Global Warming X – Petition Urges Trump to Abandon Paris Accords

Bernard,

Here is a report about a petition that Dr. Richard Lindzen and others organized urging Donald Trump to abandon the recent Paris Climate Accords. Curious what you make of this list of people. Anyone you know? Notable names or names interesting for other reasons:

  • Freeman Dyson
  • George Hacken – physicist who specializes in safety-critical control systems (interesting to me)
  • George Devries Klein – prof emeritus U of Illinois, lots of published papers – worth a look
  • Richard E. MacFarland
  • Bjorn Peters
  • Harrison Schmitt, astronaut and senator
  • Fred Singer
  • Michael Stopa, PhD Physics, U Maryland
  • Wyss Yim – Hong Kong

Unusually many people from Sweden and Norway. Not one person from China! Or even India? Or Russia? Why not?

Wayne


Wayne,

None of the guys on your selected list are climate scientists.

Freeman Dyson, a now elderly guy, won Nobel laurels for showing that the versions of quantum electrodynamics that won a shared Nobel for Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga were mathematical transformations of each other. I don’t know about further major contributions he may have made in that part of physics. It’s not my specialty, but I know that many of the researchers of that generation, such as Feynman and Schwinger continued to make major contributions. He is now a kind of visionary thinker who does not limit himself to high energy or quantum physics, or even to science. He’s a smart guy with many ideas, and inevitably some are kind of loopy. I read about his writing on climate change, but I don’t remember the details. I follow several climate change blogs written by professional climate change scientists, and they have written about his ideas. As I remember, they say that he doesn’t know what he is talking about in the realm of climate science even though he is obviously knowledgeable about physics generally speaking. I could find these blog posts, if you wish, or I’ll link to them in what would be Global Warming XI.

As for George Devries Klein, who I guess I’ve heard about now that I Googled him, he’s another elderly guy who evidently did important work in geology who is now pronouncing about climate science without publishing any actual climate science research. Here’s a useful and friendly article about him. 

In my opinion, the authors of this essay and Dr. Klein, and many others, claim that because we don’t know everything about the factors that influence the climate, we basically don’t know anything reliable. In other words, they believe that “all models are wrong” but they don’t believe that “some models are useful.” Further, they assert the undoubted truth, now the refuge of many Republican politicians, that the climate has always changed. Those who assert this neglect to mention that during the entire span of settled, agricultural, and civilized human existence, about 10,000 years, the climate has been stable. Until, that is, the last 100 years, during which time the climate has begun to change at a rate of about 150 times faster than any natural changes in the past. For an amusing and accurate demonstration of this, see this xkcd comic. This goes back 20,000 years to the middle of the most recent Ice Age, when the Earth’s average surface temperature was 4 or 5 degrees C cooler than today.

Dr. Fred Singer, still a third elderly guy. 92! He is a physicist, and during a long and active career he studied the environment, developed weather and Earth-sensing satellites, and many other things. But, look at this from the introductory paragraph of his Wikipedia page:

Singer trained as an atmospheric physicist and is known for his work in space research, atmospheric pollution, rocket and satellite technology, his questioning of the link between UV-B and melanoma rates, and that between CFCs and stratospheric ozone loss, his public downplaying of the health risks of passive smoking, and as an advocate for climate change denial. He is the author or editor of several books including Global Effects of Environmental Pollution (1970), The Ocean in Human Affairs (1989), Global Climate Change (1989), The Greenhouse Debate Continued (1992), and Hot Talk, Cold Science (1997). He has also co-authored Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years (2007) with Dennis Avery, and Climate Change Reconsidered (2009) with Craig Idso.

I’d say, he’s got a problem with being wrong. He should have known better with CFCs, since atmospheric science was his area of expertise. He was a well-known denier of the massively established link between smoking and cancer (not just passive smoking as stated here), which is, of course, not his area of expertise. He is also well-known as a climate change denier. The climate scientist bloggers I read have dealt with him, and the various fallacies and mistakes he advances long ago.

Harrison Schmitt, another older guy, 81, and a geologist, not a climate scientist. So geologists know that the climate has always changed, and that the past shows big climate changes from natural causes. But, they neglect the message of the xkcd comic. That message is something I emphasize in my discussion of global warming at the U of Tampa. Furthermore, here is the section of climate change from Schmitt’s Wikipedia page:

Schmitt’s view on climate change diverges from the frequently reported scientific consensus, as he emphasizes natural over human factors as driving climate. Schmitt has expressed the view that the risks posed by climate change are overrated, and suggests instead that climate change is a tool for people who are trying to increase the size of government. He resigned his membership in the Planetary Society because of its stance on the subject, writing in his resignation letter that the “global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision-making.” He spoke at the March 2009 International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the Heartland Institute. He appeared in December that year on the Fox Business Network, saying “[t]he CO2 scare is a red herring”.

In a 2009 interview with libertarian talk-radio host Alex Jones, Schmitt asserted a link between Soviet Communism and the American environmental movement: “I think the whole trend really began with the fall of the Soviet Union. Because the great champion of the opponents of liberty, namely communism, had to find some other place to go and they basically went into the environmental movement.”  At the Heartland Institute’s sixth International Conference on Climate Change Schmitt said that climate change was a stalking horse for National Socialism.

Schmitt co-authored a May 8, 2013 Wall Street Journal opinion column with William Happer, contending that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are not significantly correlated with global warming, attributing the “single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas” to advocates of government control of energy production. Noting a positive relationship between crop resistance to drought and increasing carbon dioxide levels, the authors argued, “Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.”

Appearances on Alex Jones! Climate change and global warming a plot of leftist environmentalists to increase the role of government! As before, I read real climate scientists blogging about that WSJ editorial. Wrong on the facts, and wrong on the reasoning, as I remember. All Rupert Murdoch papers support global warming denialism, but his new wife is an environmentalist. Will she be able to knock some sense into him?

I don’t know Michael Stopa, but here’s an item I found in a moment’s Googling:

Dr. Mike Stopa is a Harvard physicist who says that there is a great deal of “hysteria” surrounding global warming. He’s also a conservative Republican running to take the seat Democratic Sen. Ed Markey has vacated in Massachusetts’ fifth congressional district.

In a YouTube video produced by his campaign, Stopa highlights the economics, science, and politics surrounding global warming and ends by showing the vacant lots of two green companies that have since gone bankrupt after profiting off of renewable energy subsidies.

Stopa is an expert in nanotechnology as far as I can tell. I wonder why he didn’t also show coal mining companies that are bankrupt, or the many successful companies building and selling solar panels, or electric vehicles, or any of the other firms in the growing environmental segment of the economy.

Dr. Wyss Yim, as far as I can tell from Googling, is a Hong Kong paleoclimate researcher. So he’s another geologist who knows that the climate has always changed, and even changed by great amounts, but (I guess) finds 10,000 years or a 100 years too short to be noticeable. Here’s an item I found.

Professor Wyss Yim’s letter published on January 29 (“Hottest year? Not in Hong Kong”) argued that urbanisation is the culprit of all the warming that is observed, and that the global temperature actually decreased during the period from 1998 to 2014.

So he is one of those who advocated the view that the world’s climate scientists had made stupid mistakes in gathering their data. There was a flurry of fussing not long ago about how the climate scientists didn’t know about the urban island effect or didn’t properly take it into account in their analysis (although these same critics would have accused the scientists of manipulating their data to attain a predetermined result if they had known that the climate guys corrected for these effects). Or used data from airport weather stations located in the jet blast areas of runways, and so on. These ideas have all been thoroughly rejected by many independent reviews of the actual data by knowledgeable researchers. Dr. Yim also is an advocate of the foolish “hiatus” in global warming proclaimed by global warming deniers because 1998 was a record hot year, so subsequent years, while plenty hot, were not as hot as it was. Throughout the time of the “hiatus” energy continued to flow into the climate system, and each of the past three years has not only exceeded 1998, but each exceeded its predecessor. 2016 was the hottest in the thermometric temperature record going back to about 1880.

Well, I’ve got to prepare for my class today, but it is interesting to know that the Berkeley physicist, Dr. Richard Muller, who is the author of the textbook I use in my classes, seemed to my mind a global warming skeptic when I read his chapter on climate change. He has a varied and significant research career, including work on paleoclimate. He doesn’t seem like a skeptic to the students, but he does to me. He reports the UN statements and says that we have good reason to pay attention to them. But he, it seems to me, is much more concerned about the harm from Al Gore’s supposed mistakes in his movie than he is by the harm caused by the global warming deniers. He wrote the textbook in 2008 or 9. A couple of years later, he formed the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group, BEST. He didn’t trust the correctness of the world’s climate scientists’ analysis of global temperatures during the thermometric era, going about 150 years, he said. This led to grants from some of the well-known climate change skeptics foundations, and Koch brother groups. He hired people and burrowed away in the data (readily available to anyone)  for a year. When he published his results, a half dozen refereed papers in the professional literature, his group’s data fell on top of that having been done by the government climate scientists. He wrote a NYT op-ed describing this, which I hand out to my students.

By the way, I don’t think being elderly, or not being, specifically, a climate researcher precludes having good ideas. But a little modesty from these guys would be appropriate. I’m an old guy myself, and I humbly believe that at least some of my ideas are worth blogging.

WattsUpWithThat, which is where you got the original link at the top of this postis not a good source for reliable climate change and global warming information. Really, it’s a bad source.

Here are a couple of reliable sites, written by climate scientists or in consultation with climate scientists. You have to be careful Googling about climate change and global warming. There are sites that look professional and informed but they are not. It is not easy to sort the reliable from the unreliable among the results of a Google search

Bernard

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