by John Hinderaker from Powerlineblog
It is increasingly clear that the battle over global warming consists of science on side, and politically-motivated dogma on the other. Ken Haapala of the Science and Environmental Policy Project offers historical context:
In the 30 years between the 1979 Charney report to the National Academy of Sciences on an investigation of the possible effects of increased carbon dioxide on the earth’s temperatures to the 2009 EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, endanger human health and welfare, government-funded Climate Studies have largely turned from empirical science to dogma – a belief system unsubstantiated by physical evidence.
The Charney report included some of the nation’s best meteorologists and climate researchers and the report recognized that laboratory tests demonstrated that the direct influence on global temperatures from doubling carbon dioxide would be minor – possibly unmeasurable.
The report also identified educated guesses – estimates – that the CO2 influence might be greatly enhanced by increases in water vapor – the dominant greenhouse gas. If correct, this positive feedback would greatly multiply any increase from CO2. The report recognized that the warming would occur in the atmosphere, and that we did not have comprehensive measurements of atmospheric temperatures. Thus, the hypothesis of significant atmospheric warming from increased water vapor could not be tested.
Now, of course, it can be, and is, being tested.
In March 1990, Science Magazine published a paper by Roy Spencer and John Christy describing a method of using data collected from NOAA polar orbiting weather satellites to comprehensively calculate atmospheric temperatures for virtually the entire globe, except for the extreme poles. These data cover about 97 to 98 percent of the globe, including oceans, deserts, mountain ranges, jungles, etc. where there are few surface instruments. Initially, certain small errors in calculation were discovered, including orbital decay. These were acknowledged and corrected. This is how science advances.
These data, published monthly, are independently calculated by two other entities and are independently verified by four sets of weather balloon data using different instruments. The government-sponsored United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and the EPA largely ignore the atmospheric data, which is far more comprehensive and better tested than surface data.
Not only are the satellite data more comprehensive and better tested than surface data, they haven’t been tampered with. Government-funded warmists at NOAA and other agencies have systematically altered historical surface temperature data by lowering temperatures that were recorded decades ago, and raising temperatures that have been reported recently. The surface temperature record has been so badly corrupted that it is doubtful whether it can be used to prove anything at all. Yet government-funded warmists rely on it to the exclusion of the transparent satellite data.
Unfortunately, subsequent government-funded research went from properly testing the educated guesses (hypotheses) in the Charney Report to using them to create fear of global warming, now called climate change. Economically drastic programs and government policies have been justified based on these untested guesses.
From 1993 to 2016, the US government spent over $40 Billion on what government entities classify Climate Science – and has produced no refinement to the 1979 Charney Report.
Where did that $40 billion go? It didn’t buy any battleships, or pay for the construction of transcontinental highways. An enormous portion of it must have gone into the pockets of “scientists” who were generating the scary reports that left-wing government agencies wanted.
Independent scientists and climate researchers have produced far better estimates of the influence of CO2, based on empirical (scientific) observations. But that research is not included in official government publications.
Public policies on energy and the environment should be based on the best available empirical science, not on incomplete studies, which have become dogma.
On March 29, the U.S. House Committee on Science Space & and Technology held a hearing titled “Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method” featuring climate scientists John Christy, Judith Curry, Michael Mann, and Roger Pielke Jr., who recently left the field, in part because of abusive tactics by certain members of Congress. Comparing the written testimony of John Christy with that of Michael Mann provides a stark illustration of the difference between empirical science and scientific dogma.