The silly science of climate alarmism
By David Wojick
First published in the Winter 2022 issue of RANGE magazine
You may think that climate science is complicated and that the scientists who are alarmed about climate change know what they are doing. Well, yes and no. The climate is complicated but scientists have bought into some very silly science.
Happily this is all easy to see with no science involved. Seriously, don’t back away. There is no science coming, especially nothing hard. Happily the world’s top alarmists have provided everything we need in a very simple way. Of course they do not see it because they are committed to alarmism. But I will point it out and you can use your own judgement.
Here goes. Globally, climate alarmism is led by the United Nations. Huge sums of money are at stake but that is not the point here, although it does explain much of what is going on. On the science side alarmism is led by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, usually just called the IPCC.
“Intergovernmental” sounds like a word you might learn as a joke. In this case it means that the members of this Panel are most of the world’s national governments. Most or maybe all of these governments pay lip service to climate alarmism.
Every five years or so the IPCC puts out a monster report that claims to be an overview of the latest climate science. In reality they just pick the science that best supports alarmism. This year is one of those years and they outdid themselves. Instead of the usual 1,000 page report it is a whopping 4,000 pages. Of course no one in their right mind will read it, but it sure shows how smart they are, right?
Where it gets useful is that there is a 40 page Summary for Policy Makers, which means for ordinary people. Anyone who votes is a policy maker of sorts. It is here that we find the basic scientific arguments for alarmism and they don’t amount to much.
In fact there are just two arguments for alarmism, which occur as two windows in the very first figure. They are labeled figure 1a and 1b. They are easy to describe so you don’t have to look them up. If you want to see them go here: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/.
Figure 1a is called the Hockey Stick by skeptics of alarmism (like me). It claims to be the global average temperatures for the last 2,000 years (like we can know that). It is pretty much a flat line until about 150 years ago and this is the hockey stick handle. Then it suddenly shoots up with big rapid warming from then until now, making the hockey stick blade. Handle flat then blade pointing up.
In short they say there was no global warming until we started it 150 years ago. What makes this silly is that there is lots of evidence for two prior periods of warming that may have been just as warm as today’s. These are so well known that they have names — the medieval warm period (when Vikings farmed Greenland) and the Roman warm period (when civilization flourished).
In between there were really cold spells including the little ice age that ended with the recent warming. In fact our warming may be nothing but the natural end to the little ice age.
There are thousands of research reports on these natural periods of warming and cooling but the IPCC simply ignores them. Alarmism depends on the recent warming being unprecedented. Natural warming disappears. Do not look behind the curtain!
So much for the bogus hockey stick. Figure 1b then zooms in on the recent warming, with a fancy variation on the same disappearing act. This time it is about the computer models of climate change, which is where alarmism comes from. It is these silly computer models that say we are causing dangerous global warming, with worse to come.
Figure 1b shows two computer model outputs. Each line is the global temperature over the last 150 years, when the recent warming occurred. One is supposedly the temperature history as it would have been without human interference, the natural history, and the other is the history with human inputs. Guess what? The natural history has no warming, while the human history shows all the warming that has occurred over the period.
The IPCC says this proves all the warming is caused by us humans. What makes this silly is figure 2, which gives the game away. It is a list of all the things in the models that can cause warming. All are human! There are no natural causes.
This means the models are programmed so that only humans can cause warming. Thus what figure 1b really says is “If we assume that only humans can cause long term warming then we find that the long term warming is caused by humans”. This is called circular reasoning because the conclusion is just a restatement of the assumption. It is truly silly.
What is missing of course is just what was missing In the hockey stick, namely nature. There is actually a great deal of research on possible natural causes for some of the long term warming, maybe even all of it. Keep in mind that the recent warming is very small, just around one degree over 150 years. Small changes in the sun, or the ocean, or even just in the clouds, could easily cause this little bit of global warming.
The IPCC simply ignores all this research, just like it ignored the warm and cold periods in the 2,000 year hockey stick. In fact this extreme alarmist bias dominates government funded climate science, which is most of it.
That is really all there is to alarmist science and it sure is silly! No deep scientific mystery. Just assume that everything that happens is our fault, program the computers that way, and let the computer then predict worse to come. Ignore all the research that says otherwise. Ignore the little ice age and the medieval warm period. Ignore natural change even though it is right in front of us.
Ignoring nature is the silly science of climate alarmism.
Reprinted with added stuff from RANGE magazine, Winter 2021/2022 issue. For more information see http://www.rangemagazine.com or call 1-800-RANGE-4-U. The cowboy spirit in all of us!