Saturday, December 4, 2010

Václav Klaus on Bob Carter

Let me declare from the outset that I consider global warming dogma (and its widespread acceptance) to be one of the most costly and undemocratic mistakes in generations, and try, therefore, to contribute to its demolition.

As someone who spent most of his life under a repressive and highly inefficient regime, I can hopefully afford to say that the previous most costly and undemocratic ‘experiment’ was Communism. That too started quite innocently, and its supporters — probably — also believed that they fought for a noble cause. When I listen to the views and arguments of the global warming alarmists, and there are many of them in Australia (I guess your country scores very highly on the worldwide ‘warmists per capita’ scale), they sound very similar to the arguments of the former politicians, journalists and public intellectuals in Communist Czechoslovakia.

Of course, the polemic about global warming has a very respectable scientific dimension. But in its substance and consequences, the debate is not part of the scientific discourse about factors influencing swings in global temperature. It is part of the public policy debate about man and society, about our political, economic and social systems, about our freedom or its possible loss. This difference should be made explicit.

In his book Climate: The Counter Consensus, Bob Carter, the well-known Australian paleoclimatologist and professor at the James Cook University, clarifies this point when he says: ‘The global warming issue long ago ceased being a scientific problem.’ It is evident that science plays no part in the current public policy debate, neither in Kyoto, nor in Copenhagen, nor at the United Nations General Assembly or the EU summits. There is just the pretence of science and the wishful thinking that there exists an undeniable scientific consensus.


I like Carter’s emphasis on the crucial difference between global warming (which is part of normal scientific discourse) and ‘dangerous anthropogenic global warming’ (which is ideological propaganda). He is also right when talking about the difficulty in defining who is and who is not a climatologist, and turning our attention to the fact that there is no ‘climate science’, because ‘scientists who study climate change come from a wide range of disciplines’. His decision to group them into three main categories — meteorologists, geologists and the computer modelling group — is also revealing. Importantly, he notes that the group with the fewest warmists is the geological scientists, because they are able to compare ‘modern climate change with climate history’, which is something the meteorologists and the computer modelling experts — quite intentionally — do not do.


He sees a problem with the standard interpretation of 20th-century warming (Chapter 2) because of the limited meteorological record, and cannot see why ‘the short period of mild warming that started around 1979 and terminated in 1998 so excites the IPCC and other climate alarmists’. He is convinced (as am I) that the current warming will be ‘like the Medieval Warm Period followed by cooling which may indeed have already started’. I also agree with him that ‘endlessly analysing short trend lines … has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics’.


As someone who devoted a decade of his life to econometric computer modelling, I appreciate the chapter dedicated to climatologists’ computer models. Carter is right that the outcomes of these models are not predictions but projections, because they are based on the aprioristic assumptions of the builders who attend to the so-called ‘calibration’ of these models. That is their only way to ‘show’, for example, that ‘although human emissions weren’t large before 1940, the models assume that the temperature rise since 1850 is due to human carbon dioxide’.-Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic Thank heavens for Bob Carter

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