Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Atmospheric physicist Dr. Murry Salby: Man-made CO2 could only cause warming of 'a few tenths of a degree, if at all'

A recent seminar presentation by atmospheric physicist & professor Murry Salby in Germany strikes another huge blow to climate alarm, demonstrating:
  • The man-made share of CO2 in the atmosphere is only a maximum of 30% (0-30%). The remainder is related to temperature changes, natural outgassing from the oceans, and to humidity. 
  • The residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 4-7 years, not hundreds of years as falsely claimed by the IPCC Bern model.
  • Man-made CO2 emissions increased a whopping 350% faster since 2002, yet the rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere remained steady at ~2.1 ppm/yr, a "strong indication that anthropogenic emissions can not have a significant or even dominant share."
  • His conclusion: "Because of the saturation effect in the energy absorption of CO2 molecules with increasing concentration and short residence time, the further increase in temperature could be therefore only at most a few tenths of a degree, if at all. However, the known fossil reserves would be exhausted by then."

Google translation from German + light editing:

New study on CO2 concentration: Anthropogenic share somewhere between 0 and a maximum of 30% 

Seminar presentation by Professor Murry Salby on 13.3.15 in Essen

By Michael Limburg, EIKE
Professor Murry Salby, author of two textbooks on physics of the atmosphere, is one of the most renowned atmospheric physicists in the world. His research work began many years ago at the University of Colorado, then Macquarie University in Sydney brought him much scientific and public recognition- up until he made the mistake of publicly calling the climate doctrine into question. From then on he was bullied by many agencies, with baseless accusations marring the funding of his research and was finally "forced to retire" after 56 years of his academic career.

Professor Murry Salby on 13.3.15 in Essen
Fig. 1: History of change of the total global CO2 concentration per year (green) and only on the surface properties (temperature + humidity dominant parts) induced change in CO2 concentration (blue). Correlation coefficient of 0.93. In contrast to the natural CO2 emissions depend on the "surface properties", do not have the anthropogenic emissions. Graphic M.Salby 
What was the crime of Murry Salby? Well, Salby had methodically by strict and well supported theoretically by such observations and therefore very well argued that almost 80% of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are driven by temperature (outgassing) [1]. Not vice versa. The remaining 20% are driven in the main by the moisture. They both work together on the biosphere and the other sources and sinks of the CO2 cycle. Another important aspect of these results is that the residence additionally injected CO2 is  about 4-7 yearsAlthough the IPCC expects some 100 or more years, motivated by, because of the long-term effects, including the call for an immediate stop of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions, but the calculations of Salby (and other such as Humlum et al) agree and not the assertion of the IPCC (Fig 2)  That the  Global Carbon Budget Project comes to completely different results, shows that the research also on this important aspect to the driver of temperature is far from "settled".
Fig. 2: the IPCC for the carbon cycle in Gt C / year. Substituting the values ​​specified correctly correlated results in a residence time of 4.1 years, not hundreds of years. (Fig. 3) Figure V IPCC report
Fig. 3: the IPCC Berne model with residence times of hundreds of years (red) vs. Observations (green) and math. Function of the gradient. (Blue). Graphic Salby
After these still very new and important results, Salby turned to in his presentation on how high because of anthropogenically induced share of CO2 is the atmosphere and how it could be determined if necessary. This part of the presentation was very extensive and very theoretical, but always starting from the actual observations. The first of these relates to the fact that the anthropogenic CO2 emissions increased by a whopping 350% faster since 2002 than in previous years. Scoffers would say that this is probably an unintended side effect of the Kyoto Protocol, and a bad omen for the upcoming climate conference in Paris. Yes, and that is the point, the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration was total over the same period, constant at the previous rate of 2.1 ppm / year. To Salby this is a strong indication that anthropogenic emissions can not have a significant or even dominant share.

Fig. 4: Comparison rise in fossil CO2 emissions generated (above) with the total concentration of CO2 below.
Now these two developments he investigated using the known isotopic mixing ratios, and other parameters, and came to the determination that one can only determine the basis of the available data and methods, which currently could be due to the total concentration of the upper limit of CO2 produced by humans. And this limit it to certain complex calculations on the basis by which he led the audience but step by step, with maximum 30%.
His conclusion: Because of the saturation effect in the energy absorption of CO2 molecules with increasing concentration and short residence time, the further increase in temperature could be  therefore only at most a few tenths of a degree, if at all. However, the known fossil reserves would be exhausted by then.
Remains to complete and this was his final note that the anthropogenic CO2 emissions almost 1: (Fig. 5) 1 correlate with the development of the world's population.
Fig. 5:. Development of the world's population and CO2 emissions from fossil fuels  graphics Salby
Unspoken the consequence that no general availability of cheap alternatives to fossil fuels, as you currently may only be provided by nuclear energy, which demanded, reduction of fossil CO2 emissions must lead to a drastic reduction in living standards. And this would have led especially in the poorer countries to a massive increase in the death rate. One or the other listeners felt it perhaps the words of the very famous conservationist and diver Jacques Yves Cousteau recalls, in 1991, was allowed to issue an official UN Brochure . We must "In order to stabilize the planet eliminate 350,000 people per day It's terrible that to say, but just terrible not to say it, " Jacques Cousteau, the UNESCO Courier, November 1991st

[1] For the purists among our readers: Salby determines the correlation coefficient = the net emissions increase of CO2 concentration for the temperature, with almost 0.8 and together with the moisture to 0.93.

Monday, March 16, 2015

WSJ: Climate Free Speech: Dissenters push back against political intimidation

Climate Free Speech

Dissenters push back against political intimidation.

March 16, 2015 7:31 p.m. ET     THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


The Congressional Democrats trying to smear climate skeptics are betting that the threat of a federal investigation will muzzle academics and companies that question their climate-change agenda. So a round of applause for those pushing back, providing the bullies a public lesson in the First Amendment.

“It surprises nobody that you disagree with CATO’s views on climate change—among a host of issues—but that doesn’t give you license to use the awesome power of the federal government to cow us or anybody else,” wrote Cato Institute President John Allison in a letter last week to Senators Barbara Boxer, Ed Markey and Sheldon Whitehouse.

He was responding to their February attempt to intimidate climate apostates by sending 107 letters to think tanks, trade associations and companies demanding information about their funding. This follows an inquiry by House Democrat Raul Grijalva into seven academics who have questioned PresidentObama’s climate policies, an attack recently described in these pages by one of the targets, distinguished climate scientist Richard Lindzen, who is now associated with Cato.

Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast also excoriated the senators for “attempting to silence public debate,” caustically inviting the Democrats to inspect the nonprofit’s tax returns. Koch Industries lawyer Mark Holden provided the politicians with a tutorial on his company’s right to free association.

All 11 Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have slammed the Boxer-Markey-Whitehouse ploy. Mr. Grijalva’s foraging has been condemned by the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, the latter declaring that “singling out” scientists “based solely on their interpretations of scientific research” is a threat to free inquiry.

Democrats and their allies have failed to persuade Americans that climate change is so serious that it warrants sweeping new political controls on American energy and industry. So liberals are trying to silence those who are winning the argument. We’re glad to see the dissenters aren’t intimidated.

WSJ: Some Democrats suggest dumping Hillary as the presumptive presidential nominee in favor of—wait for it—Al Gore

Gore More Years!

Would more Al boost Democratic morale?



Hillary Clinton’s handling of the State Department email scandal is causing Democrats such discomposure that some now suggest dumping her as the presumptive presidential nominee in favor of—wait for it—Al Gore.

Vox.com’s Ezra Klein tries to throw some cold water on the idea. “The problem with a Gore candidacy, to be blunt, is Gore,” Klein observes. He notes that the former vice president is a “wooden,” “aging” candidate with a “challenging” relationship to the press. He has “complicated” finances, though Klein doesn’t tell us exactly what that euphemism means, except to note that Gore “made an insane sum of money by selling his cable network to Al Jazeera.”

There’s more: Gore poses as an environmentalist but is in fact “a jet-setting, Davos-attending mansion dweller,” wealthier than Mitt Romney, according to a 2013 Politico report. That opens him to charges of “rank hypocrisy.” And “his personal life isn’t the storybook it once was,” thanks to his 2010 separation from wife Tipper. (Klein says they’re divorced, but at least as of last June, according to London’s Daily Mail, they were still legally married.)

Klein sums up the matter: “I don’t think it particularly likely that even if he did run for president, he would win.” He also notes that “there’s no sign that Gore has even a scintilla of interest in running for president.”

So who’s in favor of a Gore candidacy? Ezra Klein. He makes the case in that very same Vox article, which is titled “Al Gore Should Run for President.”

Weighed against the aforementioned cons are a series of practical pros. Gore has experience, having served nearly a quarter century as a member of Congress and vice president and come close to reaching the White House in 2000. He has “at least as much claim to the triumphs of the 1990s as Clinton,” he writes—referring to the Clinton who was then first lady. “He’s also won more elections than [Mrs.] Clinton—including the popular vote in a presidential campaign.” (True, though if you don’t cheat by counting 2000 as a win, his last victory without Mr. Clinton on the ticket was in 1990.) And with those complicated finances come connections that could be awfully useful in raising money for a campaign.

For Klein, however, all this is somewhat beside the point. What he really hopes Gore will give the Democrats is meaning and purpose—the ability, as Klein puts it in his lead paragraph, to “discover new dreams.” What’s wrong with the old dreams, according to Klein, is that they’ve all been realized.


Having facilely dispensed with both domestic and foreign policy, Klein asserts that “Gore offers a genuinely different view of what the Democratic Party—and, by extension, American politics—should be about.” If we give you three guesses as to what that might be, you’d end up with two left over: “Climate change is a real and growing threat to the world’s future”:
When it comes to climate change, there’s no one in the Democratic Party—or any other political party—with Gore’s combination of credibility and commitment. Bill McKibben, founder of the climate action group 350.org, calls Gore’s work on the issue “the most successful second act of any political life in U.S. history.” Perhaps that’s hyperbole, but it speaks to the regard in which Gore is held by climate activists. Though he’s been out of office for 15 years, he’s never left the climate fight. Gore has proven himself the opposite of those politicians who love the game more than they care about the issues.
No doubt Gore would be able to count on the climate-activist vote if he decided to run. That wouldn’t get him very far. A March 2014 Gallup poll found that “climate change” was “an issue that only 24% of Americans say they worry about a great deal.” That put it at No. 14 on a list of 15, with only “race relations” finishing lower at 17%. (“The quality of the environment” was No. 13, at 31%.) A majority of Americans, 51%, said they worry about the climate “a little” or “not at all.”

That poll is no outlier. A November survey by the Public Religion Research Institutefound that “Americans rank climate change last on a list of important issues,” with only 5% saying “climate change is the most important issue facing the U.S. today”:
The issue of climate change ranks behind the lack of jobs (22%), the increasing gap between rich and poor (18%), health care (17%), the budget deficit (13%), immigration reform (10%), and the rising cost of education (9%).
The institute’s poll found climate change wasn’t even the most important environmental problem: 29% named “air, water, and soil pollution,” vs. just 25% for climate—even though a 46% plurality were “climate change believers,” meaning that they assented to the claims “that the earth is getting warmer and that these changes are primarily the result of human activity.” (Twenty-five percent disbelieved the latter premise and 26% disbelieved both.)

This after decades of propaganda designed to convince Americans that, as Klein puts it, “climate change is an existential threat”—not just real and man-made but urgent. No one has been more central to that propaganda effort than Al Gore. Why should one think it would be any more persuasive coming from a presidential candidate?

Klein doesn’t seem to think it would be: “Single-issue candidacies rarely go far in American politics,” he acknowledges, “but then, Gore need not be a single-issue candidate.” He goes on to cite approvingly, among other things, Gore’s positions on Iraq and health care—the subjects whose political importance he earlier dismissed.

Of late, Klein notes, Gore’s intellectual efforts have become even more diffuse:
His most recent book, ambitiously titled The Future, runs through the six forces he believes are changing the world: a globalized network of governments and corporations he calls “Earth, Inc.”; worldwide communication technologies that are leading to the emergence of a “global mind”; massive shifts in power from West to East and from government to corporations; an economic system that too often devastates natural resources; revolutions in genomics, biotechnology, and other life sciences; and, perhaps most optimistically, the beginnings of a revolution in energy and agriculture.
Perhaps this is interesting if you like futuristic speculation, but it’s rather far afield from a political campaign. For our part, we doubt we’ll be picking up “The Future.” We read one of Gore’s earlier books, “The Assault on Reason” (2007), and we were unimpressed.

“The Assault on Reason” was a tendentiously ideological book, persuasive only to readers who equated “reason” with certain political viewpoints—including, as we recall, adherence to global-warmist doctrine and opposition to the Iraq war and various other Bush administration antiterror policies. We don’t seem to have retained our copy of the book, but this passage should give you a flavor:
Meanwhile, in Washington, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is throwing snowballs on the floor of the Capitol because he believes cold weather outside his office proves global warming a hoax. This was his rebuttal, by the way, to news that 2014 was the hottest year on record. Something has gone very wrong in American politics.
In case the date didn’t give it away, that’s not a quote from Gore’s book but from Klein’s piece urging Gore to run. Inhofe’s snowball stunt put us in mind of this, from the New York Times in June 1988:
The earth has been warmer in the first five months of this year than in any comparable period since measurements began 130 years ago, and the higher temperatures can now be attributed to a long-expected global warming trend linked to pollution, a space agency scientist reported today.
Global warmists have been claiming that unpleasant weather proves their theory of climate for over a quarter-century, but somehow when those of a skeptical bent employ exactly the same logic, it’s “an assault on reason,” evidence that “something has gone very wrong in American politics.”

At any rate, that last Klein quote shows why Gore is Vox’s perfect candidate: He’s someone who knows he’s right about everything and never tires of explaining why. He wouldn’t be the first president to fit that description, but Barack Obama was young and cool.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New paper finds evidence of solar cycle at high-latitudes of Northern Hemisphere

A new paper published in Advances in Space Research finds "evidence for a connection between century-long variations in solar activity and climate was obtained for the entire boreal zone of the Northern Hemisphere," correlated to the Gleissberg century-scale solar cycle. 

According to the authors,
"A century-scale (60–140 year) cyclicity was found in the summer temperature reconstruction from the Taymir peninsula (∼72° N, ∼105° E) and other high-latitude (60–70° N) regions during the time interval AD 1576–1970. This periodicity is significant and consists of two oscillation modes, 60–70 year and 120–140 year variations. In the summer temperatures from the Yamal peninsula (∼70° N, ∼67° E) only a shorter-term (60–70 year) variation is present. A comparison of the secular variation in the Northern Hemisphere temperature proxies with the corresponding variations in sunspot numbers and the fluxes of cosmogenic 10Be in Greenland ice shows that a probable cause of this variability is the modulation of temperature by the century-scale solar cycle of Gleissberg. This is consistent with the results obtained previously for Northern Fennoscandia (67°–70° N, 19°–33° E)"

Time evolution of growing season temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere was analyzed using both wavelet and Fourier approaches. A century-scale (60–140 year) cyclicity was found in the summer temperature reconstruction from the Taymir peninsula (∼72° N, ∼105° E) and other high-latitude (60–70° N) regions during the time interval AD 1576–1970. This periodicity is significant and consists of two oscillation modes, 60–70 year and 120–140 year variations. In the summer temperatures from the Yamal peninsula (∼70° N, ∼67° E) only a shorter-term (60–70 year) variation is present. A comparison of the secular variation in the Northern Hemisphere temperature proxies with the corresponding variations in sunspot numbers and the fluxes of cosmogenic 10Be in Greenland ice shows that a probable cause of this variability is the modulation of temperature by the century-scale solar cycle of Gleissberg. This is consistent with the results obtained previously for Northern Fennoscandia (67°–70° N, 19°–33° E). Thus, evidence for a connection between century-long variations in solar activity and climate was obtained for the entire boreal zone of the Northern Hemisphere.

New papers find the Sun is the "climate pacemaker" controlling equatorial & global ocean temperatures

Two new papers published in Physics Letters A find the Sun is the "climate pacemaker" of both the equatorial and global ocean temperatures. The authors find evidence of an annual solar forcing that is "phase-locked" to cycles in ocean temperatures of 2 or 3 year periods. The authors also find these solar forcing cycles "to be significant for understanding the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon," which in turn has profound effects upon global climate (and could represent another solar amplification mechanism).

According to the authors,

"equatorial Pacific Ocean temperature index SST3.4 was found to have segments during 1990–2014 showing a phase-locked annual signal and phase-locked signals of 2- or 3-year periods. Phase locking is to an inferred solar forcing of 1.0 cycle/yr. Here the study extends to the global ocean, from surface to 700 and 2000 m. The same phase-locking phenomena are found. The El Niño/La Niña effect diffuses into the world oceans with a delay of about two months."

Central Pacific region temperature dataset SST3.4 from 1990 to 2014 is studied.
SST3.4 contains a sustained signal at 1.0 cycle/yr implying solar forcing.
SST3.4 also contains a signal (<1 a="" cycle="" effects.="" el="" ni="" o="" p="" showing="" yr="">
This signal contains segments of period 2 or 3 years, phase locked to the annual.
A 12-month moving average improves on a “climatology” filter in removing annual effects.


Equatorial Pacific Ocean temperature time series data contain segments showing both a phase-locked annual signal and a phase-locked signal of period two years or three years, both locked to the annual solar cycle. Three such segments are observed between 1990 and 2014. It is asserted that these are caused by a solar forcing at a frequency of 1.0 cycle/yr. These periodic features are also found in global climate data (following paper). The analysis makes use of a twelve-month filter that cleanly separates seasonal effects from data. This is found to be significant for understanding the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon.

Global ocean temperatures at depths 0–700 m and 0–2000 m from 1990 to 2014 are studied.
The same phase-locked phenomena reported in Paper I are observed.
El Niño/La Niña effects diffuse to the global oceans with a two month delay.
Ocean heat content trends during phase-locked time segments are consistent with zero.


In part I, equatorial Pacific Ocean temperature index SST3.4 was found to have segments during 1990–2014 showing a phase-locked annual signal and phase-locked signals of 2- or 3-year periods. Phase locking is to an inferred solar forcing of 1.0 cycle/yr. Here the study extends to the global ocean, from surface to 700 and 2000 m. The same phase-locking phenomena are found. The El Niño/La Niña effect diffuses into the world oceans with a delay of about two months.
The oceans have 1000 times higher heat capacity than the atmosphere. The tail doesn't wag the dog: The Sun controls ocean temperatures, which in turn control the atmosphere and climate. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

New paper finds correlation between solar activity, temperature, & East Asian Monsoon over past 1300 years

A new paper published in Global and Planetary Change finds a link between reconstructed temperatures of the Japan Sea and solar activity over the past 1300 years. The authors also find the strength of the East Asian Monsoon related to solar activity and the phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). 

The paper follows on the heels of another paper published last week finding Indian Summer Monsoon failures "synchronize well with abrupt changes in solar activity," which may represent another potential solar amplification mechanism by which small changes in solar activity are amplified to large-scale effects on climate. 

Top graph shows reconstructed temperatures, MCA= Medieval Climate Anomaly (Medieval Warm Period), LIA = Little Ice Age, second graph shows changes in solar activity (Total Solar Irradiance or TSI), arrows show corresponding trends between temperatures and solar activity. Next three graph show proxies of precipitation & the East Asia monsoon, which also show correlation to solar activity. 

We estimated SST and SSS of the East/Japan Sea over the last 1300 years.
East Asia monsoon variability has been reconstructed over the period.
A strengthened summer monsoon occurred for the MCA at time of negative PDO.
Asian monsoon failure started at the end of the MCA and extended to the LIA.


We have reconstructed decadally-resolved continuous sea surface temperature and seawater δ18O (hence salinity) records over the last 1300 years from alkenone and planktonic foraminiferal oxygen isotope ratio analyses of the East Sea/Japan Sea marine sediments to investigate East Asia monsoon variability. Comparisons of the records with other paleoclimate records indicate a possible connection between changes in the mid-latitude East Asia monsoon and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) over this period. The results show that during the Medieval Climate Anomaly when the PDO index was negative, East Asia was characterized by surface warming with a strengthened summer monsoon. Summer monsoon-related precipitation increased and pluvials possibly dominated in the region at that time. Onset of Asia monsoon failure and severe drought occurred at the end of the MCA and extended to the Little Ice Age when the PDO became positive.

Dr. Soon's latest paper on natural climate variability published in Nature Geoscience

A paper published today in the journal Nature Geoscience studies changes in the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) over the western Pacific during the Little Ice Age. The paper is co-authored by skeptics Willie Soon and Robert M. Carter, and is yet another example of the high quality, peer-reviewed work on natural climate variability and potential solar-climate relationships being published in highly respected journals by CAGW skeptics such as Dr. Soon.

Unable to attack on a scientific basis anything Dr. Soon has published in peer-reviewed journals, smear-mongerer Gavin Schmidt of NASA/GISS instead told the NYT, “The science that Willie Soon does is almost pointless.” Schmidt thus claims it is "pointless" to study natural variability, solar-climate relationships, and hundreds of potential solar amplification mechanisms published in the peer-reviewed literature, effectively because Schmidt & his falsified climate models have already made their mind up that man-made CO2 is the climate control knob & the sun plays a "pointless" role in climate. 

Note: Other papers have linked shifts in the ITCZ to solar activity and the bipolar seesaw theory of (natural) climate change.


Fingerprints of the Sun on Asia-Australia Summer Monsoon Rainfalls during the Little Ice Age

author: source: Time: 2015-03-10 

A new paper has been published in Nature Geoscience entitled ‘Dynamics of the intertropical convergence zone over the western Pacific during the Little Ice Age ’ by Hong Yan of the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and an international team of co-authors from the Alfred Wegener Institute (Wei Wei), Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Willie Soon), Institute of Earth Environment (Zhisheng An, Weijian Zhou and Yuhong Wang), University of Hong Kong (Zhonghui Liu) and Institute of Public Affairs (Robert M. Carter). The results of the research indicate that both the East Asia Summer Monsoon and the Northern Australia Summer Monsoon retreated synchronously during the recent cold Little Ice Age in response to external forcings such as solar irradiance variation and possibly large volcanic eruptions.

The Asia-Australia monsoon covers the world’s most populated areas, and therefore understanding the factors that control monsoon-belt climatic variation through time is important for response-planning for healthy social-economic development for the globe. Many previous studies have focused on the past climate changes in the Asia-Australia monsoon area, often proposing that the western Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) or the associated rainbelt should have migrated southward during cold climate episodes, such as the Little Ice Age (AD 1400-1850). Such migrations should be associated with the occurrence of a weaker East Asian Summer Monsoon and a stronger Australian Summer Monsoon, with opposing rainfall variations between the two hemispheres.

However, hydrological records from the Asia-Australia summer monsoon area, analysed by Professor Hong Yan and his coauthors, show that southward migration of the ITCZ did not occur during the cold Little Ice Age. Instead, the hydrological data support the operation of a new dynamic mechanism named ‘ITCZ/Rainbelt contraction’ in the Western Pacific region during the Little Ice Age.

Prima facie, a southward migration of the ITCZ should result in less precipitation in the East Asia Summer Monsoon area but more rainfall in Australia Summer Monsoon area. In contrast, the Synthesis of a large set of palaeoclimatological records from across the monsoonal area establishes that the precipitation in both continental East Asia and northern Australia decreased synchronously during the Little Ice Age. The unusual spatial variation in paleoclimate records therefore documents a distinctly different rainfall pattern that violates the former expectation of ITCZ southward migration. Furthermore, comparison of these results with solar records indicates that a relationship exists between the rainfall changes and Total Solar Insolation.

To explain these changes, the scientists propose an alternative dynamic scenario which they have tested using process-based climate modeling. Rather than strict north-south migration, the multi-decadal to centennial change for the western Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone can excitingly be shown to have contracted or expanded in parallel with solar irradiance variations. This new understanding clearly adds to the richness of mechanisms by which the Earth climate system can vary naturally and significantly over periods between a few decades and up to a century in length.

Pattern of rainfall within the East Asia Summer Monsoon (left) and Australia Summer Monsoon (right) area during the LIA. Locations of proxy-hydrology records in the Asia-Australia monsoon area are indicated. Locations that were dry, without apparent change and wet during the LIA are marked in red, purple and blue, respectively. The decreased rainfall in East Asia continent and northern Australia suggested the synchronous retreat of the East Asian Summer Monsoon and the Australian Summer Monsoon during the Little Ice Age (Image by Dr YAN Hong).

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Dr. S. Fred Singer's supporters slam 'Merchants of Smear'

CAGW alarmists never complained when Michael Mann & Andrew Weaver filed libel suits, but object to climate skeptic Dr. S. Fred Singer even considering the possibility of legal action against real merchants of smear, libel, and slander: Naomi Oreskes & filmmaker Robert Kenner. 

'Merchants of Doubt' emails spark fiery debate about strategies of climate skeptics 

Evan Lehmann, E&E reporter
Published: Monday, March 9, 2015

Before the release this Friday of the documentary "Merchants of Doubt," S. Fred Singer sought the advice of nearly 30 climate skeptics about their chances of halting the movie and whether he should sue Naomi Oreskes, who co-authored the book on which it's based.

"Has she finally gone too far?" asked Singer.

The discussion is outlined in a chain of emails initiated last fall by the 90-year-old physicist, who is featured in the film for his work questioning the amount of influence people have on rising temperatures. His request reached a mix of academics and others who have been mostly antagonistic toward mainstream climate findings. ClimateWire obtained the emails from a source who received them as a forwarded message.

Perhaps the strongest response came from James Enstrom, an epidemiologist who has challenged the science around the health risks of secondhand smoke and particulate air pollution. Enstrom told Singer that he could make "a very strong case" against Oreskes if Singer filed complaints with the universities she's affiliated with.

"I suggest you Attack Oreskes by Filing short Grievances with Harvard and Stanford," Enstrom wrote to Singer on Oct. 21. Oreskes is a professor of scientific history at Harvard University with a doctorate from Stanford University.

"Good thought," Singer responded.

The wider discussion is viewed by some as a window into the network of skeptical scientists, bloggers and conservative think tank scholars who often raise objections to mainstream climate science. The tactics discussed -- like lawsuits and grievances -- reflect previous efforts to constrain critics of Singer and others through legal attacks, or the threat of them, several people involved with the movie say.

"This is part of their intimidation," Oreskes said in an interview. "It's a part about trying to make people frightened that if they do speak up and they do expose what's going on, they'll get attacked. And they will get attacked. I've been attacked."

The documentary is based on her book, "Merchants of Doubt," published in 2010. In it, she outlined the similarities between the political fight around climate change and the earlier debates about whether smoking was dangerous. The effort to fight health problems from smoking was stalled for years. She suggested that a small group of scientists cooperating with think tanks and businesses managed to obscure basic truths about the harms of both. The movie will be released nationally Friday. It's directed by Robert "Robby" Kenner, the creator of the 2008 documentary "Food Inc."

Singer, who cooperated with Kenner to film a scene for the movie, said in an interview with ClimateWire that he has decided not to take legal action against Oreskes or Kenner. It would be too expensive and would require too much of his time, he said. He also ruled out filing grievances against Oreskes with university administrators because "they're just as bad as she is."

Still, Singer has sent mixed signals about his intentions. Last week, he sent a letter to Kenner to raise the possibility of legal action.

"I would prefer to avoid having to go to court; but if we do, we are confident that we will prevail," Singer said in the letter, which suggests that the film treats him maliciously and adds, "it is rather too bad that you got mixed up with Naomi Oreskes."

A 'liar for hire' or an honest skeptic?

The letter was posted on Climate Depot, a website critical of climate science run by Marc Morano, who is featured in the film and was a recipient of Singer's emails last fall.

"I think there's a pattern," Kenner said of Singer's letter in an interview. "It's to come after and try to silence critics and to intimidate. And when [Singer] implies litigation is very expensive, I think it's an attempt to be intimidating."

On the other hand, it might be going too far to suggest that Singer's goal is to stifle his critics if he feels he's been slandered, said Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the behavior of climate skeptics.

Singer says he believes the movie refers to him as a "liar for hire," though he hasn't seen it. That's false, he said, noting that he believes genuinely that humans have little effect on climate change. He also rejects the idea that he's being paid by fossil fuel companies, apart from an unsolicited $10,000 donation from an Exxon foundation 12 years ago to the Science & Environmental Policy Project, which he founded.

Singer acknowledged that he has "made a lot of money on oil," but it was decades ago, from fees he charged to financial institutions, major corporations like IBM and some oil companies to predict the price of crude using a computer model he created, Singer said. The money wasn't related to research around climate change, he said.

"I'm real sad about this attack, but it's not unexpected," Singer said of the "liar for hire" phrase.

But does the movie say that?

No, said Kenner, who provided a transcript of the scene with Singer to ClimateWire. He and others say it appears to be a phrase created by a media outlet that reviewed the film.

Besides, lying isn't a common tool of skeptical scientists, Oreskes said. These contrarians are generally successful, and trusted by some, in one field or another.

"This isn't about lying," Oreskes said. "This is something much more terrible, in a way. Much more devious. A kind of what we call doubtmongering."

"I never said that anyone was lying, and I never would say that," she added. "But this is part of the strategy, too. These people put words in other people's mouths, and then they act all outraged about it, and they spread the claim that you said something that you never said. And then they threaten to sue you for it."

Singer supporters slam 'Merchants of Smear'

Oreskes has an example in mind.

Singer filed a libel suit in the early 1990s against Justin Lancaster, a climate researcher at the University of California, San Diego, who claimed that Singer had taken advantage of his mentor and colleague, Roger Revelle, a noted climate scientist, in the months before Revelle's death.

Singer approached Revelle a month before his triple bypass heart surgery to cooperate on a journal article that downplayed the urgency of addressing climate change. It marked a reversal for Revelle, who supported policies to reduce greenhouse gases and was a mentor to former Vice President Al Gore. The paper roiled the climate debate as Gore's opponents highlighted it to raise questions about the certainty of warming.

But Revelle missed the debate. He died in July 1991 and was unable to shed light on Lancaster's assertions that Singer had pressured Revelle into co-authoring the paper in his weakened state after surgery. So Lancaster accused Singer of acting unethically, and Singer sued. Lancaster eventually settled the suit and entered a yearslong gag period.

He would later say the settlement was one of his biggest regrets. And he accused Singer, in even stronger terms, of pressuring Revelle to cooperate.

"It was one of the worst things I ever did, was to give him a retraction," Lancaster said in an interview. "I did it to try to save my marriage."

Singer frequently points to his success with that case. He raised it in his letter to Kenner and in his emails last fall.

"The lawsuit was not filed to intimidate," Singer said in the interview. "It was filed because what Lancaster suggested was that I faked the participation of Roger Revelle as a co-author. That's completely untrue. We have a complete retraction and an apology."

In his October emails, Singer reaches out to some of the most recognizable opponents of mainstream climate science and policies, including Willie Soon, Patrick Michaels, Anthony Watts, Steven Milloy, Joe Bastardi and Joe Bast.

An English climate change denier, Christopher Monckton, viscount of Brenchley, responded to Singer's request for advice by saying he would "draft the complaint" for a lawsuit, but Singer never followed up.

"In every way, they have bent the science," Monckton said of mainstream scientists and the filmmakers. "And having bent the science and not convinced anybody, not even themselves really, they're not simply resorting to the fallback position which Hitler and Goebbels on the left did, which Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot did, and of course ... Stalin and Lenin did, and that is smear."

"So this film should really be called 'Merchants of Smear,'" he added.

The pre-release controversy around the movie provides more than just a glimpse into the stormy messaging strategies on climate change. It also promotes the film. But does it help convey the facts?

Hoffman, of the University of Michigan, says tit-for-tats between mainstream and contrarian researchers tend to raise the profile of skeptical scientists, despite their relatively small number. He pointed to the recent inquiries undertaken by Democratic members of Congress, who want the identity of donors who help fund skeptical academics, as an advantage for those who challenge climate science.

"Frankly, this degradation benefits the skeptics," Hoffman said.