Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally. So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That's not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle."
This report, that there's nothing to report, is newsworthy because of a growing buzz in lay and academic circles that something is wrong with the sun. Sun Goes Longer Than Normal Without Producing Sunspots declared one recent press release. A careful look at the data, however, suggests otherwise.
Mystification is the process of explaining away what might otherwise be evident.
– John Berger, Ways of Seeing
Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research is in a spot of bother at the moment.
On the one hand, the Hadley Centre is a firm believer in the hypothesis that humans are the main cause of global warming and that we’re heading toward catastrophe. It even devotes several of its web pages to waving a nagging finger at those foolish enough or unprincipled enough to believe otherwise.
On the other hand, the Hadley Centre, as part of the British Meteorological Office and one of the world’s foremost climate-monitoring sites, is also churning out data showing that the planet isn’t warming at the moment, and hasn’t for the past 10 years or so. Clearly, increasing human carbon emissions aren’t causing the expected warming.
Late last month, some leading climatologists and meteorologists met in New York at the Energy Business Watch Climate and Hurricane Forum. The theme of the forum strongly suggested that a period of global cooling is about emerge, though possible concerns for a political backlash kept it from being spelled out.
However, the message was loud and clear, a cyclical global warming trend may be coming to an end for a variety of reasons, and a new cooling cycle could impact the energy markets in a big way.
Words like “highly possible,” “likely” or “reasonably convincing” about what may soon occur were used frequently. Then there were other words like “mass pattern shift” and “wholesale change in anomalies” and “changes in global circulation.”
Why would anyone be a global warming denier? What's the point? You earn the scorn of Al Gore and maybe Dr. James Hansen, NASA's pre-eminent climate scientist will call for you to be put in jail. Of fossil fuel company CEOs, Hansen recently testified to Congress:
In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.
If Dr. Hansen turns out to be wrong about climate change should he be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors too? Steve McIntyre and his collaborators at climateaudit.org have already found one big error in Dr. Hansen's GISS global temperature data series. How many mistakes add up to a felony?
In proportion as religious sects exalt feeling above intellect, and believe themselves to be guided by direct inspiration rather than by a spontaneous exertion of their faculties — that is, in proportion as they are removed from rationalism — their sense of truthfulness is misty and confused.
– George Eliot, “Evangelical teaching: Dr. Cumming.”
After more than year’s intensive research for a book on the bizarre distortions that make up the global warming issue, I now wonder how anyone in the “consensus” climate scientist community sleeps at night. And yet, individually, I’m certain that 99 per cent of them are highly principled human beings.
If more climate scientists spoke out about what they really believe, here’s what I think the silent minority (majority?) might say:
Hello. I am a “consensus” climate scientist, and I must confess that I and many of my fellow climate scientists haven’t been entirely honest with the public over the last 20 years or so on the issue of global warming, what causes it, and what damage it is likely to cause. Therefore, I have decided to come clean and tell the public honestly what “consensus” climate science is really all about.
U.S. energy policy -- to stretch the meaning of the term - is appalling. It has been thrown together piece by piece over the decades to create a system that is dysfunctional, over complex, and internally contradictory. It is a system that victimizes American citizens, cripples the U.S. economy, makes the government a laughingstock, and empowers our enemies worldwide. While it's conceivable that somebody could actually design a policy that would do worse, they'd really have to work at it.
The only group in American that sees energy policy achieving some of their goals are the ones who oversaw its implementation from the beginning: the environmentalist Greens. It's obvious that our energy policy was intended not for the benefit of the public, or industry, or government, but almost solely to fit the agenda and goals of the Green movement, and not even the public agenda and goals, but the core agenda rarely referred to except through euphemism.
For a perfect example of what is meant by "gesture politics" - an empty pledge given solely for effect, which the politician has no hope of honouring - one could not do better than this week's commitment by the G8 leaders on how they want us to fight climate change.
Sitting on their cloud-wreathed Japanese mountain top, they solemnly agreed that, to halt global warming, their countries would aim by 2050 to halve their emissions of carbon dioxide.
A tiny indication of the fact that they didn't really have a clue what they were talking about was a slip by Japan's prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, when he had to be corrected for announcing that the CO2 cut would be measured from "1990 levels".