Climate Science Hits New Desperate Low

By Dr. Tim Ball Thursday, July 1, 2010


Polls show people are no longer concerned by claims humans are causing global or climate change. They consistently place very low or are not even listed. Most still don’t understand the science, but a couple of cold winters raised doubts. Ironically, the fact the issue became political was frustrating for skeptical scientists, but is a blessing in disguise.

People’s distrust of politics and politicians automatically reinforces the cold winters skepticism. Public distrust is reinforced by the realization that politicians see the exploitation of global warming as a chance for control, for increased taxes, or both.

How long before politicians realize the public are simply not on board the climate change alarmism? It can’t be much longer as economies fail, jobs disappear, markets weaken, and deficits and debts soar. How long before the mainstream media report the problems with the science? How long before they recognize that the only science that is settled is how wrong the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports are? How long before we finally learn who leaked the emails?

The battle to perpetuate the false IPCC science is fighting a rearguard action with yet another consensus attack

A series of political strategies developed to promote the claim humans were causing global warming, including personal attacks on scientists who dared to question the science. They were marginalized by a standard political ploy that a consensus showed they were in the minority and therefore wrong. However, as Einstein said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” The battle to perpetuate the false IPCC science is fighting a rearguard action with yet another consensus attack.

The original consensus claim obliquely referred to the people in the IPCC, but very few were climate scientists or scientists at all. A recent report notes that Mike Hulme, IPCC insider, “Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.” Why didn’t he speak earlier when it was being used to sideline skeptics?

Of course, all this confirms what Richard Lindzen and John McLean said years ago. The Fourth IPCC Report included a subtle form of the consensus argument, “The IPCC…brings together the world’s leading climate scientists and experts.” John McLean disabuses this argument: “The IPCC would have us believe that its reports are diligently reviewed by many hundreds of scientists and that these reviewers endorse the contents of the report. An analysis of the reviewers’ comments for the scientific assessment report by Working Group I show a very different and very worrying story.” Or as MIT professor Richard Lindzen, former member of the IPCC said, “It is no small matter that routine weather service functionaries from New Zealand to Tanzania are referred to as ‘the world’s leading climate scientists.’ It should come as no surprise that they will be determinedly supportive of the process.” Madhav Khandekar, a former employee of Environment Canada, and 2007 IPCC reviewer also criticized the notion that IPCC represents a scientific consensus.

Official Climate Science Hits A New Low

Now a new form of consensus argument has emerged. In a non-peer-reviewed article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences it claims, “97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC [Anthropogenic Climate Change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.” The article was not peer-reviewed because one of the authors, Stephen Schneider, is a member of the Academy. It provides a list of the skeptics who don’t reach the level of qualifications of pro AGW people.

I am thrilled and honored to be on the list (241st of 496).

It claims to prove the skeptics are not as well-qualified or active in publishing therefore not as credible. Ironically, it completely debunks the original consensus argument because it provides a large list of well-qualified skeptics.

There are errors and omissions in my entry and I understand for many others. I am listed with the National Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), which was not a think tank as listed, lasted less than two years, and became defunct a couple of years ago. They list my PhD, but no date (1982) when it exists for others - information easily available from the University of London.

The most egregious idea is the limitation of 20 for publications to qualify as a climate researcher. It is an extension of the consensus argument and clearly chosen to push pro-AGW people above skeptics. One of the practices of publications by people at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was listing multiple authors on papers to the point where it was clearly contrived to pad resumes. (They were not alone in this practice, as it is part of the academic advancement game.) Professor Wegman identified 42 people in his investigation of the infamous “hockey stick” as a coterie, all of who had published with Michael Mann and they all appear on multi-authored papers.

Control of the peer review process

A second problem identified by the CRU emails was the degree to which they controlled the peer review process to guarantee publication of their own work and ensure skeptical works were rejected. They did this to the point were they had editor-in-chief of Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) James Saiers fired for publishing a skeptic’s article.

This is interesting because I recall when GRL came on the climate scene. Up to that point there were few journals publishing climate articles and very few universities offering courses in climate. The only centers of climate were Reid Bryson’s at Wisconsin and Hubert Lamb’s at East Anglia. Climate was considered a subset of meteorology when it is the other way around. Climate data was only published by government agencies as monthly and annual summaries. Most climate articles were published in meteorology journals such the Royal Meteorological Society Journal. Neither “Science” nor “Nature” were interested in climate research or publishing climate papers. GRL was important because it was interdisciplinary, an essential item that acknowledges the generalist nature of climatology.

The first mainstream climate journal was Climatic Change whose editor, Stephen Schneider, is probably the longest surviving editor of any journal. Sadly, he has always let his politics override decency and academic norms. As the late John Daly wrote; “It would be fair to say that Schneider bears a large part of the responsibility for making Greenhouse the hysterical public issue it has become today. He even once joked that since Greenhouse had hit the public arena, he had become more of a politician than a scientist. (`Many a true word is spoken in jest’) His role in this latest disgrace is more of the same. The charade is over for all but the politicians and a few political scientists.


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Copyright © 2010 CFP

Dr. Tim Ball, is a member of CFP’s Speakers’ Bureau.

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“Dr. Tim Ball is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. Dr. Ball employs his extensive background in climatology and other fields as an advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition, Friends of Science and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.”

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