The Global Warming Bandwagon is leaving soon. Climb aboard!

A recent article Scientists Warn Doing Nothing Will Likely Lock in Worst Consequences of Climate Change published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, quotes three scientists and an economist saying that we’d better do something quickly about Global Warming or… well, the article never says, but you know it must be something pretty scary!

The three scientists:

Richard Somerville, a Coordinating Lead Author in Working Group I for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Peter Frumhoff, UCS’s director of science and policy and a lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

Robert Corell, a scientist with the Arctic Governance Project and the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF). [“GETF is making a difference by promoting the development and use of innovative technology to achieve sustainable development. For over twenty years, GETF has brought industry, government, and communities together to address environmental challenges with innovative solutions”]

All three scientists decry climate “naysayers,” (aka, scientists who don’t agree with them) and call for politicians to pay attention to what they have to say about global warming.

Rachel Cleetus, an economist at UCN, worked as a consultant for the World Wildlife Fund before joining the Union of Concerned Scientists, the very same WWF that, in close harness with Allianz, an international investment and insurance corporation, wrote the infamous “glaciers will melt by 2035” report, picked up and repeated uncritically by the IPCC.

“A [carbon] cap would not interfere with economic growth,” says Cleetus, laying to rest the fear that humans might have to rein in their profligate ways (in rich countries that can afford profligacy). She added that this would “ensure that U.S. companies capture a share of the growing global market in clean technologies. Green is the new red, white and blue.”

So there you have it, the Union of Concerned Scientists (with interesting links to nuclear power and weaponry on its Board of Directors) trotting out it’s favorite economist and scientists to tell us all to pay no attention to those “denialists” behind the curtain, get on the Global Warming Bandwagon, so the good old US of A can cash in on the global clean technologies market.

Gotta climb aboard fast before the citizens of said US of A catch on to the scam and decide to make up their own minds about the future.

Warning, this is not a Climate Denialist site!

I preface this post with the above warning, as there is much emotional back and forth about climate denialists and climate alarmists. This false dichotomy unnecessarily confuses the science of climate variability and the manipulation of the science by political and economic players at the national and international levels.

Joseph D’Aleo & Anthony Watts have put together a thoroughly documented paper titled Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception, consisting of materials Anthony has made available on his blog “Watts Up With That.”

The authors propose that what is perceived and promoted as recent “global warming” is an artifact of the manipulation of data from North American surface temperature instrumentation. They argue that the 1990 reduction in surface temperature recording sites is biased toward urban and low latitude sites, thus giving the surface temperature data set a climate warming bias.

The argument is compelling to me. I have read other sources that claim that the temperature data set is biased toward global cooling, without the extensive documentation that D’Aleo and Watts provide.

My question, that I ask quietly to myself in moments of contemplation, is, if this is true, what is the motivation for NASA and NOAA to cook the data in such a way as to create the impression of “global warming?” I suspect it has something to do with the political/economic climate of the time.

1990 happens to be the year when George H.W. Bush came to office as President of the United States, following Ronald Reagan, with Dick Cheney as his Secretary of Defense. I’m still researching who all was in power at that time. Key officials in NASA and NOAA would be an interesting area of research.

“Follow the money.” Who would gain from a widespread belief that human industrial activity is threatening to send the world spiraling into irreversible global warming?

The Global Warming Wrestling Match

While the Global Warming Propaganda Wrestling Match continues apace, pitting, in this corner, Climate Denier, against, in the far corner, Climate Alarmist, others have been calmly looking at the data and saying, “Excuse me, did you notice…?”

In USHCN vs USHCN Version 2 – more induced warmth, E.M. Smith points out that NASA has modified its US Historic Climate Network data set, again. After having previously deleted 75% of the temperature reporting sites, retaining urban sites with their Urban Heat Island effects intact, now we learn that NASA is putting many of those sites back in the mix, “adjusting” the data as they do so.

As a budding graduate student learning the ins and outs of academe, I remember my astonishment in discovering the power of statistical manipulation of raw data. I was working with tree-rings, both as chronological markers for archaeology sites and as proxy climate data for reconstructing climate factors in Inupiat migrations in northwest Alaska. I learned that through the application of principle component analysis and other powerful tools, one could reduce highly complex raw data into virtually meaningless graphs that could be interpreted to support whatever preconceived hypothesis was put forward.

This didn’t sit too well with my ideological underpinnings. I opted for simpler smoothing and growth based regressions, leaving the heavier data manipulation to those with climate axes to grind. They promptly left me behind, as well, not to mention out of the grant and publication loop.

So I understand how data manipulation takes a strong upper hand, even if there is no nefarious agenda being served by the manipulators.

While I see how climate data is easily shaped to support either the Climate Denier or Climate Alarmist agendae, I don’t see quite so clearly the motivations of their proponents. Hansen, of course, is on the world stage and has staked out a circle for himself that he must defend at all costs, else he, and NASA, come out with egg on their scientific faces. Pachauri has his reputation sunk in the IPCC, and his fingers in many carbon trading and alternative energy technology pockets, not to mention his own liberal “think tank” in India. Many of the global warming skeptics express their distrust of climate change conclusions in terms of detriment to world economics, that is, capitalism and the universal mythology of perpetual economic growth.

What gets lost in all this burning rhetoric is growing global imperialism and militarism, air, water and land pollution, topsoil loss, fresh water depletion, critical habitat loss, human population increase with concomitant consumption and, most of all, increasing frustration and feelings of disenfranchisement in the process of government.

Climate change is real. The extent of human influence on global climate has yet to be objectively established. Until then, we have other wrestlers in the ring threatening to pin us to the mat before they tag their Global Warming partners.

Oopsy! Another IPCC error?

From the “For What It’s Worth Department:”

Earth may be less sensitive to greenhouse gases than thought

IPCC reports have long held that the earth’s atmosphere is more sensitive to anthropogenic CO2 than would appear from the chemical action of CO2 alone. Now it appears that assumption, built into all global climate models, may be … well, wrong.

You’d think the earth’s atmosphere was far too complex for mathematical models, based on a limited understanding of initial conditions, to predict the outcome of chaotic climate systems.

You would if you were a skeptical scientist, skepticism being the core of the scientific process.

Denier, No. Skeptic, yes.

In a comment to an earlier post, Pangolin states: “Climate change, like gravity, is an observed phenomena.”

While it is true that climate change, or more accurately climate variability, is an observed phenomenon (unlike gravity, which is an inherent property of matter), the more pertinent questions are: 1) Does anthropogenic greenhouse gas production influence climate change beyond natural climate forces? 2) Will reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas production influence the observed on-going climate change, and, 3) Will any resulting change be in a positive direction?

While Pangolin dismisses my questions as those of a Denier, and advises that I should “STFU,” (Geek Speak for plugging the ears and singing loudly), Careful Readers will note that I have not denied climate variability, nor human effects on long term climate change. I merely question the received wisdom that anthropogenic CO2 is solely responsible for the observed increase in global average surface temperature since the Pleistocene. I also question the assumption that reduction of anthropogenic CO2 will reduce the rate of future global average surface temperature rise.

Rather than Denier, I proudly wear the mantle of Questioner and Skeptic.

And in the words of Ed Abbey that Pangolin considers irretrievably besmirched:

“Fantastic doctrines (like Christianity or Islam or Marxism) require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions. Thus the fear and the hate; thus the torture chamber, the iron stake, the gallows, the labor camp, the psychiatric ward.”