I know it’s a tough job – but let’s just check the International Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC) iconic, widely-quoted conclusion* and parse its meaning:
“Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.”
How should one interpret this ex cathedra declaration to the faithful?
IPCC helpfully defines ‘very likely’ as ‘90-99% certain’, but they don’t tell us how they reached such well-defined certainty.
What remarkable unanimity!
Just how many and whom did they poll?
IPCC doesn’t define the word ‘most.’ We may assume it means anything between 51 and 99%. Quite a spread.
But a footnote informs us that solar forcing is less than 10% of anthropogenic [0.12/ 1.6 W/m2]; so ‘most’ must be closer to 99% than to 51%.
OK; let’s check out the data since 1958. But we don’t want to rely on contaminated surface data – which IPCC likely used – although they omitted to say so.
Atmospheric data were readily available to the IPCC in the CCSP-SAP-1.1 report (Fig 3a, p.54; convening lead author John Lanzante, NOAA), with independent analyses by Hadley Centre and NOAA that agree well. And further, according to GH models, atmospheric trends should be larger than surface temperature trends.
1958 – 2005: Total warming of +0.5 C (But how much of that is anthropogenic?)
1958 - 1976: Cooling
1976 – 1977: Sudden jump of +0.5 C (Cannot be due to GHG.)
1977 – 1997: No detectable trend
1998 - 1999: El Nino spike
2000 – 2001: No detectable trend
2001 – 2003: Sudden jump of +0.3 C (Cannot be due to GHG.)
2003 – present: No trend, maybe even slight cooling
In conclusion: The IPCC’s ‘most’ is not sustained by observations; the human contribution is very likely only 10% or even less.
By Fred Singer, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, and holds a B.E.E. in Electrical engineering from Ohio State University and an A.M. and PhD in Physics from Princeton University.
*IPCC Synthesis Report, Summary for Policy Makers, November 2007
Photograph of Fred Singer taken in New York by Jennifer Marohasy in March 2008.
This note is from SEPP Science Editorial #17 (December 27, 08), ‘Keeping the IPCC honest’ http://www.sepp.org/
Fred’s Fearless Forecast for 2009: Continued ‘no warming’ – and much else
So here we have them: Obama’s three scientistsSteve Chu, John Holdren, and Jane Lubchenco. All with sterling credentials – a Nobel laureate in physics, a recent president of the AAAS, a recent head of the International Council of Scientific Unions – but with minimal knowledge of climate science, except what they may have gleaned from reading the IPCC summary. Yet all three seem supremely confident that they will drastically change US climate policy.
Well, let me be the first with the bad (for them) news: Within a year or so, they are going to be an awfully frustrated bunch.
My fearless forecast for 2009: Big amount of activity by Congress, with lots of ‘Cap&Trade’ bills to limit CO2 emissions. Waxman, Markey, and Pelosi in the House; Boxer, Lieberman, Bingeman, and maybe even McCain in the Senate. It will take off, but it won’t fly: There is the prohibitive cost of any real C&T, raising energy prices and killing jobs -- while the economy is in the dumps.
There is the horrible example of the European emission-trading brouhaha, falling apart even as we go to press. And after ten years, the climate is still refusing to warm. I am not even considering the threat of a filibuster in the Senatewith Democrats from ‘fly-over’ states joining Republican opponents of C&T.
I think that Obama is much too smart to devote political capital to doomed climate legislation. He has more important priorities, and must also be thinking of 2010 and, of course, the 2012 elections. Being a ‘one-term’ president just doesn’t look good. He will certainly go through the motions and come up with great rhetoric. He’ll trot out his science team – but to no avail.
Climate science isn’t going to figure prominently in the Congressional debates – alas; it’s all about economics and politics.
Now for the real action: Once legislation stalls, Carol Browner, the supreme ideologue and strategist, will go the regulatory route. EPA will try to treat CO2 as a ‘criteria pollutant’ under the terms of the Clean Air Act. But there will be litigation. EPA must demonstrate ‘endangerment’ and make a persuasive case that CO2 is a threat to ‘public health and welfare.’ Perhaps even show that there is a critical level of CO2 and demonstrate convincingly – in a court-of-law -- that its regulatory program will succeed in keeping CO2 from reaching that level. EPA will be required to respond to all the scientific evidence now in its docket that says CO2 is not a threat – including the NIPCC report. Here is where climate science will finally become all-important – but Obama’s science team will be of no help once cross-examination starts.
How much better if the three team members lay offclimate and devote their efforts and expertise to genuine problems: Holdren can handle nuclear proliferation and the rising threat of nuclear terrorism; Lubchenco can try to stem the over-exploitation of ocean resources, and look after fisheries and whales; Chu should be thinking about the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to various forms of nuclear energy and foster research that assures adequate and low-cost supplies of fissionable fuel for the more efficient and safer reactors of the future.
While this may be best use of their considerable collective talents, they will probably be pressed into service to back up Browner on her dubious climate science -- where they have negligible expertise.