Research debunks greenhouse
theory: Proof exists (that greenhouse does not), but believers would
rather denounce than debate
Wednesday 12 November 2003p. A16
Too many scientists have based their research,
their reputations and their incomes on the greenhouse theory to let it
So rather than debate the growing evidence that the greenhouse
theory is fundamentally flawed, many greenhouse-believing scientists
have begun viciously attacking those who question its conclusions and
denouncing any agnostic as a heretic -- especially ones presenting
uncomfortably challenging proof.
Witness Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics.
Both are noted solar physicists. Earlier this year they published an
exhaustive study of the climate of the past 1,000 years or so in the
journal Climate Research. They examined more studies on historic
climate trends -- 240 in all -- than any previous researchers, and
concluded the 20th century was not unusually warm. In the past
millennium there had been at least one other period when, worldwide,
temperatures were as much as 2 C to 3 C warmer than the 1990s.
This was not a particularly startling conclusion. There have been
literally thousands of papers written by geologists identifying a
Medieval Warm Period running from about 800 to 1300 AD and a Little
Ice Age spanning 1300 to about 1850. Soon and Baliunas merely
confirmed that these thousands of earlier studies were right.
But Soon and Baliunas were both vehemently attacked. Myths were
spread that they had cooked their findings (as good scientists do,
they acknowledged in their article the very limitations in their
results that have been used to try to discredit them). Three junior
editors at the journal that published their study resigned claiming
embarrassment that their employer published shoddy research. Then the
controversy sucked down the editor-in-chief.
However, when an independent review was conducted of the Soon/Baliunas
article, no misrepresentation was found nor any shortcomings with
Climate Research's peer-review process. (These latter facts are often
left out of news stories on the controversy, though.)
The reason for the hissy fit over Soon/Baliunas is simple though.
The pair do not shy from drawing obvious conclusions from their
research: if the warming of the 20th century is not unusual, then it
is likely natural, meaning the Kyoto accord is an exercise in
futility. And even if the warming is not natural, it is not extreme
and thus nothing to worry about.
This is a threat to the greenhouse religion. Therefore the pair
must be burned at the stake.
The same fate is likely to befall Canadian researchers Steve
McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who have just destroyed the "hockey
stick" theory on recent global warming for the British journal.
Energy & Environment.. (Questioned the theory, or called it into
doubt might be less-charged wording, but I'll stick with destroyed.)
The "hockey stick" has been among the holiest of holies in the
greenhouse priests' liturgy. It purports to show relatively stable
climate for the 900 years from 1000 to 1900, then a sharp spike upward
from 1900 to today. Its implications for the greenhouse theory are so
central that it formed an integral part of the UN Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change's vaunted 2001 report, the one that claimed to
confirm disastrous manmade greenhouse warming.
We have known for a long time that the hockey stick compared apples
and oranges -- reconstructed temperatures from 1000 to 1900
(temperatures deduced from studying tree-ring growth and ice cores, et
cetera) and measured temperatures from 1900 onward. When the 20th
century's temperatures are "reconstructed" they don't show the warming
the hockey stick theory shows.
But what McIntyre/McKitrick also reveal is the data used to craft
the hockey stick are based on "collation errors, unjustifiable
truncation or extrapolation ... obsolete data, geographical local
errors, incorrect calculation ... and other quality control defects."
The wrong places, the wrong dates and the wrong numbers were jumbled
together to produce the results the authors desired -- proof that
industrial societies are threatening the planet and only global
regulation by the UN can save it.
For instance, the data used for calculating Central Europe's
climate history stops at 1730, but the source data available goes back
to 1659. Coincidentally (or not) those 70 missing years were the
coldest of the Little Ice Age. If your goal was to show flat
temperatures for 900 years, followed by a steep rise during the
Industrial Age, leaving out those seven decades would help do the
Three such "unjustified truncations" were uncovered by McIntyre/McKitrick.
Of 112 temperature records used to create the hockey stick, 13 were
incorrectly copied down, 18 mismatched the year and temperatures, 19
made unjustifiable extrapolations to cover missing data, 24 contained
obsolete data and all 28 that used tree-ring data miscalculated the
information obtained by reading the rings. That's a total of 105
records with errors, although some contained multiple errors, so there
were more than seven data sets that were error-free, but not many
Also, Ian Castles, Australia's former head statistician, and David
Henderson, the former chief economist for the OECD, have discovered
that the IPCC exaggerated future pollution levels (and thus future
temperature rises) both by underestimating current pollution from the
developing world and overestimating those same countries' future
industrial growth. For instance, the IPCC estimates Haiti and Rwanda
will be as rich and as polluting as the U.S. 100 years from now.
Emperor Kyoto has no clothes. It's time we called him on it.
Columnist, Edmonton Journal
Editorial Board Member, National Post