Global Warming in Hot Water

Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn

by Mark Steyn, April 14, 2015

I know the (Aussie) ABC are a bunch of doctrinaire lefties for the most part, but I always enjoy my appearances thereon and Tony Jones is a not un-agreeable host, all things considered. Still, it’s sad to see them providing a platform for serial litigant and Clime Syndicate warmano Michael E Mann.

As you know, Mann is suing me for describing his famous scary “hockey stick” graph as “fraudulent”, which it is. The graph shows a straight-line “shaft” of the stick representing 900 years of stable global temperature, followed by a sharp upturned blade representing the 20th century temperature rocketing up and out the top right-hand corner. The “message” (which Mann and his colleagues were concerned not to “dilute” with any subtleties or qualifications) was simple: We’re all outta graph paper. This thing’s off the charts with nowhere to go but up through the ceiling at an unprecedented rate. Give us all your money or the planet’s gonna fry.

Instead, from the very moment Mann joined the global-warming A-listers, the actual, real-world temperature flatlined and his hockey stick got the worst case of brewer’s droop since records began. As I’ve said before, if you graduated from college last summer, there’s been no “global warming” since you were in kindergarten; if you graduated from high school, there’s been none since you were born. For the generation that had Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth (heavily reliant on the hockey stick) shoved down its throat from K through 12, it doesn’t feel like that, but nevertheless it’s a fact: The “pause” in global warming is about to enter its third decade, and simply being a climate-pause denier (to coin a phrase) is no longer tenable.

So Mann has been given space by the dear old ABC to explain why the pause in global warming is merely, as he calls it in an ill-advised attempt at wit, a “faux pause“:

Using this method, the AMO [Atlantic Multidecadal Variability] and PMO [Pacific Multidecal Variability] are found to explain a large proportion of internal variability in Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures. Competition between a modest positive peak in the AMO and a substantially negative-trending PMO are seen to produce a slowdown or “false pause” in warming of the past decade.

Ah, right. As Judith Curry politely asks:

How can the pause be both “false” and caused by something?

Mann, of course, is the guy whose “science” more or less abolished in the impressionable layman’s mind the very notion of “natural climate variability” (his line is that the planet’s climate was unvarying for millennia, and then came the Industrial Revolution), so it’s interesting to find him now relying on natural (ocean) variability to explain why his surface scaremongering hasn’t panned out. But, as usual, he’s more concerned with the politics of climate:

Such is the profound nature of human-caused global warming, that it has overcome these many short-term natural cooling influences.

Yet a purported global warming ‘pause’ (more aptly named the ‘faux pause’) is often used as an excuse by those who oppose taking action to curb climate change. For example, Republican Senator and US presidential candidate Ted Cruz recently said on American TV:

“Many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up. In particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there’s been zero warming.”

This assertion is problematic for several reasons.

As all assertions by “Republican Senators” surely are, no?

The faux pause has nonetheless been used by political partisans like Senator Cruz to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing rapid global warming, simply because they find the political implications of that scientific reality inconvenient — to their ideological views and the views of the special interests who fund their campaigns.

But you don’t need to assert “political partisans like Senator Cruz” kowtowing to “the special interests who fund their campaigns”, do you? If Mann wants to hoot and jeer at rubes who keep yakking about this “faux pause”, why not cite, say, his close buddy and fellow climate scientist Kevin Trenberth? Six years ago Trenberth emailed Mann:

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. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

And because they couldn’t “account for the lack of warming” they hushed it up, carrying on – golly, almost like a “special interest”. Four years before Trenberth – July 5th 2005 – another close colleague and head of the Climatic Research Unit Phil Jones emailed Mann:

The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.

“Seven years of data” isn’t “statistically significant”, but 17 years is harder to slough off. Hence, the scramble to come up with an explanation. But why should we accept an “explanation” that, by its very nature, says Mann’s scary hockey stick is no big deal (hey, forget that graph; most of the action’s underwater) and is from the same “hockey team” who denied “the lack of warming” for at least the last decade? Maybe there’s something to this ocean theory, or maybe it’s as worthless as emanations from Michael Mann’s Magic Bristlecone. But why would you buy it from this guy?

Mann appeals as usual to authority – the “overwhelming scientific consensus”. There may, indeed, be a broad scientific consensus that supports the idea of global warming …but it certainly doesn’t support fake Nobel Laureate Michael Mann and his opportunistic “pseudo-science” (as a genuine Nobel Laureate, Ivar Giaever, calls it). Mann and his work have been called “scanty” (by Professor Mike Hulme), “simply unscientific” (Professor Tim Osborn), “truly pathetic” (Mann’s original co-author Ray Bradley), “obvious drivel” (Professor Jonathan Jones), “a scientific forgery” (Professor Atte Korhola), “rubbish” (Professor Curt Covey), “worthless” (Professor Barry Cooke), “Orwell’s Ministry of Information” (Professor William Happer), “shitty” (Professor Wallace Smith Broecker), “a crock of shit” (Professor Rob Wilson), and “a disgrace to the profession” (Professor Hendrik Tennekes).

Whoops, I’m giving away my witness list. I could go on, but I’ll leave it with Professors Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt:

It is difficult to fathom how the main players and proponents of the Hockey Sticks are still able to act as experts.

Indeed. To go back to that statistically “insignificant” seven years of data, we’re now another ten years on. And 30 years is the official distinction between “climate” and “weather”. In other words, as I look out the window right now, “Ha! Snow on the ground in mid-April. So much for global warming!” is merely today’s weather. But three decades of non-warming is an official WMO climate. If you think Mann’s a joke now, he’s going to be a lot more of a laughingstock in 2027.

~Kathy Shaidle notes a supposed new publishing trend, the emergence of the climate-change memoir. I may have to corner a piece of that action myself. In the meantime, I’m honored to join some of the world’s most eminent scientists as co-authors of Climate Change: The Facts. I like to think of this tome as the antidote to Mann and his Big Climate alarmism, but Brandon Shollenberger says:

Anyone whose work is included in this book should be embarrassed by how bad a book it is.

Fortunately I don’t embarrass easily. Mr Shollenberger is assiduously promoting his pan of Climate Change, so I thought we’d help him out. Here he is over in Judith Curry’s comment section:

Last week, a user here recommended the book Climate Change: the Facts. After reading a preview of it, I concluded the book denies global warming and concluded it was a bad book. A bit later, a user gave me a free copy of the book so I could read the whole thing. Now that I’ve done so, I can say it is as bad as I thought.

“As bad as I thought”. We’ll be slapping that on the cover of the second edition.



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