Transterrestrial Musings

Defend Free Speech!

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type 4.0
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« Rewriting History | Main | Asymmetry »

What Happened To The Consensus?

The American Physical Society admits that a significant number of its membership are heretics:

In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,"There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."

The APS is opening its debate with the publication of a paper by Lord Monckton of Brenchley, which concludes that climate sensitivity -- the rate of temperature change a given amount of greenhouse gas will cause -- has been grossly overstated by IPCC modeling. A low sensitivity implies additional atmospheric CO2 will have little effect on global climate.

Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors."

Have the deniers arrested, tried and punished. They must confess their sins.


0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: What Happened To The Consensus?.

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Sam Dinkin wrote:

Taking a quote from the Monckton paper, note that there's a clue to why others worry about global warming. There's an opportunity for fallacy of chain logic. For some reason, the long line of contingent logic causes others to think that we should do something:

Even if temperature had risen above natural variability, the recent solar Grand Maximum may have been chiefly responsible. Even if the sun were not chiefly to blame for the past half-century's warming, the IPCC has not demonstrated that, since CO2 occupies only one-ten-thousandth part more of the atmosphere that it did in 1750, it has contributed more than a small fraction of the warming. Even if carbon dioxide were chiefly responsible for the warming that ceased in 1998 and may not resume until 2015, the distinctive, projected fingerprint of anthropogenic 'greenhouse-gas' warming is entirely absent from the observed record. Even if the fingerprint were present, computer models are long proven to be inherently incapable of providing projections of the future state of the climate that are sound enough for policymaking. Even if per impossibilethe models could ever become reliable, the present paper demonstrates that it is not at all likely that the world will warm as much as the IPCC imagines. Even if the world were to warm that much, the overwhelming majority of the scientific, peer-reviewed literature does not predict that catastrophe would ensue. Even if catastrophe might ensue, even the most drastic proposals to mitigate future climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide would make very little difference to the climate. Even if mitigation were likely to be effective, it would do more harm than good: already millions face starvation as the dash for biofuels takes agricultural land out of essential food production: a warning that taking precautions, 'just in case', can do untold harm unless there is a sound, scientific basis for them. Finally, even if mitigation might do more good than harm, adaptation as (and if) necessary would be far more cost-effective and less likely to be harmful.

In short, we must get the science right, or we shall get the policy wrong. If the concluding equation in this analysis (Eqn. 30) is correct, the IPCC's estimates of climate sensitivity must have been very much exaggerated. There may, therefore, be a good reason why, contrary to the projections of the models on which the IPCC relies, temperatures have not risen for a decade and have been falling since the phase-transition in global temperature trends that occurred in late 2001. Perhaps real-world climate sensitivity is very much below the IPCC's estimates. Perhaps, therefore, there is no 'climate crisis' at all. At present, then, in policy terms there is no case for doing anything. The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.

Paul Milenkovic wrote:

There are three issues here.

One issue is whether the observed increase in CO2 has already resulted in quantifiable warming.

The second issue is what is the character of the sink into which we are emitting CO2. As Freeman Dyson has pointed out, only half of the CO2 attributable to deforestation and fossil fuel combustion has appeared in the atmosphere, and the amount emitted remains small compared to the scale of natural fluxes of CO2 and estimates of the sinks. If we are emitting X tons of carbon in the form of CO2 and only X/2 is appearing in the atmosphere, where is the rest going, and can we count on it going there or are we filling up the capacity of those sinks? Whether temperature is already rising or not in no way addresses this important question.

The third issue is if we, being the different nations and peoples of the world, emit even greater amounts of CO2. There is China building all of those coal power plants; there are the plans to convert coal to liquid fuel that emit much more carbon than refining light oil into gasoline. The amount of CO2 emitted and the resulting temperature rise may be small compared with natural processes, but the concern is "that you ain't seen nothin' yet" with respect to carbon emissions.

The problem with the Al Gore's and the IPCC Executive Summaries of the world is that they are not satified with "there is some evidence to suggest that the current modest increase in CO2 is having a small effect on climate, but if we keep on our current course, there is a strong possibility of a much large effect." No, these people are not satisfied with scientific caution -- by them, the CO2 temperature signal is unmistakable and people who question whether we have seen the CO2 temperature signal at this time are deniers in the pay of the coal and oil companies.

Aunt Tildie could be showing incipient signs of senility that will require long-term care later on, but some townspeople are already screaming "witch, witch!" regarding mildly eccentric behavior that could be just her personality. You can understand why some scientists have problems with this whole thing turned into a litmus test of social earnestness.

Carl Pham wrote:

It's probably useful to draw a distinction between the members of the APS, who are generally physicists, and the climatologists and modelers, who may be, but even if so are probably trained differently. They go to AGU meetings, not APS meetings.

Atmospheric science has in my experience tended to attract the...hmm, how to put this delicately?...less mathematically-able aspirants to a career in physical science. I don't mean they can't do calculus. I mean they tend to have less of the true understanding of math that involves not only being able to do it but to evaluate its reliability and more importantly relationship to reality.

Good theoretical physicists may well begin discussions about dairy farming with consider a spherical cow, but they never confuse the spherical cow model with the real cow. On the other hand, I fear the tendency to confuse the model with reality, through a lack of true gut-level understanding of the math and its limitations, is more prevalent in the atmospheric science community.

It's been said before: a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I fear some of these folks know enough about complex-systems simulations to do them, but not enough to be sufficiently wary about their applicability to reality. Top-notch theoretical physicists, on the other hand, have a long and weary history of having their favorite can't-miss obviously-right logically-consistent models of reality (Galilean relativity, luminiferous ether, classical mechanics) proven ludicrously wrong by a stubborn and perverse Mother Nature. Makes them humble.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Well put each and every one of you. 5 out of 5 who understand and acknowledge the deeper issues (including post, comments, and myself). I hope everybody who disagrees puts some real effort into understanding what you have written.

No wonder I keep reading this site.

That Idiot Elifritz wrote:

Hahaha hahaha hahaha ... you focking fruitcakes just crack me up. Cowboys and horseys on the moon!

LB Parker wrote:

Unfortunately, the ones who make policy are not the ones who understand math.

We need a better-educated political class.

Ok, stop laughing now!

Tom Hill wrote:

Bob Park trashed this story pretty thoroughly in this week's "What's New." I'm not a big fan of Dr P, but if he's correct there isn't much to it.

Leave a comment

Note: The comment system is functional, but timing out when returning a response page. If you have submitted a comment, DON'T RESUBMIT IT IF/WHEN IT HANGS UP AND GIVES YOU A "500" PAGE. Simply click your browser "Back" button to the post page, and then refresh to see your comment.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 17, 2008 8:38 AM.

Rewriting History was the previous entry in this blog.

Asymmetry is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.1