Climate change suspect must be given a fair trial… by Joanne Nova


GOVERNMENTS across the world have paid billions to find links between carbon dioxide and the climate, but very little to find the opposite, and that’s a problem.

Teams of professionals have searched high and low for any possible hint that CO2 poses a threat, and that is all very well, but no one has been paid to find otherwise. CO2 has been convicted without a defence lawyer.

It is self-evident that any expert in a field will reap more rewards, fame and fortune if their field is critically important. Why would anyone expect such experts to go out of their way to hunt down evidence that might suggest their field ought not be the centre of a global economic transformation?

When results come in that conflict with catastrophic model predictions, hordes of researchers scour every nook and cranny to find early warm biases, or recent cold biases, and they may legitimately find some. But no one is paid to hunt down the errors or biases leading the other way. The vacuum sucks.

Did anyone really expect that teams of volunteers without offices, budgets, access to data or PR writers would spontaneously arise and point out any flaws? Would people with the right training choose to forgo Sunday golf in order to download Hadley radiosonde data and shoot holes in the national temperature record? Actually, they would and they have, but it’s taken years to build, and it’s a silly way to run the country. This was always a loophole begging to be exploited.

We wouldn’t let a company issue a prospectus without being audited. But we’ll transform the national economy based on a report issued by a foreign committee that no one has been paid to criticise. There are no audits on the science from institutions like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA or the CSIRO. No due diligence study has been done. Hallowed peer review amounts to unpaid anonymous reviewers, often picked from a pool of people who agree.

Where is the Institute of Natural Climate Forces, or the International Bureau of Solar Science? Where are the researchers whose reputations and grants rise in value if they find holes in the theory of man-made global warming?

If, hypothetically, there are scientific gaps in the theory of man-made global warming, for the most part we are leaving it up to volunteers to find them. It’s as if the government has funded a team of QCs for the prosecution, but spent nothing on legal aid for the defence.

Between 1989 and 2009, the US government paid over $30 billion towards “climate change”. And don’t be fooled by the meaning of “climate change”, which ought to encompass all the factors that change the climate. The inherent bias in the system is so strong that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change actually defines “climate change” as being “man-made”. I kid you not.

“Climate change” means a change of climate, which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

The IPCC was originally established to investigate things “relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change”. That was their mandate. They would have no reason to exist if there’s no disaster, and they were never going to announce that they studied it all and golly, but it’s all OK Chipper, and we’re headed home. Thanks for the funding!

What committee ever voted for its own extinction?

When the very term “climate change” means man-made, the mindset is biased. It’s a one-way road to an endless circle of confirmation bias. The Orwellian overtones are extreme: How do you ask “what causes climate change?” and get any answer other than “man-made”?

Where are the programs to find out if man-made emissions didn’t cause global warming?

Exxon was a rare funder of climate skeptics but with a contribution of $23 million over a decade, it barely paid 1 part in 3500 of what the US government did.

When people ask “how can thousands of scientists be wrong?” they forget that a consensus on a highly complex, immature subject can be purchased, or unwittingly created. If a government spent $30bn to find better uses for carrots, there would be carrot appreciation societies, carrot conventions, 400 patents on carrot-based wing-nuts, tents, and textiles, and 4000 peer-reviewed references on worrying declines in carrot hue, nutrients, fertility and genetic diversity, not to mention gender inequality in dietary carrot content.

That’s not to say that excessive one-sided funding proves anything about the climate, but nor does the existence of a consensus of government-paid climate scientists.

We’ve paid to find a crisis, and what-do-you-know, we “found” one. (Yes. It’s true, we got what we paid for.) Hundreds of scientists have been doing their jobs, most diligently, turning over every stone labelled “CO2″. But no one has been paid to turn over the other stones.

When politicians and journalists say they can’t find a credible voice of dissent, it’s only because they define “credible” as someone holding a government-funded position — and by definition, there are no government-funded sceptics.

The so-called “free market” leaders of the world missed the need for healthy competition in science. Their big mistake on climate policy was failing to see the effect of monopoly science. They could have set up institutes and research centres whose aim was to find non-man-made causes of climate change.

These alternate institutes and conventions would compete with the usual grant applicants for research, and it would be in their interest to find reasons the climate was changed by the sun, or geomagnetic effects or orbital changes, or who knows? Through natural competition (and may the best argument win) we’d have learned more about our climate, and we’d prevent a climate monopoly from potentially skewing the research.

As with all unbalanced systems, people are rushing to fill the vacuum. The volunteers are coming. Never before in science have so many unpaid people used their expertise to become whistleblowers.

As Eisenhower feared, government has come to dominate science. We need organisations that are timeless centres of excellence, rather than crisis-response teams. Groups of scientists need to compete to make the best, most accurate predictions, not the most alarming ones.

One thing is for sure, the mess of climate science needs to be cleaned up and we need to find ways to fund science that don’t pre-empt the answers, or stifle competition.

Joanne Nova is a freelance science presenter, writer, professional speaker and former television host, and is author of The Skeptic’s Handbook.

Other articles published by Jo Nova in mainstream media.
Related Articles: How the monopolistic funding ratchet slows scientific progress.

Larry Pickering Cartoon


Climate change a health threat: experts

Climate change poses an immediate and serious threat to global health and stability, as floods and droughts destroy people’s homes and food supplies and increase mass migration, experts have warned.

In a statement issued at a meeting in London on Monday, they urged tougher action to reduce climate change including upping the EU target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from 20 per cent by 2020 to 30 per cent from 1990 levels.

“It is not enough for politicians to deal with climate change as some abstract academic concept,” said a signatory, Hugh Montgomery, director of the University College London (UCL) Institute for Human Health and Performance.

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“The price of complacency will be paid in human lives and suffering, and all will be affected.

“Tackling climate change can avoid this, while related lifestyle changes independently produce significant health benefits. It is time we saw true leadership from those who would profess to take such a role.”

Other signatories include Michael Jay, the chairman of medical charity Merlin, Ian Gilmore, ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians, and Anthony Costello, director of the UCL Institute for Global Health.

The statement outlines how rising temperatures and weather instability will lead to more frequent and extreme weather events, increasing the spread of infectious diseases, destroying habitats and causing water and food shortages.

This could trigger conflict, humanitarian crisis and mass migration, it says.

Taking swift action to tackle climate change could not only reduce these risks but also improve global health, the experts say, citing moves to phase out coal-fired power stations which would improve air quality.

The experts urge the EU and other developed countries to adopt tougher emissions targets, and developing countries to identify the ways climate change threatens health and seek ways of mitigating or adapting to these.

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