Dessler & North Demonstrate Why Scientists Appear Clueless

October 8th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I don’t usually respond to public policy commentaries written by scientists. Everyone is entitled to their opinions…even scientists.

But Andy Dessler and Jerry North, both Texas A&M professors and climate researchers, felt the need to lecture the rest of us about the certainty of manmade global warming, and that if we just trust the government, a solution will be found.

Yeah, they pushed my button.

Sure, the Clean Air Act did a lot of good (to an extent), and with the Montreal Protocol we found new refrigerants to replace traditional chlorofluorocarbons, as Dessler and North correctly point out.

But this is like saying, because we found a cure for smallpox, we can certainly find a cure for aging.

In fact, just outlaw aging. There, problem solved.

Or, if we try hard enough, we really can put a teletransportation device in every home, and harness the limitless energy potential of antigravity.

Sorry, but not all medical or engineering problems are created equal. Have Dessler and North not been paying attention to what is happening in Europe, especially the UK? “Renewable” energy has proved so expensive and unreliable that they are facing another winter with the threat of even more people dying due to prohibitively expensive energy.

Dessler and North can pontificate from their cushy, federally-funded (and Texas state oil-money funded) jobs, but to at least half the citizens in the U.S., they appear clueless and elitist. The wealth they enjoy did not come from the government, but from the private sector, which is where prosperity is created and where money derives its purchasing power.

They can afford more expensive energy; many people can’t.

Even if humans are responsible for the warming of the last 50 years, there is little that can be done about it in the near term. The global demand for energy is simply too large to meet with renewable sources, which even with a bust-gut effort will only amount to about 20% of global energy needs in the coming decades.

And when new energy solutions do come, they will more likely come from the private sector, not government. Energy is needed by everyone, and energy companies are working on alternatives to fossil fuels. Traditional energy sources are indeed finite, so as they become more expensive to find and extract, prices will rise, and alternatives will be eventually developed to replace them.

In the meantime, it would appear that Dessler and North would rather punish energy use, destroy prosperity, and kill poor people.

How can I make such an accusation? Well, how else can you explain Dessler and North hiding the fact that global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago, in contradiction to most, if not all, IPCC climate model forecasts?

They could have said, “The lack of warming is good news for humanity! Maybe global warming isn’t a serious problem after all!” Or even, “We have more time to solve the problem!” But, no.

Instead, they do exactly what they accuse Republicans of doing…letting their views of the proper role of government (and their desire for more climate research funding) determine what they believe (or profess to believe) about the science.

Since Dessler and North want more government, not less, they ignore the inconvenient truths about global warming not being as big a problem as the IPCC forecasted it would be.

So, stick to the ivory tower, guys. Better to let the people who work to support you wonder about your cluelessness, rather than open your mouths and remove all doubt.

74 Responses to “Dessler & North Demonstrate Why Scientists Appear Clueless”

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  1. That is why climate science is what it is. Excellent solar info. in your previous article. I will try to send you somethingof interest in my next link.

  2. This shows a connection of a more meridional atmospheric circulation index (ACI INDEX) at times of prolonged quiet solar conditions due to a lessening of the length of day(LOD),earth rotating faster,with a correspondingly lower N.H. temperature with a lag time of 4-6 years.

    Look at the graphs strong correlation. It is another area that needs to be studied in more detail.

    I hope it is of interest to you.

  3. Ned Nikolov says:

    Oh my … these guys (Dessler & North) are supposed to be physical scientists, but their statements reveal a state of mental delusional, which rivals that of the 12th century monks in medieval Europe! Their opening sentence “First, the climate system is definitely warming” suggests that they have been (mentally) absent from this Earth for the last 17 years!

    What I noticed as an interesting trend is that the more Mother Nature contradicts (and basically refutes) projections of the current climate theory, the louder and and the more aggressive voices of the AGW defenders become and the greater the insanity grows.

    A recent series of editorial notes published in Nature about the history (and ‘glory’) of IPCC proudly states that the confidence in man-made warming increased from 66% in 2001 to 90% in 2007 to 95% in 2013. So, the confidence rose rapidly over a period when the warming disappeared and the disparity between climate model projections and reality dramatically increased! IPCC is now 95% confident that humans are altering the climate, while at the same time cannot provide a BEST estimate for the equilibrium CO2 climate sensitivity. This estimate used to be 3 C per CO2 doubling in 2007. Now it’s unknown!? So, the confidence grew in inverse proportion to their ability to pinpoint the CO2 climate sensitivity … I found this both hilarious and insulting to our intelligence … 🙂

    • tomwys says:

      Well put, Ned, and your reaction is nicely described!!!

    • TonyB says:

      “IPCC is now 95% confident that humans are altering the climate, while at the same time cannot provide a BEST estimate for the equilibrium CO2 climate sensitivity. This estimate used to be 3 C per CO2 doubling in 2007. Now it’s unknown!? So, the confidence grew in inverse proportion to their ability to pinpoint the CO2 climate sensitivity … I found this both hilarious and insulting to our intelligence …”

      Unknown eh, and “hilarious and insulting to our intelligence”
      The following from the IPCC

      “The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant
      radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean
      surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2
      concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high
      confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than
      6°C (medium confidence)16. The lower temperature limit of the assessed likely range is thus
      less than the 2°C in the AR4, but the upper limit is the same. This assessment reflects
      improved understanding, the extended temperature record in the atmosphere and ocean, and
      new estimates of radiative forcing.”.

  4. M Hastings says:

    I’m curious what happens at night to the energy from the Sun taken in during the day? Does it all exit to space quickly from the atmosphere? Is it the Earths way to get rid of any excess energy or do we know?

  5. gordie says:

    Just about all of it IS radiated away from the Earth.
    There may be a small imbalance at present. Hence

    A little is radiated away directly from the surface
    of the Earth. Most is radiated away from the atmosphere.
    The outward radiation happens all the time, and is not
    related to whether it is day or night, but principally
    to the temperature of the radiating substances.

    • M Hastings says:

      The heat energy especially in the desert leaves the atmosphere so quickly when day turns into night and then continues through to dawn which is usually the coldest part of the day. It behaves almost like a light switch, when off the air gets cool very quickly and continues to cool until dawn. That would imply to me that the energy in air dissipates (or whatever the correct term may be) very quickly, the land not so much and water much much less.

      I guess what I’m wondering is if the night releases all energy put into the system from the previous day?

      • gordie says:

        The whole system loses energy quickly. If
        night lasted for several days, it would become
        extremely cold. But it is the other way round
        from what you think for which component cools
        fastest. Solids and liquids lose energy by
        radiation quickly and gases like the atmosphere
        more slowly. This is why you have frost on the
        wind-screen of your car sometimes even though
        the night has not been particularly cold. The car
        has radiated heat and gone below the temperature
        of the air. The air touches it and is cooled so
        that ice forms out of it. The air may feel cold
        standing in the desert but you are breathing air which is only a few feet from the cold ground and has been cooled by it. The especial reason for cold desert nights is that
        there is usually no cloud. Clouds contain water vapour
        which absorb radiation the ground has emitted and
        radiate some of it back.

        I think you have a misconception that there is some sort
        of basic level of heat energy. This is putting you on the wrong track as regards the ebb and flow of energy.

        • gordie says:

          “…If night lasted for several days…”

          Obviously it does, near the Poles – and it gets very cold indeed in winter.

          • M Hastings says:

            Gordie, Thank you for your answer.

            I’m still curious though because I observe that my non-heated pool is almost always warmer at dawn than the surrounding air. Yesterday pool 74 outside air temp 62, today 74/66. I also observe that rocks on my outdoor fireplace, not in use, stay warmer than the outside air for a short time.

            I do understand and have observed the effects of a cloudless sky when dusk starts. And it can make it cold very quickly. This raised the question how much heat is lost at night? Sometimes night has the effect on a high desert of dropping temps extremely fast, why? Where does this heat go so quickly? The same day time temp in a moister climate would not have the same results. The same day time temp at a lower altitude would not have the same results, why?

            You are right in that I don’t know energy theory but I do know what I observe and perhaps you can put in a context that is meaningful to me.

      • gordie says:

        The instantaneous rate at which a given body loses
        heat, due to of its ordinary thermal emissions, depends
        on its EMITTING SURFACE AREA and its temperature near
        that surface. The reducing effect on temperature, however, will also depend on how much heat is stored in that body,
        to start with. A deep pool of water has a lot of stored energy, and a fairly small radiating surface.

        • M Hastings says:

          I understand that now thank you.

          But why is the air cooler if it loses heat slower? Isn’t the air a much larger surface, or is it because the air doesn’t retain heat well? Or did I get that wrong?

          • nigel says:

            If I can come in…the air often is warmer – except
            for very near the ground.

          • M Hastings says:

            Thanks all I finally figured out what I was trying to understand.

            I started my short journey thinking about a high desert, if you’ve ever been there at dusk you can feel the warmth of the air being sucked out very quickly, where does it go?

            In Phoenix we have what’s called a monsoon season characterized by higher humidity and temperatures and at night the Temperature remains high, why?

            Water vapor! Humidity!

            Water vapor in the troposphere acts as a greenhouse gas. As the amount of water vapor in the air increases, the amount of longwave radiation held within the troposphere also increases. When there is not much water vapor in the air, longwave radiation emitted from the earth’s surface will more easily escape to space. These nights will result in significant cooling if the initial dewpoint depression is large. (Dewpoint depression = difference between Dewpoint and Temp, the closer the two are together the more water vapor. Clouds are regions of a high density of saturated air, (which form cloud droplets). Clouds (especially low thick clouds) have a high ability to absorb and re-emit longwave radiation. Thus, on cloudy nights much less longwave radiation is able to escape to space.

            When the surface temperature drops to the surface dewpoint the cooling rate is decreased thereafter at night due to the latent heat of condensation release (occurs at surface when dew forms). Once the temperature drops to the dewpoint, the temperature tends to decrease very little beyond that point. This is especially true for air at high dewpoints since much more latent heat release occurs with warm and humid air.

            The difference between the high and low tends to be much greater on dry clear 24-hour days than on warm cloudy 24-hour days. This is due to the rate of cooling being greater in dry clear air at night and the rate of warming being greater in dry clear air during sunlight hours.

            You should be able to prove that water vapor performs this function much better than CO2 ever could and at a much larger concentration in the atmosphere than 400ppm of CO2.

            I’m not sure how to go about this but I’m willing to bet you could replace the water vapor with CO2 and never get the same effect. Though both are considered GHG’s I believe water vapor contributes much much more than CO2 to the weather and climate of the Earth.

          • gordie says:

            Yes, H2O is a more important greenhouse gas
            than CO2. And, since every greenhouse gas is an EMITTER
            pari passu with being an ABSORBER…one observes powerful
            radiation from the vapour and clouds in the atmosphere –
            to the Earth in one direction and to space in the opposite direction.

            Also, clouds increase the albedo of our planet greatly.
            If we had NO greenhouse gases we would have less of the interminably discussed “greenhouse gas effect”, but much
            more sunshine would be getting through to us.

      • It is only the air near the ground that cools so dramatically at night. I look at upper air analyses, and see the temperature being much more steady throughout the day and night. The top few inches of the ground are a good thermal insulator and store little heat. It warms rapidly from sunlight, and radiates away its small amount of stored heat at night, cooling the air adjacent to it. Apparently, ground is a better thermal radiator than low humidity clear air.

        • gordie says:

          Yes this is an important point as, it bears
          on the issue of how much potentially absorbable
          infra-red is going STRAIGHT FROM GROUND to space
          when the sky is clear of cloud (day or night).
          The answer is: Not much. Radiation monitors on
          instruments on satellites confirm this.

          About 10 Peta-watts of energy a year do go out, straight
          from ground, through what is called the “greenhouse window”.
          This is infra-red radiation of a frequency which does
          not interact with water or carbon dioxide. This flux
          is basically unstoppable.

          • gordie says:

            The ground is a good thermal insulator.
            This is why we model the epidermis of the
            Earth (including water) as – essentially –
            a sliver of matter which is blackened on the top
            (blackbody surface which absorbs and emits well)
            and silvered on the bottom (reflecting surface
            which neither absorbs nor emits well).

            When I was studying soil physics, we measured the
            various temperature signals (daily, seasonal, longer term)
            using boreholes. It is actually quite interesting,
            especially from an Ecology standpoint. We found
            the signal from the Medieval Warm Period of Europe
            about 200 feet down (don’t hold me to that exactly,
            I almost go back to the MWP)

            In the longer term (a few hundred years) extra
            heat WILL go through that lower surface, especially
            into the Oceans. When you hear “the Oceans are heating up – Oh lack a day!” it should be translated to “the Oceans
            are heating up (slowly*) – well, DUH!”

            *top third has gone up 0.4 C since the excellent
            measurements carried out on the “Challenger”
            voyages in the 1870’s.

        • M Hastings says:

          Fascinating. So what you are saying is in the higher atmosphere day or night makes no difference in temps?

          • gordie says:

            “…in the higher atmosphere day or night makes no difference
            in temps?”

            Not quite. The atmosphere absorbs a lot of energy directly from the sun – 34 Peta-watts a year. Obviously, this can only come in during the day.

  6. Stevek says:

    I’m more likely to believe an alarmists if they suggest geo engineering be used to combat global warming.

    But most of them are completley against it. So for that reason alone I know they are not acting in good faith.

  7. Rob Bradley says:

    Gerald North was saying very different things back when he was consulting from Enron. Back then he did not trust climate models and rejected the Kyoto Protocol in a televised public debate in Houston.

    When North ‘went Left’ with Andy Dessler several years ago against the State of Texas in a spat with U.S. EPA re CO2 regulation, I wrote:

    “I have retrieved more than a decade of emails between many leading climate scientists on all sides of the scientific debate and myself. Many of these involve Dr. North in a professional capacity as a paid consultant for Enron. And I believe that they will show a ‘skeptic’ side that has been sacrificed to a help-our-colleagues, save-the-IPCC mentality at Texas A&M.”

    Read all about it at MasterResource:

    And now North has done it again!

  8. Nabil Swedan says:

    “If we put our minds to it, we can solve the climate problem and prosper along the way.”

    I learned that if a project cannot be calculated, then it cannot be managed. And this is where we are in the climate change project; it cannot be mnanaged because we do not have the numbers.

    Yes, the climate issue can be managed if the “main-stream” science can calculate it, but it has not. Therefore, its those climate “scientists” who wrote a bad science are the ones to be blamed for the problem.

  9. Ned Nikolov says:

    Dessler & North make the following interesting observation:

    “In fact, one could argue that climate science has not significantly changed since it was first hypothesized that combustion of fossil fuels could change the climate — in 1896.”

    In their view, the lack of change in fundamentals of the climate theory since the 19th Century is something noble that mainstream scientists should be proud of. However, when compared to the transformations experienced by just about any other scientific theory during the past 100+ years, this looks like an unusual stagnation. After all, our understanding about the World has evolved from a simple Newtonian view to the relativistic notion about the Spacetime to the String theory in quantum physics…

    Sticking to the same absurd idea for over 100 years that a minor trace gas could control Earth’s entire climate system despite the huge amount of evidence to the contrary accumulated since 1900 is more a sign of stubbornness and stupidity rather than a reason to be proud of oneself … 🙂

  10. Fulco says:


    I think that your picture of people freezing in there homes because of problems with renewable energy in Europe is a little off. But we do have cheap if not free electricity in summer due to overcapacity in Germany (20000 MegaWatt). This massive electricity flood from German solar cells is a financial threat to our conventional dirty cole and gas driven powerplants. But during the winter we can not rely on the sun. So we need to maintain those powerplants.
    The lesson we learn is that you need a propper way of storing energy.
    Just adding solarcells is not enough.

    • Bryan Woodsmall says:

      I think the picture of people suffering and dying due to scarce and expensive energy in Europe (including Germany) is not at all off. A quick web search will find plenty of reporting from major news sources on energy shortages in Europe . This is a real, man-made problem that is causing real human suffering. So far the US has avoided the worst of this foolishness, but unfortunately that appears to be changing.

      As for the lesson that “what is needed is a proper way of storing energy”, that kind of makes Dr. Spencer’s point. There is currently no practical way of storing wind and solar energy so that it will be available when needed. And in the short term, there WILL NOT be an affordable way of doing that. No battery technology that exists today comes close to working for this application. It will have to be something very different – either a different type of battery, or something completely different. Perhaps some kind of biofuel (NOT corn-based ethanol) as the way to store solar. That is, the sun makes the plant or algae or whatever grow, then you get the fuel, which is storable. This has a chance in principal, but we are a long way off.

      Whatever it ends up being (which may not even be solar), it will take a tremendous investment to develop it, and that investment will (as Dr. Spencer points out) come from the private sector. The money will be there simply because we all need energy. To the extent that the market is allowed to operate, the money will flow into the research and development effort in the amounts that are dictated by our need for energy. No government or international body can determine how much money should flow into this effort. Millions of people simply living their lives, spending their money as they see fit, will provide the money. This is why big profits for energy companies are not bad. If shortages (or fear of shortages) push up the price of oil so that oil companies make huge profits, that is good, because the big profits provide the money for research and development, and the shortages provide the impetus for that research and development, because of the profit potential of the new energy sources, in the face of scarcity of the old.

      It also should be noted that cheap energy in the summer is not a plus for an economy. As is pointed out, it hurts the companies that actually are capable of providing energy when it is needed. Subsidized solar creates a market distortion that deflects money away from where it should go.

      Although it now seems unlikely, at some time in the future it might be determined that carbon in the atmosphere is harmful to life on earth. If that happens, only then should we contemplate artificially increasing the price of carbon-based fuels, by trying to calculate the monetary value of the harm imposed by the carbon, and adding a tax that equals our estimate of that monetary value. It would not be an exact estimate, and it could be adjusted over time. But the tax would make carbon fuels more expensive, which would increase the incentive to develop alternatives. To the extent that we could figure out the correct value of the tax, the increased incentive would appropriately meet the need for alternatives. However, we have to remember that such a tax definitely imposes hardship, suffering, and early death on some poor people. It should only be contemplated when it is DETERMINED that carbon in the atmosphere imposes harm. And then the tax should reflect the monetary value of that harm. Imposing harm on poor people in the absence of a determination that carbon is itself harmful (because of “the worst case scenario”) is obviously inappropriate and wrong.

      • Bryan Woodsmall says:

        “It also should be noted that cheap energy in the summer is not a plus for an economy.” — I meant of course cheap energy from subsidized solar.

  11. Eliza says:

    M Hastings I’ve always been interested in that scenario. Lets assume the sun just went out. Assume tropics day 1 Day temps 32C, night 22C, day 2 Day 22C night 12C, day 3 day 2 night – 10C day 4 -20C night -40C etc until -273 K temperature of space. So by 20 days or so all the heat would be lost. That tells you how much (100%) we rely on the Sun. Basically all life would be totally gone by 10 days without the sun in the tropics. Atmospheric heat is kept/retained about 10C every night to be brought forward to the next day (Tropics/Sub-tropics). The scenario would be much worse and quicker at polar latitudes of course. Maybe Dr Spencer could correct me on this I certainly ain’t an expert LOL

  12. Eliza says:

    Correction Day 3 -2C

    • M Hastings says:

      Thank You Eliza, Your contribution makes sense and perfect accuracy isn’t needed to convey your message if the Sun burns out we all die.

      My interest in the night is because I’m curious if the green house effect is less at night? Also does CO2 behave in the same manner at night?

      Why can night produce an astonishing cooling effect in moments especially in the high desert on a cloudless night. Where does this heat go so fast?

  13. Willywolfe says:

    I believe the doubling down of the AGW crowd at the very time their models and theories appear to be going bust makes perfect sense. They have a desperate desire to convince the world through mandated forces to implement their recommendations in order to take credit for the lack of warming. Their reputations and likely their future economic success depends on it. If CO2 production continues to increase and no horrible consequences develop, their reputations and futures are shot. If however, they get to enforce their will on the world, they can claim credit if horrible climate change consequences don’t occur. Even if they get their way and horrible consequences follow, they can still claim it was too little too late and we should have listened to them earlier. They have nothing to gain, except a world without horrible consequences, if the current trajectory continues.

  14. Jim Sminth says:


    The monthly temperatures you publish give a linear trend for the last 15 years of about 0.15 degrees per decade warming. Why do you keep repeating that warming stopped 15 years ago?

    “how else can you explain Dessler and North hiding the fact that global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago”

    • nigel says:

      Perhaps because,

      “…global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago…”

      is a little punchier than,

      “…there is no statistically significant evidence in
      satellite data, that global temperatures have risen in
      the last 15 years…”

      • nigel says:

        For interest, I ran the data using something a little
        more sophisticated, namely a Varying Coefficients Regression
        Program. This estimates the CURRENT trend at + 0.06 C per decade.

        Of course, the Program also says this is not statistically
        different from zero.

        • Jim Sminth says:

          He could also have said there is no statistically significant evidence that global warming has stopped during the last 15 years (if you only look atmospheric temperatures).

          His statement indicates there was global warming, for how else could something stop if it had never existed. Where is the evidence that it has “stopped” over the last 15 years?

          Ocean temperatures have risen steadily during the last 15 years. Atmospheric temperatures have a positive trend over the last 15 years. What exactly has “stopped”?

          • nigel says:

            It IS certainly possible that there is an underlying
            upwards trend which has been masked for a while
            (15 years) by a random variation downwards.
            That is why we need MULTIPLE HYPOTHESES. Then
            each new piece of data can be interpreted
            as tending to support one or another hypothesis –
            or none of them! Time itself is not a causal variable,
            and so a regression on time alone is not much use

            During 60 years in the Stock Market I learned
            that a trend is a trend is a trend – until it stops.

            As for your comment that “Ocean temperatures have risen
            steadily [sic] during the last 15 years” , there is,
            in the archives of this blog for June 5th, 2013,
            a chart of satellite data for Sea-Surface Temperatures
            from 2002 to May 2013 which might interest you.

          • TonyB says:

            “What exactly has “stopped”?”

            Precisely Jim:

            I find it curious (unless I apply an ad hominem) that to *some* GW only applies to air temperatures. The climate system comprises both air and ocean with over 90% of the heat indeed stored in the said oceans.

            Given the vast capacity of oceans to uptake, store and hide that solar energy just a few 100th’s of a degree at some level (if it was possible to measure) or other would account for that “missing warming”.

            I am also curious that Roy does not (seem) to appreciate this ….

            “How can I make such an accusation? Well, how else can you explain Dessler and North hiding the fact that global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago, in contradiction to most, if not all, IPCC climate model forecasts?”

            – as evidenced by his post above. And that the recent series of la Nina’s is not to blame in his opinion – not to mention low solar and increased aerosol production (China).

            Also does Roy expect the IPCC’s GCM’s to replicate the PDO/ENSO cycle in all it’s vagaries? such that they would forecast the current “hiatus” and also the other climate variables with unknown/unforecastable cycles.

            These things are averaged out in the models and so we must look at the error bounds that the GCM’s and their ensembles give.

            Just to illustrate here is a paper that shows if this is taken into consideration then the IPCC’s models are doing fine.


            I await the approbrium.

  15. joe bastardi says:

    It appears that much to my fathers chagrin, his alma mater, Texas A and M ( BS Meteorology, 1965) is in the same boat as mine, PSU as both places have high profile people in their meteorology depts that have no way of objectively looking at facts having to do with the reality of what drives the climate and weather.

    And yes, as any meteorologist who makes a living where being right enough to get paid knows, they do have something to do with each other. Then again, I would not expect people that are simply blind to anything that requires actual verifiable challenges to understand that

    • Alan says:

      Watching your televised debates with people claiming that the number of extreme weather events are increasing is a real treat! I hope you will be doing many more of these in the years ahead.

    • steve says:

      My brother in law is associate prof at A&M and we have discussed global warming. He doesn’t think much evidence exists for IPCC claims but will only say this to me in private. He won’t discuss his thoughts openly at the college because he trying to get tenure so he has to watch what he says. I don’t blame him since he has family to support.

      • Bill Sparling says:

        This is, unfortunately, common. A couple of years ago I was disgusted to hear a University Chancellor publicly attacking a group of Graduate students for daring to ask questions about the validity of the “science” behind AGW/CC. He went so far as to threaten them with expulsion. (These graduate students were all professionals in the Disaster and Emergency Management field, with years of experience and a firm grasp of scientific principles.)

        Disgusting, but unfortunately common in universities today.

  16. Randizzle from Victoria says:

    All I can say is WOW. The net seems to be awash, since the release of the last IPCC report, with reaction similar to what Dr. Spencer has provided. Perhaps sober analysis is finally taking hold. The media is finally asking questions and a few of them are important ones. Lindzen has weighed in with at least three very illuminating interviews in the recent past. I’m heartened to see this happening.

    Thank you Dr. Spencer for providing your insights.

  17. nigel says:

    Social scientists know that about 10% is the
    tipping point for a new dogma in a fairly
    democratic society. If 10% of the population
    adopts a strong, angry, viewpoint, most of the
    rest adopt it too, because they do not want to be
    out of step with “the new thing”, i.e. they
    are conformist. This was where the anthropogenic
    global warming story was about 1980, and acceptance of
    it in countries like the USA shot up subsequently.
    But there can be further developments later – assuming that
    the new viewpoint does not work out exactly as promised.

    Some of the early, vehement, proponents simply lose their
    fire, leaving an ever snarlier rump of true believers.
    As for the “late adopters”, they typically cannot bring themselves to admit they have been foolish or weak – but they can “square the circle” cognitively, by subtly changing their view to “I do believe in it, but it does not really matter!” Again, the USA shows this development,
    for surveys show that 70% believe in the reality of global warming but only 18% think that stopping it should be a high priority.

    Decision makers and Governments are always the latest
    adopters of all, and thereafter the most purblind.
    So you reach the present situation, with Government
    chivying an every-more sceptical Public – sceptical
    about the need for haste, that is.

    All I am saying to Randizzle is: Don’t expect a lot of
    mea culpas and apologies from anyone, or expect a sudden
    sea-change in policies. That is not the way it works.

    • On the other hand, when the new dogma says, “now you must all sacrifice your first-born children for the cause”, people start having second thoughts.

      Science fiction can be entertaining, but when it causes you to lose your job, it’s not so interesting anymore.

      • nigel says:

        Slightly off-topic; but “scientists” always seem so jolly
        confident about themselves.

        From Space Daily March 6 , 2006 [my emphases]

        Scientists using a new COMPUTER MODEL at the National
        Center For Atmospheric Research said Monday the next
        sunspot cycle could be 30% to 50% stronger than the
        last one…they said NOW UNDERSTAND what drives the
        Sun’s 11-year cycle…

        From Marshall Flight Center June 11 , 2013

        This is the smallest sunspot cycle… since… 1906.

  18. mpcraig says:

    Based on the evidence I have gathered over many years which includes opinions like Dr. Spencer and Dessler and North in the current examples is that I now have an hypothesis which goes like this. These people (AGW alarmists) are operating under a motto of “the end justifies the means” and the “end” is not preventing future climate harm. It’s something else.

    I’d try to pin down the “end” but I feel it may be different for different people/groups/organizations/governments.

    That’s my scientific hypothesis based on the evidence. It’s the only thing that makes sense at this time.

  19. PaulC says:

    Actually, that was a pretty funny article. My favorite line is “…the dozens of atmospheric scientists in our state at Texas A&M… approximately zero of them are skeptical of this mainstream view of climate science.” Approximately zero? What, the 1 or 2 holdouts amoung the Texas A&M elite don’t count and are relegated to approximately zero?

    My rule is, if a viewpoint is “manistream”, that’s reason enough to be skeptical.

    • Ken says:

      Another reason to be skeptical is the statement “97% of all climate scientists believe that climate change is caused by human production of CO2.”

  20. Brent Passarella says:

    Dear Dr. Spencer,
    I am one of a few million Americans who have been negatively affected by the Montreal protocol. I have Asthma, and as you may or may not know, the FDA banned the use of CFC’s in inhalers by 2011, a decision made in 2008. The switch to HFC’s (HFC-134a to be exact) basically put one company, DuPont, in control of all medicinal propellants, causing the price of Asthma inhalers to skyrocket 250-600%! I’m now reading articles about how HFC’s contribute to global warming, and I can read the writing on the wall. As soon as the patent on HFC’s are up, I imagine that I will read more and more reports about how bad HFC’s are, and then a new “safer” propellant will be made that will likely also be patented by DuPont, thus insuring they make money off those with lung disease for years to come. With this kind of convenient cost raising, it leads people like me, who are not conspiracy oriented, to wonder if there isn’t some back scratching going on in the governmental, and scientific communities. Were CFC’s as bad as they claimed? Or was it the lack of a patent that made them too appealing?

    I guess the real question I have to ask, is why is it, through every act of environmental hysteria, that select companies get rich, and people like me get robbed?

  21. Joe Madrid says:

    This article pushed all my buttons too. Does elitist pseudo-intellectuals cover it? When I was an undergraduate MIT (76) BS CE. Texax A&M was the butt of jokes…How many Aggies does it take to screw in a light bulb types of juvenile silliness (I hope I am not offending anyone).

    For these types of people a “cognitive study” is needed to see if something has become political. Did one of the numerous professors of psychology at their high brow institution do these?

    By the way the answer to the joke is it takes 1 Aggie but he gets 3 hours credit.


    • Bill Sparling says:

      Just to add to your disgust, Scientific American has officially joined the AGW/CC cheerleading squad in their latest issue. Take a few strong drinks BEFORE reading, do not drink while reading or you will likely spew good liquor about the room.

      • Joe Madrid says:

        The person writing about deep ocean lava flows intrigued me. Also Milankovitch cycles (earth orbit perturbations) have a definite logic. It would be ironic if CO2 delayed the next ice age by a few hundred years and thus basically saved us. Am not sure fusion will ever make it but thorium reactors will and will be ubiquitous when fossils are finally depleted–100 years 200 years? they are finite.

        Renewable I see as a niche though not a trivial one.

        • Yonason says:

          It is not likely that a piddling increase in CO2 concentration, barely above what is necessary to sustain plant life (and hence human life), would stave off an ice age. Why? Because ice ages have occurred in the past when CO2 was hundreds of times higher than it is today. Also, elevation of CO2 is not likely to cause any runaway temperatures, as the maximum temp ever achieved doesn’t seem to have gone above 22 deg C, except for a couple of short blips that are not correlated with CO2 at all. See here. (if I can use html?) But, if not, see here…

          (there’s a better graph, with numbers, but I couldn’t find it on a website I felt comfortable using)

          Also, they’ve been talking about Thorium reactors since the Carter years, and not a one has been built. Probably a good reason for that.

      • Joe Madrid says:

        Laugh… I would have to be strapped in a chair and IV valium administered.

  22. david dohbro says:

    Wow, the arrogance and audacity these two have in stating “For example, if you are skeptical of the science of climate change, then you almost certainly oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and support gun rights.

    Those who support action to reduce greenhouse gases very likely hold the opposite views.”

    I am very skeptical about AGW, but I do not oppose the ACA and I DO NOT support gun rights. What a bunch of generalization, stigmatization and bigotry these two have.

    Ever thought about how poorly renewable and alternative energy sources perform in a cooling world?

    Biomass will grow less (colder, shorter growing seasons); less fuel for biomass fired plants. not to mention simply for food…
    More snow and ice will cover solar panels longer and more frequently reducing output, and wind-powered generators blades will be hampered due to icing.
    More ice will reduce tidal-wave generation
    Likely less wind since most wind is due to thermal rising of air; less heat means less thermal rising, less wind… Only barren ice/snow covered plains have more wind due to less surface friction since nothing grows anymore, but than we’re talking real ice-age conditions and I am sure under such conditions our society would have seized to exist in it’s current form.
    Colder temperatures will make battery powered transportation perform less (battery drainage). this can be prevented by keeping the batteries warm, which is done by taking energy from the battery itself. hence more energy is needed.
    But, colder temperatures will increase in stark contrast our need for energy (heating)

    Warmer climate avoids most of these problems… You pick.
    More and faster growing biomass, more food
    More solar, more wind, more tidal, etc
    Less energy needed for heating

    Unfortunately our society is not looking at the proper risks and aiming for one scenario, forgeting that the other is more devastating.

  23. Steven Mosher says:

    “This puts me in the VERY unusual position of defending mainstream climate scientists…and, as my readers know, most of the mainstream have disowned me.”

    I empathize with you Dr. Roy.

  24. Joel Shore says:


    You say

    “And when new energy solutions do come, they will more likely come from the private sector, not government…”

    Absolutely…but only if the private sector has the incentives to create these solutions. You want to deny them that incentive by keeping energy artificially cheap. That is, you would prefer that we all subsidize the use of energy by neglecting to factor into the price of that energy all of its costs.

    Right now energy use involves costs that are not borne by either the producer or consumer (which would cause it to be reflected in the price of the good) but are instead borne collectively by everybody. This is what is known in economics as an externality and it leads to incorrect, inefficient pricing of goods. (In this case, the energy is priced too low because the rest of the cost is borne collectively by all of us.)

    What carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems do is attempt to correct (or at least lessen) this externality. People who think that the private sector is the one that will help us solve this problem are the ones who should be most interested in giving the private sector the incentives through the market system to do so. To continue to squash those incentives is to believe that somehow the private sector would be incapable of solving the problem, and hence that there is no reason to give them the market incentives to do so.

    • John K says:

      Joel Shore,

      You assert:

      “What carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems do is attempt to correct (or at least lessen) this externality.”

      Intelligent science-based environmental legislation can limit damage done to another’s property through toxic pollution. Carbon taxes and/or cap-and-trade schemes do no such thing. No evidence exists that CO2 imposes a cost to any one person more than another or even to anyone at all. To the contrary, the additional atmospheric (CO2) plant food could be considered a positive benefit to farmers and the world by theoretically warming a planet still suffering under ice-age conditions as I’ve proven in other posts. In fact, if you seriously seek environmental/economic justice the person has more claim to societal compensation for benefits provided than any imagined harm. Indeed, what will you forgo to compensate those individuals denied equal access to the worlds hydrocarbons and therefore equal protection under the law. They will not have the same opportunity to access world resources as say carbon trading gatekeepers like Al Gore and Occidental Petroleum (he is a major stakeholder last I checked). Nor will other petroleum companies and Occidental Petroleum competitors fare as well either. Moreover, carbon taxes and/or cap-and-trade schemes do not in any conceivable manner limit externalities and/or costs they merely increase the cost of providing goods and services to consumers while doing failing to decrease atmospheric CO2 levels that have risen since the 19th century.

      BTW & FYI in the 1990’s several European signatories signed the Kyoto Protocol which they subsequently failed to adhere to and which did nothing to reduce the rate of atmospheric CO2. Please read my other posts I’ve made comments about it before.

      P.S. – You should note. To make any kind of sense out of your statement you will need to determine prior to any plan (1) What is the desirable amount of atmospheric (CO2)? I have never seen any evidence to suggest what that might be. (2) If the determined amount of atmospheric (CO2) is less than found at present (~400ppm), how do you plan to get the planet’s 7 billion people to emit less of it than their ancestors did in the century before last (1880’s)? CO2 levels increased from about 280ppm in the 1880’s to 350ppm in 1958 if memory serves me correctly. Of course, many other problems exist that you would need to deal with as well. Please start with the first two. I’m really anxious to find out if you have any clue as to what you’re writing about.

  25. Joel Shore says:

    Roy Spencer says: “Well, how else can you explain Dessler and North hiding the fact that global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago, in contradiction to most, if not all, IPCC climate model forecasts?”

    There is no evidence that it stopped. The models indeed predict that there will be consider variations in measured warming rates over periods of this length.

    And, if by “hiding the fact” you mean that they did not mention one of the favorite current AGW skeptic talking points, I will also note that they didn’t really talk about details of the science at all in that particular piece. You could just as well say that the are hiding the fact that the arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than most of the models have predicted (and I am talking here about the trend over a time long enough to be statistically-significant, not the ups-and-downs from one year to the next).

    • Bryan Woodsmall says:

      “The models indeed predict that there will be consider variations in measured warming rates over periods of this length.”

      Is this really predicted by these models? I thought the models simply predict a temperature range. A slower rate of increase (including a rate of zero, and including a negative rate) moves the temperature (if it is within the range) closer to to the bottom of the range. In this sense, the range given by the models allows for “variations in measured warming rates”. But do the models actually predict these variations, or just allow for them? And once the temperature is outside the range, doesn’t that mark the limit of the allowance for the variations? For a prediction to be meaningful, it has to have defined limits, beyond which the prediction is deemed incorrect. If the temperature moves outside the range, the prediction is officially incorrect at that point, right? Or am I missing something?

      When I read quotes form the IPCC about expecting variations in warming rates for some set number of years, it gives me the impression that they are trying to in some vague way move the goal posts (making them wider). If they wanted to give the model-derived range permission to actually NOT bracket the measured temperature for some period of time, they should have stipulated that from the beginning. If they are not talking about giving it this permission, then why even mention it? Just say that the predicted range still brackets the temperature and leave it at that. Maybe the predictions are more complicated than I thought, but I have never heard that there are such subtleties involved in these predictions. I’ve always thought it was simply a range.

      • Joel Shore says:

        Individual model runs, like the real world, shows that the climate has a trend but with considerable “noise” superimposed on top of it, due to ENSO and other things that cause variations. Hence, trends can vary considerably over short enough time intervals that the variations contribute significantly the to trend measurement that you get.

        See here for examples of what individual runs of climate models predict:

  26. Bil Danielson says:

    “Dessler and North can pontificate from their cushy, federally-funded (and Texas state oil-money funded) jobs, but to at least half the citizens in the U.S., they appear clueless and elitist. The wealth they enjoy did not come from the government, but from the private sector, which is where prosperity is created and where money derives its purchasing power.”

    Thank you Dr Spencer for stating this plainly. It needs to be repeated often.

  27. nigel says:

    The global warming story was originally sold as:


    Now it seems to be morphing into a tale of:


    • Bryan Woodsmall says:

      I think you’re right. And I fear this will give them another 10 to 15 years, even if we see no significant warming.

      If there is no significant warming for the next few years, and the models start failing one by one, the next thing will be a new batch of models, incorporating the deep ocean warming and la Nina – el Nino. These models will show less warming in the near to intermediate term, and probably somewhat less long term, but if you go out far enough it will still be considered catastrophic. We will hear about how more has been learned, the models were good as a first approximation, now we have better models, now we are more sure than ever, blah, blah, blah.

      • ghl says:

        It’s not warming any more!

        Yes it is.
        No, wait, we knew that, the models told us.
        No, wait, yes it is, in the deep dark where we can’t see it.

        It is getting to where governments are embarrassed to pretend to believe them.

  28. gordie says:

    Yes, they will be sh*** on us from ever loftier places.

    In war, you try not to reinforce failure. In Academia,
    it is Plan A.

  29. Thank you for every other great post. The place else may just anyone get that type of info in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the look for such info.

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