February 24, 2010
Forget all you've heard about unprecedented global warming; global warming so rapid it can't be natural but must be anthropogenic; global warming threatening to devastate economies, ecosystems, and perhaps even human civilization itself; global warming on which "the science is settled" and "the debate is over."
Forget it all.
On February 13, Dr. Phil Jones, long-time director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (until he stepped down in December under investigation for scientific misconduct) and the provider of much of the most important data on which the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many governments have based fears of unprecedented global warming starting in the mid-1970s, gave an interview to the BBC in which he made some shocking revelations.
Jones admitted that he did not believe that "the debate on climate change is over" and that he didn't "believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this."
Al Gore, Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, did you hear that? Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Union of Concerned Scientists, did you hear that? Ed Begley, Robert Kennedy, Richard Cizik, Jim Ball, did you hear that?
Jones made a number of admissions damaging his cause and credibility:
He admitted that there was no statistically significant difference between rates of warming from 1860-1880 and 1910-1940 and the rate from 1975-1998, though he and other DAGW believers had for years said the rate in the last period was unprecedented and therefore couldn't be natural but must be manmade.
Jones admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming for the last 15 years (though he personally believes this is only a temporary pause in manmade warming).
Jones admitted that natural influences could have contributed to the 1975-1998 warming. Significantly, he mentioned only the sun and volcanoes--the latter a brief cooling factor--and completely omitting reference to ocean circulations such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and changes in cloudiness stemming from both the ocean circulations and changes in influx of cosmic rays. All of these have been demonstrated to have strong effect on global temperature.
Jones admitted that the revelation of data handling failures at CRU and elsewhere (such as the U.K. Meteorological Office) had shaken the trust many people have in science.
Jones admitted that the Medieval Warm Period might well have been as warm as the Current Warm Period (1975-present), or warmer . If that were true, "then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented," though he persisted in doubting the MWP to have been global and as warm as the present.
The former CRU director's admissions do more than justify climate change skeptics' caution -- it opens the floodgates on other mismanagement by Jones and fellow climate change proponents.
The UK's Mail Online reported that Jones has admitted having trouble "keeping track" of the data he has used in constructing the research papers claiming unprecedented recent warming. The Mail Online said Jones said there was truth in colleagues' observations "that he lacked organizational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is 'not as good as it should be'." It also reported that colleagues say "the reason . . . Jones refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers."
In a separate interview with the BBC's Roger Harrabin Jones said American data centers suffered similar poor record keeping--which implies that none of the datasets on which the IPCC and other bodies have relied is really trustworthy. With the surface temperature data admittedly corrupt and unverifiable, that leaves data from weather balloons and satellites--which show no statistically significant global warming from 1975 to the present.
Jones's concessions are no tempest in a teapot. They strike at the root of global warming fears and the credibility of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments around the world relied.
It has already been concluded that Jones and the CRU violated Britain's Freedom of Information Act, though the conclusion came too late for prosecution.
An inquiry by the University of East Anglia into whether Jones is guilty of serious scientific misconduct continues--following the resignation from the inquiry panel of Dr. Philip Campbell, editor in chief of Nature , after it was revealed that, shortly after the Climategate emails were released, he had "told Chinese state radio . . . that he did not believe that the emails had shown any evidence of improper conduct." The comment clearly demonstrated Campbell's bias in the matter and disqualified him from participating on the panel, though he did not reveal the fact himself. Ironically, Nature is the journal in which Dr. Michael Mann used the tactic that Jones referred to in one of the most famous of the Climategate emails as "Mike's Nature trick."
A similar investigations continues at Pennsylvania State University into whether Mann, a paleoclimatologist famous for his now discredited "hockey stick" graph of global temperatures over the last millennium and author of many of the Climategate emails, committed scientific misconduct.
When even the Times of London, long a promoter of global warming alarm, forthrightly reports, in the midst of all the news of the collapse of credibility of data purported to support belief in it, that other serious scientists say the world is not warming, you know the gig is up.
The Times quotes Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and a former lead author for the IPCC, as saying, "The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change" and then goes on to explain Christy's and others' criticisms at length. "The story is the same for each" region he has analyzed, Christy said. "The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development."
The Times also cites Dr. Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada (and a co-author of the Cornwall Alliance's Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Examination of the Theology, Science and Economics of Global Warming) as saying that his service as an IPCC reviewer "turned him into a strong critic." And the Times refers to a study of U.S. weather stations by Anthony Watts and Joseph D'Aleo that demonstrates that most do not meet standards for siting, construction, and maintenance, resulting in the strong warm bias.
Let's face it. The case for dangerous manmade global warming has suffered mortal wounds. Never truly strong, the belief has been subjected to serious critiques by many of the world's top independent scientists, arguing along many lines not only that the science doesn't uphold it but also that policies meant to fight it could themselves be the true causes of disaster . Climategate is simply the death knell that confirms many suspicions of fraud and collusion among leading alarmists.
A fuller version of this article is online here.
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is National Spokesman for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. He has testified as an expert witness on climate policy before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and written and contributed to several books on population, resources, and the environment.