Settled Science Catches Up with Steyn
by Mark Steyn
The journal Science, which is peer reviewed up the wazoo, has an interesting new study purporting to explain the 17-year "pause" in global warming, and, indeed, predicting how long it's likely to continue:
Really? Why would that be? Well, the study suggests that there is a natural variability in the global climate that leads to three-decade warming periods followed by three-decade cooling periods:
No disrespect to Professor Ka-Kit Tung, but I felt vaguely that I'd read about this climate cycle - natural variability, 30-year cooling periods, 30-year warming periods - somewhere before ...oh, years ago, it was. But for the life of me I couldn't recall which eminent climate scientist had advanced the proposition. And then I remembered. It was IPCC lead author, Nobel Laureate and Fellow of the Royal Society Professor Mark Steyn just over five years ago:
Now I don't consider myself a big credentialed expert or anything. I simply looked at a graph Michael E Mann hadn't been anywhere near and drew the obvious conclusion. Gave it two minutes' thought, if that. The reason it's taking climate science so much longer to draw that obvious conclusion is because ideology and the ideological enforcers like Mann got in the way.
Consider, for example, the context in which I made my 30-year-hot-30-year-cool observation half-a-decade back. I'd written a column in which I remarked en passant:
The great George Will chanced to read that and quoted it in his own column. At which point Big Climate went bananas. They recognized it as a catchy line and they didn't want it catching on. Their general line was the same as Michael Mann's in DC Superior Court - an appeal to authority. Why, Steyn is an obvious know-nothing unqualified to offer an opinion:
Oh, well, we can't have that, can we? Ezra Klein in The Washington Post:
The lads at Think Progress deplored Will's editors even publishing such dangerous deceptions:
And then there were George Soros' shrill castrati at Media Matters:
Actually, no. In public,"climate experts" rejected the notion. But in private - in fact - they well knew that "global warming has slowed or stopped". They just weren't prepared to say so to the gullible rubes at Media Matters, Think Progress and The Washington Post. A few months after my column appeared, Climategate broke, and among the leaked emails was this one from Dr Mann's bestest buddy, Phil Jones, head of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. July 5th 2005:
Oh, okay then. So the only chaps lying were Jones and his fellow members of the climate alarmism industry. In private, they agreed with me. But they weren't willing to let Ezra Klein know that. So, at the time I was breezily talking of 30-year cool/warm cycles of natural climate variability, the Big Climate enforcers were denying that any such cooling cycle was taking place. And their worshipful saps among the media and climate activists enthusiastically jumped in the back alley anyone foolish enough to advance such a notion - like George Will - and clubbed him to a pulp with their hockey sticks. Only recently have they ceased "rejecting the notion" that "global warming has slowed or stopped". And only even more recently have they begun making any effort to explain what they call, as it prepares to enter its third decade, "the pause" - heat being retained by the ocean, etc.
This is the tragedy of "climate science". Imagine if it hadn't fallen into the hands of a cabal of insecure, neurotic, ideological enforcers like Michael E Mann. Imagine if, instead of serving as eunuch cheerleaders, the guys at Think Progress had said, "Yeah, this Steyn guy's an assh*le, but these climate models don't seem to be panning out. Maybe we should look into it..." As it is, it took the "denialists" and skeptics and lukewarmers to open up the conversation in the face of a closed-minded "hockey team" and media fan club that did everything it could to shut it down. Five years on, the climate mullahs are belatedly changing their tune. Me, I'm still using my old high-school line, and if anything the passing years have made it even catchier:
I conclude that 2009 30-year-cycle post by asking this:
I'm currently thinking about courtroom strategy for the upcoming trial of the century. If I were just playing it for laughs, I'd pick climate-science assertions by Mann and me from the last 15 years and invite his witnesses to discuss which ones are closer to where the science is today. But the reality is you don't really need to "predict" terribly much - not if you believe, as I did then and as I do now, in natural climate variablity. Judging from that Science study and other recent papers, natural variability is back in - which means Mann is increasingly out. Because his main contribution to the debate was abolishing the very concept of natural variability:
~Speaking of Steve McIntyre, he has resumed his series on the multiple misrepresentations of Dr Mann's so-called "exonerations" by official bodies. Along the way, he noticed this Tweet by one of the few scientists still willing to be associated with Mann, Gavin Schmidt, explaining why Doctor Fraudpants had no choice but to sue:
That's Mann's position. To a scientist an accusation of fraud - even from an unschooled disc-jockey dropout who quit school at nine (such as myself) - is professionally damaging. But, as Steve McIntyre points out, the EPA report Mann trumpets as one of his multiple "exonerations" addresses this very point. Mann had accused McIntyre and his colleague Ross McKitrick of "pure scientific fraud", which by Schmidt's lights is "per se defamatory". Aw, lighten up, says the EPA:
So it's "entirely acceptable and appropriate" to dismiss something as "fraud" if you believe it's "scientifically flawed". Hey, that's great to know. Thanks a lot, EPA! Can't wait to see you on the witness stand.
~Thank you for your continued support of my pushback against Mann via the Steyn store and our SteynOnline gift certificates. It's a tough grind in the clogged toilet tank of DC justice, but I like the way the case is going, and even more so the way the broader debate is going.
© 2014 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc. All rights reserved.
Got a comment on a column? Drop a line to Mark's Mailbox.
Mark's Most Wanted
© 2014 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc. All rights reserved.