Feb 4, 2017

The Case for Global Warming Skepticism

Like President Trump and politics these days, global warming is constantly in my face. It seems every book and many of the articles I read discuss or refer to it in some way. What I read about, I think about, which is why global warming is a topic I continue to post about.

The other day, I came up with a short list of reasons why I am skeptical about the current beliefs surrounding the issue. Call it my case for global warming skepticism. Here's the summary:

1. It's too complex. Multiple data sets (differing land, sea, air and space temperature readings) and factors (variations in solar activity, cloud cover, forcings, etc.) require complicated models to get the desired evidence of looming catastrophe. See this question and the answer by Princeton professor William Happer for an example of how prediction models are "tuned."

2. It's too uncertain. There are 55 IPCC prediction models covering a range of possibilities. This is not to mention the "Weatherman Problem," which is that no weatherman can accurately predict the weather beyond a few days -- and often he can't even get tomorrow's weather right.

3. Key points don't hold up well under scrutiny.  See my Basic Questions About Global Warming.

4. There are clear agendas at play. Unless you are politically biased to believe Republicans are anti-science, it is more than passing strange that a supposedly scientific issue is a partisan issue. It's not every day a former Democratic candidate for president with no science background wins an Academy Award for a documentary about a scientific topic. Once you research how global warming became the No. 1 environmental issue of the day, however, the mystery is dispelled. In a June 2007 exploration titled, "Digging up the roots of the IPCC", Tony Gilland shows how the "UN's all-powerful climate change panel is ... a deeply political organisation that was born out of disenchantment with progress." Add in the fact that global warming is the biggest driver of fund-raising for the top environmental groups, and the need for skepticism should be obvious to a rational person.

5. There is too much agreement for it to be real science. Real scientists don't talk like global warming alarmists do. Specifically, the idea of a consensus is unknown to science. I could elaborate, but Professor Richard Tol and author Michael Crichton did a much better job than I ever could. "Consensus is irrelevant in science," wrote Tol in a famous op-ed in The Guardian debunking the 97% consensus claim. "There are plenty of examples in history where everyone agreed and everyone was wrong." Crichton was even more emphatic. "Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus," he said in his famous Caltech lecture, Aliens Cause Global Warming. "Consensus is the business of politics ... In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. 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."

I may add to this post in the future. Global warming seems to be a topic I am continually rethinking through.