Sunday, July 22, 2007

Up against the warming zealots

Martin Durkin defends his swindle doco:

WHEN I agreed to make The Great Global Warming Swindle, I was warned a middle-class fatwa would be placed on my head.

So I wasn't shocked that the film was attacked on the same night it was broadcast on ABC television last week, although I was impressed at the vehemence of the attack. I was more surprised, and delighted, by the response of the Australian public.

The ABC studio assault, led by Tony Jones, was so vitriolic it appears to have backfired. We have been inundated with messages of support, and the ABC, I am told, has been flooded with complaints. I have been trying to understand why.

First, the ferocity of the attack, I think, revealed the intolerance and defensiveness of the global warming camp. Why were Jones and co expending such energy and resources attacking one documentary? We are told the global warming theory is robust. They say you'd have to be off your chump to disagree. We have been assured for years, in countless news broadcasts and column inches, that it's definitely true. So why bother to stamp so aggressively on the one foolish documentary-maker - who clearly must be as mad as a snake - who steps out of line?

I think viewers may also have wondered (reasonably) why the theory of global warming has not been subjected to this barrage of critical scrutiny by the media. After all, it's the theory of global warming, not my foolish little film, that is turning public and corporate policy on its head.

The apparent unwillingness of Jones and others at the ABC to give airtime to a counterargument, the tactics used to minimise the ostensible damage done by the film, the evident animosity towards those who questioned global warming: all of this served to give viewers a glimpse of what it was like for scientists who dared to disagree with the hallowed doctrine.

Why are the global warmers so zealous? After a year of arguing with people about this, I am convinced that it's because global warming is first and foremost a political theory. It is an expression of a whole middle-class political world view. This view is summed up in the oft-repeated phrase "we consume too much". I have also come to the conclusion that this is code for "they consume too much". People who believe it tend also to think that exotic foreign places are being ruined because vulgar oiks can afford to go there in significant numbers, they hate plastic toys from factories and prefer wooden ones from craftsmen, and so on.

All this backward-looking bigotry has found perfect expression in the idea of man-made climate disaster. It has cohered a bunch of disparate reactionary prejudices (anti-car, anti-supermarkets, anti-globalisation) into a single unquestionable truth and cause. So when you have a dig at global warming, you commit a grievous breach of social etiquette. Among the chattering classes you're a leper.

But why are the supporters of global warming so defensive? After all, the middle classes are usually confident, bordering on smug.

As I found when I examined the basic data, they have plenty to be defensive about. Billions of dollars of public money have been thrown at global warming, yet the hypothesis is crumbling around their ears.

To the utter dismay of the global warming lobby, the world does not appear to be getting warmer. According to their own figures (from the UN-linked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the temperature has been static or slightly declining since 1998. The satellite data confirms this. This is clearly awkward. The least one should expect of global warming is that the Earth should be getting warmer.

Then there's the ice-core data, the jewel in the crown of global warming theory. It shows there's a connection between carbon dioxide and temperature: see Al Gore's movie. But what Gore forgets to mention is that the connection is the wrong way around; temperature leads, CO2 follows.

Then there's the precious "hockey stick". This was the famous graph that purported to show global temperature flat-lining for 1000 years, then rising during the 19th and 20th centuries. It magicked away the Medieval warm period and made the recent warming look alarming, instead of just part of the general toing and froing of the Earth's climate.

But then researchers took the computer program that produced the hockey stick graph and fed it random data. Bingo, out popped hockey stick shapes every time. (See the report by Edward Wegman of George Mason University in Virginia and others.)

In a humiliating climb down, the IPCC has had to drop the hockey stick from its reports, though it can still be seen in Gore's movie.

And finally, there are those pesky satellites. If greenhouse gases were the cause of warming, then the rate of warming should have been greater, higher up in the Earth's atmosphere (the bit known as the troposphere). But all the satellite and balloon data says the exact opposite. In other words, the best observational data we have flatly contradicts the whole bally idea of man-made climate change.

They concede that CO2 cannot have caused the warming at the beginning of the 20th century, which was greater and steeper than the recent warming. They can't explain the cooling from 1940 to the mid-'70s. What are they left with? Some mild warming in the '80s and '90s that does not appear to have been caused by greenhouse gases.

The whole damned theory is in tatters. No wonder they're defensive.

The man-made global warming parade, on one level, has been a phenomenal success. There isn't a political party or important public body or large corporation that doesn't feel compelled to pay lip service. There are scientists and journalists (a surprising number) who have built careers championing the cause. There's more money going into global warming research than there is chasing a cure for cancer. Many important people and institutions have staked their reputations on it. There's a lot riding on this theory. And it has bugger-all to do with sea levels. That is why the warmers greeted my film with red glowing eyes.

Last week on the ABC they closed ranks. They were not interested in a genuine debate. They wanted to shut it down. And thousands of wonderful, sane, bolshie Australian viewers saw right through it.

God bless Australia. The DVD will be out soon.

Whilst Kerplunk asks the ultimate question:

If 'the science is settled' then why does the United Nations' IPCC need 17 climate models when just one should do?


Chemikazi said...

Defends? Having to defend? No, that was an attack to the soft underbelly of fanatical quasi-religious dogma. The response was the same type of blind slash and panic that only bigots know. No respectful consideration of the adversary. No careful assessment of his worth or mettle.

Three cheers for a assault well taken up to the "Philistines".

Count Iblis said...

Everything he said has been debunked. Satellite Data, Ice-cores, cooling after 1940. etc. etc.

The documentary was even worse than a documentary I saw a long time ago about the views of creationists. I think that I was ten years old, but I could still understand that the arguments about Potassium-Argon dating being flawed were nonsensical.

In this case it is much the same. The Great Global Warming Swindle is nothing more than a big series of Straw Man Arguments.

CO2 follows temperature increases? So what? It doesn't falsify global warming theory. It does, however, falsify the Straw Man version of Global Warming theory.

Raging Tiger said...

Count Iblis said...

Everything he said has been debunked. Satellite Data, Ice-cores, cooling after 1940. etc. etc.

Actually, there has been no debunking of any of this. Ice cores clearly show that temperature leads and CO2 follows. Global temperatures have decreased since 1998. Satellite data shows less warming than surface data, whilst it should be showing more. A theory of "global dimming" needed to be invented to account for inconvenient cooling after 1940 and so on. None of this constitutes debunking only endless reassurance that somehow all these wrong will make a right.

Count Iblis said...

"Actually, there has been no debunking of any of this."


"Ice cores clearly show that temperature leads and CO2 follows."

This is a nonsensical straw man argument. Of course CO_2 follows the temperature increase, as the temperatue increse at the end of the ice ages is acused by changes in insolation. The CO2 levels increase as a reult of higher temperatures and this then amplifies the temperature increase.

This is the established theory (formulated long before Ice core date were availble). The Global Warming Swindle documentary pretends as if CO2 should lead temperature increase. They show that it is not the case (doh) and then they claim that Global Warming theory has been debunked.

This is a classic example of a Straw Man Argument.

"Global temperatures have decreased since 1998."

Nonsense. This is factually incorrect. Show me the peer reviewed publications that say this.

"Satellite data shows less warming than surface data, whilst it should be showing more. A theory of "global dimming" needed to be invented to account for inconvenient cooling after 1940 and so on."

Global Dimming theory is well established science. It is based on physics and it explains the data. It is not ad hoc curve fitting.

Alan Woods said...

count, you wrote:

""Global temperatures have decreased since 1998."

Nonsense. This is factually incorrect. Show me the peer reviewed publications that say this."

count, count, count. You make this so easy!


Brohan, P., J.J. Kennedy, I. Harris, S.F.B. Tett and P.D. Jones, 2006: Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new dataset from 1850. J. Geophysical Research 111, D12106

Aren't you getting tired of being wrong so often?

Alan Woods said...

long urls get truncated, but you can find the graph here:

philip said...

The count obviously reads the paragon of 'nonsensical strawman' arguments, Real Climate.

Correlation does not prove causation. However, the absence of correlation is conclusive proof of the absence of causation. Where are the peer reviewed papers showing the correlation (with CO2 leading) between CO2 and temp?

Again we come back to the core issue, where is the data showing rising CO2 levels drive rising temperatures?

It doesn't exists. Even the IPCC says this.

Raging Tiger said...

Nonsense. This is factually incorrect. Show me the peer reviewed publications that say this.

All temperature sets except for one (NASA's) show 1998 as the warmest year ever. Check IPCC reports. If 1998 was the warmest year ever, than we had cooling since - pretty simple. Last year was seventh warmest on record.

Global Dimming theory is well established science.

Wrong again. there is a lot more aerosols in the atmosphere now than after 1940 thanks to rapid industrialisation of China and India. Where is the cooling? The fact that another theory needs to be developed to prop the AGW theory surely tells us just how weak the science is.

IPCC states itself that Aerosol Effect has low level of scientific understanding (see latest Summary for Policy Makers). How can one confidently attribute the post 1940 cooling to aerosols that are not even properly understood?

No cigar, Count...

Jonathan Lowe said...

i do not like the comment that we have had cooling since 1998. Just because 1998 was a very hot year doesn't mean that the world is now getting cooler. Taking into account natural variation, I would say that since 1998 the world wide temperature has stayed around the same, but it has not cooled.

Alan Woods said...

I agree with you Jonathan. But the statement is not factually incorrect (in so far as 1998 was the hottest year). Rather it is a questionable analysis considering that, absent the very large el nino event of 1998, the highest T's were in the early 2000's. But when someone bowls you a long hop just outside leg stump....

Raging Tiger said...

Jonathan & Alan

I agree with your points about "cooling" since 1998. The temperatures have been fairly steady since. Point taken. Still it is worth mentioning that unusually warm 1998 was caused by the "El Nino of the century". What curious but somewhat less known, is that El Nino was also running positive for most of the last six years thus contributing to warming between 2002 - 2007. Without positive El Nino we would've seen some cooling instead.

Check out this link. Page 23. (I broken the link up so it fits on the screen)

Alan Woods said...

raging tiger, I think you should also take into account the fact that, over the last five years, we see:
1. No trend in tropospheric temperatures.
2. No trend in stratospheric temperatures.
3. No trend in global or southern hemispheric surface temperatures.
4. No trend in sea surface temperatures.

All at a time when carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated. I want to see more than one 25-year (ie late 70s till early 00s) period of correlation between GHG emissions and global temperatures before I'm convinced that we're significantly altering our climate.

Jonathan Lowe said...

quick side note, to post links, use html format eg:

Gust of Hot Air

is created by (place ( with < and ) with >):

(a href="") Gust of Hot Air (/a)

philip said...

According to the BoM all the models say we will have a La Nina (we have been around one for several months). Combine that with Atlantic and Pacific occilations shifting negative and the solar cycle, then we will know within a couple of years whether AGW makes as much sense as the South Seas Bubble.

Raging Tiger said...

Tanks Alan.

The entire AGW "science" is currently based on taking the 76 to early 00's warming trend and extending it into the future to generate scary, scarier and terrifying climate scenarios.

I am becoming increasingly confident that we should see some cooling in the not so distant future. No doubt it will be attributed to climate change...

GMF said...

Re the Count's comments about the fact that temperature rise precedes CO2 rises is a "strawman". This is standard AGW-speak for "I don't want to discuss this since I can't spin it to support my case."

Before 2000 the view was that CO2 preceded temperature rises and this was deeply significant. Now that the relationship has flipped around the other way, it is totally irrelevant.

And as for warming vs cooling trends, I think it is highly significant that there is NO warming trend, whether you call it cooling or not. Everyone agrees that CO2 has risen since 1998. And given the nature of the greenhouse effect, we should be seeing constant rising temperatures. Yet this is not occurring. And while one year might be an anomaly, 8 years is a trend. And it is not a trend that AGW supporters want to know about. Instead they say things like the rate of GW is increasing. Which I think sums up nicely the reality distortion field that exists around this entire movement.

peter ruthven said...

Surely the reason global temperature hasn't increased in recent years is because of all the aerosols China and India are producing. Which just lends support to the 'global dimming' theory.
In any case the 1998 record temperature is only a probable record. Last year NOAA were forced to conceed that the 1998 temp was within the range of stastical error, and may not be a record at all, we're talking here about differences of a few hundreths of a degree.

Michael Beutler said...

The science may be wrong, but the empirical data is clear. Weather patterns have changed, certainly in the United States, that is not in question for anyone who has lived here more than 10 years in any part of the USA. You need a PHD to figure that out, just step outside....
Whether or a not it is part of a larger cycle, and the impact of mankind is no doubt questionable and needs more evidence.

But if we are indeed attempting a objective view of global warming...the author has already taken a stance that he is now looking at all available evidence to support the contention that there is no significant warming. Is he not creating the very same kind of "hot air" science that he accuses global warming advocate of?
Seems a bit hypocritical....

Raging Tiger said...


I think the issue here is not what Durkin is actually saying but the way he is treated. He is just as entitled to his position that GW is a load of shite, as those that claim it is proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Science and indeed democracy are based on rational debate and constant testing of ideas and alternatives. However when it comes to GW debate it is commonly argued that general public should not be given the opportunity to examine alternative viewpoints at all. It is seen as too dangerous and irresponsible to allow anything but most one-sided and alarmist framing of the issue.

In the case of GW many respectable scientists and scientific establishments are promoting the view that GW theory must be exempt from scientific scrutiny and honest examination for the greater good. Scientific method itself needs to be shelved in order to settle the "science". It is like saying "we believe in free speech, but only when we and those that agree with us are allowed to talk".

There is more than just climate we must worry about. Intellectual climate is also at stake.

JerryEl (USA) said...

Lets for a moment assume the evil human is responsible...Can we do anything about at this time? I highly doubt it since the cat is out of the bag in China and India and there is no turning them back on industrialization. They have tasted a bite of the dessert and no one is going to take the spoon away. The American consumer is so used to cheap stuff that the ships from China will still be overloaded as they cross the Pacific and any talk of a boycott would cause a rebellion.
So either way we need to start worrying about how to live with it (at least until a mini-cold era starts a global cooling debate). Instead of wasting money on more and more research that neither proves nor disproves this theory of possible warming we need to start shoring up the coastline, creating more water sources, and most important in the US, build more nuclear power plants (which solves two problems).

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