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Two more scientist change sides in the AGW debate

In fact, it seems as if it isn’t really much of a debate anymore.

First, let me be clear, the debate among scientists isn’t whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas or whether, even, it can cause warming, but instead on what real (if any) total effect it has overall on the climate.  In other words, is there a saturation point where additional CO2 has little marginal effect, or does it build to a tipping point where the change is radical?  Robust climate or delicate climate?

Evidence is building toward the robust climate theory, which would mean that while there may be more CO2 being emitted, it has little to no effect on the overall climate.  That, of course, is contrary to the AGW crowd’s theory.

So, on to the latest high profile defections:

One of the fathers of Germany’s modern green movement, Professor Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, a social democrat and green activist, decided to author a climate science skeptical book together with geologist/paleontologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning. Vahrenholt’s skepticism started when he was asked to review an IPCC report on renewable energy. He found hundreds of errors. When he pointed them out, IPCC officials simply brushed them aside. Stunned, he asked himself, “Is this the way they approached the climate assessment reports?”

Vahrenholt decided to do some digging. His colleague Dr. Lüning also gave him a copy of Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion. He was horrified by the sloppiness and deception he found. Persuaded by Hoffmann & Campe, he and Lüning decided to write the book. Die kalte Sonne cites 800 sources and has over 80 charts and figures. It examines and summarizes the latest science.

Vahrenholt concluded, through his research, that the science of the IPCC (if you can call it that) was mostly political and had been “hyped.”

Germany’s flagship weekly news magazine Der Spiegel today also featured a 4-page exclusive interview with Vahrenholt, where he repeated that the IPCC has ignored a large part of climate science and that IPCC scientists exaggerated the impact of CO2 on climate. Vahrenholt said that by extending the known natural cycles of the past into the future, and taking CO2′s real impact into effect, we should expect a few tenths of a degree of cooling.

That, as I said, points to the “robust” climate model.

Once more to make the point before I leave the subject:

Skeptic readers should not think that the book will fortify their existing skepticism of CO2 causing warming. The authors agree it does. but have major qualms about the assumed positive CO2-related feed-backs and believe the sun plays a far greater role in the whole scheme of things.

As Dr. Roy Spencer says, CO2 is a greenhouse gas.  Adding CO2 should cause warming.  The argument is “how much” and that’s based on competing theories about the climate’s sensitivity. Skeptics think the sensitivity is very low while alarmists think it is very high.   The building evidence is that rising CO2 has little warming effect in real terms regardless of the amount of the gas emitted. That there is a “saturation level”.   If that’s true, and indications are it is,  then there’s a) no justification for limiting emissions and b) certainly no justification to tax them.

That, of course, is where politics enter the picture.  Governments like the idea of literally creating a tax out of thin air, especially given the current financial condition of most states.   Consequently, governments are more likely to fund science that supports their desired conclusion – and it seems that in this case there were plenty who were willing to comply (especially, as Patrick J. Michael has noted, when that gravy train amounts to $103 billion in grants).

What Vahrenholt is objecting too is the IPCC’s key definition in which it clearly states that “climate change” is a result of and because of “human contributions”.  As noted above, he thinks that the sun is a much greater factor (something mostly ignored in the models) and he finds past CO2 trends to forecast nothing like the IPCC’s forecast. 

What we’re finding as this argument goes forward is that Patrick Michaels was right – “AGW theory functions best in a data free environment”. 

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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11 Responses to Two more scientist change sides in the AGW debate

  • “Debate”…??? That was verboten. You had no business “debating” Gorbal Climate Thingy.

    The only “debate” was over how much you loved Gore and his ilk.

  • “or does it build to a tipping point where the change is radical”

    There are no climate tipping points in this sense. The climate system has explored very many corners of its total phase space over time, from very high CO2 concentrations, to very low, with high temperatures to low temperatures, and all combinations thereof and in between. If there were indeed such tipping points the Earth would long ago have experienced catastrophic runaway warming and never recovered. The fact that the nominal temperature of the Earth remains in quite a tight band over millions upon millions of years, never rising much over 20 deg C on average, points to the fact that there are powerful negative feedback systems that are unaccounted for in these models which easily go off the rails and predict unrecoverable armageddon in just a few decades.

  • “He found hundreds of errors. When he pointed them out, IPCC officials simply brushed them aside.”

    The IPCC (International Pissing Contest Commission) is yet another arm of the UN manifestation of Kali (the Hindu god of death).

  • On the flip side – a gentlemen Australia discovers grass in the Med that he says is anywhere from 12000 to 200,000 years old, and then….eats the shoe store….

    “Understanding why those particular genomes have been so adaptable to a broad range of environmental conditions for so long is the key to some interesting future research,” Professor Duarte said.

    Seagrasses are the foundation of key coastal ecosystems but have waned globally for the past 20 years. Posidonia oceanica meadows are now declining at an estimated rate of five per cent annually.

    “The concern is that while Posidonia oceanica meadows have thrived for millennia their current decline suggests they may no longer be able to adapt to the unprecedented rate of global climate change.”

    it’s going to die from Global Warming…..errrrr…yeah, because you just KNOW that the climate in the last 12,000 to 200,000 years hasn’t warmed, or cooled at ‘unprecedented’ rates…. nope, not until the “Rise of the Machines! The SUV age” …..yeah…..

  • The thing is, we haven’t had real warming since about ’97, but CO2 has been going up. This goes against the AGW theory, which requires positive feedback to amplify warming. The idea that our climate acts according to positive feedback seems strange on the face of it. If that was the case I’d say we were very lucky to survive as long as we have, damn good luck.

    • @Don S I’m pretty sure the idea of runaway positive feedback in the “global warming” context goes back to Hansen in the 80s and the beginning of the whole movement (after the previous new ice age movement, of course). His specialty was Venus and its unique atmospheric dynamics. Somehow he became convinced that the same would happen to Earth, even though the necessary vulcanism, proximity to the sun, lack of a biosphere and water cycle and atmospheric composition are all totally non-Earth like. But he is convinced we’ll turn Earth into a new Venus, even though we can’t, and the fact that his projections are failing badly means that his acolytes and people not even aware of where this crap came from are now inventing non-physical tipping points at unknown times in the near future to justify continuing panic. The fact that Hansen engineered a hot un-airconditioned room back in his original testimony to your politicians is a testament to the fact he is not really much of a scientist.

      (Of course in engineering and real systems, positive feedback is ultimately limited by saturation somewhere in the system… but they don’t seem to identify what will saturate first in the climate system.)

  • Robust model = negative feedback loop. Delicate = positive feedback loop. Engineers use negative feedback loops, which are inherently stable, all the time. Positive feedback loops are unstable, and that is what the AGW people claim as the model for our climate.

  • But, But, But… The science is SETTLED!