Global Warming Elitism, Tomorrow’s Election, and The Future

November 1st, 2010 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.


The NASA A-Train satellite constellation symposium I attended last week in New Orleans was in some sense a celebration of the wide variety of global satellite observations we are now collecting from Earth orbit.

This really is the Golden Age in satellite data collection of the global climate system. While a few A-Train satellites are still to be launched, other older satellite assets in the A-Train are now operating well past their planned lifetimes.

There are no plans to replace many of these one-of-a-kind instruments, so much of what we will learn in the coming years will have to come from the analysis of previously collected data.

Unfortunately — at least in my opinion — the existence of this superb national resource depended upon convincing congress almost 2 decades ago that manmade global warming was a clear and present danger to the world.

Manmade Global Warming as the Justification

Since I believe the majority of what we now view as “climate change” is just part of a natural cycle in the climate system, I argued from the outset that NASA should be also selling “Mission to Planet Earth” as a way to better prepare ourselves for natural climate change — something that history tells us has indeed occurred, and we can be assured will occur again.

But behind the scenes there was a strong push for policy changes that even most of the scientists involved supported — ultimately culminating in the governmental control over how much and the kinds of energy sources humanity would be allowed to use in the future.

Cap and Trade, as well as potential regulation of carbon dioxide emissions by the EPA, are the fruits of the labor of politicians, governmental representatives, bureaucrats, the United Nations, and activist scientists who have used global warming as an excuse to accomplish policy goals that would have never been accomplished on their own merits.

Of course, most who speak out on this issue continue to point to the supposed “scientific consensus” on global warming as the justification, but those of us who knew the players also knew of these other motives.

I am often asked, “So, are you saying there is a conspiracy here?”

No, because the ultimate goals were not a secret. Just a bunch of elitists carrying out plans that the politicians supported — with continuing promises of congressional funding for research that those politicians knew would support Job #1 of government — to stay needed by the people. Many of the scientists involved are just along for a ride on the gravy train. Even I ride that train.

The elitism clearly shows through in the behavior of those who speak out publically on the need for humanity to change its Earth-destroying ways: Al Gore, James Cameron, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, RFK, Jr.

These people apparently believe they are God’s gift to humanity. How else can we explain that they do not see the hypocrisy the rest of the nation sees in their behavior?

Unfortunately, I saw this attitude on a smaller scale at the New Orleans meeting. There are many new, young scientists now joining the ranks. They are being mentored by the older scientists who helped spread the alarm concerning manmade global warming. And they will be rewarded for playing the game.

Or will they?

The Times They Are A-Changin’

How is it that government agencies long ago decided to put all their eggs in the manmade global warming basket? Why have the movers and shakers around the world ignored natural climate change — even going so far as to claim it does not exist?

The only reason I can think of again goes back to their elitist beliefs and desired policy outcomes. The belief that a better-educated few should be allowed power over the less educated masses. That government knows better than the people do.

Tomorrow’s election is widely viewed as a referendum on the proper role of government in people’s lives. There is no question that the founders of our country intended there to be maximum of freedom on the part of individuals and the states, while placing strong limits on the role of the federal government.

Just read the Declaration of Independence if you want to see how pi$!ed off the settlers of the original colonies became at the King of England over his intrusion into their personal affairs.

And global warming legislation is now quite possibly the best opportunity the governments of the world have to increase the role of government in people’s lives.

The Basic Economics of Individual Freedom

Yet, many Americans believe that government can more equitably distribute the wealth generated by a country. This is a laudable goal on the face of it.
Unfortunately, history has taught us that trying to impose equality of outcomes only serves to make people equally miserable.

I like to think that I know something about basic economics. It was the subject of the 6th chapter in my first book —Climate Confusion — which received a nice blurb on the jacket from noted economist Walter Williams.

One of the reasons I am willing to stick my neck out and inform people of the uncertain nature of government-approved global warming science is because the basic economics behind any governmental (or environmental extremist) attempts to restrict personal choice in energy use will end up killing people.

In fact, it already has.

The biggest threat to humanity is poverty. Wealthier is healthier. When governments make energy more expensive, or environmental organizations pressure foreign countries to not build hydroelectric dams, poor people die.

Those already living on the edge are pushed over the edge. Energy is required for everything we do, and artificially raising the price of energy cannot help but destroy wealth generation.

If these elitists really were interested in the poor, they would be doing everything they could to help individuals take control of their own economic destinies. One billion people in the world still do not have electricity.

Worried about population growth? Then encourage the generation of wealth. It is the poor of the world that cause global population growth. The wealthy countries of the world have close to zero population growth.

Of course the main argument against this view is “sustainability”. Can the Earth sustain even more people consuming natural resources?
Interesting how those who ask the question have already gotten theirs, and now want to prevent others from doing the same.

But I would ask, can the world sustain the poverty-stricken? Poor countries have had most of their trees cut down. Imagine if global society collapsed and billions of people had to make do on their own with what they could scavenge from nature.

Now THAT would lead to a pollution problem.

What ensures sustainability is free markets. As natural resources of one type become more scarce, their price goes up, which makes alternatives more attractive. People are incentivized to develop new answers to old technological problems. This is why fossil fuels will never be used up. At some point, they simply will become too expensive to extract.

Mass production by factories and corporations should be embraced, rather than derided. It represents the most efficient way of providing goods and services. Waste is minimized because it hurts competitiveness.

But What About Equality?

Equality of outcomes is an illusion. It can never be achieved…unless we totally destroy the people’s motivation to make a better life for themselves.

A vibrant economy is what maximizes the tax revenue collected by the government. The two largest periods of growth in tax revenue collected by the government occurred after two major tax-CUTTING initiatives: JFK’s in the early 1960’s, and Reagan’s in the early 1980’s.

If you really want to help the poor, then help the country grow economically. Want to make sure the poor are taken care of? Then encourage businesses to grow, which will lead to more jobs. Economic activity is what is needed, and since the tax revenue the government receives is a “piece of the action”, more action means more money for government programs.

And whether we like it or not, the only way to ensure this growth happens is to give business owners and entrepreneurs some hope that their risk-taking and creativity will pay off for them personally in the future.

Yes, in the process, some people will get rich. A few will get obscenely rich. But this only occurs because so many consumers want the goods and services those rich few can offer them.

Call it a necessary evil, if you must. But it is, indeed, necessary. The end result will be more money for the poor, not less.

A New Fight Begins Tomorrow

The basic economics and desire to help the poor that have motivated me to speak out in the last 20 years on global warming policy will, starting tomorrow, be the subject of a national debate regarding the proper role of government in helping its people.

Tomorrow’s election is only the start. From then on, education about the practical importance of economic freedom will be central to that debate.

There is no question that our country has an unsustainable growth in our yearly budget deficits, and our total national debt is staggering. Everyone agrees this must change.

And reducing government expenditures must, of course, be part of the debate.

But increasing tax revenue to help support those programs is ALSO part of the solution. And since the only demonstrated (and sustainable)way to accomplish this is to grow the economy, it requires personal economic freedom.

So, what is the primary role of government in all this? In my opinion, it is two-fold: (1) make sure people play fair, and (2) get out of the way.

WeatherShop.com Gifts, gadgets, weather stations, software and more...click here!


42 Responses to “Global Warming Elitism, Tomorrow’s Election, and The Future”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. Peter says:

    It’s amazing how both sides spout exactly some of this but they can’t control themsleves once they have drank the koolaid. Hopefully people who wanted change in 2008, now realize that the change wasn’t ever really defined…… We the electorate must define to our politicians the change we want and hold them accountable to it.

    Dr. Roy Spencer for President 2012!!!

  2. Philip says:

    Roy: Thanks very much, I think you’re speaking for many people here, not just in the US but also around the world. The elitists you talk about just keep on making the same mistakes over and over again. You mentioned James Cameron and I see that he has reportedly just suggested, “We need to evolve mentally and philosophically to something that has never existed before.” These guys – like all ideologues – see it as their mission to change human behaviour. But that’s not going to happen. And even if it could, who has the right to say how people should be? Certainly not Cameron. The result of this mistake – as Hayek and many others have observed – is disaster, over and over, for them, for us, for everyone. Please, just keep on making the case.

  3. Fred says:

    another factor is the allure of fame for a bunch of professors who never received any attention before the Great Scare.

    Climatology Departments used to back quiet backwater operations on university campuses, maybe a couple of professors and a few dozen students majoring in the field.

    Then along comes the “Great Scare” and all of a sudden they are rock stars, feted by the Elites of Hollywood & the A Team Press Corps. They went from scrambling for $research crumbs to have $billions shovelled off the truck into the labs and departments. All of a sudden they had funding for trips to conventions in Bali and book deals galore and they were presented as the saviours of the planet from evil oil companies.

    Their inner Jorel was activated and common sense was quickly overwhelmed by a free ride on the Fame & Gravy Train.

    Time to boot their butts off that train for non payment of tickets.

  4. Christopher Game says:

    Dr Spencer writes: “I am often asked, “So, are you saying there is a conspiracy here?”

    No, because the ultimate goals were not a secret.”

    Dr Spencer is right. It is not a conspiracy because it is not secret.

    It is a group delusion. I think that many of these people really believe in a danger from anthropogenic global warming. They re-inforce each other’s beliefs. But they are not critically examined beliefs; they are emotionally chosen beliefs. Sooner or later it is needed that they critically examine their beliefs, because they relate to factual questions, not merely moral values.

    Christopher Game

  5. Buzz Belleville says:

    Seems like a bunch of strawmen here Dr. Spencer. I respect your scientific views, but have some issues with the assumptions and conclusions built into this rant.

    That folks are “using global warming as an excuse to accomplish policy goals” is a comment I’d expect to see in a Wall Street journal blog, not by a scientist. Most of the folks — scientists and politicians and concerned citizens alike — who believe global warming is a problem we should address hold that belief, not because they’re secret socialists, but because they’re worried about how it will affect humanity’s existence on this planet. I know you disagree with them, but global warming is not excuse for them to achieve a hidden policy prescription, but a sincere problem that requires a policy prescription.

    Why is speaking for the need to change our business-as-usual energy use “elitism”? I speak out on the need to change our overuse of fossil fuels — I’m not leading an emission-free life, but that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. I’ve just read both sides of the scientific discussion and believe that there is more risk in doing something than in continuing on our present course.

    I also don’t think those who believe AGW is a problem worth addressing have “ignored natural climate change” or said it “does not exist.” Every scientist I’ve read or met would acknowledge the natural and cyclical influences on our climate. You yourself acknowledge humanity’s effect on climate change, but you believe the natural drivers are stronger. “They” acknowledge the natural drivers, but believe that the influence of humans’ actions is, at this moment and for the first time in history, stronger. There is also an element of controlling that which humanity can control. Humans can change the human part of the equation, but may not be able to influence the natural forcings. We can reduce human emissions a lot easier than we can alter the gravitational pull of Jupiter.

    And nobody is arguing for “equality of outcomes” or an “equal distribution of wealth.” That’s a Rush/Beck talking point that I would think you would be above. One of government’s roles is undeniably to protect its citizens. Those who think we should adopt a policy to lessen CO2 emissions know that we are individually powerless to effect such a policy change. Hence, the need for government action. It has nothing to do with distributing wealth equally. It has to do only with preserving the opportunity for future generations to enjoy the opportunities this planet offers.

    No doubt the political momentum for enacting comprehensive energy reform will take a hit at the polls tomorrow. It’s not the main issue for most; instead it is a consequence of today’s economic and political mood. But the pendulum always swings back. And unless there is some new empirical data which shows that the PDO has caused the clouds that enhanced the GH effect the past century, or a string of years where the temps fall back below the 20th century average, or some low level clouds actually form to increase the albedo or prove Lindzen’s iris theory … well, until something like that happens that disproves AGW, events like floods in Pakistan, mudslides in China and dorughts in Russia will assure that the scientific exploration into AGW will continue, as it should.

    • sentient says:

      “We can reduce human emissions a lot easier than we can alter the gravitational pull of Jupiter.”

      Obviously correct. And with almost no exception, this is the paradigm I almost always receive when discussing natural climate change with those who assert AGW should be addressed anyway. OK, let’s embark.

      The Holocene, one of the last 4 of the probable 8 such interglacials since the Mid Pleistocene Transition, and all 4 of which are categorized as extreme interglacials, the other 3 of which appear to have also achieved the peak warmth of this interglacial. Two (MIS-11 and MIS-5) of which ranged far warmer.

      Recently published research suggests that the end extreme interglacials are typically quite a wild climate ride:

      Boettger, et al (Quaternary International 207 [2009] 137–144) abstract it:

      “In terrestrial records from Central and Eastern Europe the end of the Last Interglacial seems to be characterized by evident climatic and environmental instabilities recorded by geochemical and vegetation indicators. The transition (MIS 5e/5d) from the Last Interglacial (Eemian, Mikulino) to the Early Last Glacial (Early Weichselian, Early Valdai) is marked by at least two warming events as observed in geochemical data on the lake sediment profiles of Central (Gro¨bern, Neumark–Nord, Klinge) and of Eastern Europe (Ples). Results of palynological studies of all these sequences indicate simultaneously a strong increase of environmental oscillations during the very end of the Last Interglacial and the beginning of the Last Glaciation. This paper discusses possible correlations of these events between regions in Central and Eastern Europe. The pronounced climate and environment instability during the interglacial/glacial transition could be consistent with the assumption that it is about a natural phenomenon, characteristic for transitional stages. Taking into consideration that currently observed ‘‘human-induced’’ global warming coincides with the natural trend to cooling, the study of such transitional stages is important for understanding the underlying processes of the climate changes.”

      Hearty and Neumann (Quaternary Science Reviews 20 [2001] 1881–1895) abstracting their work in the Bahamas state:

      “The geology of the Last Interglaciation (sensu stricto, marine isotope substage (MIS) 5e) in the Bahamas records the nature of sea level and climate change. After a period of quasi-stability for most of the interglaciation, during which reefs grew to +2.5 m, sea level rose rapidly at the end of the period, incising notches in older limestone. After brief stillstands at +6 and perhaps +8.5 m, sea level fell with apparent speed to the MIS 5d lowstand and much cooler climatic conditions. It was during this regression from the MIS 5e highstand that the North Atlantic suffered an oceanographic ‘‘reorganization’’ about 11873 ka ago. During this same interval, massive dune-building greatly enlarged the Bahama Islands. Giant waves reshaped exposed lowlands into chevron-shaped beach ridges, ran up on older coastal ridges, and also broke off and threw megaboulders onto and over 20 m-high cliffs. The oolitic rocks recording these features yield concordant whole-rock amino acid ratios across the archipelago. Whether or not the Last Interglaciation serves as an appropriate analog for our ‘‘greenhouse’’ world, it nonetheless reveals the intricate details of climatic transitions between warm interglaciations and near glacial conditions.”

      The picture which emerges is that the post-MPT end interglacials appear to be populated with dramatic, abrupt global climate disruptions which appear to have occurred on decadal to centennial time scales. Given that the Holocene, one of at least 3 maybe 4 post-MPT “extreme” interglacials, may not be immune to this repetitive phenomena, and as it is half a precession cycle old now, and perhaps unlikely to grow that much older, this could very well be the natural climate “noise” from which we must discern our anthropogenic “signal” from.

      MIS-11 appears to have scored a sustained +21M sea level highstand. MIS-5e, according to many researchers, scored at least a +6M (maybe higher, Astrid Lysa says she has a much larger one in Russia) highstand. Taking the IPCC’s AR4 worst case estimate by 2100 of 0.59M, which for convenience’ sake we will round to 0.6M, makes the AGW signal just 10% of natures most recent end interglacial score, 2.8% of MIS-11’s.

      The argument can very well be made that getting us all stuck in to quelling that 0.59M rise will make excellent practice for whenever we finally get around to working on the Jovian system problem. But does it really? If the MIS-5 and MIS-11 highstands (and their thermal peaks) didn’t result from AGW, or GHGs, and if they “could be consistent with the assumption that it is about a natural phenomenon, characteristic for transitional stages”, then this might well be just a silly bugger’s game. I can see our progeny slapping each other on the back, presumably drinking non-carbonated champagne, congratulating themselves on a job well done, while sea levels rise to +6 or +21 meters anyway. Job well done?

      But what if those post-MPT highstands were caused by GHGs? Then that effort might have been good practice afterall. Then the game becomes finding, and then quashing, natural sources of GHGs, probably not so hard a task as changing the synodic nodes of the other planets orbits about the sun to stabilize our climate system, but maybe not all that much easier since this would involve an unimaginable tinkering with our home world’s tectonic and oceanic systems.

      In a free society, I have no problem if you want to spend your treasure on such an escapade, but forcing me to chase your dream smacks of tyranny. So before embarking on an eradication of GHGs, you might want to slide repeal of the 2nd amendment in just ahead of it, just to be safe.

  6. Andrew says:

    “I am often asked, “So, are you saying there is a conspiracy here?”

    No, because the ultimate goals were not a secret.”

    I would add that, in fact, it does not fit the description of a conspiracy in a another sense: the situation as described requires no conscious, deliberate collaboration between politicians and scientists or scientists with scientists or politicians with politicians. This is a situation which arises naturally from individuals pursuing their personal self interest and goals, much like Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”-the difference being that with the government involved, there is little practical limit on the ability of politicians and their friends to achieve their goals-they can even steam-roll right over the rest of the market. But that situation is no more a conspiracy than the tendency for prices to achieve an equilibrium where supply and demand match one another. It is not a good situation, in contrast to the balancing of supply and demand through the price mechanism achieved by a market, but it is still no cabal.

  7. Alcheson says:

    Dr. Spencer…. agree 100% with your analogy! Kudos to you.

    Buzz, a couple comments/questions regarding your paragraph:

    “Why is speaking for the need to change our business-as-usual energy use “elitism”? I speak out on the need to change our overuse of fossil fuels — I’m not leading an emission-free life, but that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. I’ve just read both sides of the scientific discussion and believe that there is more risk in doing something than in continuing on our present course.”

    Why do you contend we are overusing fossil fuels? If CO2 is good for plants and not causing significant warming then what reason do you have for geting rid of the cheapest source of energy available?
    You also say “there is more risk in doing SOMETHING than in continuing or present course.” I agree with you there 100% 🙂

    Alcheson

  8. Tomas Ryska says:

    Mr. Spencer writes: “… some people will get rich … this only occurs because so many consumers want the goods and services those rich few can offer them.”
    I don’t think that it is necessarily true. Especially in the developing world. In many cases the people are rich because they had paid bribes to polititians and then won profitable orders from the government. Or they have had an advantage from having been allowed to polute the environment, to employ children etc.
    What we need are not weak governments but governments with few responsibilities, which are carefully chosen and consistently fulfilled.

    • kuhnkat says:

      That is a Utopian dream. We had the closest thing to that here in the US. Oh yeah, that was over 100 years ago!! When you ignore the reality of what we are you end up creating organizations that are only efficient at enslaving us.

  9. maxwell says:

    Richard Feynman had a beautiful quote,

    “I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

    I think that works as two-way street here.

    First, scientists who study climate should not be confused with policy experts in the context of energy. They are no more educated on the topic energy policy than gas station attendants in Oregon.

    Second, Roy, I think you should spare us your interpretation of what the founding fathers intended for our great nation. The fact that they aren’t here anymore should be the biggest indication that what they may or may not have intended doesn’t really mean much when it comes to what we choose to do for ourselves, as is the duty of all citizens of democracy.

    I respect your take on the science because I respect your methods. There is meaningful rigor in the ways you approach the scientific problems presented here and in your books. Any approach to politics lacks this rigorous approach, however, and I must admit I find its lacking a major shortcoming of this post.

    Obviously you’re entitled to your opinions on tomorrow’s elections. I just don’t think your opinion on that subject is as important as you want it to be.

  10. Hoi Polloi says:

    Dr.Spencer writes:
    “The elitism clearly shows through in the behavior of those who speak out publically on the need for humanity to change its Earth-destroying ways: Al Gore, James Cameron, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, RFK, Jr.”

    Don’t forget Nobel Peace Prize nominate BONO: http://hollywoodiconmagazine.com/2010/09/02/louis-vuitton-bono-ali-hewson-pose-for-annie-leibovitz-in-africa/

  11. Juraj V. says:

    @Buzz, see the ranking of recent Pakistani flood bellow.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deadliest_floods
    Think about Dust bowl drought in USA, which never repeated again, or about drought in summer 1946 in Central Europe, which never repeated since, or the longest heatwave in Australia in 30ties, which was never beaten since.
    Or shortly, explain how the fourth molecule of CO2, added to natural three molecules of CO2 since 1700, mixed with another 10,000 molecules of atmosphere, had caused persistent atmospheric blocks – because those meteorological events you mentioned are exactly that. As a help, read the NOAA report about Pakistani/Russian events stating, that frequency and size of atmospheric blocking show no trend since 1950.

  12. PaulS says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    You have stated exactly how many of us feel, concisely and effectively. How refreshing to have a scientist who not only understands the science and the politics, but is honest with both.

  13. Dr G Watkins says:

    Bravely said, and bravery is not a common attribute.
    Population control can only come from the education and emancipation of women ( and I don’t mean Western feminism ) which in turn can only come from a release from poverty and male dominated religious hierarchies and superstitions. I offer the birth rates of Italy and Spain as examples of the positives that can be gained from female enlightenment.
    That may sound as if I am politically to the left and therefore naive, but in fact I usually describe myself as kind but slightly to the right of Genghis Khan, by which I really mean that I am economically numerate and Governments should be mandated to spend only that which they raise in taxation with only a tiny margin for yearly expenditure. Liberals and Socialists can’t COUNT. Most of us follow this doctrine in our personal finances, otherwise like Mr McCawber we live a life of misery.
    You also mention the Socialist ideal of ‘equality of outcome’ which,in four great experiments in USSR, China, Cuba and N.Korea,has failed. Apart from any other parameter, fences or barriers to keep people in, more or less, proves the point. It seems throughout the World that the ambition of most of the oppressed and poor, including those in countries that consider the US the Great Satan, is to emigrate to the USA. YOU need fences to keep people out.
    Equality of opportunity is a noble but difficult aim which ignores the Gaussian distribution of, admittedly difficult to measure, intelligence and motivation, both of which seem to be linked. Yes, I know, both are linked to parenting but that can only be improved by reference to the first paragraph. Incentives not Gov. handouts etc.
    The energy policies advocated by the UK Gov. is more threatening to our well-being than terrorism or even the return of G.Brown to our treasury, all as a result of scientifically ignorant people advised by those with an agenda. The conflict of interests of the main protagonists of AGWH is astounding.
    As always, in human affairs, follow the money and power that always use the prevailing paradigm to further their own ends.
    Sorry for the rant, I could go on but my lovely wife of 35 years (not her age sadly LOL she’ll kill me for that comment) says I must stop.
    A strong statement from a major player was needed and very much appreciated.

  14. Bob Cherba says:

    I’m a lowly, retired engineer, but I agree with your approach to the science and with your opinions in this article.

    Your website is the first I go to after I read my important email and I read your books, so I have to admit that I’m biased in your favor.

    Also, thank you for your efforts to explain climate science in layman’s language.

  15. Noblesse Oblige says:

    Amen. I would like to add that the danger of totalitarianism lurkes large and real, embedded within the climate movement and its orbiting agendas. The late French philospher Jean-Francois Revel, in his incisive book “Last Exit to Utopia: The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era,” pointed out that the only real difference between National Socialism and Socialism is that the former scapegoats race; the latter scapegoats class. Both lead to the body count. Don’t doubt this. Ask yourselves in the light of the recent 10:10 depiction of children massacred in the service of carbon savings: “Is there any point where such motivated people will stop and say, ‘No. This goes too far. We can’t do this.'”

  16. CatrunJ says:

    I am glad we finally got clarity on the motives and goals of this blog. It appears that Roy Spencer and many readers must disagree with the AGW theory because it is part of a much larger personal set of convictions that would be devastating to abandon. If the temperature rose 10 degrees in the next decade, it would still be impossible to accept that the “elites” are right. Thanks for the rant.

    I once read a fascinating book about what happens to members of apocalyptic cults who predict the end of the world on a specific date, and then it doesn’t happen. One would think that they would wake up and realize they were wrong. In fact, most of the time the opposite happens. It is too painful for somebody to realize that something they believe in so passionately that it becomes the center of their life is actually complete nonsense. So they twist and turn logic to explain why they were correct all along.

    Dr. Spencer can’t deny that warming is happening because he computes the trend himself. It simply can’t be AGW. It must be natural. It simply can’t be necessary to try to do anything about it. He has to be right, or the whole thing comes down.

    • Alan Wilkinson says:

      CatrunJ: “Dr. Spencer can’t deny that warming is happening because he computes the trend himself.”

      And that trend is around just 1 deg per century?

      Your penultimate paragraph seems entirely apt for those forecasting climate apocalypse rather than those advocating scientific and economic scepticism.

    • sentient says:

      OMG, I just realized CatrunJ is absolutely correct! I just had another look at Jouzel, et al (SCIENCE VOL 317 10 AUGUST 2007), and it appears that not only did temps go up roughly 10F (~4.5C) during MIS-5e, but were perhaps a tad higher during MIS-11! The elites not only are right, they WERE right, time and again!

      And we ignored them at least twice before!

      Oops, its worse than we thought!

      “Briefly, the data indicate that cooling into the Younger Dryas occurred in a few prominent decade(s)-long steps, whereas warming at the end of it occurred primarily in one especially large step (Figure 1.2) of about 8°C (~14.4F) in about 10 years and was accompanied by a doubling of snow accumulation in 3 years; most of the accumulation-rate change occurred in 1 year.”

      Abrupt Climate Change – Inevitable Surprises
      Committee on Abrupt Climate Change
      National Research Council
      ISBN: 0-309-51284-0, 244 pages, 6×9, (2002)

      So, CatrunJ, not only are you so very right, you might just be a tad low. “If the temperature rose 10 degrees in the next decade, it would still be impossible to accept that the “elites” are right. Thanks for the rant.” It can and has actually risen as much as 8C (!14.4F) in about a decade, and right after a lusty cool spell. You need to set your elite sights maybe 50% higher?

      In fact, its worse than we thought! Dansgaard-Oeschger events 19 and 25 are estimated to have doubled even that, scoring 16C rises in less than a decade each! Thats almost 30F for chrissakes!

      You just can’t make this stuff up. Indeed you don’t have to. It happens anyway.

  17. Albert Peter says:

    Dr. Spencer,
    Your Blog article is one of the best expositions I have encountered, of the current situation confronting us, not only regarding global warming but the larger issue of the power struggle in our society. I have been following you for some time and feel you are the sanity we surely need to keep the science in this fight. As a physicist and engineer I appreciate a studied and truth-seeking approach to the subject, no matter where it take you. Keep up the good fight and know that there are many of us out there who are ardent supporters, but who watch and act in our own more silent way.

    Thanks very much.
    Regards,
    Al Peter

  18. Ron Pittenger, Heretic says:

    Dr. Spencer: Thanks for a great article. I wish it had been written and posted a month ago so it could have some small influence on the election. There will be many races for Congress that will end up being decided by relatively small differences in the number of votes. In some cases, a shift of a few hundred votes might well change who gets elected and who stays home to earn a living honestly. I’m glad this was posted at WUWT; otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it for a month or two when someone forwarded it to me.
    Ron Pittenger

  19. David Falkner says:

    I’ll go so far as to raise the stakes on this statement:

    Yes, in the process, some people will get rich. A few will get obscenely rich. But this only occurs because so many consumers want the goods and services those rich few can offer them.

    The only reason some of the advances we enjoy occur is because of the entrepreneurial spirit of people with large amounts of wealth. If it weren’t for this tendency of some with money to throw around cash at crazy ideas that may likely never work, people would not broach new frontiers in discovery. Maybe government scientists have done a good deal of discovering, but that discovery was done on the backs of the free market (tax dollars come from income folks) and secrecy that restricted competition with the free market. That secrecy is a damn good idea, but still, consider how many ‘government’ discoveries were done solely by Uncle Sam. Yeah, not that many. Uncle Sam heads in a random walk between the extremes of two polar opposites.

    When we consider elitism, we must understand it is a human condition. That is why elitism rarely makes any sort of strategic sense. Were it not for elitism, wealth hoarding would not occur. Wealth hoarding is a problem that we are starting to see in America’s economy. The figures some people earn are truly disgusting, but the fact that shareholders and boards of directors find them worthy is truly astounding. The real fox in the henhouse is the absent minded notion that expensive employees are worth it. Executive officers in companies are over paid, and at some point, if it continues, the chickens come home to roost. I am positive that a middle manager has twice the talent of an executive, and a twentieth of the wage. This is the real elitist harm being done to our economy now.

    The future contains a government overreaction to this harm. This, if we carefully consider the evidence, is the entire basis for the AGW argument. There is a great deal of emotion used in every confrontation. Because of the great deal of emotion aroused by the imbalance in our economy. Executives are grossly overcompensated because of the dilution of the power of ownership in the corporate model. From thence comes the imbalance. And also thither comes our problems now and in the future until we realize that ownership should be more powerful and hands on in the application of retained earnings.

  20. Nonoy Oplas says:

    I love this article by Dr. Spencer. I wrote a brief discussion about this, with my photo with him last May during the Heartland 4th ICCC, here,
    http://funwithgovernment.blogspot.com/2010/11/dr-roy-spencer-on-individual-freedom.html

  21. Geckko says:

    Dr Spencer,

    As a well qualified economist myself, I can vouch for the fact that you do indeed have a very good appreciation of the economic issues.

    Well written

  22. Buzz Belleville says:

    Dr. Spencer — Those predisposed to believe you (the ones already devout to Fox and Rush) will praise this article. But for those of us trying to keep up with the science on both sides of the issue, you undermine your own credibility as a scientist by showing your political stripes. You make it far too easy for folks to suggest that your politics are tainting your scientific conclusions. Which is unfortunate. After your last book, I went scurrying for info on the PDO and all the atmospheric and oceanic cycles. Saw some correlation, wasn’t convinced on causation, but started tracking the matter. I’m far less inclined to be swayed by your scientific views now that I know you have preconcieved political ideologies into which you’re trying to fit your scientific conclusions.

    @CatrunJ and Maxwell, you guys said it better than I did. An unfortunate backstep for this blog. I will continue to seek out independent thinkers who challenge conventional AGW theory, but will read this blog only with the same skepticism that I watch Fox “News.”

  23. Jiri says:

    I think that good people can’t just sit and wait when the bad guys are destroying US. I’m from “used to be” comunist country Reagan was fighting against and I have to say that Reagan and US earned a lot of respect those days. Clinton and Obama are just a bad joke. US is falling apart and it is your (US citizens) responsibility to do something with that. Otherwise, the World will be remembering your rule with a lot of sentiment when Chinees come.
    I think that there is nothing wrong when fine men like Dr Spencer speak up in a decent way.

  24. Mark Pomeroy says:

    Do not make the mistake of assuming sequential events have a causal relationship. The Reagan tax cuts were accompanied by unprecidented deficits. Income tax revenue went up 58% during the Reagan administration and 83% during the Clinton administration. Public debt went up 186% during the Reagan administration and 31% during Clinton. Federal Deficit went up by 93% during Reagan and down 150% (to a surplus) during Clinton. Did the “benefit” of the Reagan tax cuts carry into the Clinton administration? Perhaps, but I certainly don’t know.

  25. Willywolfe says:

    The ironic part of it is that the small minded thinking that we can effect change, as the AGW crowd is trying to do, will backfire. If the U.S. and European nations pass Cap and Trade then the costs for them will go up dramatically while growing economies will have cheaper access to fossil fuels and thus buy even more. China, India and other major growing economies are already buying fossil fuel resources globally in anticipation of huge growth in their use. (see article yesterday about India anticipating 40% increase in next 10 years.) The cheaper it is for them (artificially maintained by cap and trade) the more they will use and the more addicted the planet becomes to fossil fuels. The interference by some governments in the free market of energy will ultimately result in their demise economically while accelerating the economies and fossil fuel use by emerging economies and exactly the opposite effect of what was intended will result!

  26. Mug Wump Wagathon says:

    So, it’s no longer about the science. And, what we are left with is speculations about the motives underlying the abandonment of science. You’re probably right: Leftist-lib AGW elitism is the result of the overwhelming desire to feel needed; but, with nothing to offer of any value their desires have turned into a demand for relevancy to be paid in full at the expense of someone else and repaid with insults, ad homs and a knife in the back of the productive. The Leftist-libs’ desire has morphed into a beggar thy neighbor philosophy life; and, they have become just a bunch of little Hitlers screaming their liberal fascist dogmas. They have poisoned science, turned English into a liars’ language, roasted the Golden Goose and bankrupted the hopes and dreams of future generations.

  27. PW says:

    Wow. 99% politics

    #1 >

    Did you miss this contradicts your earlier paragraphs that

    <>

    Why did you leave out the possibility those presumed the Left might be concerned over the LONG term about affordability of energy for everyone? You yourself admitted that today’s conventional energy is not going to remain cheap.

    Perhaps you might response that only the free market can find solutions:

    #2 <>

    Do you really think government funding was not involved in our rapid technology advancement in the last century or two?
    The US government heavily subsidized the building of railroads and canals. Airplanes and helicopter research received huge grants for military applications. Do you think the satellite industry would have kicked off without the research in NASA? Bill Gates Sr., has spoken repeatedly how his son would not have gotten his start without government investments in computer education and infrastructure — including the internet.

    Before you start lobbing the predicable communist label grenades: My view is corporations are indeed more efficient for producing products– AFTER someone else has picked up the tab for MAJOR risky research and development program in a new technology. Putting all one’s investment in one R&D project, is too risky for the vast majority of corporations, unless it can be easily sustained by large cash flows. (ie it is already a very wealthy company).

    #3 <>

    Your post is steeped in caricatures. Maybe you can find a few on the extreme fringe loony Left Wingers. It definitely is not representative of even 95%+ of the population.

    #4 <>
    Social Darwinism is good for the poor? No surprises, I see you give no details….

    #5 <>

    Today, we are importing 70% of our oil. Outsourcing jobs overseas means there is a smaller tax base to pay federal taxes. You ignore key forces going on.

    #6 <>

    That’s not what the studies have shown.
    A study by Usoskin (2008) is considered the definitive study on solar activity.

    “Solar Activity over the last 1150 years – Does it Correlate with Temperature?”
    In summary he says yes there is a correlation with a very high (95%) confidence rate between sunspot number index and proxies of solar irradiance from as far back as 850 AD to 1975.

    However after 1975, this correlation breaks down completely.

    “During these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown and significant trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode (since 1975) must have another source.” [which Usoskin has said elsewhere is likely Co2 warming. )

    Citation:

    http://www.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/c153.pdf

    Wouldn
    t the “natural” system you refer to, still have to be ultimately a function of how much Sun hits the Earth (due to Milankovitch cycles, increased solar radiation output, etc, yeah- albedo) –do you think there is a scientific explanation… or something we can never know.

    Which reminds me. Wikipedia provides references to quotes whereby you state you find Creationism to be more scientific than the theory of Evolution. Is that true, Sir? [Please correct if that is not true. Thanks.]

  28. PW says:

    (Re-submitted to remove symbols that garbled the first post)

    #1 “RS: What ensures sustainability is free markets. As natural resources of one type become more scarce, their price goes up, which makes alternatives more attractive. People are incentivized to develop new answers to old technological problems. This is why fossil fuels will never be used up. At some point, they simply will become too expensive to extract.”

    PW: Did you miss this contradicts your earlier paragraphs that “The biggest threat to humanity is poverty. Wealthier is healthier??

    Why did you leave out the possibility those presumed the Left might be concerned over the LONG term about affordability of energy for everyone? You yourself admitted that today’s conventional energy is not going to remain cheap.

    Perhaps you might response that only the free market can find solutions:

    #2 “RS: People are incentivized to develop new answers to old technological problems.”

    PW: Do you really think government funding was not involved in our rapid technology advancement in the last century or two?

    The US government heavily subsidized the building of railroads and canals. Airplanes and helicopter research received huge grants for military applications. Do you think the satellite industry would have kicked off without the research in NASA? Bill Gates Sr., has spoken repeatedly how his son would not have gotten his start without government investments in computer education and infrastructure — including the internet.

    Before you start lobbing the predicable communist label grenades: My view is corporations are indeed more efficient for producing products– AFTER someone else has picked up the tab for MAJOR risky research and development program in a new technology. Putting all one’s investment in one R&D project, is too risky for the vast majority of corporations, unless it can be easily sustained by large cash flows. (ie it is already a very wealthy company).

    #3 “RS: Mass production by factories and corporations should be embraced, rather than derided. It represents the most efficient way of providing goods and services. Waste is minimized because it hurts competitiveness”

    PW; Your post is steeped in caricatures. Maybe you can find a few on the extreme fringe loony Left Wingers. It definitely is not representative of even 95%+ of the population.

    #4 “RS: The basic economics and desire to help the poor that have motivated me to speak out in the last 20 years on global warming policy will, starting tomorrow”

    PW: Social Darwinism is good for the poor? No surprises, I see you give no details….

    #5 “RS: But increasing tax revenue to help support those programs is ALSO part of the solution. And since the only demonstrated (and sustainable)way to accomplish this is to grow the economy, it requires personal economic freedom”

    PW: Today, we are importing 70% of our oil. Outsourcing jobs overseas means there is a smaller tax base to pay federal taxes. You ignore key forces going on.

    #6 RS: Since I believe the majority of what we now view as “climate change” is just part of a natural cycle in the climate system

    That’s not what the studies have shown.

    A study by Usoskin (2008) is considered the definitive study on solar activity.
    “Solar Activity over the last 1150 years – Does it Correlate with Temperature?”

    In summary he says yes there is a correlation with a very high (95%) confidence rate between sunspot number index and proxies of solar irradiance from as far back as 850 AD to 1975.

    However after 1975, this correlation breaks down completely.
    “During these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown and significant trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode (since 1975) must have another source.” [which Usoskin has said elsewhere is likely Co2 warming. )

    Citation:
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/c153.pdf

    Wouldn’t the “natural” system you refer to, still have to be ultimately a function of how much sun hits the Earth (due to Milankovitch cycles, increased solar radiation output, etc, yeah- albedo) –do you think there is a scientific explanation… or something we can never know.

    Which reminds me. Wikipedia provides references to quotes whereby you state you find Creationism to be more scientific than the theory of Evolution. Is that true, Sir? [Please correct if that is not true. Thanks.]

  29. TJS says:

    Temperatures rose only about 1/2 degree F since the 1970’s, and are now at most flat, and are likely to be declining. Temperatures are not rising quickly as predicted by the IPCC, neither land nor sea. None of the IPCC predictions has come true. Their models are therefore failures.

    The Earth is in its greatest period of economic progress, which will enable all people to be healthier, wealthier and happier. That progress depends 100% on energy, and at least 80% of that energy at the current time is fossil fuel. Renewable energy costs at least 5 times as much as fossil fuel, so expensive it prohibits fast economic growth.

    Global warming is part of the religion of socialists, one of their many devils. They want to demonize fossil fuel, economic freedom, wealth, profit, and establish ironclad control over literally the energy of prosperity. The socialists want to establish strict controls over everything they dislike, and make mandatory everything they do like. Scratch a “liberal”, progressive or socialist and you find a freedom-killing authoritarian.

  30. Hoi Polloi says:

    Even Stockman had to admit that the reaganomics were a huge disaster for the US. Reagan had one good thing in common with JFK though; in time of a crisis he did not listened to the hawks.

    http://geotheology.blogspot.com/2009/08/busting-reaganomics-myth.html

  31. manacker says:

    Great article, Roy.

    You have hit the nail on the head, and I hope today’s US election will help turn the tide on this arrogant elitist group of “we know better what’s good for you than you do” politicians.

    Max

  32. Nonoy Oplas says:

    “My view is corporations are indeed more efficient for producing products– AFTER someone else has picked up the tab for MAJOR risky research and development program in a new technology.”

    First, governments are penniless institutions that suddenly become super rich because of multiple taxes they take from individuals and corporations.

    Second, major, risky and expensive R&D for drugs against cancer, hypertension, diabetis, etc. were done by corporations to fill humanity’s need for such treatment, not because any govt started research on them.

  33. gallopingcamel says:

    For an academic you make a great deal of sense. If you were running for office I would vote for you. Sadly, none of the people who are running for office accept even 10% of what you are saying.

  34. Ted says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Could you explain the history of the UAH satellite temperature readings from a decade or so ago that others discovered were being misinterpreted? Why were the erroneously low temperature readings not recognized sooner?

    Also, why did the temperature anomaly of 0.72 degrees C in January 2010 disappear from every subsequent monthly chart in your data set? Was it a mistake? Was it changed when you recalibrated your system earlier this year?

    Thanks for any insight.

  35. Juggler says:

    Your post about the evils of redistribution of wealth would make so much more sense if it hadn’t been proved wrong by the experiences of the UK, Western Europe and Australia to name but a few. And the idea that trickle-down economics works, based on the experience in the US, is utterly laughable.

    Seriously. A bit of research into relative standards of living in countries that have a welfare state would have helped enormously here. So strange that it was lacking on a site like this!

  36. PW says:

    NO: First, governments are penniless institutions that suddenly become super rich because of multiple taxes they take from individuals and corporations.

    PW: You must be thinking of another gov’t that is rich. Ours is broke. My Libertarian and conservative friends have BRAGGED over the last decade how they were “starving the Beast”. Indeed, they got their wish.

    Tax rates are lower on the wealthy than the middle class is one problem:

    NEW YORK, June 26 — Warren E. Buffett was his usual folksy self Tuesday … as he slammed a system that allows the very rich to pay taxes at a lower rate than the middle class.

    Buffett cited himself, the third-richest person in the world, as an example. Last year, Buffett said, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on his taxable income of more than $46 million. His receptionist was taxed at about 30 percent.
    Buffett said that was despite the fact that he was not trying to avoid paying higher taxes. “I don’t have a tax shelter,” he said. And he challenged Congress and his audience to see what the people who “clean our offices” are taxed, to loud applause.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/27/AR2007062700097.html?hpid=sec-business

    I say this and expect my household income to be over $250K next year. Of course most of that is EARNED income….
    NO: Second, major, risky and expensive R&D for drugs against cancer, hypertension, diabetis, etc. were done by corporations to fill humanity’s need for such treatment, not because any govt started research on them

    PW: No. There have been cases where the gov’t turned over a new drug to a pharmaceutical company for free.
    But back on topic: the funding structure is different. For pharmaceuticals they can charge very high retail prices on a drug and use the profits to fund their future research.

    If you have a new startup company, they do not have a means to fund future research FIRSTt. Exxon is doing algae biofuel research, but again it has the large profits from existing products to finance this. If you look historically at innovation, it is from large numbers of small companies, not your small number of large corporations.

  37. Paul in Mich says:

    Buzz,

    I see you are suffering from Olbermann-Maddow syndrom. When your debate points (opinions) are in crash and burn mode, simply deflect the focus on the obvious, by feebly trying to convince the panel and others that the other side of the debate is incapable of having a debatable point without the existence of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Fox News. Has it ever occurred to you (probably not) that someone may actually hold an independant thought based on conclusions they may derive from extensive studying of certain facts and forming their opinion based on those facts? Certainly it is wrong and unfair for me or anyone else to connect your intellect with the likes of Olbermann-Maddow, but for demonstrative purposes, how does it make you feel? Now then, do you have some hard facts you would like to discuss? Even a flimsy theory might do.