- - Monday, May 13, 2019

When empirical data show so clearly that computer climate models grossly exaggerate the warming effect of carbon dioxide, how do climate alarmists maintain public alarm?


Among the more famous was “Mike’s Nature trick.” University of East Anglia climate scientist Phil Jones wrote that he had used “Mike’s Nature trick” of “adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

The result hid a decline in recent temperatures that would have appeared in the continuation of proxy temps used for the earlier part of a graph that played a crucial role in convincing the world that dangerous warming was happening.

Even more famous, and earlier, was Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph. The graph gave the appearance of stable global temperature for over a millennium followed by sudden, dramatic warming starting in the late 19th century.

That graph appeared repeatedly in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (2001) and in media reports worldwide.

But never in later IPCC publications.


Because it turned out that Mr. Mann had cherry-picked his data and misused a sophisticated statistical method that, as he’d misused it, yielded a hockey stick out of any numbers fed into it.

Mr. Mann stubbornly and litigiously defends his graph, but to many in the climate-science community it and he are an embarrassment.

An even earlier trick was to define a term in a way non-specialists wouldn’t dream of — and not tell them about it.

That’s what the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) did. It defined “climate change” specifically as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity [emphasis added] that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

The result? Pretty much every reference to “climate change” in public discourse since has assumed that it is entirely manmade. And if it’s entirely manmade, then it’s entirely preventable — if we can just adopt the right policies.

Another trick has been to quietly change the subject.

No, I’m not talking about the change from “global warming” to “climate change.” Some people think that reflects alarmists’ abandoning the first term because it’s so easy to show that warming isn’t happening as predicted and adopting the second because practically anything can fit with it.

But the IPCC got its name when it was founded in 1988, and the UNFCCC its name in 1994, and “climate change” has been the preferred terminology for most scientists ever since. True, journalists, politicians, and some of the more sensationalist scientists warned constantly of “global warming” but began to change their tune when, by the early 2010s, global temperature wasn’t cooperating. But there really was no outright substitution of “climate change” for global warming.

What did happen, though, was that when skeptics pointed out the ever-lengthening lack of warming, alarmists changed the subject.

They had warned of warming near-surface atmospheric temperature — which affects everyday life. It wasn’t happening—at least not on the scale they predicted. What to do?

Say the “missing heat” was in the ocean. So they talked of an increase in “ocean heat content.”

That was a perfectly legitimate hypothesis to explain the missing heat in the atmosphere. But it wasn’t an answer to the skeptics’ point. Why? Because the skeptics’ point was that the climate models called for warming in the atmosphere that wasn’t being observed. That meant the models were, on that measure, wrong.

The alarmists’ proper, scientific response would have been, “Okay, you’re right. The models were wrong about atmospheric warming. Now we understand that a lot of the outgoing energy sent back toward the earth’s surface winds up in the oceans, not in the atmosphere. Now let’s look at the consequences of that.”

But they never got that message across to policymakers, the media or the public. Instead, they tried to keep everybody worried about rapid atmospheric warming.

But that nasty absence of atmospheric warming persisted. So they issued a study whose “results [did] not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.”

Even the usually more careful Wall Street Journal took the bait, reporting, “Study Finds No Pause in Global Warming.” But of course, one study’s finding no evidence of a pause didn’t mean no other studies found it — let alone that the pause was imaginary.

Within days the study came under withering critique by numerous scientists that pointed out numerous serious errors in its data handling and statistical methods. And shortly thereafter, it received a fatal blow.

More recently, in a panicked effort to hide the hiatus (the lack of statistically significant warming for about the past 20 years), alarmists have resorted to another trick.

They “adjust” weather-station temperature readings from long ago downward, while “adjusting” more recent readings upward, creating the impression of more rapid warming. The results are stunning, as demonstrated by numerous critiques.

In short, a great deal of what the mainstream media report, and politicians tout, as the sure results of solid climate science are anything but. The best evidence continues to be that natural causes of climate change — whether warming or cooling, wetting or drying, blowing or calming — far outweigh human contribution through CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

So, don’t be tricked into embracing climate-change/global-warming alarmism. There’s science, and then there’s sleight-of-hand masquerading as science.

• E. Calvin Beisner is founder and national spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

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