WEBCommentary Editor

Author: Bob Webster
Date:  January 10, 2015

Topic category:  Climate/Climate Change/Weather

Climate Alarmist "New Math":  1.6% = 97%

There are many erroneous claims made by climate warming alarmists. Perhaps the most commonly heard is the oft-repeated claim, "97% of climate scientists agree the planet is warming and human emissions of greenhouse gases is the main cause", a claim that is as bogus as the claim that the (so-called) atmospheric "greenhouse effect" is the cause of climate change.

While the "97% of climate scientists agree" claim is flagrantly inaccurate, at the root of the many false claims by climate alarmists is the egregious claim that Earth's atmosphere behaves as a real greenhouse. The greenhouse effect claim is egregious because it is specifically designed to deceive the many non-scientists who understand that a garden greenhouse retains solar heat, but do not understand atmospheric science well enough to recognize the false analogy that claims Earth's atmosphere warms as does a greenhouse. Thus certain gases are mislabeled "greenhouse gases", giving further deceit to the claim.

The Greenhouse Effect Lie.

Climate alarmist mythology peddled to the public claims a greenhouse's glass allows higher frequency solar radiation to penetrate to the interior of the greenhouse where it warms surfaces which release heat as lower-frequency radiation (infrared, or IR) and this IR is "trapped" by the greenhouse's glass because glass inhibits passage of IR. But that "model" is a fabrication because that is not how a real greenhouse retains solar heating. It does so because it is an enclosed space that restricts convective loss of heat. This was proven by Prof. R. W. Wood in 1909, one of the many dissenters to the Greenhouse Effect Theory that was quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. Professor Wood experimentally demonstrated that two identical greenhouse models (one made with glass panes that restrict IR, the other made with rock salt panes that do not restrict IR) come to the same temperature, thus demonstrating that it was not IR-blocking by glass panes (or the atmosphere) that was responsible for warming. Wood's experiment was repeated using modern techniques by Nasif S. Nahle, PhD, in 2011 with the same result. The Abstract for Dr. Nahle's paper states, "Through a series of controlled experiments, I demonstrate that the warming effect in a real greenhouse is not due to longwave infrared radiation trapped inside the greenhouse, but to the blockage of convective heat transfer with the surroundings, as proven by Professor Wood in his 1909 experiment."

In fact, if every molecule of carbon dioxide were removed from Earth's atmosphere, there would be virtually no impact on global climate. Among the reasons for this: (1) carbon dioxide represents only a minuscule portion of atmospheric gases that respond to IR; (2) water vapor is vastly more abundant and has greater IR absorption capacity than does carbon dioxide; and, (3) while heat retention can be enhanced by a thick atmosphere, an atmosphere cannot add heat to the Earth. Put another way, in the many decades that climate alarmists have claimed "greenhouse gases" released by human activity are warming our climate, not one single scientifically-based paper has ever been produced that discerns a human component of the estimate of global temperature.

If the current interglacial (roughly 12,000 years and counting) comes to an end, it will come suddenly (just as have all previous interglacials). Should scientists detect that the next glacial phase of the ice age cycle were beginning, the suggestion that it might be deferred by burning more fossil fuels would be found laughable. Yet there are dubious "climate" scientists and climate-warming-peddlers-for-profit (think Al Gore) who have been warning about "catastrophic" global warming for more than three decades! It is worth noting that global cooling will happen and it represents a far greater threat to humanity than global warming would. The current interglacial is "due" to end momentarily in terms of climate history. Only one of the prior four interglacial cycles that separate long glacial cycles has lasted as long as the current interglacial, and most of them were of much shorter duration within the current global temperature range.

Climate Alarmist "New Math":  1.6% = 97%

In a recent article in Forbes, Alex Epstein exposes the new math of climate alarmism. Epstein investigated two questions relating to the claim that 97% of scientists agree climate change is real and its main cause is human emissions of carbon dioxide:

What exactly do the climate scientists agree upon? Epstein found:

"What you’ll find is that people don’t want to define what 97% agree on–because there is nothing remotely in the literature saying 97% agree we should ban most fossil fuel use. It’s likely that 97% of people making the 97% claim have absolutely no idea where that number comes from."

Epstein then observes:

"If you look at the literature, the specific meaning of the 97% claim is: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause–that is, that we are over 50% responsible. The warming is a whopping 0.8 degrees over the past 150 years, a warming that has tapered off to essentially nothing in the last decade and a half."

Politicians, ever lusting for more power over our lives, use climate alarmism to further deceive the people. Epstein noted:

"On his Twitter account, President Obama tweets: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” Not only does Obama sloppily equate “scientists” with “climate scientists,” but more importantly he added “dangerous” to the 97% claim, which is not there in the literature.

This is called the fallacy of equivocation: using the same term (“97 percent”) in two different ways to manipulate people."

But, as Epstein found, the deception is even worse because 97% of climate scientists never said they "agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause–that is, that we are over 50% responsible."

So, what about that 97% figure?

How do we know the 97% agree?

Epstein goes on to reveal:

One of the main papers behind the 97 percent claim is authored by John Cook,...

Cook summarizes his 2013 paper claiming:

“Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97 percent [of papers he surveyed] endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.”

In other words, Cook is claiming 97% of surveyed papers support the view that human emissions of greenhouse gases were responsible for more than 50% of warming (the "main cause").

Epstein reveals:

But even a quick scan of the paper reveals that this is not the case. Cook is able to demonstrate only that a relative handful endorse “the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.” Cook calls this “explicit endorsement with quantification” (quantification meaning 50 percent or more). The problem is, only a small percentage of the papers fall into this category; Cook does not say what percentage, but when the study was publicly challenged by economist David Friedman, one observer calculated that only 1.6 percent explicitly stated that man-made greenhouse gases caused at least 50 percent of global warming.

Indeed many of the authors of papers Cook surveyed complained that Cook's characterization of their papers was inaccurate.

What Cook has done is fabricate a simple statement designed to deceive the people with the false claim that virtually all expert climate scientists supported climate alarmist claims that global warming is real and human emissions of "greenhouse" gases are the principle cause.

Welcome to the new math of climate science: Where 1.6% of climate scientists who actually agree with Cook's conclusion become equivalent to 97% of climate scientists (or 97% of all scientists if you're a politician with penchant for lying)!

Apparently, in the new math world of climate alarmists, one can simply make up convenient theories, manufacture pseudo-scientific papers and use fantasized figures and still be taken seriously.

Bob Webster
WEBCommentary (Editor, Publisher)

Biography - Bob Webster

Bob Webster, a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s) is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.

A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.

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