Global Warming Politics – Christopher Booker in the Telegraph

Christopher Booker has a fantastic piece in the Telegraph today (HT Iain Dale) saying what statisticians like myself and scientists are increasingly pointing out – the globe ain’t warming quite like we thought it was:

The common view of the IPCC is that it consists of 2,500 of the world’s leading scientists who, after carefully weighing all the evidence, have arrived at a "consensus" that world temperatures are rising disastrously, and that the only plausible cause has been rising levels of CO2 and other man-made greenhouse gases.

In fact, as has become ever more apparent over the past 20 years -not least thanks to the evidence of a succession of scientists who have participated in the IPCC itself – the reality of this curious body could scarcely be more different.

It is not so much a scientific as a political organisation. Its brief has never been to look dispassionately at all the evidence for man-made global warming: it has always taken this as an accepted fact.

Indeed only a comparatively small part of its reports are concerned with the science of climate change at all. The greater part must start by accepting the official line, and are concerned only with assessing the impact of warming and what should be done about it.

But surely all the evidence shows that the earth’s temperature is rising at an alarming rate?

Initially the advocates of global warming had one huge problem. Evidence from all over the world indicated that the earth was hotter 1,000 years ago than it is today. This was so generally accepted that the first two IPCC reports included a graph, based on work by Sir John Houghton himself, showing that temperatures were higher in what is known as the Mediaeval Warming period than they were in the 1990s.

The trouble was that this blew a mighty hole in the thesis that warming was caused only by recent man-made CO2.

Then in 1999 an obscure young US physicist, Michael Mann, came up with a new graph like nothing seen before. Instead of the familiar rises and falls in temperature over the past 1,000 years, the line ran virtually flat, only curving up dramatically at the end in a hockey-stick shape to show recent decades as easily the hottest on record.

This was just what the IPCC wanted, The Mediaeval Warming had simply been wiped from the record. When its next report came along in 2001, Mann’s graph was given top billing, appearing right at the top of page one of the Summary for Policymakers and five more times in the report proper.

But then two Canadian computer analysts, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, got to work on how Mann had arrived at his graph.

When, with great difficulty, they eventually persuaded Mann to hand over his data, it turned out he had built into his programme an algorithm which would produce a hockey stick shape whatever data were fed into it. Even numbers from the phonebook would come out looking like a hockey stick.

So what has happened to global temperatures over the past decade?

By the time of its latest report, last year, the IPCC had an even greater problem. Far from continuing to rise in line with rising CO2, as its computer models predicted they should, global temperatures since the abnormally hot year of 1998 had flattened out at a lower level and were even falling – a trend confirmed by Nasa’s satellite readings over the past 18 months.

So pronounced has this been that even scientists supporting the warmist thesis now concede that, due to changes in ocean currents, we can expect a decade or more of "cooling", before the "underlying warming trend" reappears.

The point is that none of this was predicted by the computer models on which the IPCC relies. Among the ever-growing mountain of informed criticism of the IPCC’s methods, a detailed study by an Australian analyst John McLean (to find it, Google "Prejudiced authors, prejudiced findings") shows just how incestuously linked are most of the core group of academics whose models underpin everything the IPCC wishes us to believe about global warming.

Don’t get me wrong. It is very likely that the industrial revolution has contributed to recent temperature rises, and we are also facing a fossil-fuel energy crisis that makes transferring resources into renewable energy and nuclear energy a vital necessity. But it’s time that we all started critically examining the data available and asking ourselves whether we really are the prime cause of the nice hot summers we’ve had recently as so many people claim.

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  • http://perpetuaofcarthage.blogspot.com/ Perpetua

    I can confirm this much. My husband was one of the 2,500 involved in the IPCC reports and the chapter he was involved in was not concerned with the science of climate change at all. The chapter he was involved in started by accepting the official line, and was  concerned only with assessing the impact of warming and what should be done about it.

  • http://nlbell@talktalk.net Norman Bell

    my computer did a funny on me – I’ll try again
    It now appears that governments are using the excuse of Global Warming to reduce spending as well as increasing it.
    I refer to a recent article in the Telegraph that stated that spending on  sea defenses will now be curtailed due to the rise in sea water levels in Mont St Michael in Cornwall and other British susceptible areas
    I live in Brixham 100 miles up the English Channel and remember in the 1950’s my Father taking me down to the Harbour to witness the exceptional high tides we were experiencing in those days.  The water regularly covered the “Middle Pier” and went up as far as “Overgang steps” and Johnson’s the Chemist at the bottom of Fore Street.
    I have spoken to many of my mates of similar age, indeed to one who has worked all his life in the harbour industry.  They all agree that this has not re-occurred in the last 20/30 years.
    Why then is this peculiar to Cornwall?  I can only assume that the weight of global bullsugar is causing Cornwall to sink.

  • Uponnothing

    I appreciate this comment may be late, but I feel it is important to point out that Booker has been duped. His source for his article is Prejudiced Authors, Prejudiced Findings (Booker states this in his article. The article is published by Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) a front organisation for a right-wing conservative think tank, receiving significant donations from ExxonMobil in its disinformation campaign denying climate change.

    Had Booker conducted an little research he would have realised that a document published without peer review by an politically motivated and industry funded pseudo-science organisation was not to be trusted. Both the document and Booker assert that the ‘Hockey Stick’ graph is false, yet a recent report published by the National Academy of Science (2006) concluded:

    The basic conclusion of Mann et al (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators…

    Now, the irony is that the report by the National Academy of Science came about at the request of two US Republican senators (Rep. Joe Barton & Rep. Ed Whitfield) who wanted to disprove Mann et al’s findings as they are both strong supporters of the use of fossil fuels – look it up. The hockey stick has been proven largely correct (some statistical anomolies aside, the basic premise has been corrected and proven in peer reveiewed scientific journals). However, the Wegman report has caused much controversy for its findings, and as it has not been peer reviewed their findings have not been supported by the wider scientific community. The Wegman report was conducted at the request of Barton and Whitfield and was politically motivated.

    Now, research climate change disinformation, examine how the tobacco industry spread disinformation about the dangers of smoking for 40 years to delay action by governments to regulate the cigarette industry, now look at how ExxonMobil is using the same strategy to create disinformation with regards to climate change.

    The climate change consensus is real, accusations levelled at the IPCC for its neutrality are absurd considering they only rely on peer reviewed science for their conclusions. If they are biased then why don’t climate change deniers actually challenge the original science, rather than the organisation that collates it?

    Booker is not the first journalist to publish disinformation, and he will not be the last, but until people stop taking newspaper articles as truth, then disinformation will continue and the delay of global action will be acheived.

    For further information, Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science – Union of Concerned Scientists (2007)

    or visit the Royal Society for their guide to facts and fictions about climate change issued in March 2005.

    As a final point, how people can dismiss thousands of peer reviewed scientific reports (of all 928 peer reviewed papers on climate change from 1993 to 2003 none disagreed with the consensus position that climate change is happening, and none of the papers argued that climate change was driven by natural forces (Oreskes, 2004) because they once saw high water levels in a harbour 30 years ago staggers me. Norman Bell you criticise the climate change consensus based on spurious recollections on a local level? You beleive what you read in the Telegraph written by journalists (shoddy at that) who know nothing of climate change?

    I am not a scientist, I have simply been tasked with producing some sources on climate change for an FE college, so I started in a position of not knowing what to believe, yet after a few weeks of research I can clearly understand the truth, but when others comment so assuredly that the climate change consensus is false or question global warming based on reading one article I can see why the truth is having trouble being understood.

    I stronly urge you all to read up on the issue before spreading false information in future. <!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:EN-GB;} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>

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    • J Day

      If one of the main planks of the Global warming theory is the ‘hockey stick’ graph, then as an historian I have great difficulty in accepting it. The early Bronze Age [1100 long years] had weather that was much warmer and drier than that of today and arable cultivation extended much higher up hills and mountains even in colder areas such as Wales. Man made – how ?? The weather then changed and became cooler in the Later Bronze Age and into the Iron Age.
      Also why would you assume that anyone whose opinion differs from yours has only read one article, whilst you have done ‘weeks of research’?

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  • @UponNothing

    UponNothing,
    Peer review is not a panacea of truth; it merely examines the methodology (and hopefully the data) of the theory presented. However many scientific papers are positively peer reviewed but later turn out to be either completely wrong or completely falsified. Try reading ”
    Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
    http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124&ct=1

    Then listen to later criticism, such as reported on here:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/25/jstor_climate_report_translation/

    Or statements from Dr. Hansen’s former boss, here:

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=1a5e6e32-802a-23ad-40ed-ecd53cd3d320

    So maybe Mr.Booker is not the only one being duped?

    • Chris Wolff

      The details of the emergence of IPCC anthropogenic extreme recent progressive temperature rise appear in Christopher Bookers “The real Global Warming Disaster. The paper by Soon and Baliunas (Ref 40, p 108) shows that very comprehensive evidence shows the midiaeval warming period was present (absent on the IPCC hockey stick nonsense graph) and McIntyre and McKitrick wrote a paper showing the statistics in Mann’s paper (that generated the hockey stick graph)was mis-applied and, as mentioned above, his algorithm generated hockey stick from any data. Far from narrow reading of texts funded by petroleum companies his book is written as a scientist expects. It is analysis with references to illuminate the points made. The inclusion of behaviour by the IPCC which is non-scientific at the late stages of generating reports is substantiated by scientists who had signed off contributions at the supposedly final stages, only to find their scepticism had dissapeared. The IPCC says it is backed up by hundreds of scientists but, if Booker is right, that is not true.

  • will

    @UponNothing

    This discussion isn’t about peer reviews, this discussion is about Christopher Booker constantly citing bad, fraudulent science.

  • http://trinidadsdagay.blogspot.com Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!

    Can anybody explain to me how reasearch funded by “Exxon Mobil” is any more suspect than research funded by the government or environmental groups?
    Does that make sense to you?
    It has always bugged me.

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