Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Comments on the "Swindle" documentary

Lubos Motl at The Reference Frame posts links to the documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" which was shown in the UK on Thursday Mar 8th/07. I watched it yesterday and thought it was well done.

While they did talk about how unreliable computer models are at predicting the future, I would have liked to see them point out more aggressively how the whole idea of impending disaster exists only in those computers and not in the historical record; that the historical record shows that every time the earth has warmed it has generally been good for most life forms. They did mention it but, to me, lightly.

I then went over to some pro-global warming sites to see what they had to say about "Swindle." First I went to Real Climate, the website of Michael Mann and company. There I found a so called response to Swindle by a William and Gavin. In response to Swindle's contention that CO2 does not match the temperature record of the 20th century, sirs William and Gavin (W&G) claim "True but not relevant, because it isn't supposed to." So the more CO2 we put into the air is not going to match any rise in temperature? That's good to know. But why did the planet cool from 1940 till 1975? Sirs W&G have a reason: Sulfate aerosols. They claim that these aerosols blocked sunlight and caused some cooling and they further claim that because the doc. didn't mention aerosols "...they are lying to us by omission."

There is only one problem with this picture: Sulfate aerosols are largely confined to the northern hemisphere, which means that the southern hemisphere should have been warming significantly more than the NH. But according to Fred Singer here the SH only warmed at a rate of half that of the NH. (Scroll down half-way to figure #9 to begin reading about Sulfate aerosols.) W&G didn't mention this in their rebuttal. Now who is "lying to us by omission"?

In response to the documentary's claim that the troposphere would warm faster than the surface temps, they claim it is--now. Now that the previous "discrepancies" have been fixed. Translation: global warming alarmists have recalibrated the satellites and weather balloons to give data that match their surface readings. I have to do more research on this but it sure smells fishy to me. I mean the National Weather Service has been sending up weather balloons since 1957 and NASA has been launching weather satellites since 1979 and now we're to believe they were doing it all wrong, that warming scientists have to step in and show these two agencies how to get it right? That when 2 technologies, balloons and satellites, say one thing and a third, surface temps, say another, it is the two that must be wrong? How come "consensus" didn't apply in that case?

The documentary shows how environmental groups are acting to prevent energy growth in Africa by blocking the development of power plants that would provide electricity to the masses stuck in absolute poverty. Sirs W&G reply that Kyoto exempts third world nations. Obviously, Kyoto is a strawman and has nothing to do with green NGOs fighting against the building of dams for hydro power and fossil fuel plants.

In any event, all this pro and con debate is mostly pointless. If the globe is warming it is a very good thing. There isn't a shred of evidence in the historical record showing that warming will result in catastrophe for life on earth.

Some warmers say that the sun's influence on climate change is negligible. But new reports show that Pluto, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune's moon Triton are all warming. These bodies are a lot farther from the sun than is the Earth so why are they affected by the sun while the Earth isn't?

Heh, one last note:
Ice Age Now reports that an Arctic expedition to draw attention to global warming had to be cancelled when one of its members suffered frost bite. They just don't get it!


Angela said...

This programme is a shameful piece of negligent reporting. Even climate change skeptics are cringing at the faux-science. http://www.desmogblog.com/a-global-warming-swindle-play-by-play Appearances are made in the mockumentary by the likes of ExxonMobil-funded Roy Spencer, who has admitted to the errors in his research that incorrectly interpreted satellite data. There is lots here to work with in your entry, but your comment near the conclusion that "there isn't a shred of evidence that ... warming will result in catastrophe for life on earth" is overly confident, to say the least. If you live in the north (as in sub-Arctic and Arctic regions), at or below sea level in many areas, you may already have begun to experience the catastrophe.

Mike N said...

Yes, some skeptics as you call them are disputing some of the science in the doc. So? Some warming fanatics are cringing from Gore's doc. too. As for Spencer getting funded by Exxon Mobile, that doesn't make his arguments wrong. His admitting to a mistake shows more honesty than any of the warming true-believers I've seen. As for a catastrophe in the Arctic, if you mean the melting ice causing homeless polar bears, one declining population out of 13 is not a catastrophe. Global warming will be good for most life on earth.

Anonymous said...

Roy W. Spencer is trying to confuse readers in his website.

He is giving OPINIONS and he masks them as scientific answers.

The real question is: is he giving personal opinions?

Climate Change is happening!!

I am also very skeptical but about the real intentions (and suspicious sponsors) of Roy W. Spencer

Anonymous said...


The dark interests of Roy Spencer

Spencer and the "Interfaith Stewardship Alliance"
Spencer is listed as a "scientific advisor" for an organization called the "Interfaith Stewardship Alliance" (ISA). According to their website, the ISA is "a coalition of religious leaders, clergy, theologians, scientists, academics, and other policy experts committed to bringing a proper and balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development."

In July 2006, Spencer co-authored an ISA report refuting the work of another religous organization called the Evangelical Climate Initiative. The ISA report was titled A Call to Truth, Prudence and Protection of the Poor: an Evangelical Response to Global Warming (pdf). Along with the report was a letter of endorsement signed by numerous representatives of various organizations, including 6 that have recieved a total of $2.32 million in donations from ExxonMobil over the last three years.

The other authors of the ISA's report were Calvin Beisner, Paul Driessen and Ross McKitrick .

Satellite Research Refuted
According to an August 12, 2005 New York Times article, Spencer, along with another well-known "skeptic," John Christy, admitted they made a mistake in their satellite data research that they said demonstrated a cooling in the troposphere (the earth's lowest layer of atmosphere). It turned out that the exact opposite was ocurring and the troposphere was getting warmer.

“These papers should lay to rest once and for all the claims by John Christy and other global warming skeptics that a disagreement between tropospheric and surface temperature trends means that there are problems with surface temperature records or with climate models,” said Alan Robock, a meteorologist at Rutgers University.

Spencer and the Heartland Institute
Spencer is listed as an author for the Heartland Institiute, a US think tank that has received $561,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

The Heartland Institute has also received funding from Big Tobacco over the years and continues to make the claim that "anti-smoking advocates" are exagerrating the health threats of smoking.

Spencer and the George C. Marshall Institute Spencer is listed as an "Expert" with the George C. Marshall Institute, a US think tank that has received $630,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998 !!!

Spencer and Tech Central Station
Listed as an author for Tech Central Station daily (TCS), an organization that until recently was owned and operated by a Republican lobby firm called DCI Group !!!

Research and Background
Spencer is a research scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, Spencer has published 25 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, mainly on the subject of satellite climate measurements !!!

Mike N said...

I thought I replied to your comment but I see I didn't. I must have forgot. Anyway, thanks for telling me about the religious connections of Mr. Spencer. I knew he was religious but I didn't know how deep his religious ties went.

As for his sources of funding? I don't care. A source of funding does not determine the truth or falsehood of an arguement. An argument must always be evaluated on its own merits. Even if an argument can be objectively refuted on its own merits, it does not mean that the source of funding was the cause of the errors.

OTOH, if a scientist is shown proof of an error, like Mann and co. were, and still refuses to admit it, like Spencer and Christy did, then looking at other things like funding might reveal causality.

I could make the same argument about James Hansen or Mann et al by claiming they are bought and paid for by the government, and I might make that claim, but I won't use it to discredit their arguments.

The error made by Spencer about the non-warming of the troposphere was freely admitted and corrected by them. But even so, the correction only shows a slight warming and nowhere near what the climate models predict.

Finally, if one fears global warming, the only moral thing a person can do is move north, or south. But to go to the government and demand it start extracting by law-by force-sacrifices form fellow citizens is always immoral.