Cartoon by Josh
If Michael Crichton had lived to write a follow-up to State of Fear, the plotline might well have gone like this: at a top secret, state of the art laboratory in Switzerland, scientists finally discover the true cause of “global warming”. It’s the sun, stupid. More specifically – as the Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark has long postulated – it’s the result of cosmic rays which act as a seed for cloud formation. The scientists working on the project are naturally euphoric: this is a major breakthrough which will not only overturn decades of misguided conjecture on so-called Man Made Global Warming but will spare the global economy trillions of dollars which might otherwise have been squandered on utterly pointless efforts to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, these scientists have failed to realise just how many people – alarmist scientists, huckster politicians, rent-seeking landowners like (the late Michael Crichton’s brilliant and, of course, entirely fictional creation) the absurd, pompous Sir Reginald Leeds Bt, green activists, eco-fund managers, EU technocrats, MSM environmental correspondents – stand to gain from the Man Made “Climate Change” industry. Their discovery must be suppressed at all costs. So, one by one, the scientists on the cosmic ray project find themselves being bumped off, until only one man remains and must race against time to prove, etc, etc…
Except of course in the real world the second part wouldn’t happen. No one would need to go to the trouble of bumping off those pesky scientists with their awkward, annoying facts and their proper actual research. That’s because the MSM and the scientific “community” would find it perfectly easy to suppress the story anyway, without recourse to severed brake cables or ricin-impregnated hand-washes or staged “suicides”.
This is exactly what has happened with the latest revelations from CERN over its landmark CLOUD experiment, whose significance Lawrence Solomon explains here:
The science is now all-but-settled on global warming, convincing new evidence demonstrates, but Al Gore, the IPCC and other global warming doomsayers won’t be celebrating. The new findings point to cosmic rays and the sun — not human activities — as the dominant controller of climate on Earth.
The research, published with little fanfare this week in the prestigious journal Nature, comes from über-prestigious CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest centres for scientific research involving 60 countries and 8,000 scientists at more than 600 universities and national laboratories. CERN is the organization that invented the World Wide Web, that built the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider, and that has now built a pristinely clean stainless steel chamber that precisely recreated the Earth’s atmosphere.
In this chamber, 63 CERN scientists from 17 European and American institutes have done what global warming doomsayers said could never be done — demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that in Earth’s atmosphere can grow and seed clouds, the cloudier and thus cooler it will be. Because the sun’s magnetic field controls how many cosmic rays reach Earth’s atmosphere (the stronger the sun’s magnetic field, the more it shields Earth from incoming cosmic rays from space), the sun determines the temperature on Earth.
So if it’s so great, why aren’t we hearing more about it? Well, possibly because the Director General of CERN Rolf-Dieter Heuer would prefer it that way. Here’s how he poured cold water on the results in an interview with Die Welt Online:
I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.
Nigel Calder, who has been following the CLOUD experiment for some time, was the first to smell a rat. He notes:
CERN has joined a long line of lesser institutions obliged to remain politically correct about the man-made global warming hypothesis. It’s OK to enter “the highly political arena of the climate change debate” provided your results endorse man-made warming, but not if they support Svensmark’s heresy that the Sun alters the climate by influencing the cosmic ray influx and cloud formation.
The once illustrious CERN laboratory ceases to be a truly scientific institute when its Director General forbids its physicists and visiting experimenters to draw the obvious scientific conclusions from their results
Lubos Motl, too, detects some double standards here:
One could perhaps understand if all scientists were similarly gagged and prevented from interpreting the results of their research in ways that could be relevant for policymaking. However, the main problem is that many people who are trying to work on very different phenomena in the climate are not prevented from interpreting – and indeed, overinterpreting and misinterpreting – their results that are often less serious, less reliable, and less rigorous, perhaps by orders of magnitude, than the observations by the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
Moreover, this sentence by Heuer
One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.is really a proof of his prejudice. Whether the cosmic radiation is just one player or the only relevant player or an important player or an unimportant player is something that this very research has been supposed to determine or help to determine. An official doesn’t have the moral right to predetermine in advance what “one has to make clear” about these a priori unknown scientific results.
But then, as Lawrence Solomon reminds us, this was never an experiment the scientific establishment wanted to happen in the first place.
The hypothesis that cosmic rays and the sun hold the key to the global warming debate has been Enemy No. 1 to the global warming establishment ever since it was first proposed by two scientists from the Danish Space Research Institute, at a 1996 scientific conference in the U.K. Within one day, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Bert Bolin, denounced the theory, saying, “I find the move from this pair scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible.” He then set about discrediting the theory, any journalist that gave the theory cre dence, and most of all the Danes presenting the theory — they soon found themselves vilified, marginalized and starved of funding, despite their impeccable scientific credentials.
The mobilization to rally the press against the Danes worked brilliantly, with one notable exception. Nigel Calder, a former editor of The New Scientist who attended that 1996 conference, would not be cowed. Himself a physicist, Mr. Calder became convinced of the merits of the argument and a year later, following a lecture he gave at a CERN conference, so too did Jasper Kirkby, a CERN scientist in attendance. Mr. Kirkby then convinced the CERN bureaucracy of the theory’s importance and developed a plan to create a cloud chamber — he called it CLOUD, for “Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets.”
But Mr. Kirkby made the same tactical error that the Danes had — not realizing how politicized the global warming issue was, he candidly shared his views with the scientific community.
“The theory will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century,” Mr. Kirkby told the scientific press in 1998, explaining that global warming may be part of a natural cycle in the Earth’s temperature.
The global warming establishment sprang into action, pressured the Western governments that control CERN, and almost immediately succeeded in suspending CLOUD. It took Mr. Kirkby almost a decade of negotiation with his superiors, and who knows how many compromises and unspoken commitments, to convince the CERN bureaucracy to allow the project to proceed. And years more to create the cloud chamber and convincingly validate the Danes’ groundbreaking theory.
Still, as you’d expect, the BBC remains dutifully on-message. Read this report by its science correspondent Pallab Ghosh and you’ll be left in little doubt that a) the latest results are dull beyond measure and b) that if they do mean anything at all, it’s that global warming is still very much man-made. Here’s their tame expert, Reading University’s Dr Mike Lockwood, on hand to provide them the perfect pull-quote:
Does this mean that cosmic rays can produce cloud? – No”
PS Welcome to all you American readers brought here by Drudge. Please come again. And if you want to read more about how the environmental movement got so powerful, how the junk scientists got away with it for so long, and why so many people fell for the biggest most expensive scam in history, you might enjoy my new book on the subject – Watermelons: the Green Movement’s True Colors. (Also available on Kindle)
“At my launch a friendly City type and his charming wife told me how interesting they thought my life was. I in turn told them how much I’d like their money.”
This pandering to Mammon will infuriate the miserable self-deluded commies who frequent your website.
Remember, James, that proper lefty Marxist liberalism insists that money is dirty, greasy stuff you’re far better off without. True happiness is abject poverty. If you were a billionaire you’d waste the rest of your life cruising the Caribbean, watching sunsets while sipping Martinis and complaining about boredom.
I know you will cite the Met Office as being part of some anti-libertarian plot to install worldwide Socialist governance but, will you please do us all a favour and suspend your belief in conspiracy theories just long enough to take on board some new information:
“A project running almost 10,000 climate simulations on volunteers’ home computers has found that a global warming of 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 is ‘equally plausible’ as a rise of 1.4 degrees. The study addresses some of the uncertainties that previous forecasts, using simpler models or only a few dozen simulations, may have over-looked. Importantly, the forecast range is derived from using a complex Met Office model that accurately reproduces observed temperature changes over the last 50 years. The results suggest that the world is very likely to cross the ’2 degrees barrier’ at some point this century if emissions continue unabated. It also suggests that those planning for the impacts of climate change need to consider the possibility of warming of up to 3 degrees (above the 1961-1990 average) by 2050, even on a mid-range emission scenario. This is a faster rate of warming than most other models predict.”
Citizen science looks at future warming uncertainty.
N.B. The ability of these computer models to recreate historical trends over the last 50 years is not evidence of fudge factors having been applied: It is evidence of model validation, which – along with calibration and sensitivity analysis – is an integral part of establishing the accuracy of such modelling techniques. You can – or should – trust me on this because, unlike you, this is what I have been doing for the last 20 years or so (i.e. using probabilistic computer modelling in environmental risk assessments).
Your beloved marketplace of ideas is a dangerous fallacy; of which your success in getting your ill-informed unscientific opinions plastered all over the media and infecting people’s minds is profound evidence. And for what purpose? You may think you are acting in the public interest but, unfortunately, like everything else in Watermelons 2.0, this is an inversion of reality: As Peter Jacques (University of Florida) has pointed out, it is precisely because environmental scepticism is not in the public interest, the tobacco industry invented the sound science versus junk science debate (now being used to great effect by the fossil fuel and energy industry) to confuse people and prevent sensible regulation of their product.
Predictive skill is the test of the validity of a theory. And so far, the predictive skill of climate models has been a flat bust. The most likely explanation for this lack of skill, despite decades of research, is that they have selected the wrong forcing (CO2) as the dominant driver of climate.
I am sure James will have a tantrum over this.
As for why I am a “denialist”, the reason is simple – I believe, from reading the Climategate emails, and my own research, that Warmist climate science is corrupt, and that the CO2 theory is persisting for political rather than scientific reasons.
I also think that if you guys truly get the upper hand, more than you have already, a lot of people will die. There are already casualties thanks to biofuel policies – even the UN admits that biofuel subsidies are exacerbating the risk of famine. http://www.stwr.org/food-security-agriculture/biofuel-boom-brings-famine-risks-says-un-report.html . Making energy more expensive, through expensive renewables programmes, would kill even more people – all for a cause which is based upon scientific fraud.
A lot of people died in the 20th century because of scientific fraud. I’d like to avoid repeating that mistake, if possible. http://www.michaelcrichton.net/essay-stateoffear-whypoliticizedscienceisdangerous.html
As for scientists getting it wrong or behaving fraudulently, it unfortunately happens all the time. The scientific method, with it’s standards of openness and reproduceability, was developed to try to prevent episodes of mass delusion. When the method is abused, by scientists concealing data and trying to suppress critics, then science becomes dysfunctional, and theory is no longer verified by facts.
Such abuse is institutional in the dysfunctional climate science community.
Note I am not saying the Climategate scientists dont believe in global warming – their problem is they believe too much. Since they already know
Climategate Email 1233326033.txt
> The American Physical Society on line statement reads (in part):
> “The success and credibility of science are anchored in the willingness
> of scientists to:
> 1. Expose their ideas and results to independent testing and
> replication by others. This requires the open exchange of data,
> procedures and materials.
> 2. Abandon or modify previously accepted conclusions when confronted
> with more complete or reliable experimental or observational
Climategate Email 1229468467.txt
> I just wanted to alert you to the fact that Steven McIntyre has now made
> a request to U.S. DOE Headquarters under the Freedom of Information Act
> (FOIA). McIntyre asked for “Monthly average T2LT values for the 47
> climate models (sic) as used to test the H1 hypothesis in Santer et al.,
> Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical
> troposphere”. I was made aware of the FOIA request earlier this morning.
> McIntyre’s request eventually reached the U.S. DOE National Nuclear
> Security Administration (NNSA), Livermore Site Office. The requested
> records are to be provided to the “FOIA Point of Contact” (presumably at
> NNSA) by Dec. 22, 2008.
> Over the past several weeks, I’ve had a number of discussions about the
> “FOIA issue” with PCMDI’s Director (Dave Bader), with other LLNL
> colleagues, and with colleagues outside of the Lab. Based on these
> discussions, I have decided to “publish” all of the climate model
> surface temperature time series and synthetic MSU time series (for the
> tropical lower troposphere [T2LT] and the tropical mid- to
> upper-troposphere [T2]) that we used in our International Journal of
> Climatology (IJoC) paper.
> After publication of the model data, we will inform the “FOIA Point of
> Contact” that the information requested by McIntyre is publicly
> available for bona fide scientific research.
> Unfortunately, we cannot guard against intentional or unintentional
> misuse of these datasets by McIntyre or others.
>This will make it difficult for McIntyre
> to continue making the bogus claim that he is being denied access to the
> climate model data necessary to evaluate the validity of our findings.
Climategate Email 1231257056.txt
Can any competitor
simply request such datasets via the U.S. FOIA, before we have completed
full scientific analysis of these datasets?