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Three lost decades and the corruption of climate science

By Tim Ball
web posted March 7, 2011

Traditionally, older scientists held to the prevailing wisdom, and new, skeptical students looking for wider answers challenged them. In climatology, the opposite has happened. The so-called skeptics challenging the prevailing wisdom are the professors who have researched and taught the subject for 30 years or longer. Their knowledge is much wider than that of the new, young scientists because climate science has stagnated for 30 years. All the funding was directed to only one side of climate science, the side promoted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which governments accepted as 'official science.'

It is frightening how little climate science is known by either side of the debate on human causation of global warming. A paper from Michigan State University found "most college students in the United States do not grasp the scientific basis of the carbon cycle – an essential skill in understanding the causes and consequences of climate change. See http://news.msu.edu/story/8738/.  

Disclosing his ignorance about the science of the carbon cycle and the role of CO2 in climate, the professor said students need to know the cycle because they must deal with the buildup of CO2 causing climate change. Three major factors are at the root of this ignorance: the emotional, irrational, religious approach to environmentalism; the takeover of climate science for a political agenda; and funding directed to pursue a political rather than the scientific agenda. The dogmatism of politics and religion has combined to suppress openness of ideas and the advance of knowledge critical to science.

Because of a lack of fundamental education, we have a generation of people teaching, researching and running government. Because of them, the public is ill-informed, does not understand the problem and does not even know what questions to ask. Correcting the education process will take time because there are not enough people with knowledge or expertise. Correcting and widening the research functions will take longer because of the removal or re-education of current personnel and the lack of qualified replacements. Even if achieved, success is unlikely because there is the massive problem of inadequate data. 

Reduction in the number of weather stations combined with the elimination, unexplained manipulations and the deliberate loss of data – coupled with failure to fund research to recover and reconstruct historical data – were all done to predetermine and justify results. In his autobiography, Hubert Lamb said he founded the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in 1972 because "it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important." The situation is worse now, sadly due to people at the CRU and government weather agencies.

The blame begins with the political manipulations of Maurice Strong, but he only succeeded because of the so-called climate scientists. Among them, computer modellers caused the biggest problem. They needed to know the most but knew the least. If they knew anything, they would know there is inadequate data and understanding of the major components and mechanisms on which to build the models.

A former editor of an enlightened environmental journal said we need a committee of scientists from the many disciplines involved in climate science. Such a committee existed 25 years ago and produced groundbreaking work. It was a joint project funded by Environment Canada and The National Museum of Canada under the title Climatic Change in Canada during the Past 20,000 years. Each year, a topic was considered and scientists presented material that was published in Syllogeus. For example, Syllogeus 55 examined "Critical Periods in the Quaternary of Climatic History of Northern North America." All the problems that plague climate science, such as tree rings, ice cores, circulation patterns and proxy data, among many others, were identified and researched. At its last meeting, I was elected chair. In my acceptance speech, I said we need to consider carefully and scientifically the claims of global warming. Environment Canada cut the funding, apparently because the committee challenged the political position the agency had already taken. The project died. Canada should reconstitute this committee because it produced useful and non-political science.

People who completely accept the corrupted, limited and narrowly focused science of the IPCC have taught climate science for the last 30 years. They should all read H.H. Lamb's monumental two-volume set, Climate: Present, Past and, volumes 1 and 2.

They would learn that not all issues put forward as new are new. They only appear new because of the black hole that politicians and a few climatically uneducated political scientists have dragged climate science into over the last 30 years. ESR

Tim Ball is Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

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