In recent years, important hypotheses of alarmist climate science have been shown to be scientifically invalid despite alarmists’ claims that their hypotheses represent a “consensus” among climate scientists. Very generally, alarmists have supported dubious climate science that consistently blames carbon dioxide (CO2) for speculative future climate disasters, perhaps because it allows them to blame humans for their emissions of this minor but vital constituent of the atmosphere. It is now clear that the alarmists have greatly exaggerated and mischaracterized the climate effects of CO2. In recent years they have even tried to mischaracterize CO2 as a pollutant rather than one of the bases for life on Earth.
The purpose of this post is to lay out a consistent set of hypotheses that can form the basis for an alternative view of climate science based on objective, evidence-based scientific hypotheses rather than speculation based on largely arbitrary climate models. Richard Feynman pointed out many years ago that invalid hypotheses should be discarded and replaced by valid hypotheses based on their correspondence to observed reality. Much of this has already been covered in earlier posts as well as in my book, Environmentalism Gone Mad; this post is intended to summarize some of the new hypotheses generated by comparisons with real world observations. This new objectively-based climate science undercuts the climate alarmist “consensus,” but also a few points often made by some climate skeptics.
Valid science is based on correspondence with observations of the natural world, not consensus anyway. Obviously further research is needed to further check whether some of these new hypotheses are fully supported by the application of the scientific method. The new hypotheses do appear to be substantially better than the ones they replace, but there has not been time to fully subject them to careful and sophisticated comparisons with observed reality over a number of years by which they can only gradually be proven. But there is no justification for further expenditures based on the discredited science listed here while these careful comparisons are undertaken.
The Importance and Unique Aspects of the New Wallace et al. Report
Although the new hypotheses are supported by a number of sources, it is important to point out the unique nature of one of those sources, the very new Wallace et al. 2016 report discussed last week. Although this report focuses on a new approach to showing critical absence of a tropical hot spot, which indeed carries an important inference of invalidity of USEPA’s principal “line of evidence” in their GHG Endangerment Finding, the report has even more interesting findings about other aspects of climate science. The absence of the tropical hot spot has been discussed for several years, and been ignored by climate alarmists despite the implication of this finding that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) is invalid scientifically. I discussed some of these more interesting findings last week. The report provides considerable support to several of the new hypotheses highlighted here.
The importance of this new study is that the authors very carefully specified reasonable simultaneous functional relationships between the most important climate science variables including the critical (in terms of alarmist science) possible dual relationships between CO2 and global temperatures and then allowed the available data to determine the importance of each variable. The report ends by asking why alarmists have apparently never used this approach to determine or assess their “science.” Most of their “science” is based on alleged relationships between the variables based on their interpretations of physical science and particularly various computer models of their creation using these interpretations (despite the inherent inability of such models to accurately portray future climate due to the chaotic nature of climate).
The Wallace et al. 2016 study represents a new and interesting approach to climate science research which should yield very interesting and much more valid results since the weight given to each likely variable is determined by available evidence rather than the guesses of carefully selected “experts” and incorporated into their largely arbitrary computer models. As Wallace et al. 2011 said:
- The simplest model that can characterize the relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentration levels and temperature levels must contain at least two simultaneous equations, one for each of these two state variables. Therefore, the climate system must be analyzed using simultaneous equation estimation techniques. Otherwise the parameter estimates of any structural equations will be both biased and inconsistent, which implies they are useless for policy analysis purposes. The existence of a robust atmospheric CO2 equation has been amply demonstrated, thus guaranteeing that ANY modeling system designed to forecast temperature must include at least two equations.
The much more appropriate simultaneous equation approach used in this new report is notable by its apparent absence (to my knowledge) in alarmist climate “science” despite the contribution it could and must make if climate science is to have any validity. Some of the interesting results in Wallace et al 2016 were discussed last week, but spelling out its implications for reassessing climate science has not been done until now.
Four Invalid Climate Hypotheses and My Proposed Replacements
The invalid alarmist hypotheses, the more valid replacements for them, and the general views of alarmist and skeptic scientists towards them are as follows:
- (1) Alarmists Have CO2/Temperature Causation Backwards. Alarmists claim that global temperatures are primarily determined by global CO2 levels; a number of studies now indicate that atmospheric CO2 levels are actually determined by global temperatures. This does not mean that the greenhouse effect does not apply to carbon dioxide (CO2); it does mean that statistical analysis finds no measurable effect on global temperatures so that this possible effect can and should be safely ignored. This is contrary to the alarmists alleged “consensus” and is fundamental to alarmist climate “science.” Most skeptics believe that increases in atmospheric CO2 will have minor effects on global temperatures. Wallace et al. 2016, on the other hand, finds that CO2 has no measurable effect on global temperatures. This makes physical sense in that water absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere inversely to temperature. Higher temperatures result in less absorption. Hence more CO2 stays in the atmosphere as temperatures rise. Most of Earth’s surface is water, not land, so this is to be expected.
(2) No Evidence that Human CO2 Emissions Will Lead to Climate Catastrophe. CAGW assumes old (1) but is an invalid hypothesis based on a number of other violations of the scientific method and must be abandoned despite its strong support by the alleged alarmist “consensus.” Most skeptics generally support some minor Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), but not CAGW.
(3) Atmospheric CO2 Is Dangerously Low, Not High. Alarmists uniformly believe that global CO2 levels need to be lowered compared to what they would otherwise have been if various climate catastrophes are to be avoided. The dangerously high hypothesis raises the underlying question of whether any attempt to lower atmospheric CO2 levels would be advisable. It is now clear that just the opposite is the case since global CO2 was dangerously low during the last ice age. Thus the real risk is starving plants and thus endangering life on Earth if CO2 levels cannot be stabilized, or better, raised during future ice ages when lower temperatures will lead to lower CO2 levels than currently (as per (1)). Higher atmospheric CO2 levels will immediately help plants by increasing a basic input to their photosynthesis and is worthwhile by itself in that it will benefit all plant and animal life and has no measurable impact on temperatures (see (1) above). This replacement hypothesis is strongly opposed by the alarmists who regard CO2 as a “pollutant” whose emissions must be controlled supposedly to reduce the rate of growth of if not reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. The proposed replacement hypothesis is supported by some skeptics, particularly those who have defended CO2 as a non-pollutant.
(4) Climate Change Causation Is Largely Natural So Varying CO2 Emissions Cannot Reduce Global Temperatures. Climate alarmists have long insisted that global temperatures are primarily determined by human-caused emissions of CO2 and that natural forces play little or no role. Climate skeptics, on the other hand, have long maintained that temperatures are primarily determined by natural phenomena, especially changes in various forms of solar activity, volcanic activity, and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The Wallace et al. 2016 report strongly supports the skeptics since it found that changes in CO2 emissions had no measurable effect on global temperatures but the natural effects did. Simple inspection of global temperature graphs has long suggested that temperature changes are associated with ENSO. All this has been supported by Wallace et al. 2016. Global temperatures appear to be significantly influenced by the strength and frequency of ENSO fluctuations, which may be influenced by or associated with fluctuations in solar activity. Contrary to the alleged alarmist “consensus,” which generally tries to ignore these effects, most skeptics believe that temperatures are determine by various types of solar activity but not necessarily by way of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The alarmist “consensus” hypothesis that global temperatures are overwhelmingly determined by CO2 levels needs to be abandoned along with the fiction that governments can alter global temperatures by substituting wind and solar for fossil fuels.
Policy implications of These Changes:
- (1) Since reductions in human CO2 emissions will have no effect on global temperatures under the revised hypothesis, abandon any policy that includes preferences for “renewable” sources of energy such as wind and solar generation, including government subsidies, regulations and taxes to reduce emissions of CO2, Renewable Energy Standards (RES), the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and the Clean Energy Incentive Program Design Details proposal. All they have done and will do is to raise the cost of using fossil fuels and reduce economic output, growth, and disposable income, and electricity reliability.
(2) Abandon CAGW as a scientific hypothesis and every policy based on it, which includes those listed under (1) above.
(3) Reductions in CO2 emissions would be unwise, from a long term viewpoint. There is a need to search for economical ways to increase atmospheric CO2 levels, but not decrease them.
(4) There is no objective reason to believe that even eliminating all fossil fuel use, as the Democratic Party proposes by 2050, would have any effect on global temperatures. Simply put, no government can exercise any control over global temperatures in the way they have proposed despite over 40 years of promising just this. Clever geoengineering might be able to change global temperatures, if such should be desired, but those calling most loudly for government intervention to reduce global temperatures are generally the vary same people opposed to geoengineering. Most alarmists are also opposed to geoengineering and claim that it is feasible and much better to control CO2 emissions in order to reduce global temperatures. But since this is not possible (as per 1 and 4) and unwise (as per 3), other approaches would have to be found if temperatures are to be changed. Building ever more wind and solar generating plants is a non- solution that simply will not work.
The necessary changes in hypotheses proposed here are devastating to alarmist climate “science.” It is long past time to replace it with objective, evidence-based hypotheses rather than manipulated computer models based on alarmist-favored hypotheses not supported by the scientific method and objective analysis.
My publications are identified as Carlin(#) where the specific publications are identified on my Publications page with # referring to the publication number listed there. Thus Carlin(1) refers to my book, Environmentalism Gone Mad.
- (1) Strong evidence provided by James P. Wallace III, John R. Christy, Joseph S. D’Aleo, On the Existence of a “Tropical Hot Spot,” & the Validity of EPA CO2 Endangerment Finding, August, 2016; Salby video on “Atmospheric Carbon” as well as previous Salby videos; Quirk, 2009. See also JoNova post of 2011; Carlin(1) and my blog post of September 21 on implications of Wallace et al. 2016 report.