More inconvenient truth for Al Gore

If you wanted a summary of why skepticism abounds about global warming and what we know about it, you could do little better than this Times of London article from the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen.

It begins with an embarrassing episode for Al Gore in Copenhagen yesterday:

In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”

However, the climatologist whose work Mr Gore was relying upon dropped the former Vice-President in the water with an icy blast.

“It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at,” Dr Maslowski said. “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”

Mr Gore’s office later admitted that the 75 per cent figure was one used by Dr Maslowksi as a “ballpark figure” several years ago in a conversation with Mr Gore.

So, Gore merely misrepresented the timeframe for the prediction (if these are “fresh figures” they couldn’t have suggested an outcome to Maslowski “several years ago”), the extent of the prediction and the exactitude of the prediction. Other than that, as my former colleague James Taranto likes to say, Gore’s story was accurate.

As misrepresentations go, this one transcends the good science vs. bad science debate that heated up with the release of the East Anglia emails. Only in the realm of government can a person make such a wildly exaggerated claim and expect to get away with it.

Which is exactly the problem with climate science today.

Too many climate scientists have all too willingly allowed Gore and other political types to be the chief spokesman for their work, looking away when those politicians make mincemeat of the nuance, uncertainty and qualifications they had included. Compare the summaries of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, written by politicians, and the reports themselves, written by scientists, and too often you’ll see that the politicians hype only the worst-case scenarios envisioned by scientists. And these exaggerations of the science become the mainstream body of wisdom about the science.

So it’s no wonder that a large chunk of the public is skeptical about climate science, and frankly the scientists have no one but themselves to blame. As we see farther down in the Times piece, this might dawn on them sooner than later:

Perhaps Mr Gore had felt the need to gild the lily to buttress resolve. But his speech was roundly criticised by members of the climate science community. “This is an exaggeration that opens the science up to criticism from sceptics,” Professor Jim Overland, a leading oceanographer at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

“You really don’t need to exaggerate the changes in the Arctic.”

And then there’s the question of which scientists get quoted by the likes of Gore. No prizes for guessing whether they are the ones who are most cautious with their forecasts.

Others said that, even if quoted correctly, Dr Maslowski’s six-year projection for near-ice-free conditions is at the extreme end of the scale. Most climate scientists agree that a 20 to 30-year timescale is more likely for the near-disappearance of sea ice.

“Maslowski’s work is very well respected, but he’s a bit out on a limb,” said Professor Peter Wadhams, a specialist in ocean physics at the University of Cambridge.

And finally, on Gore’s interpretation of Maslowski’s work:

Richard Lindzen, a climate scientist at the Massachusets Institute of Technology who does not believe that global warming is largely caused by man, said: “He’s just extrapolated from 2007, when there was a big retreat, and got zero.”

The result is that delegates from Western democracies are having a difficult time agreeing to huge wealth transfers to developing nations, in the name of a cause which they doubt. As well they should, given the requirements of a democracy, writes Clive Crook in Financial Times.

Meanwhile, Ron Bailey of Reason magazine asks, after waiting in line for five hours in frigid Copenhagen, “how anyone expects the U.N. to run the world’s climate if it can’t manage a queue.”

***

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252 comments Add your comment

E-OK KIDS

December 15th, 2009
10:22 am

Reducing emissions – the logical way
to stop global warming and that’s E-OK

Dink

December 15th, 2009
10:23 am

Algore… the jig is up. People are onto you. Best you go live where the ice is supposedly melting. The penguins shall be your friends.

dewstarpath

December 15th, 2009
10:28 am

- I’m still not convinced that the U.of East Anglia e-mails
are of any consequence. This is ONE little-known research
university whose IT security is lax. They might have faked
their statistical results, but it’s not enough to deride an issue
that affects so many nations. A cheating scandal at Annapolis
didn’t discredit electrical engineering. This e-mail scandal
will not subvert climate research about the effects of man-made
greenhouse gas emissions.

And?

December 15th, 2009
10:45 am

Is this article written to state that Gore is exaggerated that the polar ice caps might be ice free within 5 to 7 years? If so would 20 make you feel better?

Is this article written to prove that global warming is not an issue? If so, is this something Jesus said he would fix?

Kyle Wingfield

December 15th, 2009
10:46 am

For dewstar and anyone else who thinks the East Anglia emails are much ado about nothing: Read this (lengthy, I admit) post and tell me what you think: http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/

Short version: Warmists have complained that the emails have been taken out of context. But when some of them are put in the proper context it becomes clear that these scientists — again, few in number but large in influence — were manipulating their data to fit the narrative when necessary. And they were doing it in the context of an IPCC report.

Kyle Wingfield

December 15th, 2009
10:50 am

And?: If this were the only instance of Gore exaggerating and misrepresenting information, it might be of little consequence. But it’s not. My point is that climate scientists have for years let pols like Gore spin their work to work up a public frenzy, with very few peeps about the accuracy of what he was doing. There shouldn’t be any surprise now that Gore et al. are doing their cause more harm than good.

I for one would be a lot more inclined to take the scientists’ predictions — including whether the ice will melt in five or six or 20 years — seriously if they would jettison the charlatans like Gore. But I don’t see that happening.

Horrible Horace

December 15th, 2009
10:51 am

the goron gets his…LMAO!!! the fool, the goron, couldnt even win his home State of TN and lost the election because of such…LOL…what a LOSER!

Joe

December 15th, 2009
10:57 am

It is good to see that common sense is now being applied. This has been an egregious attempt to move (financial) capital from developed to third world countries. Having said that, the common sense is that emissions that you can see, taste, and smell are most likely not good- why spend billions of dollars studying- and should be reduced a certain percentage over time. Regulation not some impossible to understand cap and trade.

Jimmy62

December 15th, 2009
11:14 am

Are these models predicting disaster the same ones that said the financial junk that went down could never happen? One wonders why we would continue to trust computer models to make predictions about the real world when our dependence on computer models recently led the global economy off a cliff.

What the East Anglia emails reveal (and the CRU in East Anglia is by no means little known in climate circles, it’s one of the three biggest research centers on the subject, and they share data and conclusions and scientists with the other two, so the stuff recorded in these emails are by no means isolated to East Anglia) is that there is no consensus other than that the Earth may be warming. The extent, the causes, and the potential results are up in the air and anyone who claims otherwise really doesn’t understand science or modeling.

What the emails reveal above all is that we need a lot more openness and transparency in this sort of research before we start spending billions based on it. If the CRU, NOAA, NASA, and whomever else cannot share their raw data and allow their conclusions to replicated, then they should no longer be a part of the discussion. That’s science. If no one can take your data and come to the same conclusions, then you haven’t come up with anything useful. And if you cannot supply your data, then no one can possibly come to the same conclusions.

Hazado

December 15th, 2009
11:15 am

Trevor

December 15th, 2009
11:21 am

Even if you believe in this whole CO2/globalwarming/climate change stuff, which I do not, these guys aren’t trying to stop it. They’re using it to make money and consolidate power. Why would they want to criminalize and punish companies leadership who pollute when they can charge them for carbon credits and legalize pollution. Remember, all companies do is raise the prices of their goods and services and pass the buck to you. And in this case, it’s worldwide. Can you imagine the US (or any other sovereign country) having to pay fines to an international organization? Talk about unconstitutional. Go read the Copenhagen treaty. I especially like the part on page 43, section 41, subsections A through I. You’ll have to go read it yourself.

Get informed, get educated and get angry.

Chris Broe

December 15th, 2009
11:27 am

Kyle is…..RIGHT!!! The scientist will never agree about the timing of the consequences of global warming.

If Gore is correct, and the consequences were floating down main street, I would not want to pay a penny in higher taxes, which are the consequences that would be sinking Wall Street.

We need Gore to keep exaggerating. The American People, then, will be more aggressive in voting out anyone who wants them to pay for the stinking polar bears and their deserved eco-collapse. Ice caps are supposed to melt once in a while. Ask any planet. It’s a intra-galactic cycle – hello.

One of the reasons the Klingons were such a threat to the Enterprise was that they weren’t saddle with a bunch of taxes that were linked to no unprovable natural phenomena on their own home planet. They were free to develop the cloaking device, which our taxed-based nanny federation couldn’t afford because of eco-taxes imposed by Al Gore’s great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather, man. With that techo-miracle, the Klingons could have easily expanded their territory into the neutral zone. And they would have got away with it too, if it hadn’t been for Spock and his stupid mind-meld.

and that’s the rest of the story…..

Fang1944

December 15th, 2009
11:33 am

None of this changes the fact that:

The North Pole is melting. The legendary Northwest Passage is almost real now.
Glaciers are receding all over the world (including Antarctica). The Extreme Ice Survey has stop-motion film where you can see the Greenland glaciers losing ice.
The permafrost in Alaska is melting.
Sea level is rising.
The last decade was the hottest on record, and 2009 is looking to be the 5th hottest year on record.
The fire season out west is now year-round.
Bark beetles, who like the warm winters, are reproducing faster and eating up the trees in the Northwest.

For scientific news, read Scientific American.

Eric

December 15th, 2009
11:37 am

Kyle–I’m a conservative, but on the issue of climate change and man’s role in it. Rather than looking to the “experts” and politicians, just look outside at the weather. Where are the ice storms we used to have in Atlanta back in the 1970s? Tells me that earth is definitely warmer and changing. No other empirical evidence needed.

O.B. Ron Quixote

December 15th, 2009
11:41 am

First, it’s not about the emails. It never was. So arm-waving about the context of what they say is a pointless exercise. IT’S ABOUT THE CLIMATE MODEL COMPUTER PROGRAMMING CODE!!! The code is irrefutably fraudulent with numerous examples of “artificial corrections” being applied to hide global temperature declines. The emails only provide context. However, since “journalists” are ignorant about FORTRAN and computer programming, all they can do is argue semantics about the wording of emails – a pathetic and intellectually impotent ruse.

Finally, my guess is Al has desperately wanted to become president of SOMETHING since he got his @ss whipped by, of all morons, George Bush. So, of course, the best he could come up with was to join forces with the UN loonies under the guise of AGW so the UN could form a world government to “save the planet.” No doubt, Al would ride in on his CO2-spewing private jet to assume the mantle of President of What is Left of the World As We Know It.

The only problem is some pesky facts leaked out between the cracks of his grandiose scheme along the way.

Oops! Blue hair moment!

lol

Libraryjim

December 15th, 2009
11:47 am

The North Pole melts periodically, it was almost all sea when the Vikings charted the area, it was very low in the 1950’s, and will grow and shrink through natural causes over time, as it always has.

coastal ice is melting, but interior ice and glaciers are increasing.

We have been experiencing cooler temperatures on average over the last ten years.

When Lewis and Clark were exploring the North West Passage, we were coming off a mini-ice age, with very harsh winters all over the world, (the Thames froze!) including a year when the winter lasted well into the ’summer months’, earning it the title “the year without a summer” (Google that for more information).

If they would institute controlled burns and underbrush clearing out west, they would not have as big a problem with the fire season, but the environmentalists out there have regulated that out of the picture.

Libraryjim

December 15th, 2009
11:53 am

Oh, and the sea levels rising — 10,000 years ago the Florida Keys (islands) were hills in the middle of a plain, and Panama City Beach would have been well inland. Sea levels have been rising and falling without any help from Man, and they will continue to do so.

Linda

December 15th, 2009
11:55 am

Joe@10:57, Maybe you are confusing CO with CO2. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, non-toxic, good, pure, clean, natural, scarce, colorless, odorless gas & is essential to life on earth. Without it & without enough of it, we all die. It is not a pollutant. The UN, IPCC, cap & trade tax & now the EPA are trying to regulate air, not polluted air, just air.

Libraryjim

December 15th, 2009
12:01 pm

Eric @ 11:37, a thousand years ago, Greenland was warm enough to plant crops and sustain a viable farming community of Norse Families. Grapes were grown in England and parts of Scotland.

Then the earth cooled, and Greenland iced over, and England switched to heartier grains (and from wine to beer and whiskey!).

The question should be not: “how warm is it getting?” but “Is this warming unusual and out of the ordinary for Earth?”. History says this is not unusual.

Jimmy62

December 15th, 2009
12:04 pm

Even if it’s all true, so what? We could spend ourselves tired, let society as we know it dissolve, and still have glaciers melting. Or we can do what nature does, adapt. Who says in the long term that we would be better off with current sea levels and CO2 levels rather than higher sea levels? We know that plant life will thrive with more CO2, why not humanity? Roman Warming Period- Vast expansion of humanity… Little Ice Age- history calls it the Dark Ages for humanity….

Peter

December 15th, 2009
12:04 pm

Kyle……Just what do you know ?

The earth yes has been changing constantly, but today we have how many folks living on the earth compared to back a century ago……or centuries ago, as you folks like to point out.

Tell me Kyle if you have a house with 5 folks over for dinner it is not cooler than if you have a party with say 45 people over ?

Is that too hard to understand ?

Compound that with the cutting of the forests, and the creating black top roads, huge parking lots, and concrete buildings, you think we are not adding to the warming of the earth ?

Too bad logic is not part of the Republican thought process !

Rob

December 15th, 2009
12:05 pm

The planet has been here for billions of years… entire continents have changed positions, oceans are now deserts, meteors have impacted and changed the face of the planet, life has evolved and died evolved and died evolved and died… and somehow Al Gore thinks that he is going to stop the process…. PLEASE! Life is going to evolve and die and evolve and die, continents will change positions and meteors are going to change the planet. Every polar bear will go extinct, as well as every snake and human… Quit wasting my money and time on stupidity you liberals you!

hatin' on the stupid

December 15th, 2009
12:05 pm

Kyle: “My point is that climate scientists have for years let pols like Gore spin their work to work up a public frenzy, with very few peeps about the accuracy of what he was doing.”

So it’s NOT ok to spin, distort accuracy, exagerate and lie to work up a public frenzy? Who woulda thunk?

Peter

December 15th, 2009
12:05 pm

Very interesting stuff……….Eric @ 11:37, a thousand years ago, Greenland was warm enough to plant crops and sustain a viable farming community of Norse Families. Grapes were grown in England and parts of Scotland.

Where is this knowledge from…..do you have a source ?

Beowulf

December 15th, 2009
12:15 pm

To add to Libraryjim’s list, also they have found in the Alps, where a glacier has been receding, evidence of civilizations – but not just one. They have artifacts from the late medieval period 500 years ago, as well as others approximately 1900 years ago, more from 3900 years ago, and then even further back about 5000 years ago. This indicates that that region experiences cyclical climate variations (to the extreme of having glacier cover!) but by no means is this virgin land. As a meteorological sciences graduate, I have studied and can attest to long-term large-impact cycles in the worldwide climate that we are just beginning to understand. The proponents of knee-jerk regulation like to point at temps since the 1880s. So what? We did not have the precision in meteorological equipment before then, and what little there was of it was confined to laboratories. We can only tell general climate patterns for periods before that by looking at geological evidence.

I am not saying humans do not contribute negatively to the environment. But our effects are being grossly exaggerated. Local air and water impacts need to be improved, but trying to call carbon dioxide a pollutant is absurd. The largest producers of mass CO2 emissions are volcanoes. Do you want to try to regulate those? How about the fact that seismic activity is up? Are we to blame for that too?

No, and I think most of the politicans know this. What we have is a way to redistribute wealth pure and simple. The evil and prosperous United States must help support the lesser nations, and giving us money will make us forget we are about to sink completely underwater, if that were truly going to happen. Come on people, wake up! What I do not understand is why even the most liberal politicans, who want equality and fairness above freedom, would still be willing to let third-world hack nations dictate to us what we can and cannot do with our resources.

Horrible Horace

December 15th, 2009
12:20 pm

Peter

December 15th, 2009
12:04 pm

First of all let me state…SHUT UP you ignorant mouth!

Fang1944

December 15th, 2009
11:33 am

And nothing changes the fact that you are very stupid and need to SHUT UP your ignorant mouth!

Karl Marx

December 15th, 2009
12:21 pm

Peter, I think we would all like to hear what you know. So tell me what happened to Greenland’s Vikings for starters. I’m sure it was human activity that caused the climate to change way back then. Good god man they can’t even predict the Weather will be in the next 48 hours what makes you think they have a handle on this? Al Gore is only out for the money make no mistake about that.

Horrible Horace

December 15th, 2009
12:21 pm

Peter

December 15th, 2009
12:05 pm

Its common knowledge so please SHUT UP your ignorant mouth!

Jimmy62

December 15th, 2009
12:23 pm

Peter- Ironic that you should mention growing poopulations, parking lots, etc. That’s one of the points “deniers” are making. Temperature stations are prone to skewing warm due to items like the ones you mention, which makes readings unreliable. That means that climate scientists who have no real knowledge of the heat aspects of concrete (they are climate scientists, not materials engineers) are making adjustments on the fly. And you know what? Good chance those adjustments are not very accurate ones, since they are based on trends and statistics (something else climate scientists aren’t experts on, statistics) and complex computer models (written by climate scientists who are not expert programmers).

So thank you for helping to prove Kyle’s point. The science is not settled, there are a lot of questions, and a lot of factors that haven’t been taken in to account. You give a very good reason why factors other than CO2 may be contibuting. If you mentioned this among big time fans of Al Gore, they would excommunicate you as the enemy.

Peter

December 15th, 2009
12:27 pm

Hey Horrible Horace….Jerk off ……

Peter

December 15th, 2009
12:30 pm

What do you know Karl Marx about Greenland’s Vikings for starters ?

Peter

December 15th, 2009
12:33 pm

The disappearance of the Norse colonies in Greenland is the outstanding unsolved mystery of the Viking’s North Atlantic saga. After more than two hundred and fifty years of study by historians, archeologists, and natural scientists, there are clues but no firm answers. What happened to the Greenland Norse? A range of factors-cooling climate, declining trade relations, over-grazing of soil, cultural taboos against eating certain foods, competition with Inuit, emigration, taxation by the crown and church-all contributed to the decline. No single event seems to have spelled the end, but rather the complex web in which the Greenlanders were caught.

Rod

December 15th, 2009
12:35 pm

Peter: What has any of what you wrote have to do with CO2? Overpopulation, maybe, but CO2 no.
Where is this knowledge from…..do you have a source ? History! PBS had a show a few years ago about the Norse colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland. This was several hundred years before Columbus “discovered” America.

Linda

December 15th, 2009
12:38 pm

Beowulf, Don’t be surprised when politicians try to regulate volcanoes after they regulate cows.

iudgugir

December 15th, 2009
12:38 pm

the earth is returning to the days of the garden of eden. man is devolving and you will soon return back to your ape-like form

NeverTrustARepublican

December 15th, 2009
12:40 pm

Way to cloud the issue Kyle. Again, kudos for behaving like a true Reaganite. The fact is if people like Al weren’t pushing this issue it would be ignored by the public and trivialized by small timers like yourself for whom the actual science is beyond comprehension. I realize that regressives consider sniping at the heels of those working for advancement a core strategey but the fact remains that you’re simply not qualified to comment on this issue. Stick to debating the merits of a local sales tax increase.

Beowulf

December 15th, 2009
12:42 pm

Peter,

Don’t worry about Horace, I think he’s off his meds…

If you are curious about the evidence of civilization found under retreating Alpine glaciers, check this out:
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/09/08/alps-stone-age.html

There is much we don’t know about the past climate of the world. We mostly have snapshots from areas where geologists have studied, but they have not looked at everything. However, it fits that humans would have an exaggerated opinion of ourselves and our ability to tame nature. Most of the time, nature wins. I am not willing to bankrupt our children’s and grandchildren’s America to put money into the hands of third-world dictators who have little interest in helping their citizens. Let America keep its money and continue to be the most generous and outgoing humanitarian support nation in the world.

NeverTrustARepublican

December 15th, 2009
12:46 pm

Good to see Linda’s back to provide her Koffee Klatch understanding of greenhouse gases and contaminants in general. Our shoddy education system is really catching up to us.

DEAD FISH,STARVING POLAR BEAR,MORE EXTREME WEATHER

December 15th, 2009
12:46 pm

ONLY SUPER STUPID REPUBLICANS THINK THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS FAKE! WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Rod

December 15th, 2009
12:46 pm

NeverTrustARepublican: Are you implying that Kyle is a counter-revolutionary?

Horrible Horace

December 15th, 2009
12:46 pm

Peter is just grasping for himself!…LMAO!!

Horrible Horace

December 15th, 2009
12:47 pm

Look at all the henny pennys on here. LMAO…the sky is fallin Mr Chicken…LOSERS all of ya! *FLUSH*

Beowulf

December 15th, 2009
12:47 pm

Linda, LOL.

We should not rule out trying to find a way to stop regular methane gas releases (not just cow farts, but like those in the Bermuda Triangle, etc). Oh and nitrogen too. We can’t live on nitrogen, we need oxygen, but since nitrogen makes up some 78% of our air it must be a pollutant too!

DEAD FISH,STARVING POLAR BEAR,MORE EXTREME WEATHER

December 15th, 2009
12:48 pm

WHAT PLACE DID GEORGIA COME IN EDUCATION? 49TH! NOW YOU SEE WHY THESE DUMB DUMBS DONT BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING! THEY SAY IT IS YANKEE TEACHINGS ANYWAY!

DEAD FISH,STARVING POLAR BEAR,MORE EXTREME WEATHER

December 15th, 2009
12:51 pm

MOST OF THESE SUPER STUPID GEORGIA REDNECKS BELIEVE THAT THE EARTH IS STILL FLAT! REMEMBER THE EDUCATION LEVEL IS 49TH OUT OF 50 STATES!

Bill

December 15th, 2009
12:58 pm

The thing that gets me is how if you say you’re not convinced that global warming is man made, that statement is perverted into “you don’t believe in global warming, period.” Most people I know who are skeptical of Al Gore and his ilk acknowledge that global warming is happening.. they just don’t believe that the most likely explanation is human activity. And if the leaked emails from the CRU at East Anglia demonstrate anything, it’s that the science is definitely not settled.. even among the alarmists.

Linda

December 15th, 2009
12:59 pm

NeverTrust, Not only do I have a Bachelor of Science Degree from one of the largest universities in the southeastern US, but I also passed high school Earth Science & fifth grade science, the minimum education needed to understand the scientific makeup of AIR. I was also born with common sense, another apparent good, pure, clean, scare element in today’s society.

Jon but not Jon Voight

December 15th, 2009
1:00 pm

So pollution is good?

William

December 15th, 2009
1:02 pm

DEAD FISH,STARVING POLAR BEAR,MORE EXTREME WEATHER :

Yes sir, education is what you say it is. However it seems we have a honest 49th place because we did not cheat out a good grade. Isnt that what your educated global warming scientists did. There is a report that only about 3300 scientists believe in global warming as stated but over 30,000 does not. I guess that is your type of education!! Besides, how many minority students do you have in your state? Test Ga without the minority students and see how they score? Hmmm, kinda scary aint it.

Horrible Horace

December 15th, 2009
1:06 pm

Only Noise pollution is good.