Matt Drudge recently linked to a web site claiming that climate experts disagreed with Al Gore about global warming. Hundreds of blogs uncritically swallowed the claim.
One of the few skeptics was Bruce Perens who wrote
We ran a pointer to a global-warming-doubter story this morning. Here’s the link. I decided to pull the story after reviewing the author attribution (he’s from a paid political PR agency), and the venue’s other coverage on this issue. Sorry.
Hey, I’ve got my doubts about global warming too. But it does seem that the “con” side of the argument often comes from people who are paid to have those opinions.
Is Perens correct about the author? It seems so. The author of the article, Tom Harris, works for the High Park Group, a consulting firm that “focuses largely on energy issues” is “retained by the Canadian Electricity Association”. The Canadian Electricity Association appears to oppose Kyoto and has help fund a Canadian anti-Kyoto astroturf group.
Of course, this doesn’t prove that Harris is wrong, but unless you have the time to go through and carefully check his claims, it would be unwise to believe him.
I’ve examined Harris’ claims and he’s wrong. The genuine experts in the field say that Gore, basically, got it right.
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.”
But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of “climate change skeptics” who disagree with the “vast majority of scientists” Gore cites?
No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. “Climate experts” is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore’s “majority of scientists” think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.
Hundreds? Really? Earlier they could only come up with sixty scientists who denied that global warming was a problem. And most of them were not actual climate scientists. Harris hasn’t found anyone new either. All the scientists he quotes happened to be on that list of deniers.
He is right about one thing — what is really important is the opinion of the experts who actually work in the field. If you want to find out what they think, I recommend the IPCC Third Assessment Report. Harris doesn’t seem to have talked to any of these experts.
And the people he did talk to got the science wrong. For example:
Concerning Gore’s beliefs about worldwide warming, Morgan points out that, in addition to the cooling in the NW Atlantic, massive areas of cooling are found in the North and South Pacific Ocean; the whole of the Amazon Valley; the north coast of South America and the Caribbean; the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Red Sea; New Zealand and even the Ganges Valley in India. Morgan explains, “Had the IPCC used the standard parameter for climate change (the 30 year average) and used an equal area projection, instead of the Mercator (which doubled the area of warming in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Ocean) warming and cooling would have been almost in balance.”
Look at the picture. Firstly it’s not a Mercator projection, but a plate carrée projection. And pretty obviously there are not massive areas of cooling and the dominance of warming (in red) is not because of the map projection.
Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, “There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.” Patterson asked the committee, “On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s modest warming?”
Well yes, over hundreds of millions of years, things like continental drift and long term changes in the sun are more important to climate than CO2. I’d keep that in mind if I was try to predict what the climate would be like in 100 million years. What about over the last 400,000 years? Study the graph below.
Harris winds up with:
Carter does not pull his punches about Gore’s activism, “The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.”
Yeah, they’d speak out but George Deutsch is stopping them. Oh no, that’s right, he was censoring scientific results that supported global warming. And Bob Carter is an embarrassment to Australian science: his propaganda campaign is based on blatant cherry picking and getting scientific “facts” from Fox News.