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Real science must guide policy
By Paul Driessen
All too many alarmist climate scientists have received millions in taxpayer grants over the years, relied on computer models that do not reflect real-world observations, attacked and refused to debate scientists who disagree with manmade climate cataclysm claims, refused to share their computer algorithms and raw data with reviewers outside their circle of fellow researchers – and then used their work to make or justify demands that the world eliminate the fossil fuels that provide 80% of our energy and have lifted billions out of nasty, brutish, life-shortening poverty and disease.
A recent US House of Representatives Science Committee hearing on assumptions, policy implications and scientific principles of climate change showcased this. Testimony by climate scientists Drs. John Christy, Judith Curry and Roger Pielke, Jr. contrasted sharply with that of Dr. Michael Mann.
Christy noted that Congress and the public have been getting biased analyses and conclusions that begin with and attempt to confirm the belief that human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions drive climate change. He said government should “organize and fund credible ‘Red Teams’ that look at issues such as natural variability, the failure of climate models and the huge benefits to society from affordable energy, carbon-based and otherwise.” He demonstrated how average global temperatures predicted by dozens of models for 2015 are now off by a full half-degree Celsius (0.9 F) from what has actually been measured.
Curry discussed how she has been repeatedly vilified as an “anti-science” climate change “denier” and “disinformer.” But she focused on the role of the scientific method, especially as related to the complex forces involved in climate change – and especially when used to advise on policy and law. Real science means positing and proving a hypothesis with convincing real world evidence. Models can help, but only if they accurately reflect the total climate system and their results conform to real world observations.
Pielke discussed his own mistreatment as a “denier” and showed that there is “little scientific basis” for claims that extreme weather events (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts) have increased in recent decades due to GHG emissions. In fact, IPCC and other studies reveal that the USA and world have had “remarkable good fortune” with extreme weather in recent years, compared to the past: 23 major hurricanes hit the US East Coast 1915-1964; but only 9 in 1965-2016 – and not one since October 2005. He also offered 18 specific recommendations for improving scientific integrity in climate science.
Mann said the other three witnesses represent a “tiny minority” who stand opposed to the 97% who agree that “climate change is real, is human-caused, and is already having adverse impacts on us, our economy, and our planet.” He defended his “hockey stick” historic temperature graph, claimed climate models have been “tested vigorously and rigorously” and have “passed a number of impressive tests,” insisted that warming [of a couple hundredths of a degree] in recent years proves that manmade global warming “has continued unabated,” and accused those who contest these statements of being “anti-science” deniers.
The “97% consensus” is imaginary – a fabrication. One source was a survey sent to 10,256 scientists, of whom 3,146 responded. But their number was arbitrarily reduced to 77 “expert” or “active” climate researchers, of which 75 agreed with two simplistic questions that many would support. (Has Earth warmed since 1800? Did humans play a significant role?) Voila! 97% consensus. But what about the other 3,069 respondents? 75 out of 3,146 is barely 0.02 percent. Purported consensus studies by Cook, Oreskes and others were just as bogus.
Moreover, governments have been spending billions of dollars annually on climate research. The vas majority went to the alarmist camp. If $25,000 or $100,000 a year from fossil fuel interests can “buy” skeptical scientists, as we are often told, how much “consensus” can billions purchase? If many scientists who contest “dangerous manmade climate change” are harassed, or threatened with RICO prosecutions, how many will have the courage to speak out and challenge the “consensus” and “settled science”?
These are timely questions. On April 12, 1633 the Catholic Church convicted astronomer Galileo Galilei of heresy, for refusing to accept its doctrine that the Sun revolves around the Earth.
But far more important, the climate battle is not merely a debate over miasma versus germ theory of disease, AC versus DC current, or geologic mechanisms behind plate tectonics. It’s far more even than disagreements over how much humans might be affecting Earth’s climate, or how bad (or beneficial) future changes might be, on a planet where climate fluctuations have occurred throughout history.
Manmade climate catastrophe claims are being used to justify demands that the United States and world eliminate the carbon-based fuels that provide 80% of the energy that makes modern industry, civilization and living standards possible – and that continue to lift billions of people out of poverty and disease.
Climate alarmists want that radical transformation to take place right now. McKinsey & Company, the UN and assorted activists say the world must spend some $93 trillion over the next 15 years to convert completely from fossil fuels to “sustainable” energy! Or it will be too late. Our planet will be doomed.
Claims and demands like those require solid, incontrovertible proof that climate alarmists are right. Not just computer models, repeated assertions, “peer review” among like-minded researchers seeking their next government grant, or a partial-degree of warming amid multiple El Niños and cooling cycles. They require “Red Team” analyses and open, unfettered debate over every aspect of human and natural influences on Earth’s climate, the ways carbon dioxide improves plant growth, and the need for abundant, reliable, affordable electricity and motor fuel for every person in every nation.
We haven’t had any of that so far. Up to now, climate chaos is just one more Club of Rome supposedly looming disaster, supposedly caused by human intervention in natural processes, supposedly requiring immediate, fundamental changes in human behavior, to avoid supposed global calamities – threats to the very survival of our wildlife, civilization and planet. It’s all assertions, devoid of persuasive evidence.
It’s true that virtually all nations have signed the Paris accords. However, only President Obama signed it for the USA; the Senate never ratified the decision. And the US reduced its CO2 emissions by 12.5% since 2007, while Europe’s carbon dioxide emissions rose 0.7% in one year, 2014-2015.
Britain is looking into rescinding some 2020 clean energy targets and using more coal and natural gas. EU nations are realizing that overpriced, unreliable wind and solar power is hammering families and killing their jobs and economies. Virtually all the developing nations that signed onto the Paris (non)treaty did so because they were promised trillions of dollars in climate “adaptation, mitigation and reparation” money.
That brings us to another April anniversary: the 1815 eruption of Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora. This monumental volcanic explosion blew an inconceivable 4,650 feet off the volcano; sent 36 cubic miles of ash, rock, sulfur and other gases into the atmosphere; triggered tsunamis that killed over 10,000 people; and caused serious climate changes and crop failures that killed 80,000 more over the following year.
We may be about to witness another volcanic explosion. Under the Paris insanity, developed nations are expected to de-carbonize, de-industrialize and curb their growth – while sending $100 billion per year to ruling elites in developing countries that are not required to trim fossil fuel use or GHG emissions.
It cannot and will not happen. In fact, industrialized nations are already reneging on their pledges, refusing to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, or recasting current foreign aid as Paris climate money. China, India, Brazil and poor countries are outraged. They want new money, more money – or else they will walk away from their commitments, and the Paris house of cards will collapse. It should collapse.
Billions of people are still energy-deprived, impoverished, diseased and starving. Millions are dying needlessly every year. Faulty, authoritarian climate and “sustainability” claims are being use to perpetuate these travesties. It’s time to help poor countries get the same energy, technologies and opportunities we have – so that they can take their rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.