Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) is the gift that keeps on giving, mainly to its adherents but, yes, also to sceptics for whom it provides an endless source of material upon which we can keep exercising our ‘little grey cells’. For example, I often wonder at what point the CAGW scam will finally expire. There have been two events which, by rights, should have at least given our governments pause in their rush to bankrupt us. The first was Climategate and the second is the warming stasis (better but more unscientifically known as “the pause”). But no, not a bit of it.
CAGW will end either because of a gradual and growing acceptance that the empirical data do not support the proposition of catastrophic warming (i.e. the science, the genuine science, at last triumphs) or, alternatively, there may be some, as yet unpredictable, watershed event (a Berlin Wall if you like) that causes the edifice to come tumbling down.
Regrettably, all the portents (and Graham Woods article Open Letter to an Alarmist Shill only reinforces my fear) are that we will have to rely on the latter. What prompted these thoughts was a series of recent Graham Lloyd reports in the The Australian. Let me say, at the outset, that any observation I make here is no reflection on, or criticism of, Lloyd. He is merely presenting the argument of the ‘climate establishment’.
The first of these articles, published on July 21, reported an interesting find:
The Antarctic Peninsula, regarded as a “global warming hot spot”, has been cooling for almost 20 years.
Natural variability was responsible both for the decades-long warming since the 1950s and more recent cooling, according to research published today in Nature.
Good news for sceptics, right? It seems to support the sceptic view that observed 20th century warming was nothing out of the ordinary.
But wait, as is always the case when observed evidence does not mesh with approved climate narrative, a warmist was quick to dismiss those inconvenient thermometer readings:
The research, led by John Turner from the British Antarctic Survey, said while the start of Antarctic Peninsula cooling in 1998 had coincided with the so-called “global warming hiatus”, the two were not connected.
So in this case ‘correlation’ has no significance. The prevarications and provisos foreshadowed by the above quote commence immediately in the following paragraph and dominate the remainder of Lloyd’s article. Just one example:
Martin Siegert, co-director of the Grantham Institute, London, said the Antarctic Peninsula was one of the regions of the world where warming was greatest over the past 100 years, and now it had levelled off whilst other areas continued warming. “The study does not suggest that global warming has been halted however, and it must not be misconstrued as such,” Professor Siegert said.
There is much more of the same. I don’t intend to examine the article line by line, but suffice to say that a nice line in sophistry is developed (again I emphasize, not by Lloyd) to show that Occam’s Razor, once so popular among climate alarmists when temperature and CO2 were rising at the same time, now, no longer, applies.
The second Lloyd article (August 13) to pique my interest concerned the 19-year warming pause or, as I prefer to call it, warming stasis. It references to a workshop conducted by the US National Academy of Sciences which appears finally to have accepted that temperatures have been flat-lining for close to two decades. Once again, reality is acknowledged but wrapped in hedges, fudges and caveats. The stasis, we are asked to believe, was caused by decadal natural cycles that were strong enough to modulate the warming effect of the CO2 currently accumulated in our atmosphere. These cycles are ‘not considered to be predictable’. Somehow, because of those unknowable short-term variances, the great minds of climatology are better able to state what temperatures will be 2116.
The lack of predictability of natural variability is why climate scientists say they are better able to predict what may be happening in Earth’s climate 100 years from today rather than at mid-century. They are confident the long-term trend is for rising surface temperatures in response to increasing levels of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
In other words, the near-term predictions that we made with 95% certainty twenty years ago may have been wrong but trust us we know what we’re talking about when it comes to the long term. If punters worked to the same rules no bet would be a losing one and every bookie would be an undischarged bankrupt.
On the July 18, ABC Media Watch’s Paul Barry excoriated The Australian for not reporting on a letter from the Coral Reef Symposium to PM Malcolm Turnbull demanding urgent action to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change. The letter was no more nor less than a political manifesto that had nothing to do with rigorous science and, as The Australian is edited by better journalists than Barry, the paper was well advised to pass on it.
Tony Thomas: When Climateers Fall Out
But, perhaps stung by Barry’s criticism, on August 24, Lloyd did report on a similar political exercise from the self-appointed Climate Institute, which had apparently commissioned a report from an organisation called Climate Analytics on the advantages of limiting global warming to 1.5C rather than 2C. Limiting warming to 2C was the agreed aim of the Paris conference and signatories of the resulting agreement were required to put in place plans for CO2 emission reductions that would contribute to this aim. There were, however, no official guidance as to what levels of emissions would be necessary to achieve the aim. It was simply left up to individual countries to decide ‘how much they could afford to chip in’. So there is an immediate disconnect between the aims of the Paris agreement and the action plans promised by individual signatories. It goes without saying that there are no guarantees countries will do what they say they will do and, by any reasonable reckoning, no possibility their actions would have any measurable effect on global climate if they did.
During the course of the Paris conference an aspirational target of 1.5C emerged, suggesting that whatever was agreed at Paris was just an ambit claim. Here we now have a report which effectively tells us that 2C is not really the goal. It’s the ‘Brisbane Line’ we must not cross and in order to ensure that we don’t, we really need to aim for 1.5C. This report is not based on any specific research project. It is a distillation of the findings of a UN-sponsored, the Structured Expert Dialogue (SED). Their considerations took place over the timeframe 2013-15 and therefore their ‘findings’ were available to the IPCC process before the Paris conference but only surfaced during the conference. Perhaps organizers thought national governments might wonder why they were being asked to sign up to a 2C target when 1.5C was the actual goal.
I decided to have a look at the SED report — a daunting task, as I discovered when I read the first paragraph:
1. At their forty-first sessions, pursuant to the mandate for a structured expert dialogue
(SED) on the 2013–2015 review given in decision 1/CP.18, paragraph 86(b), the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) requested the co-facilitators of the SED to prepare, with the assistance of the secretariat, a final factual report that includes a compilation and a technical summary of the summary reports on the meetings of the SED and to make it available no later than 3 April 2015.
Suffice to say that what was reported in The Australian was simply another regurgitation of the same old alarmist line, as always couched and designed to keep the momentum going. It should have been filed in the same repository as the Coral Reef symposium non-story. And a week or so ago, in another article by Graham Lloyd, came the latest and best example of the flexibility of CAGW theory.
Here is the first paragraph:
Man-made global warming started earlier and was much greater in the 19th century than previously thought according to two new papers involving international scientists and US space agency NASA.
And where might this amazing new research have originated? Why, our very own ANU:
Research published in Nature today [and] led by Australian National University Professor Nerilie Abram concludes the warming of the planet may have started as early as 1830.
That should set alarm bells ringing from the get-go. ANU has form in the production of dubious climate research, as exemplified by the 2012 paper claiming to show that 20th century warming in Australia was unprecedented in one thousand years, lasted about four hours after publication before it was debunked by Steve McIntyre and subsequently withdrawn.
Anyway, back to Associate Professor Abram’s research. It seems that mainstream climate science has now discovered, by virtue of paleoclimatological reconstructions and model simulations, what meteorological records have always shown and sceptics have repeatedly pointed out: that the world was indeed warming in the 1830s. This apparently came as a surprise to the climate science establishment for whom anthropogenic climate change has generally been talked about as a 20th-century phenomenon.
Here words almost fail me. These people are suggesting the miniscule increase in atmospheric CO2 that might have occurred at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution had an immediate and detectable warming effect. Michael Mann, that grand old man of climate scams, attempted to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period; now Abram and her carbonphobic confreres are working the same magic on the Little Ice Age. Their position appears to be that there can be no warming unless humans can be blamed for it. Emboldened by their success so far in brushing aside all inconvenient truths, climate scientists have reached new heights of brazen effrontery.
Let’s have a look at this re-writing of climate history. What Abram is saying is that, prior to her research, the temperature record did not show warming as early as 1830. Now it does. So she has, in the space of one sentence, written out a warming record (coming out of the Little Ice Age) that coincides with the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, and which has been a matter of public record for decades. Then, courtesy of the ANU research, written it back in again. It’s mind-boggling.
All the above demonstrates quite clearly that, for alarmists, dangerous human induced warming is holy writ and model simulations must always trump empirical evidence which can always be interpretted to confirm preconception. In the grant-fed, careerist conclaves of the climate clerics there is no anomaly that cannot be accommodated.
More than a secular religion, catastropharianism is a cult — and like all cults built around prophecies of doom, the refusal of events to confirm predictions is shrugged off, the omens of pending disaster re-interpreted, and the day of reckoning assigned a new date.
Unlike other doomsday cults, however, your common or garden-variety loonies pay from their own pockets to produce tracts aimed at converting the rest of us.