Green Room

British Climate Scientists Recants His Alarmism

posted at 10:15 am on April 24, 2012 by

Interesting. True confession time I guess.

James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.

Gee, we’d have never guessed.

Lovelock goes into some further detail:

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.

So in essence, what Lovelock is saying is a) he was wrong about his predictions and b) in actuality they really don’t know what is happening although they have this theory which isn’t panning out the way they thought it would.

Great.

So much for the value of consensus huh?

To his credit, at least, Lovelock admits to the mistake.

Would that the rest of the alarmists had that sort of integrity. Instead, many choose to double down and make themselves even less credible.

Oh, and Lovelock makes an important point:

Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told msnbc.com: “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”

Yeah, neither am I. I’m a skeptic. Climate changes. It has throughout the history of the planet. And we’ve had periods of higher CO2 and higher temperatures in our history, neither of which could be linked to man. Additionally:

He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, but added that the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role.

“It (the sea) could make all the difference between a hot age and an ice age,” he said.

I am skeptical of his first statement and much more likely to find credence in the second, i.e. it is the oceans of this world that drive climate change, not man. Additionally, it seems to me that, at least to this point, the skeptic’s theory of low sensitivity of the climate to CO2 seems to be more valid than the alarmists theory of high sensitivity. Had the alarmists been right, as Lovelock points out, we should be frying right now.

Most importantly is his admission that “twelve years is a reasonable time”. It has provided enough time for a trend to develop that debunks the alarmist’s predictions.

Finally Lovelock admits that which has been painfully evident to most skeptics, given the trend of those 12 years – “we don’t know what the climate is doing.”

That is correct. And until we do we need to quit trying to make economy killing policy based on what the evidence is currently telling us is a faulty theory.

Or said another way, we need to use actual science to drive policy, not pseudo-science that supports a political agenda.

I should be able to get consensus on that, no?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Comments

The “progressive” and environmental lobbies (a bit redundant, yes) will never give up their agenda, even in light of actual science and facts on the ground.

Elric on April 24, 2012 at 10:32 AM

But but but other smart people – Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffet, algore – they still believe, and they’re smart people…../libtardbayam

dentarthurdent on April 24, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Eventually the truth will destroy the consensus of idiots and scammers or they will destroy us.
But it appears the tide is finally turning.

dentarthurdent on April 24, 2012 at 10:48 AM

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

Translation: And now that the money has dried up and my alarmism doesn’t bring in any more funding, I guess it’s time to move on to the next “catastrophe du jour”.

Neo-con Artist on April 24, 2012 at 10:53 AM

For twenty years this dolt has called those of us who doubt every name in the book. Now, he admits he was wrong about his panic. Well congratulations on seeing the truth. Now, if you could just do something about the morons who want to burn our houses down because we don’t subscribe to the panic, I’d appreciate it.

Snake307 on April 24, 2012 at 10:57 AM

He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature,

Therein lies the essence of the warmists problem. They have cause and effect reversed.
Empirical evidence proves that temperature change (whether rising or falling) always, without exception, occurs before change in CO2 concentration.
Even though the evidence shows a definite correlation causality is not clearly established.
The claim that “human-caused carbon dioxide emissions” could possibly cause climate change, catastrophic or otherwise, is absurd even if the warmists didn’t have cause and effect confused. Anthropogenic CO2 is approximately 3% of the total CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 is less than 4/100ths of 1% (approx. 385 ppm)
In a system as large, complex, and chaotic as our atmosphere and climate claiming that a gas comprising 3% of 0.0385% of the atmosphere will destroy the planet is laughable.

single stack on April 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

single stack on April 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Hey hey hey – don’t confuse the issue with actual FACTS.
“Science” is now about consensus and funding – not facts and data.
This is about stopping the evil humans and saving gaia and the chillllldren….

dentarthurdent on April 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

If you want to know more about climates changing, study geology. 12 years is not even a blink of the eye to the changes made by the planet over millions of years. Go to Yellowstone, then to Craters of the Moon in Idaho if you want to get some idea of the change. These Idiots just want our money to enrich themselves.

Kissmygrits on April 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

12 years is not even a blink of the eye to the changes made by the planet over millions of years.

I agree with your meta point, but you have to remember the context in which he said that — according to the predictions, we were supposed to be “frying” (to use his term) within that 12 years.

Bruce McQuain on April 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM

British Climate Scientists Recants His Alarmism

When will this be on the MSM´s?

derecho on April 24, 2012 at 2:54 PM

When will this be on the MSM´s?

derecho on April 24, 2012 at 2:54 PM

*SNORT*

Forgot the sarc tag I hope :)

StompUDead on April 24, 2012 at 4:56 PM

He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, but added that the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role.

Well, DUH!!!

If CO2 in the atmosphere is trapping heat, it takes about 300 calories to heat 1 cubic meter of air by 1 degree Celsius. It takes about 1 million calories to heat 1 cubic meter of water by 1 degree Celsius, and about 80 million calories to melt ice to 1 cubic meter of water.

So, if CO2 could trap enough heat to raise the air temperature by 1 degree C, if the heat were transferred to the ocean, an equal volume of water would be warmed by a whopping 0.0003 degree C.

The mass of the atmosphere is equivalent to a thickness of 8600 meters at sea-level pressure. If CO2 were to trap enough heat to raise the temperature of the atmosphere by 1 degree C, the heat required would be 8600 * 300 = 2.6 million calories per square meter of Earth’s surface. Divide this by 80 million calories per cubic meter of melted ice, and considering that 70% of the surface is covered by oceans, and this heat would cause a sea level rise of 2.6 / 80 / 0.70 = 0.046 meter, or about 1.8 inches.

Yeah, the effect of the oceans is not well understood, and absolutely HUGE!!! Water and ice are great heat sinks, and any heat trapped by 0.04% of CO2 in the air could only have a trivial effect on ocean temperatures.

Steve Z on April 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Steve Z on April 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Heyyyyy – this isn’t the kind of consensus science being used right now…. this is more like common sensus science – with actual like facts and calculations and weird stuff like that.
We can’t have any of this messing with the consensus.////
bayam will NOT be amused – but I’ll bet she will name-drop.

dentarthurdent on April 24, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Yay!

J.E. Dyer on April 25, 2012 at 2:21 PM