The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

97 Percent

On May 16th, Barack Obama tweeted:" "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous."

Hmmm. Really? 97 percent? It turns out that the president is about as accurate with that statement as he was when he told the American people that " ... if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." More on the assertion that "97 percent of scientists agree ..." in a moment, but first a word of caution.

The Obama administration intends to issue draconian EPA regulations (the president cannot convince the Democrat majority senate to back actual legislation) that will cripple many power plants that use coal. Since 40 percent of our electric generating capacity is coal-based, that means significant added cost to consumers and businesses. But no matter, who can argue with 97 percent?

And anyway, the Obama economy is booming, so a small disruption in energy generation certainly won't hurt. Oh, wait, the economy isn't booming? Quarterly GDP growth (just revised downward) is almost non-existent? One in six men between 25 and 55 is out of work? Who knew? But who cares, anyway? Let's increase energy costs. We can afford to lose a few more jobs, can't we?

Anyhow ... let's take a look at that 97 percent number. Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer present a well researched article that concludes:
... the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.
They then go on to examine the the articles and studies that lead to the 97 percent number and debunk each (read the whole thing). Some of the sources selectively survey the literature, others survey exceedingly small numbers of scientists, still others don't consider the opinions of many physicists, meteorologists, and others who better understand non-anthropogenic causes for climate variation. For example, from Bast and Spencer:
The "97 percent" figure in the Zimmerman/Doran (2009) survey represents the views of only 79 respondents who listed climate science as an area of expertise and said they published more than half of their recent peer-reviewed papers on climate change. Seventy-nine scientists—of the 3,146 who responded to the survey—does not a consensus make.
As I've noted in many other posts, climate change is a left-wing pseudo-religion, and one of its tenets is the 97 percent number. No amount of factual information will sway the true believers. Problems occur when left-wing ideologues set government policy based on belief, rather than facts.

Bast and Spencer conclude with the following comments:
Rigorous international surveys conducted by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch —most recently published in Environmental Science & Policy in 2010—have found that most climate scientists disagree with the consensus on key issues such as the reliability of climate data and computer models. They do not believe that climate processes such as cloud formation and precipitation are sufficiently understood to predict future climate change.

Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.

Finally, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—which claims to speak for more than 2,500 scientists—is probably the most frequently cited source for the consensus. Its latest report claims that "human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems." Yet relatively few have either written on or reviewed research having to do with the key question: How much of the temperature increase and other climate changes observed in the 20th century was caused by man-made greenhouse-gas emissions? The IPCC lists only 41 authors and editors of the relevant chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report addressing "anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing."

Of the various petitions on global warming circulated for signatures by scientists, the one by the Petition Project, a group of physicists and physical chemists based in La Jolla, Calif., has by far the most signatures—more than 31,000 (more than 9,000 with a Ph.D.). It was most recently published in 2009, and most signers were added or reaffirmed since 2007. The petition states that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

We could go on, but the larger point is plain. There is no basis for the claim that 97% of scientists believe that man-made climate change is a dangerous problem.
No matter. Climate change is religious doctrine and the Obama administration will issue an environmental fatwa, regardless of the facts or the consequences.


The Telegraph (U.K.) reports:
Prince Charles has called for an end to capitalism as we know it in order to save the planet from global warming.

In a speech to business leaders in London, the Prince said that a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism” was necessary in order to halt “dangerously accelerating climate change” that would “bring us to our own destruction”.

He called for companies to focus on “approaches that achieve lasting and meaningful returns” by protecting the environment, improving their employment practices and helping the vulnerable to develop a new "inclusive capitalism".
Those of us who are climate change heretics have argued for some time that the subtext of the climate change religion includes a strong anti-capitalist strain.

I suspect that Prince Charles has a kindred spirit in Barack Obama. To his credit, Prince Charles has at least been honest and has taken a strong anti-capitalist position that he must now defend. Barack Obama? Not so much.