"What if they are wrong?"

Mike Stopa

Mike Stopa, a physicist specialising in computation and nanoscience in the Physics Department at Harvard [cries of “not a climate scientist!” from the headbangers] writes at his blog:

Here I ask this. Suppose it turns out that CO2 has essentially nothing to do with the earth’s climate. How will the history of this colossal mistake be written?

They will say that a mechanism called the “greenhouse effect,” was postulated long ago (~1824 by Joseph Fourier) and gained adherents in the late 20th century. They will say that the theory was seemingly invalidated by the decrease in global temperatures from 1940-1975, but that the adherents patched this up by explaining the cooling with pollution, specifically sulfur, from industry

They will say that the theory was challenged by the noted vast gap between the amount of CO2 produced by civilization and the substantially smaller increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, but that the theory was patched up by examining the increased CO2 uptake by the hydrosphere and the biosphere.

They will say the theory was seemingly invalidated by the evidence that the atmosphere was already nearly opaque in the wavelengths that are absorbed by CO2 and so the additional CO2 could have, on its own, little effect, but that the theory was patched up by positing a feedback mechanism between the small temperature increases directly due to CO2 and the production of water vapor which is the main greenhouse gas.

They will note that the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) proceeded much like any scientific theory (cf. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) in that it was modified and patched up and adjusted to fit empirical challenges until it finally collapsed altogether under the weight of incontrovertible evidence. But, the scientific historians will have a new phenomenon to consider, and that is the social and political context of this particular scientific theory.

Kuhn describes very well the build-up of evidence that ultimately leads to the over-turning of accepted orthodoxy within the scientific community, of some particular theory. But AGW is intrinsically wrapped up with political ideology and, increasingly, with economics and government (cf. “Solyndra”). The only apt comparison I can think of is Lysenkoism, the anti-genetics theory of Trofim Lysenko that was bought wholesale by Stalin and ultimately hobbled the entire Soviet biological establishment for generations (to say nothing of its role in leading to the starvation of people who followed its tenets in regard to things like agriculture).

Scientific revolutions are difficult and traumatic enough without the added inertia of government sponsorship. To put it more bluntly, scientists have difficulty enough admitting that they have egg on their faces. Throw in the Solyndras of the world and the United Nations and the entire anti-capitalist Global Left and the backing out of this theory will be nothing short of a fiasco.

If someone were, for instance, to come up with indisputable evidence tomorrow that CO2 has essentially no impact on earth’s climate, could the world accept it? With the development of frakking and the concomitant extension of carbon based energy resources hundreds of years into the future, what would they do with all the windmills?

Well, the truth of this issue should be apparent within about 15 years…at which point we may be allowed to buy incandescent light bulbs again. (source)

h/t Climate Depot


  1. Björn Fältskog via Facebook says:

    it will be written how they chose to write it…………most of human history is actually WRONG anyway…..why should this be any different

  2. i KNOW there is no “if” about their wrongness…not evil, just plain WRONG!

    • Once it has been explained to you why you are indeed wrong (that ‘wrong’ having killed off tens of millions of people – DDT), and you then continue being ‘wrong’… you have left the world of Wrong and entered the world of Extremely Evil.

      The greenies are EVIL. They never cared about doing science properly in the first place, an action which caused MASSIVE amounts of human death and misery. THEN, they compounded that evil by actively opposing those who would correct their nonsense.

      “Why!” you may ask? Politics. Should it ever enter the public awareness just what the greenies have wrought, the greenies would lose the support of that public. Should it then enter the public awareness that the greenies KNEW what they had done, and CONTINUED doing it… The loss would probably be permanent. And how could they Save The Earth then? Mmmm? Politics requires sacrifices, don’t you know… no making an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and all that.

  3. Elli May Ulrich via Facebook says:

    easy…. the nutbag inbred imperialists won, again.

  4. They are never wrong. The explanation will be that all the hard work made a difference and the climate is back in balance, then they will pat themselves on the back and shift the focus to the next major calamity. Just like Evolution and the ‘Missing Link’.

  5. Amanda Desiree Adkins-Ambrose via Facebook says:

    isnt’t CO2 a component of photosynthesis? I could be wrong but if I am then so is my biology book

  6. how about in ice from the next ice age?

  7. Andrea Smith via Facebook says:

    As one of the biggest frauds in history !!

  8. James Tom via Facebook says:

    These same guys were saying the earth cooling in the 70s, I think they should be fired……fired from a rocket into he sun….

  9. William Martin says:

    undoubtedly cagw has been exposed as a scam time and again.
    unfortunately the agw propaganda machine is well oiled – data is modified to suit. money is available for unlimited bogus claims.
    the fact of the matter is that science and humanity are the losers in this charade.
    history is written by the winners, and skeptics are being written out of it. more than that, the global warming is but one scam, there are worse.
    e.g. agenda 21
    delete as necessary.

  10. @Amanda Desiree Adkins-Ambrose its also used by humans, and probably ALL other land mamals, to regulate breathing…

  11. Blair Giles via Facebook says:

    Rob Griffith, the sad part is that you’re almost certainly right. Some of these AGW mob are so self-righteous, that they could never even consider the possibility that they are completely and utterly, 100%, wrong. They will go straight from “it’s too late to prevent catastrophic warming” to “fortunately the world listened to us and was saved, and here’s our next reason to increase taxes…”

  12. AGW will be a new chapter in the book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”.

  13. It’ll be in the book of funny science along with the theory of a flat earth.

  14. Russ Jimeson via Facebook says:

    Someone called it the biggest scam since communism. That’s pretty close to right.

  15. Your post is on how science will reconcile the global warming movement with proper skepticism and scientific method. It could just as easily have been written about journalism. The more interesting story will be on how governments, scientists, bureaucrats, financial markets and journalists almost succeeded in establishing a global government based on fear and the lessons people in the future must recognize when they are being railroaded. When standing up to authority becomes a sin against humanity, you know you are there.

    • Sean, that is an excellent observation. As a journalist, I am agape at how my profession has abandoned the public interest to become the very thing that journalists normally hate: peddlers of propaganda and PR. Journalists pride themselves in their ability to write disinterestedly about news events as professional reporters and to be cynical as a de facto position about the operation of government and the exercise of power. The abandonment of that professionalism is more pronounced in Australia than in any other country on earth. Not surprisingly, the media that have become sycophants of government have had the greatest collapse in public trust and readership and those that continue to vigorously question government have maintained and, in some cases, increased readership and circulation, in spite of the splintering of news readership by the internet. The attempt by the techno-scientific elite to hijack public policy has also been more successful in Australia than in any other country, despite warnings stretching back 50 years, and shows that our democratic watchdog institutions — the parliament itself and the media — are weaker than we thought.

  16. Bernd Felsche via Facebook says:

    Will there be some way to blame Tony Abbott?

  17. Freeran Geegs via Facebook says:

    There is a big yellow star first right after Mercury that every now and takes a rest and a little lump of rock floating in the Universe get’s the shivers. On this little lump of rock are myriads of species all going about their daily lives, but one is different. One thinks it can rule everything including the lump of rock’s weather. It forgets it has only been in existance a very short length of time in comparison to the rock. A few hundred thousand years to four billion. It forgets there are species who rely on a gas called CO2 for food and makes out this food pollutes the little lump of rock. And many of this species believe it. WELL IT DON’T! If two Penguins can see through this fog it’s time the species that started it woke upto the fact it’s going to start getting cold. Very cold.

  18. It will appear, just like the colossal mistake of “Stratospheric destruction by SSTs”, i.e. nowhere.

  19. There hasn’t been any warming lately, but this lack of warming hasn’t put an end to the climate scare campaign because they say that the “trend” is still warming. Even if the whole planet froze over tomorrow, these so called scientists would say that it’s just a temporary cooling but the trend is still warming.

    Then they’d probably ask for more research grants to study the unusual cooling.

  20. They are wrong!

  21. It’s not a “mistake” … it’s a SCAM … the biggest the world has ever seen. Follow the money ! It makes other global multi billion dollar scams like Six Sigma, pale by comparison.

  22. There is no “greenhouse effect” ! It is simple to prove this so here goes !

    The Earth and the Moon are about the same distance from the Sun – FACT.

    They both receive similar amounts of Solar radiation – FACT.

    The albedo of each is slightly different but the result is the Moon absorbs some 88 % while Earth absorbs some 70 % – generally accepted science.

    The Sun heats the Moon’s surface to ~120 degrees C maximum during the lunar day – FACT.

    The Sun heats the Earth’s surface during the day to a maximum temperature somewhere near 50 – 60 degrees C.

    So why the difference ? Why is the Earth’s surface temperature during the day less than half that of the Moon.

    The answer is obvious – it’s the atmosphere stupid !

    Water evaporating from the ocean and heated air convecting away from the surface act to remove large quantities of energy from the surface and distribute this energy throughout the Earth and to the upper atmosphere. The heated air is replaced by cooler air descending and the cycle progresses while the Sun is providing the energy input and continues after sunset until the surface cools sufficiently that the process slows.

    All the while the Earth is spinning and before things cool down too much the Sun rises and the whole thing starts again.

    So the atmosphere does NOT heat the surface during the day – in fact the atmosphere and oceans shield us from intense solar radiation.

    The atmosphere actually COOLS the Earth’s surface during the day – remember the Moon ?

    At night there is no solar radiation incoming and the energy stored in the surface and oceans moderate the cooling as radiation is a slow method of heat loss compared to convection. This is why they put the convection in the oven and is why your car radiator doesn’t cool by radiation but by convection as moving air is heated by contact and convects the heat away. Mechanics would be the richest people on Earth if vehicle motors were reliant on radiative effects to cool.

    So, there is NO “greenhouse effect” as described by climate scientists. No matter how the spin doctors try to obfuscate their flawed analysis they always run into the “Inconvient Truth” that the Moon, with no atmospher and therefore no “greenhouse gases” is heated by the power of the solar radiation alone to ~120 degrees C.

    If the solar radiation is capable of that on the Moon why is the Earth so much cooler when we are supposed to be heated to levels more than the Sun can by our magical “greenhouse gases” ?

    QED – there is no “greenhouse effect” – our atmosphere acts like a refrigerator cooling the surface temperatures – NOT raising them.

    Manmade global warming is similarly simply WRONG.

    The answer is obvious

  23. I’m an old bloke, and remember that we were all going to perish because of “Global Cooling”. Also at other times “Acid Rain” , “Sars” , Hong Kong Flu”. “No More Oil, It’s Almost All Gone”, The Hole In The Ozone Layer”. Does anyone see a pattern? Does anyone understand “Scam”?

  24. thingadonta says:

    “The only apt comparison I can think of is Lysenkoism, the anti-genetics theory of Trofim Lysenko that was bought wholesale by Stalin”.

    Actually there are a few other scientific bungles:
    1) Social Darwinism (also wrapped up political ideology) and its offshoots Eugenics and ‘Racial Thought’ (the backbone of Nazism-who got most of their ideas from perverted social darwinists ideas deeply embedded within the academic and scientific establishment in the late 19th to early 2oth century Germany).
    2) Communism itself claimed to be scientifically based, and Richard Piper of Harvard (one of the world’s leading historians of communism) claims it essentially sprang from ‘radical academia’. Sound familiar?

    These two, social darminism, and communism, were the two great evils of the 20th century, and both came from perverted academia.

    Now we have AGW, also from academia, and all 3 above designed to suit the interests of the academic-bureaucratic class. Just look at how communism soley suited the interests of the ruling bureaucracy, it was designed that way, and who do you think benefits from AGW the most-one again, the ruling academic-bureaucratic class.

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