Tag Archives: Al Gore

Global climate – and your grandchildren

I am spending some time dealing with family business so am reposting some of my past book reviews over the next few day.

Another excellent book about climate change – by a climate science who has been centrally involved from the beginning. His book provides a lot of the science, but also the history of the science..

Book Review: Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hansen

Price: US$16.50*
320 pages
Bloomsbury USA (December 8, 2009)

Climate change contrarians and deniers love to hate James Hansen. He’s up there alongside Al Gore, Michael Mann and Phil Jones. And of course their hatred is no more justified in Hansen’s case than it is for the others.

Others criticise Hansen for his “activism.” His willingness to warn politicians and the population in general of the dangers we face if we continue with a “business as usual” approach to fossil fuel and CO2 emissions. They suggest this could discredit his science. Scientists must always be objective and should limit their pronouncements to the scientific facts alone.

This is not an old problem for scientists – remember their activism after the first use of nuclear weapons and the beginning of the nuclear arms race. Scientists often confront ethical issues arising out of their work.

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Putting the IPCC in its place?

My PhotoThe blog The Climate Scum is worth keeping an eye on. It’s satirical, of course, but it’s content is not too far from what we often find on the internet. By the way it’s written by Baron von Monckhofen (right).

Here’s an extract from a recent post Reforming the IPCC: how to do it properly!

“The following measures are intended to turn the IPCC and its future assessment reports into vehicles for Truth and Reason instead of vehicles for Eco-Fascist Fraud and Deception, as they have been so far.

  1. No communists like Hansen and Mann should be allowed to participate. Only politically independent and objective people should be allowed. Thus, alls participants must have read and memorized “Atlas Shrugged”.
  2. No people who receive grants for doing climate science should be allowed to participate. Such people will just make up scary things so they can get even more grants. Only economically independent people should be allowed.
  3. Likewise, no people who publish climate science articles in peer-reviewed journals should be allowed. They just want to cite their own papers and those of their tribe.
  4. No Chinese or Indians, who just want to weaken the competiveness of the West. Tricky bastards!
  5. No previous IPCC participant can participate in the new IPCC (in particular not Pachauri)! . As everybody who has any experience with management knows, if you want to change an organization the first thing you must do is to get rid of all members/employees.
  6. All previous IPCC participants must release all the email correspondence they have ever had. Releasing email correspondence is vital for the auditing of science and to guarantee repeatability and transparency.
  7. All IPCC prisoners must be released and all weapons of mass destructions must be disarmed.
  8. Any IPCC participant that claims that CO2 can affect the climate must, in order to be credible, abstain from travelling in airplanes and in cars, living indoors, eating warmed food and breathing.
  9. No use of models. Good science is based on empirical observations, and not models. In particular, any “predictions” and “projections” about the future must be entirely based on observations, and not models. If Galileo and Newton and Maxwell and Einstein had bee diddling with models, science would never have progressed.
  10. No use of temperature data. Temperature data, whether from thermometers on the ground or those mounted on satellites, are notoriously unreliable and affected by the urban heat island effect.
  11. Likewise, sea level data, carbon dioxide data, precipitation data, arctic ice volume data and climate proxies must be avoided, as they are inherently unreliable and unscientific.
  12. Climate data from other planets must be included, so we can compare the warming on Earth, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Haley’s comet and the iron-core Sun. No theory that cannot explain all these warming incidents should be taken seriously.
  13. Anecdotal evidence, such as medieval Chinese fleets navigating around the North Pole, should not be dismissed unless proven wrong beyond the shadow of a doubt. To rely more on instruments than on human observers and chroniclers is elitistic and in its essence anti-human.
  14. No references should be allowed to any shady grey literature, like WWF reports. Only shiningly white NGOs working for the benefit of mankind, like the Heartland Institute, should be referenced. White humans are more important than grey frogs!
  15. No references should be allowed to journals like Nature and Science, which have been participating in the suppression of AGW-skeptical papers. Only truly openminded and unbiased journals like Energy & Environment should be referenced.
  16. For each unbalanced alarmist reference, there must be at least one skeptical reference in order to assure fairness and balance.
  17. Uncertainty should be specified according to the scale “Uncertain”, “Highly uncertain”, “Extremely uncertain” and “Completely wrong”.
  18. The best science nowadays is done on blogs, were new ideas easily can be proposed and peer review is instant. Hence, the focus of the assessment reports should be moved from reviewing what is published in the ivory-tower journals to what is published on the blog science blogs. The blogs belonging to journals like Science and Nature do not count – they are just ivory tower blogs masquerading as blog science blogs.
  19. The assessment reports should not exceed 20 pages, and all information should be presented as comic strips. In that way, even illiterate people with a limited attention span will be able to comprehend it. (Like Al Gore, he he!)
  20. In order to ensure its independence, the IPCC should not receive any funding from governments. Instead, it has find its own financing, for instance by selling advertisements in the assessment reports. The taxpayer money that is saved can be used for more important things, like eradicating malaria and giving tax cuts for productive citizens.”
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“Blithering idiocy”

Guardian journalist George Monbiot recently described some of the more blatant media attacks on the science of climate change as “blithering idiocy” (see The sceptics are skating on thin ice). He gave examples from the Telegraph claiming that the current weather in the UK supported the idea of a looming ice age rather than global warming (eg. Global warming: Al Gore’s convenient untruth freezes over). Monbiot asks: “Is there any other subject on which journalists can make such magnificent idiots of themselves and still keep their jobs?”

We have seen a bit of the same confusion of weather with climate amongst bloggers in New Zealand. Ian Wishart (TBR) and Poneke gloated over that lovely satellite picture of the UK covered in snow (see Here’s what British crow looks like… and Yet another Unfortunate Truth too delicious to ignore).

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“A plot to rule the world”

We should differentiate between those who are sceptical of current assessment in climate science and those who outright deny the science. There are sceptics and there are deniers.

It seems to me that a feature more or less common to deniers is conspiracy theory. This is probably inevitable. After all, if one is going to reject all the science and make charges of dishonesty against scientists, politicians and activists concerned about global warming you do need some sort of explanatory framework. It seems simpler to just put the whole thing down to a giant conspiracy, rather than bother dealing with the intricacies of the science, commerce and politics involved.

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