Posted: February 23rd, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
It was only a matter of time before the climate alarmists got their feet back under them. There is too much at stake politically, too many careers and reputations on the line, too much grant money for researchers and donations for environmental groups, too much green-tax revenue for governments, too much prestige in academic circles at risk for those who have asserted for more than a decade that man is causing damaging climate change to slink away in defeat.
So it is of little surprise that in the past couple of weeks many alarmists have begun asserting that despite all the revelations of the past three months about how key climate scientists and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have corrupted the scientific process in an obsessive drive to prove that climate change is real, nothing has undermined the “fact” that the Earth is warming dangerously.
Since late November, the True Believers have watched in stunned silence as the foundation of the climate-change theory has suffered one body blow after another.
First it was the revelation that scientists at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in England — perhaps the most influential of the three sources the United Nations relies on for most of its climate data — were fudging their data to show more warming in recent decades than had actually occurred.
At the same time, these scientists were doing their best to upend the peer-review process at major scientific journals so scientists who disagreed with them would be unable to get published. And they were withholding their raw data and computer codes from other scientists and government investigators so no one else could validate or debunk their research by attempting to replicate it.
The alarmists have recently begun to rally around Phil Jones, the discredited head of the CRU. Nearly two week ago, Jones gave an interview to the BBC in which he admitted there had been no “statistically significant” global warming in the past 15 years.
Some news sources and global-warming skeptics overplayed Jones’s exact words. Last Sunday’s Daily Mail in Britain, for instance, claimed Jones had performed a “U-turn” in his claims for warming.
Jones, in fact, continues to insist the Earth is warming. But what he now admits is that it is not warming that rapidly (just 0.12 C per decade) and not “at the 95-per-cent significance level,” the level needed to assert statistical certainty.
He also now allows that there may have been other periods in the past 1,000 years that were as warm as or warmer than today.
While this is not a complete about-face, it is hardly business-as-usual, as the alarmist would have us believe. Even if Jones is still insisting that global warming is happening, there is now a measure of doubt in his claims that never existed before. What makes Jones’s words significant is not that they reveal some 180-degree change in his thinking, but that for the first time he admits significant uncertainty in the so-called settled science of climate change.
If leading climate scientists had spent the past 15 years saying the warming they were seeing wasn’t all that significant or that there remained many uncertainties about predictions of future climate or that some pre-industrial periods had been warmer, would there have been a Kyoto accord or a Copenhagen Earth summit? Would Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth have made $100 million? Would environmentalists have been asked to write government policy? Would there be any support at all for green taxes and carbon capture and other measures aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions?
Even though alarmists are correct that Jones has not recanted his earlier belief in the warming theory, he has undergone a significant change.
Or take the assertion, recently very common among alarmists, that NASA’s climate scientists are still finding global warming occurring, so it must still be happening.
Frankly, NASA’s climate scientists have hardly more credibility than the CRUs or IPCCs.
NASA is another of the three repositories of climate data relied upon by the UN, but three years ago a significant error was found in its records. In the 1990s, NASA had begun keeping temperature records differently, but it had failed to adjust all its pre-1990s records (about 120 years’ worth) to match the new method. When it reconciled its old records to its new method, recent warm years ceased to be as remarkable. For instance, 1934 replaced 1998 as the warmest year. And 1921 became the third-warmest.
In 2008, NASA substituted September’s global temperatures for October’s (they claimed accidentally), thereby distorting upward the worldwide averages for the fall of that year — an otherwise rather cool year.
And most recently, NASA has been shown to be cherry-picking the Earth stations it uses to calculate global average. It has been eliminating stations in colder locations (polar, rural, mountainous) and over-relying on warmer ones (mid-latitudes, urban).
Alarmists may want to believe this changes nothing, but that simply makes them the new deniers.
Hat Tip: ClimateChangeFraud