Projections vs. Data: The Death of Climate Change

by Walter Scott Hudson and Lord Christopher Monckton

Last week, Lord Christopher Monckton, former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, gave the keynote address at an event held at Bethel University in St. Paul hosted by the Minnesota Free Market Institute regarding climate change. Fightin Words immediately transcribed Monckton’s closing remarks, which included the alarming claim that President Barrack Obama was poised to sign a treaty at a United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen this December which will create a “communist world government.” That post garnered immediate widespread attention which has sustained over the weekend into this week. Lord Monckton was yesterday a guest on Glenn Beck’s radio program and has been scheduled for a television appearance on Beck’s Fox News program later this week.

While the enormity of Monckton’s claim regarding the Copenhagen treaty certainly deserves the consideration it has received, particularly in light of its substantiation via a copy of the treaty available on an official United Nations web site, it is also important to consider how the entire basis upon which the call for global government is justified is without merit. Anthropomorphic climate change is insignificant; such was the thesis of Monckton’s presentation at Bethel University. That message has, to some extent, been overshadowed.

Over the weekend, video of Lord Monckton’s presentation (available here) has been released by the Minnesota Free Market Institute. The institute reports the video has been viewed 12,000 times as of October 19th. The institute has also made available Lord Monckton’s fully annotated power point slide show which he referenced throughout his presentation. The purpose of this post is to provide a summary of that presentation for those with limited time or patience. One may find even this summary more lengthy than they have patience for. If so, please consider skipping to the final heading, where the newest and most relevant revelation can be found. Credit for all but a scant intrusion of summary among the following should go entirely to Lord Christopher Monckton, who graciously provided permission for his work to be reproduced and distributed.

Truth Matters

Scientists used to be rather beautifully described as “seekers after truth.” An ancient Middle Eastern mathematician and scientist, whose image today graces an Iraqi banknote, once stated, “The seeker after truth does not put his trust in any old consensus: he questions it, and submits his learning from it to reason and demonstration.” T. H. Huxley stated, “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” The scientific method is about checking. One does not accept a claim simply on the basis of popular acceptance. Truth is not discerned by majority vote. Science is not a belief system.

Forty years ago, DDT was banned. DDT was the only effective killer of the malaria mosquito. Before the ban, the inventor of DDT received the Nobel Prize for having crafted an agent which saved countless lives. Malaria, a killer of children in the Third World, had been all but eradicated. There were still 50,000 deaths per year. When DDT was banned, by the very same faction that is now claiming we need to close down 5/6 of the United States economy, the number of malaria deaths shot up to 1,000,000 and stayed there for 40 years. 40 million people, most of them children, died as a direct result of banning DDT for no good reason. When the ban was lifted in 2006, Dr. Arata Kochi of the World Health Organization stated, “Quite often in this field politics comes first and science second. We must take a position based on the science and the data.” In spite of this, the communistic left is once again campaigning for DDT to be banned. Likewise, the initial reaction to HIV by army scientists was to recommend those infected be humanly quarantined. Those recommendations were rejected by policy maker on ideological grounds. The result has been 25,000,000 dead and 40,000,000 infected according to the United Nations. Policy diverting food production to bio-fuels, again for “green” purposes, has resulted in the doubling of food prices. For those of us in the West, this is of little consequence. For those in the Third World, it has been utterly devastating, resulting in food riots and the inability for people to afford the mudpies (made with literal mud) they depend on to stay alive.

This is why it matters to get the science and morality which drives policy right, to not allow conclusions to be affected by anything more than fact. Lives are at stake. The responsibility of policy makers is to serve their constituents by making decisions informed with fact and motivated by truth.

But the environmental left does not care about truth, as our examination shall reveal. They also, as evidenced by their actions, do not care about deaths in the Third World. Rather, they are greatly dismayed by population growth and have, in many cases, openly called for massive population reduction. Regardless of whether population growth is a problem, and there is an argument that it is not, there is a better way to control population than unleashing the malaria mosquito, AIDS, and food shortages. It is called raising the standard of living. If people are wealthy, their populations stabilize. This is something that every demographer knows perfectly well. If the environmental left was really concerned with “saving the planet,” they would not be trying to make everyone poor and divested of responsibility through socialist economic policies; they would do everything in their power to make everyone rich and therefore eager to maintain the beauty and sustainability of their surroundings.

Lies With Intent

“Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen.” – Sir John Houghton

“We have to offer up scary scenarios.” – Stephen Schneider

“‘Global warming’ can mean colder. It can mean drier. It can mean wetter. That’s what we’re dealing with.” – Stephen Guilbeault, Greenpeace, 2005

“I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is.” – Al Gore

In Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, the infamous “hockey stick” graph, which Gore claims to represent the projected increase in global temperature if nothing is done to halt anthropomorphic climate change, contains an obvious flaw. If one looks closely at a freeze frame of the graph in the film, they will see it actually tracks backward at one point near the base of the “hockey stick.” This is a tell tale indication that the line was arbitrarily drawn rather than construed from any actual data.

In October of 2007, a lorry-driver with two school-age children took Her Majesty’s Department of Education to court for proposing to circulate Al Gore’s climate movie to every school in England. He won his case after demonstrating only nine of the several errors in the film. They are as follows: that the sea would go up 20 feet, that the Pacific atolls would need to be evacuated, that the ocean conveyor would stop, that the “snows of Kilimanjaro” were melting due to unnatural processes, that Lake Chad was drying up due to unnatural processes, that Hurricane Katrina was caused by man, that polar bears are drowning due to the melting of polar caps, and that coral reefs are bleaching due to global warming. In the end, the court determined, in order for An Inconvenient Truth to be presented in British classrooms, it would have to be accompanied by 77 pages of corrective documentation. The judge stated, “The Armageddon scenario that [Gore] depicts is not based on any scientific view. ” In other words, the film is a lie. More than that, there is reason to believe the lie was intentional. In 2005, while Gore was filming the movie in which he suggested that sea level would imminently rise by 20 feet, he bought a $4 million condo in the St. Regis Tower, San Francisco, just feet from the ocean at Fisherman’s Wharf.

“A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said, ‘We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.'” – David Deming, 2005

The United Nations has also been caught deliberately lying about climate change. In the UN’s first quinquennial climate assessment report, in 1990, the Medieval Warm Period had been clearly visible, showing it to have been conspicuously warmer than today. However, by the 2001 climate assessment, just 11 years later, the Medieval Warm Period had been ingeniously wiped out. The warm period during the Middle Ages had been artificially eradicated and, for good measure, the warming of the 20th century had been exaggerated by 50% by confining the analysis to the northern hemisphere (for the southern hemisphere has not warmed as fast as the northern hemisphere over the past 100 years). This elimination of the Medieval Warming Period was the result of cherry-picked results from computer models rather than complete hard data.

Furthermore, the UN’s climate panel had concluded in the draft of the 1990 report that there was no evidence of any significant human influence on the world’s temperature. In 1995 the draft quinquennial report, as finalized by the scientists who had authored it, came to precisely the same conclusion. They plainly stated on five separate occasions that no anthropogenic influence could yet be detected. That was the conclusion of the scientists whom the UN’s climate panel had commissioned to write the assessment report. “When will an anthropogenic effect on climate be identified? It is not surprising that the best answer to this question is, ‘We do not know.'” That conclusion was not published however. The published version of the UN’s report came to a conclusion precisely the opposite of that which the scientists who had authored and approved the final draft had intended and had repeatedly stated. The new version of the assessment report contained a new statement that “The body of … evidence now points to a discernible human influence on global climate”, and that has been the official line ever since, though there was not, and is not, any scientific basis for it.

Another tactic utilized by the United Nations to perpetrate its claims of anthropomorphic climate change is the use of graphs which seem to depict a trend of increasing global temperature. These graphs are examples of endpoint fallacy, by which careful selection of startpoints and endpoints in a randomly-varying dataset are deliberately used to falsely demonstrate a non-existent trend. A headline graph from the 2007 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) purported to show global mean surface temperatures rising faster over the past 100 years than over the past 150 years; faster over the past 50 years than over the past 100 years; and faster over the past 25 years than over the past 50 years. The creators of this fiction were intending to demonstrate that the rate of “global warming” is itself accelerating rapidly and dangerously. It is astonishing that this graph got past what passes for “peer review” in the documents of the UN’s climate panel. The peer review in the scientific journals does not permit authors of scientific papers to override the comments of the reviewers. However, the authors of the UN’s documents are permitted to override the reviewers’ comments, even when the majority of the comments are unfavorable. Therefore, a misleading graph appeared in the IPCC’s official assessment report, and was also cited by the US Environmental Protection Agency as purported justification for its decision to regulate CO2 as though it is a dangerous pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the railroad engineer who heads the IPCC’s science working group, has also used the discredited graph in his public lectures, and even received an honorary doctorate from an Australian university after displaying it. The graph is a flagrant abuse of statistics. Its publication, and its continued use by the UN and other official bodies, calls into question the honesty and competence of the IPCC and of other scientific institutions who are finding it profitable to pretend that “global warming” is a global crisis. (How can one continue to get government grants for their “research” if there is no problem worth investing funds to solve?) Lord Monckton was able to take the same dataset used by the United Nations and produce graphs which suggested “trends” of temperature increase, decrease, and stability, demonstrating the deceptive nature of the technique.

In fact, the warming rate between 1975 and 1998, when “global warming” ceased, is exactly parallel to – and therefore identical with – the warming rates from 1860-1880 and from 1910-1940. These two earlier periods occurred before humankind’s enterprises and industries and populations were extensive enough to have – even in theory – any appreciable effect on the climate. In short, there is no evidence of any anthropogenic influence whatsoever on global temperatures. That is the truth, and the UN was wrong not to say so. Arguably, its graph attempting to suggest otherwise is an instance of fraud and corruption. This is by no means the only instance of data tampering and generation of false results by the UN.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, which incorporates the National Climatic Data Center, has also been tampering with data. Its August 2009 map showing “global warming” at the Earth’s surface was based on removing both the satellite datasets and the ARGO bathythermograph datasets for sea surface temperature – in short, ignoring the two most reliable methods of assessing sea surface temperature. The actual trend in sea surface temperature in the five years spanning 2004-2008, results of extremely sensitive ARGO measurements, are entirely clear: the oceans have been cooling slightly, and have certainly not been warming as the UN’s theory requires.

In 2002, Wielicki, Wong et al. published a paper inadvertently showing that up to seven times as much long-wave radiation was escaping to outer space than the UN’s computer models had imagined. This result, though accidental, was fatal to the “high-climate-sensitivity” theory, because it implied that very little of the radiation escaping from the Earth’s surface was being trapped within the climatosphere. Accordingly, the data was revised four years later. The pretext for the revision was that the original paper had not taken into account the orbital decay of the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment satellite. Orbital decay is a fact of life for everyone who uses or studies satellite data. It is near-unthinkable that the authors of the 2002 paper had not taken it fully and carefully into account. However, in 2006 they produced a second paper, in which they said that adjustments to their original data to allow for the orbital decay in the satellite had brought the observed outgoing radiation into what looked like uncannily close correspondence with the UN models’ predictions. This certainly has the appearance of blatant revisionism to bring raw data into line with the more extreme predictions of models favored by the UN.

Al Gore and numerous others, including Sir David King in testimony before the House of Commons Environment Committee, have repeatedly said that the science of CO2’s effect on temperature was settled in 1896, when Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish research chemist and Nobel laureate, spent a long Arctic winter performing 10,000 complex calculations by hand to demonstrate that a doubling of CO2 concentration would cause 5 C (9 F) “global warming”. Sir David King called this result “brilliant”. However, ten years after Arrhenius’ original paper, when he came across the fundamental equation of radiative transfer for the first time, he realized that instead of performing 10,000 separate calculations he could perform just one calculation. So he did his sum, and found that a doubling of CO2 concentration would cause warming of just 1.6 C – less than a third of what he had previously imagined. He published his new result, in German, in Vol. 1 No. 2 of the Journal of the Royal Nobel Institute. However, Al Gore, Sir David King, and other drivers of the “global warming” scare find it more congenial to quote Arrhenius’ original, inaccurate paper, and not to make any mention of his subsequent recalculation.

Those who wish to shut down the economies of the West are fond of saying that there is a “consensus” to the effect that, unless we revert to the Stone Age, catastrophe will be inevitable. However, a survey of 539 papers in the peer-reviewed literature published since 2004, and containing the search-phrase “global climate change”, showed that not a single paper offered any evidence whatsoever that any catastrophe would occur. The “consensus”, in other words, is not as the fearmongers say it is – not that science is done by consensus anyway.

Another regularly-repeated but baseless mantra is that “the science is settled”. This is another blatant lie. Even the IPCC does not concur with itself. It has now been compelled to make two downward revisions in the effect of CO2 on temperature, and the author of its 2007 central estimate has recently admitted that this, too, is an exaggeration, and that further reduction will be required when the UN next produces a major assessment report in 2014. However, there has been a spate of papers in the literature suggesting that a doubling of CO2 would produce not the 3.26 C (6 F) warming predicted by the UN in its 2007 assessment report but just 0.5 C (<1 F) warming. If these papers are right, then there is no “global warming” crisis, and no action of any kind need ever be taken to mitigate the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, for it is harmless.

Established Fact

One way we can determine whether projections of doom are accurate is to examine history. There has been very little correlation between past CO2 concentrations and past global temperatures. Though correlation does not necessarily imply causation, lack of correlation necessarily implies lack of causation. On this evidence, CO2 is at best a bit-part player in the climate. During the Cambrian era, 550 million years ago, CO2 concentration peaked at around 7000 ppmv, about 18 times today’s concentration. Yet the planet did not fry. It was during that era that the calcite corals first evolved: they did not suffer from the “ocean acidification” that is supposed to happen when atmospheric CO2 concentration is high.

During the past four interglacial periods, which occurred at roughly 100,000 to 125,000 year intervals, global temperatures were noticeably warmer than they are in the present day. Indeed, during much of the current interglacial warm period, which began 11,400 years ago, the weather worldwide was warmer than today. We also know the climates of the Bronze Age, the Roman era and the Middle Ages were appreciably warmer than today. Today’s temperatures, therefore, are not exceptional. Detailed analyses by several authors have established that – contrary to what Al Gore imagines – in the past climate it was always the temperature that changed first, and CO2 concentration changed 800-2800 years later.

The oldest temperature record in the world is the Central England Temperature Record. That record reveals that in the 40 years between 1695-1735 global temperature rose by 2.2 C (4 F). Compare this fast and substantial increase with the increase of just 0.6 C in the century from 1906-2006. Not only is the absolute value of today’s temperature unexceptional, but the rate of warming over the past century has also been unexceptional, and well within the natural variability of the climate.

The earth is actually cooling at present. The trend in global mean surface temperatures, compiled as the arithmetic mean of two satellite and one terrestrial datasets, shows rapid and significant global cooling since the millennium on 1 January 2001, compared with the rapid increase in temperature that the UN’s climate panel had predicted.

Contrary to the excitable reports in the media, and the increasingly desperate demands by Al Gore that we should believe the sea ice in the Arctic will disappear by 2013, the extent of Arctic sea ice continues to follow a seasonal sine-wave, much as it has in living memory.

Al Gore, in his mendacious movie, attributes Hurricane Katrina to “global warming”, though the UN has repeatedly pointed out that individual extreme-weather events – which have always occurred and will always occur – cannot be thus attributed. Currently, though Gore is somehow not saying so, worldwide activity of hurricanes, typhoons, and other tropical cyclones – measured as the 12-month running sum of their combined frequency, intensity, and duration – is at a 30-year record low that has gone entirely unreported in the mainstream news media.

It is often said that the world’s corals are at risk because of “global warming”. However, as the Great el Nino of 1998 demonstrated, a temporary warming of certain parts of the oceans caused the corals merely to bleach – a natural defense mechanism which enables them to survive, as they have for 550 million years since they first evolved in the Cambrian era, when CO2 concentration was 18 times today’s. Much has also been said about the imagined threat from “global warming” to the world’s largest coral colony – the Great Barrier Reef. However, a simple inquiry has established that throughout the past 17 years there has been no net warming of the oceans surrounding the reef.

The Central Question

The only question that matters in the debate about the climate is this. How much warming will a given proportionate increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide actually cause? The UN’s answer to this question is that a doubling of CO2 concentration – which it expects to occur within the next 100 years – will warm the planet by 3.26 C (6 F). However, as has been revealed, the UN and those who ally themselves with it have been caught repeatedly in a series of ingenious lies; and the climate – whatever the environmental correspondents of the mainstream news media may say – is not responding as expected. So, what is going on? We shall now reveal the truth about just how much – or, rather how little – even a doubling of CO2 concentration is capable of warming the Earth.

“In view of the inevitable inaccuracy and incompleteness of weather observations, precise, very-long-range weather forecasting would seem to be non-existent.” – Edward Lorenz, 1963

Let us start with some math: the late Edward Lorenz, one of America’s foremost numerical weather-forecasters, founded the now-thriving branch of mathematics known as chaos theory when he published his landmark paper, Deterministic Non-Periodic Flow, in a climatological journal. In that paper, he demonstrated the curious quality of chaotic objects: that very small changes in their initial conditions could lead to very large changes in their subsequent evolution. These large changes, known as “phase transitions” are departures from the apparently periodic or regular behavior of the object as it evolves. Lorenz’s paper proved that these phase transitions are unpredictable unless the value of all initial parameters is known to a precision that, with the climate, will be forever unattainable.

There are many chaotic equations, some complex, some – like the equation for the Mandelbrot fractal – very simple. That equation has just one parameter or initial variable – the complex number c. Using a computer and this simple equation, we can draw a picture of the Mandelbrot object. However, in order to define exactly what part of the object we are looking at, we need to define the parameter c to 16 decimal places. If we were to change just the last four decimal places, an entirely different picture would appear, because the phase transitions in the chaotic Mandelbrot object would occur in completely different places. How much more disparity is possible in more complex equations? How much more complicated is the climate?

Let us consider the inherent flaw in computer models. They are incapable of answering the one question we need to answer – how much warming will a given proportionate increase in CO2 concentration cause? Computers are told the answer at the outset. All of the UN’s models are pre-programmed to assume that climate sensitivity is high, so that is what they find. Garbage in. Garbage out. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, the distinguished scientist who first chased the Aurora Borealis right round the northern Arctic in an aircraft borrowed from NASA so that he could unlock its secrets for the first time, stated in 2008, “No super-computer, however powerful, is able to prove definitively a simplistic hypothesis that says the greenhouse effect is responsible for warming.” The United Nations IPCC itself stated in 2001, “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Changes in solar radiance striking the ground, not changes in CO2 concentration, fully explain recent global and regional temperature changes. The Sun is the source of just about all the warmth on Earth. Fluctuations in its activity, combined with short-run changes in ocean oscillations and multi-millennial changes in the orbital characteristics of the Earth, are what really determine the Earth’s surface temperature. The International Astronomical Union held a symposium in 2004 that issued a communique saying that solar changes are the major cause of temperature changes on Earth; that the Sun caused the “global warming” of the previous three centuries; that the warming of that period was normal, not unusual; and that the “global warming” that had been continuing for 300 years would soon end. The IAU’s forecast has proven far more successful than those of the IPCC, which have predicted relentless warming. The very small change that we are making in the composition of the atmosphere simply lacks the power to exercise more than a very small, harmless, and generally beneficial influence on global temperature.

The entire atmosphere warms the Earth by only 33 F. Changing the mere one-two-thousandth part of the atmosphere which is CO2 cannot warm it by the 6 F the UN projects. Even if we succeed in doubling the atmospheric concentration of CO2 this century, we shall have altered the composition of less than one-two-thousandth part of the atmosphere. Yet the UN imagines that this minuscule alteration in atmospheric composition will induce a warming that is one-sixth as large as that which is caused by the presence (as opposed to the complete absence) of the entire atmosphere. How likely is that?

The Nail In The “Climate Change” Coffin

The ratio of surface warming to the amount of radiation escaping from the Earth’s surface to space is less than one-sixth of the ratio the UN predicts (Lindzen & Choi, 2009). This is the clincher that establishes the definitive answer to the vital question of how much warming is likely to be caused by a given proportionate increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2. This answer is derived, not by complex and error-prone computer modeling, but by the novel concept of direct measurement.

Looking at 11 distinct UN computer models, as temperature rises, outgoing radiation from the Earth is predicted to diminish, ostensibly because greenhouse gases will get in its way and prevent it from escaping to space as easily as before. But the truth has now been revealed, measured by the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment Satellite, and correlated with changes in sea surface temperatures. As the sea surface warms, outgoing radiation escaping to space increases. It is not, after all, trapped down here as the 11 UN models project. The paper in which this discrepancy between model predictions and observed reality was presented represents the undoing of the official “high-climate-sensitivity” theory. Six or seven times as much outgoing radiation is escaping to space per unit change in sea surface temperature as the UN’s models predicted. This is a discrepancy of astonishing magnitude. But perhaps the most astonishing thing about this analysis is that no one had thought of performing it before it was carried out by Professor Richard Lindzen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen’s results are as close to a direct measurement of climate sensitivity as it is possible to get. Measurement is a brilliantly simple method, unquestionably superior to projection based on assumption. In any rational world, the only remaining question would be whether Professor Lindzen’s results can be replicated by others. If these results are indeed confirmed, that is the end of the climate debate. Instead of a 3.3 K (6 F) warming in response to a CO2 doubling, we shall see just 0.5 K (less than 1 F). And that is all.

It is perhaps no surprise to many that our Earth has built into it the apparent ability to respond to increases in surface temperature with nearly proportionate increases in outgoing radiation escaping to space. Anthropomorphic climate change has always been, first and foremost, a conceit inflating the influence of man upon his environment. Now that we have new evidence, derived from hard data, which contradicts the alarmist projections upon which that conceit is based, it is time to reject all proposed public policy informed by false alarm. There is no scientific justification for any cap and trade bureaucratic monstrosity, and certainly no justification for a communist world government which will plunge the world into darkness both literal and moral.