Monday, 7 December 2009

The Science

The great Hot Air Conference gets underway today in Copenhagen, full of people out to shout a lot, fly in in private jets, move around in limousines (many of which have had to be imported from other countries such is the demand) berate deniers, wear blue face paint for some reason, talk about how long we have left to save the world and scrupulously avoid any questions about proof, evidence, questionable science or scientific method.

Yet it seems that there is, whatever the likes of Gordon Brown may say, a great deal of confusion over what the science actually says. So here, for the benefit of world leaders, politicians, posing eco -princes, environment correspondents and Times leader writers is a short summary of THE SCIENCE. Brought to you as a public service:

  • Proof of global warming or rising temperatures is not proof that greenhouse gases caused that warming. You can have as many pictures of melting glaciers, perfectly happy polar bears on icebergs (polar bears can swim great distances) and it proves only that we have seen a slight upward tick in temperatures in recent years.
  • The proof that should be there - namely a hot spot 10 kilometres high above the tropics is not there despite repeated attempts to find it. This is real established and accepted science and real missing evidence. You might even call it an inconvenient truth. If it were found it would be pretty conclusive evidence that CO2 is doing what is alleged. The fact that it is not there suggests that the warming we have seen is caused by something else.
  • The ice cores which have been used as proof actually reveal that CO2 levels in the past rose after temperatures. They were an effect not a cause. The lag is substantial - hundreds of years.
  • The warming has stopped during most of this decade. Yet CO2 is still being pumped out in record quantities. Why? The climate models cannot account for this and it is a major flaw in the theory as those leaked e-mails revealed. It doesn't mean that global warming has stopped it is true. But it does point to a cause other than CO2.
  • There is not a consensus or even anything like the majority of scientists in support of the theory that is alleged by the AGW advocates. Again as those e-mails revealed, the AGW industry has been self selecting in a wholly reprehensible and unscientific way. 9,000 Phd scientists signed a petition arguing that there was no convincing evidence that CO2 or other greenhouse gases are causing global warming or will cause runaway, catastrophic heating and disruption of the climate.
  • But even if there were a consensus this would be immaterial. Science works on evidence not consensus. And there have been plenty of times in the past when the consensus has been shown to be wrong, often by a lone maverick or genius. Copernicus for instance. Einstein. And don't talk about consensus to Rom Houben who spent 23 years in a coma and was conscious the entire time. The consensus was that he was brain dead and should be allowed to die until one doctor took another look.
  • Computer models are not evidence. They use a lot of assumptions and unproven theories about elements of climate that are poorly understood. They make for good media headlines but that is all. Furthermore climate modellers have shown a pronounced reluctance to share their data and methodologies with outside bodies. That is not how the scientific method is supposed to work.
  • And of course computer models failed to predict our current cooling phase. They cannot explain it. This means that they are wrong. Something else which we do not yet understand has been causing the warming.

I hope that has been some help to those who don't understand the science. You see it's not that complicated is it? It can be of course but that's often a way of blinding us with science rather than illuminating. The essential story is, as those scientists argued in their petition, there is no convincing evidence for AGW, that anything unusual is happening or that it is about to become catastrophically worse.

Enjoy Copenhagen. Wrap up warm!

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