12 Dec 2009, 3:40pm
Climate and Weather
by admin

Monckton’s Answer to an Environmental Campaigner

Note: This is just one of numerous excellent short essays by Lord Christopher Monckton for the Science and Public Policy Institute [here].

Answer to an Environmental Campaigner

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, SPPI Blog, December 11th, 2009 [here]

Dear campaigner,

You write that, since humankind is adversely affecting the environment in various ways, humankind must also be adversely affecting the climate. Of course, this does not follow. It is a particular instance of the fundamental logical fallacy of relevance commonly known as the non sequitur.

Other Aristotelian fallacies commonly deployed by those advancing the alarmist argument are the argumentum ad populum or headcount fallacy (”there’s a consensus, so the consensus must be true”); and the argumentum ad verecundiam or reputation fallacy (”the IPCC and various august national scientific societies say “global warming” is mostly our fault, and they have a good reputation, so they must be telling the truth”). Any Classically-trained mind would at once dismiss these and many similar illogicalities as unworthy to be used as foundations for any valid conclusion.

You also write, wrongly, that the onus is on those who deny the hypothesis of anthropogenic “global warming” to prove the hypothesis wrong. To explain why your notion is incorrect, it is necessary to outline the scientific method as first enunciated by Abu Ali Ibn Al-Hassan Ibn Al-Hussain Ibn Al-Haytham in 11th-century Iraq, and as codified in its current form by Popper in a landmark paper of 1934.

The seeker after truth, says Al-Haytham, does not place his trust in any consensus, however broad or however venerable: instead, he subjects what he has learned of it to his hard-won scientific knowledge, and he scrutinizes, measures, and verifies whether it is true. The road to the truth, said Al-Haytham, is long and hard, but that is the road we must follow.

Popper presented the scientific method as an iterative algorithm for discerning the truth in that great majority of cases where complete, formal demonstration by mathematical methods is not available.

One begins, says Popper, with a General Problem (GP). A scientist then brings forward a hypothesis or Tentative Theory (TT). Scientific colleagues then try to disprove (or “falsify”) the hypothesis, during what Popper called the Error Elimination phase (EE). If the hypothesis is disproved, that is the end of it, and of the iterative process that is the scientific method.

If, however, the hypothesis survives unscathed, it gains a measure of acceptance, leading to an improved definition of the original General Problem, a new Tentative Theory - and so ad infinitum.

From this explanation of the scientific method (which is uncontroversial), it follows that any tentative theory (such as the theory that a given proportionate increase in the atmospheric concentration of the harmless trace gas carbon dioxide will cause a dangerous warming at the Earth’s surface) is of no interest to science, and does not qualify as a hypothesis, unless or until it becomes testable. In mathematics, a tentative theory that is not yet testable is known as a “postulate” or “conjecture”.

How, then, do we go about testing the tentative theory that increasing CO2 concentration from 368 ppmv in 2000 to 836 ppmv by 2100 (IPCC, 2007, scenario A2) will raise global mean surface temperature by 3.4 C at 2100 and by a further 0.5 C at equilibrium some thousands of years later, thereby causing the various inconveniences, disasters, debacles, catastrophes, cataclysms, Armageddons and Apocalypses fondly imagined by so many in the environmental movement?

First, we define the tentative theory with some precision, as we have just done. From the IPCC’s 2007 report we may derive the proposition that, at equilibrium, the IPCC is projecting a “global warming”, in Kelvin or in Celsius degrees, of 4.7[3.7, 5.7] times the natural logarithm of the proportionate increase in CO2 concentration. What we need to find is the equilibrium change in global mean surface temperature in response to a given change in the net (down minus up) radiative flux at the tropopause.

And that, unfortunately, is subject to so many uncertainties that – until recently – it has not been testable. Various computer models have attempted to represent the problem: but we know from the landmark paper by Edward Lorenz in 1963 that reliable very-long-term (now known to be a few weeks) prediction of the evolution of the mathematically-chaotic climate object is impossible “by any method”.

Numerous complications prevent direct measurement of the warming effect of a given proportionate increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. So we must work with what we can measure.

First, it is agreed among all parties that warming of the planet caused by anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions must lead to an accumulation of heat-energy in the upper or mixed layer of the oceans. However, no such accumulation has been recorded by the ARGO bathythermograph project in the six years since the automated buoys were first deployed, and a recent paper by Douglass and Knox (2009) has established that, contrary to assertions by NOAA based on old and unreliable methods of measurement, there has been no net accumulation of heat-energy in the oceans for 68 years.

Next, we move upward to the low clouds that cover some 38% of the Earth. The UN’s climate panel – bizarrely – assumes that the additional cloud cover that will arise as the Earth’s atmosphere warms will greatly amplify the original warming. Simple radiative-transfer calculations suggest, however, that the additional cloud cover will increase the albedo of the Earth, reflecting more of the solar radiation harmlessly back into space. Spencer (2009 in peer review) will provide empirical confirmation of this theoretical result.

Moving upward again, this time to the tropical upper troposphere, all of the UN’s models are told to predict that, if and only if anthropogenic “global warming” is occurring, the tropical upper troposphere will warm at thrice the surface rate. The physical basis for this prediction is far from clear.

However, this is something that we can measure: and 50 years of radiosonde and drop-sonde measurements, as well as 30 years of satellite measurements, find no evidence of this differential warming at altitude in the tropics (Douglass et al., 2008).

We now know why the upper-troposphere “hot-spot” that is predicted by the models is absent in reality: Paltridge et al. (2009) have shown that any additional water vapour that accumulates in the upper air as it warms will subside to lower altitudes where the principal absorption-bands of water vapour are already saturated.

We finally reach outer space, and perch on the shoulders of the 25-year-old, but still functioning, Earth Radiation Budget Experiment Satellite. What we are looking for is the observed correlation between change in sea-surface temperature and simultaneous change in the flux of outgoing radiation reaching the satellite.

In such a measurement, statistical noise is a formidable obstacle: therefore it is necessary to take as data-points only those periods of at least a few months during which there is a unidirectional change in sea-surface temperature, observe the change in outgoing radiative flux reaching the satellite, and plot the relevant points on a scatter-graph. Finally, we take the least-squares linear regression trend on the scatter-plot and deduce – to the satellite’s error-margin of some 2 W/m2/K – the relationship between change in sea surface temperature and change in outgoing radiation.

The results of this measurement, by Lindzen et al. (2009), are startling. While the 11 simple models relied upon by the IPCC all predict a reduction in outgoing radiative flux as surface temperature increases, implying that the radiation is being trapped here in the atmosphere so as to cause “global warming”, the measured result shows an increase in outgoing radiative flux, at 4[2, 6] W/m2/K.

The only remaining question is whether the result has been accurately obtained. Future verification will certainly be needed, since the result is so much at odds with the predictions that all the models have been instructed to make.

However, if this result – currently the only measured result – is correct, then we must conclude that notwithstanding the admittedly small atmospheric perturbation that humankind can achieve the outgoing radiation from the Earth’s surface is escaping to space much as it always has, in which event it is not down here causing warming.

Also, we must conclude that the “global warming” that occurred over the past 315 years, during 295 of which humankind cannot have had any effect on global temperature at all, was in fact nothing more than a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age, and is well within the natural variability of the climate.

Given these consistent recent results in the peer-reviewed literature, there is certainly no basis for the assumption that the anthropogenic effect on climate is anything other than minuscule, harmless, and probably beneficial. That is why it would be imprudent in the extreme to continue present global emission-reduction policies, which are already causing the deaths of millions by starvation as a result of the doubling of world food prices caused by growing biofuels, not food, on vast acreages in the name of Saving The Planet.

But let us assume, per impossibile, that the UN has not exaggerated sixfold the warming effect of a given proportionate increase in CO2 concentration. In that event, we must work out what are the economic costs and benefits of carbon mitigation. The most useful method here is reductio ad absurdum - going straight to the lower limiting case, which is that we instantaneously shut down the entire world economy, taking us back to the Stone Age but without even the ability to light a carbon-emitting fire in our caves.

In that event, we can use the formula we derived earlier to work out how much warming we could prevent in a year with zero carbon emissions. The current atmospheric concentration of CO2 is 388 ppmv. Also, for the past ten years we have been adding 2 ppmv/year.

Therefore, one year’s proportionate increase in CO2 concentration is 390/388 ppmv, and the warming from this proportionate increase is 4.7 ln (390/388) = 0.024 K, which is not very much. We can see at once that there is not the least hurry, scientifically speaking, to reach agreement on drastic action to curb carbon emissions.

Taking the reciprocal, we learn that, to forestall one Celsius degree of future anthropogenic warming, we should have to maintain our total economic shutdown for 41 years. You do not need me to tell you the horrendous loss of life and environmental degradation that would follow if we were to shut down the world economy more or less entirely even for one year, let alone for 41 years – and all that for just one Celsius degree of warming forestalled.

If, as a growing proportion of the papers on climate sensitivity in the literature suggest, the UN has indeed exaggerated the warming effect of CO2 many times over, we might have to shut down the world economy for 200 years just to forestall 1 C of warming.

I make no apology for having adopted a quantitative approach in this note. Mathematics is the language of science, and those who do not speak that language ought not – with all respect – to make pronouncements on scientific questions which, like “global warming”, depend crucially upon calculation.

12 Dec 2009, 10:13pm
by bear bait

As a layman, not of the science community, I can read and understand what Monckton is saying. I also know he is saying it in dissent, and from the position that the scientific method and herd behavior should not be confused, no matter the issue, but that herd behavior is what is now driving the climate debate, and not science.

My question is: why? What IS the prize behind the door marked “prize”? I have this sinking feeling that this is all about too much hoarded money chasing too few investment opportunities, and there is no pea under any walnut shells. Carbon credits and cessation of “greenhouse gas” creation and emissions is about the redistribution of wealth in two directions: the middle class is eliminated and the rich get more so, all made available by the government class, by the government class, for the government class.

The Congress is about to pass a $trillion+ budget that includes a 2% wage increase for Federal employees. The people who have few financial worries will now have fewer, and the people in economic hell will lose more. In the French Revolution that thinking cost royals their heads. That is a strange way to run a railroad or a government. Furthermore, all Federal tax rates and tax reductions of the last ten years sunset in 2010, and reset at the 2000 rates from the Clinton years.

I read a former Oregon Governor’s guest opinion in the Oregonian today that says cap-and-trade and the taxes on emissions will be used to pay energy costs of the “poor.” Raise energy costs by taxes and penalties on emissions, send that money to the poor to pay for increased energy costs, and that will somehow protect them and those not in poverty from rises in the cost of all goods and services that use now higher priced energy? That former Governor is a Democrat leader, and a supplicant at the feet of the global warming alarmists whose intent is to bankrupt the US. Now we can see that they will try to sell that as a way to stave off global warming and keep the poor air-conditioned.

My belief is that the answer to “why” is control of people and the means to life by the intellectual elite of our universities and the legal profession. The Environmental Jihad, as it were. The Green Crusade.

All in an attempt at income redistribution and sending the wealth of industrial nations to the Third World wrecks of nations that currently contribute little more than chaos, unbridled population growth, and more mayhem to the world in the universal theme of man’s inhumanity to man.

We can thank our once limitless contributions to the UN for this spectacle, and all we have accomplished has been to allow tin-horn diplomats from around the world to steal our economy, our national well-being, our ability to produce a living for a working man. Where is the Island Fortress mentality when you really need it?

Now that every part of my being is now classified as a pollutant, including my exhaled breath, it must be time to shit in a bag and send it to Washington DC for weighing and assessment of the proper tax, along with a bottle of piss, a cup of phlegm, the trimmings from my hair and fingernails, and the Kleenex I blow my nose into. The concept of freedom in this country has diminished to no more than a jar of farts tucked away in a forgotten cupboard.

On the bright side, though, there are still people like Christopher Mockton who could discern a bowl of mush from bowl of sour owl shit, by science alone. I don’t think Al Gore has the ability, even with his face stuffed in either bowl. And boy does he look like he is not getting far from bowls of anything potable.

13 Dec 2009, 5:14am
by Francis Tucker Manns

A solar piece - It is not the heat, it is the humidity…

What the geocentric believers always miss is a subtle study from Denmark. Two geophysicists (Friis-Christensen and Lassen, 1991) found a 95% correlation with sunspot peak frequency and cooling and heating. When the peaks are farther apart, all the planets cool and when the peaks are closer, all the planets warm. It is such a great correlation that the editor of Science magazine said, “now the ball on anthropogenic global warming is in the other court”. This was published in Science in 1991. It is such a strong correlation that AGW was held at bay for four or five years and came back with “Correlation is Not Causation”. George Monbiot of the Guardian debunked the study by reversing the effect, and citing the conclusion as false. He could be just plain stupid or intellectually fraudulent. That column has been deleted from the Manchester Guardian archives. Variation in heat output is only in the fourth significant figure and probably has nothing to do with it.

Causation is, however, now supported by experiment. The cause of cyclical climate change has since been subject to experimentation by the successor scientists at the Danish National Space Centre. The sunspots are simply a proxy for the sun’s magnetic shield that shields earth too. In a sunspot minimum, the shields are down and cosmic radiation (iron ions mostly) bombard the earth and seed the clouds.

Toronto, where I live, is particularly sensitive to the magnetic (sunspot) cycle because the Great Lakes Basin is a huge cloud chamber. The rainiest summers on record were in 2008-9. The previous rainfall record was during the sunspot minimum of 1986, a 22 year cycle low. 22 year cycles are more pronounced than the 11 year cycle for some unknown reason. Every 22 years the magnetic poles of the sun shift. Right now is mysterious because they are horizontal instead of parallel to the rotational pole.

The Danes now have international support and an experiment scheduled for the Hadron Collider soon. Can’t wait to see if there is more support for the sun in global warming. It’s a variable star. It is not the heat, it is the humidity… The precipitation in the form of ice and snow and changes in reflectivity are huge as is the cooling effect of evaporation. I have just exceeded my safe zone of knowledge on the subject. Speculation for me is that the centre of gravity of the solar system (Sun-Jupiter centre of mass) has a pronounced wobble and controls the magnet behaviour of the sun.

The church squashed the Galilean proposal for the earth orbiting the sun; now it’s the church of Gore/Suzuki.

14 Dec 2009, 9:33am
by TreeC123

Good Lord Monckton has merely used another inglorious debate technique called the “strawman.” He has picked out one lame argument and refuted it, thereby attempting to cast doubt on a vast body of evidence that he has not refuted in the slightest.

14 Dec 2009, 10:25am
by Mike

Not really, Tree. Monckton provides evidence refuting the CO2 forcing hypothesis, the warming oceans hypothesis, the warming troposphere hypothesis, and the decreased radiative flux hypothesis.

He also pointed out that testing any and all of these hypotheses is exactly the method of science.

As Einstein pointed out, it only takes one contrary finding to disprove a hypothesis. Monckton provides four. There are, of course, dozens of anomalies in CAGW theories, and books have been written about them, but Monckton engaged here in a short essay.

The “vast body of evidence” supporting CAGW theory has been shown to be largely a chimera. The data have been altered, homogenized, and cherry-picked, and the original raw data discarded, by advocate-scientists with ulterior motives who have not been using the scientific method.

15 Dec 2009, 1:09am
by Boffin

I would disagree that Global Warming is rational. It has all the hallmarks of a moral panic, in the tradition of the red scare, crack babies and satanic ritual abuse.

The hysteria is the endpoint of radical environmentalism: human progress is wicked. It will blow over, like the previous ones. What I fear is that the harm, as from past moral panics, will last for a long time.



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