Friday, 08 January 2016

Disarming the Alarmists: Climate-change Myth Takes Three More Hits

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It’s no wonder climate alarmists are getting hot under the collar, proposing measures such as imprisoning climate realists. Because, increasingly, the facts are not intersecting with their agenda. And 2016 is providing no respite, with, reports Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), three more global-warming stories that no doubt put a chill on alarmists’ New Year’s revelry.

First up: Would you take a “hot stock tip” from a broker who’d been consistently wrong for more than a generation? That’s analogous to what alarmists are asking us to do, with scholars at the Cato Institute confirming “that climate models that warn of warming have been wrong for decades,” writes IBD. In fact and contrary to those models, temperatures have reportedly been stable now for approximately 18 years. And as Cato puts it stating the obvious, “If the known climate behavior cannot be well-captured by the models, no case can be made for the veracity of projections, from the same models, of the future evolution of our climate — the projections which underlie current climate/energy policy.” In other words, the best predictor of future predictions’ accuracy is past predictions’ accuracy.

And doomsayers have a particularly bad — and comical — record. As Dr. Walter Williams wrote in “Environmentalists’ Wild Predictions”:

At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind." C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed." In 1968, Professor Paul Ehrlich, Vice President Gore's hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and "in the 1970s ... hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Ehrlich forecasted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Ehrlich's predictions about England were gloomier: "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

England may be sorry it still exists in 2016, though, if Al Gore is to be believed. According to him, we have just 18 days left “to save the planet from turning into a total frying pan,” as the Washington Post put it. Gore may not now want to bet the house on that prediction, but he doesn’t have to. Since he announced on January 26, 2006 that we had a mere 10 years to save ourselves, he has made countless millions as a climate-alarmist investor.

Next up: Presentation is everything. Saying “Big Oil” made more than “$100 billion in profits” in 2012 can stoke the fires of envy and redistributionism. Pointing out that its profit margin is only about 10 percent — far less than Apple’s 27 percent — is less compelling. Likewise, hearing that Greenland lost nine trillion tons of ice in the 20th century can evoke images of the Wicked Witch of the West shrieking “I’m melting!” But then there’s what that fact means:

Greenland retained 99.7 percent of its ice cover during the 20th century.

Yeah, the island is that big.

As the blog “Watts Up With That?” put it, “One would think that the fact that 99.7% of Greenland’s ice sheet survived the 20th Century might just be more scientifically relevant than a 0.3% loss… But I guess that doesn’t make for a very dramatic headline.”

It’s not surprising that Greenland would have lost some ice. The last 12,000 years have been what’s known as an “interglacial period,” a warming interval following a glacial period; the latter typically lasts approximately 100,000 years. The bad news is that since interglacials last only about 10,000 to 12,000 years, we’re due for another glacial period soon.

The reality is that climate is cyclical, not stable. There have been four or five major ice ages during the Earth’s existence and numerous minor ones. It’s said that during the Cryogenian period the world was almost completely covered with snow and ice, and during the Triassic and most of the Jurassic periods there was little if any snow or ice at all. There are also 1,500-year cycles of warming and cooling. And the atmosphere and oceans reflect our mercurial climate: CO2 levels in the dinosaur age were five to 10 times today’s. At one time, the sea around Florida was 300 feet lower; at another time, 100 feet higher.

Speaking of figures, some just strain credulity. In the 1936 German “election,” “official” turnout was 99 percent and Hitler’s Nazis “won” 98.8 percent of the vote. North Korea’s state media once reported that late dictator Kim Jong il shot a 38-under-par 34 — while making 11 holes-in-one (many say it was only five) — in his very first round of golf. Then there’s the claim that 97 percent of scientists agree that man is the cause of global warming. While The New American has debunked this notion time and again, IBD now adds to the picture, writing of a

peer-reviewed paper showing that only 36% of 1,077 geoscientists and engineers surveyed believe in the man-made global warming crisis as defined by the United Nations' Kyoto model.

According to the paper, the Kyoto position expresses "the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause."

Thirty-six percent is not insignificant. But it certainly is a long way from the oft-cited 97% "consensus" among scientists that man is causing temperatures to change.

Researchers behind "Science or Science Fiction? Professionals' Discursive Construction of Climate Change," which appeared in Organization Studies, also found "the proportion of papers" collected from a science database "that explicitly endorsed anthropogenic climate change has fallen from 75%" between 1993 and 2003 "to 45% from 2004 to 2008."

Yet even this may overstate the alarmists’ case. As the Canada-based group Friends of Science wrote in 2014:

Friends of Science announce the release of a new report entitled “97% Consensus? No! Global Warming Math Myths and Social Proofs.” Contrary to claims of these most-cited 97% consensus surveys, there is only 1-3% explicitly stated agreement with the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] declarations on global warming, and no agreement with a catastrophic view.

“These ‘consensus’ surveys appear to be used as a ‘social proof,’” says Ken Gregory, research director of Friends of Science. “Just because a science paper includes the words 'global climate change' this does not define the cause, impact or possible mitigation. The 97% claim is contrived in all cases.”

In addition and as late author Michael Crichton once pointed out, consensus isn’t science. We would never say, “Consensus holds that force = mass × acceleration” or “There’s a strong consensus that the sun is 93 million miles from Earth”; such talk sounds ridiculous. If a scientist has the facts, he presents them, offering reproducible results. “Consensus” is what you talk about when you don’t have the facts.

Where there is an alarmist climate-change consensus is among the media, academia, entertainment, and political pseudo-elites, culture-shapers who would subordinate facts to fashionable fiction.

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