Unstoppable disinformation every 15 minutes from Fred Singer
by Joseph Romm
So Kansas state House member Larry Powell has sent a copy of Fred Singer's lame denier treatise, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, to every Kansas legislator. Of course, he sent one to Governor Sebelius, who denied a permit for two large coal-fired power plants in his home county. Since I've been blogging regularly on Kansas, Kansas reporter Sarah Kessinger called me Friday for my opinion on Singer's book and what legislators should do to become informed on climate. The book has been widely debunked -- see this post on RealClimate.
The most absurd thing about the book is that ... wait for it ... the Earth wasn't actually in a warm trend -- unstoppable or otherwise -- 1500 years ago! (Yes, during the Medieval Warm Period, parts of the earth were a bit warmer, but that peaked [below current temperatures] 1,000 years ago.) I thought the reporter would like that fact:"I don't think there's anybody in the scientific community who takes Fred Singer seriously," said Joseph Romm, a Washington scientist and author. Romm said the 1,500-year cycle theory isn't possible considering the earth wasn't in a warming trend 1,500 years ago.
Duh! I mean, seriously: Every book contains at least a few small errors, but most real scientists, heck, even most global warming deniers try to avoid putting egregious factual mistakes in the title of the book. That is a pretty good sign you can skip the contents.
An even better reason to skip the book: in 1998, coauthor Fred Singer testified to Congress that "the climate is not warming," and as recently as November 2003, he wrote in the Financial Times:The irony is that there is no convincing evidence that the global climate is actually warming.
I kid you not. So four years ago, Singer said the scientific evidence of warming was not compelling. By 2007, he was publishing a book saying the science shows we are in a natural warming cycle. Why, why, why, traditional media, do you keep quoting someone who just keeps making stuff up and contradicting himself as he goes along?deven for the tobacco industry: For example, here is the link to a memo in which an official from the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution solicits $20,000 from the Tobacco Institute for the preparation of a "research" paper challenging the health effects of second-hand smoke, and suggesting that Dr. Singer be retained to write the report. Here is the link to a letter thanking the Tobacco Institute for $20,000 intended "to support our research and education projects." Here is a research paper, just as described in the earlier memo, with Dr. Singer's name as the author. And here is another Tobacco Institute memo, reporting on Dr. Singer's appearance with two Congressional Representatives releasing the paper to the media.
That is from DeSmogBlog. Here is more. True, working for organizations that take money from ExxonMobil doesn't mean all of your "research" is flawed -- but the fact that all of your research is obviously flawed, and that you'll change positions 180ø if it suits your funders' arguments, does suggest your core beliefs are not based on fact and that you are ... let's be kind and say Romney-esque.
Anyway, I have a theory that Singer's unending and unstoppable 15 minutes of media fame is tied to the well-known 15-minute sun-spot cycle -- wherein every 15 minutes or so, somebody looks up and spots the sun, is temporarily blinded, and loses their cognitive ability to separate fact from nonsense. I challenge anyone to refute that theory without using any facts.
The reporter did ask me what I would suggest legislators read. Hmm. What synthesizing document or summary should policymakers read? Tough one.If legislators want to inform themselves about global warming, Romm said, they should start by reading the U.N. panel's reports, which have been written specifically for legislators. He also suggests they talk with peer-reviewed climate scientists. "There is no escape from global warming, so even in the middle of the country in places like Kansas, it's important for people to take the time to become informed," Romm said. "Because in 10 to 20 years, as consequences become more obvious, it will become a top issue."
I probably said, "the top issue" (it's already "a" top issue), but a good story nonetheless.
1). Grist violates its own criteria for what qualifies a scientist to comment on climate issues! The author of this article, Grist's Joseph Romm, (a Senior Fellow at the very liberal and well-funded Center for American) mock's Singer's scientific credentials. But a post from Climate Resistance says Romm may be more accurately described as a "pundit, a policy maker, a political technology advisor." See here. It appears Romm would not meet Grist correspondent Andrew Dessler's definition of someone qualified to have an opinion on climate change issues. Grist is contradicting itself! (Note, according to Dessler, only a about 150-200 scientists in the world are actually qualified to have an opinion on climate issues and guess what, they all happen to be affiliated with the UN. Dessler also does not believe TV meteorologists are qualified, unless they agree with his brand of climate alarm). For a complete debunking of critiques of the Senate `Consensus Busters' Report, see Marc Morano's January 10, 2007 Letter to New York Times.
2). Romm attempts to discredit Singer because "the Earth wasn't actually in a warm trend -- unstoppable or otherwise -- 1500 years ago!" Romm resurrects the canard that the Medieval Warm Period was not global and claims (a la Mann's Hockey Stick") that the Medieval Warm Period was much cooler than today. This assertion ignores multiple peer-reviewed studies showing the Medieval Warm Period warmer than today, including two papers in just the past 6 months! See:
2a). A November 2007 study published in Energy & Environment found the Medieval Warm Period "0.3C warmer than 20th century" The study was authored by C. Loehle and titled "A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-treering proxies." (See here & here) and:
2b). A June 29, 2007 scientific analysis by Gerd Burger of Berlin's Institute of Meteorology in the peer-reviewed Science Magazine challenged a previously touted study claiming the 20th century had been unusually warm. Excerpt: "Burger argues that [the 2006 temperature analysis by] Osborn and Briffa did not apply the appropriate statistical tests that link the proxy records to observational data, and as such, Osborn and Briffa did not properly quantify the statistical uncertainties in their analyses. Burger repeated all analyses with the appropriate adjustments and concluded "As a result, the `highly significant' occurrences of positive anomalies during the 20th century disappear." (See here)
3) Romm's ignores that Singer's 1500 year cycle is not exactly every 1500 years, but approximately 1500 give or take 500 or more. This point is very clearly laid out in the book. Romm knows this, but chooses to spin for cheap propaganda points.
4) Romm ignores the overwhelmingly evidence. Singer and Dennis Avery's book is based on more than 100 scientific studies with more than 300 co-authors revealing how solar activity is linked to the Earth's natural temperature cycles. It is not just a theory or speculation, but passed on decades of peer-reviewed science.
5) Romm mocks Singer as having no credibility in the science community. A few notes on Dr. Singer: He is an atmospheric physicist and was former director the US Weather Satellite Service, past vice chairman of the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere and the co-author of the recent peer-reviewed paper with Climatologist Dr. John Christy and climate scientist Dr. David Douglass in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society. The December 2007 study found (See here) "The observed pattern of warming, comparing surface and atmospheric temperature trends does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming." Romm's failure to mention Singer's peer-reviewed work makes a mockery out of his claim that political leaders should only "talk with peer-reviewed climate scientists." For more on Singer's credentials see here
It is also worthwhile pointing out that Singer wrote a paper with Revelle -- whom Gore cites, in "An Inconvenient Truth" (film/book), as an inspiration. The Gore team then tried to get that paper suppressed but failed. And Singer had to file a lawsuit (which was successful) against the party involved. See here.
6) Romm brings up the old silliness about industry funding. Once again, completely ignoring that it is the proponents of climate fear who have monumental funding advantages over skeptical scientists. (See this Senate funding report here) Plus, Romm is a Senior Fellow at the very liberal and well-funded Center for American Progress. Also note, just this week it was announced that the "Swedes are paying $590,000 to study cow burp greenhouse emissions." This grant was to study just 20 cows or $29,500 per cow! See here
7). Is Romm also one of those Holocene Deniers? Even the Medieval Warm Period can't compare to the Holocene Maximum. See below:
Note: BP stand for Before the Present. Perhaps Romm should stickto his theories about how bridge collapses are linked to global warming.
8). This may help explain why Romm is so upset: "GOP state lawmakers distribute Singer's book to battle 'solutions' to warming". Excerpt: Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, is one of the lawmakers who signed on to the letter and helped distribute the book, saying he wanted to try to provide a more balanced view on global warming.."I think it's gotten to be a political issue, instead of really looking at the scientific facts behind it," Alons said.He points to other warming trends in the Earth's history, and said man's efforts to control it are futile."I think it's always a good direction if we're going to reduce pollution as such and emissions, and that type of thing. But in my view, the carbon dioxide is really not a pollutant. It's a fertilizer for plants," Alons said.
Posted by John Ray