Dear President-elect Trump: Don’t Listen to Ben Santer or Other Climate Alarmists

 

Ben Santer: Climate Alarmist

On December 22, Ben Santer – one of the climate scientists most responsible for politicizing and then corrupting climate science — wrote an open letter to Donald Trump once again pretending to speak on behalf of “science.” We can expect many such cries of despair and shouts begging for attention (and continued funding) in the future. In the Trump administration — whether it lasts four years or eight — such histrionics will be a growth industry.

Santer’s entire screed on CNBC’s website — titled “Dear President-elect Trump—Don’t listen to the ‘ignorant voices’ on climate change” — is riddled with alarmism and factual errors. I’m not going to excerpt and rebut it all, but suffice to say: (1) there is no money in skepticism of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), but there are endless government grants for alarmism; (2) climate-alarmist “scientists” who prey upon the uninformed have gotten the science wrong for decades; and (3) withdrawing from the non-binding and ineffectual Paris Climate Agreement will not make the US a “pariah,” but the leader that helped save billions of people in emerging economies from another generation of miserable poverty.

Happily, it is unlikely that Trump will listen to Santer’s ignorant voice, but just to be sure, I share below a rebuttal to one of Santer’s most notorious actions — distorting the Second Assessment Report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1995) to serve political, not scientific, ends. The following is an excerpt from page 119 of the 2008 book Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery (emphasis mine):

Climate is so complex and variable that it’s difficult to distinguish the causes of its variations. The technique adopted by the IPCC for second assessment report, Climate Change 1995, was called “fingerprinting.” The IPCC compared the detailed geographic patterns of climate change with the calculations of the climate models. This comparison seemed to indicate a growing correspondence between real-world observation and modeled patterns.

On examination, however, this result proved to be false. The correspondence appeared only for the time interval 1943 to 1970. More recent decades show no such correspondence, nor does the complete record, which dated from 1905 to 1995. The IPCC claim is based on selective data. Under the rules of science, this cancels the IPCC’s claim of having found a human impact on climate.

The IPCC’s defenders claim that the crucial Chapter 8 of the panel’s Climate Change 1995 was based on 130 peer-reviewed science studies. Actually, the chapter was based mainly on two research papers by its lead author, Ben Santer, of the U.S. government’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Neither of the Santer papers had been published at the time the chapter was under review and they had not been subject to peer review. Scientific reviewers subsequently learned that both the Santer papers shared the same defect as the IPCC’s Chapter 8: Their “linear upward trend” occurs only from 1943 to 1970.

In fact, the IPPC report itself documented the reality that the man-made warming claim was false. The “fingerprint test,” as displayed in figure 8.I0b of` the 1995 report, shows the pattern correlation between observations and climate models decreasing during the major surge of surface temperature warming that occurred between 1916 and 1940.

The IPCC’s Climate Change 1995 was reviewed by its consulting scientists in late 1995. The “Summary for Policy Makers” was approved in December, and the full report, including Chapter 8, was accepted. However, after the printed report appeared in May 1996, the scientific reviewers discovered that major changes had been made “in the back room” after they had signed off on the science chapter’s contents. Santer, despite the shortcomings of the scientific evidence, had inserted strong endorsements of man-made warming in Chapter 8 (of which he was the IPCC-appointed lead author):

There is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcing by greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols … from the geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change. … These results point toward a human influence on global climate. [ch.8 p.412]

The body of statistical evidence in Chapter 8, when examined in the context of our physical understanding of the climate system, now points to a discernible human influence on the global climate. [ch.8 p.439]

Santer also deleted these key statements from the expert-approved chapter 8 draft:

• “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.”

• “While some of the pattern-base studies discussed here have claimed detection of a significant climate change, no study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed] to [man-made] causes. Nor has any study quantified the magnitude of a greenhouse gas effect or aerosol effect in the observed data – an issue of primary relevance to policy makers.”

• “Any claims of positive detection and attribution of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced.”

• “While none of these studies has specifically considered the attribution issue, they often draw some attribution conclusions, for which there is little justification.”

• “When will an anthropogenic effect on climate be identified? It is not surprising that the best answer to this question is, `We do not know. “’

Santer single-handedly reversed the “climate science” of the whole IPCC report — and with it the global warming political process. The “discernible human influence” supposedly revealed by the IPCC has been cited thousands of times since in media around the world and has been the “stopper” in millions of debates among nonscientists.

The journal Nature mildly chided the IPCC for redoing Chapter 8 to “ensure that it conformed” to the report’s politically correct Summary for Policymakers. In an editorial, Nature favored the Kyoto treaty.

The Wall Street Journal, which did not favor Kyoto, was outraged. Its condemning editorial, “Coverup in the Greenhouse,” appeared I 1 June 1996. The following day, Frederick Seitz, former president of the National Academy of Sciences, detailed the illegitimate rewrite in the Journal in a commentary titled “Major Deception on Global Warming.”

Oddly enough, a research paper, coauthored by Santer, was published at about the same time — and says something quite different than the IPCC report. It concludes that none of the three estimates of the natural variability of the climate spectrum agrees with the other, and that until this question is resolved, “it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.”

Why did Santer, a relatively junior scientist, make the unsupported revisions’? We still don’t know who directed him to do so, and then approved the changes. But Sir John Houghton, chairman of the IPCC working group, had received a letter from the U.S. State Department dated November 15, 1995. It said:

It is essential that the chapters not be finalized prior to the completion of the discussions at the IPCC Working Group I plenary in Madrid, and that chapter authors be prevailed upon to modify their text in an appropriate manner following the discussion in Madrid.

The letter was signed by a senior career Foreign Service officer, Day Olin Mount, who was then Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. The Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs at that time was former Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO). Wirth was not only an ardent advocate of man-made warming, but was a close political ally of then-President Bill Clinton and then-Vice President Al Gore. There seems little doubt that the letter was sent by Mount at the behest of Wirth.

Mount was later named Ambassador to Iceland. That’s a plum post in a pleasant, peaceful First World country. That ambassadorship has often gone to a political ally of the White House rather than to a career diplomat,

The Madrid Plenary, held in November 1995, was a political meeting. There were representatives of 96 nations and 14 nongovernment organizations (NGOs). They went over the text of the “accepted” report line by line. Chapter 8, which should have governed the entire IPCC report, was rewritten to accord with the global warming campaign being waged by the United Nations, the NGOs, and the Clinton administration.

The excerpt above is something you should preserve for history. It marks the beginning of the politicization of climate science to serve political ends — and Santer was there, doing all he could (his scientific peers be damned) to make it happen.  So … Dear President-elect Trump: Don’t Listen to Ben Santer.

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  1. Matt Jones Inactive
    Matt Jones
    @MatthewJones

    If Trump’s cabinet picks are any indication (especially Pruitt at EPA) he won’t be listening to anything Ben Santer, Bill McKibbon, or any other of their ilk have to say. If Trump is smart he will allow investment in whatever the market deems to be the cheapest and most reliable form of energy. Hopefully Trump has a human standard of value so that we may continue to pursue the energy that is responsible for the highest standard of living in human history. It is morally repugnant to deny the rest of the world the opportunity to benefit from the energy we have used to make ourselves the richest and well-fed population ever on earth.

    • #1
  2. Jim Lakely Inactive
    Jim Lakely
    @JimLakely

    Amen, Matt. Trump’s cabinet picks at Energy and EPA (which is not really a cabinet pick, but often more powerful) do not predict a continuation of climate-alarmism policy. And, yes, I don’t think Trump will listen to the non-scientific alarmists, but Ivanka seems smitten. Can’t be too careful.

    • #2
  3. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Nice article.

    • #3
  4. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Jim, you’re a contributor.  Why isn’t this on the Main Feed?  (Great post, btw)

    • #4
  5. Jim Lakely Inactive
    Jim Lakely
    @JimLakely

    Thanks, @catorand. I gave them a heads up last night. Maybe it will get on the main feed soon. Or maybe I entered it wrong.

    • #5
  6. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    They are liars. When global warming stopped trending upward, then they changed the name to climate change…they can’t be wrong about that, can they. The first solution to a questionably existent problem is to TAX the rich nations. But whose pockets get lined with these gigantic extorted funds? Certainly not the poor nations-they just get poorer. If one questions the veracity of any scientific theory, well that is a good thing. It’s part of the scientific process. But question the veracity of global warming…err, climate change, and you are a heretic. Oh and btw, what is the correct temperature of our planet and who gets to decide that? One does need to be quite a sucker to not sense a racket going on here.

    • #6
  7. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I’m glad this got up front.   The greedy profit through cronyist parasites were set to pounce if Hillary was elected.  It would all be in the name of Warming of course and they’d hide behind the scientist/ pseudo-scientist activists but the financial scandals were going to be massive.  No more I hope.

    • #7
  8. Tommy De Seno Member
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    @jimlakely you obviously know a lot more about this than the average bear.  Whenever I’m in a conversation with those insistent upon AGW and they yell “because science” at me, I ask them a few questions about the science which they can’t answer.  They switch from “because science” to “I’m not a scientist and neither are you,” which somehow makes them believe their point is even more reliable.

    Here’s what I’d like to know, if you can help:

    Accepting that average global temperature rose 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the 20th century, is that greater than or less than the standard deviation for global temperature change in all other centuries?

    What are the instruments used for temperature data for past centuries, particularly prior to recorded history on temperature, and is there a reliability factor to be considered for that data, for instance a margin of error?

    Are there reliability problems with the instruments to record temperature data in the 20th century or even today; a margin of error to be considered?

    Hope you can help.

    • #8
  9. Jim Lakely Inactive
    Jim Lakely
    @JimLakely

    Tommy De Seno:Accepting that average global temperature rose 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the 20th century, is that greater than or less than the standard deviation for global temperature change in all other centuries?

    What are the instruments used for temperature data for past centuries, particularly prior to recorded history on temperature, and is there a reliability factor to be considered for that data, for instance a margin of error?

    Are there reliability problems with the instruments to record temperature data in the 20th century or even today; a margin of error to be considered?

    View comment in context.

    I wanted to give you the best answer I could, so I asked H. Sterling Burnett, a fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. Here’s his answer:

    There is no “average” or “average change” for past centuries since the average is something made up for a time period to make a political point. As far as we can tell from proxy data reconstructions, the average temperature doesn’t vary much on a century by century time scale but rather when it rises or falls as it did to the Roman warm period and the medieval warming, as it falls during various little “ice ages” when temperature changes, it last for a few centuries and then swings back. The current shift is within the recovery from previous cooler periods.

    In some few locations we’ve been recording temperature for at most a few centuries, beyond that and for most of the rest of the globe temperatures are reconstructed using proxy data and diaries or notes recorded by those who lived through the periods. Proxy data includes ice cores, tree ring data, in the oceans data from shells, etc. This data is only as good as our assumptions about the match between isotopes of various molecules and what certain types of growth indicate when compared to what we have been able to measure or record since we’ve been measuring and recording data.

    For the reliability of present measuring devices, I point you to Anthony Watts and Roy Spencer’s work and my reporting on how governments have been adjusting the raw data [and their explanations for why and how they do so.]

    Hope that helps!

    • #9
  10. Tommy De Seno Member
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Jim Lakely:

    Tommy De Seno:Accepting that average global temperature rose 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the 20th century, is that greater than or less than the standard deviation for global temperature change in all other centuries?

    What are the instruments used for temperature data for past centuries, particularly prior to recorded history on temperature, and is there a reliability factor to be considered for that data, for instance a margin of error?

    Are there reliability problems with the instruments to record temperature data in the 20th century or even today; a margin of error to be considered?

    View comment in context.

    I wanted to give you the best answer I could, so I asked H. Sterling Burnett, a fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. Here’s his answer:

    There is no “average” or “average change” for past centuries since the average is something made up for a time period to make a political point. As far as we can tell from proxy data reconstructions, the average temperature doesn’t vary much on a century by century time scale but rather when it rises or falls as it did to the Roman warm period and the medieval warming, as it falls during various little “ice ages” when temperature changes, it last for a few centuries and then swings back. The current shift is within the recovery from previous cooler periods.

    In some few locations we’ve been recording temperature for at most a few centuries, beyond that and for most of the rest of the globe temperatures are reconstructed using proxy data and diaries or notes recorded by those who lived through the periods. Proxy data includes ice cores, tree ring data, in the oceans data from shells, etc. This data is only as good as our assumptions about the match between isotopes of various molecules and what certain types of growth indicate when compared to what we have been able to measure or record since we’ve been measuring and recording data.

    For the reliability of present measuring devices, I point you to Anthony Watts and Roy Spencer’s work and my reporting on how governments have been adjusting the raw data [and their explanations for why and how they do so.]

    Hope that helps!

    View comment in context.

    Thanks I really appreciate it!

    • #10
  11. Trinity Waters Member
    Trinity Waters
    @

    This post evokes good news, bad news thoughts from me.  The bad news is that the climate charade has always been a political tool for the vaunted globalism strivers, and as such must die.  The good news is that this whole issue has faded almost to irrelevance now, and that may be why there are so few comments on this great post.  S. Fred Singer has been a main source for me for a while now.  Solid information.  A relative asked me at a Christmas party what the issue of climate “whatever” is about, so I simply told him to Google Singer.

    • #11
  12. Phil Turmel Inactive
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Tommy De Seno:@jimlakely you obviously know a lot more about this than the average bear. Whenever I’m in a conversation with those insistent upon AGW and they yell “because science” at me, I ask them a few questions about the science which they can’t answer. They switch from “because science” to “I’m not a scientist and neither are you,” which somehow makes them believe their point is even more reliable.

    View comment in context.

    When they pull the “not a scientist” line on me I say “No, I’m an engineer — I can actually do the math”.  I then explain that any climate alarmist scientist would be prosecuted for the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a theater if they had to justify their position the way engineers do.

    • #12
  13. Jim Lakely Inactive
    Jim Lakely
    @JimLakely

    Trinity Waters: S. Fred Singer has been a main source for me for a while now. Solid information. A relative asked me at a Christmas party what the issue of climate “whatever” is about, so I simply told him to Google Singer.

    View comment in context.

    Relying on Fred Singer is always a good policy. I correspond with him often and am honored to call him a friend. He works closely with Heartland on a lot of matters, especially the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) he founded 11 years ago. You can find NIPCC’s website, and some of Heartland’s work on the climate, at the links below:

    http://climatechangereconsidered.org/

    http://climateconferences.heartland.org/

    https://www.heartland.org/Center-Climate-Environment/index.html

    • #13
  14. Jim Lakely Inactive
    Jim Lakely
    @JimLakely

    Phil Turmel: When they pull the “not a scientist” line on me I say “No, I’m an engineer — I can actually do the math”. I then explain that any climate alarmist scientist would be prosecuted for the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a theater if they had to justify their position the way engineers do.

    View comment in context.

    Heh. I like that line, Phil … and heard it from a lot of the engineers have spoken at, and the many more have attended, Heartland’s climate conferences. We’re hoping to have our 12th in DC in March. I’m sure you’d find it fascinating, and we’ll be live-streaming all of it for those who can’t make it in person.

    http://climateconferences.heartland.org/

    • #14
  15. Trinity Waters Member
    Trinity Waters
    @

    Jim Lakely:

    Trinity Waters: S. Fred Singer has been a main source for me for a while now. Solid information. A relative asked me at a Christmas party what the issue of climate “whatever” is about, so I simply told him to Google Singer.

    View comment in context.

    Relying on Fred Singer is always a good policy. I correspond with him often and am honored to call him a friend. He works closely with Heartland on a lot of matters, especially the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) he founded 11 years ago. You can find NIPCC’s website, and some of Heartland’s work on the climate, at the links below:

    http://climatechangereconsidered.org/

    http://climateconferences.heartland.org/

    https://www.heartland.org/Center-Climate-Environment/index.html

    View comment in context.

    Thanks for the links!  Happy New Year!

    • #15
  16. Tommy De Seno Member
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Tommy De Seno:@jimlakely you obviously know a lot more about this than the average bear. Whenever I’m in a conversation with those insistent upon AGW and they yell “because science” at me, I ask them a few questions about the science which they can’t answer. They switch from “because science” to “I’m not a scientist and neither are you,” which somehow makes them believe their point is even more reliable.

    View comment in context.

    When they pull the “not a scientist” line on me I say “No, I’m an engineer — I can actually do the math”. I then explain that any climate alarmist scientist would be prosecuted for the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a theater if they had to justify their position the way engineers do.

    True.  I try to explain to them that in my line of work (trial lawyer) I cross examine orthopedic surgeons in court or the time.  I’m not one, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t understand their findings or question their methods.   I tell the AGW crowd to practically ignore designations and claims of expertise.   2 and 2 equals 4 because it does, not because the guy saying it has a math degree.

    • #16
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