CLI­MATE CRA­ZIES: All of a sud­den Holy Grail of cli­mate change is lost or de­stroyed

Finweek English Edition - - Column -

PER­HAPS IT’S TIME for that cel­e­brated scep­tic – Richard Dawkins – to write a se­quel to his con­tro­ver­sial work The God Delu­sion (2m copies in 30 lan­guages), which he could call The Cli­mate Delu­sion. Sadly, it’s un­likely Dawkins will write it. He ap­pears, cu­ri­ously for one of his search­ing in­tel­lect, to be on the side of the cra­zies.

While one would be an idiot not to be con­cerned about pol­lu­tion, that’s a dif­fer­ent is­sue from the dooms­day sce­nar­ios of the cli­mate cra­zies. They seek to spend tril­lions of tax dol­lars fight­ing na­ture in the ju­ve­nile be­lief we can some­how al­ter weather pat­terns. Fur­ther, they be­lieve that if we don’t re­design our weather pat­terns then life as we know it will be de­stroyed. Well it will, of course, be de­stroyed in roughly four mil­lions years by nat­u­ral forces over which we have never, and will never, have any con­trol.

In De­cem­ber this year cli­mate cra­zies from ev­ery­where will gather in Copen­hagen (son of Ky­oto) in an ef­fort to per­suade politi­cians to force so­ci­ety to change lifestyles cur­rently en­joyed by around 1,5bn peo­ple and af­ter which the other 5bn are in hot pur­suit, led by the Chi­nese and In­di­ans.

Pa­trick J Michaels, a Cato In­sti­tute en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist in Wash­ing­ton, points out the Ky­oto Pro­to­col – if ful­filled by ev­ery sig­na­tory – would re­duce global warm­ing by 0,07 de­grees Cel­sius per half cen­tury, too small to mea­sure be­cause the earth’s tem­per­a­ture varies by more than that from year to year.

As Copen­hagen (what a swell place for a con­ven­tion) ap­proaches, it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to look at the in­ter­est­ing gen­e­sis of this cult of the cli­mate. Michaels in­forms us that in the early Eight­ies sci­en­tists at Eng­land’s Uni­ver­sity of East Anglia, funded by the US Depart­ment of En­ergy, started its Cli­matic Re­search Unit (CRU) to pro­duce the world’s first com­pre­hen­sive his­tory of sur­face tem­per­a­ture. Its au­thors were sci­en­tists Phil Jones and Tom Wigley. It served as the pri­mary ref­er­ence for the UN’s In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) un­til 2007. It was the ba­sis for the IPCC’s claim of a “dis­cernible hu­man in­flu­ence on global cli­mate”.

Un­like most sci­en­tists, Jones is very touchy about any chal­lenge to his find­ings. He told an en­quir­ing fel­low sci­en­tist who asked for the orig­i­nal data: “We have 25 years or so in­vested in this work. Why should I make the data avail­able to you when your aim is to try and find some­thing wrong with it?”

How­ever, the data was sup­plied to those con­sid­ered sym­pa­thetic by the cli­mate cra­zies. Now, con­ve­niently, the orig­i­nal “Jones and Wigley” data – which can be said to be the foun­da­tion of cli­mate change mad­ness – has been lost. Faced with re­quests for the data from re­spected sci­en­tists, Jones first replied there were “con­fi­den­tial­ity” agree­ments be­tween the CRU and coun­tries that sup­plied the data. Some were pro­duced, mainly vague doc­u­ments from Third World coun­tries.

Faced with a re­quest for the raw data – al­ready un­der se­ri­ous and doubt­ing sci­en­tific scru­tiny – from Roger Pielke Jnr, an es­teemed en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado, Jones made this tor­tu­ous re­ply: “Since the Eight­ies we have merged the data we have re­ceived into ex­ist­ing se­ries or be­gun new ones, so it is im­pos­si­ble to say if all sta­tions within a par­tic­u­lar coun­try or if all of an in­di­vid­ual record should be freely avail­able. Data stor­age avail­abil­ity in the Eight­ies meant we were not able to keep the mul­ti­ple sources for some sites, only the sta­tion se­ries af­ter ad­just­ment for ho­mo­gene­ity is­sues. We there­fore do not hold the orig­i­nal raw data but only the value-added (ie, qual­ity con­trolled and ho­mogenised) data.”

That’s af­ter al­ready sup­ply­ing one sci­en­tist with the data just a few months ago. All of a sud­den this Holy Grail of cli­mate change is lost or de­stroyed. If, as ex­pected, the US Se­nate drops ca­pand-trade cli­mate leg­is­la­tion it’s likely Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency will try to im­pose reg­u­la­tions on emis­sions.

How­ever, un­like laws, such reg­u­la­tions can be at­tacked on sci­en­tific grounds. It should be quite a bun fight.

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