The Crux of the Climate Debate

Cross-posted from Climate Skeptic

I wanted to link to Richard Lindzen's Congressional testimony.  For slides, they are pretty easy to follow as they are mostly text.  I want to particularly point out slide 4, which I think on one page outlines the single most important point to understand about anthropogenic global warming theory.  When given just one minute to discuss climate, this slide embodies the message I give.

Here are two statements that are completely agreed on by the IPCC. It is crucial to be aware of their implications.

1. A doubling of CO2, by itself, contributes only about 1C to greenhouse warming. All models project more warming, because, within models, there are positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds, and these feedbacks are considered by the IPCC to be uncertain.

2. If one assumes all warming over the past century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, then the derived sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2is less than 1C. The higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings from aerosols and solar variability as arbitrary adjustments.

Given the above, the notion that alarming warming is "˜settled science' should be offensive to any sentient individual, though to be sure, the above is hardly emphasized by the IPCC. 4

My most recent climate video, which discusses this issue and more, is here.  I also have an older, shorter video focusing on just the issues in Lindzen's fourth slide here.


  1. Ignoramus:

    It should be called Climate Studies, not Climate Science because it diverges so much from the Scientific Method.

    1) "because, within models, there are [assumed] feedbacks."
    2) "higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings"

    Models are a basis for formulating a hypothesis. Where's the experiment?

    Physicists are getting into this more. Sunspots drive solar wind. The physicists at CERN believe that when the resulting gamma particles hit the oceans they increase water vapor and clouds. This drives a natural cycle, which along with other natural cycles gives us the bigger pattern over time. Any year now we're going to start a long, slow move into the next Ice Age -- does anyone doubt that?

    The CERN hypothesis fits their observed facts. They say that they believe they're on to something promising but need to do more work. Real scientists say things like that. They're now working on replicating the actual phenomenon at the molecular level in their lab. Real scientists do things like that.

    When you look at centuries of data -- as well as 100s of thousands of years of data -- AGW theory doesn't fit. It only fits suspect data sets from the 20th Century.

    Thus, I conclude that AGW is bullshit faux science. We should call it out for what it is.

    I've hypothesized that our tearing down trees to build heat-absorbing asphalt roads has done more to heat up Earth than man-made increased CO2. I want a Nobel Prize and an Oscar.

  2. Dr. T:

    What is even worse than fudging the CO2 greenhouse gas warming-effect numbers, is that nowhere has it been proved that the greenhouse gas effect itself is relevant to climate.

    Scientists know that you cannot apply results from a small-scale experiment to the entire planet, especially when the small-scale experiment was designed to study energy use (for heating) and plant growth rates within sealed greenhouses. Those experiments had nothing to do with climate. Each test greenhouse had airtight seals, cement floors, glass walls and ceilings, potted plants on racks, a humidity of nearly 100%, and temperatures of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

    How can one extrapolate from those conditions to a planet where the surface is 70% water and 10% ice-covered land, the atmosphere is miles thick, the cloud cover varies with temperature and humidity, changes in cloud cover alter the amount of solar radiation that reaches the lower atmosphere, the air temperatures vary from -100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity varies from 1 to 100%, wind speeds vary from 0 to 150 mph, and the total mass of flora (on land and in oceans and other waters) that absorb carbon dioxide varies with temperature, carbon dioxide concentrations, and other factors? The answer is that you cannot make such an extrapolation, yet nearly all climatologists have done so.

    It is highly unlikely that the carbon dioxide greenhouse gas effect alters climate. Here's the most likely situation: Increased atmospheric CO2 produces increased air temperatures. Increased air temperatures cause more water evaporation. Because the air is warmer, the water vapor rises higher before condensing into clouds. Higher elevation clouds are good reflectors of solar radiation. Increased cloud cover reduces the amount of solar radiation that reaches the lower atmosphere and the earth's surface. Air and surface temperatures fall. This feedback system means that changes in CO2 concentrations do not affect climate.

  3. Country Thinker:

    @ Dr. T: It sounds like you're reiterating the Gaia hypothesis that was popular with greens back in the 1970s. It's interesting that it has fallen out of favor now that it's inconvenient.

    @ Ignoramus: In a letter to the Wall Street Journal last week, J. Scott Armstrong of Penn wrote "the forecasting procedures used by the [IPCC] violated 72 of 89 relevant principles." If a graduate student used the methodologies applied by the IPCC, he or she not only would not graduate, he/she would likely get expelled.

  4. Dr. T:

    I wasn't reiterating the Gaia hypothesis. The cloud cover issue has been published and discussed by Dr. Richard Lindzen, a climatologist at MIT (one of the few who isn't afraid to say that the IPCC models are unrealistic since they don't even include clouds).