:

    I used to think that free speech, discussion and debate would solve the problem of ‘truth’ by deduction. Yet alas, we do not seem to be able to stop telling lies/untruths/half truths/exaggerations/or leaving bits out …. we are somehow separated still into tribes /genders/cultures/ideologies – which may collapse if the truth is revealed – the ‘other’ will ‘win’. (we barrack for governments and ‘Climate Change’ like we barrack for football teams)

    We fear the truth like never before. We have lost our Gods and our dragons to science .. which is creating them new .. with post modernist faces .. in order to create ourselves into the Gods we have so recently denied . God must find this sort of stuff fascinating … here come the humans, again – they are taking over the climate now! soon they will be able to turn the sun up or down, according to their needs and soon Australia will be fireproof … if they can drive the climate, it won’t be long before they will be little Gods .. but none of this can happen outside the truth … God will say. They certainly must learn to deal only with the truth… what is truth? ..you say … it is what actually happened, and nothing less or more.