Bad boy smashes U.N. wall of silence
From Christopher Monckton of Arabia in Doha, Qatar
I have been a bad boy. At the U.N. climate conference in Doha, I addressed a plenary session of national negotiating delegates though only accredited as an observer.
Tsk, tsk. See me after class. Five demerits. Get down and give me 20!
One just couldn’t resist. There they all were, earnestly outbidding each other to demand that the West should keep them in pampered luxury for the rest of their indolent lives, and all on the pretext of preventing global warming that has now become embarrassingly notorious for its long absence.
No one was allowed to give the alternative – and scientifically correct – viewpoint. The U.N.’s wall of silence was rigidly in place.
The microphone was just in front of me. All I had to do was press the button. I pressed it. The Chair recognized Myanmar (Burmese for Burma). I was on.
On behalf of the Asian Coastal Co-operation Initiative, an outfit I had thought up on the spur of the moment (it sounded just like one of the many dubious taxpayer-funded propaganda groups at the conference), I spoke for less than a minute.
Quietly, politely, authoritatively, I told the delegates three inconvenient truths they would not hear from anyone else:
- There has been no global warming for 16 of the 18 years of these wearisome, self-congratulatory yadayadathons.
- It is at least ten times more cost-effective to see how much global warming happens and then adapt in a focused way to what little harm it may cause than to spend a single red cent futilely attempting to mitigate it today.
- An independent scientific enquiry should establish whether the U.N.’s climate conferences are still heading in the right direction.
As I delivered the last of my three points, there were keening shrieks of rage from the delegates. They had not heard any of this before. They could not believe it. Outrage! Silence him! Free speech? No! This is the U.N.! Gerrimoff! Eeeeeeeeeagh!
One of the hundreds of beefy, truncheon-toting U.N. police at the conference approached me as I left the hall and I was soon surrounded by him and a colleague. They took my conference pass, peered at it and murmured into cellphones.
Trouble was, they were having great difficulty keeping a straight face.
Put yourself in their sensible shoes. They have to stand around listening to the tedious, flatulent mendacities of pompous, overpaid, under-educated diplomats day after week after year. Suddenly, at last, someone says “Boo!” and tells the truth.
Frankly, they loved it. They didn’t say so, of course, or they’d have burst out laughing and their stony-faced U.N. superiors would not have been pleased.
I was amiably accompanied out into the balmy night, where an impressive indaba of stony-faced U.N. officials were alternately murmuring into cellphones and murmuring into cellphones. Murmuring into cellphones is what they do best.
After a few minutes the head of security – upper lip trembling and chest pulsating as he did his best to keep his laughter to himself – briefly stopped murmuring into his cellphone and bade me a cheerful and courteous goodnight.
The national delegation from Burma, whose microphone I had borrowed while they were out partying somewhere in the souk, snorted an official protest into its cellphone.
An eco-freako journalist, quivering with unrighteous indignation, wrote that I had been “evicted”. Well, not really. All they did was to say a cheery toodle-pip at the end of that day’s session. They couldn’t have been nicer about it.
The journalist mentioned my statement to my fellow-delegates that there had been no global warming for 16 years. What she was careful not to mention was that she had interviewed me at some length earlier in the day. She had sneered that 97% of climate scientists thought I was wrong.
I had explained to her that 100% of climate scientists would agree with me that there had been no global warming for 16 years if they were to check the facts, which is how science (as opposed to U.N. politics) is done.
I had also told her how to check the facts (but she had not checked them):
Step 1. Get the monthly mean global surface temperature anomalies since January 1997 from the Hadley Centre/CRU. The data, freely available online, are the U.N.’s preferred way to measure how much global warming has happened. Or you could use the more reliable satellite data from the University of Alabama at Huntsville or from Remote Sensing Systems Inc.
Step 2. Put the data into Microsoft Excel and use its routine that calculates the least-squares linear-regression trend on the data. Linear regression determines the underlying trend in a dataset over a given period as the slope of the unique straight line through the data that minimizes the sum of the squares of the absolute differences or “residuals” between the points corresponding to each time interval in the data and on the trend-line. Phew! If that is too much like doing real work (though Excel will do it for you at the touch of a button), find a friendly, honest statistician.
Step 3. Look up the measurement uncertainty in the dataset. Since measuring global temperature reliably is quite difficult, properly-collated temperature data are presented as central estimates flanked by upper and lower estimates known as the “error bars”.
Step 4. Check whether the warming (which is the difference between the first and last value on the trend-line) is greater or smaller than the measurement uncertainty. If it is smaller, falling within the error-bars, the trend is statistically indistinguishable from zero. There has been no warming – or, to be mathematically nerdy, there has been no statistically-significant warming.
The main point that the shrieking delegates here in Doha don’t get is this. It doesn’t matter how many profiteering mad scientists say global warming is dangerously accelerating. It isn’t. Period. Get over it.
The fact that there has been no global warming for 16 years is just that – a fact. It does not mean there is no such thing as global warming, or there has not been any global warming in the past, or there will be none in future.
In the global instrumental temperature record, which began in 1860, there have been several periods of ten years or more without global warming. However, precisely because these periods occur frequently, they tend to constrain the overall rate of warming.
Ideally, one should study periods of warming that are either multiples of 60 years or centered on a transition year between the warming and cooling (or cooling and warming) phases of the great ocean oscillations. That way, the distortions caused by the naturally-occurring 30-year cooling and 30-year warming phases are minimized.
Let’s do it. I have had the pleasure of being on the planet for 60 years. I arrived when it first became theoretically possible for our CO2 emissions to have a detectable effect on global temperature. From 1952 to the present, the planet has warmed at a rate equivalent to 1.2 Celsius degrees per century.
Or we could go back to 1990, the year of the first of the four quinquennial Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPeCaC). It predicted that from 1990-2025 the world would warm at 0.3 Cº/century, giving 1 Cº warming by 2025.
Late in 2001 there was a phase-transition from the warming to the cooling phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the most influential of the ocean oscillations. From 1990-2001 is 11 years; from 2001-2012 is 11 years. So 1990-2012 is a period centered on a phase-transition: with minimal natural distortion, it will indicate the recent temperature trend.
Since 1990 the world has warmed at 1.4 Cº, century, or a little under 0.3 Cº in all. Note that 1.4 Cº/century is a little greater than the 0.12 Cº/century observed since 1952. However, the period since 1990 is little more than a third of the period since 1952, and shorter periods are liable to exhibit somewhat steeper trends than longer periods.
So the slightly higher warming rate of the more recent period does not necessarily indicate that the warming rate is rising, and it is certainly not rising dangerously.
For the 21st century as a whole, IPeCaC is predicting not 1.2 or 1.4 Cº warming but close to 3 Cº, more than doubling the observed post-1990 warming rate. Or, if you believe the latest scare paper from our old fiends the University of East Anglia, up to 6 Cº, quadrupling it.
That is not at all likely. The maximum warming rate that persisted for at least ten years in the global instrumental record since 1850 has been 0.17 Cº. This rate occurred from 1860-1880; 1910-1940; and 1976-2001.
It is only in the last of these three periods that we could have had any warming influence: yet the rate of warming over that period is the same as in the two previous periods.
All three of these periods of rapidish warming coincided with warming phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The climate scare got underway about halfway through the 1976-2001 warming phase.
In 1976 there had been an unusually sharp phase-transition from the cooling to the warming phase. By 1988 James Hansen was making his lurid (and now disproven) temperature predictions before the U.S. Congress, after Al Gore and Sen. Tim Wirth had chosen a very hot June day for the hearing and had deliberately turned off the air-con.
Here is a summary of the measured and predicted warming rates:
Measured warming rate, 1997-2012
Measured warming rate, 1952-2012
Measured warming rate, 1990-2012
Measured warming rate, 1860-1880
Measured warming rate, 1910-1940
Measured warming rate, 1976-2001
Predicted warming rate in IPeCaC (1990), 1990-2025
Predicted warming rate in IPeCaC (2007), 2000-2100
Predicted warming rate by UEA (2012), 2000-2100
But it is virtually impossible to tell the negotiating delegates any of what I have set out here. They would simply not understand it. Even if they did understand it, they would not care. Objective scientific truth no longer has anything to do with these negotiations. Emotion is all.
A particularly sad example of the mawkish emotionalism that may yet destroy the economies of the West was the impassioned statement by the negotiating delegate from the Philippines to the effect that, after the typhoon that has just killed hundreds of his countrymen, the climate negotiations have taken on a new, life-or-death urgency.
As he left the plenary session, the delegates stood either side of the central aisle and showed their sympathy by applauding him. Sympathy for his country was appropriate; sympathy for his argument was not.
After 16 years with no global warming – and, if he reads this posting, he will know how to check that for himself rather than believing the soi-disant “consensus” – global warming that has not happened cannot have caused Typhoon Bhopa, any more than it could have caused extra-tropical storm Sandy.
It is possible that illegal mining and logging played no small part in triggering the landslide that killed many of those who lost their lives.
Perhaps the Philippines should join the Asian Coastal Co-Operation Initiative. Our policy is that the international community should assist all nations to increase their resilience in the face of the natural disasters that have been and will probably always be part of life on Earth.
That is an objective worthier, more realistic, more affordable, and more achievable than attempting, Canute-like, to halt the allegedly rising seas with a vote to establish a second “commitment period” under the Kyoto Protocol.
Will someone please tell the delegates? Just press the button and talk. You may not be heard, though. Those who are not partying somewhere in the souk will be murmuring into their cellphones.