Climate Skeptics and the Evolution of Knowledge

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For thousands of years, people believed that the stars are stationary and that the sun moves around the earth. After all, is that not what we see with our own eyes every day?

In 1596, Johannes Kepler published a book in which he presented proof that the sun is the center of a planetary system, of which the earth is part. In 1632, Galileo Galilei published a book about his scientific observations arguing convincingly that the earth moves around the sun. Kepler was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church and Galilei was sentenced to life house arrest for his heresies. Most scientists at the time did not share Kepler’s or Galilei’s scientific views. Today, their heresies are standard astronomical knowledge.

Our government seems to have differing views of truth and facts. We are told by Ms. Psaki that Dr. Fauci did not lie when he first said that masks are useless and not needed and then demanded that everybody wear double masks and that he still speaks the truth, when he claims that the NIAID never financed gain of function research for the Wuhan Lab in China while documents clearly show that NIAID did exactly that. We are told by the very same government that “the science is in” on climate change and that scientific arguments that cast doubt on the validity of the government’s climate policies are “disinformation” and must therefore be censored and suppressed.

There is no uniform position of climate scientists or scientists as for that about global warming or Man-Made Global Warming (MMGW). Serious scientists have argued with convincing arguments based on scientifically verified facts against the sacraments of the MMGW religion.

Here are the views of 14 of the most prolific “climate deniers” in a nutshell.

Freeman Dyson, a physicist, has been a giant in his field for decades. The British-born, Princeton-based professor has gained notoriety for his “heretical” views on climate change. While he does acknowledge the mechanism by which man-made greenhouse gasses can influence the climate, he argues that current climate change models are way too simplistic to capture what is really going on in the real world.

Bjorn Lomborg is a Danish-based scientist, famous for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Like Dyson, he does not deny that there may be some global warming, but he thinks that the current approach to global warming is misguided and that the costs of drastic, short-term action are too high. Instead, he thinks we should focus on enabling mankind to adjust to the effects of climate change – warming or cooling – so the human species would be capable of surviving extreme climate if it occurs. He also believes we should put more effort into such real-world tragedies as AIDS or malaria rather than wasting our resources on trying to fend off a hypothetical and possibly largely imagined threat.

Myron Ebell was the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a nonprofit organization that focuses on public policy. He went to Colorado College, where he majored in philosophy and then obtained a master’s degree in political theory from the London School of Economics. Ebell was the chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group comprised of several organizations that oppose energy rationing policies. He may be enemy #1 to the current climate change community. Ebell currently works for the free market thinktank Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian advocacy group, and, according to his own bio, has been called a climate “criminal” and a leading pusher of misleading ideas.

Ebell claimed that “the rate of warming according to the data is much slower than the models used by the IPCC.” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). His opponents insist that past climate models have accurately predicted subsequent rates of global warming, which is patently false. The models even “predicted” past climate changes incorrectly. All climate prediction models have significantly overestimated atmospheric warming for two main reasons: they cannot account for the most important climate driver – clouds; and they notoriously reflect the biases programmed into them by global warming advocates. Junk in, junk out.

Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese scientist, received his Ph.D. in industrial chemistry from the University of Tokyo in 1978. He is the author of Lies and Traps in the Global Warming Affair. Like many others, Itoh does not reject the notion of global warming entirely, but instead claims that the causes are far more complex than the anti-carbon crowd would have you believe. Itoh believes that the entire global warming hype is one giant scam. He said: “Warming fears are the worst scientific scandal in history. When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” The truth is, as he sees it, that climate change is normal, that it is driven by cosmic drivers we cannot control, and that the human factor in it is miniscule, if it exists at all.

Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, isn’t a thought leader, per se, in the climate skeptics scene — but the mere fact that he has come out as being a skeptic and has a Nobel Prize makes him important. His main point of criticism is that climate change orthodoxy has become a “new religion” for scientists, and that the data isn’t nearly as compelling as it should be to warrant this kind of conformity.

Will Happer is a highly respected physicist out of Princeton who compares the anti-CO2 crowd to the prohibitionists prior to the passage of the 18th Amendment. While he does acknowledge long-term warming, he thinks the influence of CO2 is vastly overstated, and that the benefits of a modest reduction in it will be negligible, but very costly.

In his testimony to Congress, he expressed approximately the following thoughts:

The earth’s climate really is strongly affected by the greenhouse effect, although the physics is not the same as that which makes real, glassed-in greenhouses work. Without greenhouse warming, the earth would be much too cold to sustain its current abundance of life. However, at least 90% of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide is a minor player. There is little argument in the scientific community that a direct effect of doubling the CO2 concentration will be a small increase of the atmosphere’s temperature — in the order of one degree. Additional increments of CO2 will cause relatively less direct warming because we already have so much CO2 in the atmosphere that it has blocked most of the infrared radiation that it can.

Ian Plimer, an Australian professor, is the author of Heaven + Earth, a book that claims to debunk all of the major global warming myths. He believes that the Earth is an evolving dynamic system. Current changes in climate, sea level, and ice cover are within normal and historic variability. Atmospheric CO2 is the lowest for 500 million years. Climate has always been driven by the Sun, the Earth’s orbit, plate tectonics, and the oceans. Atmosphere and life respond. Humans have made their mark on the planet, thriving in warm times and struggling in cool times. He rejects the hypothesis that humans can actually change climate as unsupported by evidence from geology, archaeology, history, and astronomy. The yawning spiritual gap in Western society is filled by fearful ignorance. Climate change politics have morphed into religious fundamentalism masquerading as science. Computer models are unrelated to observations in nature. There is no critical due diligence of the science of climate change, dogma dominates, sceptics are pilloried, and 17th-Century thinking promotes prophets of doom, guilt, and penance.

Michael Crichton, the late famous author, has, through his fiction and non-fiction writings, remained an important popularizer of scientific ideas, so I am including him. His 2005 speech to the National Press Club arguing for global warming skepticism summarizes his views about “scientific consensus”:

“Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics.  Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.  In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.”

Alan Carlin is a former economist of the Rand Corporation and he worked with the Sierra Club on environmental issues. He also worked for the EPA as an economist and wrote a report about global warming, in which he called global warming a “hoax”. This report was suppressed by the EPA. It’s not really important what he said or what he believed or even whether his arguments make sense. What is important is that he was censored by the EPA for being a climate heretic. He is the Galilei of climate change.

Patrick Michaels is a CATO scholar and a GMU professor who is widely quoted as a global warming skeptic. The late Virginia state climatologist became a lightning rod in debates around climate change, reviled by activists and revered by skeptics for using his academic pedigree to challenge the alleged scientific consensus on the causes and consequences of global warming.

Michaels did not dispute that temperatures may be rising, nor did he deny a human role in the warming. He simply evaluated the entire phenomenon differently:

“I believe in climate change caused by human beings,” he told The Washington Post in 2006. “What I’m skeptical about is the glib notion that it means the end of the world as we know it.”

His basic belief was that we are in a long-term warming trend and that Carbon Dioxide has got little to do with it, as the ability of CO2 to absorb UR light decreases exponentially and each additional greenhouse gas molecule has less and less of an effect.

Edward Wegman has a PhD in mathematical statistics from the University of Iowa. He headed the Mathematical Sciences Division of the Office of Naval Research and was the original program director of the basic research program in ultra-high-speed computing at the Strategic Defense Initiative and Chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Science. Wegman debunked the infamous “hockey-stick curve”, which Michael Mann, of the University of Massachusetts, had developed for the last 1,000 years of atmospheric temperature development. This curve showed a steep increase of atmospheric temperature for the last 150 years. Wegman and fellow statistician Tim Ball were able to demonstrate that the curve was the result of false statistics. The hockey-stick-like upswing of atmospheric temperature in the recent past shown in Mann’s curve simply does not exist. Mr. Mann was also associated with the so-called East Anglia Scandal, when MMGW advocates deliberately falsified data to show global warming in order to promote their globalist agenda. (Don’t ask what you can do for global warming. Ask what global warming can do for you!”).

Richard Tol has a PhD in economics. He is a Professor of Sustainability and Global Change and Director of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Hamburg University, Germany. Tol debunked the infamous article in the German News Magazine “Stern” about the upcoming climate catastrophe as “a preposterous … almost comic mishmash of bad math, bad faith, and worst-case scenarios treated as overwhelming probabilities”. A “chicken little” study. The sky is falling. The world will end. He also heavily criticized the unreliability and biased nature of the computer models, on which these doomsday prognoses were based.

Christopher Landsea. PhD in atmospheric science from Colorado University. Research meteorologist at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Landsea is a main voice against the false claim that global warming causes more and stronger hurricanes (I write this as the winds of Ian are blowing around my house), more tornados, more droughts, in all more catastrophic whether events.

Let us just look at the hurricanes from 1900 until 2022:

So far, the years with the most hurricanes were 1906 (3), 1926 (3), 1964 (3), 2004 (4), and 2005 (4).

The years with the strongest hurricanes were 1900 (cat 4), 1919 (cat 4), 1926 (cat 4), 1928 (cat 4), 1935 (cat 5), 1944 (cat 4), 1947 (cat 4), 1948 (cat 4), 1949 (cat 4), 1950 (cat 4), 1960 (cat 4), 1992 (cat 5), 2004 (cat 4), 2017 (cat 4), 2018 (cat 5), and 2022 (cat 4).

Seems Landsea was right. These data show no clear pattern of increasing hurricane frequency or strength. What did increase, is the cost of the damages caused by hurricanes. This is not due to more or stronger hurricanes but to human stupidity that puts more and more expensive structures into harm’s way.

S. Fred Singer was a research professor at George Mason University. In his comprehensive assessment of climate change claims in his book Unstoppable Global Warming – every 1500 years Singer promotes the idea that there are cycles of warming and cooling: a 250,000-year cycle, a 2,500-year cycle and a 1,500-year cycle. These cycles can reinforce or weaken each other, and they can be reinforced or weakened by the short-term Atlantic and Pacific oscillations of warming and cooling. Singer’s is probably the single most comprehensive rebuttal and refutation of MMGW claims ever written so far.

The following positions are the main views held by climate skeptics:

  • There may not be a long-term trend toward global warming at all. We may be in a transitional intermediate warming phase after the end of the Little Ice Age, but overall, we are headed into the next ice age. Sooner or later, mankind (in woke speak “genderkind”?) will have to face much lower atmospheric temperatures and they will present a much more serious problem for us than warmer ones.
  • There may be some global warming, but it’s mostly driven by cosmic drivers like the sun, planetary constellations, cloud cover etc. over which humans have little or no control. If there is a human component, it is very small, and its existence or non-existence won’t make a significant difference.
  • There is global warming and there is a significant human contribution to it. However, to negate or significantly suppress the human activities that contribute to global warming of the atmosphere would cost unimaginable sums of money and destroy our world-wide technical civilization completely pushing billions of people into poverty, hunger, and destitution. Instead of fighting global warming, we should better use our money and our resources to adjust to it so as to improve our changes as a species to survive major changes in our climate.
  • The alleged “consensus” between scientists (“the science is in”), which makes any further debate of climate change superfluous, dangerous, heretic and even criminal in the eyes of the MMGW believers, simply does not exist. And even if it existed, it must be considered as transitory as any other scientific idea, concept, or theory. Newton’s Theory of Gravity gave way to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which gave way to Max Planck’s Quantum Theory.

Science develops and so does our knowledge. The sky is not falling. Let us not jump to premature conclusions and throw out the baby with the bathtub. Let us keep our minds and our society open.

Decreeing truth ex cathedra may work for the Pope, but it does not work in science. Science goes by checking theories against empirical data from observations and experiments, not by computer model and majority vote. That is politics.

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