Climate Science

Mogur commented on a previous post to the effect that this year’s increase in Arctic ice is not necessarily a refutation of global warming.

I’d agree: One year of uptrend in ice, even a few as we’ve now seen, is not even particularly indicative, let alone conclusive. But I do see evidence that there is a general cooling trend underway, being furiously masked by adjustments. This is not “the coming ice age” — any more than it was when it happened half a century ago. But the US temperatures (where long-term record-keeping has been the best) have been in the 21st century about what they were in the 1930s/1940s, and we considered the drop from then to the cool 1970s a very bad thing at the time. In the 1970s, amidst papers, articles, books and media about global cooling, the US assembled the first government-sponsored climate science panels to deal with what they perceived was a crisis. The famous CIA-assembled panel of 1974 is interesting for its tone as much as its science.

But the point is not what happened in the past, or various people’s gut feelings about it then or now. Even mine.

Paris Propaganda

In the run up to Paris, the media was full of doom. Now, papers are appearing saying (sheepishly) that global warming might not be producing much warming after all. And that species in the Arctic have survived much worse than the current predictions.

The question is not “is global warming real?” Instead, it is more important: Is global warming now a crisis?

It does not appear so. News sources and interest groups hyperventilate over each weather event, and corporations make their living sensationalizing them or selling a certain future based upon them. Such hyperbole suits the purposes of those who would grow government as well, perhaps most of all. One would think that if the threat were real, the folks involved would not have to trot out so much nonsense trying to frighten people into obedience. And there’s been a lot of such things.

But the number of “climate disasters” these days is low — and apparently less expensive. The low tornado and hurricane counts (though sporadic and operating on about a 40-year cycle) have engendered the new science of naming every tropical depression in sight (and now even naming winter storms!) to build up the counts. Droughts that would destroy crops for years have been vastly overstated — and old ones forgotten. One predicted disaster after another has failed to materialize.

None of this “global warming is real!” hysteria is compelling if one is familiar with history.

Plant Food for Thought

Clearly plants are benefiting immensely from the current CO2 levels (independent of agricultural improvements), and virtually all life depends directly or indirectly upon plants, or their CO2-consumer analogs in the ocean (algae/cyanobacteria). This CO2 effect is feeding people, without doubt, right now — perhaps the equivalent a billion of our current population, based on measured effects on growth on the order of 15% from “pre-industrial” CO2.

It’s not just “is global warming real?” The real question is, how do the benefits stack up against the negatives? And as a science researcher and writer, writing papers and proposals for scientists (not in this field), I am highly mistrustful of conclusions drawn when paychecks and positions depend upon getting a certain answer. Moreover, to the extent examinations of such work have been done, those conclusions are shown to be very problematic. The post-publication analyses have been transparent; the original work rarely is. And the strident media drumbeat continues.

Corruption of Science

I am ready to change my opinion from when it formed tentatively in the 1970s, and certainly it has been shaped around the edges by data coming in. In fact, it’s rather annoying: I’ve been debating creationists for decades (including several thousand posts online in other forums), and defending scientists in that arena who have been falsely accused of manipulating data. Sadly, there ARE scientists, in this new and highly contentious climate field, that DO manipulate data just as evolutionary biologists and geologists had wrongly been accused of doing.

This makes my work regarding evolution much tougher, and it annoys and saddens me because of my deep respect for science. I do NOT like to see it mistreated, whether in the service of government, corporations, quangos, or academia — and especially with those interest groups strongly aligned as they are now.

Contrary Theories

In biology for example — as long as you stay away from climate issues — it can fairly be said that science is, with time, self-correcting. Geology was the same, though the notion of tectonic plate movement, and later asteroid impacts, actually resulted in fistfights among scientists at conferences. Both of those major upheavals against the consensus were within my lifetime.

But try advancing a research proposal now that tests a threatening hypothesis, and you will not only receive no funding, your career will be threatened. That is a terrible state of affairs for any seeker of truth.

Appeasing or Analyzing

The best that thoughtful researchers can do is burn the right incense, pray to the correct strange gods, and insert “but global warming is real!” in their work (sometimes using those literal words) while actually sneaking in a bit of straight data on what they’ve discovered.

The trend in global warming science is gradually changing. In isolated spots, in occasional media, it is becoming acceptable to question the dogma. It is a hopeful sign. And if anyone’s science is wrong, let’s show it and show why — and do it publicly. Hidden data and methods supporting multi-trillion-dollar policy changes is a horrifically wrong notion.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle