Whoever is running President Biden has issued an Executive Order to take away from Americans 30 percent of America and “conserve” it to stop what is not going on:
…report to the Task Force within 90 days of the date of this order recommending steps that the United States should take … to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.
There isn’t any. This is a politico-religio fantasy lacking factual support. No temperature data set supports a warming earth. The data they use constantly are altered, both in the current time (to show it is hotter than it is) and in the past time (to show it was cooler than it was). This allows Warmists to insist that the curve is steepening and… we’re all going to die. Probably in twelve years.
One credible datapoint of warming does exist. Cities are heat islands. This makes sense both from the standpoint of human density (offices, apartments, suburbs) and human activity (manufacturing, distribution, riots, data centers, transportation of millions of people). Remove metros from the averages and we actually may have global cooling:
If solar radiation occurs in conjunction with water availability, summer conditions cause strong surface urban heat island intensities due to high rates of evaporative cooling in surrounding rural areas. The rural areas grow cooler by a few degrees, while the urban area … grows much warmer.
There is low confidence that any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity are robust…
They say we’ll have less food. Not true. That the global coffee crop will collapse. Nope. That more people will die of heat than of cold. Uh-uh. That the oceans are rising and will flood-out billions of people.
Let’s look at that last one for a moment. This has been a driver of the Warmists for decades. Ever since the now-thoroughly-debunked “Hockey Stick” fable and pictographs first were told around a campfire.
Liar, liar, hair on fire.
Just under half-a-billion people live within two vertical meters of sea level. If the oceans were to rise two meters via melting ice caps or major storms pushing before them a huge surge, these people would be flooded out. Ergo, we must stop the rise of the seas!
But, wait! One of the same major governmental agencies coloring outside its lines to sell us global warming (NASA - I’m still looking for “oceans” or “warming” in the words “National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” but I digress) now tells us that the moon … wobbles. (Yes, this is the same cohort looking for a planet that is warmer…)
For those who missed elementary school this might be news, but for the rest of us: The moon always has wobbled. It’s what happens when 704 quintillion tons of rock collide with 6 sextillion tons of rock, blasting off a sixth of the combined volume to coalesce into 80 quintillion tons of rock a quarter of a million miles away with no outside force acting to slow the wobble, and a few massive, constantly-moving items (Sun, Jupiter, Earth) tugging in ever-different directions acting on it to increase the wobble.
If the wobble increases, the tides magnify and... coastal flooding occurs.
If moon wobble is going to flood the coastal plains regardless of how many Chevy Suburbans we buy, how many gasoline vs electric vehicles transport us, how many cubic miles of the earth we tear up while strip-mining rare earth elements to make solar panels with which we virtue-signal one another for a few years before throwing these toxic things into in a landfill, and of how many 300-foot-tall bird Cuisinarts (573,000 chopped birds annually in the USA) we install Not-In-My-Backyard… what then?
I don’t know what then. Call Bekins? But deep down in the quiet recesses of my mind I see generations of new protestors demanding we “Stop The Wobble!” We can call them “Wobblies.”
As the man said – everything old is new again.
Investing 'Ethically'? Prepare to Lose Your Shirt
It’s starting to look as if the world is emerging, albeit slowly and reluctantly, from the utopian dream of halting and reversing climate change by policies based on almost exclusively on mitigation rather than on adaptation. These two approaches have always been the practical choice between real-world alternatives. A mixture of the two leaning mainly towards adaptation is probably the best approach since the costs of mitigation—as in achieving Net-Zero carbon emissions—are huge and its benefits either modest or unachievable.
For reasons outside the scope of this short commentary, however, the world’s governments and global agencies have placed all their money on the mitigation approach. I write carelessly “their money.” It is, of course, other people’s money. And we are gradually discovering just how much of other people’s money they are investing in climate change mitigation. Prepare to be shocked.
Thirty of the world’s biggest asset managers, which collectively oversee $9tn, have set a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions across their investment portfolios by 2050 in a move expected to have huge ramifications for businesses globally. The group, which includes Fidelity International, Legal & General Investment Management, Schroders, UBS Asset Management, M&G, Wellington Management and DWS, said they would work with their clients to cut emissions across their investments.
That attracted the attention of National Review’s Andrew Stuttaford (full disclosure: an old friend) who devoted his regular weekly column on finance to examining how and why Wall Street decided to plunge so wholeheartedly into green ink investments. It’s a real humdinger of a column because it solves a financial mystery.
Nowhere to go but down.
After all, the purpose of investment institutions is to deliver the best return on the money that they are lent by savers and pensioners. If an investment house says that it intends to make mitigating climate change one of its main aims, it’s also telling you that your money will be getting a lower rate of return than it otherwise might. That’s a clear betrayal of the fiduciary duty that agents owe to their principals—unless they level with them and admit the likely loss.
That’s exactly what happens with other ESG funds, and I’ve no doubt that this admission will appear in the middle of the voluminous fine print which warns purchasers that socially conscious investments are likely to perform less well than the average. At the same time all the great and the good of the financial, political, and regulatory world from Al Gore to Mike Bloomberg to Mark Carney are bent on assuring nervous investors that they are making a prudent decision in going green.
Their argument boils down to claiming that any investor risks from green investments are trivial compared to the risks of investing in fossil fuels which are likely to prove unprofitable investments in a world moving towards Net-Zero and which might make those companies vulnerable to expensive lawsuits and regulatory restrictions.
Yet if these climate forecasts are either exaggerated or simply uncertain [as they are], what is the test which would tell us with some reliability that the market demand for fossil fuels is likely to fall along with the value of companies that extract them. It cannot be the additional stress tests or capital requirements that regulators may want the banks to impose on energy companies, for then the regulators would be using their own interventions as the justification for intervening. As yet, however, non-official market participants can’t seem to see spontaneous causes for this threat to the energy sector.
But my tentative point is made more vividly and powerfully by the economist John Cochrane (quoted by Stuttaford) in an address to the European Central Bank in a reply to one of its senior executives:
Let me quote from ECB executive board member Isabel Schnabel’s recent speech. I don’t mean to pick on her, but she expresses the climate agenda very well, and her speech bears the ECB imprimatur. She recommends that,
‘First, as prudential supervisor, we have an obligation to protect the safety and soundness of the banking sector. This includes making sure that banks properly assess the risks from carbon-intensive exposures. . . .’
Let me point out the unclothed emperor: climate change does not pose any financial risk at the one-, five-, or even ten-year horizon at which one can conceivably assess the risk to bank assets. Repeating the contrary in speeches does not make it so. Risk means variance, unforeseen events. We know exactly where the climate is going in the next five to ten years. Hurricanes and floods, though influenced by climate change, are well modeled for the next five to ten years. Advanced economies and financial systems are remarkably impervious to weather. Relative market demand for fossil vs. alternative energy is as easy or hard to forecast as anything else in the economy. Exxon bonds are factually safer, financially, than Tesla bonds, and easier to value. The main risk to fossil fuel companies is that regulators will destroy them, as the ECB proposes to do, a risk regulators themselves control. (My italics.)
“A risk regulators themselves control.” I hesitate to accuse a former governor of the Bank of England, a former Vice President of the United States, and a former Mayor of New York of financial legerdemain, but I think there are laws against stock manipulation of that kind—though I doubt legislators ever envisaged fraud on the scale of nine trillion dollars.
My own advice to investors and pension fund managers is to fight shy of the “watermelon investments” recommended by the great and good. They are written in Green ink today, Red ink tomorrow.
Consider tobacco companies instead. They survived the legal and regulatory onslaught, and today they’re nice little earners.
When Satire and Science Speak Inconvenient Truths
Just lately two very different people—one a German satirist, the other an American Nobel Prize-winning scientist—have fallen afoul of those concerned citizens who have taken on the unpaid role of “Censors to Prevent the Apocalypse.” And without your having any more information than that, gentle reader, you know that they have done so on the topic of climate change.
Let’s look at the satirist first. Dieter Nuhr is a well-known comedian who, presumably because of his public profile as a scourge of left and right impartially, was invited to contribute a statement to a public information campaign of the German Research Foundation about its work. That statement ran as follows on the website No Tricks Zone:
Knowledge does not mean you are 100% sure, but that you have enough facts to have a reasoned opinion. But many people are offended when scientists change their mind: That is normal! Science is just THAT the opinion changes when the facts change. This is because science is not a doctrine of salvation, not a religion that proclaims absolute truths. And those who constantly shout, “Follow science!” have obviously not understood this. Science does not know everything, but it is the only reasonable knowledge base we have. That is why it is so important.
If we want to classify it, that’s a defense of truth, science, and freedom all in one. It’s not the most eloquent of such defenses, but it covers a lot of ground in few words and it’s admirably clear. Score one for the satirists here. Almost inevitably therefore it provoked an outpouring of hostile criticism from the organized twitter mobs which don’t usually know a great deal but which do seem to have a reliable instinct when one of their idols or shibboleths is being impermissibly doubted. In response to these attacks the German Research Foundation, fearing damage to its reputation, did the usual thing and took Nuhr’s statement down.
The Research Foundation obviously didn’t know its man. Nuhr responded to his defenestration with a very powerful defense of freedom of thought and inquiry in society and of diversity of opinion in science in particular. In it he was unsparing in his criticism of the Foundation for its surrender.
That strong response evoked an even larger volume of external criticism of the Foundation for its loss of nerve, together with an internal serious reconsideration of all the issues raised by the banning of Nuhr. Within a week it issued an apology of the handsomest sort to Nuhr and reinstated his original statement on its site, saying “The DFG expressly regrets that the statement by Dieter Nuhr was taken hastily from the website of the online campaign #forknowledge.” (Not my Boldness.)
And—you can’t fault the Germans for not being thorough—it went on to connect that error with a growing culture of groupthink and particular orthodoxies in the universities, scientific institutions, and other centers of intellectual discussion, and to pledge to lead a campaign of resistance to this culture in the interests of genuine science and free inquiry.
That strong promise of leadership is both welcome and necessary in today’s world. It should be chastening to us, however, that only a few decades ago such a statement would have seemed a string of nice platitudes because no one, except perhaps a few cranks, would have considered advancing the opposite opinion. Some distinguished Marxist historians in Cambridge, for instance, submitted their academic work to communist party committees for pre-publication approval.
What happened to change the intellectual climate not only in Germany but throughout the entire West in this authoritarian direction?
Mr. Nuhr in his response suggested that a Science that outlawed the competition of ideas was turning—or had already turned—into a religion. If religion is a body of beliefs that denies the possibility of its own falsification, then his criticism is acute and correct.
My own tentative sense of the matter, however, is that this is a late stage in climate alarmism. Before it developed religious certitudes, the dogmas of global warming and climate change had morphed into a branch of politics. That is to say, that they were seen as “convenient truths” (h/t to former Vice-President Gore) because they seemed to justify, indeed require, the extension of state power and regulation on a world scale in order—to employ the cant phrase—to deal with global problems.
Once adopted by the statist side of the political spectrum (which was running out of good reasons for increasing its power over people), this convenient "truth" gave funds and prestige to those scientists, economists, and politicians who embraced and propagated it. And because there are some—more in science than in politics—who doubted its doctrines and disputed them, the science of climate change became a political issue everywhere.
That analysis doesn’t mean that its doctrines are false. But it does mean that like every other scientific proposition, they should be treated with a proper skepticism, and if seemingly well-founded on the evidence so far, treated as provisionally true unless and until falsified by subsequent events. After all, they may prove to be convenient falsehoods or timely errors. When the Blair government ordered Gore’s movie on climate change to be shown in schools, a judge ruled that it would have to be accompanied by a corrective point of view since some of its inconvenient truths weren’t actually true.
Something to watch for, then, is when the tone of commentary on some aspect of climate policy changes from the dry, detached, scientific kind to the passionate committed political sort. And that’s where the Nobel Prize-winning American economist comes in.
William D. Nordhaus is an American economist, educated at Cambridge, MIT, and Yale, who at present holds the Stirling Professorship of Economics at Yale, and who for some years has devoted himself to work on climate change and economic modelling. He won his Nobel Prize for his work developing the so-called Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model (NICE) which is essentially a cost-benefit analysis designed to tell us what are the costs of particular changes in the climate, the benefits of policies designed to mitigate or adapt to them, and the trade-offs between the two.
It’s a great deal more complex than that, of course, but the usefulness and reliability of DICE are demonstrated by the fact that Nordhaus’s work is repeatedly cited by scientists and other economists of all opinions in their work. That’s made easier because Nordhaus himself holds moderate opinions on climate policy, endorsing such policies as a carbon tax and tariffs on countries that refuse to follow the Paris Agreement. And though his work can be disputed, no one has yet found serious technical errors in it.
All of a sudden, however, he’s coming under attack from those in science and economics on the alarmist end of the climate spectrum. As is pointed out by Benjamin Zycher, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, in a recent monograph, these attacks are quite severe without being based on anything like a discovery of economic errors by Nordhaus. In fact, they seem to arise from annoyance that Nordhaus’s cost-benefit analysis, if accurately applied to their favored climate policies such as ending the use of fossil fuels by the end of this century, would show many heavy costs and incommensurately low benefits.
That irritation is glaringly evident in the judgment of Marlow Hoode that “leading scientists and economists, however, say there is [in addition to corrupt leaders, the rich, etc.] another impediment to climate action that merits closer scrutiny: the profoundly influential work of 2018 Nobel economics laureate William J. Nordhaus.” (His middle initial is in fact D.) Among other leading scientists and economists, for instance, Gernot Wagner of New York University is quoted as arguing: “If [Nordhaus] had won the Nobel Prize 20 years ago, it would have helped climate policy. But the fact that he won it two years ago is, in many ways, a step back.” Similarly, Joseph Stiglitz, another Nobel Prize-winner, asserts that DICE is “dangerous because we don’t have another planet we can go to if we mess this up. The message [that Nordhaus has] been conveying is foolhardy.”
Nordhaus might be wrong, of course, and Zycher has his own criticisms of him. He has responded to some criticisms, conceding they’re “half right,” but he defends the main body of the work that won him the Nobel Prize. His modest concession can’t satisfy critics because it implies that a careful cost-benefit analysis is still heavily negative towards extreme climate alarmism (“we don’t have another planet”) that mandates net-zero carbon emissions or banning fossil fuels. And since they have failed to show that DICE is flawed, the logic of their criticisms is that Nordhaus is an obstacle to their climate alarmism because he’s shown that it’s either wrong or greatly exaggerated.
Look out, therefore, for still more criticisms of the distinguished Yale professor, especially if he continues to defend himself and DICE with the determination of a German satirist. For such courage will certainly be required of those who doubt either general or particular aspects of climate alarmism. Out there in the obscurity of the academic jungle, the drums are beating out the message that there can be no exceptions to observance of the tribal lays. As picked up and transmitted by the vigilant website WattsUpWithThat?, here are two Edge Hill University academics, Psychology Professor Geoff Beattie and Education Research Fellow Laura McGuire, advising us on how to ensure that the people are inspired to love climate alarmism:
[T]o prevent optimism bias, we also need to avoid presenting “both sides of the argument” in the messaging – the science tells us that there’s only one side. There also needs to be a clear argument as to why recommended, sustainable behaviours will work (establishing a different sort of confirmation bias).
We also need everyone to get the message, not just some groups – that’s an important lesson from COVID-19. There can be no (apparent) exceptions when it comes to climate change.
Let me concede that our two Edge Hill academics are being refreshingly candid. They’re telling us: we know what’s right; we’re going to ensure that you accept our view on climate change and policy; and we won’t do so by rational persuasion either, but by limiting your knowledge on the matter in question and getting under your psychological guard to smuggle our view into your mind.
I hope a good many people get to read about their strategy—which strikes me as neither liberal or democratic—but I’m not as alarmed as I might be by it. I don’t believe that human beings can be “conditioned” like Pavlov’s dogs or Orwell’s Outer Party members because we are self-conscious animals who reflect on ourselves and our own thinking. That’s why people can change religions, political parties, and even scientific views.
That said, our Edge Hill scientists are clearly hard cases. So I ask them to reflect on this passage from Dieter Nuhr’s first response to the German Research Foundation cited above:
I find the phrase “Follow science” questionable because it suggests that there is one, untouchable opinion and solution strategy for climate change, because this way science is declared a narrative of redemption. That is the opposite of science.
There are different scenarios and different solution strategies not only among the population but also among climate scientists. It is even a basic condition of free research that different theses are allowed and discussed. This is what happens in science. In the public, however, diversity of opinion is increasingly actively suppressed by denunciation. Individual groups proclaim inviolable truths, claim that science is on their side and accordingly treat critical thinkers as heretics, then lump them together with madmen and conspiracy theorists and try to discredit them. That is Dark Ages and frightening.
To Nuhr, I can only regret that neither Dryden nor Pope is still around to celebrate his admirable and perhaps historically significant defeat of modern obscurantism in appropriate terms. So here’s a contribution from my own Imatitive Muse:
Thus, Science, Reason, Freedom leave the Stage/ Owning their Debt to Satire’s witty Rage.
'Climate Cassandras' -- Plus ça Change
Remember “Anthropogenic Global Warming”? “Global warming” became “climate change” because the warming… didn’t exist. It still doesn’t. The global temperature has, since 1997, flattened. This is explained-away by the climate alarmists as a “pause.” The problem? Here’s TIME magazine in 1974:
However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.
"Three decades." Or since circa 1944. Added to the 1997 – 2014 “pause,” the global temperature has been cooling or flat for at least 47 of the past 76 years, or more than half the time. And this as post-war prosperity accelerated and hundreds of millions of people increased their use of carbon-based fuels to enter into and prosper from the Industrial Age.
Exactly zero temperature data sets exist supporting warming. None. Never have. Sure – a few data sets exist by once-reputable climate science organizations (NASA, East Anglia / CRU), but those are re-manipulated every few years to show whatever curve is required to support the climate alarmism-of-the-day. This manipulation is of the original data sets, both at the upper end (“The earth has a temperature!”) and at the lower end (“See how fast the temperature is increasing?!”). The original data did not show the temperature increase or steeper slope demanded by the alarmists, so the data were … adjusted. This is called many things, but “science” is not one of them.
Remember the “Hockey Stick” curve that started all this? This “curve” has been the subject of constant controversy since its creation, the foundation of Al Gore’s ridiculous film – and the basis for world governments to waste hundreds of billions (trillions?) of our dollars. The problem? The curve doesn’t exist.
MIT also rejected the 'hockey stick' and the algorithm that created it, noting that random numbers provide a similar curve and fundamental mistakes are present in the underlying math. A large body of “science” supports the AGW argument, though, right? Don’t 97 percent of scientists support "Climate Change"?
Why, then, do so many researchers and academics support it? Here’s the answer from Dr. Richard Lindzen, the now-retired Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
It was the narrative from the beginning. In 1998, [NASA’s James] Hansen made some vague remarks. Newsweek ran a cover that says all scientists agree. Now they never really tell you what they agree on. It is propaganda.
So all scientists agree it’s probably warmer now than it was at the end of the Little Ice Age. Almost all Scientists agree that if you add CO2 you will have some warming. Maybe very little warming. But it is propaganda to translate that into it is dangerous and we must reduce CO2 etc.
If you can make an ambiguous remark and you have people who will amplify it ‘they said it not me’ and the response of the political system is to increase your funding, what’s not to like?
For the Left, “Science” is spelled “capitali$m,” as most “research” papers supporting “climate change” are written for, or occasioned by, grant money. We have a surfeit of unsupported climate fantasy funded by NGOs, academia and “philanthropic” organizations because academics can be greedy. They see Big Dollars or Big Careers (which equals Big Dollars) in supporting the climate flavor-of-the-month fixation of Big Government or Big Philanthropy. Whatever those organizations are demanding, they supply: the same kind of capitalism the Left is burning down America to protest.
Climate change policies are about one thing: collectivism. The ruling class rejecting the rising individualist middle class of the Western world and billing us for that rejection. It’s about rejecting the voice of people globally, people who, because of the internet and information awareness, now are knowledgeable of how badly and for how long the various Western governments have been and are continuing to screw their citizens.
Notice who the climate change “deniers” are: middle class Western individualists, while the climate change True Believers are anti-Western collectivists. Who makes the world go-round? Individualists (we invent everything). Who mooches off the going-round world? Collectivists (they invent nothing). And now the collectivists want to collect money from the individualists under the unsupported nonsense of “climate change,” usurping the power to choose what to do with our earnings, our property, our life’s work.
Every government needs authority and a common purpose in the eyes of those governed. These can be gained via both external and internal threats. Covid-19 masks and unlawful house arrest/lockdowns by some governors and mayors serve to control you. “Climate change” is being used to achieve that common purpose as well. It's all about control.
The data didn’t support anthropogenic global warming, so the name was changed, but the goals are the same: global totalitarian collectivism under our self-anointed betters, the destruction of entire industries, and robbing the West of wealth, progress, liberty and individualism in order to enrich the totalitarian ruling class in the guise of helping the Third World with cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner parks and playgrounds, and better schools.
When even the globalists at the U.N. admit that the entire climate hoax is not about the climate, but about destroying capitalism, you can be pretty sure that climate change is a feature for the left, not a bug; an excuse to advance totalitarianism and crush the middle class – and to get the middle class to join in, and pay for, its own destruction.
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism. "This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.
We’ve seen this movie before. In the words of Princeton Professor Emeritus of Physics, William Happer, in 2017,
I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the consensus on climate change and the consensus on witches. At the witch trials in Salem the judges were educated at Harvard. This was supposedly 100 percent science. The one or two people who said there were no witches were immediately hung. Not much has changed.
It is difficult to know to what degree the general public believes the direst forecasts of climate catastrophe after years of having been endlessly frightened by “expert” predictions that have repeatedly failed to materialize, but one thing is certain: the vast majority of us are not hearing both sides of the debate. With most other big controversies, mainstream news generally allow token counterarguments, at least occasionally. Not in this case. Dissent against the prevailing view that humanity drives “climate change” is essentially off-limits on most of the airwaves and in print. Censorship of the opposition is accepted as good journalistic hygiene. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times proudly declared it would no longer accept letters to the editor that challenged the validity of anthropogenic climate change.
Because they control the narrative, climate alarmists are virtually unchallenged, even when they are demonstrably dishonest. No propaganda has been used more effectively by them than claims that the science is “settled” and that 97% of scientists believe humans are the primary cause of global warming, an idea which originated in this paper. What the alarmists would never confess is that the assertion was quickly debunked by Legates, et. al., who wrote,
"In fact, however, there is a decided lack of consensus among scientists, and especially among those who are trained in climate science or have studied it extensively. The 97.1 % consensus claimed by Cook et al. (2013) turns out upon inspection to be not 97.1% but 0.3 %. Their claim of 97.1 % consensus, therefore, is arguably one of the greatest items of misinformation that has been circulated on either side of the climate debate."
Outside of wonkish blogs, scientifically strong counterarguments to the pervasive misinformation are rare. One merely has to Google "climate change" to see how lopsided the leading links are. When a politician with no scientific training, and a sympathetic child manipulated by her elders for cynical reasons are the public faces of the climate debate, we can be certain that the discussion is closer to political science than actual science. Of course, climate alarmists have tremendous political and financial incentives to continue their crusade, and as long as that's true they're not going away.
The main threat to climate hysteria is the actual scientific data and its proper analysis. A widely accepted global temperature dataset published by the University of Alabama at Huntsville shows only a +0.13 degrees Celsius per decade trend in the monthly anomaly data since 1979. The term “anomaly” refers to the deviation of a month's temperature from a 30-year baseline (average) temperature. The current baseline is the global mean for the period 1981-2010, and the temperatures in the global database are derived from measurements of the microwave emissions of oxygen in the lower troposphere using satellite sensors.
There are a few important notes about these measurements. First, assuming the Earth is approximately four billion years old, these four decades of satellite data represent one-millionth of 1% of geologic time. That is analogous to about three tenths of a second out of an entire year. Drawing important conclusions about Earth’s climate from such a razor-thin sliver of time would be foolhardy. Furthermore, there have been periods of climatic history that have been far warmer and far colder than today, and the fluctuations observed in the recent past may simply be variations of little consequence in a milder middle range. More importantly, the trend line of +0.13 degrees Celsius per decade with respect to a baseline mean implies that we are currently only about a quarter of a degree Celsius – less than half of degree Fahrenheit – over the baseline. In other words, much of the world is freaking out over a short-term average anomaly of a quarter degree Celsius, which could be caused by a large number of variable natural drivers. Popular science will not tell us that.
The professional science literature provides us with both sides, however. Three central questions climate scientists are actively trying to resolve pertain to feedbacks, causality, and model sensitivities. Negative climate feedbacks are mechanisms that cool the Earth or mitigate temperature increase. One of the most notable examples is the “iris effect”, a controversial theory proposed by MIT climate physicist Richard Lindzen and his co-workers, which states that warming water temperatures reduce cirrus cloud formation, resulting in greater heat loss and a net cooling effect. Recent independent research appears to confirm the theory. Studies of climate causalities seek to match observable climate states or outputs, e.g., temperature observations, to one or more inputs (i.e., causes). The main thesis behind anthropogenic climate change is that man-made CO2 is the source of nearly all recent global warming. Using a technique known as slow-feature analysis, researchers have mapped the Pacific Ocean’s El Niño–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle to centuries of temperature records from central England. While central England is not a pure proxy for the world at large, the ability to link such diverse dynamics is a powerful argument that our Earth's thermostat is controlled by natural forces far greater than mankind. Results connecting natural global ocean cycles and regional surface temperatures are not unique. Finally, the effort to relate prescribed climate model sensitivities – parameters that fit theoretical models to empirical data – to global temperature observations has been one of the great disappointments of anthropogenic warming theorists. Princeton physicist Dr. William Happer has written about the CO2 doubling sensitivity, which scales each doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration to global temperature increase:
The doubling sensitivity S is how much the Earth’s average surface temperature will increase if the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 doubles. S is the most important single parameter in the debate over climate change.
As Happer goes on to note, the doubling parameter has been badly overestimated, and climate scientists have proposed more than fifty mechanisms to explain the discrepancy. Regardless, the theory is flawed, and the science is obviously not settled. Do not hold your breath waiting for the alarmists to admit it.