Category: Dale Leuck

Global Warming: The Evolution of a Hoax



A new paper by Christopher Booker further eviscerates the global warming hypothesis.



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How to Fight Terrorism the Russian Way


Some are aware of the terrorist bombing in a St. Petersburg, Russia shopping center December 27.  The subsequent comment by Russian president Vladimir Putin, that terrorists should be “liquidated on the spot” if they pose “an immediate danger to others,” underscores the different attitude with which Russians pursue their “war on terror,” at least until Donald Trump took office.  Trump has followed through with his promise to “bomb the [s—] out of ISIS,” leaving ISIS with only 2 percent of the territory it once held in its so-called “caliphate,” and its fighters left in Syria and Iraq number now only about 1,000.  Trump effected this set of circumstances by changing “rules of engagement,” saving American lives and costing more enemy lives.  While American forces can now engage the enemy with greater latitude, not having to wait for approval from Washington bureaucrats, the United States can still learn from the ruthless ways in which Russia conducts war.

A case in point is the September 2004 hostage-taking at a school in Beslan, Republic of South Ossetia, located in the long troubled north Caucasus region.  The attack, by 32 armed terrorists linked to separatists in the nearby republic of Chechnya, resulted in the taking of over 1,000 hostages, including family members attending a celebration of the opening day at the primary and secondary school.  The attack resulted in the deaths of more than 330 people, mostly children.  Following reports of explosions within the explosives-rigged gymnasium, Russian forces responded with heavy machine guns, antitank rockets, and T-72 main battle tanks, as well as flame throwers and small arms.

The Beslan attack was one of many terrorist activities by a Chechen liberation group led by a notorious warlord, Shamil Basayev, that included the takeover of a Moscow theater in 2002 that ended in the deaths of 130 hostages; the 2004 assassination of Akhmad Kadyrov, the pro-Russian president of Chechnya; two suicide bombings on Russian airliners; and countless other acts of terrorism.

Besides the seemingly heavy-handed immediate response to the Beslan school hostage-taking, a number of political changes were made as measures of counterterrorism.  Most importantly, regional governors were to no longer be popularly elected, but appointed by the Russian president.  Ramzan Kadyrov, the son of the assassinated Akhmad Kadyrov, was appointed president of the Chechen republic in February 2007, a post he still holds.  That Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya ruthlessly would be an understatement, but he has popularized himself on social media, posing with kittens small and large, with nearly one million followers on Instagram.  Abductions and killings have been routine, even of relatives of known terrorists.  At minimum, relatives have their property destroyed or are banned from Chechnya. 

In a January 2015 video, Kadyrov describes an anti-terror operation on December 4, 2014 in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, in which he delayed the operation for three hours so he could personally lead it, as well as his thoughts on terrorism, the terrorists as individuals, the role of families in watching their children, and what the families can expect if they do not turn in their children as terrorism suspects (beginning at the six-minute mark).

This is to recommend not such tactics in the United States, but a revaluation of current policy.  Perhaps debate should commence on the internment and mass deportation of selected Muslims, as had been conducted by France since 2012 and Norway since 2014.  Crime in Norway dropped 31 percent in less than a year after deportations began.  Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic have restricted immigration so completely that the E.U. has opened legal cases against them, as reported June 12, 2017 by Reuters.

In the United States and most of the rest of Europe, immigration continues, unabated in Europe and slowed by evolving legal requirements in the United States.  No action has been taken against the families of terrorists, however, even in the case where the June 26, 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooter’s wife admitted to the FBI prior knowledge of the impending attack, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel on December 21, 2017.  Noor Salman was not arrested for seven months after the shooting, despite admitting prior knowledge of the planned attack to the FBI the day after the killing of 49 people at the gay nightclub.  She does now face charges of aiding a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.  Her attorneys argue that her admission should not be admitted as evidence.  In Russia, she would already most likely have been convicted and in Chechnya probably killed, as would be members of her family, and their property destroyed.  That kind of policy makes would-be terrorists think twice and their families more likely to alert authorities of suspicions regarding their children.

Trump’s policies are a good first start in realism in the war against what amounts to a Muslim invasion, with a few violent and the majority passive supporters or enablers in their silence.  More thinking and debate appear needed, however.

Some are aware of the terrorist bombing in a St. Petersburg, Russia shopping center December 27.  The subsequent comment by Russian president Vladimir Putin, that terrorists should be “liquidated on the spot” if they pose “an immediate danger to others,” underscores the different attitude with which Russians pursue their “war on terror,” at least until Donald Trump took office.  Trump has followed through with his promise to “bomb the [s—] out of ISIS,” leaving ISIS with only 2 percent of the territory it once held in its so-called “caliphate,” and its fighters left in Syria and Iraq number now only about 1,000.  Trump effected this set of circumstances by changing “rules of engagement,” saving American lives and costing more enemy lives.  While American forces can now engage the enemy with greater latitude, not having to wait for approval from Washington bureaucrats, the United States can still learn from the ruthless ways in which Russia conducts war.

A case in point is the September 2004 hostage-taking at a school in Beslan, Republic of South Ossetia, located in the long troubled north Caucasus region.  The attack, by 32 armed terrorists linked to separatists in the nearby republic of Chechnya, resulted in the taking of over 1,000 hostages, including family members attending a celebration of the opening day at the primary and secondary school.  The attack resulted in the deaths of more than 330 people, mostly children.  Following reports of explosions within the explosives-rigged gymnasium, Russian forces responded with heavy machine guns, antitank rockets, and T-72 main battle tanks, as well as flame throwers and small arms.

The Beslan attack was one of many terrorist activities by a Chechen liberation group led by a notorious warlord, Shamil Basayev, that included the takeover of a Moscow theater in 2002 that ended in the deaths of 130 hostages; the 2004 assassination of Akhmad Kadyrov, the pro-Russian president of Chechnya; two suicide bombings on Russian airliners; and countless other acts of terrorism.

Besides the seemingly heavy-handed immediate response to the Beslan school hostage-taking, a number of political changes were made as measures of counterterrorism.  Most importantly, regional governors were to no longer be popularly elected, but appointed by the Russian president.  Ramzan Kadyrov, the son of the assassinated Akhmad Kadyrov, was appointed president of the Chechen republic in February 2007, a post he still holds.  That Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya ruthlessly would be an understatement, but he has popularized himself on social media, posing with kittens small and large, with nearly one million followers on Instagram.  Abductions and killings have been routine, even of relatives of known terrorists.  At minimum, relatives have their property destroyed or are banned from Chechnya. 

In a January 2015 video, Kadyrov describes an anti-terror operation on December 4, 2014 in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, in which he delayed the operation for three hours so he could personally lead it, as well as his thoughts on terrorism, the terrorists as individuals, the role of families in watching their children, and what the families can expect if they do not turn in their children as terrorism suspects (beginning at the six-minute mark).

This is to recommend not such tactics in the United States, but a revaluation of current policy.  Perhaps debate should commence on the internment and mass deportation of selected Muslims, as had been conducted by France since 2012 and Norway since 2014.  Crime in Norway dropped 31 percent in less than a year after deportations began.  Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic have restricted immigration so completely that the E.U. has opened legal cases against them, as reported June 12, 2017 by Reuters.

In the United States and most of the rest of Europe, immigration continues, unabated in Europe and slowed by evolving legal requirements in the United States.  No action has been taken against the families of terrorists, however, even in the case where the June 26, 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooter’s wife admitted to the FBI prior knowledge of the impending attack, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel on December 21, 2017.  Noor Salman was not arrested for seven months after the shooting, despite admitting prior knowledge of the planned attack to the FBI the day after the killing of 49 people at the gay nightclub.  She does now face charges of aiding a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.  Her attorneys argue that her admission should not be admitted as evidence.  In Russia, she would already most likely have been convicted and in Chechnya probably killed, as would be members of her family, and their property destroyed.  That kind of policy makes would-be terrorists think twice and their families more likely to alert authorities of suspicions regarding their children.

Trump’s policies are a good first start in realism in the war against what amounts to a Muslim invasion, with a few violent and the majority passive supporters or enablers in their silence.  More thinking and debate appear needed, however.



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The Three Legs of Western Culture and the Time We Live In


In his reflection on Michael Novak’s 1980’s The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, in the October issue of First Things, R.R. Reno recalls the three mutually-supporting legs upon which Novak held Western culture to stand, but argues that culture no longer supports these legs.  The first two legs–a free economy and liberal democratic political institutions are especially mutually supporting, in that both seek to limit the power of the state, thereby liberating “…the energies of individuals and independently organized communities.”  The third, a Judeo-Christian moral ecology is also reinforcing, in that it “…prizes human dignity, and encourages self-discipline, social trust, and individual initiative,” with both religions based on “Greco-Roman philosophy, law, and civic management.” 

But, Reno argues that the mutual support of these the three legs critically depended upon an historical epoch that may now be passing away.  Ironically, that is the era of the less constrained and unitary 1960s, for which Novak believed “liberation from constraint,” represented spiritual liberation.  Spontaneity and creativity were characteristics of that era.

Reno believes that globalization has weakened the spontaneity and creativity that sprang from “…a multiplicity of motives, incentives, presuppositions, and purposes.”  A free market society provided “order without authority and purposeful freedom without the need for agreement about the common good, beyond the procedural rule of law.”  By contributing to globalization, however, that “birth of freedom” of the 1960s has come to undermine both democratic institutions and a Judeo-Christian moral culture.  In a way, freedom has come to undermine itself. 

Freedom from constraint allowed capitalism to become global in scope, and to undermine the authority of both democratic institutions and religious-based moral authority.  As a result, democracies of the many have turned into the oligarchies of the few.  While Republicans believe entrepreneurial pragmatism the best solution for all problems, Democrats believe technocratic management the best.  But, elites of both parties share antipathy towards the common person, thus explaining the election victory of the “outsider” Donald Trump against the consummate insider, Hillary Clinton.

Those who successfully participate in the endeavor of globalization acquire economic advantages over non-participants or those who participate unsuccessfully.  So, domestic economic elites become either traditional oligarchies or rules-based oligarchies, neither of which is good for democratic institutions.  The former tends to suborn those institutions, while the latter supersedes them.  In either case, traditional mediating institutions tend to be cut out of substantive decision-making.  And, as the elites have little interest in traditional religious values, traditional religious faith is ridiculed and undermined.  The years of strong political and social integration immediately post-World War II made this fracturing of society difficult to forecast.

The undermining of religious faith is especially important, as religious faith provides a sense of permanence, of transcendence from God to our families, communities, and other things of meaning in our lives.  Ironically, the openness, dynamism, and creativity of modern global capitalism undermine the very things of most value to us.  Our very freedom has undermined our fundamental need for permanence, and that loss of a sense of permanence has, in turn contributed to undermining free markets and democratic institutions. 

The propensity for societies to decline as a result of technocrats and an endless striving for money and commerce is not new, having been first articulated by one of the three great British empiricists, Bishop Lord George Berkley (1685-1793) and his theory of immaterialism, that matter does not exist and that the world is comprised entirely of a collection of ideas, (section 4 and section 6).  Berkley believed that there are only finite mental substances and an infinite mental substance, namely, God.   Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) also popularized the notion the periods of history characterized by rules and run by technocrats are ones of decline, while those characterized by the “will to power” are ones of creativity and cultural growth because they break the bounds of conformity and provide that sense of permanence the human soul desires.  And which in our post-modern era seems to be diminishing.

Cultures progress by how much they promote individual autonomy and purpose.  The historian Oswald Spengler noted in the early 1900s that during the previous 1,100 years of “Faustian” culture, the human soul overflowed “…with expansive, disruptive, and imaginative impulses manifested in all the spheres of life.”  Spengler saw the Faustian soul as “…overcoming of presence…whose yearning is infinity.”  Too much cultural reliance on the reasoning and desiring parts of the soul, as many argue is the case with globalization, limits realization of  a third part of the soul that Plato described as “spiritedness.”  Spiritedness is the source of religion and desire for some sense of eternal recognition which provides a sense of permanence.   Too much reliance on reason and desire tend to constrain this “spiritedness,” and it is this decline in spiritedness in our free economy and democratic institutions that Reno is getting at.   

In his reflection on Michael Novak’s 1980’s The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, in the October issue of First Things, R.R. Reno recalls the three mutually-supporting legs upon which Novak held Western culture to stand, but argues that culture no longer supports these legs.  The first two legs–a free economy and liberal democratic political institutions are especially mutually supporting, in that both seek to limit the power of the state, thereby liberating “…the energies of individuals and independently organized communities.”  The third, a Judeo-Christian moral ecology is also reinforcing, in that it “…prizes human dignity, and encourages self-discipline, social trust, and individual initiative,” with both religions based on “Greco-Roman philosophy, law, and civic management.” 

But, Reno argues that the mutual support of these the three legs critically depended upon an historical epoch that may now be passing away.  Ironically, that is the era of the less constrained and unitary 1960s, for which Novak believed “liberation from constraint,” represented spiritual liberation.  Spontaneity and creativity were characteristics of that era.

Reno believes that globalization has weakened the spontaneity and creativity that sprang from “…a multiplicity of motives, incentives, presuppositions, and purposes.”  A free market society provided “order without authority and purposeful freedom without the need for agreement about the common good, beyond the procedural rule of law.”  By contributing to globalization, however, that “birth of freedom” of the 1960s has come to undermine both democratic institutions and a Judeo-Christian moral culture.  In a way, freedom has come to undermine itself. 

Freedom from constraint allowed capitalism to become global in scope, and to undermine the authority of both democratic institutions and religious-based moral authority.  As a result, democracies of the many have turned into the oligarchies of the few.  While Republicans believe entrepreneurial pragmatism the best solution for all problems, Democrats believe technocratic management the best.  But, elites of both parties share antipathy towards the common person, thus explaining the election victory of the “outsider” Donald Trump against the consummate insider, Hillary Clinton.

Those who successfully participate in the endeavor of globalization acquire economic advantages over non-participants or those who participate unsuccessfully.  So, domestic economic elites become either traditional oligarchies or rules-based oligarchies, neither of which is good for democratic institutions.  The former tends to suborn those institutions, while the latter supersedes them.  In either case, traditional mediating institutions tend to be cut out of substantive decision-making.  And, as the elites have little interest in traditional religious values, traditional religious faith is ridiculed and undermined.  The years of strong political and social integration immediately post-World War II made this fracturing of society difficult to forecast.

The undermining of religious faith is especially important, as religious faith provides a sense of permanence, of transcendence from God to our families, communities, and other things of meaning in our lives.  Ironically, the openness, dynamism, and creativity of modern global capitalism undermine the very things of most value to us.  Our very freedom has undermined our fundamental need for permanence, and that loss of a sense of permanence has, in turn contributed to undermining free markets and democratic institutions. 

The propensity for societies to decline as a result of technocrats and an endless striving for money and commerce is not new, having been first articulated by one of the three great British empiricists, Bishop Lord George Berkley (1685-1793) and his theory of immaterialism, that matter does not exist and that the world is comprised entirely of a collection of ideas, (section 4 and section 6).  Berkley believed that there are only finite mental substances and an infinite mental substance, namely, God.   Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) also popularized the notion the periods of history characterized by rules and run by technocrats are ones of decline, while those characterized by the “will to power” are ones of creativity and cultural growth because they break the bounds of conformity and provide that sense of permanence the human soul desires.  And which in our post-modern era seems to be diminishing.

Cultures progress by how much they promote individual autonomy and purpose.  The historian Oswald Spengler noted in the early 1900s that during the previous 1,100 years of “Faustian” culture, the human soul overflowed “…with expansive, disruptive, and imaginative impulses manifested in all the spheres of life.”  Spengler saw the Faustian soul as “…overcoming of presence…whose yearning is infinity.”  Too much cultural reliance on the reasoning and desiring parts of the soul, as many argue is the case with globalization, limits realization of  a third part of the soul that Plato described as “spiritedness.”  Spiritedness is the source of religion and desire for some sense of eternal recognition which provides a sense of permanence.   Too much reliance on reason and desire tend to constrain this “spiritedness,” and it is this decline in spiritedness in our free economy and democratic institutions that Reno is getting at.   



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Disingenuous Climate Science Debunked


In the February 18 American Thinker edition, Dennis Avery described path-breaking findings by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) reviving the Sun as the controlling mechanism of climate and debunking the so-called global warming “consensus.”  Perpetuators of the global warming myth had proposed that historical global average temperatures manifested a “hockey stick” shape of sharply higher temperatures in the last decades of the twentieth century.  Costly regulations were thus justified, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The CPP was unveiled by then-president Obama on August 3, 2015, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power plants by an additional 32 percent within twenty-five years from 2005 levels, beyond those already achieved.

President Trump’s 2018 budget (page 41) proposes eliminating the CPP.  As significant opposition is expected, it is useful to review the manipulation of climate science used to justify the CPP and other climate-related policies. 

The 2015 “Pause Buster” Paper Designed to Influence Environmental Policy  

The February 4 edition of the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail exposed how Thomas Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and eight coauthors broke established NOAA and scientific protocols to rush publication of a paper designed to influence debate over both the CPP and the December 12, 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  The “pause buster” paper, published June 2015 in the journal Science, entitled “Possible Artifacts of Data Biases in the Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus,” purported to refute a 2013 report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found “a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years, 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years” (page 769, Box 9.2), despite continued substantial increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Dr. John Bates, another distinguished NOAA scientist, described to the Daily Mail two flawed data sets used in the “pause buster” paper and violations of NOAA’s and Science magazine’s archival procedures.  Dr. Bates also testified February 5, 2017 before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science Committee and commented on the website of Judith Curry, former professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The first data set comprised ocean temperatures measured from ships by buckets and engine intake since the late 1800s and measurements from a system of buoys, deployed only since 2000.  The buoy data showed lower temperatures, with the ship data widely considered less reliable because of selective sampling and the fact that ships warm surrounding water.  However, Karl, et al. “adjusted” the buoy data higher by an average 0.12 degrees centigrade and ignored measurements from satellites since 1979, considered highly reliable by scientists, showing no warming after 1998.  This resulting adjusted data set, the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperatures version 4, or ERSSTv4, thus created the appearance of continued warming.

The second NOAA data set, Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), is a time series analysis of temperature readings from about 4,000 weather stations spread across the world’s land mass.  The GHCN dataset was in a test phase, not ready for operational use.  Moreover, Dr. Bates discovered that the GHCN software included “errors,” making analyses “unstable.”  Karl, et al., however, concluded that past temperatures had been cooler than previously thought, again implying not a warming pause since 1998, but rather an increase.

These misleading analyses were compounded by the failure of Dr. Karl and colleagues to properly archive data and analyses for other scientists to replicate – the gold standard of the scientific method.  This is a violation of common standards set by both NOAA and Science magazine, admitted by Dr. Karl to undermine scientific integrity.  Conclusions of the pause buster paper are, therefore, suspect, but they were cited by the Obama administration in implementation of the CPP.

2009 and 2011 Climategate Emails Drew Attention to the “Hockey Stick,” Bad Science, and Manipulation of Public Opinion

Leaked emails, in November 2009 and November 2011, in a scandal known as Climategate, revealed unethical scientific behavior among a cohort of climate scientists attempting to influence international public policy.  This was done through the IPCC, set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).  The IPCC has produced five “assessment reports” since 1988, which are often cited as reflecting scientific consensus for the existence of global warming caused by human activities producing greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. 

The third assessment report (2001) purported to show average global temperatures from A.D. 1000, with the average flat for over 900 years, then trending upward around 1920, flattening around 1970, and then spiking higher, in a so-called “hockey stick” fashion.  The “hockey stick” graph included in the IPCC report was a theoretical reconstruction of global temperatures by Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (MBH1998) using statistical modeling based on inferences from a large sample of tree ring and ice core proxy data.  The hockey stick chart did not comport with traditional constructions of historical temperatures.

McKitrick and McIntyre (MM2003) debunked the “hockey stick” as derived from “collation errors, unjustified truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, incorrect principal component calculations, geographical mislocations and other serious defects.”  After adjusting for such shortcomings, M.M. applied MBH1998’s methodology to the improved original-source database.  M.M.’s analysis revealed higher northern hemisphere temperatures in the 15th century than in the 20th, consistent with traditional theory and contradicting the unusual results produced by MBH1998.

A 2006 scientific panel chaired by Dr. Edward Wegman of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics also concluded that MBH1998’s methodology was flawed.  The Wegman report, submitted to the House of Representatives cited a National Research Council panel endorsing the results of MM2003, criticizing not only the statistical methodology of MBH1998, but their absence of collaboration with professional statisticians.  Moreover, the Wegman panel criticized Dr. Mann and the IPCC for systematic unwillingness to share research materials, data, and results outside a small group of similar-minded analysts, noting “that there was too much reliance on peer review which was not necessarily independent.”  The latter conclusion was based on a social network analysis of the 75 most frequently published authors in the area of climate reconstruction research in order to evaluate the true independence of research that reported results similar to MBH1998. 

The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences was requested by the House Committee on Science to assess efforts at reconstructing Earth surface records for the last 2,000 years.  While the NRC report stressed that man-made climate change is real (pp. 20-21), finding “it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium … substantial uncertainties … lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high levels of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming.  Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. … that ‘the 1990s are likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium[.]'”  The NRC report also supported the statistical critique by MM2003.  Nearly all witnesses at a July 19, 2006  congressional hearing stressed uncertainties in reconstructing global temperatures prior to thermometer-based measurements.  

Not only was the MBH1998 analysis debunked by MM2003, the Wegman panel, and the NRC, but the MBH1998 analysis itself contradicted conclusions of the earlier 1990 IPCC First Assessment Report that illustrated many temperature cycles over the last 800,000 years (pp. 202, Fig. 7.1).  Among them is a major warming period beginning around 1100 B.C., known as the “Minoan Warm Period,” followed by a cooling induced by volcanic eruptions in the Mediterranean region. 

The 1990 IPCC report illustrates roughly one and a half temperature cycles since about A.D. 900, when began a warming phase, known as the Medieval Warm Period, peaking around A.D. 1200.   This was followed in the 14th century, with the beginning of the some-400-year-long “Little Ice Age,” during which advancing glaciers forced abandonment of Viking settlements in Greenland and food shortages throughout Europe.  The last warming cycle began in the late 18th or early 19th centuries and, according to satellite- and ground-based sensors, continued until leveling off in 1998.

Clearly, the IPCC Third Assessment Report was disingenuous in purging the Medieval Warm Period, thus creating the “hockey stick,” as well as ignoring data suggesting that the late 20th-century warm period may have not been particularly warm in a historical context.

One can conclude, however, that disingenuousness has extended from the Third Assessment Report to the current day and shall be employed in the forthcoming debate over climate policies and funding.

In the February 18 American Thinker edition, Dennis Avery described path-breaking findings by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) reviving the Sun as the controlling mechanism of climate and debunking the so-called global warming “consensus.”  Perpetuators of the global warming myth had proposed that historical global average temperatures manifested a “hockey stick” shape of sharply higher temperatures in the last decades of the twentieth century.  Costly regulations were thus justified, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The CPP was unveiled by then-president Obama on August 3, 2015, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power plants by an additional 32 percent within twenty-five years from 2005 levels, beyond those already achieved.

President Trump’s 2018 budget (page 41) proposes eliminating the CPP.  As significant opposition is expected, it is useful to review the manipulation of climate science used to justify the CPP and other climate-related policies. 

The 2015 “Pause Buster” Paper Designed to Influence Environmental Policy  

The February 4 edition of the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail exposed how Thomas Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and eight coauthors broke established NOAA and scientific protocols to rush publication of a paper designed to influence debate over both the CPP and the December 12, 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  The “pause buster” paper, published June 2015 in the journal Science, entitled “Possible Artifacts of Data Biases in the Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus,” purported to refute a 2013 report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found “a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years, 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years” (page 769, Box 9.2), despite continued substantial increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Dr. John Bates, another distinguished NOAA scientist, described to the Daily Mail two flawed data sets used in the “pause buster” paper and violations of NOAA’s and Science magazine’s archival procedures.  Dr. Bates also testified February 5, 2017 before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science Committee and commented on the website of Judith Curry, former professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The first data set comprised ocean temperatures measured from ships by buckets and engine intake since the late 1800s and measurements from a system of buoys, deployed only since 2000.  The buoy data showed lower temperatures, with the ship data widely considered less reliable because of selective sampling and the fact that ships warm surrounding water.  However, Karl, et al. “adjusted” the buoy data higher by an average 0.12 degrees centigrade and ignored measurements from satellites since 1979, considered highly reliable by scientists, showing no warming after 1998.  This resulting adjusted data set, the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperatures version 4, or ERSSTv4, thus created the appearance of continued warming.

The second NOAA data set, Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), is a time series analysis of temperature readings from about 4,000 weather stations spread across the world’s land mass.  The GHCN dataset was in a test phase, not ready for operational use.  Moreover, Dr. Bates discovered that the GHCN software included “errors,” making analyses “unstable.”  Karl, et al., however, concluded that past temperatures had been cooler than previously thought, again implying not a warming pause since 1998, but rather an increase.

These misleading analyses were compounded by the failure of Dr. Karl and colleagues to properly archive data and analyses for other scientists to replicate – the gold standard of the scientific method.  This is a violation of common standards set by both NOAA and Science magazine, admitted by Dr. Karl to undermine scientific integrity.  Conclusions of the pause buster paper are, therefore, suspect, but they were cited by the Obama administration in implementation of the CPP.

2009 and 2011 Climategate Emails Drew Attention to the “Hockey Stick,” Bad Science, and Manipulation of Public Opinion

Leaked emails, in November 2009 and November 2011, in a scandal known as Climategate, revealed unethical scientific behavior among a cohort of climate scientists attempting to influence international public policy.  This was done through the IPCC, set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).  The IPCC has produced five “assessment reports” since 1988, which are often cited as reflecting scientific consensus for the existence of global warming caused by human activities producing greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. 

The third assessment report (2001) purported to show average global temperatures from A.D. 1000, with the average flat for over 900 years, then trending upward around 1920, flattening around 1970, and then spiking higher, in a so-called “hockey stick” fashion.  The “hockey stick” graph included in the IPCC report was a theoretical reconstruction of global temperatures by Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (MBH1998) using statistical modeling based on inferences from a large sample of tree ring and ice core proxy data.  The hockey stick chart did not comport with traditional constructions of historical temperatures.

McKitrick and McIntyre (MM2003) debunked the “hockey stick” as derived from “collation errors, unjustified truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, incorrect principal component calculations, geographical mislocations and other serious defects.”  After adjusting for such shortcomings, M.M. applied MBH1998’s methodology to the improved original-source database.  M.M.’s analysis revealed higher northern hemisphere temperatures in the 15th century than in the 20th, consistent with traditional theory and contradicting the unusual results produced by MBH1998.

A 2006 scientific panel chaired by Dr. Edward Wegman of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics also concluded that MBH1998’s methodology was flawed.  The Wegman report, submitted to the House of Representatives cited a National Research Council panel endorsing the results of MM2003, criticizing not only the statistical methodology of MBH1998, but their absence of collaboration with professional statisticians.  Moreover, the Wegman panel criticized Dr. Mann and the IPCC for systematic unwillingness to share research materials, data, and results outside a small group of similar-minded analysts, noting “that there was too much reliance on peer review which was not necessarily independent.”  The latter conclusion was based on a social network analysis of the 75 most frequently published authors in the area of climate reconstruction research in order to evaluate the true independence of research that reported results similar to MBH1998. 

The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences was requested by the House Committee on Science to assess efforts at reconstructing Earth surface records for the last 2,000 years.  While the NRC report stressed that man-made climate change is real (pp. 20-21), finding “it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium … substantial uncertainties … lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high levels of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming.  Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. … that ‘the 1990s are likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium[.]'”  The NRC report also supported the statistical critique by MM2003.  Nearly all witnesses at a July 19, 2006  congressional hearing stressed uncertainties in reconstructing global temperatures prior to thermometer-based measurements.  

Not only was the MBH1998 analysis debunked by MM2003, the Wegman panel, and the NRC, but the MBH1998 analysis itself contradicted conclusions of the earlier 1990 IPCC First Assessment Report that illustrated many temperature cycles over the last 800,000 years (pp. 202, Fig. 7.1).  Among them is a major warming period beginning around 1100 B.C., known as the “Minoan Warm Period,” followed by a cooling induced by volcanic eruptions in the Mediterranean region. 

The 1990 IPCC report illustrates roughly one and a half temperature cycles since about A.D. 900, when began a warming phase, known as the Medieval Warm Period, peaking around A.D. 1200.   This was followed in the 14th century, with the beginning of the some-400-year-long “Little Ice Age,” during which advancing glaciers forced abandonment of Viking settlements in Greenland and food shortages throughout Europe.  The last warming cycle began in the late 18th or early 19th centuries and, according to satellite- and ground-based sensors, continued until leveling off in 1998.

Clearly, the IPCC Third Assessment Report was disingenuous in purging the Medieval Warm Period, thus creating the “hockey stick,” as well as ignoring data suggesting that the late 20th-century warm period may have not been particularly warm in a historical context.

One can conclude, however, that disingenuousness has extended from the Third Assessment Report to the current day and shall be employed in the forthcoming debate over climate policies and funding.



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