Author and scientist Michael Crichton identified exploitation of fear by environmental groups in his book “State of Fear”. But in a January 17, 2003 he identified another concern, “Rather than serving as a cleansing force, science has in some instances been seduced by the more ancient lures of politics and publicity. Some of the demons that haunt our world in recent years are invented by scientists. The world has not benefited from permitting these demons to escape free.” Almost daily mainstream media reports appear to confirm Crichton’s position. Media are usually compliant because they don’t understand the science and are biased by their politics. A good example appeared recently through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory focuses on two issues, atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperatures. The claim is both are at the highest levels ever and CO2 drives temperature. Normally a peer review of a new theory occurs similar to that for individual academic papers. This didn’t happened with AGW. As Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at M.I.T., explained, the consensus was reached before the research had begun. Despite all attempts at suppression evidence slowly emerged and showed the theory is wrong so they’re increasingly desperate to maintain the charade. A combination of “invented” science and a compliant media provide dangerous distortion and amplification.
An Example of Invention
The BBC article reported on a paper in Science titled “Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability Over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 Million Years” is a good example of climate science spin. It’s certainly not objective journalism.
Repetition across the media gave the story unwarranted credibility. The headline says, “‘Scary’ climate message from the past”, but which expert determined it was scary? The sub-headline is more meaningless. ”A new historical record of carbon dioxide levels suggests current political targets on climate may be “playing with fire”, scientists say.” People gloss over the conditional words, “suggests” and “may” so it becomes definitive in the retelling. Who are the scientists? The article substantiates nothing except sensationalism.
The author of the Science paper adds more with scientifically questionable comments. “Carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas”. Actually, it is less than 4% of the greenhouse gases and as William Kininmonth, former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre and author of “Climate Change: A Natural Hazard” says, “Carbon dioxide does not warm the atmosphere.” Next we learn this is “ the only time in the last 20 million years that we find evidence for carbon dioxide levels similar to the modern level of 387 parts per million was 15 to 20 million years ago, when the planet was dramatically different.” So what? For most of the last 600 million years the level was much higher than today (Figure 1). Besides, what caused readings equal to today – certainly not a human source? Then we’re told it’s, “A slightly shocking finding,” It’s only shocking because it’s the only source of evidence for the claim and fails to contradict all other evidence. It also ignores all other causes of temperature and CO2 changes.
What We Know
A recent plot (Figure 1) of CO2, temperature and sea level confirms there is no relationship between temperature and CO2 levels over 600 million years. Notice how CO2 levels are equal to today (left side of graph) for the last 20 million years but before that they are consistently much higher, between 1000 and 1200 parts per million for 270 million years.
Figure 1; Blue line temperature; Orange line CO2; Brown line sea level. Source
How did the BBC reporter learn about the article? Some journalists monitor scientific journals for potentially sensationalist articles. Perhaps the answer is in a separate boxed comment by Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona. He sent the infamous email to Professor Deming telling him they had to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period. Here is Deming’s report. “With the publication of the article in Science [in 1995], I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.” Overpeck’s boxed comment in the BBC article says, “If anyone still doubts the link between CO2 and climate, they should read this paper”. Why? The paper doesn’t show the link at all.
Overpeck’s remark doesn’t say what the link is but like the paper implies CO2 drives temperature. The problem is in every record of any duration for any period in history temperature change precedes CO2 change in contradiction to the AGW theory assumption. When the ice core record for Antarctica was released showing temperature and CO2 moving synchronously it was immediately used as proof that CO2 was driving temperature. Now everyone agrees temperature changes before CO2 with a lag ranging from 80 to 800 years. Subsequent research showed shorter lags in the modern record. It took a detailed analysis to determine this lag and that is with a record of only half a million years.
A major problem for geology and related areas including paleoclimate is determining absolute dates. What is the range of error in the absolute dating? Michael Benton Ph.D argues for the accuracy but makes the bizarre statement, “Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines. Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, but younger dates are stable.” So, as technology improves the dating accuracy improves but this may alter entire assumptions. He then defines “stable”. “It is accurate to within a few thousand years. With modern, extremely precise, methods, error bars are often only 1% or so.”
The article Overpeck touts covers information from 20 million years ago. A 1% error means it is accurate to within 20,000 years at best. You couldn’t detect even an 800-year lag. Then consider that in the last 20,000 years the climate changed from a full Ice Age to an Interglacial and sea levels rose 150 m (500 feet).
There is one objective for this sensationalist BBC report derived from a scientific paper and promoted by a scientist. Perpetuate the false AGW claims that CO2 and temperature levels are higher than ever and CO2 drives temperature. It’s a pattern others have noticed. Christopher Horner wrote about how claims of thin arctic ice by Pen Hadlow’s theatrical Catlin expedition were contradicted by a scientific expedition that found ice “thicker than expected”. Of course, “…this didn’t deter the Today programme and much of the press from trying, with the aid of a tame Cambridge professor, to pretend that Hadow’s tape measure had proved that Arctic ice will soon disappear.”
These are precisely the kind of demons invented by scientists that Crichton identified.