Christopher Booker and Richard North take us on a little ride through history in their article for the The Telegraph today. The history of global warming hysteria:
The story of how the panic over climate change was pushed to the top
of the international agenda falls into five main stages. Stage one came
in the 1970s when many scientists expressed alarm over what they saw as
a disastrous change in the earth’s climate. Their fear was not of
warming but global cooling, of “a new Ice Age”.
decades, after a sharp rise in the interwar years up to 1940, global
temperatures had been falling. The one thing certain about climate is
that it is always changing. Since we began to emerge from the last Ice
Age 20,000 years ago, temperatures have been through significant swings
several times. The hottest period occurred around 8,000 years ago and
was followed by a long cooling. Then came what is known as the “Roman
Warming”, coinciding with the Roman empire. Three centuries of cooling
in the Dark Ages were followed by the “Mediaeval Warming”, when the
evidence agrees the world was hotter than today.
began “the Little Ice Age”, that did not end until 200 years ago, when
we entered what is known as the “Modern Warming”. But even this has
been chequered by colder periods, such as the “Little Cooling” between
1940 and 1975. Then, in the late 1970s, the world began warming again.
scare is often set off — as we show in our book with other examples —
when two things are observed together and scientists suggest one must
have been caused by the other. In this case, thanks to readings
commissioned by Dr Roger Revelle, a distinguished American
oceanographer, it was observed that since the late 1950s levels of
carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere had been rising. Perhaps it
was this increase that was causing the new warming in the 1980s?
two of the story began in 1988 when, with remarkable speed, the global
warming story was elevated into a ruling orthodoxy, partly due to
hearings in Washington chaired by a youngish senator, Al Gore, who had
studied under Dr Revelle in the 1960s.
But more importantly
global warming hit centre stage because in 1988 the UN set up its
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC). Through a series
of reports, the IPCC was to advance its cause in a rather unusual
fashion. First it would commission as many as 1,500 experts to produce
a huge scientific report, which might include all sorts of doubts and
reservations. But this was to be prefaced by a Summary for
Policymakers, drafted in con-sult-ation with governments and officials
— essentially a political document — in which most of the caveats
contained in the experts’ report would not appear.
contradiction was obvious in the first report in 1991, which led to the
Rio conference on climate change in 1992. The second report in 1996
gave particular prominence to a study by an obscure US government
scientist claiming that the evidence for a connection between global
warming and rising CO2 levels was now firmly established. This study
came under heavy fire from various leading climate experts for the way
it manipulated the evidence. But this was not allowed to stand in the
way of the claim that there was now complete scientific consensus
behind the CO2 thesis, and the Summary for Policy-makers, heavily
influenced from behind the scenes by Al Gore, by this time US
Vice-President, paved the way in 1997 for the famous Kyoto Protocol.
The whole article should be read but the readers digest version is that Kyoto set off stage three, and the embarrassing “hockey stick” led to stage four:
One of the greatest problems Gore and his allies faced at this time
was the mass of evidence showing that in the past, global temperatures
had been higher than in the late 20th century. In 1998 came the answer
they were looking for: a new temperature chart, devised by a young
American physicist, Michael Mann. This became known as the “hockey
stick” because it showed historic temperatures running in an almost
flat line over the past 1,000 years, then suddenly flicking up at the
end to record levels.
Mann’s hockey stick was just what the
IPCC wanted. When its 2001 report came out it was given pride of place
at the top of page 1. The Mediaeval Warming, the Little Ice Age, the
20th century Little Cooling, when CO2 had already been rising, all had
been wiped away.
But then a growing number of academics began
to raise doubts about Mann and his graph. This culminated in 2003 with
a devastating study by two Canadians showing how Mann had not only
ignored most of the evidence before him but had used an algorithm that
would produce a hockey stick graph whatever evidence was fed into the
computer. When this was removed, the graph re-emerged just as it had
looked before, showing the Middle Ages as hotter than today.
is hard to recall any scientific thesis ever being so comprehensively
discredited as the “hockey stick”. Yet the global warming juggernaut
rolled on regardless
Which led to stage five of this Monty Python play. The stage in which the “consensus” begins to fall apart. The authors go into the James Hanson faux pas where he had to revise his record of US surface temperatures
showing that the past decade has seen the hottest years on record. This was only found because a few bloggers were perplexed and did a bit of digging:
My earlier column
this week detailed the work of a volunteer team to assess problems with
US temperature data used for climate modeling. One of these people is
Steve McIntyre, who operates the site climateaudit.org. While
inspecting historical temperature graphs, he noticed a strange
discontinuity, or “jump” in many locations, all occurring around the
time of January, 2000.
These graphs were created by NASA’s Reto Ruedy and James Hansen (who
shot to fame when he accused the administration of trying to censor his
views on climate change). Hansen refused to provide McKintyre with the
algorithm used to generate graph data, so McKintyre reverse-engineered
it. The result appeared to be a Y2K bug in the handling of the raw
McKintyre notified the pair of the bug; Ruedy replied and acknowledged the problem as an “oversight” that would be fixed in the next data refresh.
NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding.
Stage five also includes the fact that scientists have started to look at the sun’s radiation as being involved in the warming and that the sun’s radiation is now leveling off, which may very well presage a downturn in temperature.
If this happens what will the environazi’s do?
I’m guessing we’ll see concerts to help fund the fight against the coming ice age.