Sunday, November 22, 2009

Climategate - Cherry Picking

A Salon article on Bjørn Lomborg's "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming," criticizes Mr. Lomborg for "cherry picking" support for his position that resources spent combating global warming could be spent better elsewhere. Eban Goodstein, the Salon reviewer, discredits Mr. Lomborg's benefit-cost analysis for using the most likely outcome, rather than the most dire. Without saying "precautionary principle," that is what Mr. Goodstein is advocating.

To fight fire with fire, the use of the precautionary principle leads to cherry picking the worst-case scenario from the spectrum of possible outcomes. Again and again in his criticism, Mr. Goodstein finds one, maybe two, examples of a prediction that is far beyond the realm of even the IPCC's expectations. Not surprisingly, Dr. James Hansen is the author of most of them, and Al Gore concurs.

However, the central fact is that Hansen/Gore et al construct their apocalyptic prognostications on an element of climate change that has not been demonstrated in any recent periods of even higher temperatures. Apparently they believe - they can't know - the concept that the very limited ability of atmospheric carbon dioxide to increase global temperatures will trigger "positive forcings" - the release of vast quantities of methane from frozen tundra deposits - and those temperatures will then increase far beyond expectations.

Other equally eminent scientists have theorized, on the basis of past warming periods, that negative forcings will dampen, not accentuate, the warming trend. Considering that there is evidence for expecting negative forcing, and none for positive forcing, Mr. Lomborg's position is far more likely.

Recent headlines also add weight to this. The bright light shining on the Climate Research Unit e-mails and records liberated in the UK this week has disclosed that the top "hockey stick" scientists, Drs. Michael Mann, Keith Briffa, and others, cherry picked (there's those words again) climate proxies to exaggerate current warming and to understate historical warming. In particular, proxies were used and abused to suppress or eliminate the inconvenient Medieval Warm Period of roughly 800-1300 AD.

The Medieval Warm Period cannot be allowed to stand if the current warming alarmists are to prevail, because the positive forcings their predictions require did not appear when natural climate change gave them the opportunity. In fact, one of the Warmists unknowingly confided to a warming skeptic that "we have to eliminate the Medieval Warming Period."

Unfortunately for the Warmists, the evidences of the Medieval Warming Period, and the even warmer Holocene Climate Optimum which preceded it by 4,000 years, are abundant and irrefutable.

What really must be eliminated is the cherry picking the Warmists use to accuse skeptical scientists of cherry picking, and then their corruption of peer reviews to hide their ethical lapses.

Just the tip of their unethical activities was exposed this week, and much more is coming out as investigators pore over the e-mails.

"Tighten your seat belts."

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