Is it unreasonable to suggest his charge of theft against the fossil fuel industry is totally without merit?
The spinning from the climate industry in the wake of Climategate has been as fascinating as the incriminating emails themselves.
One demand being peddled by the powers-that-warm in Copenhagen and elsewhere is that we should all concentrate not on the damning emails, but on who was responsible for their “theft,” which had to be carried out for money, which in turn obviously came from the fossil fuel industry.
These guilty-until-proven-innocent villains have also been fingered by Canada’s warmist spinner-in-chief, Dr. Andrew Weaver. Dr. Weaver, who is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, claims that his office has been broken into twice, that colleagues have suffered hack attacks, and that mysterious men masquerading as technicians have attempted to penetrate the university’s data defences.
There have been no arrests, and there are no suspects, but Dr. Weaver has no problem pointing to the shadowy culprits — the fossil fuel industry — thus joining his colleagues in the left coast Suzuki-PR-industrial complex.
Is this what the scientific method looks like? Is Dr. Weaver’s hypothesis about fossil-fuel interests “falsifiable?” If Dr. Weaver has any evidence, he should produce it. Indeed, the University of Victoria should immediately launch an inquiry into these very serious allegations. Who knows what they might find? Was Dr. Weaver’s office the only office broken into? If other offices in non-climate departments of the university also had computers stolen, might this suggest that the thefts were not related to climate change? Is it unreasonable to suggest that Dr. Weaver’s charge against the fossil fuel industry is totally without merit?
Dr. Weaver has also been in the forefront of the warmist counterattack. On Monday, he co-authored a piece with Thomas Homer-Dixon in The Globe and Mail from which references to Climategate were conspicuously absent. The two academics boldly knocked down erroneous “skeptical” arguments without identifying who actually holds them. Strangely, apart from avoiding the “C” word, and appearing not to understand what solar climate theory actually involves, they also ignored the main point of scientific skepticism, which is that a link between human activity and a significant impact on the global climate has not been established. Meanwhile they make some distinctly dodgy arguments of their own.
They assert that the claim that warming has stopped is based on nefariously taking 1998 as a starting point. “The El Nino [ocean oscillation] event of 1998 was the strongest in a century,” they write, “so it’s not surprising that the planet’s surface temperature was sharply higher than it was in the years immediately before or after. To choose this year as the starting point for a trend line is misleading at best and dishonest at worst.”
Call the campus police! But hang on, who first cherry-picked 1998 as a significant year? Climate alarmists such as Dr. Weaver! Indeed, in a piece in the Financial Post in September 1999, in which he sought to refute an article by skeptic Fred Singer, Dr. Weaver cited Climategate emailer Michael Mann’s now-debunked hockey stick: “In the 1,000-year record,” wrote Dr. Weaver, “1998 represented the warmest year, the 1990s the warmest decade and the 20th century the warmest century.”
Far from citing El Nino as a factor in 1998, he quoted a study by paleoclimatologist Jonathan Overpeck that “failed to identify any natural mechanism for the unprecedented warming that led to 1998 being the warmest year in at least the past 1,200.”
Mr. Overpeck, for the record, had noted in 1998 that “It’s a good bet that the warming like we’re seeing now is going to continue for decades.” When it turned out to be a bad bet, at least for this decade, 1998 became a nuisance. However, Dr. Weaver tells us that “global temperatures are now about to resume their upward trend.”
But apart from his implicit request to “trust me,” doesn’t saying that they will “resume their upward trend” admit that they’ve been flat?
(Intriguingly, Dr. Overpeck also appears in the Climatic Research Unit emails giving some much more accurate advice to his colleagues: “Please write all emails as though they will be made public.”)
Getting back to 1999, Dr. Weaver went on to write: “I don’t understand Dr. Singer’s suspicion of government-funded scientists … Conspiracies require a motive, and I can’t fathom what advantage would accrue from a government plot of climate change misinformation.”
Anybody who can’t fathom how scientists might be corrupted by government money, or why politicians and bureaucrats might embrace a theory that promises huge new powers, betrays an otherworldly innocence that should never be let outside the ivory tower. (See Bret Stephens’ commentary elsewhere on this page) .Yet Dr. Weaver’s naïeveté about the political class appears to be matched by a corresponding cynical demonization of corporations. “I fear corporate lobbying has already created an era of misinformation,” he wrote in 1999, “and am extremely concerned about the disproportionate coverage the mainstream media gives to what is, in reality, negligible scientific controversy.”
We now know how Dr. Weaver’s colleagues manipulated the peer review process to make sure that controversy was as “negligible” as possible.
On Monday, Dr. Weaver and Mr. Homer-Dixon suggested that climate policy follows from climate science. This would not be true even if the science were well understood. But then Dr. Weaver has also written that he believes that climate change “presents a wonderful opportunity” for Canada to become “the world’s leading nation in the business of climate.” Which suggests that his knowledge of economics and economic history ranks with his grasp of human motivation.
In the light of all this, the conclusion of Monday’s piece ranks as chutzpah indeed: “The difference between science and ideology is that science tries to explain all known observations, whereas ideology selects only those observations that support a preconceived notion.”
Say, like 1998 being all about man-made climate change then, but, 10 years later, when the models are all falling apart, not so much?