Summary: for our academic and managerial class, the green religion offers a heady benefit of spiritual and worldly benefits. Save the world and run it too! How understandable that the occasional lie must be told to influence the ignorant masses.
Today’s sermon comes from Paul Krugman, lapsing from economist to polemicist: “Who Cooked the Planet?“, op-ed in the New York Times, 25 July 2010. Here are excerpts, along with interjections of reality. Krugman is a brilliant man and a scholar. He has the capacity to know these things, if he wished to. The first few points might be ignorance, but not the last.
Krugman: “Actually, 2005, not 1998, was the warmest year to date — but the point is that the record-breaking temperatures we’re currently experiencing have made a nonsense argument even more nonsensical; at this point it doesn’t work even on its own terms.”
It’s not that simple, as explained by Dr. Jame Hansen of NASA in a summary of his revised “Global Surface Temperature Change” paper (1 June 2010):
“Contributions of the present paper include: (1) insight into why the GISS analysis yields 2005 as the warmest calendar year, while the HadCRUT analysis has 1998 as the warmest year. The main factor is our inclusion of estimated temperature change for the Arctic region.”
One difference: GISS extrapolates arctic temperatures from the few available recording stations; HadCRUT does not. As a result of the differences (mostly methodological) GISS shows higher temperatures. See this article by Steve Goddard for more detail. Back to Krugman…
Krugman: “… So why didn’t climate-change legislation get through the Senate? Let’s talk first about what didn’t cause the failure, because there have been many attempts to blame the wrong people. First of all, we didn’t fail to act because of legitimate doubts about the science. Every piece of valid evidence — long-term temperature averages that smooth out year-to-year fluctuations, Arctic sea ice volume, melting of glaciers, the ratio of record highs to record lows — points to a continuing, and quite possibly accelerating, rise in global temperatures.”
This is preposterous.
- The reliable US “long-term” temperature record goes back to aprox 1900, with the creation of the US Weather Bureau and the use of Stevenson Screen. The record is shorter over most of the world; the satellite record is of course brief. This cannot by itself produce definitive evidence about climate trends. Worse, it has been shown even today to have massive gaps in many regions (see here for details) — and the quality of the data is hardly the advertised “high quality” (for evidence see the SurfaceStations website).
- Arctic sea volume is calculated from the Navy’s Polar Ice Prediction System (PIPS), with an even briefer record than the surface record. For more about PIPS see this article by Steve Goddard.
- The glacier data clearly shows warming, although this decline extends back over a century — hence suggesting influence of a longer warming cycle unrelated to human activity. The melting of many glaciers, such as on Kilimanjaro and in the Himalayas, results largely from regional changes (see here for links to research about Kilimanjaro).
- The major temperature datasets show global temperatures roughly flat for the past decade, not accelerating — although such short-term trends mean little.
Back to Krugman’s extended sermon:
Krugman: “Nor is this evidence tainted by scientific misbehavior. You’ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers — allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of “Climategate,” and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media.”
He goes for the big lie, assuming his fellow believers will shout “Amen, brother” rather than remember the news stories — let alone check the reports. None of the inquiries reported anything remotely like “unmasking fraud by opponents of climate action.” They were obvious whitewashes, but none went into actual fantasy.
- The UK Parliament report
- The Oxburgh report: International Panel set up by the University of East Anglia
- The Muir Russell Report
About Paul Krugman
Krugman is a great economist, well deserving his Nobel Prize. People act irrationally in love, religion, and politics. Climate Science involves the last two of these.
For more information about climate change see these FM Reference Pages
- Science & climate – my articles
- Science & nature – studies & reports
- Science & Nature – general media articles
- Articles from the 1970′s about global cooling/warming
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