After my attack on activist and environmental journalist Mark Lynas, I thought I’d test the waters with Tom Chivers who is a science editor at Buzzfeed.
Chivers has been a nemesis of mine since my days at the Telegraph. A likeable, good natured nemesis – but an irritant nonetheless. It’s bloody annoying when you’re a seasoned hack breaking stories like Climategate showing alarmists to be a bunch of lying charlatans and you’ve got some dogged progressive fresh out of ‘uni’ in the neighbouring pages, brandishing his science degree like it automatically trumps your Oxford arts degree, explaining patiently, goodnaturedly, passively aggressively that there’s this thing called the “science” and that what the “science” shows is that global warming is real, regardless of what some batshit crazy conspiracy theorist from the bad old days when the Telegraph was conservative might say.
So I thought I’d goad Tom, partly for the pure mischievous hell of it; but partly because I’m genuinely interested in seeing what coping strategies professional climate alarmists are going to adopt as their bankrupt theory crashes about their ears. Are they going to make a clean breast of things – admit they got the whole man-made-global-warming thing wrong and hope that we sceptics don’t shoot all our prisoners? Or are they going to go down with the sinking ship?
Well, this morning I had my answer from Mark Lynas.
In my last column I promised I’d name the guilty names: all those morally bankrupt, intellectually tainted, mendacious, ignorant useful idiot shills who for the last several years have assumed the mantle of scientific expertise and loftily declared that the “Pause” in global warming wasn’t a thing, only a fantasy cooked up by evil deniers.
You may say that I’m using a sledgehammer to crack a nest of cockroaches; that rather than crow in victory one should be magnanimous in order to prove oneself a better man than they are, Gunga Din.
I disagree. I want blood. Entrails too, please. Those of us who have spent years of our lives being mocked and traduced and demeaned by these verminous charlatans deserve our pound of flesh, not only for the sake of sweet vengeance, but also for the greater cause of scientific honesty and journalistic integrity.
This is no more than I would expect were the positions ever reversed.
Suppose, for example, that I had written in the Spectator an article on global warming and it subsequently emerged that it was scientifically illiterate, that I’d dragged the name of a good journalist (who had got his facts right) through the mud, and that I’d brought the title into disrepute by adopting a tone of lofty, scornful, apparent expertise entirely unjustified by reality: well here’s what I’d expect to have to do….
Apologise. First to the journalist I’d unfairly, perhaps libellously, maligned; next to the magazine’s editor for having been such a dogmatically wrongheaded prick; finally to the readers for having abused their faith in my due diligence and my supposedly superior knowledge. Indeed, I think if I’d ever got an article as comprehensively wrong as the one I’m about to mention, I’d feel so shit I think I might seriously consider never broaching the topic again.
So now, without further ado, let me introduce MARK LYNAS – activist, prominent environmental campaigner, and author of a very angry, high-handed 2008 article in the New Statesman (the left’s answer to the Spectator) called Has Global Warming Really Stopped?. This was in response to a piece by David Whitehouse which – quite controversially for the time – tentatively noted that the temperature record showed that there had been no “global warming” for several years and that this fact might, at some stage, become a significant issue.
Lynas was having none of it. His response brimmed with righteous indignation.
The “Pause” in global warming is real – not an urban myth concocted by evil ‘deniers’ – a study has found, signalling the development of a major schism within the climate alarmist camp.
“It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims,” the paper in Nature Climate Change says.
Though the paper’s findings are not controversial – few serious scientists dispute the evidence of the temperature datasets showing that there has been little if any global warming for nearly 19 years – they represent a tremendous blow to the climate alarmist “consensus”, which has long sought to deny the “Pause’s” existence.
First, the study was published in Nature Climate Change a fervently alarmist journal which rarely if ever runs papers that cast doubt on the man-made-global-warming scare narrative.
Secondly, it directly contradicts a widely-reported study produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last year which attempted to deny the existence of the “Pause” (also known as the “hiatus”). This NOAA study was widely mocked, quickly debunked and is now the subject of a Congressional investigation by Rep Lamar Smith. What’s novel about this new study in Nature Climate Change, though, is that it’s not skeptics and Republicans doing the mocking and the debunking: it’s the kind of people who in the past were very much in the alarmist camp, including – bizarrely – none other than Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, who co-authored the paper.
What we have here, in other words, is signs of a major rift within the climate alarmist camp with different factions adopting different tactics to cope with the failure of their collapsing narrative.
On one side are people like Thomas Karl and Thomas Petersen, the hapless NOAA scientists given the unenviable task of producing that risible paper last year which did its best to deny that the Pause was a thing.
On the other are what might be called the “rats deserting the sinking ship” faction who have produced this new paper for Nature Climate Change, in which finally they concede what skeptics have been saying for many years: that there has been no “global warming” since 1998.
This divergence in the alarmist camp is now going to create a dilemma for all those liberal media outlets – from the BBC to the Guardian to the LA Times – which reported on NOAA’s “death of the pause” study as if it were a reliable and credible thing.
Are they now going to report on the counter-narrative? Or are they going to ignore it and hope no one notices?
The man who would like more than anyone to know the answer to this question is David Whitehouse, Science Editor of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and a former science editor at the BBC (till the point when his skepticism became too much for his employer).
That’s because in 2007, he was one of the first scientists to draw attention to the mysterious slowdown in global warming.