Embattled climate scientist retreats on global warming

Posted on February 15, 2010

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Dr. Phil Jones, the climate researcher at the center of the Climate-gate e-mail scandal and former head of the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, has walked back from a few of his positions regarding global warming. Most importantly, he conceded in an interview with the BBC that the climate was possibly warmer during medieval times, and most interestingly, that there was no “statistically signficant” warming over the last 15 years.

Dr. Jones acknowledges that much of the relevant data may be lost due to his “poor organizational skills,” but regardless, when taken with all the other recent setbacks for anthropogenic global warming supporters, the tide may be beginning to turn. Jones’ concession comes on the heels of revelations that a United Nations IPCC report made a claim about melting Himalayan glaciers that wasn’t based on peer-reviewed science, but on a magazine interview that was itself based on a student thesis. And a claim that global warming would cause catastrophic African crop loss was also revealed to be based on prodding from an advocacy group with no scientific basis whatsoever.

Add to this continuing revelations about the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. Pachauri has ties with companies and investment funds that specialize in “sustainable technology” and “carbon trading” – links that some believe give the UN climate chief a financial incentive to push a global carbon taxation regime like the one that was proposed in Copenhagen last year.

It has led to some climate researchers to question the validity of the data being used to support the man-made global warming hypothesis, like the scientists quoted in this article from the Times of London. (Have you noticed that all of these climate scandal news stories are coming out of Britain? It seems American media is absolutely loathe to report on any of this.) Problems with the data include varying degrees of standardization and possible contamination of the data by oversampling weather stations nearby hot industrial areas.

Which leads us to this stunning graph from Climate Audit (via Hot Air and Sonic Frog):

The top is the infamous “hockey stick” graph that has been held up for so many years as irrefutable proof of man-made global warming – a graph whose basis has been thrown severely into question. The bottom is a larger view of temperatures in Europe that show much warmer periods during the medieval period. Criticize it all you want, say it’s only localized to Europe and doesn’t reflect the global picture – what it shows is that warming has occurred in the past and isn’t necessarily the result of human activity.

It doesn’t give us a free pass to pollute and use resources wastefully – I remain a staunch conservationist and a believer in being responsible stewards of the planet. But sensible conservationism and belief in global warming have for too long been conflated when they shouldn’t be, to the point now where Bill Nye the Science Guy can question your patriotism if you don’t buy the line. (Yeah, I had to see it to believe it, too.)

What we’re left with is the opposite of “settled science” and a “consensus.” As citizens, none of us have been exposed to the results of a rigorous application of the scientific method. Instead, the push has been based on ideology and a quasi-religious belief in the idea of the evil of humanity being a parasite to the benevolent Earth. Needless to say, none of it is grounds for the imposition of economy-crippling taxation and regulation.

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Posted in: News, Politics, Science