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Papering over dissent

08 May 2024 | OP ED Watch

A new paper by three figures who may well be familiar to CDN readers presents a remarkably lucid short summary of the scientific case against climate alarmism. They are Will Happer, distinguished Princeton processor emeritus of physics, Steven Koonin, Professor of both Business and Engineering at NYU and former senior Obama Administration scientist with a PhD in theoretical physics, and Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of Atmospheric Science at MIT with a PhD in applied mathematics and former lead author with the IPCC. Among, in all cases, many other things. The paper does not break new ground, but summarizes the grounds for skepticism about the real impact of climate policy, the credibility of the IPCC, the reliability of climate computer models and claims that CO2 has made the weather worse and will only continue to do so. What have alarmists to say, especially the ones insisting we follow the science? Well, here’s the popular alarmist “DeSmog” blog on Lindzen: “The Cato Institute, a conservative think tank where Lindzen has also published numerous articles and studies, has received at least $125,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.” On Happer: “William Happer has accepted funding from the fossil fuel industry in the past.” On Koonin: “Before working in government, Koonin spent five years (2004 to 2009) as Chief Scientist for oil giant BP plc”. So a bunch of character assassination not argument. With that out of the way, let’s read on.

Obviously the paper is not conclusive. Nor is it groundbreaking. But it is a very useful introduction to what we should all be talking about. For instance:

“Peer review can be helpful in many areas of science, but it does not determine scientific validity. Agreement of theoretical predictions with observation or experiment, “the scientific method,” is the real touchstone of truth in science.”

Well? True or false?

And how about this one?

“The IPCC is the dominant source of the models used by everybody analyzing climate change, in our experience. However, CMIP model predictions (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) do not reliably predict temperatures and bear no rational relationship to the reality they purport to represent. Therefore, they would never be used in science.”

Here our question is: Important or unimportant? If someone is trying to debate you on climate, and you’re not sure if they’re serious or a “sealioner“ unable or unwilling to deal with facts and logic and just waiting for a chance to become aggrieved and offensive, try to get them to provide some clarity on whether, if true, that claim matters.

Then there’s this one:

“CO2 becomes a less effective greenhouse gas at higher concentrations because of what in physics is called ‘saturation.’ Each additional increase of CO2 in the atmosphere causes a smaller and smaller change in ‘radiative forcing,’ or in temperature…. saturation also explains why temperatures were not catastrophically high over the hundreds of millions of years when CO2 levels were 10 to nearly 20 times higher than they are today”.

Does saturation happen? Could it? And if not, why indeed was there no runaway disastrous “greenhouse effect” when CO2 was much higher?

There is much to debate here, even though the paper is a tidy 23 pages long. And also much valuable basic information both about climate and about central climate controversies, for instance that the U.S. has not seen an increase in heatwaves and that the worst decade in the modern instrumental record in this regard, by far, was the 1930s.

It doesn’t settle the matter, of course. But it is a great place to start familiarizing yourself with the discussion and the reasons why many “climate scientists” as well as intelligent laypeople do not believe the science is “settled” and we face a climate “crisis” or “breakdown”. But by the same token there is much that, if someone will not debate it at all, tries to brush it aside as venal deceit, or simply can’t seem to understand what even the simple stuff says and why it might matter, they are either unwilling or unable to engage in serious discussion and should not be permitted to waste your time.

5 comments on “Papering over dissent”

  1. Aaaaah, sweet reason! Those four guys offer VERY persuasive arguments and are most certainly qualified to opine on the subject regardless of where their "funding" came from!

  2. The fundamental point is that for most people climate change is not and never has been a science. It is a religion. Most religons, whatever their theological underpinnings, provide an ability to divide the world into us and them, into the saved and the damned, the saintly and the sinners, into those that drive EVs and those callous, unfeeling ones that still drive gas guzzlers. In short, a religion allows us to feel good about ourselves and our co-religionists while looking down on everyone else. Alleluia!

  3. If only Al Gore had continued on to a traditional Baptist seminary rather than organising a new religion.
    "Do you belieeeve in Climate Change?" Only those who accept The Word will be saved.

  4. The corruption of "Science" by "the power of money" which Eisenhower predicted with remarkable foresight in his 1962 Farewell Address has clearly come to pass and is surely "greatly to be feared".
    Although the development of mutually supportive claques was clearly revealed by Climategate with,
    "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [TRENBERTH] and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!... we will keep this paper out even if we have to change the nature of peer review",
    motivated reasoning can not only move mountains but cause the faithful can remain unmoved.
    The actual mechanics of the selective publishing filter were not quite clear until I read this.

  5. The Climate Alarmist Cabal has replaced the scientific method with dogma and cancel culture.Galileo would understand what's happening now.

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