Dubious Climate Change Science

Here’s a pretty good summary of the current state of affairs in the increasingly acrimonious debate about global warming, or the lack thereof, by Ed Hiserodt in New American:

Last December, as even every cloistered monk and Third World inhabitant probably knows, there was an International Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, attended by government functionaries from around the world. The pampered delegates, who evidently weren’t worried about their own carbon footprints, caused a Scandinavia-wide shortage of black stretch limousines.

The conference actually had very little to do with climate change, ignoring almost out-of-hand the prominent news at the time: the Climategate scandal — the release of the e-mails indicating top global-warming scientists were skewing temperature data and engaged in a smear campaign against climate-change skeptics. But the conference had much to do with money. So-called Third World countries demanded reparations for damage done to their satrapies by CO2 emissions from industrial nations, totally ignoring the fact that but for those nations said delegates would be sleeping in huts instead of five-star hotels. Certainly there was little room for science or the consequences of turning the economies of the world on their heads through instituting carbon-emission limits.

In stark contrast to the Copenhagen affair, the 4th International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute, convened May 16, 2010 on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Without their hands in taxpayers’ pockets, attendees had to pony up $540 for the conference, and nearly $300 per night for a room. Some 800 in attendance came from over 40 countries, including a sizable contingent from “down under” where a “cap and tax” debate has been raging for the last few years and recently soundly defeated. But how many of you heard about the Chicago conference and the long list of experts who gave presentations there, making the case that global warming is not a problem?

Let’s look at some of the general subjects of inquiry and extract parts of many presentations that are applicable to those subject areas. First we’ll look at something simple: Is the Earth warming?

Is the Earth Warming?
Ha, ha. That’s my little joke, being as determining some mean temperature of the Earth is anything but a trivial problem. Where the heck are we going to stick the thermometer?

Surface Temperatures: As in most scientific matters, terrestrial temperatures are measured in degrees Celsius. So if we add the daily low temperatures for every point on Earth to the corresponding high temperatures, then divide by two, we should be able to get the average temperature for the Earth for that day. Then we add these up for a year, divide by 365 and get the average temperature for the year. We’ll compare this to previous years where this same procedure was done, and we can tell if we’re warming or cooling. Of course, we’re not measuring temperatures at all points on Earth, and in fact the number of weather stations has decreased. (In Canada the number fell from 600 in 1975 to 35 in 2009.) And to whom should we entrust these data?

There is, in general, much anecdotal information showing that the Earth has been warming in recent times. Both Revolutionary and Civil War records describe rivers that were frequently frozen during winters of their day, but do not freeze today. An example is the Arkansas River at Little Rock, where Union Army reports speak of an annual ice bridge across the river capable of supporting both foot and wagon traffic, something no one alive today has ever seen. As a result of these sources, there has been general agreement that we are in a warming trend since the 18th century, and this trend has continued into the late 20th and early 21st century. This was more or less a “given” in the debate over climate change.

On November 19, 2009, this house-of-concurrence over recent global temperature records came tumbling down when the holy-of-holies repository for all these records — not just the modern ones since we’ve had thermometers, but the paleotemperature analyses that give us a historical account of what temperatures were in the Middle Ages and earlier — was caught fudging data and committing other improprieties. Where were the records held? They were at the CRU — the Climatic Research Unit — located at East Anglia University in merry old England. And the chief keeper of records? None other than discredited Professor Phil Jones.

As Cato’s Dr. Patrick Michaels pointed out in his keynote address at the Heartland conference, we should have been suspicious of Jones all along…

[continues in New American]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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35 Comments on "Dubious Climate Change Science"

  1. GreenTree | Jun 10, 2010 at 10:36 am |

    The Cato institute, the Heartland Institute?? hahaha,, you are in DENIAL, there is a SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS, Climate Change and Global Warming are two different phenomena….. it really isn't that hard to understand why all of these people are denying climate, it is because it is easier for there small minds to tell each other it isn't happening and it's all a 'conspiracy' to tax you and take away your freedom, its easier to believe that then to believe that we face the greatest challenge our species has ever had to confront. If you can't handle that, shut the fuck up and get out of the way.

    • I, for one, think it doesn't matter. Regardless of that, we are still going to run out of oil at some point, run out of nuclear power at some point (and wouldn't it be better to reserve that for use in space, or at least, more important than just watching your sitcoms?).
      Even if we aren't running out of oil, we are still giving middle-eastern countries tons of money! Iran produces oil, and even if the US doesn't buy it directly, you can be sure someone else will buy it at market price (which is driven by demand… caused mostly by industrialized countries).
      Even if we aren't running out of oil, those wells are a major disaster in the gulf, and the natural gas ones are sometimes smaller disasters of their own. Polluting the water table, anyone? (Google Rosebud shale gas). There are tons of examples, for every non-renewable.
      So who cares if it's warming? We have to move off this crap old technology and onto the newer one, so let's go.

      • exactly Belcat. I can't figure out why the debate over global warming between a consensus that it exists from the scientists and the non scientific, bible above all else pathologically self serving ignoramuses, is even a debate at all. Even if we were to patronize the people who don't believe in global warming, why wouldn't we still not make changes on our energy policies in this country? We know oil and coal are major polluters and we know investing in solar, wind and nuclear power options are cleaner and the inevitable future sources for our energy needs. It is common sense, practical and necessary to change. Now if only we could get corporate money and influence out of national policy we might even be able to do it.

    • on the fence | Jun 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm |

      There are plenty of reasons to curb pollution and clean up our planet, but man-made global warming doesn't seem to be among them when confronted with evidence that the planet has been warming longer than cars have been running, longer than burning coal has been polluting the atmosphere.

      I don't know why the governments are really getting involved, but they haven't been giving me any reasons to believe them lately. And the materials surrounding Agenda 21 are fairly compelling.

      • ok on the fence. Forget about the overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus that g.w. exists and is a problem. Let's make it easy. You have a clear balloon in your hand and you blow it up half way. You take a drag on a cigarette and blow it into the balloon and watch the smoke cloud it up. It's really that simple. Where do you think all the emissions from cars and factories go…out the atmosphere of the earth? Even if you want to argue the evidence over g.w. you can't just keep filling up a finite space with toxins thinking it will disappear. This is sticking your head in the sand.

        • on the fence | Jun 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm |

          Look. I'm really a tree hugger. For two years, I rode a bicycle and took the bus (Unfortunately, I now live away from a bus route). I recycle and often clean up other people's litter. My problem is not with cleaning up the environment. My problem is with the government(s) legislation going at the citizens (look at what's happening in the UK), when they need to be targeting the corporations. But they are not going to do that because they are in the pockets of the corporations.

          It doesn't take a genius to look at just the surface level of the BP incident to realize this. Digging deeper is even scarier. But I guarantee you that, while BPs value as a company should plummet so far that they no longer exist and the stockholders lose EVERYTHING for gambling with the environment the way they have, the government will swoop in and protect the corporation and will not hold them 100% liable for the damage they have done. BP corporate leadership should all be thrown in jail, along with the Dick who deregulated the industry and allowed this to happen.

          There are so many ways the govt. could encourage technologies and create statutes that make for a cleaner environment which they do NOT do, that when a single topic of environmental issue becomes a universal mantra for electioneering, it appears as propaganda and I am forced to pause.

          I am not convinced that global warming is man made. That does not mean that I don't support mandates and manifestos to protect this planet.

          • No one will argue against reducing pollution, but that's not what emissions control is about. Carbon emissions caps are about saving the planet from AGW, not pollution. The reductions of pollution which may result are just an unintended positive side effect. Even the 200 page Copenhagen Treaty barely mentioned the word pollution, it was all about CO2 and AGW. If the US Congress had left out the AGW part, this legislation would already have passed. The environmentalists F'd it up.

        • Exactly right, but why have we been sold nothing but fear of climate change and not pollution? This is part of the hold up. Big money like Al gore, WWF, Sierra Club have been selling climate change fear and saving the planet rather than fixing pollution. If they had pushed pollution instead of climate change then we'd have already passed the legislation. Pollution is unequivocal, AGW is one equivocation after the next. The left failed by trying to scare everyone. Now they got nothing. Nice work.

    • Nice comment. that was deep.

  2. wfzlsster | Jun 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm |

    Climate change is not new, it has been going on since the beginning. The Earth has been warming since the end of the last ice age and it has nothing to do with man. What is new is how the politicians have latched onto this subject as a method of extracting more tax money from the worlds population. That is where the focus needs to be, follow the money as they say.

    • emperorreagan | Jun 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm |

      When you follow the money, it makes far more sense to ignore climate change. Alternate technologies have much smaller profit margins; proposals for sequestering CO2 and similar programs reduce profit margins. Drill Baby, Drill, environment and the future be damned, presents the best money making opportunity.

      Governments don't need any new excuses to tax, either. The US government, if politicians had any balls, would already raise taxes to cover its unfunded wars and other obligations. They don't need a new excuse.

      • on the fence | Jun 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm |

        it may be less about an excuse to tax, but another avenue to exert control… overt influence in another corner of our lives.

        • emperorreagan | Jun 11, 2010 at 6:31 am |

          That really doesn't make any sense.

          The government already sets both energy and environmental policy. Regulating CO2 is not extending control to some new corner where it doesn't have any influence.

          And besides, as far as control goes…In the US, I don't see bankers, politicians, or property getting injured in spite of the massive fraud that the leaders of our economic policy bodies & the banks themselves just pulled. Seems to me the general populace is already pretty subservient, in spite of all the other nonsense that people want to claim.

    • You really think taxes are a bigger threat to the human race than pollution? Really? And do you think businesses don't also extract our money?

    • Bullshit! See “Climate Crock of the Week'' at


      You've been brainwashed by Alex “Jim Jones'' and Lord Mock-whatever-the-fuck-his-name-is.

  3. AKA the magazine of the John Birch Society.

    Disinfo has most definitely just jumped the shark.

  4. Radixoptimystic | Jun 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm |

    the debate over whether or not humans are causing climate change, or whether or not its even happening, is a moot point. As the risks of inaction far outweigh the risks of action. Don't believe me. Watch this proof and decide for yourself.

  5. I've been a fan of Disinfo for years and appreciate the desire and need to publish info that goes against accepted wisdom but, really, this article is pretty poor for reasons I can't even be bothered to go into. The deniers and their various claims are dealt with elsewhere on the internets.

  6. Here is a blueprint for how to corrupt progressives, and turn them from supporters to deniers of AGW without really trying: Connect it to 9/11. Tell them that AGW is part of a global conspiracy that's Satanist at its core — 9/11 was an “inside job'', and the same forces are responsible for AGW. Bilderberg, New World Order, UN — it's all the same. And don't forget to encourage ample use of hallucinogens to instill a subtle skepticism of “reality''.

    And here is a blueprint for how to bring them back: Persistent, aggressive attack of the anti-AGW line. Some people think for themselves… but most just follow what they hear. Right now the anti-AGW crow is loud and ever-present — CAW! CAW! CAW! Conspiracy!!! CAW! CAW

  7. That report is crap. What the hell, the media inflated the 'climategate'. If it was ignored at copenhage is because there isn't anything incriminating in those emails. Read them along with the 'most incriminating samples' provided. They say nothing…

  8. Wow…someone must be jealous over the Chicago gathering of “Moody Unknown Psuedo Scientists Funded By Right Wing Think Tanks” not getting as much air time as the actual people who hold degrees, who, just in case it's actually relevant, mostly just bitched in interoffice emails about how annoying the schizophrenic loners who make up the opposition really are…and they're right. Nothing is quite as annoying to someone who finished their science homework past 8th grade as watching some low watt bulb get equal time on Fox News to refute climate change…funded by sources whose primary interest is preventing any regulation of pollutant output.

    Don't get me wrong…Al Gore and the idiots who think “cap and trade” is some form of solution to a planet wide problem are almost as disgusting. The solution is changing real corporate behavior…not paying bribes to underdeveloped nations to keep them undeveloped. Want the ice to stop melting? Agreeing to a long term plan that only reduces the rate of increase in CO2 emissions and ignores actual particulate pollution is NOT an answer. To sum it up…when you're hungry, drinking lots of water 'feels' good for awhile…but eventually you need real food. Too bad neither side is interested in doing something worthwhile or effective…something like that might actually draw undiluted support.

  9. wfzlsster | Jun 10, 2010 at 7:34 pm |

    CO2 represents about 0.03% of the atmosphere. To suggest that minor fluctuations in CO2 are driving the Earths climate makes no sense. The ice core records suggests that increased CO2 follows a warming climate, not the other way around like Al Gore suggests in his film. Environmentalists need to stick to real problems not theoretical ones. That this country spends an inordinate amount of money on a military to defend our oil teat is a real problem and a real threat to us all. That is a real reason for change not a computer model created by a bunch of government scientists caught fudging the temperature numbers.

    • I think we need a word other than `denialist' to describe people such as yourself. We need those unkind, unsparing words like “idiot'' and “moron'' to shock them to within an inch of their lives — no touchy-feely words like SKEPTIC and DENIALIST.

      [CO2 represents about 0.03% of the atmosphere. To suggest that minor fluctuations in CO2 are driving the Earth's climate makes no sense.]

      That's about the most moronic thing I've ever heard. Seriously. Nitrogen and Oxygen, the main gasses of the atmosphere, are NOT greenhouse gasses. And water vapor is NOT A FORCING mechanism for increasing global surface temperature. That leaves CO2, methane, etc. AND NO, moron, it's NOT minor fluctuations. See the following article:


      Pay attention to what the JASONS knew back in 1979. See that word DOUBLE? AND NO, IT'S VOLCANOES — do you know about the isotopes of carbon? Hmmm…? C-12 versus C-13?

      [That is a real reason for change not a computer model created by a bunch of government scientists caught fudging the temperature numbers.]


      We don't NEED computer models to see that AGW has ALREADY occurred. Since 1980, the radiant energy from the sun has deviated markedly from the the global mean near-surface temperature — so, it's NOT THE SUN, not water vapor, not nitrogen, not oxygen, no helium, hydrogen, or argon, or combinations thereof. AND get this: the HIGHER parts of the atmosphere have COOLED, while the lower parts have WARMED — like maybe heat radiation from lower down has been prevented from escaping from the CO2 higher up, AS PREDICTED.

      I see five people liked what you had to say, but I don't see all that many comments. I think they're chicken-shit scared to say anything, 'cause they know they're WRONG.

  10. Tuna Ghost | Jun 10, 2010 at 7:42 pm |

    For Christ's sake, this is so rediculous. I'm tired of hearing people say “climate change is fake, follow the money”! If you idiots were capable of following the money you'd watch go right into the hands of corporate shills and lackeys. It is far more lucrative for them to deny climate change, retards.

    • Ah I don't think so. Are you kidding me, where have you been? The global carbon market will eventually become the single largest market ever created; it will dwarf the oil market, the stock market, even the enormous global bond market. Eventually control of carbon won’t be simply for electricity, it will cover all types of carbon usage from how much food you buy, to clothes, books, how much you fly or drive, or even how much wood you consume. Eventually all people will be trading carbon with a carbon credit card, we’ll buy the credits (or offsets) when the price is low and hold off when it’s high. Once it's at this stage many years from now, the market will be the largest market of any kind ever created. And governments, banks and investors like Gore's corporation will prosper. The ‘save the planet’ thing is just a story for the masses. Make no mistake, money is the allure.

      • You can read about the carbon credit card (your future by the way) here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/616

        • emperorreagan | Jun 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm |

          That Al Gore and his pals have found a way to profiteer on global warming doesn't have any implications on whether it's real or not.

          People profiteer on every war. On every shortage. On every disaster.

          One of the roles I would assign to government is to prevent those sorts of behavior. We, unfortunately, live in a world where the dominant governments are happy to facilitate such behavior instead of curb it.

    • E.B. Wolf | Jun 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm |

      Corporate shills and lackeys didn't get their present stranglehold on the planet by taking one side of an issue and sticking with it.
      They hedge their bets.

  11. As the world as we know it dies, those in power spend their influence to sow doubt as to whether or not we are responsible for said death. To badly misquote a ceylon, “You were so busy trying to find a way to survive, you never bothered to ask why you deserved to.”

  12. hunter349 | Jun 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm |

    The earth IS warming regardless of people denying it or not. But even with the warming debate aside why do we not focus on the pollution. We are not just putting CO2 in the air. We are filling it with millions of tons of cancer causing agents destroying our waterways and creating deadzones in the oceans. Acid rain, coal ash, deforestation, mountaintop removal, Oil spills, and much more are the direct results of being careless with our energy and product production. Regardless of your denial of global warming we should not continue to pollute the world, especially when we have the technology to do better.

  13. emperorreagan | Jun 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm |

    That Al Gore and his pals have found a way to profiteer on global warming doesn't have any implications on whether it's real or not.

    People profiteer on every war. On every shortage. On every disaster.

    One of the roles I would assign to government is to prevent those sorts of behavior. We, unfortunately, live in a world where the dominant governments are happy to facilitate such behavior instead of curb it.

  14. James Hansen makes very forceful arguments in his book Storms of My Grandchildren. He explains and backs up with science why 450 ppm of carbon dioxide is not a workable goal to reduce global warming.

    He also explains and demonstrate how our government is selling us down the tube when it comes to the expanded use of fossil fuel. He shows why the present administration's solution of cap-and-trade will not work and why the Kyoto Protocol had been a failure even for the countries who made a best faith effort to implement it.

    Anyone who has an interest in a future for our grandchildren and future generations should read this book.

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  16. Linkamathingy | Sep 5, 2010 at 2:03 am |

    people still believe in AGW? watch the great global warming swindle for a brief overview of the fallacy.

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