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Analysis of Climate Feedback Response to 500 Scientists’ Declaration to UN “There is No Climate Emergency”

The overall scientific credibility of the Climate Feedback critique is extremely low. 

The CLINTEL European Climate Declaration – “There is No Climate Emergency” is a plain language statement of views for the UN and the general public to consider.  Climate Feedback attempts to offer a scientific critique of general points rather than simply asking the signatories to provide their evidence to back up the summarized statements.

The Poynter Institute for journalists has ‘certified’ Climate Feedback, but most journalists do not even know the name of the complex differential equations integral to climate change. How can they certify who is or is not a climate scientist, an expert or accurate, in a field they know nothing about?  This absurdity is laid out in Prof. Christopher Essex’ memorable essay: Cavemen, Computers and Climate.

That said, let us critique the Climate Feedback response.

Climate Feedback states:

Similar letters have sought to establish credibility with large numbers of co-signers in the past, but evidence is what counts in science. (bold added)

The signatories agree that evidence is what counts in science.  This is why they have signed this EU Climate Declaration.

The Climate Feedback respondents are clearly not up to date with the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientific findings.  At that time, the IPCC, reported that there had been no statistically significant warming for the 15 years prior (dating back to before Kyoto was ratified) despite a very significant rise in carbon dioxide concentration.

Excerpt of Sept. 2013 IPCC WGI AR5 Report

The (above) graph showing the global temperature anomaly versus the atmospheric CO2 concentration, illustrates a clear divergence between the rising ratio of CO2 concentration and the near flatline trend of temperatures for almost 2 decades.  The temperature spikes indicate El Nino years (a naturally occurring phenomenon).

A similar graph above, using 5 datasets, (produced in 2015), shows a similar phenomenon – wide divergence between CO2 concentration and temperature.  This is contrary to the radiative forcing theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  While this evidence does not suggest that humans or CO2 from human industry have no effect on earth’s climate, it does show no correlation as theorized, and therefore questionable causation in respect to CO2 driving warming – especially ‘catastrophic’ warming.  Correlation of warming and CO2 rise, as was the case during the 1970’s-mid 1990’s was assumed as evidence of causation; the divergence of temperature and CO2 means no correlation is evidence of lack of causation.  This is a fundamental scientific principle.

Dr. Hans von Storch, Lead author of the IPCC WGI (Physical sciences) of AR3, and WGII (Impacts, Adaptation, Vulnerability) of AR5 made public statements about this anomaly, prior to the issuing of the 2013 IPCC report, noting that not a single model forecast this pause. An excerpt from his interview with Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Just since the turn of the millennium, humanity has emitted another 400 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, yet temperatures haven’t risen in nearly 15 years. What can explain this?

Storch: So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break. We’re facing a puzzle. Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) — a value very close to zero. This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report late next year. (bold and underline added)

SPIEGEL: Do the computer models with which physicists simulate the future climate ever show the sort of long standstill in temperature change that we’re observing right now?

Storch: Yes, but only extremely rarely. At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase.

Contrary to statements in the Climate Feedback critique, Dr. von Storch states that the models were not suitably predictive, not even close.

He goes on to acknowledge that science is a process, subject to new findings all the time.

SPIEGEL: What could be wrong with the models?

Storch: There are two conceivable explanations — and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn’t mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes. (bold added)

SPIEGEL: That sounds quite embarrassing for your profession, if you have to go back and adjust your models to fit with reality…

Storch: Why? That’s how the process of scientific discovery works. There is no last word in research, and that includes climate research. It’s never the truth that we offer, but only our best possible approximation of reality. But that often gets forgotten in the way the public perceives and describes our work. (bold added)

Note that the interviewer refers to “which physicists simulate the future climate” – yet Climate Feedback critics suggest that anyone who is not a ‘climate scientist’ has nothing to say on the issue of climate.  Climate Feedback authors denigrate the signatories as not being ‘climate scientists’ because many signatories are geophysicists or geologists. Earth sciences is the original home of climate science, dating back three hundred years to James Hutton, father of modern geology.

Google search records reveal that the term ‘climate science’ and ‘climate scientist’ only became unique terminology about 2005. Are we to believe Climate Feedback’s position on ‘who is a climate scientist’ that only scientists qualified in the past 15 years or self-identified as ‘climate scientist’ are the experts? All understanding of earth’s complex climate system rely on the works of hundreds of thousands of earth scientists, atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, volcanologists, astrophysicists, chemists, biologists, and physicists dating back hundreds of years; yes, we stand on the shoulders of giants and the Climate Feedback critics actually mock the work of many of these emeritus professors.

Evidence Over Ideology

EU Climate Declaration signatory physicist and Professor Emeritus Francois Gervais has published a paper showing that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation 60-year cycle has more to do with climate change and temperature, than carbon dioxide. Gervais also did a presentation at the Porto Climate Conference in 2018 at the Porto University (Faculdade de Letras, Universidade do Porto)  showing that the ‘consensus’ view has now shifted dramatically – scientists see carbon dioxide as a nominal contributor to global warming and nothing catastrophic.  While the Climate Feedback critics may hold a different scientific view, the proper approach is to invite discussion and open debate.  Clearly there is a disparity between what Climate Feedback critics say, and what the evidence shows.

English and French versions of this material, videos, transcripts and the peer-reviewed paper are posted for convenience on this blog

Climate Feedback Critics Dismiss IPCC Stance on Human Influence

One Climate Feedback critic claims that the natural warming after the Little Ice Age was complete by the late 1800’s and human influence prevailed thereafter, while the IPCC states that human influence only stems from 1950, and everything prior was natural.  Likewise, the IPCC only claims that more than 50% of the warming after 1950 was human caused (but not 100%). A review of the graph of the Holocene (above) shows cyclical warming and cooling is the historical norm and that current warming is within the range of previous warm cycles.

Timothy Osborn, Professor,University of East Anglia, and Director of Research, Climatic Research Unit:

The current period of warming is not because the Little Ice Age ended by 1850. Climate scientists study the causes of warming and cooling period and calculate their effects on our climate. These studies show that natural warming after the Little Ice Age was complete by the late 1800s. The warming from the late 1800s to the present is all due to human-caused climate change, because natural factors have changed little since then and even would have caused a slight cooling over the last 70 years rather than the warming we have observed. (italics added)

Osborn confidently states that ‘natural factors have changed little since then’ without any evidence to support his claim.  In fact, natural factors are highly variable, most are not even documented or quantified and some, as noted in the APS document referred to below, are on very long-time scales for which we have no data.

The foregoing shows that we are ‘far from understanding the climate system.’  

Climate Feedback critics claim to be experts on the topic of climate, they claim that the greenhouse effect has been understood for well over a century, citing this about Svante Arrhenius:

1896 – SvanteArrhenius publishes first calculation of global warming from human emissions ofCO2: doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere would raiseglobal temp some 5-6°C (9-11°F)

In fact, in 1906, Arrhenius published a paper in German in which he drastically amended his view (based on additional scientific insights) and affirmed that warming would top out around 1.5 °C and would be beneficial.  This is effectively what we see today.  Indeed, temperatures have been drastically dropping for the past 3 years, despite a continuing rise in CO2 concentration.  Whether this trend continues or not, we will have to see.  In any event, due to the cyclical nature of climate change, earth’s populations should be prepared for either warming or cooling and implement relevant adaptations where possible.

While Climate Feedback critics and Poynter Institute journalists confidently state claims about earth’s temperatures, the experts at NASA GISS are much more circumspect.

GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

The Elusive Absolute Surface AirTemperature (SAT)

The GISTEMP analysis concerns only temperature anomalies, not absolute temperature. Temperature anomalies are computed relative to the base period 1951-1980. The reason to work with anomalies, rather than absolute temperature is that absolute temperature varies markedly in short distances, while monthly or annual temperature anomalies are representative of a much larger region. Indeed, we have shown (Hansen and Lebedeff, 1987) that temperature anomalies are strongly correlated out to distances of the order of 1000 km.

Q. What exactly do we mean by SAT?
A. I doubt that there is a general agreement how to answer this question. Even at the same location, the temperature near the ground may be very different from the temperature 5 ft above the ground and different again from 10 ft or 50 ft above the ground. Particularly in the presence of vegetation (say in a rain forest), the temperature above the vegetation may be very different from the temperature below the top of the vegetation. A reasonable suggestion might be to use the average temperature of the first 50 ft of air either above ground or above the top of the vegetation. To measure SAT we have to agree on what it is and, as far as I know, no such standard has been suggested or generally adopted. Even if the 50 ft standard were adopted, I cannot imagine that a weather station would build a 50 ft stack of thermometers to be able to find the true SAT at its location.

Q. What do we mean by daily mean SAT?
A. Again, there is no universally accepted correct answer. Should we note the temperature every 6 hours and report the mean, should we do it every 2 hours, hourly, have a machine record it every second, or simply take the average of the highest and lowest temperature of the day? On some days the various methods may lead to drastically different results.

Q. What SAT do the local media report?
A. The media report the reading of 1 particular thermometer of a nearby weather station. This temperature may be very different from the true SAT even at that location and has certainly nothing to do with the true regional SAT. To measure the true regional SAT, we would have to use many 50 ft stacks of thermometers distributed evenly over the whole region, an obvious practical impossibility.

In light of these insights, clearly no one should be claiming absolute certainty about global warming or ‘hottest year ever.’ 

As well, many scientists and citizens were deeply disturbed by the revelations of the ClimateGate emails which showed that scientists holding dissenting views on the effect of CO2 or who ascribed other factors to climate change (i.e. solar or ocean cycles, subliminal geothermal activity in the ocean, etc.) were systematically blocked from publication by a clique of climate insiders.  Other serious issues of scientific integrity and breach of ethics were exposed, as was the fact that sea surface temperatures in a large part of the world had been ‘made up.’  Some emails revealed that ENGOs like WWF were apparently directing preferred ‘results’.  WWF has been extensively funded by the ClimateWorks green billionaires. One of the Climate Feedback critics is the director of the climate research unit at one of the facilities most implicated in the ClimateGate scandal (not to suggest this person bears any responsibility; simply pointing out that this facility’s overall scientific integrity was put in question).

In addition, a grad student’s 2016 report found thousands of errors in the HadCRUT (Hadley Climate Research Unit) Temperature datasets.  Some of these included embarrassing, nonsensical items like temperatures of 80 °C for months for Caribbean Islands or apparent sea surface monitored temperatures actually taken from a site that is miles inland. As pointed out by science writer Joanne Nova, “…it begs the question of why a PhD student working from home can find mistakes that the £226 million institute with 2,100 employees could not.”

Climate Feedback was critical of the fact that the EU Climate Declaration also includes business people, as if business people need a climate science degree to see such errors and breaches of integrity in climate science – yet still be required to pay millions in carbon taxes or to address GHG regulations that impose severe burdens on their business.  Obviously, business people understand math better than many climate scientists do, and they understand that such breaches of integrity and accuracy, in their world, would result in severe financial or even criminal penalties (if related to air/water quality monitoring/regulatory issues or related to securities fraud), loss of customers, and collapse of their business operations.  The climate science world gets a pass on all these real-world consequences. This must not be allowed to continue.

Type Two Scientific Misconduct by Climate Feedback, Sanctioned by Poynter

The participants in Climate Feedback review engage in Type Two Scientific Misconduct “‘type two scientific misconduct’ is other-harming and leads to falsely negative conclusions about someone else’s work‘ by referring to scientists in a defamatory manner by stating that signatories who hold rational, dissenting views on the alleged ‘consensus’ are ‘well-known climate deniers‘ when not a single person on the EU Climate Declaration signatory list denies that climate changes, and they all agree that humans affect climate change, but that the effect is nominal and not catastrophic.  Name calling like this is contrary to responsible conduct in research, as set out in the NAS handbook On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research.

“Science has progressed through a uniquely productive marriage of human creativity and hard-nosed skepticism, of openness to new scientific contributions and persistent questioning of those contributions and the existing scientific consensus.” (underline emphasis added)

Those who question are engaging in responsible conduct in research. Those who close ranks are preventing scientific progress.

On a personal note, it is particularly offensive to see scientists attempting to denigrate scientific colleagues through the use of the term ‘denier,’ especially when many of the scientists of the European Climate Declaration live in EU countries where the horrors of the Holocaust still reverberate.

The term ‘denier’ seems to have emanated from a PR man and Al Gore acolyte, who set up DeSmogBlog, a site that is a fundee of members of the massive ClimateWorks Foundation green billionaire network which funds most academics, non-profit journals, and local environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs) as proxies to push the ClimateWorks plan to establish global cap and trade, carbon pricing and to put trillions of their vested interest renewables on the grid worldwide.

Curiously, neither DeSmogBlog founder James Hoggan nor Al Gore are ‘climate scientists’ either, but they feel free to hurl the epithet ‘denier’ about and it is even more curious that respectable scientists, like those engaged in Climate Feedback commentaries, bring dishonor to the realm of science with such Type Two Scientific Misconduct tactics.  

Discounting Expertise of Working Professionals

Climate Feedback claim many of the signatories work or have worked in fossil fuel industries, as if this automatically discounts their expert professional insights.  Earth scientists who have worked in oil, gas or coal must provide accurate assessments of the risk, access to and value of these precious resources.  To this end, they have studied 4.5 billion years of earth’s climate change history in order to make reliable judgements, upon which billions of dollars of investment rest, and from which society benefits with modern conveniences, modern medicine, and our many freedoms – especially that of world travel.

Expert geoscientists and Professional Engineers work with models all the time and their works require exacting outcomes – both for public safety, and to meet investor and securities regulations. They are rightly critical of the climate modelling community which pumps out projections that are far from reality. Millions of people are being frightened by faulty climate models and related media hype, billions of dollars in public funds are being wasted on unreliable infrastructure (like wind and solar/electric vehicles) yet the climate modelled outcomes and claims would never meet basic industry standards.

A disturbing revelation from the American Physical Society (APS) workshop of 2014 revealed that climate modellers found a 30% scaling error which they corrected on ten year forecasts….but not on 100 year projections!

DR. KOONIN: But if the model tells you that you got the response to the forcing wrong by 30 percent, you should use that same 30-percent factor when you project out a century.

DR. COLLINS: Yes. And one of the reasons we are not doing that is that we are not using the models as statistical projection tool.

DR. KOONIN: What are you using them as?

DR. COLLINS: Well, we took exactly the same models that got the forcing wrong and which got sort of the projections wrong up to 2100.

DR. KOONIN: So, why do we even show centennial-scale projections?

DR. COLLINS: Well, I mean, it is part of the assessment process. And the uncertainty, I think there is a point not to get confused about what the driving uncertainties there are. By the year 2100, it’s not –

DR. KOONIN: If you calibrated the model against historical data, discovered you needed .7 to be applied to the greenhouse gas, you should keep that same .7 when you run it forward, no?

Climate and investment policies are being set based on these long-range model projections which apparently include a significant, known scaling error.  In the context of a geoscientist or Professional Engineer working in any industry, (but particularly fossil fuel industries where reserve assessments and project development work decades in advance) such improprieties and lack of scientific integrity would result in firing and professional misconduct penalties.  In the climate world, such improprieties are only discovered ‘by accident’ in an APS workshop and then passed off as ‘…it is part of the assessment process.’ What is being assessed if the model is rife with scaling errors?

Philosophers in Climate Science

Climate Feedback critics are fixed on the notion that only ‘climate scientists’ can know anything about climate change and as critics they appear to claim some superior knowledge themselves. 

Climate Feedback critics are critical of the inclusion of philosophers, despite the fact that the IPCC itself has two ‘moral’ philosophers – and look what this one has to say: “To fight climate change, the IPCC finds it necessary to hold meetings in remote corners of the world.” The IPCC philosopher seems to think that buying offsets will mitigate impacts of fossil fuel use. We will let readers draw their own conclusions about this unscientific theory and whether public funds should finance travel junkets and make carbon traders rich on your tax dollars

Institutionalizing Climate Lysenkoism

Sadly, Climate Feedback and Poynter Institute (which has certified Climate Feedback as an ‘accurate’ fact checking organization) are institutionalizing Climate Lysenkoism through group think and denigration of this cadre of 500 excellent scholars and professionals, many of whom have been awarded their nations’ highest honors for science and public policy work.

This type of bullying and harassment is contrary to Poynter’s own core values:


We strive to act justly, to respect people and their privacy, to present different points of view and to minimize harm. (emphasis added)

Expected Behavior

First and foremost, treat everyone with respect

Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to, intimidating, threatening, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory, demeaning or disorderly conduct;

EU Climate Declaration French Ambassador, Benoit Rittaud, gave a presentation on the Lysenkoism theme at the Porto Conference.

Earth is in the Meghalayan, Not the Anthropocene

In July of 2018, the International Union of Geological Sciences issued a statement concerning the latest stratigraphic designation – stating that we are in the Meghalayan stage of the Holocene.  Many had been expecting that the Anthropocene would be announced as confirmation that humans have greater influence on climate change than nature.

The people most qualified to comment on earth’s climate are geologists, yet curiously they are left out of the IPCC list of scientists.  While one Climate Feedback critic decries the lack of biologists and women in the EU Climate Declaration, Roger Higgs has reviewed the IPCC AR6 list of experts and finds:

IPCC’s next report, AR6, supposedly “will update our knowledge on climate change, its impacts and risks, and possible response options, and play an important role in implementing the Paris Agreement” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. The selected “author teams, drawn from the hundreds of excellent nominations the IPCC was fortunate to receive, provide us with the necessary expertise across a range of disciplines to conduct the assessment” … but in truth …the author statistics (below) show that the “necessary expertise” is lacking, as geologists are again excluded, rendering the collective authorship incompetent for their stated mission of reviewing the literature to assess climate change. By this omission, IPCC ignores Earth’s history and the copious geological evidence, latterly backed by archaeology, that sea level (barometer of global temperature, via ocean-water expansion & polar ice melt) undergoes a rapid (100-500 year) & large (1-3 metres) oscillation every 500-2000 years, caused by volcanism and solar fluctuations, certainly not by industrial CO2.

AR6 author statistics:

Working Group I (WGI)‘The Physical Science Basis’, 232 authors, including meteorologists, oceanographers, climate scientists, glaciologists, physicists, geographers and computer modellers, but no geologists.

WGII, ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’, 323 authors, no geologists.

WGIII, Mitigation of Climate Change, 229 authors, no geologists. Grand total 784authors, no geologists.

Exemplifying IPCC’s chronic lack of impartiality (see my Technical Note 2018-2), one WGI author’s new (2018) book, ‘Sunburnt Country’, aims to convince the public that man is making Australia hotter; another’s frequent mainstream-media articles likewise aim to scare people into accepting that manmade warming is fact, not mere belief, and he criticizes Trump.

IPCC’s Lee again, in true UN egalitarian style: “Of the selected experts, 44% come from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, 53% are new to the IPCC process and 33% are women.” 

How lovely: no geologists, but at least we have politically correct quotas of women, third worlders and youngsters! Worse: the 53% “new” people are doubtless nearly all younger than 50, i.e. indoctrinated through school and university with the ‘CO2 = pollutant’ fallacy.

Be appalled that this biased, underskilled, political organization, having judged the imperceptible & geologically trivial 1°C of warming since 1900 (not a provably unprecedented rate) to be manmade, despite copious evidence of CO2’s innocence (Technical Note 2019-11), has unleashed multi-trillion-dollar expenditure, relentlessly raising your family’s taxes and energy bills, and destined to cripple the global economy and downgrade human living standards.

In Closing

Climate Feedback and Poynter Institute do a disservice to open, civil debate on climate and energy policies and both appear to be agenda driven, while claiming to be fair, objective and fact-based.

It is unfortunate that these flawed organizations are highly influential on media and social media outlets, with the behemoth Facebook relying on the Climate Feedback faulty claims as a rationale for blocking the distribution of the European Climate Declaration.

This is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and contrary to scientific principles.

Science is about inquiry, not compliance.

1 Comment

  1. interesting article. Thanks for the work on this.

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