Global Cooling

In these three posts, omnologos (Maurizio Morabito) tries to find out whether a Consensus on “Global Cooling” ever existed in the past. His conclusion – yes.

He specifically refers to this post on Nature’s Climate Feedback blog which claims that a consensus on global cooling is a myth and which in turn refers to an article in the “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society” (pdf, 13 pages)

Thomas Peterson of NOAA teamed with William Connolley of the British Antarctic survey and science reporter John Fleck to create a survey of peer-reviewed climate literature from the 1970s. Looking at every paper that dealt with climate change projections or an aspect of climate forcing from 1965 to 1979, they were able to assess the ‘trends’ in the literature. They found that only 7 of the 71 total papers surveyed predicted global cooling. The vast majority (44) actually predicted that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide could lead to global warming.

According to Maurizio’s findings, in October 1961, UNESCO hosted a Symposium on Climate Change and the proceedings of the symposium do seem to indicate some kind of consensus on “Global Cooling”. Maurizio writes-

There we have it then: several speakers presenting work on “a reversal of the preceding [warming] climatic trend” about which everybody atteding (sic) the Symposium appeared to be “physically” sure but “statistically” less certain. Still, they thought it reasonable for that aspect to be considered valid too.

Is that enough for a “global cooling consensus”? I think it is.

Why did Peterson et al miss this symposium? Two reasons I can think of.

One. Their article is titled “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus”, and has a sidebar where they accuse Michael Crichton, among others, of “perpetuating the myth” that there was a consensus among scientists in the 1970s regarding global cooling. So they literally decided to examine the 1970s and offer a rebuttal. On pages 1329-1330 (most professional journals, magazines, bulletins use page numbers across issues, restarting them for every new volume. So the first page of the May issue might be numbered 362, for example), they say-

Because the time period attributed to the global cooling consensus is typically described as the 1970s, the literature search was limited to the period from 1965 to 1979. While no search can be 100% complete, this methodology offers a reasonable test of the hypothesis that there was a scientific consensus in the 1970s regarding the prospect of imminent global cooling.

Two. On page 1330, again, they write-

The gray literature of conference proceedings were not authoritative enough to be included in the literature search. However, a few prestigious reports that may not have been peer reviewed have been included in this literature survey because they clearly represent the science of the day.

Today, “global warming” and Bangladesh drowning in the Bay of Bengal is in fashion. In those days, global cooling and the coming Ice Age was. And the media, as always, spins its yarns around such theories. Skepticism? What’s that?

Climate science has been politicized beyond redemption. Crichton warns about the dangers of “consensus science”, and specially refers to the treatment meted out to Bjorn Lomborg (The Skeptical Environmentalist) by the green fascists, “scientists” with axes to grind-

We can take as an example the scientific reception accorded a Danish statistician, Bjorn Lomborg, who wrote a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist.

The scientific community responded in a way that can only be described as disgraceful. In professional literature, it was complained he had no standing because he was not an earth scientist. His publisher, Cambridge University Press, was attacked with cries that the editor should be fired, and that all right-thinking scientists should shun the press. The past president of the AAAS wondered aloud how Cambridge could have ever “published a book that so clearly could never have passed peer review.” )But of course the manuscript did pass peer review by three earth scientists on both sides of the Atlantic, and all recommended publication.) But what are scientists doing attacking a press? Is this the new McCarthyism-coming from scientists?

Worst of all was the behavior of the Scientific American, which seemed intent on proving the post-modernist point that it was all about power, not facts. The Scientific American attacked Lomborg for eleven pages, yet only came up with nine factual errors despite their assertion that the book was “rife with careless mistakes.” It was a poor display featuring vicious ad hominem attacks, including comparing him to a Holocaust denier. The issue was captioned: “Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist.” Really. Science has to defend itself? Is this what we have come to?

When Lomborg asked for space to rebut his critics, he was given only a page and a half. When he said it wasn’t enough, he put the critics’ essays on his web page and answered them in detail. Scientific American threatened copyright infringement and made him take the pages down.

The science of “global warming” is nothing but a form of Stadler-ization – an open invitation to a more intrusive government – Statism. Power. That’s what its all about.

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  • Abhishek  On October 10, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Ironically, Lomborg doesn’t disagree that anthropogenic global warming is happening; he simply says that its extent is sometimes exaggerated and that there are other priorities that come before cutting down drastically on carbon emissions.

    I agree — the politicization of climate science is disgusting. In particular, the call for prosecution of Oil CEOs by the likes of James Hansen is a bizarre kind of reverse inquisition that shows a disdain for science as well as freedom. And I say this as someone who, having gone through much of the scientific evidence, does agree that global warming is happening and that carbon emissions are to a large extent responsible for it.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On October 11, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Yes. Lomborg is a “sane” environmentalist, a rarity in today’s times, and tries his best to talk about the costs of badly thought out environmental policies. Unfortunately, he’s outnumbered and outranked.

    I think you know the reason behind my skepticism.

    We are losing the battle. I can sense it. In a couple of years time, politically motivated environmental laws are going to be rammed down people’s throats. The irony is, they are asking for it. I just hope they don’t criminalize climate change denial.

  • omnologos  On October 11, 2008 at 3:49 am

    thank you Aristotle. Well, they do know my name, and where I live, so if you don’t hear much from me, it’ll mean they’ve passed those laws 8)

    There’s more about that “global cooling consensus myth” article. I’ll post about it during the weekend.

  • skepticsglobalwarming  On October 11, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Those that are champions of global warming today (and blinded by the politicization of the subject) vehemently deny any kind of consensus behind global cooling, citing that it was just a couple of scientists and a Time Magazine article. But it wasn’t just in the ’70s and it wasn’t just a couple of scientists. With temperatures dropping across the globe for several decades, there was real concern, and consensus, that we were headed for another ice age. And with the sun not entering solar cycle 24 on cue, global temperatures are again down from their most recent high in 1998.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On October 11, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Nice to see that your sense of humor is intact. Sadly, a world full of malice and stupidity has made me a cynic, and a cranky one.

    I have been following your blog for the past couple of weeks, and will continue to do so. Though I am not technically qualified to judge whether AGW is fact or fiction, the politics behind the movement is unmistakably anti-liberty, and people should recognize it for what it represents.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On October 11, 2008 at 9:14 am

    The “champions” are not blinded by anything – they are very much aware of the politics behind GW, and the need for it. They started the process, and know that when faced with doomsday scenarios, people and their representatives will give in (the invasion of Iraq, and the recent bailout being the two recent examples. When the US gives in, the rest of the world will too).

    Their denial of a consensus in the past too is a known phenomenon – rewriting history. As Orwell wrote – “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

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