'Every year climate science seems to get less sure until I want to shout 'Just vanish back into obscurity until you've got a handle on this mess! Go on, go to your room and don't come out till your predictions last longer than it takes the ink to dry on them." '

Jun 29, 2013 'TinyCO2' commenting at Bishop Hill


Monday, 7 April 2014

A parent reacts to his children's 'flimsy', 'one-sided' education on global warming.

In 2011, a concerned parent, Seth Forman, was so disturbed by the superficial and one-sided education his children were getting in the United States about climate that he decided to assemble a set of bullet-points to explain 'Why I am a Global-Warming Skeptic (and You Should Be)'.  Notice that he does not dispute that global warming has occurred in the 20th Century - he is clearly using the term 'Global-Warming', as many do, as a shorthand for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW).

I reproduce some of it here as an illustrative example of what parents can do without having a scientific background themselves.  Forman is a university professor in government and public policy, and a writer on various political and historical topics (http://www.mrformansplanet.com/index_files/Page358.htm).

He has clearly studied readily available materials, and prepared his own notes on the history of this particular eco-scare, then highlighting some of the controversies associated with it beginning with the Climategate revelations of 2009, before finishing with some 14 points to substantiate challenging the standard 'global warming narrative'.  He has the talents and skills of an established academic researcher and writer, but he is a layman as far as climate science is concerned.  But since that science has penetrated into public policy, and associated proselytising has penetrated into schools, he has sufficient cause to make his own examination of the issues involved.

Imagine what an organised group of parents could achieve, over say 12 months, if they set out to do the same.  Imagine how well they then be able to protect their own children, and perhaps others as well,  from inadequate teaching on climate matters, and from the numerous scare stories that have been promoted for decades now.

Extracts from his article: 
(bold typeface added by me in the first paragraph)

'I live in a wonderful suburban community on Long Island. My three children attend the excellent public schools in our district. As the two oldest children have made their way through middle school, though, I've been bothered by the rather flimsy instruction they've received on the subject of "global warming." Despite widespread divergence among scientists and reports of questionable scholarship in landmark global warming studies, my children (and, presumably, their classmates and millions of other young students) have been taught a standard, one-sided view of "global warming." Both my 14 year-old daughter and 11 year-old son have been shown Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth in sixth grade, but have been given nothing to suggest that some of the information in the movie is either controversial or misleading. So I've decided to put together this bullet point compendium of information discussing the current status of the "global warming" debate.

The History
1. Global warming is when near surface and water temperatures on earth rise. Scientists believe there are many factors involved in the earth's temperature changes, many of which are natural and have little or nothing to do with human activity (e.g. atmospheric processes like clouds and precipitation systems, the variability associated with phenomena like El Nino and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation). But an approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in average temperatures over the last 100 years has put the focus of scientists and funding agencies on "greenhouse gases" (carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrous oxide, and methane), some of which are emitted by humans. These gases can trap heat and light from the sun in the earth's atmosphere, which increases the temperature.
2. The claim that the earth is warming, that the warming is due to man's emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), and that continued emissions will lead to catastrophe gained major media attention during the hearings of then-U.S. Senator Al Gore's Committee on Science, Technology and Space in 1988. At those hearings Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies James Hansen claimed with" 99 percent certainty" that temperatures were rising due to a human-influenced "greenhouse effect."
[the article provides 4 more points under this heading]
The Controversy
1. In mid-November of 2009 there appeared a file on the internet containing thousands of emails and other documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain (CRU). The CRU supplied many of the authors for the IPCC reports. The file was quickly authenticated and provided unambiguous evidence that the CRU and associated research scientists throughout the world engaged in the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, data manipulation, and collusion. This event has become known as "climategate."
2. Climategate has mushroomed into a crisis affecting an entire scientific discipline. At the heart of this crisis is the "hockey stick" graph produced by Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University, a co-conspirator in the leaked emails. After being given data by another scientist showing a mid-to-late 20th century decline in temperatures, Mann responded in a September 22, 1999 email to the CRU, that it was a "problem and a potential distraction/detraction." So Mann deleted the embarrassing post-1960 portion of the data. The CRU's director Phil Jones applauded Mann's deceptions in an e-mail in which he crowed over "Mike's Nature trick," which also included a "method" of flat lining the medieval "warming period."
3. An independent study by a team of mathematicians was requested by the U.S. congress and headed by Dr. Edward J. Wegman. The Wegman study thoroughly discredited the Mann "hockey stick" research because of invalid use of statistical techniques and found that the conclusions by Mann could not be supported.
[there are 6 more points under this heading in the article]
Scientific Data That Challenges the Global Warming Narrative
1. CO2 is a benign gas essential to life, occurring in past eras at five times present levels. Changes in atmospheric CO2 do not correlate with human emissions of CO2, the latter being entirely trivial in the global balance. Oceans are the primary contributors of CO2 in the atmosphere.
2. According to Larry Bell, a professor at the University of Houston and the author of Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax, the abnormally high temperatures experienced on earth in the last century has been going on for 15,000 to 18,000 years, a life-friendly period known as an interglacial cycle, long before man-made inventions of agriculture, smokestacks, and SUVs.
3. Prof. Bell explains that temperatures are probably about the same today as during a "Roman Warm Period" slightly more than 2,000 years ago, and much warmer than the "Dark Ages" that followed. They are cooler than the "Medieval Warm Period" about 1,000 years ago when Eric the Red and his Icelandic Viking tribe settled on grasslands of Greenland's southwestern coast, and much warmer than about 400 years ago when the Northern Hemisphere plunged into depths of a "Little Ice Age."
4. According to Robert B. Laughlin, co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics: climate change over geologic time is something the earth has done "on its own without asking anyone's permission or explaining itself." Glacial episodes have occurred "at regular intervals of 100,000 years," always "a slow, steady cooling followed by abrupt warming back to conditions similar to today's."
5. The past century witnessed two distinct warming periods, one occurred from 1900-1945, and another from 1975-1998. About half of that total warming occurred before the mid-1940s. Recordsfrom land stations and ships indicate that the global mean surface temperature warmed by about 0.9 Fahrenheit since 1880*. These records indicate a near level trend in temperatures from 1880 to about 1910, a rise to 1945, a slight decline to about 1975, and a rise to 1998.
6. While CO2 levels have continued to rise, there hasn't been statistically significant warming since 1998.
[there are 8 more points under this heading in the article]'
*Comment. 0.9F looks to be on the low side.  The EPA site linked to by the author talks of modern warming at about 1.4F per century.  Perhaps the author meant to write 0.9C.  See: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/weather-climate/temperature.html
The article is linked to in my first paragraph, but here is the link again for convenience:


Anonymous said...

More to the point, science is empirical. If you aren't making testable predictions, what you have isn't science, it's opinion.

The envirowacko mob mostly takes great, great care to avoid formulating any of their opinions in a falsifiable manner or making a testable prediction, just as Thomas Aquinas did, and for all the same reasons. When they do make testable predictions, such as "the Earth's polar ice caps will have completely melted by 2011 and the ocean levels will rise sixty meters," they are predictably, uniformly, comically wrong every single time, in every instance.

...also, the claim of a one degree Fahrenheit rise in global temperatures over the course of the Twentieth Century is dubious in the extreme. We don't know what the Earth's temperature is today. We don't know how to measure it. Is it ocean temperatures at the surface? Is it air temperatures at the surface? Where at the surface? How would you begin to measure it? Please note that the detailed satellite data from which one might begin to make any kind of analysis doesn't exist prior to the 1980s. We don't know what the Earth's temperature is today, nor do we have any idea what it was in 2000, or 1900, or 1800.

The environmentalists are silly little men, but they want power. They have concocted this narrative in which the white race has sinned against Gaia by building cities and putting men on the moon instead of sitting around in mud huts scratching our arses, and we are past due for a visit from Nemesis to punish us for our Hubris and for our original sin. And the news and entertainment media hard-sell this to us, night and day, day and night. To live in the West in the early Twenty-First Century is to swim in a sea of agitprop, a miasma of calculated lies. Speaking truth to such people, reminding them of something as simple and basic as the definitions of the terms of the scientific method, elicits from them not apologies for having erred, but an unending torrent of hatred and abuse--and you will be hounded out of the public square, drowned out by screams of feigned outrage, and it will be you, and not the capering fools who have yet to make a prediction that is borne out by the facts, whose name will become common anathema.

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

JS said...

Thanks Anonymous, I agree that testable predictions are a hallmark of good science, especially when theories are discarded when refuted by observations! I sympathise with your other concerns. There is so much that is downright unsatisfactory.