A skeptic’s view

Dan Gomez offers up an alternative view.

Many of you read the post I called Please help! that came out exactly a week ago.  If you were one of those readers you will have read how Dan and I go back 33 years.  In many ways we see eye-to-eye but not over mankind’s influence over the climate of our Planet.  To be clear, my own view is that we are very close, if not already past, the point of preventing a massive collapse of the biosphere.  Dan believes that we are living through possibly the biggest hoax in history.

Dan, however, has been willing to provide evidence that supports his view and has given me permission to reproduce some of his emails to me.  That’s generous of him – thanks Dan.

Let’s start with Dan’s reply to my offer to buy him the book Betrayal of Science and Reason by Paul & Anne Ehrlich.  This is what Dan sent to me,

PH – I guess I could write all day and provide numerous scientific papers and positioning that would repudiate a lot of the popular press on “Global Warming” or “Climate Change”, if that is more PC.  Read a little from the good Senator below and then I’ll buy you HIS book.

This is all about money and power, not weather. As the Senator points out, when he saw that the “Cap and Trade” bill was shot down, he stopped commenting. Then, more and more regulation from the UN and EPA Agency provoked this new book.

Once again, the science is at best moot and at worst fraudulent. Each of us must make up his own mind. Global climate cooling or heating will continue operating under geological time rules and, oh yeah, the Sun, Oceans and Regional Oscillations contribute a little.

As long as world governments don’t take public money or redistribute public money for their own “climate control” self-interests, I don’t really care. If there was no public money at stake, there would be no controversy.

People will continue to build houses below sea level in New Orleans. Another, bigger hurricane will flood them out again. Apparently, we can’t even stop this kind of nonsense through more legislation and then expensive emergency re-routing of public funds. This is part of the reason that the public sector is broke.

If private agencies wish to donate money to stop the rising seas or just support related studies, tant mieux. Just don’t add yet another set of agencies and regulations as another layer of big government. This only results in an ever higher tax structure and declining standards of living.

Book Description

Publication Date: February 28, 2012

Americans are over-regulated and over-taxed. When regulation escalates, the result is an increase in regulators. In other words, bigger government is required to enforce the greater degree of regulation. Bigger government means bigger budgets and higher taxes. “More” simply doesn’t mean “better.” A perfect example is the entire global warming, climate-change issue, which is an effort to dramatically and hugely increase regulation of each of our lives and business, and to raise our cost of living and taxes. In The Greatest Hoax, Senator James Inhofe will reveal the reasons behind those perpetuating the Hoax of global warming, who is benefitting from the general acceptance of the Hoax and why the premise statements are blatantly and categorically false.

In another couple of emails, Dan wrote,

There are two questions to answer: Whose science do you want to believe and who profits? My source of direction stems from a natural skepticism of big science when big money is involved. One of the definitions of science is that it is never completely understood and new discoveries as well as new methods of collecting data are ever changing. As we know, new evidence pops up everyday. So, to assume that “my science or your science” is irrefutable relevant to global warming, is not “good science”. Taking billions of global dollars out of private enterprise as well as higher public sector tax in order to “change the world- maybe” is irresponsible and dangerous.

Oh yeah, and I forgot, the world’s broke. Ask a Greek plumber or, for that matter, a Greek apparatchik, where global warming fits into his budget decisions……?

Then Dan wrote in another email,

 Emotionalism aside, I can’t argue the science issues except by contributing relevant articles by other scientists with opposing views. There are many.  I can comment on the political power and self-interest motivations of many proponents and that’s always fun……

Finally, Dan sent me the full copy of a recent article published by Roy Spencer, Ph. D. called Ten Years after The Warming.  He introduced it thus,

Before spending trillions that the world does not have, let’s see if we can get the conversation a little more firmed up…..  We need to really find out how sensitive the atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere really are –  without assumptions.  Pretty hard thing to do even with advanced mainframes, GIGO…..

and then offered the article,

Ten Years After the Warming

February 26th, 2012 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The version of global warming theory being pushed by the IPCC is that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are causing a radiative energy imbalance of the climate system, leading to warming.

The radiative forcing history being used in the latest IPCC climate models looks something like the following, with red areas representing times when the climate system’s “stove is turned up”, that is, with heat accumulating in the system.

(Actually, the correct analogy would be that the stove setting remains the same, but the lid partially covering the pot is covering it a little more over time…but that’s too hard to explain.)

As can be seen, in the last 10 years the estimated forcing has been the strongest. Yet, most if not all temperature datasets show little or no global-average warming recently, either in the atmosphere, at the surface, or in the upper 700 meters of the ocean. For example, here are the tropospheric temperatures up though a few days ago:

So what is happening? You cannot simply say a lack of warming in 10 years is not that unusual, and that there have been previous 10-year periods without warming, too. No, we are supposedly in uncharted territory with a maximum in radiative forcing of the climate system. One cannot compare on an equal basis the last 10 years with any previous decades without warming.

There are 5 possibilities for the recent cessation of warming which are most discussed:

1) cooling from anthropogenic aerosols has been cancelling out warming from more greenhouse gases

2) natural cooling from internal climate fluctuations or the sun is cancelling out the GHG warming

3) increased ocean mixing is causing the extra energy to be distributed into the deep ocean

4) the temperature ’sensitivity’ of the climate system is not as large as the IPCC assumes.

5) there is something fundamentally wrong with the GHG warming theoryitself

Of course, some combination of the above 5 explanations is also possible.

The 1st possibility (aerosol cooling is cancelling out GHG forcing) is one of the more popular explanations with the climate modelers, and especially with NASA’s James Hansen. The uncertain strength (and even sign) of aerosol forcing allows the climate modelers to use aerosols as a tuning knob (aka fudge factor) in making their models produce warming more-or-less consistent with past observations. Using an assumed large aerosol cooling to cancel out the GHG warming allows the modelers to retain high climate sensitivity, and thus the fear of strong future warming if those aerosols ever dissipate.

The 2nd possibility (natural cooling) is a much less desirable explanation for the IPCC crowd because it opens the door to Mother Nature having as much or more influence on the climate system than do humans. We can’t have that, you know. Then you would have to consider the possibility that most of the warming in the last 50 years was natural, too. Goodbye, AGW funding.

The 3rd possibility (increased ocean mixing) is one of the more legitimate possibilities, at least theoretically. It’s popular with NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth. But one would need more observational evidence this is happening before embracing the idea. Unfortunately, how vertical mixing in the ocean naturally varies over time is poorly understood; the different IPCC models have widely varying strengths of mixing, and so ocean mixing is a huge wild card in the global warming debate, as is aerosol cooling. I believe much of past climate change on time scales of decades to many centuries might be due to such variations in ocean mixing, along with their likely influence on global cloud cover changing the amount of solar input into the climate system.

The 4th possibility (the climate system is relatively insensitive to forcing) is the top contender in the opinion of myself, Dick Lindzen, and a few other climate researchers who work in this field.

The 5th possibility (increasing GHGs don’t really cause warming) is total anathema to the IPCC. Without GHG warming, the whole AGW movement collapses. This kind of scientific finding would normally be Nobel Prize territory…except that the Nobel Prize has become more of a socio-political award in recent years, with only politically correct recipients. The self-flagellating elites don’t like the idea humans might not be destroying the Earth.

The longer we go without significant warming, the more obvious it will become that there is something seriously wrong with current AGW theory. I don’t think there is a certain number of years – 5, 10, 20, etc. – which will disprove the science of AGW….unless the climate system cools for the next 10 years. Eek! But I personally doubt that will happen.

As long as strong warming does not resume, the heat-hiding-in-the-deep-ocean explanation will provide refuge for many years to come, and will be difficult to convincingly rule out as an explanation since it takes so long for the deep ocean to warm by even a tiny amount.

Instead, there probably will be a tipping point (sooner than later) in popular perception when the public and Congress decide the jig is up, and they are no longer interested in hearing how we ‘might’ be headed for Armageddon.

The public already knows how awful scientists are at forecasting the future…especially a future of doom, which curiously seems to be the only future scientists know how to predict.

Now the challenge in this Post is not to make it so long that it becomes tiresome on the eyes, irrespective of the content.

So I’m going to leave it at this point and, perhaps, next time include some of Dan’s other points and comments in the light of how readers respond to this Post.

9 thoughts on “A skeptic’s view

  1. Hi Paul. My internet-bomb has just been sent 20 minutes ago – As yet nothing. While I wait for some reaction, here are my initial thoughts – Dan Gomez may be lost down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole but see if you can get him to look at these:

    With regard to Senator James Inhofe: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/02/27/432986/james-inhofe-climate-conspiracy-statereels-from-record-heat/

    With regard to Roy Spencer, Geological Sciences Professor Barry Bickmore’s presentation is 45 minutes long but, since he is an ultra-Conservative Mormon who has realised he was wrong, I would recommend it – He discusses Roy Spencer in quite some detail: http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/how-to-avoid-the-truth-about-climate-change/

    If you are going to buy Dan any more books, I would recommend the following: David Aaronovitch’s Voodoo Histories; and Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. Before Dan dismisses them out-of-hand he should note that neither book contains a single reference to climate change. This post of mine from way back when I started on WordPress (6 months ago) contains my favourite quotes from both books: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/conspiracy-theory-history-for-losers/


  2. Entirely irrelevant. Even if there was no warming the CO2 climb is a huge disaster. It’s acidifying, and killing the oceans. Moreover, it’s an indication of doing nothing about the fossil fuel problem, itself a huge problem.

    The warming plateau of the last 10 years is thoroughly explained by the sun’s lesser activity. But the sun ought to return to the mean soon, a specialist at LBL told me three months ago. Then expect accelerated warming. The potential even exists, from the methane gun hypothesis, that heating would take an apocalyptic turn.

    Meanwhile warming skeptics can enjoy tornadoes.

    The screaming against those who are against CO2 in the USA is entirely related to the growth of all extreme right wing ideas, the exact same phenomenon observed in Germany in the first 45 years of the twentieth century. It of course goes with the defeat of reason.


  3. pendantry is entirely right. There was a very hot year due to a number of special coincidences, and then the sun slowed down, and CH4 abated. However now things are going back to “normal”, namely steady up. Moreover, whatever the corrupt fools are saying, the fundamental problem, CO2 density keeps climbing, faster and faster…


  4. We know that change is a constant and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The question is not whether human actions impact Nature. The question is which human actions protect nature and which actions are destructive.

    For example is dumping garbage and toxic chemicals in our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans productive or destructive? Is clouding our air with a wide range of chemicals constructive or destructive? Is the loss of 80% of our arable soil and the increasing loss of species destructive or productive? The issue is much bigger than simply temperature trends.


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