It’s about time to review the evidence for man-made global warming

Posted: March 28, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, Critique, IPCC, modelling, Natural Variation, opinion, Uncertainty

Scales of Justice
[image credit: Wikipedia]

Unless there are accepted ways of testing for attribution of climate effects (e.g. human-caused, natural variability or a measureable mixture), who can be sure they know the truth? Reliance on climate models, known to be strongly biased towards levels of warming that are not observed, can’t be the way forward.

Some seem to think man-made global warming is proven. Others believe there’s no evidence for it.

Neither is correct, argues John McLean at American Thinker.

Evidence exists, but, as people familiar with courts of law will know, what’s submitted as evidence is not automatically proof.

Firstly, a judge might decide that what is submitted as evidence is inadmissible because it’s not evidence at all (e.g., irrelevant, opinion, hearsay, obtained by unacceptable methods) or of negligible value.

Secondly, lawyers for the two parties ask questions that test the credibility of the evidence, and the witnesses are compelled to answer those questions. Finally, it’s up to the jury to decide if the evidence is conclusive.

None of this happens with scientific “evidence.”

Chapter 1 of the IPCC’s 2013 climate assessment report describes evidence as “data, mechanistic understanding, theory, models, expert judgment.”

Regarding the IPCC’s claims of man-made warming, I don’t think these amount to much at all. Many of the data are uncertain, the “mechanistic understanding” says only what might be happening, and the theory might not be true in the real world.

Models are not evidence, especially when they have not been verified, do not accurately include all factors, and are weighted toward the prime “suspect.” Expert judgment is merely opinion, and opinion is usually accepted as evidence only when applied to very specific issues in court cases.

Some people seem to think the IPCC’s evidence is conclusive proof. This would be like the police presenting evidence and then the judge jailing the person, with no court case in between to test the evidence.

Other people seem to think they are capable of evaluating the scientific evidence for man-made warming. In reality, probably less than 5% of the population has the appropriate education to understand the issues, and even fewer have the interest in exploring climate matters in depth.

With no examination of the evidence, we don’t know the truth of the matter. It makes no sense to dismiss alternative ideas or to label someone a denier when the truth hasn’t been established, but that’s what has happened.

The IPCC can’t examine the evidence it gathers because the organization’s charter is to report on the human influence on climate and what might be done about it. It was told to consider just one “suspect,” so, naturally, it tries to find evidence to support a case against that suspect.

Continued here.

  1. Steve Borodin says:

    I absolutely agree with the distinction between legal and scientific usage of the word ‘evidence’. When I first became interested in this subject I looked for the evidence that, for example, the warming during the period 1970 to 2000 was caused by human activities rather than the processes that caused similar warming in the 19th Century and of course in many other periods when human emissions of CO2 were inconsequential. I asked this question quite innocently many times, typically on web sites where people seemed to believe they knew what they were talking about. I never received an intelligent answer. Sometimes I just got abuse but most often my questions were simply deleted.

    I have talked to a few people who have attended courses run at various universities to spread the gospel and asked them what convinced them of the truth of the IPCC’s line. Invariably they quoted two ‘facts’ that emerged during the course. The first was a graph showing correlation between CO2 and temperature during the late 20th Century. The second was the outputs of climate models. Of course any scientist knows that this is nonsense, but they were convinced.

    Your point about the narrowness of the IPCC’s Charter is very relevant. Imagine a police force whose pay increased when they prosecuted traffic offences but reduced when they prosecuted murders. Guess which crime they would pursue. For the IPCC, research that attributes warming to humans increase their credibility and resources. .Research that attributes warming to, say, solar radiation does not. In fact it threatens their existence. Guess what they will find.

  2. stpaulchuck says:

    Steve Borodin says:
    March 28, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    there is a VERY old saying:
    “If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.”

    As for the computer models, of the nearly three dozen original models only ONE predicted warming. Several predicted cooling, and the rest changed their ‘mind’ on every run, flopping back and forth.

  3. stpaulchuck says:

    what I forgot to mention is that the ones in the graphic were the results of “adjusting” the models. There are other graphics of even more models, but the general results are pretty much the same.

    that second URL didn’t paint, but is is of a set closer to today’s date (2019), and it is just like this one

    [mod] in the URL, deleted everything after ‘jpg’

  4. gbaikie says:

    “Some seem to think man-made global warming is proven. Others believe there’s no evidence for it.”

    And some think some warming would a good thing.

    It not a wild idea.
    Everyone agree we are in an Ice Age.
    And if Ice Age conditions are warming, it’s not a bad thing.
    Global sea level over last 100 years has risen about 7″
    And this rise has not been a problem.
    And over next 100 year it might rise another 7″.
    And that also would not be a significant problem. And nor would it be
    a problem if rose twice as much.
    Independent of global sea level rise, various coastal area have risen or fallen
    more than 7″ per century.
    Or New Orleans is sinking much faster than 7″ per century, expensive governmental
    policies could used to reduce or stop such sinking, but these steps are not being taken
    thus proving it’s not a problem worth doing what would needed to do something about.
    Nor are beach house properties building at higher elevation, even though owners could incorrectly imagine that future sea level rises could much higher.
    And in terms of temperature, few are moving more poleward to be cooler in the coming possible
    warmer world and people continue to move to warmer regions when they retire. Not mention go on vacations in places with higher average temperatures.
    The US average temperature is about 12 C. Canada average temperature is about -4 C.
    12 C is fairly cold, and -4 C is even colder. And people or animals are not fleeing to Canada.
    India average temperature is about 24 C [76 F]. The country is growing in population and becoming
    more wealthy, and global warming is not considered to be much of problem.
    India has always been a warm country, and always had lots of people living there, and is where first civilizations started. And same story with Africa [known as hottest continent]- growing populations and ever increasing wealth. Or main factor is type government rather than type of climate, so as governments do a better job, life gets better.
    And the polar bears are doing better- after they were not hunted as much.

  5. Tallbloke et al.,

    I write to make three points.

    Firstly, there is no evidence of any kind that human activities are having any discernible affect on global climate changes that have always happened naturally.

    I repeat for emphasis, although humans affect local climates in many ways (for example, urban areas are warmer than their surrounding countrysides) and climate always has changed and always will change everywhere, there is no evidence of any kind that human activities are having any discernible affect on global climate changes that have always happened naturally.

    In 1996 Ben Santer and a host of co-authors claimed to have found the imprint of human influence in observations of upper troposphere temperatures as recorded by sonde balloons; they matched these observations with what their model would predict under similar conditions and found the very match they were `searching’ for.
    (ref. Santer B, et al. “A Search For Human Influences On The Thermal Structure Of The Atmosphere”. Nature, vol.382, 4 July 1996, p.39-46)

    This result inspired their much-quoted claim that there was “… a discernible human influence on global climate”, a remark made in the notorious Chapter 8 of the 1995 Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC. This was one of several untrue remarks added later to that Chapter AFTER the meeting of drafting scientists in Madrid, but all those other remarks bolstered the much-quoted claim.

    However, only 5 months after Nature magazine had published that paper of Santer et al., Nature magazine published two papers that completely refuted those so-called “findings” of Santer et al..

    Those so-called “findings” were an artefact of improper data selection
    (ref. Michaels P & Knappenburger P, Nature, vol.384, 12 Dec 1996)
    and the asserted ‘human imprint’ which the improper data selection had isolated was explicable by observed natural climate variation.
    (ref. Weber GR, Nature, vol.384, 12 Dec 1996)

    Michaels and Knappenburger’s paper says.
    “When we examine the period of record used by Santer et al. in the context of the longer period available from ref.5 we find that in the region with the most significant warming (30-600 S. 850-300 hPa), the increase is largely an artefact of the time period chosen”

    Weber’s paper says,
    “Regarding the role of natural factors, the early years of the period 1963-87 were substantially influenced by tropospheric cooling (and stratospheric warming) following the eruption of Mount Agung, whereas the end of that period was influenced by several strong El Nino events, which have led to some tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling, particularly in the southern subtropics of the lower latitudes. Therefore the general tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling trend between 1963 and 1987 has been accentuated by widely known natural factors and could at least partially be explained by them.”

    So, in 1996 Santer et al, claimed to have found evidence of human influence on global climate but their claim was either incompetence or worse. Santer was lead author of the infamous IPCC Chapter 8 and he approved alteration of the IPCC Chapter to assert the then-unpublished ‘finding’ together with several comments which bolstered it.

    Since then the IPCC has not published a retraction of the completely discredited claim of Santer et al., and a search for some evidence that human activities are affecting global climate has been conducted around the world at a cost of more than US$2.5 billion each and every year. However, to date, no evidence for a discernible human influence on global climate has been found; n.b. no evidence, none, zilch, nada.

    Every man woman and child on Earth could have been provided with clean drinking water and mains sewerage for less than a tenth of that expenditure wasted on the unsuccessful search since 1996 for some evidence of any human affect on global climate changes.

    Secondly, all global temperature data are bunkum.

    As I have repeatedly pointed out for decades;
    There are no agreed definitions for global, hemispheric and regional climate temperatures.
    A parameter that is not defined can have any value its providers desire. And the teams who provide climate temperature data alter the definitions they use (and, hence, the values they provide) of these data almost every month; see e.g.

    If there were agreed definitions for global, hemispheric and regional climate temperatures then there is no possibility of independent calibration standards for them.
    The accuracy and the precision of a parameter cannot be determined in the absence of an independent calibration standard.
    Points 1 and 2 mean that all global temperature data are – and can only be – meaningless.

    Thirdly, “action” to reduce AGW is asserted to require an end to use of fossil fuels. but the use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit human kind than anything else since the invention of agriculture.

    All human activity requires energy supply. Prior to the use of fossil fuels the total energy supply available to humans was limited to energy obtainable from wind, solar, animals and slaves. Human activity increased immensely when the much greater energy obtainable from fossil fuels became available to do work initially by use of the steam engine.

    More than 80% of energy now used by humans is provided by fossil fuels.

    Removing the use of fossil fuels would require return to reliance on the energy obtainable from wind, solar, animals and slaves. This would kill at very least 8.3 billion people (and probably many more than that).

    Anyone who doubts the death toll would so high should ask a farmer what his food production would be if he had to replace his tractor with horses (answer to that question provides adequate explanation of the matter which is a little more complicated than that).

    Simply, the carnage from cessation of fossil fuel usage would be so great that it would pale into insignificance the combined atrocities of Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Pol pot.

    I tell all environmentalists that if they are successful in ending fossil fuel usage but they and I survive the resulting carnage then I will accept them as my slaves but I will fight to not be their slave. And many others will fight with me because in that circumstance many will join with me in shouting, “I am Spartacus !”


  6. erl happ says:

    Carbon dioxide is well mixed. Its effects should manifest in every month of the year. However, in the month of January, the surface warming effect has been absent for three decades over the entire southern hemisphere, considered as a unit.

    In science and logic, a single exception invalidates a hypothesis.

    Here is the data for the southern hemisphere. In January, the average temperature by the decade was:
    1979-88 was 17.71°C,
    1989-98 was 17.42°C,
    1999-2008 was 17.5°C
    2009-18 was 17.69°C

    Source of data:

    This source overcomes the problem of the paucity of data for the surface, lack of continuity, and the effect of urbanization on land, especially important given the extent of the ocean in the southern hemisphere. It uses satellite data, arguably, the best available and plumbs the entire depth of the atmosphere for a multitude of variables, a distinct advantage when it comes to cross referencing and interpolation.

  7. Gamecock says:

    The ‘human fingerprint’ has always been an argumentum ad ignorantium.

    “The earth is warming. We can’t figure out what in nature could be causing it. Therefore, it is being caused by Man. There is no other explanation that we can think of.”

  8. Gamecock:

    There are two other explanations “we can think of” for recent climate changes. They are the scientific and the traditional explanations.

    The scientific explanation is that recent changes are being induced by whatever induced similar changes in the past. Please note that this is not merely a scientific explanation: it is the ONLY valid scientific explanation at present, and it provides reason to investigate what may have caused such changes both historically and presently.

    The traditional explanation for weather-related issues (e.g. droughts, floods and crop failures) is witches. Clearly, witches have always been the most accepted explanation and the claim that “we” are to blame is not accompanied by any explanation of why it is not witches.

    Personally, I adhere to the scientific explanation that recent climate changes are being induced by whatever induced similar changes in the past.


  9. oldbrew says:

    The shorter than average solar cycles of most of the 20th century (1913-1996) could be a clue.

  10. Gamecock says:

    Courtney, you think “It happened before” is a scientific explanation?

  11. Gamecock,

    “It happened before” is a scientific explanation which parsimony says requires only one mechanism that applies to both events.

    A claim that the events have different mechanisms is an anti-scientific assertion when there is no known mechanism for the first event.

    As I said,

    “he scientific explanation is that recent changes are being induced by whatever induced similar changes in the past. Please note that this is not merely a scientific explanation: it is the ONLY valid scientific explanation at present, and it provides reason to investigate what may have caused such changes both historically and presently.”


  12. gallopingcamel says:

    In 2009 Kevin Trenberth thought it a travesty that he and his buddies could not explain why the temperature had not risen in ten years in spite of CO2 concentrations rising at an accelerating rate.

    The solution was to rebrand man-made “Global Warming” as “Climate Change”. There has been no significant rise in global temperature for over 20 years.

    The idea that mankind is affecting the climate is an exaggeration that depends on politics rather than science. Follow the money!