Climate skeptic: We are winning the science battle

December 14, 2009

- Dr. Fred Singer is the President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project and Professor Emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. The views expressed are his own -

The International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) charter states that the organization’s purpose is to look for human induced climate change. The Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) does not have this problem. If we find support for human induced climate change, we say so. If we do not find support for human induced climate change, we say so. In fact, the first NIPCC report, of which I was a lead author, was called ‘Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate’.

We see no evidence in the climate record that the increase in CO2, which is real, has any appreciable effect on the global temperature. IPCC relies heavily on the surface temperature data, which is distorted by a deletion of a number of surface stations. The ‘best’ stations were kept – the ones around temperature islands and by airports.

Now the Climategate leak has shown that the surface temperature data that IPCC relies on is based on distorted raw data and algorithms that they will not share with the science community. The scientists implicated in Climategate have misused peer review and pressured journal editors to prevent publication of research that questions their research. They have taken control of the IPCC process and they have smeared opponents personally, rather than critiquing the research.

IPCC’s mandate states that its role is to assess the science in a comprehensive, objective, open, and transparent manner. Unfortunately, the process has been anything but comprehensive, objective, open, and transparent. Climategate exposed this flawed process, and now it turns out that global warming might have been ‘man made’ after all.

I have traveled around Europe for a month now, talking to colleagues and people who are concerned about the draconian policies being put in place. But we are winning the science battle; the alarmist has no evidence.

The World Meteorological Organization (UN-WMO) wanted to set the tone for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen by releasing a statement that says that the past decade has shown some of the warmest tempratures on record, based on the 160 year of instrumental data we have. Intended or not, the statement created the impression that anthropogenic global warming is the cause of increased temperature and that the IPCC was correct after all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The WMO confuses (purposely?) two quite different concepts: temperatures, which are measured in degrees Celsius, and temperature trends, which is measured in degrees Celsius per year. Temperatures are of course at their highest right now as we are recovering from the Little Ice Age in the 1700’s. It may even become higher without any human assistance. It may even reach the high values seen in the Medieval Warm Period around 1100AD.

But the temperature trends are heading downwards, even as greenhouse gasses like CO2 are increasing in the atmosphere. This negative correlation contradicts the results of the models that IPCC relies on and indicates that anthropogenic global warming is quite small.

We are winning the science battle over climate change, because IPCC’s fabrication is unraveling, but we have not yet won the war. This will take just a bit more time.

26 comments

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I think I’ll stick with the IPCC conclusions based on Singers history:

In the early 1990′s Singer setup an organization that was active in countering climate activism as it related to the chemical industry. Later this organization changed into the “Science and Environmental Policy Project” with funding from the coal and oil industries. The SEPP created a European branch (ICSE) and other organizations that pushed climate-denier junk science on behalf of large corporate interest groups. Singer also organized the infamous Heidelberg Appeal document which was funded, circulated and promoted by the asbestos, tobacco, vinyl and chemical industries as an attack on climate activism.

In the early and mid 1990′s Singer collaborated and was involved in a number of Tobacco Industry junk science publications, namely with Philip Morris. In 1995 as president of SEPP Singer was involved in launching a publicity campaign of “The Top Five Environmental Myths” including the EPA’s conclusion that secondhand tobacco smoke is a human carcinogen.

Singer has also undertaken consulting work for oil companies such as Exxon, Texaco, Arco, Shell, Sun, Unocal, Florida Power, etc.

Posted by Sc0tt | Report as abusive

Does Dr. Singer expect to be dead before the seas rise, or does he have a place in the mountains somewhere?

Shame on you, Reuters, for publishing this claptrap.

Posted by Fishrl | Report as abusive

The problem that scientists in Climate Science are facing is to reach cause-effect conclusion with simple correlation which only can confirm simultaneity of events. In Agricultural Sciences easily we can plot growing level of N, P, and K in a split-plot experimental design and measure precisely the simple and combined effect of adding fertilizers to a crop. We can state what variables affect the outcome on the results.

Scientists in Climate Science are just ignoring the functioning of science regarding Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge) and Metaphysics (What really exists in the Universe) and some simple Logics.

There is reasoning for Climate Change: Get funding and economic manipulation on a situation that nature may not endorse. It can show how much governments and institutions can derail from their purpose. Betraying honesty can bring a strong consequence harming their credibility on their social importance.

I see no reason to be a believer or a denier. Climate has always changed and what causes it most likely we do not know and our capability to affect the climate seems to be meager compared to sun cycles.

My concern about Climate-Gate is that the real worldwide problem affecting us all is not addressed like obesity – the solution is neither profitable and nor easy for governments to handle.

“Giving food abundantly and demand people to eat moderately, also having plenty of machinery to replace human work and convince people to continue working just to achieve a sort of healthy lifestyle on body fitness”.

One day humans will claim to be intelligent and learn the principles of our existence.

People worried about the Climate Change should look at their bellies and see how much of their nature is being taken care of.

Posted by Tubarc | Report as abusive

I am curious how hot the environment in the beginning of life was when no CO2 was yet sequestered as organic matter. It seems that conditions for life especially temperature has always been good enough to keep going until our present time. So, a simple logical conclusion would say that putting back some CO2 to the atmosphere could not threaten our life in the earth.

The problem that scientists in Climate Science are facing is to reach cause-effect conclusion with simple correlation which only can confirm simultaneity of events. In Agricultural Sciences easily we can plot growing level of N, P, and K in a split-plot experimental design and measure precisely the simple and combined effect of adding fertilizers to a crop. We can state what variables affect the outcome on the results.

Scientists in Climate Science are just ignoring the functioning of science regarding Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge) and Metaphysics (What really exists in the Universe) and some simple Logics.

There is reasoning for Climate Change: Get funding and economic manipulation on a situation that nature may not endorse. It can show how much governments and institutions can derail from their purpose. Betraying honesty can bring a strong consequence harming their credibility on their social importance.

I see no reason to be a believer or a denier. Climate has always changed and what causes it most likely we do not know and our capability to affect the climate seems to be meager compared to sun cycles.

My concern about Climate-Gate is that the real worldwide problem affecting us all is not addressed like obesity – the solution is neither profitable and nor easy for governments to handle.

“Giving food abundantly and demand people to eat moderately, also having plenty of machinery to replace human work and convince people to continue working just to achieve a sort of healthy lifestyle on body fitness”.

One day humans will claim to be intelligent and learn the principles of our existence.

People worried about the Climate Change should look at their bellies and see how much of their nature is being taken care of.

Posted by Tubarc | Report as abusive

The first two comments are largely ad hominem. Thereafter, persons connected their brains first, rather than their feelings.
If you propose that human emissions, particularly of carbons, seriously affect climate, you must prove it with facts which are incontrovertible, especially if you also propose to change human behavior.
But climate is so changeable, and sea levels have tended to rise for so long, that finding human causes is a tall order.
But if you’re serious, go ahead: try to convince us with reasonable arguments and undoctored facts.

Posted by batchalafaka | Report as abusive

How refreshing to see a science professional lay out the facts, or rather, non-facts, about climate change. The true believers are in a state of panic, desperately denying climate-gate and smearing all those sceptical of the received wisdom with allegations (true or otherwise) of connexions to the detested oil/coal industry. ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ was a fine book written long ago and should now include a chapter on this climate change/global warming insanity. That otherwise rational people could fall for this ‘claptrap’ (to borrow a phrase) is astonishing.

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive

Human-activity-induced-climate-change is no longer a scientific theory. It has become a doctrine, and we’re all losing something because of this.
Science has always survived political ideologies, simply because it’s a system built on rational criticism, not faith, interests, and sticking to the party line.

I’m positively surprised that Reuters published this article – Good job!

Posted by y____r | Report as abusive

I heartily agree that the first two of these comments are ad hominem attacks. It is exactly this type of response that raises my antenna for corruption/conspiracy/collusion.

Unless the science can be extracted from obvious partisan exploitation, then none of those who will be required to sacrifice life-style will buy into the process.

Honestly, my experience with the weather in North America suggests that the summers are getting hotter and the winters are getting colder, and winter is winning… You have to educate me as to why I am wrong; but don’t call me stupid for not buying what it is you are selling.

Posted by PhilGrimm | Report as abusive

@batchalafaka
It’s true climate is changeable, but you have to look at the rate of change for the recent warming and also the rate of change for concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Current measurements tells us CO2 concentration is currently rising 2 ppm annually, while evidence from ice cores shows this is a rate of change 600 times greater than the rate coming out of the last ice age. And also a rate of change 10,000 times greater than the average over the past 800,000 years. This rise is primarily due to humans burning fossil fuels and clearing forests. While climate has changed much over the Earths history, it has been relatively stable over the past 10,000 years, the period of time human civilization has developed. Human are now significantly changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere by injecting billions of tons of carbon in to it annually, which is changing the energy balance of the Earth. Recent changes in solar irradiance and other natural factors cannot explain the spike in surface temperature over the 20th century. There are robust, multiple lines of evidence indicating that CO2 is the main driver of this recent change and that it is human caused.

Posted by Sc0tt | Report as abusive

I am amazed how people are trying to simplify a complex issue like climate change in a single sound bite: temperature rise – and if temperature goes down somewhere, then climate change must not exist (QED). I would encourage nay-sayers to actually read some scientific publications first hand rather than rely on 2nd hand digestion. There is no doubt that arctic sea ice, antarctic ice, and various glaciers have been retreating – so something got warmer. But as some will know (and many not), certain parts of the globe will actually get colder(!) with climate change. The real concern is that local warming of oceans may cause local changes in major currents like the Gulfstream. And if the Gulfstream shuts down or shifts ist path because of some climate change, yes, Western Europe will become dramatically cooler on average (more like Russia). Greenhouse gas levels are rising, and greenhouse gases trap heat (check Venus). There will be a change, the issue is simply when, where, and by how much.

Posted by Bert2 | Report as abusive

Luckily we don’t need hacked emails to find Singer misrepresenting data, smearing opponents and misleading the scientific community (Oregon Petition) and general public alike.
And though I feel Reuters should have no qualms about publishing contributions, I wonder if editorial fact-checking was skipped for this one. Singer has a habit of making unsubstantiated claims, and this contribution sadly does not break the habit. And sadly, many people who lack a basic skepticism will swallow what Singer has to say here.

Posted by Plurk | Report as abusive

The headline is incorrect. It should read “Climate sceptic: I am winning the science battle” as Singer stands alone in this deluded thinking.

Posted by nicfulton | Report as abusive

Thank you Rueters for publishing this fine article. Hopefulyl the rest fo the media will get on board and publish opposing views rather than push that same old “claptrap” (to borrow the phrase yet again) which they try to shove down our collective gullets.
Dr. Singer is not the only respected scientist to voice these opinions but you would never know it due to the political decision by the media to not offer dissenting views. The fact that there is ample evidence to create these views is enough, on a science level, to have that community hold judegment. Until a theory is proven through the process of disproving it then that is all it is, a theory. To change the way of life and the economic future of the entire world on an unproven theory is irresponsible.
By the way, in reference to the beginning comment, all scientists need to make a living. The fact that Dr. Singer made his living assisting corporations does not mean that he skewed his science to fit the need. Unless you have proof then you had better not slander an individual.

Posted by persch | Report as abusive

@persch
“The fact that Dr. Singer made his living assisting corporations does not mean that he skewed his science to fit the need.”

You think he had valid science proving tobacco smoke is not a human carcinogen? C’mon, the guy was obviously an industry shill in the 90′s and still is today.

Posted by Sc0tt | Report as abusive

Thank you for the article Reuters.
It’s just simply incredible, in this day and age we are having this debate that seems more fitting to the early evolution of Cro-Magnon man.
‘Uhh, Thag.’
‘What’?
‘Sky fall on head.’
‘No it isn’t.’
‘Yes it is.’
Oh God, it’s just so depressing. The CRU emails; but more importantly the code used to create ‘models’ of future climate clearly demonstrate the worst qualities of us humans under the influence of either money or power or perhaps both…namely collusion, bullying, falsification and deception.
Of course, as we speak, those who’ve been brainwashed by the continuous state run propaganda and those that stand to make/lose an awful lot off the back of decent peoples money from this scam are more than desperate to sweep it under the carpet…not discounting the head of the IPCC Dr. Pachauri…check it out, his vested interests in this is are just breathtaking!
As the good Dr. Singer says, it’s been exposed, it’s not going to go away and the consequences of this are going to be very far reaching indeed.

Merry Christmas to all.

Posted by scud1 | Report as abusive

Thanks Reuters for having the guts to publish the truth. The truth prevails at the end.

Many honest scientists have been silenced long enough — these are the true heroes who want nothing but the truth, no massaging, hiding or fudging data here.

It’s time this global warming hoax be exposed to the rest of the world.

There are more sceptics among scientists and non-scientists and this number is growing because the truth is coming out and science is on their side.

Posted by WarmingHoax | Report as abusive

Dr, Singer is a physicist and electrical engineer. His doctorate of science is honorary from Ohio State University. He has pioneered the field of electronic data collecting devices and satellite deployment for atmospheric studies. He is an expert at developing such tools to collect data. His work for NOAA and NASA has landed him some a professor emeritus position with the University of Virginia. He has no formal training in oceanography or climate science even though he teaches it. He is not well qualified to analyze the data he collects in regards to climate change.

Posted by eddieblack | Report as abusive

Oh, so only corrupted scientists are qualified to manipulate, hide and destroy data and shunned other honest scientists from revealing the truth?

Hide the decline has been exposed many times.

Posted by WarmingHoax | Report as abusive

Last year, on official figures, buying and selling the right to emit CO2 was worth $126 billion across the world. This market, now enriching many of our leading financial institutions (not to mention Al Gore), is growing so fast that within a few years it is predicted to be worth trillions, making carbon the most valuable traded commodity in the world. Forget Big Oil: the new world power is Big Carbon.Truly it has been a miracle of our time that they have managed to transform carbon dioxide, a gas upon which all life on earth depends, into a “pollutant”, worth more than diamonds, let alone oil. And many of those now gathered in Copenhagen are making a great deal of money out of it.

Christopher Booker – Telegraph Newspaper, UK

And guess who is paying for this all? You got it. John Q. Taxpayer and Sally W. Consumer.

Anybody remember the Boston Tea Party?

Posted by JohnQPublic | Report as abusive

As a scientist (PhD) and engineer (MIMechE) I have seen enough data manipulation to have a healthy scepticism for both sides of the argument. But the degree of certainty implicit in probably the majority of AGW sceptics positions cannot possibly be justified on any scientific basis and has many similarities with paranoia. It certainly would not be accepted within any professional association. I’ve yet to develop a strong opinion on AGW, but have a hunch that many sceptics are using something less than a common law standard of evidence.

Posted by 1desofMarch | Report as abusive

How come Dr. Singer’s profile page annexed to this page is blank?

Posted by eddieblack | Report as abusive

It’s interesting to see the comments by the Global Warming Enthusiasts (yes, enthusiasts…it’s all a game to them). By continuing to shout down the opposing views, make outrageous claims (i.e. the ice is melting, the seas are rising, we’ll all die!)…continuing to claim the …ahem…’SCIENCE’ is settled. Clearly the data they are basing their views on has been exposed as garbage (their own developer said exactly that), there has been manipulation of data via loaded algothrithms as normal practice, extensive hiding and deleting data that didn’t agree with the already set solution, and some incredible lack of skill has been displayed in scientific analyzing of data by scientists who should be among the most skilled of all in a field that demands it.

These enthusiasts continue to shout down others, obfuscate the truth, make outrageous claims, and ignore detractors, except to demonize them. These are all pages out the book on socialism, and acts right out of the sixties to make your ’cause’ right. Now is the time, people, let them know we are tired of these attempts at manipulation….let’s get some sanity back and shut down the key individuals perpetrating this huge fraud on the world…these so-called scientists, Al Gore, the Hollywood elite, the IPCC…let’s let them all know we’re tired of their tirades.

Posted by TAJW | Report as abusive

1desofMarch
What you say is a reminder to sceptics of the dangers of trading counter-theory with warmists. The true sceptical position is that there is nothing in any of the readily available evidence to suggest that there is a climate phenomenon to worry about, that therefore there is nothing to theorise about, and that it is up the warmist to present convincing arguments, from first principles if necessary, for his theory. To the true sceptic there simply is, in principle, no phenomenon to explain, still less “respond” to.

In obedience to Occam, the simplest explanation for the continued existence of the biosphere after several billion years of the Earth’s existence is that the globe does NOT harbour a mechanism for runaway warming. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that this is not disproof of AGW, but when dealing with warmists it seems you have to.

In reality you can’t start the argument afresh. The CRU emails really made sure of that, because notwithstanding the pathetic protestations of the Climate Science diehards, ordinary people are entitled to assume that when people systematically and conspiratorially evade scrutiny of their work, the simplest explanation (Occam again) is that that work would not survive that scrutiny. “Falsus in unum, falsus in omnes”

Sceptics of CO2/AGW, unless they have relevant scientific expertise, would be best to confine their efforts to scrutinising and, where they can, refuting the hypotheses of the warmists. That is all they need to do, and keep doing.

Posted by TomFP | Report as abusive

TomFP
I would be very glad if AGW sceptics did take your advice, as a significant part of global warming seems to be due to both sides of the debate’s blood boiling. I too am an adherent to Occams Razor, but if AGW were proved to be true the science underlying the simplest explanation would probably still be beyond the comprehension of the average person, hence Occam can’t help them. I would love AGW to be wrong, along with the majority of the population, who tend to believe what they want to believe, given the smallest opportunity.

Posted by 1desofMarch | Report as abusive

Instead of marginlizing the information and the source (which I can understand the motivation as the writer is obviously backed by industry) – rely on common sense. The climate is changing and will get more extreme. We should be demanding our leaders to outline plans to remove people from dangerous coastal issues(reducing our overall costs), reduce population growth (incentives, required birthcontrol, etc), safeguard agriculturals areas and aquaculture. We have too many people, not enough resources and seem to focus scientific data to support agendas rather than survival.

Posted by CWilson | Report as abusive

If by “winning the war” you mean deliberate muddying the Pollution issue with the hocuspocus of climate change until Nothing Worth Doing Gets Done – please note that “worth doing” does NOT include rewarding pollution bandits with Cap & Trade allowances – then this war is one you ought to be thoroughly ashamed of even trying to win.

Eventually, as all the BS falls away, you will find the whole world against you. Then go ahead and try conniving your way out of that war, why don’t you?

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive