Has global warming theory failed?

One of the recent posts on Watts Up With That (WUWT) is by Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, Weatherbell Analytics and is called global warming theory has failed all tests so alarmists return to the 97% consensus hoax. I’ve written enough about the 97% consensus issue, so won’t say anymore here other than calling it a hoax seems somewhat unjustified.

Basically, the WUWT post lists 25 failures of global warming theory. I had considered trying to rebut some (or all) of these statements, but there’s a problem. Virtually none of the 25 failures listed in the post includes any kind of reference or citation. I’ve been reading quite extensively on the subject, but I can’t work out where the information is coming from. It’s quite possible that there are publications that have indeed made the predictions that this post now claims have failed, but that may not necessarily be relevant. I don’t even know if the supposed claims about global warming were made in peer-reviewed papers, media reports, or government reports. Essentially, a post like that on WUWT has no real value since you can’t easily confirm or deny the claims being made.

What the WUWT post does seem to do is conflate global warming with climate change (the list includes failures of the models, climategate, the survival of polar bears, levels of rainfall,…). It’s certainly my view that we should be putting more effort into distinguishing between global warming and climate change. The evidence for global warming is extremely strong (satellite measurements, ocean heat content, arctic ice volume, global surface temperature), while the evidence for climate change is less certain. Using that the climate hasn’t changed as supposedly suggested isn’t enough to indicate that global warming theory has failed. It might suggest that our understanding of climate change is flawed, but even that isn’t certain given that I can’t really identify where the claims refuted in the WUWT post were made.

I realise that I haven’t provided citations and references in the post, so am – to a certain extent – guilty of the same deficiency as the author of the WUWT post. If anyone would like to know more about the evidence for global warming, I’m happy to provide it through the comments.

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18 Responses to Has global warming theory failed?

  1. Rachel says:

    There’s so much false information in that essay and the author is a suspected recipient of funding from the Heartland Institute – http://www.desmogblog.com/joseph-d-aleo – and so not an objective or credible source of information. The lack of references is also a bad sign.

    Global warming is not a northern hemisphere phenomenon as he suggests. It’s getting hotter down here too. The ice in Antarctica is also melting so I don’t know where he gets his upward trend from. Here’s a source for accelerating ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009GL040222/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

    And what’s this about no significant hurricanes for 7 years? Wasn’t Sandy a significant hurricane?

  2. Lars Karlsson says:

    D’Aleo’ first claim is:

    (1) Warming not ‘global’. It is shown in satellite data to be northern hemisphere only.

    It is easy to demonstrate that this is a lie.

  3. Exactly. I had considered trying to go through them but they seem to unfounded that it’s hard to know where to start. It does simply seem like a bunch of statements that appear to rebut global warming theory (or – more correctly – predictions about climate change rather than global warming theory) but that seem to be based on the author’s opinions rather than on any reputable sources.

  4. Indeed. As I just commented above to Rachel, it does appear to be a list of things that D’Aleo has simply made up. There are no sources and – as you’ve just done – one could quite easily, I suspect, find reliable sources that contradict much of what is said.

  5. BBD says:

    D’Aleo’s motivations are strange and merit closer examination.

    He is a signatory to the Cornwall Alliance Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, which contains the following statements:

    WHAT WE BELIEVE

    We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

    […]

    WHAT WE DENY

    We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

  6. BBD says:

    Roy Spencer is another prominent supporter of CA, and other signatories of the Declaration include Ross McKittrick and David Legates:

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/blog/item/prominent-signers-of-an-evangelical-declaration-on-global-warming/

  7. BBD says:

    The Cornwall Alliance really is deeply strange. A 2011 piece in the Guardian provides fascinating background:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/may/05/evangelical-christian-environmentalism-green-dragon

    The article contains excerpts from the Cornwall Alliance’s latest book, Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion not Death. Here are some representative examples:

    The Litany of the Green Dragon provides some certainty for people without God, who drift steadily from their rational moorings, and for whom there is an increasing sense of separation anxiety…

    We humans are special creatures, in a class of our own, quite separate from, and superior to, trees and animals…

    The Green Dragon must die…[There] is no excuse to become befuddled by the noxious Green odors and doctrines emanating from the foul beast…

    This slimy jade road…is paved with all kinds of perverted and destructive behaviours, leads to death itself, and finally, to the pains of hell forever…No Hollywood celebrity bunnies draped over its foul form can deny its native evil…

    It is no coincidence the rise of environmentalism as a significant political entity tracks the rising political clout of modern feminism…

  8. BBD says:

    Insight into where the CA gets its money from is provided here.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2010/06/19/206237/the-oily-operators-behind-the-religious-climate-change-disinformation-front-group-cornwall-alliance/

    I hope this has provided some useful background.

  9. Thanks for the information. I shall have to do some reading, but it does seem quite remarkable. I had wondered about the role religion was playing in the debate about global warming and climate change. It does seem to be playing quite a significant role.

  10. BBD says:

    It’s not exactly religion, per se. More an unholy alliance between very secular vested interest and the religious-conservative mindset. Note the role of Chris Rogers (James Partnership) and David Rothbard (CFACT) in creating the Cornwall Alliance (last link above). Apologies for the prolixity btw, but sometimes it cannot be avoided 😉

  11. Lars Karlsson says:

    For instance the Catholic Church has no problem accepting climate science.

  12. BBD says:

    Exactly so. Likewise the Anglican Church.

    Nor does the Cornwall Alliance represent the Evangelical church, for all that it pretends to do so.

    Full disclosure – I am an atheist.

  13. Indeed. I wasn’t suggesting that all religious organisations reject AGW, simply that there seem to be a number of prominent “skeptics” who’s views appear to be influenced by their religious beliefs.

  14. Fragmeister says:

    It goes wider into science denialism. Roy Spencer is an intelligent design advocate, specifically a theistic designer. To be wrong once sounds like a misfortune, to be wrong twice sounds like carelessness.

  15. Pingback: Roy Spencer and the Cornwall Alliance | Wotts Up With That Blog

  16. Pingback: Another Week of Global Warming News, June 9, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  17. I like this blog. useful information.
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  18. Pingback: Hot weather and climate change – a mountain from a molehill? | The GOLDEN RULE

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