New Scientist has a summary of Climate-gate-esque deceptions that have been found in the anti-AGW movement. One that was very important to me was #4.
In 2008, the Forum on Physics and Society (FPS), a newsletter produced by the American Physics Society, published an article entitled “Climate sensitivity reconsidered”. The article claimed that “the IPCC’s estimates may be excessive and unsafe” and that attempts to cut CO2 emissions “are pointless, may be ill-conceived and could even be harmful”.
The article was written by Christopher Monckton, a British journalist and consultant. Although apparently highly technical, the piece has been strongly criticised by professional climate scientists, including Gavin Schmidt, of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York.
The piece was reported by the US Science and Public Policy Institute as having been “peer-reviewed”.
The editors of FPS pointed out that, as was standard practice at the journal, they had merely edited the piece without sending it out to specialist climate scientists for peer review. A disclaimer was subsequently added to the piece, clarifying that nothing in FPS was peer-reviewed.
I remember this one very clearly. Several conservative blogs linked to his article with the statement that the head of the American Physics Society had published an article disproving climate change. I clicked through and was markedly unimpressed. Much of it was out of date or wrong. The article was not a peer-reviewed article so much as it was a letter they’d commissioned from Monckton, a journalist not a scientist, because they couldn’t find a scientist who would dispute their articles.
What shocked me was that when I pointed this out on several conservative blogs, I was pilloried. I was told I was a secret communist and Algore disciple and was being bamboozled and was consumed by my “religion” of environmentalism. Read the comments to the New Scientist article and you’ll see pretty much the same thing.
This is why I have moved from flat out disbelief in AGW to skeptical belief. It’s been a series of incidents like that — of finding out that I was being lied to. I found out that global cooling was not the consensus science in the 1970’s. I found out that the temperatures did not track the solar cycle. I found out that 1934 wasn’t the warmest year in history. I found out that the last decade hasn’t cooled. I found out that whatever faults the models have — and they have many — the underlying theory was sound.
I’m not totally on board with everything the climate idiots want to do. And any movement that takes Chavez, Mugabe and Ahmadinejad seriously has some big problems. But in the end, my thinking is very similar to the Minimax Principle outlined in this old video. The downside risk of doing nothing and regretting it crosses me as greater than the downside risk of doing something and regretting it — especially as fossil fuels will run out one day anyway.
My question for the climate refusers is always this: what do you think are the odds that global warming is real? Dick Cheney justified a trillion dollar invasion of Iraq by saying it was worth it if there was even a 1% chance that Iraq would set off a nuke in American city. If there even a 1% chance that global warming is real — and I personally would put the odds more like 65% — should we not do something?