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Research debunks greenhouse theory

Proof exists (that greenhouse does not), but believers would rather denounce than debate

Edmonton Journal - logo


Research debunks greenhouse theory: Proof exists (that greenhouse does not), but believers would rather denounce than debate

Wednesday 12 November 2003p. A16

Too many scientists have based their research, their reputations and their incomes on the greenhouse theory to let it go now.

So rather than debate the growing evidence that the greenhouse theory is fundamentally flawed, many greenhouse-believing scientists have begun viciously attacking those who question its conclusions and denouncing any agnostic as a heretic -- especially ones presenting uncomfortably challenging proof.

Witness Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.[1] Both are noted solar physicists. Earlier this year they published an exhaustive study of the climate of the past 1,000 years or so in the journal Climate Research. They examined more studies on historic climate trends -- 240 in all -- than any previous researchers, and concluded the 20th century was not unusually warm. In the past millennium there had been at least one other period when, worldwide, temperatures were as much as 2 C to 3 C warmer than the 1990s.

This was not a particularly startling conclusion. There have been literally thousands of papers written by geologists identifying a Medieval Warm Period running from about 800 to 1300 AD and a Little Ice Age spanning 1300 to about 1850. Soon and Baliunas merely confirmed that these thousands of earlier studies were right.

But Soon and Baliunas were both vehemently attacked. Myths were spread that they had cooked their findings (as good scientists do, they acknowledged in their article the very limitations in their results that have been used to try to discredit them). Three junior editors at the journal that published their study resigned claiming embarrassment that their employer published shoddy research. Then the controversy sucked down the editor-in-chief.

However, when an independent review was conducted of the Soon/Baliunas article, no misrepresentation was found nor any shortcomings with Climate Research's peer-review process. (These latter facts are often left out of news stories on the controversy, though.)

The reason for the hissy fit over Soon/Baliunas is simple though. The pair do not shy from drawing obvious conclusions from their research: if the warming of the 20th century is not unusual, then it is likely natural, meaning the Kyoto accord is an exercise in futility. And even if the warming is not natural, it is not extreme and thus nothing to worry about.

This is a threat to the greenhouse religion. Therefore the pair must be burned at the stake.

The same fate is likely to befall Canadian researchers Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who have just destroyed the "hockey stick" theory on recent global warming for the British journal. [2]

Energy & Environment.. (Questioned the theory, or called it into doubt might be less-charged wording, but I'll stick with destroyed.)

The "hockey stick" has been among the holiest of holies in the greenhouse priests' liturgy. It purports to show relatively stable climate for the 900 years from 1000 to 1900, then a sharp spike upward from 1900 to today. Its implications for the greenhouse theory are so central that it formed an integral part of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's vaunted 2001 report, the one that claimed to confirm disastrous manmade greenhouse warming.

We have known for a long time that the hockey stick compared apples and oranges -- reconstructed temperatures from 1000 to 1900 (temperatures deduced from studying tree-ring growth and ice cores, et cetera) and measured temperatures from 1900 onward. When the 20th century's temperatures are "reconstructed" they don't show the warming the hockey stick theory shows.

But what McIntyre/McKitrick also reveal is the data used to craft the hockey stick are based on "collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation ... obsolete data, geographical local errors, incorrect calculation ... and other quality control defects." The wrong places, the wrong dates and the wrong numbers were jumbled together to produce the results the authors desired -- proof that industrial societies are threatening the planet and only global regulation by the UN can save it.

For instance, the data used for calculating Central Europe's climate history stops at 1730, but the source data available goes back to 1659. Coincidentally (or not) those 70 missing years were the coldest of the Little Ice Age. If your goal was to show flat temperatures for 900 years, followed by a steep rise during the Industrial Age, leaving out those seven decades would help do the trick.

Three such "unjustified truncations" were uncovered by McIntyre/McKitrick. Of 112 temperature records used to create the hockey stick, 13 were incorrectly copied down, 18 mismatched the year and temperatures, 19 made unjustifiable extrapolations to cover missing data, 24 contained obsolete data and all 28 that used tree-ring data miscalculated the information obtained by reading the rings. That's a total of 105 records with errors, although some contained multiple errors, so there were more than seven data sets that were error-free, but not many more.

Also, Ian Castles, Australia's former head statistician, and David Henderson, the former chief economist for the OECD, have discovered that the IPCC exaggerated future pollution levels (and thus future temperature rises) both by underestimating current pollution from the developing world and overestimating those same countries' future industrial growth. For instance, the IPCC estimates Haiti and Rwanda will be as rich and as polluting as the U.S. 100 years from now. [3]

Emperor Kyoto has no clothes. It's time we called him on it.
Lorne Gunter
Columnist, Edmonton Journal
Editorial Board Member, National Post

Index to some of Lorne Gunter's articlesfc

On global warming

On other issues

The following is not part of Lorne Gunter's article


  1. Soon, W., Baliunas, S., Idso, C., Idso, S. and Legates, D.R.  2003.  Reconstructing climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years: a reappraisal.  Energy & Environment 14: 233-296.

    Cited in:
  • 1. Roman Warm Period -- Dark Ages Cold Period (Summary)
    -- What does the study of these ancient climatic epochs have to do with the current global warming debate? As it turns out, plenty. --

  • 2. On Assessing Surface Air Temperature Trends
    -- Just how much has the planet warmed over the past century? A new way of evaluating surface air temperature trends that removes the warming effects of intensifying urban heat islands and land use changes suggests that the answer to this question is much less than is typically claimed by climate alarmists and probably totally unrelated to the concomitant rise in the air's CO2 concentration. --

  • 3. The 13 May 2003 Testimony of Dr. John Christy Before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Resources
    -- In the wake of the recent publication in Science of a paper that purports to provide evidence for the reality of human-induced global warming, one of the scientists who oversees the processing of the satellite data that play a crucial role in this discussion presented his ideas on the subject to the American public via written congressional testimony, which we reprint here for all to see. --

  1. McIntyre, Steven and Ross McKitrick (2003), "Corrections to the Mann et al. (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemispheric Average Temperature Series" Energy and Environment 14(6) pp. 751—771.

    Quoted in,
  1. Castles, Ian and David Henderson, Economics, Emissions Scenarios and the Work of the IPCC, (2003), SRESRSPS (See: IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios)

White RoseThe White Rose
Thoughts are Free

Posted 2002 10 28