Inspired by the recent article ‘The Hockey Stick is Broken’ I thought I would try and find out a little more about a subject on which I had developed an opinion yet was not familiar in any detail with the details of the argument, so I started reading. I heartily recommend Andrew Montford’s book ‘The Hockey Stick illusion’ which tells a pretty scary tale but, I also looked at articles, reviews and criticisms of the book to try and get a feel for the subject.
The critiques [of the book] I read were very aggressive indeed and for me, that’s not a good way to present an argument but ironically it also supports one of the main facets of the book in that the climatology group, rather then co-operate with critics to get to the truth make as much noise and act as obstructively as possible to actively discourage dissent. The pro-lobby do quite a lot of, ‘shouting from the touchline’ and offer very little consideration to valid comment when it is adverse.
Global policy of recent years has been directed principally by the ’Hockey Stick’ graphic which shows a gentle and consistent decline in temperature since the year 1000 but with a marked uptick in temperature in the 20th century, hence the name. Its significance was that it was easy to understand and to ‘sell’ to the general public as ‘scientific evidence’ of man made global warming. You will see later that it should probably be spelt ‘Mann made global warming’.
Previously it was thought that the last 1000 years consisted of a warm period, even warmer then now, followed by a mini ice age, thereby making any warming in the late 20th century unremarkable. In fact global temperatures over the last 20 years or so have remained stable so it is significant that the temperature reconstruction carried out by Michael Mann which culminated in the hockey stick graphic only went as far as 1980. Critical to this restructuring was the elimination of the medieval warm period and the mini ice age thereby suggesting that any current warming was unprecedented.
The ‘heroes’ of Montford’s book Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (M & M) showed Mann’s methodology, calculations and raw data to all be fundamentally flawed. In effect the hockey stick was a product of sloppy mathematics with more than a suggestion that even unreliable data was ‘cherry picked’ to suit a desired outcome. However, you’ll need to read the book for a better explanation of the detail as this comment is really about something else.
During this detailed investigative process by M & M, Mann et al, were repeatedly asked for data and computer code they had used for the reconstruction and were consistently met with a wall of obfuscation. In other scientific circles it is the norm that this information is made available precisely so that others can replicate the results but in the climatology arena criticism isn’t at all welcome so one of the methods used to obstruct such replication and by definition avoid criticism is to refuse to provide the necessary information. The climatologist’s aversion to any criticism is worrying because their results and hypothesis only have to pass peer review (a cursory evaluation at best) often by one of the ‘in’ crowd to be deemed scientifically robust when the reality can be quite the opposite.
I mentioned earlier the vitriol spewed at such dissenters by ‘global warming’ evangelists suggesting that little has changed so we’ll be in the dark on this subject for some time to come. They have no shortage of money or powerful friends and can subvert prudent scrutiny simply by not being home when you call. This cannot be healthy for any of us as, if anything, pronouncements of such economic magnitude should be held to the highest possible standards.
When establishing a new hypothesis about anything the scientific approach should be to then try and break it. By that I mean to attempt by all means to disprove the theory. After this process is complete a paper may be submitted for publication at which time it goes for peer review but all the data, computer code, methodologies used in the creation of the hypothesis in the first place must be made freely available for others to replicate and critique. In this case Mann was repeatedly contacted by M & M with questions and concerns about his methodology and requests for date and code. A truly scientific approach would be to embrace those requests and critiques, work together to isolate the points of disagreement and where differences still occur at the technical level those differences themselves should be referred to qualified, independent third parties to resolve. In the ‘global warming scam’ none of this happened. The rather inevitable conclusion is; ‘those who hide stuff have something to hide’.
The problem for the rest of us is that idiot politicians rarely understand anything in any detail and are happy to produce policy by headline. David Cameron’s recent pronouncement about the connection of recent weather with ‘global warming’ is a case in point. We should be very worried.
Climatology purports to be a science but seems to act more like a religion. Its clear that these people cannot even have an argument systematically so what chance do we stand in ever getting near to the global warming/cooling truth?
Editor’s Note: UKIP member and Daily Telegraph blogger James Delingpole has written a book (Watermelons) which also uncovers the lack of scientific principle by the “warmists” which, for example, is available here. UKIP’s 2014 Energy Policy is in “Keeping the Lights On“