The Madness

By Andrew L. Urban.

The Madness in summary:

The original brief from policymakers (UNFCCC): look into dangerous man made causes of global warming: budget is large.

The outcome from IPCC climate scientists: yeah, we think man-made CO2 emissions cause global warming – but we need more funding to keep researching.

The results (Australia): billions of dollars allocated to energy policies, without objective cost benefit analyses or scientific basis; rapid loss of energy security; rapidly rising energy costs; flight of capital and falling investments; job losses; loss of confidence in governments; social disruption

It started 20 years ago, The Madness, with the mandate from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the IPCC to address ‘dangerous human-caused climate change’. Framing the brief in such narrow terms was bound to cause distortions in a field of science so complex and so uncharted that one-eyed research would only add to the weakness of actionable research. Human nature kicked in and exacerbated the dangers of the lopsided brief with its self serving opportunities within scientific and academic communities.

“Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc. How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide,” Dr Judith Curry wrote on her blog after taking early retirement on January 1, 2017 as Emeritus Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She is also President of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN).

As Dr Curry points out, it is “an empirical fact that the Earth’s climate has warmed overall for at least the past century. However, we do not know how much humans have contributed to this warming and there is disagreement among scientists as to whether human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases is the dominant cause of recent warming, relative to natural causes.” Dr Curry made this statement on March 29, 2017 as part of her written evidence to the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology (Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications and the Scientific Method).

But instead of genuine research, a culture of activism was born, in which the falsification of data, the adjustment of research to fit a newly formed orthodoxy became commonplace. It was soon evident that some people – scientists not least – wanted warming to be seen as man made and to be seen as a real threat. Any questioning of this hypothesis became a heresy.

The most obnoxious examples of this corrupt, unscientific behaviour were the infamously manipulated hockey stick temperature graph from Michael Mann’s team, which purported to show – with massaged data – that warming accelerated due to industrialisation; the taking up of this hypothesis and its propagation and embellishment by Al Gore’s film, The Inconvenient Truth; and the so called Climategate email scandal, which revealed that Phil Jones and other climate scientists in his team were also trying to manipulate data to fit their agenda. For example, they wanted to hide certain historic data that didn’t comfortably fit.

Other instances of known data falsification in pursuit of the warmist agenda include the work of Australian John Cook (at University of Queensland) who, for unknown reasons, set out to convince the world that there was a solid consensus of scientists who believed that humans were responsible for most of the warming. Not only is the statistic plain wrong and misleading because the ‘97%’ is the result of manipulated data, it is dangerous. It is the much touted mantra and defence shield for all the proponents of anthropogenic warming; it is also the rejoinder by hapless policymakers, ensuring continued damage to the basis for policy. Legates et al (August 2013) found just 0.3% endorsement of the standard definition of consensus; that most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.

In generating climate models to terrify the world about a looming catastrophe, the climate scientists being funded to execute research under the aegis of the IPCC – a big fat umbrella and protective shield – were the climate modellers who went too far in their advocacy for warming. They promoted a false narrative that drove a multi billion dollar misdirection in funding, and – in Australia’s case, for example – a critical failure of energy policies that began to destroy energy security and whipped up the case for renewable energy. At whatever cost. Yet the modelling that encouraged all this mayhem was and is fatally flawed.

Professor John Christy, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama’s State Climatologist and Director of the Earth System Science Centre at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, also gave evidence at the Science Committee hearings. Christy’s evidence shows that observed warming has been significantly less than models have predicted. “ … if one follows the scientific method … the average model trend fails to represent the actual trend of the past 38 years by a highly significant amount. As a result, applying the traditional scientific method, one would accept this failure and not promote the model trends as something truthful about the recent past or the future. Rather, the scientist would return to the project and seek to understand why the failure occurred. The most obvious answer is that the models are simply too sensitive to the extra GHGs [green house gases] that are being added to both the model and the real world.” In other words, human made emissions of CO2 have less impact than feared. Less impact than claimed, is perhaps the more accurate way of putting it.

On February 23, 2017, a petition was sent to President Trump, signed by some 300 scientists, warning that the push to curtail carbon dioxide threatens to exacerbate poverty without improving the environment.

In his accompanying letter to President Trump, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen called on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide. (Average concentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is 0.04%. Man made C02 represents between 3 – 4% of that.)

“Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” wrote Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist. (Lindzen is Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT)

So much for the ‘consensus’.

Signatories of the attached petition include Dr David Evans, who was the Australian Greenhouse Office’s carbon accounting modeler (1999 – 2005); the U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists and professors, take issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change. The 2016 Paris climate accord, which sets nonbinding emissions goals for nations, was drawn up under the auspices of the UNFCCC. Melbourne based climate data analyst John McLean, who is finalising his PhD thesis entitled “Prejudiced authors, prejudiced findings“, claims that the climate data being used to propagate warming theories is essentially unreliable. He describes carbon dioxide emission mitigation policies as “a solution in search of a problem”.

His lack of confidence in climate data grew out of the many weaknesses and failures of data since 1850 being used to underpin conclusions, for example:

– For the first 4 years the number of reporting observation stations in the Southern hemispheres was one, on the west coast of Indonesia;

– During the 1860s and 1870s Western Europe supplied a high proportion of Northern Hemisphere data despite being a very small proportion of the total area;

– About the same time a large proportion of Southern Hemisphere data was from the latitude bands 35S to 45S, this being much of the shipping route between Australia and Britain;

– In the 1850s Europe (and maybe the rest of the world) had hardly started to emerge from the Little Ice Age, so warming is no surprise;

– It’s not until about 1950 that there is “decent coverage” of the two hemispheres, but it was only in the 1970s that sea surface temperature (SST) data was available for some parts of the Pacific. McLean says these measurements were “often obtained by measuring the temperature of a sample of water drawn from 500mm below the surface and the technique was largely but not completely replaced by measuring the temperature of sea water that’s drawn aboard to cool the engine, from a point two metres or more below the surface. In fact, about six different methods have been used, usually the data from all but one method somehow adjusted to match the single remaining method.  It’s all a bit of farce really.  Argo buoys seem to be more accurate but they’ve only been in common usage for about 12-15 years.”

Manmade CO2 is about 5% of all CO2 in the atmosphere, the rest is from natural emissions. Australia’s CO2 emissions comprise less than 1.5% of that 5%. So even if CO2 did make any significant difference to warming, Australia’s portion would be infinitesimal.

Yet Australia’s energy security is now seriously compromised, renewable energy targets are set at various unrealistic levels around the nation and households are facing hefty price hikes. Rent seekers (in the renewables industries, for example) are profiting handsomely. Meanwhile, commercial and industrial users of electricity are heading to safer and saner lands. All this, based on the utterances of false prophets.

It’s madness.

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