Settled Science, or Selective Ignorance?

Generally speaking, when people refuse to debate it is because they are losing. That is where we are today with regard to the climate. Alarmists declare that the argument is over, and they won. This is akin to a football team that is trailing 35-0 at halftime claiming victory and refusing to come out for the second half. But the alarmists soldier on, oblivious to the ridicule they incur.

The latest is Science magazine, as the Science and Environmental Policy Project reports:

In an editorial published in Science magazine on July 3, Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of the Science Journals, removed all doubt concerning the direction that this once prestigious journal is taking. In “The beyond-two-degree inferno”, she wrote: “The time for debate has ended. Action is urgently needed.” Then, she strongly supports the contrived effort of the European Union to keep “global warming” below 2°C above the preindustrial level – a number for which we have no rigorous measurement or logic.

There have been countless pre-industrial temperature levels, some warmer than today’s, some cooler. Over the last 10,000 years, most have been warmer.

She advocates the political position of the Administration in forcing reductions in carbon dioxide emission (CO2) by stating “The United States has pledged reductions of 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025…” Of course, there is no such pledge by the American people and its representatives in Congress. The Administration’s pledge is arbitrary and authoritarian. Ms. McNutt concludes with a description of the nine circles of Hell found in Dante’s Inferno.


Ms. McNutt continues a trend established in the Science journals by Donald Kennedy (2000-2008), who declared while he is editor, Science would no longer accept articles contradicting the pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming, later termed climate change, regardless of the empirical data presented.

The IPCC reports featured glaring deficiencies such as the falsely named distinct human fingerprint, a hot-spot over the tropics, which no one can empirically find; Mr. Mann’s hockey-stick, based on sparse data, from which contradicting data was deleted; and global climate models, which greatly overestimate warming, as current measurements demonstrate. The logic behind this editorial policy can be described as selective ignorance.

That is all true, but it understates the case. The idea that climate science is “settled” is ludicrous. In fact, climate science is in its infancy and virtually everything is controversial. The science obviously wasn’t settled in 2009, when Kevin Trenberth, a leading alarmist scientist, wrote in an email that was part of the Climategate leak:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

If the science wasn’t settled in 2009, when did it become settled, and how? Alarmists still can’t explain why the world doesn’t conform to their models, a fact that is even more embarrassing today than it was six years ago.

Then there is a fact that, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough emphasis in these debates: in the course of preparing its most recent report, AR5, the IPCC slashed its estimate of future global warming by almost 50 percent. And this was at the end of 2013! How can the science be settled, when it isn’t even settled within the IPCC, a political body that was established by the U.N. to promote global warming alarmism?

It is obvious to any disinterested observer (i.e., anyone not funded by a government) that the alarmists are in disarray. Their models–the sole basis for their predictions of catastrophic warming–have been shown to have no ability to forecast the future. And, in fact, they don’t even hindcast very well. It is easy to create a model that matches the past better than the alarmists’ models, but to do that, you have to downgrade the importance of CO2–which is, in truth, a minor factor in the Earth’s climate.

Much as the alarmists might like to cancel the second half of the climate debate, they aren’t going to be able to do that. And no informed person takes their declaration of victory seriously.