Earth Day turns political with focus on climate change

Environmental energy conceptOn Wednesday, April 22nd, more than 22,000 partner organizations and more than one billion people operating in 192 different countries will honor the 45th incarnation of Earth Day, which organizers report is the world’s largest non-secular celebration. The theme of this year’s festivities is “It’s Our Turn to Lead,” sounding a call to action among anyone with an interest in environmental issues. Perhaps this year more than ever, Earth Day organizers will be looking to mobilize citizens from countries all over the world towards a political moment that results in an international climate change treaty that would receive more international support than 1997’s Kyoto Protocol garnered. Organizers are calling for “citizens and organizations divest from fossil fuels,” and  on the official Earth Day 2015 website the United States is called one of the top polluters in the world. Interestingly, there is no mention of China, which is the top polluting country in the world.

Here at IPWatchdog, we’ve taken a special interest in technologies related to the environment from time to time. We’ve covered major advances in solar technologies that have greatly increased the efficiency of generating electricity from energy radiated by the sun. We’ve profiled investments made by the U.S. Department of Energy in offshore wind farm development. We’ve even taken a look or two at innovations in the field of hydrogen fuel cells. We also focus on the environment each April in conjunction with Earth Day festivities.

With all of the focus this year on climate change and political mobilization we thought we would take a minute to provide a reality check. Beginning this week we will profile green technologies and environmentally friendly innovations, like we always have leading up to Earth Day. We will not, however, buy into the political rhetoric or hysterical claims pedaled by environmentalists as dogmatic fact. The truth is the predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists have never been accurate. So while we will celebrate Earth Day in our own way, we feel compelled to ask this inconvenient question: Why should countries be willing to submit to binding international environmental regulation that will undoubtedly do serious harm to the economy when doomsday environmental forecasts have not come to pass?

Do we actually know what’s at stake for our world with regards to climate change? The fair and honest answer is no, we do not. A big reason why we are still in the dark is because anyone that dare question the environmental orthodoxy was ostracized and labeled a quack. Times have changes. Mainstream scientific publications are finally starting to recognize that for most of the last generation there is no evidence of global warming, the predictions made by environmentalists have been wrong and their factual claims to support their political agenda are false. For example, did you know that sea ice in Antarctic has been increasing, not decreasing?

Consider this: At least two major reports which have been used to guide environmental-related policy decisions in America and many countries around the world have been proven to be erroneous with the passage of time. One, a 2003 report funded by the U.S. Pentagon and titled An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security, posited an annual increase to the world’s average atmospheric temperature of 0.5 degrees per decade. The report suggested that, by 2007, coastal areas like the Hague in the Netherlands would be underwater. It also suggested that an inland sea would form in California after rising sea levels caused levee failures along the Sacramento River. However, in 2015, years after these doomsday predictions were to come to pass, people are still walking around the Hague and the suggestion that California would have an inland sea just seems cruel given the incredible drought they’ve been dealing with in recent years.

Yes, it’s good to be concerned about the environment, but these studies go a long way towards influencing major decisions made by governments around the world. When it turns out that the models used by those reports are erroneous, we owe it to ourselves to ask what went wrong in the scientific process. That is what scientists are supposed to do — evaluate, examine, question and probe for the truth. After all, if your model cannot predict the past why would anyone expect you could predict the future?

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, federal spending on climate change-related expenditures nearly doubled from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $9 billion in 2010. Given the fact that some of the predictions have absolutely turned out to be wrong, is it possible that we’re throwing good money into unnecessary public investments? Are we simply trying too hard to pound a round peg into a square hole?

In 2007, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fourth assessment report on the topic of climate change. In the report’s Summary for Policymakers, it can be clearly seen near the beginning of Section 3, “Projected Climate Change and Its Impacts,” that the IPCC forecasted a warming trend over the next two decades, predicting an increase of 0.2 degrees (note the change from Fahrenheit to Celsius) per decade during that time. In the latest version of this IPCC report, which came out in 2014, the rate of atmospheric warming across the globe from 1998 to 2012 was only 0.05 degrees during those 15 years. That’s significantly less than the warming trend models presented in 2007 by the IPCC. A few smart readers are probably thinking, “of course the numbers are different, they cover different periods of time.” Unfortunately, the IPCC even acknowledges that different periods of time will very likely give different answers on warming trends, even when subjected to the same models. Because there is substantial decadal and interannual variability that causes fluctuations to globally averaged surface temperatures, “trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends.”

165 years may be much longer than 20 years, but in the grand scheme of our planet’s history, it is less than a drop in the bucket. That’s as far back as our detailed temperature records go, the same records which are used as the basis of the argument that our planet is experiencing the warmest average temperatures in recorded history. That’s true, but that length of recorded history cannot adequately reflect the temperature fluctuations of entire eons. That would be slightly akin to looking at the temperature on an outdoor thermometer at one point on any given day and assuming that day won’t get any warmer or colder.

Furthermore, historical records show that over the last 400,000 years the temperature of the earth has risen, fallen, risen again and fallen again.  Only for the last 10,000 years has the temperature of the earth remained relatively constant, and even during the last 10,000 temperatures have been higher than they are today.  See for yourself below, which are taken from antarctic ice core data and reported by NASA (see Paleoclimatology: The Ice Core Record and Tales from the Ice Age):

As you can see, there have been several times over the last 400,000 that temperatures were as high as they are today, including many times within the last 10,000 years. At these earlier times in history there were no man made greenhouse gases polluting the environment. A true scientist would look at this and wonder why were the temperatures so high in the past when man could not have possibly contributed. A true scientific inquiry would look for an explanation that explained temperature fluctuations over the past 400,000 and not limit the inquiry to the last 165 years of detailed temperature records.

There are other revelations unveiled by the IPCC’s 2014 climate change that present anomalies that fly in the face of the typical climate change narrative, which involves melting ice caps leading to rising sea levels. There are those who are quick to sound the alarm on shrinking Antarctic sea ice and the potentially devastating consequences of that, but the IPCC found that, between the years 1979 and 2011, it was very likely that Antarctic sea-ice extent actually increased annually from 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent, although the organization did have high confidence in the fact that different regions of Antarctica are experiencing different rates of sea-ice growth or decline. On the whole, however, the IPCC has confirmed that Antarctica has added sea-ice extent over the past few decades, which somewhat deflates the argument that these past few decades have been the warmest ever. It also debunks popularly held beliefs.

Going back a little bit further and many doomsday predictions, which is what some extremely pessimistic forecasts by leading environmentalists could be called, just haven’t come to pass. A list of these is maintained by the American Enterprise Institute, a free enterprise economic and governmental think tank. An article in the 1970 issue of The Progressive argued that dwindling food resources would result in up to 200 million people dying annually of starvation by 1980; our world currently experiences 7.7 million hunger-related deaths every year. That’s a result which is incredibly far removed from the prediction. An issue of Life from that same year ran an article arguing that increasing air pollution would halve the amount of sunlight reaching the earth by 1985. Today, even in Chinese cities which are famous for the amount of smog pollution in their skies, only 25 percent of the sun’s rays aren’t reaching the ground. That’s not great, but it doesn’t fit the model or prediction. Again in 1970, German physician Paul Ehrlich predicted a scenario in which New York City and Los Angeles would experience 200,000 pollution-related deaths as early as 1973. In 2013, a comparatively miniscule 2,700 people died from pollution related deaths in New York City. This list goes on.

It’s not that climate change isn’t happening. Climate change is definitely happening, but this is hardly shocking news. The climate has always been in flux since the very beginning of time. For example, we know that parts of the earth that today are desert were once fertile lands. For example, we know that the for a millennia the Sahara Desert enjoyed plentiful rain and lush vegetation. There were no modern humans around, or man made greenhouse gases that caused the Sahara Desert to revert back to the dry and uninviting landscape it is today.

The consequences of climate change cannot be downplayed and will present challenges that must be addressed by people around the world if we are going to keep living in areas that shift from temperate to inhospitable. Climate change, which is normal and expected, is not the same thing as man made global warming.

It would be best if scientists were allowed to investigate the climate without being ostracized and castigated for challenging the global warming orthodoxy. How much more would we know if political correctness and ideology did not stifle scientific research into alternative theories? If science prevails and those who question man made global warming are allowed to go where the science leads, it is very likely that humans are up to the task of addressing changes to the climate. For example, rising sea levels threaten few urban areas quite like that of Venice, which suffers from the compound problem of its foundation subsiding into the sea by a couple of millimeters each year.  People intend to continue living there thanks to a multi-billion dollar public project that will install 78 flood barriers by 2016. There are future generations of people that may very likely still be able to call Venice home, in spite of rising sea levels.  But this is emblematic of the political problem. As recently as several generations ago if a place like Venice, or New Orleans, became uninhabitable people would move to a new location. Today many of the climate problems are because people want to continue living in areas nature has selected out in a Darwinian sense.

One last point important to this debate: It has not proven that climate change is entirely the fault of man. The IPCC has labelled as extremely likely the theory that climate change is a product of human activity. But according to the highly respected scientific journal Nature, there has been no evidence of rising temperatures for 17 years. Indeed, researchers are puzzled as to where the so-called “missing heat” has gone. Jeff Tollefson, a science writer for Nature explains: “Some have pointed to the Sun, volcanoes and even pollution from China as potential culprits, but recent studies suggest that the oceans are key to explaining the anomaly.”

Furthermore, we know that climate scientists fabricated data to show warming trends where none existed. The e-mails disclosed from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) clearly show there was a concerted manipulation of data and a cover-up, despite what global warming advocates want to believe. The e-mails are exceptionally clear. In one Climate Scientist Kevin Trenberth, Climate Scientist says: “The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” In another from Phil Jones, the head of the CRU, admitted fabricating data to hide temperature declines: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and [sic] from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” Believers in global warming try and explain these admissions away, calling those who believe they speak for themselves all kinds of names, but the e-mails do pretty clearly speak for themselves. We don’t need a commission to tell me that the e-mails don’t mean what they clearly say.

While the IPCC and other believers want to say man is responsible for climate change, so many predictions have proved wrong over the years.  Environmentalists with doomsday predictions have been nothing more than the boy who cried wolf, or perhaps better to say the boy who always and continuously cries wolf. These true believers conveniently ignore ice-core data as if it doesn’t exist, when in fact it shows drastic temperature changes for over 400,000 years. As you can see from the graphs above provided by NASA, there have been many times throughout the last 400,000 years were it has been as warm as it is today. When you broaden the analysis out to 400,000  years, going beyond 165 years environmentalists want to focus on, you see that there is absolutely no evidence that the has ever Earth experienced an open ended cycle of unrelenting global warming.

Often, the debate over climate change focuses on the negative aspects of human activity. Humans can certainly do better and no one should aspire to pollute or deplete the Earth of its resources. However, to discount the climate change-causing activities of Mother Nature herself are misguided. There have been multiple earthquakes in the past decade or so which were so high in magnitude that they shifted the axis of the earth slightly. Further, according to Scientific American, scientists believe that the Earth’s magnetic poles are likely to soon shift, and that the magnetic field which protects the Earth from cosmic radiation is “weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought.” As ground breaking as they may be, higher fuel efficiency vehicles, cleaner biofuels and more solar panels are not the answers to the climate change posed by those natural events.

All of this is simply to say that although our world has climate change issues, which we will have to address as time goes by, time and time again it has proven fruitless to argue that our world is in some kind of death spiral. The Earth has been here for over 4.6 billion years and it will be hear long after we are all gone. Still, even if man made global warming has been called into question in recent years there is no reason to unnecessarily pollute our environment. Good stewardship requires that we at least attempt to leave the planet better than when we found it.

As we approach Earth Day this year we will again take some time to profile technologies that are designed to help people in regions all over the world deal with some of the actual consequences of climate change that are being experienced today. As we do so we will celebrate ingenuity and innovation relating to green technologies. We will not buy into the hysteria that blames man, or the predictions that simply never seem to be accurate.

The Author

Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann

Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann   

Gene Quinn is a patent attorney and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney licensed to practice before the United States Patent Office and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. You can contact Gene via e-mail.

Steve Brachmann is a writer located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than seven years. He has become a regular contributor to IPWatchdog.com, writing about technology, innovation and is the primary author of the Companies We Follow series.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 84 Comments comments.

  1. Anon April 13, 2015 11:06 am

    There is but one notion that I would add (and then my attempt at re-focus):

    Why was it deemed “necessary” for political correctness sake to change the “mantra” from global warming to climate change?

    It should be doubtless that climate does in fact change.

    That is what climate does.

    It is a far less interesting question as to the degree of change that not only can be linked to the presence of man, but then, can be divorced from what MUST be a foundational element – and a single aspect that seems to remain below the radar – the size of our population.

    Yes, we can focus on many of the innovative aspects that help modern society lessen our impacts on the world and our integrated position in the dynamic web of life. It would indeed be foolish to think that that we do not have an impact on the web of life. But an important aspect to keep in mind (at least to my opinion), is that life (in general) and the world about us, are FAR more resilient than we give credit. Ultimately, it is from a (still) myopic and self-centered view that we – as humans – look at the web of life, as it is (politically incorrect perhaps) with this ENTIRELY selfish view that we march forward, as it is with the view of CONTINUING to maintain a human dominance in the web of life that ALL of our efforts are geared to.

    Unless we are willing to be BRUTALLY honest and deal with the plain fact that our particular species is singly the largest species OUT OF WHACK with ANY ecologically balanced system, we are being intellectually dishonest in the most critically important factor. We will ever remain trying to put a skimpy bandaid on a gushing wound.

  2. Anon April 13, 2015 2:35 pm

    Lest anyone think that I am too dour, let me offer for comparison this rather bleak outlook:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jimmoore/i-give-america-75-years10_b_7042916.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

  3. Stephen Thomas April 13, 2015 2:45 pm

    Stephen Thomas
    M.S., Mathematics, Northwestern

    Based on around the globe weather station reports and historical records, in terms of all time Hot and Cold records set: 74 New all time high temperature records were set this past year (NOAA global records summary) and 19 New all time cold temperature records were set this past year. So we have set 79.6% Hot records vs. Cold records. Based on the binomial distribution for percentages, assuming a 50% underlying probability (the null hypothesis of no global warming) the expected range for 50% based on N=93 is 34.4% to 65.6%. I.e., expect by chance over 99% of the time for actual percentage to be between 34.4% to 65.6%. But for 2014 the actual percentage of Hot records set out of total records set is 79.6%, which is considerably above the P-chart ‘upper control limit’ of 65.6%. We see the data gives us an objective conclusion that it is NOT 50%. There must be a special cause.

  4. Anon April 13, 2015 3:09 pm

    My dear “masters in mathematics” friend….

    You do realize the limits imposed by the notion of recorded temperatures, right….?

    Methinks you need to temper the math with some “common sense.” 😉

  5. Gene Quinn April 13, 2015 3:16 pm

    Stephen-

    I’m not really sure what your comment is trying to get at. It appears as if you are trying to make a case that there is global warming. I won’t retell what is written above, but if you do believe in global warming I encourage you to read (or re-read) the article so you can become better informed.

    What I will say is that your reliance on weather station reports is exactly the problem that almost everyone falls prey to in this debate. Focusing on the last 165 years and ignore the 399,835 years before that for which we have temperate data is hardly scientific. We know beyond any doubt that the Earth has been this warm in the past at times when man did not even exist. We also know that despite the popular mythology the ice in Antartica is expanding. We also know that the predictions of environmentalists have never come true. And Nature is finally recognizing that there is no evidence of global warming.

    -Gene

  6. Anon April 13, 2015 4:05 pm

    Focusing on the last 165 years and ignore the 399,835 years before that for which we have temperate data is hardly scientific.

    And here I categorized that as “common sense”….

  7. Gene Quinn April 13, 2015 4:24 pm

    Anon-

    Thanks. Unfortunately “common sense” isn’t all that common when having discussions like these. Not sure where the turn happened, but facts seem to be inconvenient in public discourse any more.

    -Gene

  8. Bob Smith April 13, 2015 6:07 pm

    I keep reading blogs and articles in the hope that I will find something that convinces me that the warming that is so evident in alpine glaciers and other evidence is not something to be concerned about. The 20 year pause for example. See http://4nobletruths.org/2015/03/22/danger-and-opportunity/

  9. Anon April 13, 2015 6:29 pm

    Bob Smith,

    More of the same “but this data is 200 years old”…

    Thanks.

    Please see the comments on either “common sense” or “scientific” and remember that the geologic time of “200 years” along with the corresponding data you show is rather meaningless in the larger scheme of things.

    Then, read my comment at 1.

    Thanks again.

  10. Celyle April 13, 2015 10:55 pm

    Anyone who cites a fifteen year “climate trend” starting on the strongest El Nino year in a century to convince you that manmade global warming has stopped either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is trying to deceive you.
    Climate trends don’t become discernible behind the noise of weather for thirty years or more. Whatever happened in the last twenty years is hiding behind the 1998 El Nino and the big ocean oscillations. Look at the last fifty, or the last century. There’s a rising surface temperature trend corresponding with manmade CO2, ocean oscillations, and two blasts of cooling from sulfate aerosols, when Europe, North America, and China industrialized with coal and no sulfur scrubbers.

  11. Benny April 14, 2015 7:02 am

    Interesting article.
    As to your question, “is it possible that we’re throwing good money into unnecessary public investments?”, it’s obvious that there is a financial incentive to skew the data. The age old question “who benefits” should also be considered.

  12. Bob Smith April 14, 2015 7:42 am

    Hi Anon

    I do not understand the 200 hundred year comment?? What I was looking at is the NOAA ocean heat record for the top 2km as it has been going since the 1940’s and becomes progressively more accurate over a wider and wider sample. It shows no pause in warming up. As the top 2km of the ocean is at least 30 times the heat capacity of the whole atmosphere it is telling you that the “pause” in warming is only one of the normal natural variations of the atmosphere and that it will end. What this means is that there is a warming spike coming, probably 0.25 degree per decade or more. Something like twice the rate of the 80’s and 90’s and this will have a serious socio-political impact. How I wish this is not the case, but it is and I do not want to fight my own or anyone elses kids over this. Its about time us older folks pulled our heads out the sand and took this seriously. All I am saying is that the data and real evidence in nature and science is saying it is true.

  13. Anon April 14, 2015 8:18 am

    Bob – think sample error.

    You are lacking, literally, the proper big picture view.

  14. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 8:54 am

    Bob-

    You should probably re-read the article. The article above has a link to the IPCC and even they admit that over the last several decades ice in Antartica has extended.

    If you want everywhere on earth to remain as it has been you will be hoping for something that is unrealistic. The climate has constantly been changing for the last 4.6 billion years.

    -Gene

  15. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 8:57 am

    Celyle-

    “Anyone who cites…” Really? To most open minded people the journal Nature is not “anyone.” But then again, you don’t sound like an open minded person on this subject. The article provides all the proof anyone could need. From ice core data to the predictions that NEVER come true. But go ahead and ignore the facts.

    -Gene

  16. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 9:03 am

    Bob-

    You are looking at data since the 1940’s, but seem to be ignoring the ice core data that goes back 400,000 years. Even the IPCC acknowledges that focusing on short periods of time can dramatically change the picture.

    You say that there has been no pause in warming, yet the journal Nature disagrees and explains that scientists are searching for the missing heat that their models predict.

    You say: “the data and real evidence in nature and science is saying it is true.”

    That is simply not true. Again, I encourage you to read this article. I would also encourage you to try and explain away all the clearly erroneous predictions made by environmentalists, ice core data that thoroughly refutes the claim that the Earth has never been this warm, the reality that ice is expanding not contracting, and all of the other factual truths discussed in the article.

    When you actually look at the facts they tell a very different story. I know it may be hard to accept because the scientific and historic truth is very different than the narrative sold by environmentalists for so long.

    -Gene

  17. Bob Smith April 14, 2015 9:39 am

    Hi Gene

    Yes I agree that the ocean heat data is only from the 1940s and in the beginning it is a bit dodgy which is why I referenced the Abrahams paper: Google A Review of Global Ocean Temperature Observations: Implications for Ocean Heat Content Estimates and Climate Change, This describes the credence for the graph and from the 1990s the Argo float program is almost impossible to ignore and it shows an almost linear rise in the top 2km of ocean heat content. We know that the atmosphere is relatively spikey, sometimes its warmer and then cooler on a decadal timescale. Given that the top 2km of ocean is 30 or more times the thermal mass of the whole atmosphere this says with almost certainty that the apparent atmospheric pause is a only a cyclic variation and will end. Agreed it has been warmer in the past and cooler but the focus here is the current warming trend, where it is going and why it is happening. I first became concerned in the 1980’s when it became obvious climbing in the Alps that the ice was melting at an accelerating rate. Global mountain area ice melt is well described and still happening. Gene it is these real world events now that are of concern. The previous hot cold cycles into the remote past do have perfectly credible explanations (ask NASA). My grounding is in engineering and from that perspective I think we are heading into trouble, that it is not a conspiracy or funding or anything else. If an independent and rational tribunal were asked to enquire into this matter and find on the balance of probability they would be finding that we are most likely causing this warming. It is a shame we can not get some folks from another solar system to for the tribunal. We are not going to agree on this but what ever happened to precaution? Bob

  18. Antonio April 14, 2015 9:42 am

    Gene,

    You need to understand the special role your blog plays in the IP community. Many of us cite you and your blog as authority when talking about issues important to IP, patentable subject matter, for example.

    Posts like this, refuting the consensus of the scientific community on an issue on which you do not have particular expertise, does a disservice to the IP community. Even assuming you were right, the post distracts and lessens your reputation and that of the site.

    I truly mean this in the kindest of ways.

  19. Anon April 14, 2015 9:54 am

    Gene,

    I think that you are getting caught up in the “short term” game.

    It really does not matter AT ALL to the larger picture whether or not the short term behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet is growing or shrinking.

    If it is growing, that is not conclusive of the fact that climate does change and man’s (overwhelming) impact/control of that change.

    If it is shrinking, that is not conclusive of the fact that climate does change and man’s (overwhelming) impact/control of that change.

    Man does impact this world and the web of life – of that, there is little doubt. But if we do not heed what I wrote in post 1, none of the discussion really matters all that much.

    Do I think that man has the capability of wrecking the world ecosystem to the extent that man is adversely affected? Most definitely.

    Do I think that man has the capability of wrecking the world ecosystem to the extent that “the world is ruined?” Most definitely not.

    It is only the ecosystem with man as the central controlling factor that ANY of the dialogue is really concerned about, and the fact that this fact is so easily glossed over that makes all of the political rhetoric so distasteful to me.

    Political correctness is – and remains – all about the political and nothing at all about the correct.

    Should we “take care of” the world? Most definitely. But let’s be realistic as to why, and that why has everything to do with man’s continued selfishness as to our desire to maintain a central controlling position, and nothing at all to do with any sense of “harmony.” In essence, our entire civilization is premised on dis-harmony with a natural web of life. The liberal narrative is conveniently “light” on this critical aspect.

  20. Anon April 14, 2015 9:58 am

    …and a small bone to pick with you concerning the title of the article:

    Turning” implies an absence of “political-ness” that was never really absent in the first place.

  21. DG April 14, 2015 10:15 am

    I recently heard the theory that the ice in the Antarctic was increasing rather than decreasing.

    Then I watched a documentary (Vice, HBO) that interviewed Dr. Eric Rignot, a glaciologist who has been onsite in the Antarctic for decades studying the ice. He explained that as the deep ice melts, the ice left at the surface continues the cyclic freezing and thawing process, much like ice on a pond, spreading at the surface only.

    From aerial views, for example, the appearance is that the spreading ice is an indication of increase, because it covers a larger area. However, the total amount of ice has in fact decreased, although that decrease is not visible without more than an aerial photograph.

    The technology used to map the subterranean ice was fascinating, as was the whole documentary.

  22. John B April 14, 2015 10:35 am

    This is the usual Gish Gallop of denier nonsense. Unusual to see it outside of echo chambers like wattsupwiththat.com
    For a thorough rebuttal, with references, of every single point, try this:
    skepticalscience.com

  23. American Cowboy April 14, 2015 10:44 am

    I am amused by the environmental lobby’s affinity for “green technology,” as if it were a promising panacea. I have been in this game since the 70’s and remember the oil shortages of the embargoes then. The Carter administration subsidized alternative energy research out the wazoo, and I worked on numerous patent applications on what appeared to be promising alternative energy sources. They turned out to be small change, at best.

    So here we are 30+ years later doing it again. So far, it seems we have the same outcome. Unless the government takes money from taxpayers or Chinese lenders to subsidize these efforts, they have little commercial viability.

  24. Amber April 14, 2015 11:03 am

    I respectfully agree with Antonio and thank DG for at least one fact check. Much of this post is the typical denial info that continually makes rounds and continually gets rebutted by climate scientists. The easiest example from this discussion is the Antarctic ice that DG so succinctly explained. Yes, media and deniers breathlessly reported that “no, climate change isn’t real ’cause look at the ice”. However, ice is not a flat surface. You must measure the volume, which entails DxWxH. This is the same as people saying that warming can’t be real because it snowed yesterday. This rank “it’s a conspiracy” regarding climate change is the equivalent of anti-vaccers that say “it’s a conspiracy” between pharma and doctors. This is an unfortunate post on a blog I respect greatly.

  25. Anon April 14, 2015 11:13 am

    I think that the “denier” label is apt for more than one group here.

    It applies equally – if not more so – to those that refuse to see the bigger picture and what the short term “fuss” actually entails – and just as importantly, what it does not entail.

    This is why I point out that Gene is wasting his time debating the advance/decline of Antarctic ice. Put simply, change IS real, but the lesson from that change is being grossly – and politically – mischaracterized.

  26. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 12:09 pm

    Bob-

    You say: “Global mountain area ice melt is well described and still happening. Gene it is these real world events now that are of concern.”

    I’m not going to dispute what we observe, but if we are going to view things from a systemic level we have to also consider that over this time frame the ice in Antartica has expanded. No one can dispute climate change, but the fact that the climate is changing is natural and to be expected.

    You say: “I think we are heading into trouble…”

    I’m not going to disagree with you here. As an engineer myself I think we should strive to do better (i.e., pollute less, conserve more, etc.). However, I think many of the problems we are facing now is that we have become a settled people. In the past when climate change occurred people moved. We are so vested in big cities and wanting to live in one location that the thought of moving away from drought areas or areas with flooding is a non-starter. I also full well believe that we have the ability to make the planet inhospitable to human life, but it will still be here.

    You say: “If an independent and rational tribunal were asked to enquire into this matter and find on the balance of probability they would be finding that we are most likely causing this warming.”

    This is where you debate from science and historical fact and into belief. There is no evidence of this. Man didn’t cause the Japanese earthquake to tilt the Earth’s axis, for example. And if we are being perfectly honest we as engineers have to acknowledge that even the smallest tilt in the Earth’s axis will create enormous changes. We also are not responsible for the flipping of the magnetic field, or its weakening in advance of the anticipated shift. We also know that the magnetic field shields us, so the fact that the magnetic shield is weakening would cause one to theorize that there would be great changes. So the point is there are many events that we know scientifically will cause change. None of those are caused by man. Further, we also know from the ice core data that the earth was at least as warm as it is now many times in the past— at times that man did not exist, so those warming trends cannot be explained by man. Thus, the truly scientific approach would be to find a common causality that explains things. Scientists do not go looking for one-off scenarios.

    -Gene

  27. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 12:14 pm

    Antonio-

    If this post refutes the scientific consensus then good. I cite to scientific and historical fact that cannot be questioned. I also cite to Scientific American and Nature, as well as the IPCC. I have plenty of expertise in this area and I’m not driven by agenda. I am simply pointing out the factual reality.

    I will note that it is interesting that no one is challenging what the article says from a factual, scientific or historical viewpoint. Everything I say here is true and verifiable with citations given. The Japanese earthquake tilted the Earth’s axis and that will cause change, period. The magnetic field is weakening, and that provides less protection to the Earth. There is more ice in Antartica. And the real inconvenient truth is that not a single prediction of environmental doom has ever come true.

    If you think citing to truth and factual reality lessens my reputation I personally believe that is a YOU problem. Given all the scientific and historical fact, coupled with the admissions of researchers that the fabricated data, there appears to be little debate about what has happened.

    -Gene

  28. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 12:18 pm

    Anon-

    I agree completely with your last two posts. The evidence suggest clearly that the climate is changing, but when we point to one area that changes without pointing to the other areas that change is opposite ways the debate is framed with partial information intended to distort.

    We really need politics out of this debate and to allow scientists to do the research they want wherever it leads. The fact that academics have stifled debate in this area despite the fact that their predictions never come true is egregiously dishonest.

    -Gene

  29. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 12:22 pm

    Amber-

    I’m sorry you find this article to be unfortunate. I personally find your comment unfortunate. You focus on one particular issue and then pretend that everything else is incorrect. Clearly, everything here is supported by factual citation.

    Do you actually disagree that the Japanese earthquake tilted the Earth’s axis?

    Do you actually believe that the predictions of environmentalists have been true?

    Do you actually disagree with the ice core data and buy into the falsehood that the earth has never been this warm?

    Do you actually believe man was alive hundreds of thousands of years ago causing the temperature of the earth to be as warm as it is today?

    Truthfully, I’m at a loss with respect to how you and others could be so myopic and belief things that clearly are not true. I realize you won’t answer me on these or any other points I raise because to actually answer them would be to admit that what you so zealously believe is false.

    -Gene

  30. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 12:27 pm

    Amber (others concerned with ice in Antartica)-

    According to NASA there is more ice in Antartica.

    http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum/

    So if you have a problem with me stating that the ice in Antartica is increasing I suggest you take it up with the researchers and scientists at NASA.

    -Gene

  31. John B April 14, 2015 12:50 pm

    Gene,

    From your own link in comment 30:

    “Sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high extent this year
    … The upward trend in the Antarctic, however, is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

    The planet as a whole is doing what was expected in terms of warming. Sea ice as a whole is decreasing as expected, but just like with global warming, not every location with sea ice will have a downward trend in ice extent,”

    – As with all denier arguments, you can only make it look sensible when you remove the context.

  32. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 1:13 pm

    John B-

    You are so correct. Only if you delete select things does it support your statement. I notice you didn’t quote the part from the NASA piece that explained that their models are not correct but that they are working on them to make them better. I guess that part didn’t support your narrative. LOL. You also had to come up with something else to point to in order to distract from the fact that so many have been calling me out for saying something that is actually true. But I guess that is what the global warming crowd does. You ignore the facts that don’t support you and when someone points them out you just label them a nut. From a scientific standpoint, however, ignoring bad facts would make you the nut.

    It is amazing that you and others continue to ignore the part of the narrative that you cannot refute. Do you disagree that the Japanese earthquake tilted the Earth’s axis? You do realize what happens when the angle of the sun’s rays changes, right? You realize that during winter in America the Earth is closer to the Sun than during the summer, but it is warmer in the summer due to the angle of the rays? So we know conclusively that angle means a lot. Are you going to disavow that scientific truth?

    Why are you ignoring the 400,000 years of ice core temperature data and focusing only on the infinitesimally small period that supports your narrative? Do you actually believe that when the Earth experienced warming over the last 400,000 years man was responsible even though modern man didn’t exist? Do you refute Nature’s claim that over the past 17 years there is no evidence of a warming trend? Do you take issue with the weakening of the magnetic field?

    Please, tell me what scientific fact you think is wrong. Please tell me how all the doomsday predictions have been accurate. Was Dr. Paul Ehrlich correct when in 1981 he predicted that half of the populations and species in tropical forests would be extinct in the early 2000s? Were predictions correct that we would run out of oil? Dr. John Holdren correct when he predicted that rising carbon dioxide levels would kill 1 billion people? Have any of the predictions about rising waters flooding coastlines all over the world been true? Have rivers dried up? Are people starving to death because of global warming? The predictions about run away temperatures haven’t panned out either because there is no evidence of warming over most of the last 2 decades.

    To call environmental alarmists the little by who cried wolf doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. If it gets warmer its global warming, if it gets cooler its global warming, if there are floods its global warming, if there are droughts its global warming. It is laughable to have a “theory” that is supported regardless of what happens. That is not a “theory,” but rather a zealous, near religious belief.

    -Gene

  33. John B April 14, 2015 1:31 pm

    Gene,
    There you go again, on a Gish Gallop. One thing at a time, please. Let’s take the 400K years… no, of course man was not affecting climate back then, something else was. But, so what? When we look rationally at what is happening NOW, the rapid changes we see are caused primarily by anthropogenic CO2. Don’t take my word for it, the scientific consensus is there for all to read up on.
    I think your problem is you don’t separate the science from the activism. Yes, some people claim too much, probably to try to spur action, but that does not detract from the reality of what the science is showing: climate change is real, we are the cause, the effects will be bad. What we do about it is politics. If, as I suspect, your politics are anti-regulation, join the debate and propose some realistic alternatives.
    You have right to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
    – John

  34. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 1:42 pm

    John B-

    Your problem is you cling to the notion that there is a consensus. Despite my citing fact after fact, which you cannot refute, you want to still say there is a consensus. Curious, and terribly intellectually dishonest of you.

    You ask what difference does it make that there have been many warming cycles over the last 400,000 years for which man cannot be responsible. Amazing that someone would ask such a ridiculous question. Obviously you are not a scientist or engineer because if you were then you would understand that when there has been a repeated phenomenon over time and that same or similar phenomenon occurs again the scientific thing to do is to first look for explanations that would explain all of the occurrences together, not to assume that this latest occurrence is unique.

    Furthermore, the narrative is that the Earth has never been this warm. I’m sure you’ve heard that said many times, I know I have. The problem is that the ice core data refutes that conclusively. The Earth has been this warm in the past, and it could not be explained by man sending CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Climate change is most certainly real, but science is a long way away from having anything that even approaches a workable hypothesis as to why. You want to blame man, but do you think man is more responsible than a tilt in the Earth’s axis? Do you even comprehend what that means when a single earthquake could do that? Are you able to comprehend what it means that the magnetic field is weakening? You are aware that the magnetic field protects the Earth from cosmic radiation, correct? Do you think more cosmic radiation might be able to explain the warming you believe you are seeing?

    You do have the right to your own opinion, but I agree you do not have the right to your own facts. The difference between you and I is that I actually cite fact, and you do not. You erroneously claim there is a consensus and assume that is a fact. On the other hand I point to scientifically undeniable events and historical occurrences. You cannot refute them. So that would mean I am the one with the facts and you are the one with a belief.

    -Gene

  35. John B April 14, 2015 1:53 pm

    Gene,

    People died of natural causes in the past. Does that mean there is no such thing as murder now? Of course not. Other factors have changed the climate in the past. That does not mean current changes are not caused by man now.
    Tilts in the Earth’s axis may well have an effect, but not over the scale of decades to centuries.
    And no, I have never heard a climate scientist say it is warmer now than at any time in the past. Where did you get that from?

    Next point? (one at a time, please)

  36. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 1:56 pm

    John B (and others who erroneously believe there is a consensus)-

    Please see these highly reputable sources that explain that there is not a consensus.

    Perhaps the most telling is a recent Purdue study that says that 53% of climate scientists believe man is responsible for climate change. 37% of climate scientists say that climate change is due to natural causes. Not really a consensus, particularly in light of how those who don’t believe in man made warming are ostracized, and given how environmentalists like to erroneously claim that 97+% of scientists agree. As it turns out that isn’t true.

    https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2014/prokopy-climatetable.pdf

    See also:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/388535/crumbling-climate-change-consensus-john-fund

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/07/17/that-scientific-global-warming-consensus-not/

    http://www.creators.com/conservative/michael-barone/global-warming-consensus-garbage-in-garbage-out.html

  37. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 1:58 pm

    John B-

    I see you aren’t interested in a real debate. Rather than address the legitimate points I raise you deflect to murder. What a joke.

    If you care to have a thoughtful debate then we can, but that actually requires you to address the facts I cite, not make up asinine arguments to deflect.

    Also, as you can see from my previous comment, according to Purdue University there is hardly a consensus that you want to believe. I can’t wait to hear how you deflect that inconvenient truth.

    -Gene

  38. John B April 14, 2015 2:11 pm

    OK, I’ll bite. Give me one so-called “fact” that you think is relevant. Preferably the one that you think puts the proverbial nail in the coffin of global warming.

  39. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 2:32 pm

    John B-

    I’m not going to play games. I’ve cited fact after fact. Apparently you did not read the article and you haven’t read any of my comments to you. You clearly are not seriously interested in a debate.

    If you care to address what I’ve said go right ahead, but I’m not going to retype everything because you are too lazy to consider what I’ve cited.

    -Gene

  40. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 2:33 pm

    John B-

    I’ll say one more thing. You said there was a consensus on global warming, and I pointed out that there is no consensus.

    At what point are you going to admit you are wrong? Or do you just believe despite fact?

    -Gene

  41. Anon April 14, 2015 2:43 pm

    Everyone is going to be really bummed out when the Vogons come through….

  42. John B April 14, 2015 3:22 pm

    Gene,

    You stated so many things. It’s called a Gish Gallop. If I address “A”, you say, but what about “B”. Anyway, we’ll take the consensus (as it was in your last comment)…

    Your table from Perdue is a survey of “actors in the ag sector”, including 19 “climatologists” and 4,778 farmers. I have not seen this survey before, so I can’t comment further. The commonly cited consensus, OTOH, is derived from looking at the content of peer-reviewed papers, then following up by asking the authors of those papers for their opinions on various questions. Oreskes was among the first to look at it formally, and concluded:

    “The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.”

    Link here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full

    Many other studies have shown the same thing. And they all find that the more active a researcher is in climate change, the more likely they are to support the consensus. Yes, you can find people who disagree, but you cannot find more than a handful of active, relevant experts who disagree. And is you don’t like that , you have to fall back on conspiracy theory, “well of course they would say that, their livelihood depends on it”. But really, that’s a pretty big conspiracy.

    To see the mainstream view, start (but, of course, don’t finish) with wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    First sentence: “The scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth’s climate system is unequivocally warming, and it is extremely likely (at least 95% probability) that humans are causing most of it through activities that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels.”

  43. Chris April 14, 2015 4:02 pm

    Wow – great info, I would comment that as someone in the middle of the road politically I’m tired of one party using global warming to scared people into voting for them so they can save us. It gets old hearing the sky is falling and yet it’s still there!

  44. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 5:10 pm

    John B-

    What you call a Gish Gallop is actually called a debate. Given how you refuse to address the many valid scientific points I have raised it seems you are wholly incapable of engaging in a debate on these issues in a scientific, factual and/or historic manner. You want to accept the orthodoxy without looking at the underlying facts. You ignore facts that question the narrative you have chosen. If you don’t want to debate then please go elsewhere and leave us alone so that thoughtful discussion of the issues can occur.

    It is interesting that you won’t comment on the Purdue study which shows that there is no consensus that you say exists. There were over a hundred scientists surveyed in the study, which I guess you ignore. The percentage of scientists who believe man is responsible according to the Purdue study goes up to 53% if you include scientists of all disciplines. However you cut it this is no consensus.

    I also provided links to articles that show that 31,000 scientists have questioned the view that man is responsible for climate change. I see no respone from you.

    I do not dispute the fact that there are many who believe man is the cause for climate change, but to say that it is 95% likely is ridiculous. You continue to want to ignore the impact of a single earthquake on tilting the Earth’s axis. Why? You continue to ignore the decreasing strength of the magnetic field. Why? Those aren’t man made causes, and everyone who is objective can see that tilting the Earth’s axis would have dramatic consequences, as would a decrease in the magnetic field. So if you think those things only represent 5% of the problem you are rather uniformed from a scientific level, not at all familiar with electrical engineering or basic geometry. You also have an overblown view of the importance of man. Earthquakes, volcanoes, solar flares, decreasing of the magnetic field are all scientific facts and they all impact the environment. That this undeniable truth has to be pointed out is astounding and shows just have terrible our education system is today.

    -Gene

  45. John B April 14, 2015 5:40 pm

    No, it’s a gallop: “The Gish Gallop is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of small arguments that their opponent cannot possibly answer or address each one in real time.”

    I answered the consensus question by saying that mainstream sources find there is a consensus, particularly when looking at peer-reviewed research. I accepted that you can find many people, but not a significant number of experts, who disagree. You then tell me I am not addressing magnetic fields or earthquakes. That is a gallop, par excellence.

    I can take on natural factors if you want, but I will answer one thing at a time, or nothing at all.

    – John

  46. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 5:52 pm

    John B-

    The truth is you provide conclusions, I provide fact after fact after fact. You say you will take on natural factors, but you don’t out of some kind of protest because I’ve thrown too many facts at you. Clearly you are a joker and wholly unfamiliar with the concept of an intellectual debate.

    No one is stopping you from address the facts I’ve set out. I’ve set out numerous fact here to which you have not responded. And citing a Wikipedia page that concludes there is a consensus is hardly injecting facts.

    -Gene

  47. John B April 14, 2015 6:11 pm

    Gene,

    What would convince you there is a consensus? The Wikipedia article merely reflects the consensus scientific position. If you don’t like it, I can’t help that.

    OK, natural factors: There are natural factors that cause trends, e.g. axis tilt, but they are very slow. There are natural factors that are quick, e.g. volcanic eruptions and El Nino/La Nina, but they don’t cause trends (Mount Pinatubo caused a noticeable down-tick in temperature in the 90s, but a few years later the dust rained out and the effect is gone). The point is that there are no known natural factors that can explain the trends we are seeing at the rate we are seeing them. Our best understanding is that natural factors cannot explain the temperature record of the last 100 or so years. Greenhouse gas emissions can. Could we be wrong? Yes! But the scientific consensus is that we are at least 95% confident that is the case.

    You say that “95% likely is ridiculous”, but based on what?

    – John

  48. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 6:32 pm

    John B-

    I can turn the question around on you as well. What would convince you there is not a consensus? I provided a very recent Purdue survey of scientists, and I provided articles explaining 31,000 scientists disagree with man-made climate change. So is seems by definition I have conclusively shown there is no consensus. Whether they are right or not, you say there is a consensus and there clearly is not, despite the conclusions you cite.

    First, the axis tilt was sudden with respect to the Japanese earthquake, so you are mistaken.

    Second, with respect to volcanic eruptions do cause CO2 emissions and they do create more than transient weather trends. Your saying anything to the contrary is not fact, it is not supported and it is erroneous.

    You say there are no known trends that support climate change, but again you assert a naked conclusion based on no facts. And several of your assertions, regarding the Japanese earthquake and volcanoes are clearly erroneous. Further, you do not mention the magnetic field decreasing. It is as if all these natural events are meaningless to you, although I suppose based on your lack of knowledge that is understandable.

    Finally, you get to your point. You base your belief on the last 100 years of temperature records. Clearly, 100 years versus 4.6 billion years is a rather insignificant sample. But we don’t even have to go that far to show how absurd that is. 100 years versus the 400,000 years of ice core data (which you continue to ignore) is a rather insignificant sample. Even the United Nations admits that small sample size dramatically impacts conclusions reached.

    You ask why I say 95% on man is ridiculous? Well, volcanoes alone account for 3% of CO2 emissions themselves. 9% of CO2 is attributable to agriculture, with much of that being related to the methane that cattle produce as the result of their digestion. Now factor in magnetic field decreases, earthquakes tilting the Earth’s axis (which happens suddenly) and anyone who is at all objective starts to see that the 95% factor, which is pulled out of thin air as a guess to support a particular narrative, is absurd on its face.

    By the way, see this EPA information on the cattle: http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/sources/agriculture.html

    If you want to debate please cite facts, not conclusions. I’ve cited tons of facts and you think your disagreeing is somehow a fact. What is clear is you really don’t know much about the issue, and I have a great deal of knowledge on the subject.

    -Gene

  49. Bob Smith April 14, 2015 6:59 pm

    Hi again Gene

    I have the feeling that you are a profoundly decent and honest person. This debate about climate destabilisation, is it a serious problem, is it us doing it, is a real minefield. I can see where you are coming from on this and I think we would agree that the consequences of cutting carbon emissions by anything like what science is suggesting would be horrendous economically. Probably similar to a major conflict so we really need to be certain that action (dreaded regulation etc) actually is necessary. Early in your article you state “Mainstream scientific publications are finally starting to recognize that for most of the last generation there is no evidence of global warming”. As a lawyer you know you need to be careful and accurate. If your statement had been no evidence of atmospheric warming then it would be true. But there is evidence of global warming and it is the Argo float data plus real melting and shriveling etc which is very hard to discount. In the same way to focus on the Antarctic and ignore the Arctic situation sounds selective and unbalanced. Maybe you could read some of Prof Hansen’s book Storms of my Grandchildren which has a pretty good explanation of the glaciation cycles in terms of orbital geometry. At some point in dealing with a problem you do form a belief and act on it, particularly when you need to be proactive. When you have a sick child you act when it seems they display symptoms, you would not wait to see if they became very unwell. We already know that we can affect the atmosphere from the ozone hole issue. Because we acted the problem will heal in 60 years or so. I would agree we need to be more certain in acting with climate change. Has it occured to you that you may be putting an economic/political slant on the evidence and not taking an holistic view? Bob

  50. bfl April 14, 2015 7:26 pm

    Gene, you’re a good IP blogger with clear subject matter expertise, but when you suggest that people can better inform themselves about climate change by reading your blog, when you have no subject matter expertise beyond google is pretty arrogant. As has been pointed out by several people, the overwhelming majority of scientists who are actually qualified, work and publish in the field agree that there climate change is happening, and that humans are the primary cause. What gives you the expertise to refute them?
    And yes, there is a consensus. You refer to ‘highly reputable’ sources, and then link to three opinion pieces, all from new media with a clear editorial bias, and one of which doesn’t even mention the consensus at all except in the context of the leaked e-mails. That is not refuting a consensus.

    The Perdue study that you seem so keen on surveyed just 19 climatologists. The primary target of that survey was farmers. You say it surveyed ‘hundreds’ of scientists but there were two ‘cross-disciplinary’ groups of scientists, total n 154, response 122, and no breakdown of their climate expertise. Only 19 actual climatologists were surveyed, and while 53 % of them agreed with the statement that climate change is caused by human activities, a further 37% agreed that human activity is at least partially responsible. Only 5% (i.e. one respondent) was of the view that climate change was mostly natural. Hardly compelling evidence for a lack of consensus, one person?

    Perhaps you would care to comment on the several pieces of actual peer reviewed scientific research (i.e. not opinion pieces) that show that there is overwhelming scientific consensus?

    Oreskes et al, 2004, Science: A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject ‘global climate change’ (928 total) published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused (Oreskes 2004). 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way (focused on methods or paleoclimate analysis).

    Doran et al 2009, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union – A survey of 3146 earth scientists, more than 90% of whom had PhDs. Overall, 82% of the scientists answered yes. However, what are most interesting are responses compared to the level of expertise in climate science. Of scientists who were non-climatologists and didn’t publish research, 77% answered yes. In contrast, 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded yes.

    Anderegg 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, survey of all climate scientists (1372) who have publicly signed declarations supporting or rejecting the consensus, finding that 97-98% support it.’

    Cook et al 2013, Environmental Research Letters, survey of 11,944 peer reviewed scientific papers in the climate literature authored by nearly 30,000 scientists. They found that over 97% of the papers taking a position on the subject agreed with the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of the project, the scientist authors were emailed and rated over 2,000 of their own papers. Once again, over 97% of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming agreed that humans are causing it.

    This page expands this research in more detail, and provides the lists of the dozens of national and international scientific bodies that publicly support the consensus:

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

    The petition of 31,000 ‘scientists’ that you referred to is a well known piece of anti-climate-change propagandising rubbish. The petition project website even provides a breakdown of the areas of expertise who have signed the petition. The number of signatories who have expertise in climatology? 39, along with 113 in atmospheric science. So less than 0.5% of individuals who have signed the petition actually claim to have a background in climate change science or any relevant expertise. Furthermore the page does not actually break out the names of those who claim to be experts in this field, making it completely unverifiable. The majority of names on the petition provide no information at all other than their name. This is not evidence that there is a lack of consensus among climate change scientists, i.e. people with relevant expertise. A further debunking can be found:
    https://www.skepticalscience.com/OISM-Petition-Project.htm
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-grandia/the-30000-global-warming_b_243092.html

  51. Gene April 14, 2015 8:00 pm

    Bob-

    I think the political slant clearly comes from those who say there is clearly global warming. It is interesting to consider pointing out that there is no evidence of a warming trend, as Nature and others do, is political. I suppose to the extent it questions the liberal orthodoxy it must be political.

    The debate used to be about global warming and when there isn’t evidence to support that any more it morphs into climate change, but with all the same political considerations in place and need to blame man rather than nature. We need internstional agreements, more taxes and greater government spending. Did it ever cross your mind that there is a political agenda?

  52. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 8:37 pm

    bfl-

    It is Purdue, not Perdue.

    It is curious that you cite so many studies that support you and then when it comes to studies that you disagree with you merely say they are well known propaganda. Funny. Although, I will say that the the Purdue study (notice the spelling) and the propaganda, as you call it, do pretty clearly show that there is not the overwhelming consensus. So too does the Nature article.

    Hey… wait a minute… what are those arrogant folks doing writing in Nature, or Scientific American or on NASA’s website. They have no right to present fact!

    As far as my arrogance, I don’t see where you refuted any of the facts or science I presented. If you are going to say I have no expertise and should keep my mouth shut perhaps you should concern yourself with fact and prove me wrong.

    You are a joke. Completely ignorant.

    -Gene

  53. Gene Quinn April 14, 2015 8:44 pm

    bfl-

    It is also interesting that you say I have no right to an opinion because I’m just an IP blogger. Exactly what right do you have to an opinion? You are anonymous with a hotmail e-mail address and seem unfamiliar with Purdue University. Yet you believe you have enough knowledge to lecture me. That is hilarious really.

    You have an opinion and choose to ignore scientific fact in order to cling to your opinion. That is the height of ignorance.

    -Gene

  54. bfl April 14, 2015 9:59 pm

    Gene,

    I didn’t say the any studies (sic) that I disagreed with were well known propaganda. You referred to exactly one study that you allege shows there is no evidence of a consensus. I provided a rebuttal by actually engaging with the content of the article and pointing out that the methodology used does not support the conclusion that you are drawing from it.

    As I pointed out, the Purdue study was a survey of farmers. (Sorry about the spelling, by the way, as a non US resident my ignorance of second-rate US universities obviously makes me a complete ignoramus in all matters). The survey included 19 people identified as climate scientists. 19 people, 17 of whom actually agreed in full or in part with the consensus, does not provide a rebuttal of the consensus that humans are causing climate change.

    The ‘propaganda’ I referred to was only in the context of the petition. However, I did not ‘merely’ dismiss it as propaganda. I pointed out precisely what was wrong with it – only 39 of the signatories of the 31,000 actually claim to be climate scientists, and even that claim is unverifiable. Over 3000 of the signatories are medical practitioners, for crying out loud. Again, that petition is not credible evidence of lack of consensus among climate scientists, i.e. the people who know what they are talking about.

    Even under the most generous interpretation, the two pieces of ‘evidence’ that you cite as lack of consensus have no more than 300 people who actually have climate science expertise. The pieces of evidence I presented (which you have ignored) present over 35,000 people with actual climate science expertise (you know, people with actual qualifications and who publish in peer reviewed journals on climate science) who agree with the consensus.

    I asked you to comment on the research that shows that there is a consensus, as did John B, and you have ignored it, as apparently the one piece of research that you have presented trumps it all, although you fail to explain why it is superior to all the other studies (because quite clearly, it isn’t).

    I also didn’t say you have no right to an opinion. I said you had no right to lecture other people to better inform themselves about climate science by reading your blog, because you don’t have the relevant expertise. People can better inform themselves about IP by reading your blog. That’s why I read it, because you actually have relevant expertise in that topic that means that you usually have something interesting and pertinent to add to the debate.

    And you’re right, I don’t have relevant expertise in climate science either. I never claimed to. That’s why I refer to the experts. If you’re sick, what do you do? Go to the doctor or self medicate based on a Google search? If your car breaks down, what do you do? Call a mechanic or take it apart yourself because you found a WikiHow article? Obviously you call the expert, otherwise the chances are that you will make things worse. In this case you want information about climate science. What do you do? Ask a climate scientist. Over 97% of them will tell you that climate change is real and that humans are causing it.

    (By the way, you mention NASA as having relevant expertise. It supports the consensus:
    http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/)
    As do those folks at Scientific American
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2014/01/10/about-that-consensus-on-global-warming-9136-agree-one-disagrees/)

    In your responses to me you have:
    Ignored the evidence I presented
    Ignored the rebuttal I presented of the evidence you but forward
    Misrepresented my comments
    Used a derogatory and insulting tone, and various ad hominem arguments (so what if I have a hotmail address? How is that relevant?)

    And yet you say you are willing to engage in real debate?

  55. DennisA April 15, 2015 5:25 am

    Bob Smith

    “hope that I will find something that convinces me that the warming that is so evident in alpine glaciers and other evidence is not something to be concerned about.”

    Glaciers were of great concern during the Little Ice Age:

    Brian Fagan, Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Niño and the Fate of Civilizations (Basic Books, 1999).

    “Some of the greatest suffering came in the shadow of the Alps. In June 1644, a
    procession of three hundred people led by the bishop of Geneva, Charles de
    Sales, made its way high in the Alps to “the place called Les Bois above the
    village where hangs, threatening it with total ruin, a great and terrible glacier come down from the top of the mountain.” The villagers had good reason
    to worry, for the Les Bois glacier was advancing “by over a musket shot [120
    meters] every day, even in the month of August.” The bishop duly blessed the
    glacier and repeated his invocations at a whole ring of ice sheets, which hemmed in seven small villages.”

    Was that normal? Is that what you would like Alpine glaciers to be like? They eventually retreated, but how, without the posited modern day AGW?

  56. DennisA April 15, 2015 6:10 am

    DG:

    “Then I watched a documentary (Vice, HBO) that interviewed Dr. Eric Rignot, a glaciologist who has been onsite in the Antarctic for decades studying the ice. He explained that as the deep ice melts, the ice left at the surface continues the cyclic freezing and thawing process, much like ice on a pond, spreading at the surface only.”

    In 2006, Rignot was predicting catastrophe in the Arctic:
    “Global warming is propelling Greenland’s glaciers off the land in a lemming-like rush and dumping nearly twice as much ice into the Atlantic Ocean as five years go, a NASA scientist said yesterday. The glacier surge, unknown until it was discovered by a Canadian radar satellite, means sea levels worldwide are rising much faster than predicted.”

    One wonders what he would have been saying in 1922, with this report carried in the NOAA archives:

    THE CHANGING ARCTIC. By GEORGE NICOLAS IFW. October 10 1922 The American consul at Bergen Norway , submitted the followlng report to the State Department, Washington

    “The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to
    a radicaf change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface.”

    Ice conditions were exceptional. In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. The expedition all but established a record, sailing as far north its 8l deg 29′ in ice-free water. This is the farthest north ever reached with modern ceanographic apparatus. The character of the waters of the great polar basin has heretofore been practically unknown. Dr. Hoel reports that he made a section of the Gulf Stream at 81 deg north latitude and took soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters. These show the Gulf Stream very warm, and it could be traced as a surface current till beyond the 81st parallel. The warmth of the waters makes it probable that the favorable ice conditions will continue for some
    time.

    In connection withDr Hoel’s report, it is of interest to note the unusually warm summer in Arctic Norway and the observations of Capt. Martin Ingebrigtsen, who
    has sailed the eastern Arctic for 54 years past. He says that he first noted wanner conditions in 1915, that since that time it has steadily gotten warmer, and that to-day the Arctic of that region is not recognizable as the same region of 1865 to 1917.

    There were few seal in Spitzbergen waters this year, the catch being far under the average. This however did not surprise the captain. He pointed out that formerly the waters about Spitzbergen held an even summer temperature of about 3 derees celcius; this year recorded temperatures up to 15 degrees and last year the ocean did not freeze over even on the north coast of Spitzbergen”

    The Arctic circle is located at 66°33?45.7?. The North Pole is of course at 90 degrees, so 81 degrees was not very far from the pole. Even back to the 20’s is a short time scale, so the hysteria about shorter term changes of a few years is quite ridiculous and unscientific. The conditions described are far greater than the recent satellite history in the Arctic. If something has happened before, then current climate is not unique and if previous climate events were before the current day emissions of CO2, then CO2 cannot be implicated, no matter how much wriggling and twisting is done by John Cook at the bizarrely named Skeptical Science.

  57. Anon April 15, 2015 7:37 am

    “This too shall pass”

    Climate changes – that is what it does.

  58. Bob Smith April 15, 2015 7:49 am

    Hi Gene

    I agree with you that in any Chicken Licken type scare the question of who might be benefiting or pushing an agenda is very sensible. Also who might be seeking to exploit a real world shock should be considered. There is no doubt that in the early 2000’s some scientists leaped on the funding bandwagon and there were some alarmist and bad science in that period. They tend to be exposed over time. The first time the warming scenario was described in a really credible source was the last presidential science report to Eisenhower (think 1960). We now know as your historical graphs show that the climate has been quite finely balanced. The perturbation from our digging and drilling then burning very large amounts of fossil carbon is something very unusual in earths history. The speed this has happened is i think unprecedented. So we should be wary of trying to fit what is happening into longer term cycles. On the face it of we should be expecting another ice age to begin but we already know that is not going to happen probably from our agriculture over the millennia but now certainly from the carbon burning and all the other gasses like methane and NO. If only it was not happening but it certainly seems like it is. There comes a time when we should abandon false hope. Bob

  59. Anon April 15, 2015 8:16 am

    I provide the following link, knowing that the author himself has a vested interest (and uses “loaded” emotional-laden words, as one who has studied and practiced to be a “journalist” is apt to do).

    I do this NOT to provoke (necessarily 😉 ), but rather to show that the use of labels themselves – in this piece, the label of “denier” – is used strictly for emotive impact.

    The piece itself suffers from its own “fatal flaw” in that it becomes less and objective view, and more a polemic geared to a one-sided philosophical end.

    Without further ado, the piece by Kurt Cobb:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fatal-flaw-climate-change-debate-192701524.html

  60. A Rational Person April 15, 2015 9:16 am

    Gene,

    Saying that the Antarctic ice expanding proves climate change is not happening, is like saying that the unusually cold winter in the Eastern US this year shows that climate change is not happening.

    I have a degree in chemistry and the following has been the general consensus for a long time now:

    Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.

    Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb radiation emitted from the surface of the earth and re-radiate part of the absorb heat back towards the earth an into the lower atmosphere, thereby causing the average surface temperature of the earth to be higher than it would be if the greenhouse gases were not present.

    So, an increase in any greenhouse gas would be expected to increase the surface temperature of the earth over what it would be otherwise.

    The source of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is irrelevant: man-made carbon dioxide looks just like carbon dioxide given off by plants, volcanoes, etc.

    So if there is more carbon dioxide in the air now, a chemist or physicist would expect there to be some degree of warming of surface temperatures. How much warming is open to debate.

    The climate, like the weather, is a non-linear system. Therefore, for example, if global warming was occurring, there would not be a smooth correlation between an increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and increasing surface temperatures and it would even be possible for some regions of the world to be colder than normal even as other regions of the world are hotter than normal. And this is indeed what appears to be happening.

    My conclusions based on my background in chemistry and physics, what I have read and my reading of history:

    Predicting the degree of global warming due to increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still pretty much guess-work, because climate is a non-linear system and its operation is also not fully understood.

    So my expectation is that global warming is probably happening, until someone can explain to me satisfactorily why the greenhouse effect is no longer occurring on the planet Earth.

    However, I am skeptical about anyone who can predict the precise degree of warming to expect on the next 10, 20, 30+ years.

    Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of global warming, if there is even only a 5% chance it is occurring it is something we need to take precautions against.

    Convincing the people of the world to not increase their standard of living much less reduce their standard of living by using fewer fossil fuels is not going to happen anytime soon.

    Therefore, our focus with respect to reducing or preventing global warming should be on developing technology that takes carbon dioxide out of the air, and, ideally, that allows us to take the carbon from the carbon dioxide and put it in a more useful form such as plants, wood, coal, gas, oil, plastic, etc.

  61. Gene Quinn April 15, 2015 9:34 am

    Bob-

    In all seriousness, I think two things have so skewed the debate that it is impossible to have a rationale conversation any more. Those two things are politics and political correctness. I don’t know how you can divorce the two from the conversation, which is very problematic. I am deeply troubled that those who believe in global warming have for so many decades stifled any contrary science or thought, even as their doomsday predictions were proving wrong.

    Personally, I wish we were spending more time considering why the temperature has moderated over the last 10,000 years. That is the history of modern man and according to the ice core temperature data it is the only time over the last 400,000 years that temperatures have not been swinging radically between what appears to be an absolute maximum and an absolute minimum. Maybe someday the critical questions will get the scientific treatment they deserve without “skeptic” or “denier” being attached to those who are pursuing the science from a different perspective.

    -Gene

  62. Gene Quinn April 15, 2015 9:42 am

    A Rational Person-

    Just to be clear, I never said that the fact that ice is expanding in Antarctic is prove that climate change is not happening. In this article and every article I’ve written on the topic over the years I have agreed that climate change is in fact happening. That the climate is changing is hardly surprising.

    What I have done is point to a number of scientific facts that man-made global warming advocates refuse to even consider. Ice expansion is one of those inconvenient truths that do not fit within the narrative neatly so it doesn’t get discussed or considered. Also not considered tilting of the Earth’s axis, which we know will happen and will have dramatic impact on climate. Also not considered is the weakening of the magnetic field or increased radiation from the sun. Also not considered is the trend for the last 17 years that shows no warming; what Nature refers to as “missing heat.”

    I challenge the mythology that claims man in 95% responsible for the warming. Man isn’t even 95% responsible for greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere. So I challenge the radical beliefs of the zealots who refuse to take fact into account.

    I also find it enormously funny that so many protesters always arrive by private jet, yacht or Suburban and then preach about the need to use less fossil fuel. Frankly, the global warming cabal is performing a real life Monty Python skit it seems.

    -Gene

  63. John B April 15, 2015 9:44 am

    Gene,

    The concentration on the last 100 years or so is primarily because that is the period over which human-caused CO2 emissions have been significant. The last 400K years are interesting as they inform things like climate sensitivity, but the fact it was warmer at some time before humans walked the planet in no way refutes what the consensus says is happening now.

    In closing: I get the feeling you are new to this. You came across some website that laid out all those “arguments” (seen them all before) and you were seduced by them. Now go and take an unbiased look at the actual science.

    John (I’m done)

  64. John B April 15, 2015 9:50 am

    Gene,

    Sorry, just had to comment on 62. You have completely misunderstood the meaning of “95%”. It is not that we are responsible for 95% of the recent warming (actually, the consensus is that we are responsible for more that 100% over the last few decades as natural factors have acted downwards). It means that we have 95% statistical probability that the warming we have seen could not have been caused solely by natural variation. Very different.

  65. Gene Quinn April 15, 2015 9:51 am

    bfl-

    The funny thing here is that I point to 31,000 scientists that do not believe man is responsible as proof of the lack of a consensus, which of course it is. I haven’t ignored anything you said. I’m willing to admit that there are a lot of people who believe that man is completely responsible and nature plays no role, as ridiculous as that position is. Certainly there are surveys where there has been near unanimity of opinion in an homogenous group. Where your fallacy lies is in ignoring that at least 31,000 scientists disagree. That is conclusive proof that there is no consensus of opinion. When a lot of people one side say X and a lot of people on the other side say NOT-X, that means there is no consensus by definition.

    It is also extremely ignorant for you to think that only climate scientist have the right to a valid opinion. We know that preeminent climate scientists fabricated data and then they destroyed the raw data so we will never know what it actually said.

    It is also asinine to believe that other scientists and engineers have no valid point of view with respect to the climate, as if climate scientists are some kind of Einstein like bunch that know everything about everything. It is ridiculous to believe that others, like geologists, meteorologists, environmental scientists, engineers, biologists, chemists, etc. have no valid point of view.

    It is also interesting to watch you ignore the Purdue study because it is too small. Whatever you disagree with is problematic. Hilarious.

  66. Gene Quinn April 15, 2015 12:41 pm

    John B-

    You actually wrote that the consensus is that man is “responsible for more than 100%…”

    I’m speechless. Clearly you lack the capacity to engage in thoughtful debate.

    -Gene

  67. American Cowboy April 15, 2015 12:48 pm

    Gene, this is unlike you to get into protracted jousting with a poster.
    What up, dude?

  68. Gene Quinn April 15, 2015 1:02 pm

    AC-

    I hear you. Every once in a while I like to do this. Usually it is on Twitter, sometimes its hear. I knew this article would create this type of response. Those who believe in man made global warming couldn’t help themselves, and of course I knew they would refuse to address any of the scientific facts raised that may question the narrative. So I held the article to publish when I would be in the Office for a couple days straight knowing I would want to respond to the nonsense.

    All good fun exposing first level thinkers for what they are.

    -Gene

  69. John B April 15, 2015 1:14 pm

    Gene,

    Think about it. If (work with me here) man-made warming alone would have caused 2 degrees warming, but natural factors alone would have caused 0.5 degrees warming, then man-made would be responsible for 80% of the total 2.5 degrees. Are you with me so far?

    OTOH, if natural factors alone would have caused 0.5 degrees cooling, then man-made would be responsible for 133% of the 1.5 degrees total. It’s just math. Stop worrying about the politics for a moment and maybe you could see that.

    (yeah, I know I said I was done)

  70. Gene Quinn April 15, 2015 1:33 pm

    John B-

    Not that you had any credibility given you have continued to ignore the science fact I set out, make things up and pretend that conclusions are evidence. But justifying a ridiculous comment about man being responsible for more than 100% of global warming is completely asinine. Your inability to understand science is now completely understandable.

    -Gene

  71. John B April 15, 2015 1:50 pm

    Gene,
    Which particular “fact” do you think has not been addressed by me or one of the other commenters? Tell me that and I’ll have a go at it.
    – John

  72. Gene Quinn April 15, 2015 2:09 pm

    John B-

    I’m sorry, but I’m done with you. You haven’t responded to anything substantively, and if you actually think man is responsible for more than 100% of global warming there is no point even trying to have an intellectual discussion with you.

  73. John B April 15, 2015 2:20 pm

    Gene,

    Sorry I confused you by playing with math. If you could accept a statement like “over a given period, man was responsible for 50% of warming” (because natural factors were responsible for the remainder), then you should also be able to accept “over a given period, man was responsible for even more warming than we actually observed” (because, over the period in question, natural factors would have produced cooling). What I did was to state that mathematically.

    So, give me one more shot at addressing one of your “facts”. The reason I need you to name the fact is that you have shown that if I, or anyone else, picks on a fact to address, you complain that we have not addressed some other fact.

    If you really are done with me, then my last comment is addressed to your readers: I hope this guy gives better information IP matters that he does on climate. All his so-called facts are well-worn denier canards, relying on cherry-picking, taking out of context, irrelevances and, occasionally, abuse.

    John

  74. Bob Smith April 15, 2015 7:24 pm

    Dear Gene

    In your reply of 68 you say “I knew this article would create this type of response. Those who believe in man made global warming couldn’t help themselves, and of course I knew they would refuse to address any of the scientific facts raised that may question the narrative”. Maybe you should re-read this thread because there have been several people address some of your “facts” which you seem to ignore. Also relying on semantics like consensus of scientists as opposed to the correct consensus of climate scientists is a bit childish really. You invite debate and when you get a debate you ignore contrary evidence which is not very sensible, you should at least look at it. As is said you can have your own opinion but not your own facts. I feel sorry for you and I can empathise as I realised some time ago that I am not as clever as I thought I was. You have also been rude to people for no good reason and that indicates your frustration and intolerance. If it turns out that you are wrong on this Gene you may have to face the prospect of major change in the political landscape. This could even let loose socialists, be afraid Gene we have them here and they are even allowed out unaccompanied at night. They tax all your hard earned cash and build many windmills and possibly a tidal generation project or two. They may even ration petrol and diesel Gene and to think you might have been the one who could have prevented it by taking the problem seriously.

    It has been a real pleasure to chat good luck. Bob

  75. bfl April 15, 2015 7:30 pm

    Gene,

    Thank you for at least engaging with me on a mostly civil level this time around, although I see you can’t help but be snide at some points. You should work on that. It’s an attitude that does you no favours.

    Clearly we agree that the petition is irrelevant as evidence about whether or not there is consensus among climate scientists. If you read my original post, I stated that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists who actually work, publish and research in the field believe that climate change is real and humans are causing it. Nothing you have said refutes that. You even admit that there is consensus amongst a homogenous group. You carefully avoid mentioning that the homogenous group is climate scientists, i.e. the people who have relevant expertise in the field. That’s the point I was making.

    By the way, saying that you find my criticism of the Purdue study ‘hilarious’ is not a rebuttal. It’s an admission that you don’t have a rebuttal. I could quite easily say that I find your responses here hilarious, because you ignore and dismiss every piece of evidence that everyone presents in these comments that contradicts your narrative. Doing so, then accusing me of that is called hypocrisy. (By the way, note the spelling. It’s here, not hear, in this context. The Earth will be ‘here’, not ‘hear’ after we are long gone. Maybe you should proof read your articles).

    For example, you link to one study from NASA about Antarctic sea ice and claim that that is conclusive proof that warming is not happening, and claim that you are right because NASA says so. But you conveniently ignore the fact that the lead scientist of that article says that the Earth as a whole is still warming as expected (i.e. one single data point does not refute the whole hypothesis), that they are refining their models and they will be able to explain the Antarctic ice consistent with global warming, and you also ignore the reams of material on NASA’s website that provides other evidence for climate change:
    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    You are also incorrect. I have not ignored the Purdue study. I quite clearly pointed out the limitations of the study – namely that the sample size is too small to draw any valid conclusions about the consensus opinion of climate scientists. That is not ignoring, that is critically evaluating the evidence. It is what scientists do all the time. If my criticism is not valid, demonstrate why this is so. Explain why the Purdue study represents valid evidence for the consensus of opinion among climate scientists, despite the fact that it disagrees with four previously published studies, each of which has a sample size two or three orders of magnitude higher. Explain also how 19 climate scientists out of a field of at least 30,000 constitutes a representative sample, when mathematically that sample size gives you a less than 50% confidence level and a margin of error is over 20%? Explain the limitations of the studies I have presented, or concede that I am right, and the vast majority of climate scientists, i.e. people with relevant expertise on the subject agree that climate change is happening, and that humans are the primary cause.

    By the way, no one says that humans are the sole cause. You are misrepresenting the views of your opponents, which is a dishonest debating tactic. The IPCC report says that it is extremely likely that humans are the dominant cause of climate change, not the sole cause.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf

    The petition may be evidence that there is not consensus among the public at large, but so what? You will never get 100% consensus in the general public on anything. The overwhelming consensus among doctors is that homeopathy doesn’t work, but there are still plenty of people out there who ‘believe’ in it and use it. Are the doctors wrong or the homeopaths ignorant? People believe in a 7 day creation. Are the paleontologists and Earth scientists wrong, or the creationists ignorant? Heck, there are still people out there who believe the Sun goes around the Earth:
    http://www.genesis-creation-proof.com/geocentricity.html

    Is this ‘lack of consensus’ on the theories of homeopathy, evolution and gravity? Are the people who disagree with the experts geniuses who defy orthodoxy, or ignoramuses who need to inform themselves better? Why is climate science different?

    I will ask you again what John B asked and you never answered: what would consensus look like, to you? 97% of climate scientists, every world government, every scientific body of national and international standing that has expressed a view, all agree. If that is not consensus among the people who have relevant expertise in the field, what is?

    As for whether or not people who don’t have the expertise have a right to an opinion, it depends what you mean. If you mean ‘do they have the right to hold that opinion’, then yes, of course they do. If by opinion you mean ‘the right to present your views to others and have them taken seriously as a candidate for the truth’, then no, they do not. In a technical field that requires years of training to understand properly, you don’t have the right to have your views taken seriously by other people unless you can demonstrate relevant technical expertise.

    Who said that climate scientists know everything about everything? I said that they know about, guess what, climate science. You haven’t explained why biologists, chemists have a more valid point of view than climate scientists about climate science. If you think that chemists and physicists have more right to have their views taken seriously about climate science than climate scientists do, then clearly you must think that about every other scientific field too? If so, why don’t you come and see me next time you’re sick? I am not a medical doctor, but I am a scientist, and therefore I am clearly entitled to have my view about health matters, regardless of my complete lack of expertise on the topic. I can Google your symptoms and tell you what’s wrong with you. Who needs five years of training? If you think that is absurd, explain why climate science is any different.

    You seem to think that the entire field of climate science is wholly disreputable because of the actions of a few who allegedly fabricated data. There are a few things to say about this. Firstly, there have been multiple independent enquiries that have cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Climategate-CRU-emails-hacked.htm

    Secondly, you have quoted the e-mails out of context. You also say that they ‘destroyed’ raw data, but the enquiries found no actual evidence of that. As a lawyer you are presumably aware that you actually need evidence to substantiate an allegation? The e-mails discussed the possibility of destroying the data, but there is no evidence at all that they were actually followed up and the scientists did so. Those e-mails are no more proof that scientists destroyed the data than me saying ‘I might have chicken for dinner tonight’ is evidence of what I actually had for dinner.

    Finally, even if you do accept that a few climate scientists fabricated data, so what? There are bad actors in every field, as you well know. You can’t say ‘a couple of rogue climate scientists fabricated data, therefore everyone who works in the entire field is not to be trusted’. That is a hasty generalisation fallacy. Do you say that all pharmaceutical companies and the entire clinical trial system is corrupt and broken because Merck withheld and fabricated data about Vioxx? Do you say that the entire field of stem cell research is invalid and all geneticists are corrupt because Hwang Woo-suk fabricated stem cell data? Of course not.

    As you are fond of arguing day in, day out on this blog, there are bad actors in the patent system who abuse it, yet this is not evidence that the patent system is broken and needs reform, or that all patentees are bad. So explain again why climate science should be different? Why are one or two bad actors in climate science evidence that all climate scientists are not to be trusted, but the same argument is not true for other sciences, or in the IP space?

    I have conclusively proved that the majority of climate scientists and people who actually understand the science and know what they are talking about consider the point settled: climate change is real and that humans are the primary cause. And yet you continue to reject their views out of hand (calling them ridiculous). So in essence, you are arguing:

    After ten minutes on Google, Gene Quinn knows more about climate science that tens of thousands of climate scientists who work, publish and research in the field and have years of training.
    Climate science is different from all other sciences and technical fields, and it’s completely legitimate for lay people with no understanding of the nuances and scientific basis involved to lecture people on the subject and to have their views taken more seriously than those of the experts.
    Climate science is different from all other sciences and technical fields, as the actions of a couple of possible bad actors in the field who were completely exonerated from any wrongdoing are conclusive proof that the entire field is corrupt and not to be trusted, rather than an isolated incident.

    So, blog readers, who do you trust to inform you about climate science?

    NASA?
    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
    The American Meteorological Society?
    http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781935704737?redirected=true&v=A75X6&selectCurrency=AUD&gclid=CPCyoKS3-cQCFQQGvAoduowA5Q
    The Royal Society of the UK and the National Academy of Sciences of the USA?
    https://royalsociety.org/~/media/Royal_Society_Content/policy/projects/climate-evidence-causes/climate-change-evidence-causes.pdf
    97% of climate scientists?
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article
    The UK Met Office?
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide/climate-change/why/causes
    The IPCC report endorsed by every major world government and scientific organisation?
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf

    Or Gene Quinn, IP expert, who with no relevant training, expertise or experience in climate science knows more than all of them thanks to his Google search?

    I leave it to you to decide.

  76. Gene Quinn April 16, 2015 9:22 am

    bfl-

    You say: “Clearly we agree that the petition is irrelevant as evidence about whether or not there is consensus among climate scientists.”

    And this is why it is impossible to have an intellectually honest discussion with you or anyone who is compelled to believe the global warming narrative. The petition is not irrelevant. There is no consensus among scientists. 31,000 scientists disagree and you can’t just pretend that isn’t true. You can pretend that only climate scientists have a right to an opinion, but that would be rather ridiculous given that the climate is a complex system and many disciplines and sub-disciplines are involved. Scientists and engineers other than those who call themselves climate scientists have valid and scientifically thoughtful opinions. That you disagree is really more of a YOU problem.

    You also say: “After ten minutes on Google, Gene Quinn knows more about climate science that tens of thousands of climate scientists…”

    I’ve researched and written on this topic for a long time. Far more than 10 minutes. I also do have relevant scientific training in the area. I also don’t fabricate data, nor do I destroy raw data, which distinguishes me from many of the so-called preeminent climate scientists in the world.

    You say: “So, blog readers, who do you trust to inform you about climate science?”

    This article cites to Nature, Scientific American and NASA, among others. The problem you have is that you want to pick and choose which facts you accept as real, which is not intellectually honest (to say the least).

    Moving forward, if you want to comment please provide your real name. If you are going to ignore science fact I think we have the right to know who you are so everyone can evaluate who you are, what you know and why it might be that you choose to ignore scientific truths that call into question your preferred narrative.

    -Gene

  77. Gene Quinn April 16, 2015 9:33 am

    Bob-

    The only thing that was childish was thinking that a fact based article would possibly lead to people like you accepting truths.

    You say that several people have addressed my facts, but the only one people discussed was Antarctic ice and even then they disagreed with NASA. I choose to accept NASA rather than anonymous commenters who reach conclusions. No one has addressed the ice core data (also NASA data) because they can’t. Ice core data is what it is and tells a different long term story than the global warming narrative, which I understand is an inconvenient truth. Likewise, no one has challenged that there was a massive earthquake in Japan (thank goodness) or that it tilted the Earth’s axis. Simple geometry and observation of the seasons and the effect of the angle of the sun’s rays on temperature should conclusively prove to anyone even casually interested and at all objective that tilting of the Earth’s axis will have enormous climate implications. It should be equally self evident that man didn’t tilt the Earth’s axis, although it was pure hubris to put a nuclear reactor on a fault. Still further, no one has challenged the implications of the magnetic field decreasing, or that it is decreasing. Further still, no one has challenged the journal Nature saying (and trying to explain) why there is so-called “missing heat” that should be there but isn’t there as we enter now the 17th year without temperature rises that are predicted.

    So you and others can make fun of me if you want, but everything I’ve said in this thread and everything written in the article is perfectly accurate and scientifically true. I’ve cited leading authorities for each proposition. That shouldn’t, however, imply that I don’t understand the science or that I am not highly knowledgeable about climate science or climate data. It is to provide authentication for what I knew others with an agenda would question.

    Finally, you say it is childish to say that 31,000 scientists disagree that man is responsible for climate change. Apparently you are also of the belief that only climate scientists matter. Of course, we know that leading climate scientists fabricated data and then destroyed the raw data so no one would ever know what it showed. Seems a rather suspect group to trust if we are being perfectly honest. Furthermore, not only do scientists of other disciplines have peculiar knowledge on a variety of subjects that makes their opinions incredibly important, but the Purdue University study included climate scientists. I know the study wasn’t as big as you would like, but that doesn’t mean the study never happened. And only 50% of climate scientists told Purdue University that they believed man was the cause of climate change. When the sample was opened to all scientists that number rose to 53%.

    Moving forward, if you want to comment please verify Bob Smith is your real name, or provide your real name. If you are going to ignore science fact I think we have the right to know who you are so everyone can evaluate who you are, what you know and why it might be that you choose to ignore scientific truths that call into question your preferred narrative.

    -Gene

  78. Bob Smith April 16, 2015 12:40 pm

    Dear Gene

    My name is Robert Anthony Hodson-Smith, known as Bob Smith. I live in Pentrecagal near Castell Newydd Emlyn in Cymru (Wales) in UK. I was a computer and software engineer and worked on cryptographic systems for banks, a project for GCHQ and finally control room safety systems for UK nuclear power stations until 1993 when I was fired for telling Nuclear Electric UK that the Magnox safety system I had designed as project manager for them was not going to be tested by the company I worked for. That was the end of me economically. Since then I and my partner have been working on action on climate change projects informed by the wisdom of the Buddha. My first occupation was in the British Army where among other things I drove bomb disposal in Belfast in the 70’s. I always got on well with US soldiers on joint exercises in Germany and had a great deal of respect for them.

    When I was working on the Nuclear Safety systems I learned something about risk assessment and precaution. I sincerely hope that you are correct in your assertions that in effect there is nothing much to worry about but quite honestly Gene it does not look likely. What really concerns us is that the climate scientists and the huge amount of research they have done and published turns out be broadly correct, What that means is that there is a warming spike coming. This could easily result in unstoppable revolutionary pressures in UK USA and other industrial nations that have been ignoring the problem in favour of business as usual. Ordinary people will find themselves too economically legally and politically constrained to be able to act and looney revolutionists will have a field day against states that have become so intolerant and reactionary that they are sitting targets.

    One of the things we have been involved in was the UK climate camp movement as a non violent safety valve for mostly young people who were concerned. In that process I got to meet some of our proto revolutionist and I tell you Gene they are really scary, cold, ruthless, arrogant and become everything they are opposed to.

    So thats me and what I do, you can inspect the details on 4nobletruths.org or ruralskillstrust.org. If you like the idea of insurance then you will find details on 4nobletruths.org of how to donate to support us.

    Bob Smith

  79. bfl April 16, 2015 5:07 pm

    Editorial Note: As promised, comment deleted because bfl refused to provide information regarding his credentials, name, knowledge or agenda after calling into question the credentials of others who, apparently shouldn’t have an opinion on this subject because they are not climate scientists. Comments will be allowed if/when he chooses to come out of the darkness and explain why he has superior knowledge that satisfies his own standard for offering an opinion.

  80. Anon April 27, 2015 7:28 am

    Now on page 4 (as of today), there is little chance this will revive the discussion, but I place the link for ease of access next timethe topic comes up.

    http://philadelphia.suntimes.com/phi-news/7/96/117348/map-u-s-climate-change-beliefs/

    I cannot vouch for the veracity of the data source (something which should not be assumed), but still, the graphs can be seen to align with a prototypical bi-coastal liberal bent. Add in California’s current drought conditions, and a clear takeaway is that “Global Warming,” oops, sorry, “Climate Change” has very clear elements of being an excuse looking for a problem to be excused.

    Do we – as humans – affect our bio-system? You bet. Is our bio-system endangered? Meh, I think only to the extent that we may lose our position due to our own overloading of the system – and that is NOT a global warming or climate change discussion.

    You cannot get the “right” answers if you are not asking the “right” questions.

  81. step back April 27, 2015 7:47 am

    Anon

    Worry not
    Your words have been read

    As for surveys and what we human critters “believe” –Mother Nature isn’t one that listens to monkey noises. She will do per her laws irrespective of our surveys and beliefs.

  82. Anon April 27, 2015 9:18 am

    Thanks step back,

    I would even dare say that “Mother Nature” will “do per her laws” irrespective of our own feeble attempts to draw a map to those laws (albeit, I risk conflating the discussion with one of drawings of pipes… 😉 )

  83. step back April 27, 2015 2:03 pm

    “our own feeble attempts to draw a map to those laws”

    Feeble attempts whose weak points SCOTUS fails to comprehend.
    Leave alone that the word “natural” is a nounce word and therefore talking about “natural” phenomenon, “natural” laws, “abstract ideas”, basic tools of science, etc. is talking gobbledygook –something SCOTUS has expertise in.

  84. Steven Tucker June 12, 2015 12:23 pm

    Thank you for perhaps the most intelligent, well-explained secondary source article I have read. As I try to explain the science to non-scientists, it often gets lost in translation to English. I will bookmark this page and use it to supplement the physics/thermodynamics lectures 🙂

    For others who are believers to the core and also believe that those of us who are not buying it are denying reality, please be assured that reality is not my issue, and data is not being ignored. It is only methodology of analysis, application and translation of modeling, and lack of valid conclusion that I find issues with – In other words, reality – yes, it’s real. Fantasies about cause, process, and effects dreamed up by IPCC “scientists” – yes, it’s a fantasy.

    As for doing something about it – well, do what about what? How about we pick some real problems that we can act on with some certainty that what we do will address the problem we are addressing. To attempt to fix a problem we do not understand with a solution for we do not know what we are solving sounds like an unsound idea, to me.

    BTW I am engineering physics and applied linguistics educated…