In all the political battles over whether or not Congress would take back its Constitutionally granted exclusive authority to legislate concerning matters of interstate commerce by reining in the Environmental Protection Agency and halting its implementation of economy stifling greenhouse gas emission regulations, questions surrounding the scientific basis for concern about global warming and how research is conducted have faded into the background. It’s time to bring them back front and center. If the researchers show themselves untrustworthy, and the models are flawed, then the whole exercise of strangling fossil fuel use in order to save the world becomes not just counter-productive, but a fool’s errand.
New reasons for questioning the science behind climate change alarmism have come to the fore, yet few have noticed.
First, we have a story of the researchers at the center of the climategate scandal, those who were shown to have twisted data to fit their preconceived conclusions, tried to suppress research that called into question key aspects of global warming theory by undermining the peer review process and who tried to hide their own publicly funded research from public scrutiny by destroying the paper trail, they have now been trying to suppress free speech.
It seems that, a blogger for the Daily Telegraph in London, James Delingpole, got under, Phil Jones’, the climate “researcher” at the University of East Anglia, skin. Delingpole was front and center in bringing the various misdeeds at the heart of climategate to light. He has forthrightly and fiercely publicly excoriated scientists behind the scientific sleight of hand. For that public service, Jones filed a complaint with the UK Press Complaints Commission attempting to have Delingpole censured and his work, at least on this matter, suppressed. Fortunately, the Commission rejected this attempt to suppress free speech, ruling that,
“ . . . that ‘In the realm of blogging (especially in cases touching upon controversial topics such as climate change), there is likely to be strong and fervent disagreement, with writers making use of emotive terms and strident rhetoric. This is a necessary consequence of free speech. The Commission felt that it should be slow to intervene in this, unless there is evidence of factual inaccuracy or misleading statement.”
Evidently, they found nothing factually inaccurate or demonstrably misleading in Delingpole’s work – which, by implication, means there might well be inaccurate or misleading statements in the work of Jones and company since both Delingpole’s views and those of Jones can’t both be true. For more on this see,
Second, new research about to be published in the journal Science provides evidence that oceans interact with the atmosphere quite differently than is assumed in the world’s climate models with regards to the way they absorb, store and circulate, and transfer energy and heat. This is important since the Oceans make up the vast majority of the earth’s surface and everyone recognizes that their role in energy transport is a critical factor in understanding how the climate system works and how human greenhouse gas inputs might affect the climate.
If, as this research suggests, the climate models fail to model the behavior or function of the world’s oceans properly then they don’t accurately represent a critical feature of how nature works. Since an accurate understanding of how the oceans work is critical to modeling their role in the climate, if this is wrong, the models predictions are suspect at the very least.
It could, of course, be that this research is mistaken and that how current climate models account for how oceans’ work is accurate. It could also be the case that even if the research is correct and thus current models are flawed, our new understanding of the oceans role in energy absorption and transport, once plugged into the models, results in the same or even direr climate change predictions when human greenhouse gas emissions are factored in. All we can say now, is that if the new research is correct, the models current predictions, based on a flawed understanding of how the oceans operate vis-à-vis energy, can’t be trusted and aren’t a sound basis for public policy.
On a lighter note, Joel Schwartz has done a great deal of work debunking various claims that air pollution at present levels is causing all manner of claimed health problems. His work exposes both the confounding nature of some of the claims (for example, asthma rates increasing while air pollution is decreasing) and the types of studies used to show the link between pollution at present levels and particular health effect. I’ve always thought Joel’s work was sound.
Still, some new research is giving me pause. Recently, it was reported that air pollution (at California levels) along highways could be causing brain damage. It’s done so in mice, what about humans. I must admit this would explain a lot. The state’s voting patterns, its focus on ineffective job killing regulations, its high taxes, high energy costs, high unemployment, imploded housing market, its embrace of high labor and health care costs for its public employees. Most importantly, the fact that the electorate repeatedly elects people who reinforce or make worse all of the above ills who then can’t explain why jobs, companies and anyone with sense is leaving the state.
Whoever actually said it (and this is still in some dispute), one definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Perhaps that’s the problem in California. Voters and legislators suffering from an air pollution induced brain disorder similar to Alzheimer’s disease, simply forget when they vote what caused the current state they are in and the problems they want to correct.
Do Californians need mental health help before they can sort out their political problems?
Finally, for years the NCPA’s most popular publication has been its early morning e-mail news summary Daily Policy Digest (DPD). DPD is a daily collection of all the best policy research and public policy news items, the critical points of which are distilled into a neat, concise package delivered to a subscriber’s inbox every morning. Usually it summarizes five to seven stories with links back to the original story for those who want to know more. Recently we have expanded our offering for those who have an interest in just one or two policy areas, to a weekly e-mail summaries of the policy stories covered in DPD during the week. In short, if you are only or primarily interested in the NCPA’s environment research now you can subscribe to Environment Policy Digest, and get our top environment stories delivered to you without wading through other research areas – no muss, little fuss, all you got to do is subscribe.