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The Settled Science

7 December 2013
Climate change

The idea of science being settled about anything is a bit of an oxymoron but never mind – that is what we have come to expect where climate change is concerned. William Thompson forwarded a piece from The Boston Globe by Jeff Jacoby (Dec 4th, 2013) which said that back in 2006, at the time Al Gore was doomsaying heavily with his 'An Inconvenient Truth' he started a file with the label 'What Climate Consensus' – and has continued to place various bits and pieces within that file. Nothing unusual in that as journalists make files all the time, on a variety of subjects (and not just the one). The expectation is that one day what is in those files will prove to be useful in a future story – and no doubt he thinks it an opportune time to draw some of the data out of that file (see www.jeffjacoby.com/14104/majority-rules-on-climate-science

Al Gore is famous for the sacks of loot he harvested from CAGW doomsaying and he was especially fond of saying 'the science is settled' and 'the debate among scientists is over' which is a strange thing to say at any time. In science the debate is never over – it wouldn't be science otherwise. It would be indoctrination. 

Even worse, anyone that disagreed with the idea the science was settled was classified as an ignoramus (a reference to manual workers who are the most cynical) – or a lackey of the fossil fuel industry (big evil, or captain Satan). However, many experts were sceptical and it was the words of these people that Jacoby placed in his file – which would have relevance if the global warming doomsaying started to come apart at the seams. That hasn't actually happened – although sceptic numbers seem to grow by the hour.

The thicker the file became the more shrill was the insistence of the alarmists that doom was just around the bend in the road ahead. Over and over the faithful have insisted their view is widely accepted in the science community – apart from the odd crackpot. Politicos likened doubters to flat earthers – most famously Rajendra Pachauri (and on this side of the pond, Gordon Brown). Sceptic opinion was excluded – and this is still the situation in many respects. Last May President Obama was moved to tweet '97 per cent of scientists agree climate change is real, man made, and dangerous' – is there any hope for the realists?

Jacoby obviously thinks the time is ripe to open his file. Inside it he has a survey of members of the American Meteorological Society which found just 52 per cent of them thought climate change was driven by human activity. After a concerted campaign over many years, funded by Big Oil in some ways as they saw it as a means of getting rid of their biggest rival, King Coal, as well as the financial backing of hedge funds, insurance companies, and banks, and huge amounts of tax payer cash labelled out by western governmentslike there was no tomorrow, the CAGW brigade had failed miserably – half of US meteorologists thought it was bunkum. Another study in Nature found that of 117 global warming predictions generated by climate model simulations, all but three had 'significantly overestimated' the amount of warming over the last 20 years. That leaves just 3 predictions that were less than 'significant' overestimation – but overestimations just the same.

Why do so many scientists rely on models that turn out to be so wrong? A good question.

Over at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/07/the-effects-of-environmentalist-an… … Dr Tim Ball, retired Canadian climate scientist, has something to say about a prominent Canadian doomsayer that has done very well for himself – in the mode of Al Gore.

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