The Null Theory
Posted by Jeff Id on May 8, 2010
Recently 250 scientists signed a letter on climate change, I suggest reading it as it’s being touted as a big story in the news. As we are supposed to be the technical skeptics, there are a few issues which are easy pickings in the letter. The letter is an undisguised attempt to alter public impressions of uncertainty in climate science. It is no coincidence that uncertainty is the key issue which skeptical scientists have with institutional climate science. These uncertainties are far greater than even the technical public realizes, I didn’t understand the magnitude of the uncertainty even two years ago.
After opening sentences claiming ‘attacks’ on good climate scientists, the letter discusses uncertainty and some non-sequitur examples of sciences that contain far different levels of uncertainty, five main dogmatically “proven” points are listed, of course I couldn’t help but answer:
(i) The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.
Nobody has measured the total heat content of the earths ocean and atmosphere to a level which clearly separates current warming from natural. Even small fluctuations in humidity can cause a slight atmospheric warming, and there is substantial uncertainty on this issue. Climate models used to prove this statement, fail statistical testing and papers which show this failure have been actively blocked from the main stream science (climategate style). This does not negate the fact that some warming is created by CO2, but the amount of warming CO2 creates, could be less than the natural warming.
(ii) Most of the increase in the concentrationof these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
Again, this is overstated. Can someone find a link which shows the percentage of isotopes from CO2 which are presently in the atmosphere from combustible fuel? The last I read, about 30 percent could be attributed to combustion, the rest could have been released from oceans as surface water warmed. However, even the 30 percent could be in error as it’s calculation didn’t take into account some of the short term recycling and re-release from decaying plant material. The amount of contribution by humans is, amazingly enough, also uncertain.
(iii) Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth’s climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.
Dogma, nothing more. Any climate change has been so small as to be difficult to detect with current instrumentation. I’ve read no convincing papers which prove this sentence and most papers I’ve read, still attribute the majority of ‘changes’ to nature. This statement is not supportable by the literature.
(iv) Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrologic cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.
The effects of a warmer planet on weather are wild speculation and an embarrassment to the climate community. Damage and destruction are nearly 100 percent of the time, wildly overpredicted – in peer reviewed publication no less! Beneficial effects are often ignored completely. As climategate has shown, there are systematic efforts in place to eliminate dissent and reasoned thought on such issues. I have no doubt that a warmer earth is preferable for life in general, a greener planet with more land, food and greater biodiversity. Of course these conclusions can be found in non-climate journals, but are widely suppressed in organizations such as the IPCC.
The ocean acidification data is of very very poor quality, but is presented as though it is known fact. I can’t even read a graph that shows the Ph of the ocean to hundredths back in 1900 – prior to the airplane. Even reading about measured changes in ocean acidification with respect to 100 years ago is known to kill brain cells. The reason it’s so often stated is because CO2 does cause acidification, just as it does retard heatflow, the uncertainty of the magnitude of Ph feedbacks are again the main issue. They know some acidification sounds reasonable but how much is what is unknown.
(v) The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments, and far more.
This is the ecofreak side of the scientists coming out. Sea levels have been rising for hundreds of years and have slowed in the last 10. Changes in many glaciers are a result of precipitation not warming, dark particulates from unscrubbed coal plants in others. We would have to be stupid to think that food supply wouldn’t increase on a warmer planet with faster growing plants, yet that’s exactly what they need to say to demand action.
The religious undertones of these declarations are hard to miss. The wildly overstated belief, the powerful declarations of certainty, the demand for appeal to higher authority, all backed up by very weak statistics and poorly vetted climate models. Early in the letter, the scientists who apparently don’t read enough blogs wrote:
Even as these are overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, fame still awaits anyone who could show these theories to be wrong.
The draw of their offer of fame is too much for me, after all, who doesn’t want fame with zero compensation. I present the following alternate theory of global warming – the Null theory, which is basically the oft repeated mantra of the technical skeptic:
Climate models show warming which is statistically exaggerated with respect to measured data, as demonstrated by a number of analyses. Papers demonstrating this, are being actively blocked from publication. See treesfortheforest, Lucia, and ClimateAudit for examples.
The significance of measured warming is being exaggerated with respect to historic natural variation. Historic temperature prior to 1900 is unknown. Hockey stick temperature graphs from proxies are false papers representing nothing but statistical anomalies on unverified data. Large scale physical evidence shows that earth’s temperature was warmer than today in past millennia. No evidence has shown that currently measured minimal warming is anything outside of natural variation.
Damage from predicted warming is exaggerated, there is no evidence that warming will cause any problems whatsoever. Massive flooding is highly unlikely to the point of near impossibility, extreme weather patterns are undemonstrated, violent global tipping points are highly unlikely. Each of these claims by institutional science are wildly uncertain and are currently failing tests against measured data.
The atmospheric life cycle of CO2 is unknown and functional absorption mechanisms remain undefined.
AGW theory is possibly true to some extent having sound basis in that CO2 does retard heatflow, but the complex and poorly understood response of the atmosphere means that magnitudes and effects of this change are not well known. This huge uncertainty is easily verified by the wildly different predictions of various consensus climate models, however the uncertainty extends beyond the range of model predictions due to like minded assumptions forming the basis of today’s models.
Finally, the certainty to which conclusions are expressed by the scientists in the press and in papers, exceeds reasonable bounds. Hide the decline of Climategate showed a single instance of many known brushed aside uncertainties in climate science. Such instances of suppressed uncertainty are far from uncommon, and those of us who read the papers are fully aware of it. It is the certainty of both the magnitude of warming and the danger of warming on which reasonable disagreement lies.
I await my fame and fortune! haha. After writing the above, the stark contrast of opinion between the skeptical scientist vs the institutional science demonstrates the dogmatic undertones of the global warming consensus. As my opinions on different aspects of AGW have been hardened with ever more data, I now firmly believe that institutional AGW represents a direct attack on capitalism as a whole. In a stroke of lucky irony, the group called for an end to the McCarthy style attacks on climate science. hehehe.
Finally, the letter ends with the most obvious falsehood, and the single point where my personal greatest disagreement lies. The very last sentence reads:
The good news is that smart and effective actions are possible. But delay must not be an option.
In my opinion, no greater lie could ever be told to a population. There is simply no action which can be taken by our society without causing great economic harm to the people. We do not have the technology outside of a partial improvement using nuclear power. It’s no coincidence that every proposed action leads to higher taxation, greater government control and that some of the most popular solutions are the least effective and most expensive. Delay in my opinion is the single best option for limiting CO2 output. Even if the scientists guesses are completely right, delay of taxation and regulation means acceleration of the technological invention and eventual implementation of new energy solutions.
It is completely false that we have the ability to stop production of CO2 today, for scientists to openly claim otherwise disgusts me. New solutions are physically required to actually stop CO2 production and this statement proves beyond a shadow of doubt that AGW is politics not science. Like so many of a hidden political agenda, economic limitation and suppression of industry is a real goal.