Climategate Shows 'Big Science in its Natural State'

Global warming alarmists are now alarmed because they cannot account for the cooling trend that has been evident since the late 1990s in contradiction to their climate models. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests the planet has entered a cooling cycle that could persist for decades. Dr. Don Easterbook, for instance, a geologist and professor emeritus at Western Washington University, has concluded that sea surface temperatures will experience a drop that could last for the next 25 to 30 years based on his observations of the Pacific Decadal Oscilliation or PDO, a weather phenomenon that reverts between warm and cool modes.

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Researchers who have long questioned the premise of man-made global warming theories point out that alarmist claims are driven more by computer models that omit key variables than they are by actual observations. The growing “climategate” scandal goes a long way toward vindicating the scientific skeptics who have been ostracized in the media and the academic community. Emails that have been leaked to the Internet from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia show that researchers have deliberately fudged and manipulated data in an effort to account for predicted catastrophic warming that has not materialized.

In his testimony before the British Parliament, Phil Jones, the CRU director, suggested that he would be cleared of any wrongdoing once a fuller body of evidence is presented. The emails that have been made public were only a “tenth of one percent” of his correspondence, Jones said.

If anything, the more recent email revelations serve to invalidate the use of climate models that figure prominently into the reports issued through the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t,” Kevin Trenberth, an IPCC author wrote in an email addressed to other alarmists in October of last year. “The CERES data published in August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data surely are wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”

In another email addressed to Tom Wigley, a physicist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Trenberth makes the following comment:

“Hi Tom — How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”

This exchange is particularly significant because it demonstrates that climate models that have been used to rationalize expansive regulatory schemes are in error, Steve Milloy editor and founder of JunkScience.com said in interview.

“We’ve had no warming for the past 10-15 years, even though carbon dioxide emissions have increased,” he observed. “The upper atmosphere should be warming at a much greater rate than the lower atmosphere but this is not happening. It means that we don’t understand energy flows, and if you don’t understand how something works it cannot be modeled. It’s insanity to go forward with regulations that are not based on something we understand, but that’s what is being proposed.”

Although “climategate” is properly viewed as an “unexpected gift” to skeptics in that it shows “Big Science in its natural state,” it is not exactly new, laments David Berlinski, a senior fellow with The Discovery Institute.

“In the 1970s, the Club of Rome was on everyone’s lips with their hysterical warnings of mass disasters that were shortly to arrive,” he wrote in an email message. “My first book, On Systems Analysis, which I wrote for the MIT press, was an expose and a denunciation of the kind of stuff then current. I cannot see that anything has changed. Then as now, the people doing the hustle were doing it for money. Phil Jones and the CRU, after all, took 23 million dollars of public funds to fudge their data and the Club of Rome in their time took in as much.”

Berlinski continues:

“The overwhelming consensus is, as it always is, utter nonsense because it is in the first place an illusion: There are very many scientists who dissent from global warming. And it is utter nonsense because it is based on nothing more than a trend line. No one has the faintest idea what the trend represents or whether it will continue or whether even the trend itself was based on data so fudged as to be meaningless. The latter, I think.”

“What is at work deep down is a delusion as striking as various Zulu beliefs and no more credible: To wit, that because there is something that might for the sake of convenience be designated as the global atmosphere, there is as well a science of the global atmosphere, one in which for various initial conditions of the GA, laws of its evolution might be adduced from which explanations and predictions would flow. There is no such science; there are no such laws. To be sure one can say with easy confidence that the GA is determined by fundamental physics.”

Berlinski appeared in the 2008 documentary “Expelled : No Intelligence Allowed,” which probes into the mistreatment of scientists who have raised questions about Charles Darwin’s 150 year old theory of evolution. Ben Stein, the former Nixon speechwriter turned Hollywood actor, served as the film’s narrator. The film is built around the idea that free thinkers who dissent from the orthodoxy of “Big Science” are being silenced and marginalized. In light of the “climategate” scandal, “Expelled” now appears quite prescient.

Berlinski, who is also a noted mathematician, is not himself a proponent of Intelligent Design theory, but he does defend biologists and astronomers appearing in the documentary who are open to the idea as an alternative to Darwinian views that continue to dominate the scientific academy.

In reality, science has never operated by consensus. Over time, prevailing views are either substantiated or dismissed as new evidence emerges. The momentum is now very much with Easterbrook and other researchers who have identified natural forces as opposed to human activity as the primary driving force behind warming and cooling trends. Ideally, they should find greater expression.

But Berlinski is not so confident over the long term.

“Climate science stands exposed but only for the moment,” he wrote. “It will be back. I cannot see much difference between evolutionary science and climate science and I have no expectation that the winds of dissent will ever blow from the one to the other. Why should they? In just the past few years, large scale econometric models have, once again, been shown to be unreliable and intellectually worthless. The world-wide economy tanked and not one — not one! — econometric model predicted it.”

Global warming alarmism as a movement appears to have peaked; that’s the good news. A new Gallup Poll shows the American public now dismisses catastrophic claims. Unfortunately, the political agenda that always stood behind the man-made global warming scare remains in motion. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endangerment finding aimed against greenhouse gasses could open the way to centralized planning and government control that irrevocably transforms American society.

Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-Alaska) has introduced a resolution to block EPA action under the Congressional Review Act. It deserves the full support of small government activists. But the economic case against new regulations, as important and compelling as they are, may be insufficient standing alone.

The grand designs of the statists who now hold sway in Washington D.C. can only be uprooted and defeated by attacking the nexus that exists between Big Government and Big Science. Swollen federal agencies that have victimized private property owners, business owners and private citizens in the name of environmentalism could become quite vulnerable in short order.

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