- - Wednesday, March 13, 2019


On March 5, 58 senior military and national security leaders sent a letter to President Trump denouncing his plan to form a National Security Council panel to take a critical look at the science underpinning climate change claims. Their objections to such a Red Team effort were basically that the “science is settled.”

But if the science is settled, what are they afraid of? Wouldn’t a review of the science come to the same conclusion as the supposed consensus of climate scientists?

The letter claimed, “Climate change is real, it is happening now, it is driven by humans, and it is accelerating.”

While climate change is indeed real, it is not at all obvious how much humans have to do with it. Even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits this, saying only that over half of warming since the 1950s is believed to be human-caused. So, “driven by humans” is an exaggeration, even by the IPCC’s rather alarmist standards.

The additional claim that climate change is “accelerating” can also be challenged. In recent decades, warming actually decelerated, and there is a growing gap between climate model forecasts and measured global temperatures.

In fact, a peer-reviewed paper published last year in the prestigious Journal of Climate found that the observed level of global warming since the late 1800s, including the deep oceans, was consistent with a climate system only half as sensitive as are the climate models guiding U.S. energy and national security policy.

And even that study assumed that all of the warming was human-caused. If recent warming is only half anthropogenic, then the global warming problem is only one-fourth as bad as the public is being told.

In their letter, the Gang of 58 then used Hurricane Florence from last year as a supposed example of human-caused climate change. Seriously? Until 2017, The U.S. went a record-setting 11-plus years without a major hurricane strike (Cat 3 or greater), and Hurricane Florence was normal and expected from a climatological point of view, making landfall as a Category 1 storm.

Major tornadoes in the U.S. have been on a downward trend since monitoring began in the 1950s, with record-low activity in 2018. Agricultural productivity and yields per acre have been rising around the world, despite modestly rising temperatures. Yes, there are indisputable facts that don’t agree with what the public is being told about climate change.

The letter implies Mr. Trump has political rather than scientific motives. But science does not determine policy, it merely informs the policymakers. The policymakers need an unbiased review of the science. It doesn’t matter if the vast majority of scientists support global warming alarmism. Their careers now depend upon it, and they try their hardest to prevent minority views from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. Even the organization from which the letter to the president originated is not unbiased — its name is “The Center for Climate and Security.” Does anyone think the Center will continue to exist if there is no significant connection between climate and national security?

In 1931, after being informed a book had been published titled “100 Authors against Einstein,” Albert Einstein responded, “Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!” As Michael Crichton once said, “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

It’s time for the science of climate change to be independently reviewed by a body whose members do not depend upon climate alarmism to sustain their careers.

• Roy W. Spencer is principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite and a senior fellow of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

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