Global warming hysteria’s long goodbye: Sidetracking the Marrakech Express

The twenty-second session of the United Nation’s climate change conference ended a few days ago in Marrakech, Morocco, and the proclamation went forth that the conference “successfully demonstrated to the world that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway and the constructive spirit of multilateral cooperation on climate change continues.”

All “well and good,” but with the incoming skeptical Trump train, the trundling of the Marrakech Express is going to become a bit more problematic.

A new era for atmospheric science may be dawning, as the likelihood for voices with a broader perspective on climate forecasting may be encouraged to speak.

The practice of science in general, and climatology in particular, is about the freedom to creatively synthesize scientific knowledge with individual skills and perspective to comprehend and predict the Earth’s complex climate.  In this way, climate science can advance for the benefit of both people and the planet.

Regarding the practice and essence of this specialized field, bestselling author Matt Ridley, in his recent book The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge (HarperCollins, 2015), gives ample challenge to the status quo imposed by controllers of supposedly unassailable climate outlooks.

In his book, Ridley frequently gives contemporary climate science as an example of top-down, inapt scientific practice rather than a bottom-up, more effective, emergent-friendly system.

To Ridley, the advancement of science is more from a “procession of fascinating mysteries to be challenged” rather than a collection of facts for students and the populace to accept from those with a received wisdom.  Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that Ridley includes his extended exposé of pompous anthropogenic climate change assertions in his chapter on the evolution of religion.

Ridley points to several “characteristic features of a mystical and therefore untrustworthy, theory.”  These anti-science characteristics include the fact that the theory is not refutable, appeals to authority, relies heavily on anecdote, makes a virtue of consensus, and takes the moral high ground.  Specifically, much of climate-change science is:

Not refutable.  Predictions of climate doom centuries (correction:) decades from now cannot be validated until centuries (correction:) decades from now.  Nice work if you can get it.

Appeals to authority.  The fact that dozens of scientific societies have endorsed human-induced climate disaster does not make it so.  In fact, elite officers of such societies who make the endorsements are not always typical of the wide-ranging viewpoints of society membership.  The American Meteorological Society is one case in point, where surveys of the members reveal substantial dissent among the society’s hoi polloi.

Relies heavily on anecdote.  When I was a kid, winters were much snowier than they are today.  So what?  Somewhere else on the globe, someone is recalling that his winters were much less snowy.  The data trends are what matter.  Unfortunately, the data coverage over the years has been relatively sparse and imprecise.  However, what the trends do show is a much smaller increase in global temperatures than anticipated by vaunted climate models.  Furthermore, minuscule fractions-of-a-degree increases in annual estimated global temperature are heralded as the “hottest” year on record.  Exemplary hyperbole.

Makes a virtue of consensus.  It bears repeating that no matter who or how many are absolutely convinced of a particular theory, “science is never settled.”  That truism must be redoubled for reliance on long-range prognostications.

Takes the moral high ground.  Sadly, so many religious people have taken up the cause of saving the planet from the possibility of everyone living in comfort with a mix of affordable energy largely realized via fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, religion and moral superiority seem to have inspired so many to vacuous activism, especially on this complex issue, which practically necessitates faith on the part of the vast majority of angry climate congregants.

So America must proceed with caution.  For now, with all the rough track along the route of climate science, it’s time for the U.S. to hop off the U.N.’s Marrakech express.

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist with 40 years of experience in air-pollution meteorology and science education and author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016).