The Climate of Science and v.v.
The bluster of those speaking for science
does not always match their knowledge.
Scientists do not always know what they claim to know. This is apparent in the frequent revisions to matters that are now found to be different from what was “previously thought” – a common admission in science articles. Non-repeatable historical phenomena are especially prone to large revisions. Scientists (like politicians) rarely are held accountable for wrong pronouncements, unfortunately. The wrong scientist(s) who “previously thought” wrong things are rarely named, nor are they called on to apologize or quit for misleading the public. Understandably, new information can overturn dogma, but when dogma becomes congealed into “consensus” it becomes increasingly difficult to challenge.
Politics and money can harden dogma into iron-clad fortresses, and when guarded by media, they become impenetrable – even dangerous to question. That’s been happening lately with Covid-19. Evolution and climate change are two fortresses standing proud and tall these days, committing skeptics into exile. Here are examples of how the climate consensus comes down on the citizenry. All three are from “The Conversation” which should more accurately be called “The Indoctrination” or the Pravda of the Left.
The Climate of Science
Ordinary people, extraordinary change: addressing the climate emergency through ‘quiet activism’ (The Conversation). Five clueless denizens of academia perform their annual virtue signaling. “‘Quiet activism’” refers to the extraordinary measures taken by ordinary people as part of their everyday lives, to address the climate emergency at the local level,” they chirp. None of it will make any difference to the planet as long as China keeps pumping out carbon faster than the rest of the world.
‘Do-gooders’, conservatives and reluctant recyclers: how personal morals can be harnessed for climate action (The Conversation). Three more clueless academicians think that people can be shamed into doing their part to reduce warming by appeals to their morality.
Human progress is no excuse to destroy nature. A push to make ‘ecocide’ a global crime must recognise this fundamental truth. (The Conversation). When nudging and shaming don’t work, try persecution. Two more academics want to punish those who contribute to coral reef destruction or deforestation. But who knows where that line will be drawn?
In the face of such horrors, a new international campaign is calling for “ecocide” – the killing of ecology – to be deemed an international “super crime” in the order of genocide. The campaign has attracted high-profile supporters including French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Any scientific consensus, though, has a weakness: evidence. Below, we look at more chinks in the armor protecting climate science, a case study in hardened consensus that boasts more than it knows. How confident should the IPCC and media alarmists be about a coming climate catastrophe? We appeal to the little Swedish crybaby, “Follow the science.” She should also remember that Prince Charles predicted in 2009 that the world had 8 years to “save the planet from catastrophe” due to climate change, but 2017 came and went and we are still here (Competitive Enterprise Institute, which shows photocopies of this and other failed climate predictions over the last 50 years).
The Science of Climate, or the Lack Thereof
When it Comes to the Environmental Impact of Hydrofracking vs. Conventional Gas/Oil Drilling, Research Shows the Differences May Be Minimal (Syracuse University). One of the warmist alarmists’ first goals after installing a Democrat in the White House was to radically reduce fracking, because it makes them feel good, like they are doing something. These scientists took a look at it and concluded, “unconventional drilling methods like hydraulic fracturing – or hydrofracking – do not necessarily incur more environmental problems than conventional oil and gas drilling.”
High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests (Nature, 25 Aug 2021). The IPCC got it wrong: their estimates of the carbon stock in mountain forests was too low. Montane forests are comparable to lowland tropics in terms of carbon sequestration. “Notably, our results are two-thirds higher than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change default values for these forests in Africa,” they found. “We find that the low stem density and high abundance of large trees of African lowland forests is mirrored in the montane forests sampled.”
Earth’s interior is swallowing up more carbon than thought (Cambridge University). Here’s another mistake in the data that goes into climate models. “Scientists from Cambridge University and NTU Singapore have found that slow-motion collisions of tectonic plates drag more carbon into Earth’s interior than previously thought.” Only about a third of the carbon carried deep into the interior by subduction is brought back to the surface, they estimate.
Natural geological methane emissions appear larger than expected (Netherlands Institute for Space Research, via Phys.org). Methane is 34 times as potent as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, but it doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere. How’s this for a stunning goof: “a single mud volcano already reaches the lower limit of the natural geological estimate for the entire earth.” If nature is putting more of the high-potency methane in the air than people and cows combined, maybe the alarmists should sue nature.
Secrets of Earth’s largest carbon sink revealed by synchrotron research (University of Queensland). If you think that humans are the only guilty party in climate change, read what these Aussie researchers say they have found:
A team of scientists has discovered microscopic dissolution seams that dissolve about 10 per cent of the carbon in ancient deep-sea limestones where most of the world’s carbon is stored….
“For the past 25 million years, and even today, this region is regularly shaken up by earthquakes, which are known to stir up sediments at the ocean floor.
“We suggest that the dissolved carbon could be returned to the ocean when the seafloor is disturbed by earthquakes or underwater landslides.”
They only studied limestone seams off the east coast of New Zealand’s north island, which is tectonically active, and they are not sure where the dissolved carbon goes, but consider: here is another unknown factor in climate science that just came to light. A natural process at the seafloor—having nothing to do with human activity—has been shaking carbon into the ocean throughout world history. This process occurs in what they say is the major source of carbon on earth.
Dr Schrank said deep-sea limestones had been the Earth’s largest carbon sink for the past 180 million years because they trapped most of the planet’s carbon.
The team had to use a high-power synchrotron that produces X-ray light a million times brighter than the sun to characterize these micro-dissolution seams in limestone. These micro-dissolution seams—smaller than a human hair—have been shaken by earthquakes for at least 25 million years, they say. That was long before humans had anything to do with atmospheric CO2 levels. Does the IPCC know about this? What would Greta think? Why isn’t she suing the earth for ecocide? Or would that be suicide?
‘Tipping points’ in Earth’s system triggered rapid climate change 55 million years ago, research shows (University of Exeter). Climate alarmists will have some explaining to do. Millions of Darwin Years after the dinosaurs were gone, the earth went through a climate crisis: “extreme global warming” that lasted 150,000 years in the consensus timeline. On that occasion, according to the new narrative, it wasn’t humans who did it by burning fossil fuels; it was volcanoes. Chief storyteller Dr Sev Kender at the University of Exeter says,
“The volcanism that caused the warming was probably vast deep intruded sills producing thousands of hydrothermal vents on a scale far beyond anything seen today. Possible secondary sources of greenhouse gases were melting permafrost and sea floor methane hydrates, as a result of the initial volcanic warming.”
Somehow the earth tipped back up naturally. Does this not call into question the mythoid of “tipping points” in climate? Will Greta be comforted by the fact that trees and butterflies made it through a long period of “extreme global warming”?
Are Multiseasonal Forecasts of Atmospheric Rivers Possible? (Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union 25 Aug 2021). Food for thought: climate alarmists claim to tell us what is going to happen decades in the future, and what happened millions of years ago. This paper, titled in the form of a question, explores the difficulty of predicting an observable phenomenon just nine months in advance. Atmospheric rivers are important, because they bring rain. It would be helpful to forecast where they are going to flow from season to season.
We find that AR frequency can be skillfully forecast at least 9 months in advance over certain regions of the west coast of North America, such as California and Alaska, while the forecasts are only reliable for the first season in other regions. This regional variability can be further explained by the large-scale climate variability pattern that is responsible for much of the skill, which is strongly modulated by slowly varying sea surface temperature (SST) variations. A prototype probabilistic seasonal AR forecast product is proposed.
Written on water: Reconstructing the ancient history of an ocean current (Binghamton University). Students playing on their computers pretend to reconstruct the history of an ocean current for millions of years. Their focus is on the Kuroshio Current Extension, a current along the US east coast. Anything “written on water,” though, is constantly changing. Extending current observations back millions of years is like making a mountain out of a molehill—the extrapolation fallacy. Look at some of the things they admit they don’t know:
- “the Kuroshio also likely affects the climate, although its impact on thousand- and million-year time scales is still unclear.”
- “researchers don’t yet know how these changes will affect the organisms that live there, or local and regional weather and climate patterns.”
- “Looking at the current’s distant past may answer some of the questions about its future”
Their method relies on another indirect technique, the use of proxies. They look at shells of forams for clues, using them as divination tools, to get visions about prehistoric sea currents modifying sea creatures. What if those assumptions are wrong? What if other factors determine the size and shape of the shells? How could they know? One thing we know: such false confidence (bluffing) is often motivated by money:
Researchers don’t know how warm the current became during the mPWP, or how much the chemical signal is affected by salinity as well as temperature changes. To get a better picture, Lam and colleagues from other SUNY schools are currently working on a grant that would use different chemical methods to answer these questions.
The role of concrete in life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of US buildings and pavements (PNAS). The alarmist media would have us believe that the only way individuals can do penance for ecocide is to stop eating hamburgers. This team of researchers at MIT says that a third to a half of climate mitigation goals could be met by improving concrete materials. How many citizens know that the construction of roads and buildings with concrete is one of the main sources of CO2 in the atmosphere? “More than one-third of the embodied impacts of building and pavement construction can be offset by implementing concrete solutions,” they say. This knowledge could stimulate entrepreneurs to find those concrete solutions through “innovative” means, and save the planet without destroying the meat industry.
The physics of cement cohesion (Science Magazine). Bouncing off the previous paragraph, scientists are working on that very thing. This team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology is identifying the steps in concrete manufacture that emit the most carbon dioxide. Here is a testable, observable part of climate science: in the lab, they can measure inputs and outputs to see what is going on, but they note that the chemistry is complicated. Isn’t the best strategy for solving a problem to go after the biggest cause?
Understanding the origin and the evolution of cement cohesion in terms of fundamental components and mechanisms is key to identifying scientifically guided strategies, such as modifying the ionic composition and increasing cement strength to do more with less, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from cement manufacturing.
Accelerated Recent Warming and Temperature Variability Over the Past Eight Centuries in the Central Asian Altai From Blue Intensity in Tree Rings (Geophysical Research Letters). In fairness to the consensus, here is a paper that appears to give evidence for man-caused global warming. This team looked at trends in tree ring color from Asian larch trees and ended up with a graph of accelerated warming starting in the last three decades. The method they used, though, called delta-blue intensity (DBI), is rather new and is not corroborated by the old method of measuring ring width.
Because conifers often have pronounced color differences between heartwood and sapwood, or due to resin or fungal discoloration, there are substantial challenges in using light reflectance-based variables due to the potential for non-climatic discoloration related bias (Björklund et al., 2015). For such species, delta blue intensity (DBI), derived by subtracting the raw latewood minimum BI value from the maximum early wood BI value of the same year, is showing promise for reducing potential biases (Wilson et al., 2017).
They claim DBI reveals hidden cool years after known volcanic eruptions, which they think provides corroboration of the method. They also claim that DBI has been used successfully in Spain, Sweden and Alaska. It’s not exactly clear, though, how a few degrees’ temperature difference is going to be reflected in color changes in heartwood and sapwood—or why—when the width of a tree ring responds differently. What to make of this? The tests in the other three countries used DBI on different species of trees. Do all trees respond the same? Too much seems uncertain to lean too heavily on this result. And knowing the IPCC’s infamous hockey-stick graph that is scaring Greta so bad, we would like to know if this team was perhaps subconsciously motivated to bend its methods to support it.
Statistical Method Used to Link Climate Change to Greenhouse Gases Challenged (Epoch Times). In this article, reporter Nathan Worcester stages a debate between two experts. He interviews Ross McKitrick, an economist, who criticizes a statistical method used by influential climate modelers Myles Allen and Simon Tett. McKitrick claims that the pair’s statistical analysis is circular and incorrectly applied to climate, which invalidates their conclusions. Those conclusions, he said, have influenced many other researchers in climate science. The article gives space for Allen and Tett to respond point by point. There are links to the articles and papers for those who wish to investigate further.
We remind readers that CEH is not taking a position on climate change. The point at hand concerns epistemology— what do scientists know, and how do they know it? In matters as complex as global climate, with dozens or hundreds of known and unknown factors extending backward and forward into unobserved and unexperienced time, the amount of overconfident hype seems hugely unwarranted. Several times now we have reported about “unknown unknowns” coming to light, factors that nobody had thought about which individually or collectively could significantly alter climate model predictions. How much more so with evolution, which tries to characterize the entire history of life on earth!
What should most concern rational observers is the authoritarian bent in academia and the media. It is becoming common not only on this issue, but in evolution and at times in the coronavirus pandemic. Big Tech has censored voices disagreeing with “consensus” views on vaccines, lockdowns and mask mandates recently, and is threatening to do that with climate skeptics (see Judith Curry‘s case). Censorship of Darwin skeptics is well known, as contributing writer Dr Jerry Bergman has documented in three books.
Consensus formation is easy if only one side of a debate gets to be heard. Read Casey Luskin’s explanation on The Federalist about how Darwinism achieves consensus: it’s the only thing people get to hear! Skeptical voices are routinely censored, silenced and punished for daring to point out that the emperor Darwin has no clothes. The censorship in this case began decades ago, making it a bellwether for tyrannies to come. It’s sad to see children like Greta Thunberg turning into angry, belligerent pouters based on half-truths and bad data. It’s disgraceful for climate scientists to use her as a front for their indoctrination.
Wherever forces try to shove “official” opinions down our throats and cancel opposing voices in the name of “science,” citizens should rise up and object while they can, because tyranny may be rearing its ugly head again. The best approach for resolving scientific controversy is debate. The Epoch Times set a good example: let both sides have their say, and let the reader decide. When scientists and reporters are unwilling to do that, observers have good reason to think they fear having to face a well-informed opponent.
Exercise in Critical Thinking: Watch Tony Heller present his evidence that the IPCC report cherry-picked data to portray a climate crisis. Then watch Mallen Baker debunk Heller’s presentation. Then watch Heller return and debunk his debunker. Finally, you can hear Baker’s rebuttal. Who do you feel is giving better arguments? Who incorporates more logical fallacies? This is how science should proceed: by debate. The comments under these videos are also interesting.
Note: While interesting, the debate between Heller and Baker does not bear on today’s CEH article except on the importance of hearing two sides to a controversy. They are haggling over the interpretation of graphs published by the IPCC and others. Our entry questions the data, methods, assumptions and strategies that go into those graphs: the epistemology of climate science. Please notice the difference. And take note, too, that we did not quote any climate skeptic sources: only pro-AGW, pro-consensus sources from academia. The only exception (the Epoch Times article) consisted of a debate between the two sides, with the reporter not acting as judge.