Christopher Booker: Climate Consensus Confusion

Posted: December 29, 2011 by tallbloke in atmosphere, climate, Incompetence, media, Politics

H/T Adolfo Giurfa for alerting me to this broadside from Booker in the Mail on Sunday online from earlier this year, which seems apropos at the moment.

Global warming? A new ice age? The only certainty is that YOU’RE paying for the hysteria of our politicians

By Christopher Booker

Who would possibly have thought it? The latest news is that the world may be threatened by a sharp drop in temperatures, possibly so severe that it could herald a new mini ice age.

And one reason being put forward for this is that all the pollution being chucked out by thousands of coal-fired power stations may be blocking the sun’s heat from the Earth.

Dr Robert Kaufman of Boston University blamed China this week. ‘During the Chinese economic expansion there was a huge increase in sulphur emissions,’ he said. And this was the cause of global cooling.

Ice age on its way? The latest news is that we may be threatened by a sharp drop in temperature

But hang on a moment. Aren’t these new climate scaremongers the very same people who only a few years back were telling us that the planet was in danger of being fried to a crisp by runaway global warming?

And wasn’t it on their say so that the world’s politicians, led by our own here in Britain, were committing us to spending hundreds of billions of pounds to save the planet from the catastrophic warming caused by those same evil power stations?

The question this extraordinary turn of events raises is whether any of these supposed experts actually have the faintest idea what they are talking about.

  1. Neal Asher says:

    I feel the only answer is [snip]

    [Reply] OTT – there’s always a better way.

  2. adolfogiurfa says:

    I beg your pardon, dear professor: Was it the chicken or the egg? 🙂

  3. Brian H says:

    To quote the Unified Climate Theory paper posted here recently, “only a sizable increase of total atmospheric mass can bring about a significant and sustained warming. However, human-induced gaseous emissions are extremely unlikely to produce such a mass increase. Hence, there is no anthropogenic forcing to global climate.”

    Coping by piling up wealth and technology is the only sane course, regardless of what’s coming down the pike.

  4. Doug Proctor says:

    Riddle me this: how can a “runaway” or “catastrophic” CO2 warming be stopped, nay, reversed in its tracks, by one country’s sulphur emissions (even a large country’s)?

    According to the warmist/scaremongers, the Earth’s climate runs a knife-edge path of pain and pleasure. The sensitivity to any parameter is remarkable for a planet that has stayed pretty much the same for 10,000 years (a degree or two either way is pretty stable).

    How can multiple, extreme sensitivities be mutually supporting without the system being chaotic?

  5. J Martin says:

    Whilst global warming isn’t happening and won’t and can’t, unless the sun decides to get hyper active, an iceage is just a matter of time. Whether we slide into it imperceptibly slowly compared to the average human lifespan, of whether we drop down into it in noticeable steps, will be for future generations to experience, hopefully no one alive today.

    As for a mini iceage, it seems clear that we are starting into some sort of cooling event, how long it lasts and how deep is a fascinating question. It’s a fair guess that many of today’s co2 acolytes will re-invent themselves and either claim they discovered the cooling, or claim that the cooling is a consequence of co2, (which they just happened to fail to predict, although the sceptics did predict it back in 1983).

    Will the newspapers and politicians start to question the co2 conventional wisdom or will they continue to allow themselves to be spoonfed co2 doctrine without making any effort to double check the facts. One things for sure, many of the newspapers will switch to global cooling as if they had never printed any global warming scare stories.

    The climategate emails revealed that many of the establishment co2 scientists expressed doubts and so we can expect many of them to change their views on the climate and on co2. Eventually leaving just the core “team” of Mann, Santer, Hansen, and Jones in an ever more isolated co2 viewpoint. I wonder if Jones will be the first to break ranks with his 3 other “team” members ?

    Since the predictions of the sceptics are increasingly shown to better those of the co2 lobby, going back to Landscheidt in 1983 who predicted the current minimum we can but hope that politicians start to reconsider their melodramatic love affair with taxing co2 and get back to at least making some pretence of running the economy.

  6. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Here we go again! Same BS we heard in the 1970s AGC, AGC Ice age coming caused by man.
    Always the same snake oil saleman bs trying to get ahead of the curve of real events to gain his creds.

    As to Chinese air pollution, yes it is gross and reaches all the way into California. Our CARB ( california air resource board) is causing us fits as they try to reduce the contaminants in our air and don’t allow for the chinese contribution. This has been getting worse for a number of years and these dummies are trying to shut down everything, even farming, to reach their mandates. pg

  7. Scute says:

    Tallbloke, please take the following as praising with faint damnation.

    I don’t know if it’s a good idea to give publicity to this sort of breathless, unsubstantiated invective. It’s unbecoming of your site which, from my perspective, has always stuck to the facts, giving cogent persuasive arguments to substantiate any claims based on those facts and never getting worked up and cranky in the process (and that even applies to the comments for the most part).

    Booker does sound decidedly cranky. Whatever truth can be distilled from his onslaught would have to be common knowledge or taken on faith. Such overblown rhetoric admits no space for reflection, explanation and substantiation. That’s the complete opposite of what you do.

  8. Whether Booker is cranky or not does not matter. At least he is telling people that warming or cooling are simply ideas that are being used to separate us from our hard earned money so that the ruling elite can maintain a vast army of drones to support their lies.

    Now I’m beginning to sound cranky too!

  9. Aussie says:

    Booker might be on to something – that the politicians are making a grab for our money – but the explanation appears to be wrong.

    So now China is to blame for the “cooling” because of the emission of sulphur in the air!! I think that Professor Kaufman is wrong. My limited understanding is that volcanoes spewing their ash affects the astmosphere, the troposphere and the like. If one is tracking volcano activity perhaps there is a correlation between the drop in temperatures and the cooling? What would I know about such things!!

    Actually, I think that the “climate scientists” have it wrong because they never bother studying the natural phenomena such as sun spot activity, or volcano activity. Without studying the whole data and only concentrating on one small, minute portion they have managed to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    There is nothing wrong with doing everything possible to get rid of real pollution. We have taken big strides in reducing pollution from car exhaust fumes. It is true that China needs to do something to control the pollution which they cause and that includes building their coal-powered electric generation stations by using the latest technology!! They need to do something about the exhaust fumes too.

  10. George says:

    Every penny spent in the “fight against climate change” lands in someone’s pocket.

    Follow the money.

  11. Let’s be fair. I didn’t see Booker’s piece at the time, but I was aware of the work upon which it is based – IIRC I first saw it mentioned on JC’s blog, here:

    The paper’s abstract is here:

    and the full paper here on WUWT (344k PDF):

    Click to access pnas-201102467.pdf


    Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008. We find that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings. Declining solar insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations. As such, we find that recent global temperature records are consistent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.

    I don’t see anything about an impending Ice Age in the abstract or the paper. What I do see are appeals to variations in Solar Insolation and ENSO to account for lack of warming, in addition to Chinese sulphur emissions.

    The important par for me is that they admit there has been no warming since 1998 (or more properly, 1999). That’s the story here, not imagined warnings “The Ice Age is coming – more research needed – send money,” although I am quite confident that those scare stories will be next, if and when the planet continues to cool.

    There is one more thing, perhaps a side issue, or perhaps more troubling: have they reversed the null hypothesis, per Kevin Trenberth’s suggestion?

    The finding that the recent hiatus in warming is driven largely by natural factors does not contradict the hypothesis: “most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations (14).”

    I’m unsure about this though – perhaps someone more accustomed to academic-speak can enlighten me?

  12. Joe Public says:

    Perhaps the developed-world’s saved too much CO2?

  13. adolfogiurfa says:

    Just compare volcanoes in the following picture: In that area there are 3´000,000 people or more.
    Do you see any of those pesky humans? Volcanoes are visible of course. One of those volcanoes erupted during the Maunder Minimum, with a VEI=6,0, the Huaynaputina, causing the harshest of winters
    It is more than evident that the only thing we humans have of a very large size is our ego, but in Nature´s economy or “environment” we simply do not count!

  14. Geoff Cruickshank says:

    The resurrection of sulphate hysteria seems aimed at explaining the lack of warming while still maintaining that the sun has nothing to do with either warming or cooling. Dr Hansen’s paper last year was aimed at the same end, but to make the sums work he had to make the claim that the effect of sulphates had been underestimated by a factor of three in modelling.
    Worth keeping track of these varying claims.

  15. Tenuc says:

    We had exactly the same rubbish in the 70’s, but all this proves is that climate science doesn’t have a clue about predicting the future and is mostly pseudo-science.

    The time is fast approaching when most of the population of the west will understand the bilge we have been fed for the last 40 years. I can only wonder what will happen once the penny drops and the masses decide to take charge of their own destiny.

  16. Roger Andrews says:

    According to Hansen’s estimates of changes in TOA radiative forcings between 2000 and 2010, sulfate aerosols were responsible for only about two-thirds of the recent warming “flat spot”. The sun did the rest.

    Here are Hansen’s numbers:

    Greenhouse gases – plus 0.35 w/m2
    Black carbon – plus 0.06 w/m2
    Sulfate aerosols – minus 0.26 w/m2
    Solar – minus 0.14 w/m2

    Convenient how they add up to zero.

  17. Dave N says:

    ..and then some “experts” still have their collective heads firmly in the sand and are saying (through said sand) “Cooling? What cooling? Warming is continuing unabated”.

    Crankiness or no, Booker sums it up nicely: “The question this extraordinary turn of events raises is whether any of these supposed experts actually have the faintest idea what they are talking about.”

    Only one thing is certain: there is no certainty about climate.

  18. Roger Andrews says:

    I might add, incidentally, that they shouldn’t add up to zero because the warming flat spot affects only SSTs. Surface air temperatures, which are supposedly controlled by TOA forcings, have increased by about 0.4C since 2000, and for this we need a TOA increase of at least 0.5 w/m2.

    So maybe Hansen’s estimates aren’t so convenient after all.

  19. Richard111 says:

    If we are increasing the mass of the planet’s atmosphere surely this will show up as a “hockey stick” on barometer readings? One subject I can’t find in general discussion is the “absorbance factor” of “greenhouse gases” when the sun is shining as opposed to the “emission factor” at night which is when the warming is supposed to be happening.
    Wait; maybe “greenhouse gases” have a ‘diode’ effect? They only absorb and reradiate in the dark? /sark