Monthly Archives: July 2009

Is ENSO “responsible for recent global warming?” No.

A raging controversy, one almost as hot as the record-breaking heat wave on the North American west coast, has broken out over a recent paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), a peer-reviewed periodical published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Authors John McLean, Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter all have a long history of links to climate disinformation groups and associated PR campaigns (many of which lead back to Canadian spinmeister Tom Harris, director of the International Climate Science Coalition).

Now the trio have claimed that their analysis demonstrates that global warming is primarily a result of natural processes with little role for anthropogenic influences such as greenhouse gases.

A barrage of criticism has forced the authors and their champions to backpedal furiously. Along the way, a PDF of the paper has been removed from the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) website, presumably to rectify an egregious copyright breach. Even worse, the NZCSC parent affiliate, the above-mentioned International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), was caught substituting its preferred title for the actual one in its link to the paper.

And, of course, a look at the actual data clearly shows that the trio’s touted source of global warming, namely a 1976 “shift” in the El Nino Southern Oscillation (or ENSO), can not possibly account for the recent upward trend in temperatures. All this raises serious questions about JGR’s editorial processes, and leads to the inevitable conclusion that the paper should be withdrawn.

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Friends of Science: They’re back!

It’s been quite a month for Friends of Science, the Calgary based astroturf group with a long history of engaging in climate science disinformation. First, RealClimate.org revealed that the supposedly “suppressed” EPA report, ostensibly by economist Alan Carlin, was based in large part on the pseudo-scientific musings of FoS director Ken Gregory (although it subsequently turned out that Patrick Michaels had a stronger claim on being anonymous lead author as detailed previously here and here).

Now it turns out that Friends of Science has big plans for this fall (which, not so coincidentally, will likely see another Canadian federal election). The group is co-sponsoring, along with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a cross-Canada speaking tour by none other than Lord Christopher Monckton, the “potty peer”. Also in the works is a cross-Canada “radio blitz” to promote Friends of Science and its website.

And it appears that at least some project funding will come via by anonymous tax-deductible donations to the preposterously named Science Education Fund at the charitable Calgary Foundation.

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More heavy lifting with “suppressed” Alan Carlin

The kerfuffle over the EPA’s so-called “suppression” of Alan Carlin continues apace, with two new commentaries from right-wing columnists. Both syndicated columnist Mark Steyn and the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel cite Carlin in support of the tired contrarian assertion that “global temperatures are on a downward trend”. (Of course, at the risk of repeating myself, this has been debunked thoroughly here, there and everywhere, as John Lennon might have put it)

But, once again, it turns out that Carlin did not write certain relevant key passages himself, and also failed to attribute them to the original author.

[Update, July 8: In another astonishing twist, I have just discovered that Marlo Lewis, the National Review columnist whose piece Carlin lifted as discussed below, is – wait for it – a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which just happens to be the right-wing think tank that has been touting the so-called “suppression” of Alan Carlin’s report. I’ll have more on this soon.]

[Update, July 7: I’ve added a comparison of the “updated” chart of global temperature projections and observations given by Carlin, and the original found in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). As well, an ironic twist to Steyn’s quote from Carlin is noted.]

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