Cult of Climate Change

Global warming has become a religion. This is the opinion of Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Dr. Ivar Giaever , Prof. Richard Lindzen, and many others. Climate change alarmism has a surprising number of attributes of a medieval or even ancient religion. Nevertheless, real religions have some pre-requisites, like a tradition spanning at least few generations. So the proper name for climate alarmism is a cult. And these are the telltale attributes:

1) Climate alarmists pretend to possess indisputable truths about the past, present, and future. From minute details of the paleoclimate to the world state 200 years in the future, alarmists know everything.

2) The alarmist movement stubbornly refuses to debate its dogma, calling it “settled science” and viciously attacking its critics. The attacks are not limited to name calling but include prohibiting scientific research that contradicts this dogma. Significant figures within the movement call for criminal persecution of those who publicly disagree with the dogma and, in some cases, for those who do not follow it. Proposed punishments for “heretics” and “infidels” include prison and even death.

3) The alarmist movement has a formal doctrine-setting body — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The reports and summaries by this body are considered by the alarmists to be the main source of authority on all things related to climate, energy, the biological cycle, and consequentially, everything else. The cult followers (individuals, organizations, and even governments) regularly quote these unholy texts and use them to justify their decisions.

4) The alarmist movement has its own priest class: taxpayer-funded impostor “climate scientists”, having almost no real (i.e. independent of the climate alarmism) scientific achievements.[1] Frequently, they do not even have scientific degrees.[2] The alarmists sincerely believe that only members of the priest class are capable of understanding and seriously discussing “climate science.” Physicists, biologists, meteorologists, engineers, mathematicians, and other outsiders need not apply.

It is worth noting that this priest class was appointed by politicians (largely from developing countries) and is completely disconnected from the eminent scientists who founded climate change research at the peak of their scientific careers and produced the most results prior to 1985. All the eminent scientists who have publicly spoken on the topic since the early 1990s strongly opposed climate alarmism and were attacked or defamed by the alarmists. The list of these “skeptics” and “deniers” includes Freeman Dyson, William Nierenberg, Frederick Seitz, Richard Lindzen, Fred Singer, and Roger Revelle. None of the founders of climate change research support the alarmism.  An anti-alarmist Oregon Petition has been signed by more than 31,000 experts, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.

5) The climate change cult appears to worship the computer models that its members built with their own hands — literally man-made idols. Needless to say, much of the content of IPCC’s texts comes from these computer models.[3]

6) The alarmists deny, ignore, or distort elementary scientific facts, some of which should be known even to kids:

– Photosynthesis. Plants grow by converting atmospheric CO2 into biomass. Significant parts of the world agricultural output are due to additional CO2 fertilization.[4]

– Archimedes’ principle. Melting of Arctic ice cannot increase the sea level because Arctic ice floats in water.[5]

– Sunspots and the effect of solar activity changes.[6]

7) The alarmists appeal to medieval science errors. These errors can be described as beliefs that nature has existed forever in some unchanged state. The inability of a common man or a medieval scientist to observe such changes was the cause of these beliefs. The alarmists revive these errors by denying, ignoring, or underestimating natural climate change; evolution (including species’ disappearance and adaptation); higher CO2 levels in the geological past; natural sea level increases in the current interglacial period; tectonic movement; the complex trajectory of the Earth’s motion around the Sun; and the astronomic observations of stars similar to the Sun.

8) The alarmists have created and spread climate mythology, sometimes intentionally modeled on archaic misbeliefs that many alarmists attributed to religion. The common logical fallacy can be described as an appeal to everyday experiences, not applicable to the discussed natural processes (the “Flat Earth fallacy”). Some samples:

– Incorrect association of CO2 with warming because of the word “greenhouse”—the mother of the global warming scare. Most city dwellers only know that greenhouses are warm and contain elevated levels of CO2 and easily led to believe that CO2 causes warming. Most farmers also know that CO2 is added for fertilization and does not cause greenhouse warming. This is why states with many farmers (like Oklahoma) are skeptics of the climate change cult and states with many professors (like Massachusetts) are believers.

– Incorrect claim that (allegedly anthropogenic) global warming causes glacier melting or Antarctic ice sheet collapse. Ice cream does melt faster in a warmer room, but glaciers and ice sheets are influenced by totally different physical processes and on a totally different timeframe. See West Antarctic glacier likely melting from geothermal heat and The Arctic is especially sensitive to black carbon emissions.

– Incorrect claim that global warming causes droughts. Droughts are popularly associated with high temperatures but not caused by them. See Weaker solar activity means colder, and colder also means drier.

– False attribution of wildfires, New Orleans’ devastation from Hurricane Katrina, current California water shortages, and various disasters to global warming. These disasters are caused by environmentalist politics, not by global warming. Hurricane Katrina was only Category 3 upon landfall. New Orleans was supposed to withstand all hurricanes up to the highest Category 5, but the required barriers were not built because of the resistance by environmentalists.

– Time scale confusion. Processes that take hundreds of years are described as if they happen overnight.

9) Like an established religion, the climate change cult has its own “start of the time”—usually 1880 (sometimes the 1880s), which is allegedly the beginning of instrumental temperature records.

10) The climate change cult has its own eschatology—calamities, catastrophes, and the end of the world caused by global warming. To avoid this horrible end, we have to repent (i.e., accept the climate change cult dogma), stop sinning (releasing CO2), and generously pay whomever the IPCC or UNFCC will tell us to pay.

11) The climate change cult calls its dogma science but fails to make any scientific (i.e., non-trivial and testable) statements. For example, “Climate change is real” is a trivial statement. The statements about temperatures in 2100 are not practically testable. When alarmists were making testable statements (such as the infamous 1988 James Hansen testimony before Congress and early IPCC reports), they were proven to be incorrect.

12) The climate change cult spreads belief in “weather cooking” (see excellent presentation by Sallie Baliunas, recorded in 2008, before the weather cooking accusations became common again in the second decade of this century).

13) The climate change cult seeks and actually exerts control over governments. Even worse, it provokes international conflicts over hot air (mythical country quotas to release carbon dioxide).

To add to the above, the climate change cult has survived multiple exposures of its frauds—something that a normal fraud cannot survive. Nevertheless, many cults involve fraud, and even true believers are not against profiting from their position in their cult. The climate change cult has been elevated by the Obama administration into state religion. Both the White House and NASA appear to have converted to this cult.

Continues in Climate Cult Redux


Footnotes

[1] One example is a certain music professor in one of the oldest European universities, who personally “analyzed the science” and then publicly called to punish “global warming deniers” with death.  Worry not about jury of peers or other attributes of due process – the accused would be sentenced by “suitably qualified scientists”.  This call to action was posted on the university website and included a link to a list of “deniers”.  The cherry on top of the cake – the professor is against death penalty in general!  After an uproar, the professor posted an insincere apology, but then repeated similar ideas on his personal website.  The incident started in 2012, but as of September 2015 the professor is still employed in the same position in the University of Graz, Faculty of Humanities.  He is probably funded by Austrian Federal Government, too.

[2] See Donna Laframboise, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.

[3] This may sound extravagant, but this is the actual state of “climate science” today. 25 years ago, there was a clear distinction between the science and the misrepresentation of the science. For example, the IPCC First Assessment Report reviewed the science, while its Summary for Policymakers misrepresented it. Since then, the quality of the science has been steadily deteriorating, apparently both through intentional fabrication and the race to the bottom in the competence of the “climate scientists.” Existing physical models were used outside of their applicability space, and new models were developed and applied without proper validation. Some models were intentionally fabricated to produce politically desirable outcomes, other models were developed by “undistinguished scientists” (as Richard Lindzen politely called them in his 2001 Senate Testimony) through incompetence, impatience, and ideological zeal. One might guess that there was some amount of competition between the models, leading to their evolution and the survival of the fittest (models and modellers). The fitness criteria was conformance to the alarmist agenda. Apparently, the surviving models were then compared and then tweaked to better match each other. In parallel, the models have been tweaked to accommodate real-world data. When tweaking individual models was not enough, “ensembles of models” were created. Model runs were called experiments. New models were developed and parametrized based on the output of such “experiments,” then “verified” against existing models. The output of the new models became new “data” and so on. Today, the climate-related models are not understood by the modellers themselves, the models lead their own lives and describe their own imaginary worlds (like the latest Hansen paper). Today, much of the peer-reviewed literature in the “climate science” (including IPCC AR5) simply does not distinguish between the real world and computer models. This is more appropriately called worship than scientific research. This is not limited to global circulation models but permeates many parts of “climate science.”

[4] Yes, some “climate scientists” are photosynthesis skeptics (and the rest have not heard of photosynthesis). From National Geographic, published by The National Geographic Society: High CO2 Makes Crops Less Nutritious. Another one, from the University of Gothenburg: Increased carbon dioxide levels in air restrict plants ability to absorb nutrients. Photosynthesis skepticism is a booming research field! The leading alarmist website calls the fact that CO2 is plant food “a climate myth” and explains that “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.”

[5] The claim that the melting of “polar ice” causes the sea level to rise has been frequently accompanied by evidence that the Arctic ice area was shrinking, especially in the periods when the Arctic ice area was really shrinking. The Antarctic ice cap has not been shrinking. I am not trying to figure out who among alarmists are ignorant of the Archimedes’ principle and who intentionally mislead the public.

[6] A couple of months ago, Sun sceptics struck again. International Astronomical Union announced: Corrected Sunspot History Suggests Climate Change since the Industrial Revolution not due to Natural Solar Trends. “Corrected Sunspot History” sounds like something from Orwell when it appears on Discovery News, CBS News, and Nature News. I understand that as an acknowledgement that the uncorrected sunspot history suggests otherwise and that Dr. Willie Soon has been correct. Of notice, the history was corrected based on a pdf file uploaded to arxiv.org, not on a peer-reviewed (or even pal reviewed) paper. Dr. Nir Shaviv has called the paper irrelevant to 20th century warming because there are other proxies confirming the increasing solar activity over the 20th century.