Saturday, 26 December 2015


Combatants not giving an inch in climate change debate
Ever since Pythagoras suggested more than 2,000 years ago that the earth was spherical rather than flat, and Aristotle provided the first known evidence for that, science has been continually expanding and advancing. In Pythagoras’s day the majority of people were illiterate, and to them, if the earth looked flat, it was flat. A tiny minority of people, usually with little education, still think Pythagoras and Aristotle were con-artists.

Although science has also had its reversals along the way, the advance of science, more than anything else, has led to improved health, fuller employment, better education, higher living standards, and longer life expectancy for more people. Science has created a better world, and knocking science and scientists should not be undertaken lightly. But science is still an evolving world, a world that occasionally, and understandably, takes a wrong turn.

Perhaps one of the more spectacular reversals of science was the theory of Bondi, Gold and Hoyle who claimed that the Universe was in a ‘steady state with no beginning,’ when it was superseded by the ‘big bang.’ In geography, the Island of California was later found to be part of the continent of North America.  Until the 20th century scientists believed that the earth was expanding, until the discovery of plate tectonics. Also in the world of science, astrology has been replaced by astronomy. Other obsolete branches of science include alchemy and numerology, both now regarded as pseudoscience, along with astrology. Witch doctors have mostly been replaced by registered GP’s.

Although observations of weather and its patterns can be traced back 5,000 years to India, it did not really evolve as a science until the 1800’s when modern meteorology brought together many earlier laws of physics and the use of early primitive measuring devices. and continued to evolve rapidly during the 20th century. The earliest reliable world weather statistics are little more than a hundred years old.

In 1938, Guy Stewart Callendar (1898-1964), a British seam engineer was the first to propose that global warming could occur due to carbon dioxide emissions. It was known as the Callendar effect and he considered that the warming would be a good thing, because it would stop the glaciers returning to England. Callendar may have been a visionary, but not a scientist. Forty years later, environmentalists would take up his cause, but not in the name of goodness. After having previously scared the world with predictions of a nuclear winter, the environmentalists predicted a meteorologically doomsday of catastrophic proportions.

It was scary stuff. Greenpeace came on board along with governments. Political parties were founded to fight global warming and scientists queued up for research funds. Within a short time most of the world’s population were convinced that the threat was real, and it was considered inappropriate to criticize the ‘experts.’ Many distinguished climate scientists and meteorologists who took a different view lost their jobs. Some argued that global warming was not a settled science. Others said the theory was plain wrong. Still others said that global warming would actually have a beneficial effect on the world, which was what Callendar had proposed years earlier.

This writer has been asked by New Zealand Skeptics to provide a list of dissenting scientists, and that list (from Wikipedia) follows. The good work of NZ Skeptics is acknowledged. They generally support science over fallacies and conspiracy theories, but on the question of climate change, a closed-mind stance is detected with regard to a ‘science’ that is anything but settled.

List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of scientists who have made statements that conflict with the scientific consensus on global warming as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by other scientific bodies.

The scientific consensus is that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last century. The scientific consensus and scientific opinion on climate change were summarized in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main conclusions on global warming at that time were as follows:

  1. The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the last 30 years.[3]
  2. "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities", in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.[4]
  3. If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100.[A] Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise.[5] The balance of impacts of global warming become significantly negative at larger values of warming.[6]

These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized nations.[7]

There have been several efforts to compile lists of dissenting scientists, including a 2008 US senate minority report,[8] the Oregon Petition,[9] and a 2007 list by the Heartland Institute,[10] all three of which have been criticized on a number of grounds.[11][12][13]

For the purpose of this list, a "scientist" is defined as an individual who has published at least one peer-reviewed article in the broad field of natural sciences, although not necessarily in a field relevant to climatology. Since the publication of the IPCC Third Assessment Report, each has made a clear statement in his or her own words (as opposed to the name being found on a petition, etc.) disagreeing with one or more of the report's three main conclusions. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles. Few of the statements in the references for this list are part of the peer-reviewed scientific literature; most are from other sources such as interviews, opinion pieces, online essays and presentations.

NB: Only scientists who have their own Wikipedia article may be included in the list.

Scientists questioning the accuracy of IPCC climate projections

These scientists have said that it is not possible to project global climate accurately enough to justify the ranges projected for temperature and sea-level rise over the next century. They may not conclude specifically that the current IPCC projections are either too high or too low, but that the projections are likely to be inaccurate due to inadequacies of current global climate modeling.

Scientists arguing that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes

Graph showing the ability with which a global climate model is able to reconstruct the historical temperature record, and the degree to which those temperature changes can be decomposed into various forcing factors. It shows the effects of five forcing factors: greenhouse gases, man-made sulfate emissions, solar variability, ozone changes, and volcanic emissions.[63]

These scientists have said that the observed warming is more likely to be attributable to natural causes than to human activities. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles.

Scientists arguing that the cause of global warming is unknown

These scientists have said that no principal cause can be ascribed to the observed rising temperatures, whether man-made or natural.

Scientists arguing that global warming will have few negative consequences

These scientists have said that projected rising temperatures will be of little impact or a net positive for society or the environment.

Dead scientists

This section includes deceased scientists who would otherwise be listed in the prior sections.