The science is not settled – there is no consensus on climate change

Quit saying that Stuart! Ed Begley was pretty funny practially pouting when arguing about the non-existent “consensus” on climate change with Stuart Varney on Your World last week. But when real climate scientists look at the facts and note how substantial the political process weighs on the scientific process, you can hear a pin drop.

Richard Lindzen is one of those guys, a climate scientist with solid credentials as a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who thinks the alarmist view that climate change is accelerating specifically due to human activity is “bizarre.”

Lindzen had an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday entitled The Climate Science Isn’t Settled, Confident predictions of catastrophe are unwarranted. For those of us – myself included – who are not science geeks, the language used is not something that can easily be translated into a two sentence paragraph – which the alarmists and their followers are fond of – but I would strongly suggest that you take a few minute to read the article.

He does not freak out, give dire predictions

Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre. There is general support for the assertion that [globally averaged temperature anomaly] GATA has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the middle of the 19th century. The quality of the data is poor, though, and because the changes are small, it is easy to nudge such data a few tenths of a degree in any direction. Several of the emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have caused such a public ruckus dealt with how to do this so as to maximize apparent changes.

The notion that complex climate “catastrophes” are simply a matter of the response of a single number, GATA, to a single forcing, CO2 (or solar forcing for that matter), represents a gigantic step backward in the science of climate. Many disasters associated with warming are simply normal occurrences whose existence is falsely claimed to be evidence of warming. And all these examples involve phenomena that are dependent on the confluence of many factors.

Our perceptions of nature are similarly dragged back centuries so that the normal occasional occurrences of open water in summer over the North Pole, droughts, floods, hurricanes, sea-level variations, etc. are all taken as omens, portending doom due to our sinful ways (as epitomized by our carbon footprint). All of these phenomena depend on the confluence of multiple factors as well.

Consider the following example. Suppose that I leave a box on the floor, and my wife trips on it, falling against my son, who is carrying a carton of eggs, which then fall and break. Our present approach to emissions would be analogous to deciding that the best way to prevent the breakage of eggs would be to outlaw leaving boxes on the floor. The chief difference is that in the case of atmospheric CO2 and climate catastrophe, the chain of inference is longer and less plausible than in my example.

Do read the full piece with the understanding there may be people who are smarter than you. Why should some climate scientists, actors and politicians be blindly accepted while more moderate scientists – a.k.a. deniers to the alarmists – be ignored and castrated?

Stop saying that Stuart!


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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on December 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Is it true that East Anglia is changing its name to Fraudistan?

  2. sammy22 on December 3, 2009 at 5:20 am

    A rather simplistic analogy to make a contrarian point. At the same time state that:

    "Many disasters associated with warming are simply normal occurrences whose existence is falsely claimed to be evidence of warming. And all these examples involve phenomena that are dependent on the confluence of many factors."

    And leave it at that. What about describing some factors that prove his assertion?

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