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Sceptic letter in WSJ

A group of prominent sceptics have published a letter in the Wall St Journal:

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

(H/T James Evans in Unthreaded)

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Reader Comments (78)

Agreed: we have a new Lysenkoism but this one is convolved with a new Phlogiston ['back radiation', 100% direct thermalisation of IR energy absorbed by GHGs], and a new eugenics cum phrenology [the disgusting neocolonialism under the guise of carbon offsets whereby third world indigenous populations are being driven off their land by plantation owners allied to corrupt governments].

Hopefully, we have placed sufficient pressure on our government to prevent it from destroying our economy to feed political self-delusion and the investments interests of relatives, but when our PM congratulated Gillard for Australian carbon taxes, I became very worried that we are being led by people who have been brainwashed by a new form of Scientology.

Jan 27, 2012 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

I am reminded of the Wycliffe and the Lollards, dissentients from the late 14th century, who challenged the Catholic Church on various matters, including the Church’s view that only priests could interpret the Bible. In 1401 a Lollard, William Sawtry, was burned as a heretic. Human nature hasn’t changed much with the passage of time: The Church of Global Warming has its Pope and its priests who see their position threatened by present-day Lollards. They haven’t got round to burning us at the stake, but by golly they do their level best to mete out harsh punishment in order to silence us.

Jan 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterFZM

What an excellent letter - a "must read". Would that it could be published in this country.

Jan 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneMustGo

One brick at a time.

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

I wish I could agree with you Mike, but we've a long way to go, and I'd hazard a guess that we'll all be members of the Great Blog in the Sky before this issue is resolved. First off warmists tell us global warming is already with us. Remember last year George Monbiot's famous statement that the 8 foot of snow covering the UK was what global warming looked like. This year he'll be telling us that no snow is what global warming looks like. That's the quality of the believers for you. They believe, as a boy I was educated in Notre Dame and De La Salle schools, you've guessed it Catholic schools, and the key message was to have "faith" i.e. keep your beliefs no matter what. It's the same with warmists.

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

How long before someone comes along claiming 'X' is secretly funded by Big Oil™, 'Y' isn't a climate scientist and 'Z' once published a bad paper.

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

How long before someone comes along claiming 'X' is secretly funded by Big Oil™, 'Y' isn't a climate scientist and 'Z' once published a bad paper.

Monday? ;-)

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.

Ouch. Our new Team is going to love that sentence. Indeed, the historical comparison is as stark as anything I've seen in such an exalted setting. On Holocaust Memorial Day. Thank you professors Lindzen and all.

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"They haven’t got round to burning us at the stake.."

They would if they could.

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"They haven’t got round to burning us at the stake.."

"They would if they could."

Nah, that would create carbon emissions.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France


I have not the slightest doubt that the CAGW/global warming/climate change scam is the greatest mass delusion that the world has ever seen.

But some skeptics seem to have an understanding of physics that is different from that presented in the physics textbooks of the twentieth century. Either that, or they have not stated clearly enough where the usual "greenhouse gas" model fails so that people such as me can understand the error.

Anyone who claims that photons from a body at temperature T1 cannot be aborbed (and thereby raise the temperature) of a body at temperature T2 (where T2>T1) disagrees with the physics of the 20th century. A photon carries no label stating the precise temperature of the body that radiated it.

There also seems to be a belief among some climate skeptics that 'backradiation' contradicts the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

So long as the net flow of heat is from a warmer body to a cooler one, the 2nd law of thermodynamics in no way forbids a simultaneous smaller flow of heat in the reverse direction.

[For example, you could use a heat flow from the hot body to the cold one to power a heat engine. The heat engine could then drive a heat pump sending a small flow of heat back from the cold body to the hot one. Probably a useless exercise but obviously not prevented by the second law of thermodynamics.]

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

"They haven’t got round to burning us at the stake.."

"They would if they could."

"Nah, that would create carbon emissions."

Wood is renewable therefore no ethical issues with burning at the stake.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Re: Martin A

> Either that, or they have not stated clearly enough where the usual "greenhouse gas" model fails

Positive feedbacks amplifying any CO2 induced warming.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Unfortunately this "shoot the messenger" mentality appears to be standard operating procedure amongst climate "scientists".
Phil Jones (UEA) also tried this one with me when Professor Jonathan Jones (not to be confused with Phil Jones!) and I had the temerity to send a FOI request.
In the recently released email, 1625.txt, we find Jones discussing with senior University staff, the idea of giving Professor Jonathan Jones and I the same treatment as he gave another UK academic.
Phil Jones (1812.txt) asks the Head of Communications at UEA “The thought is whether we should follow the same course with these two?"
Fortunately wiser council prevailed with the Head of Communications replying on the same day
“Do you know the heads of department at (their universities)? Are you sure that they would dissociate themselves from their colleagues who have written? We want to avoid any accusation that you are trying to get people fired because they disagree with you. This (Keiller) chap appears to be deputy head of department and could, I think, cause a huge stir if he got wind of it.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I completely agree with this fine letter.
What is depressing is that it is only signed by 16 people....several of whom are the "usual suspects" i.e. long term sceptics like Prof Linzen, Happer etc whose names are very familiar to me. Where ARE all the newly converted scientists?
This is not really going to impress anyone who follows the debate and is presently undecided.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

This (Keiller) chap appears to be deputy head of department and could, I think, cause a huge stir if he got wind of it.

Rumour has it that he now does have wind of it. Go Don!

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"They haven’t got round to burning us at the stake.."

"They would if they could."

"Nah, that would create carbon emissions."

"Wood is renewable therefore no ethical issues with burning at the stake."

Oh, that'd be all right then.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Perhaps the good Bish's loyal readers could write a similar letter to the Times, signed by several hundred "less prominent but equally concerned scientists and engineers".

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

As far as I can see, the climate alarm industry has no one, not one scientist, not one engineer, who can hold a candle to the men who signed this letter. Yet that industry has the power, the wealth, and uncounted masses of devoted supporters. I hope this is an unstable situation. I hope that good science and honest enquiry will see that industry collapse. It is nothing less than a moral, intellectual, and political disgrace.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Martin A: 'A photon carries no label stating the precise temperature of the body that radiated it......So long as the net flow of heat is from a warmer body to a cooler one, the 2nd law of thermodynamics in no way forbids a simultaneous smaller flow of heat in the reverse direction.'

A deceptively attractive argument but fundamentally wrong, however explaining why has taxed me. I have been helped however by talking with fellow metallurgists who like me have designed heat transfer processes where we have to get it right. So, as we represent the class of experimental physicists who have been forgotten my modern science, let me explain why photons from a colder body can't heat a hotter body. Raised eyebrows? If not why not....:o)

Two bodies1, 2, T1 > T2 in radiative equilibrium emit total radiative flux q1, q2, according to S-B. However, the net transfer of energy = q1-q2. So what happens to the rest, the Prevost Exchange Energy [Law of 1791, a bright lad]?

q2 is completely offset by q2 from body 1, hence net energy flux = q1-q2. so, what the hell does Prevost Exchange do? Answer: it connects at the speed of light the density of photon-emitting states of the two bodies. You prove this by a thought experiment.

Suddenly reduce T2. Immediately, according to S-B, q2 falls. Because of this, the filled density of states of body 1 suddenly falls and because of the principles of Local thermodynamic Equilibrium and Equipartition of Energy, molecular kinetic energy in body 1 is transferred to its photon emitting state.

In turn, the ratio of the density of such states that is filled by transfer of heat energy to nascent radiation to that which is filled by the Prevost Exchange increases. In layman's terms body 1 emits more energy so body 2 receives more to compensate for the increased temperature difference.

So, without wishing to be rude, your statement that a photon from a colder body is indistinguishable from a photon from a hotter body betrays a fundamental lack of understanding. Whilst there is no energy difference, the direction is reversed so they are different.

Thus, a colder body cannot heat a hotter body by conduction, convection or radiation. Climate Science's belief in this has wasted about $100 billion and it's time this alchemy was consigned to the dustbin of scientific History like Phlogiston and Piltdown Man. Do I make my point? I'll explain it in another way if necessary, but this way is the best, and I believe original physics.

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Can I claim precedence on the Lysenko idea? This is an excerpt from a post of mine on 6/6/8:

(a) Results, and success are declared before an experiment has completed. In AGW, just look at the innumerable papers that take AGW as established truth, even as the debate on “attribution” is still very much open among mainstream scientists.

(b) Proponents always declare “victory”, no matter what happens, and are always ready to shift the ground. That’s quite common in AGW circles: nowadays, if the planet warms up or cools down, it’s anyway compatible with AGW theory.

(c) Science is presented as a series of “solutions”, not simply as “knowledge”. AGWers cannot disentangle research from advocacy: for example, the IPCC is politically active, to the point of qualifying for a Nobel Peace Prize.

(d) According to the scientists, central planning is better than free capitalism. From Al Gore to London School of Economics’ Professor Lord Giddens, there is only one thought: free markets are not good enough, and a big State intervention is needed to save the planet from climate doom.

Ironically, [according to one of the guests at the popular In Our Times radio programme on the BBC] Lysenko’s personality and attitude would have made him a “guaranteed success in British science today”

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

PS I'll modify the above to state that when we have GHGs which scatter IR radiation, some backwards, you will get a modification of the directional information. However, it's a second order effect and to get to it you go via Hottell's thinking at MIT in the 1950s and 1960s. Clever theoretical physicists like Feynman and Dyson would understand this and formulate it in their way but the average climate scientist or physicist even won't have a clue unless you draw a simple mental picture, and then there's a chance you'll break their Scientology-type programming.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

I have written to some of the authors of the letter to suggest they could put it somewhere where other scientists could sign up to it.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Matthews

I note that one of the signatories to this letter (right down at the bottom) was Henk Tennekes.

Henk wasn't as lucky as Chris deFreitas from New Zealand (who held on to his job despite the nasties trying to have him sacked) as he was sacked after he wrote disapprovingly in a newspaper column some years back about all the "bold claims" about Climate Change.

I have a hard copy of the article about him (De Telegraaf Feb 13 2010, translation Richard Summer-UK)) which I printed out in 2010 and it is a total disgrace that he was sacked for speaking out
on a matter of science.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Oops, I should have included that Henk Tennekes was:
KNMI (Dutch Meteorolgical Institute) at the time and he had great problems with his pension afterwards.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Maurizio, you can claim precedence but I doubt it will be granted :)
To a biologist (perhaps above a certain age), Lysenko springs to mind whenever the suppression of ideas raises its head. In the same way, a chemist immediately thinks of Phlogiston when ideas arise that conflict with experimental data.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkeptical Chymist

Paragraph 12 concludes "it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet." Yet the following paragraph admits that climate change "has complicated human life throughout history" Surely some mistake.

I wonder if any of these distinguished scientists could point to a single peer reviewed scientific paper that supports their former contention that warming will be an overall benefit to the planet.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

Re: Hengist

Many years ago a friend of mine won a significant amount of money (at the time) on what is known as the football pools. Overall the win was very beneficial to him but it certainly complicated his life.

If everything stays the same then people find life less complicated because they work out how to deal efficiently with the day to day issues. It is change that complicates life, whether that change involves money, marriage, children or environment. It is irrelevant if the change is for the better or worse, it is the change itself that introduces the complications.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Hengist, why would anyone writing for a peer reviewed scientific journal bother to argue that warming might be beneficial? It would simply be an exercise in 'how not to get published'. Since virtually every journal is allied to the warming scare, why would they publish anything saying, 'warming: not such bad news after all'? And, if by a miracle such a paper got accepted and published, would the author want to face the vilification, abuse etc he would get from the zealots, plus professional down-grading, loss of grants and gravy-train riding? There comes a point when stepping outside the consensus is professional suicide, and academic climate science is a profession as much as any other (which is why what critical papers there are tend not to come from 'climate scientists' and tend not to appear in their journals).

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

@ Maurizio Morabito
I would gladly give you that precedence, because it was your very post that alerted me to the relationship between Lysenko and AGW back in 2008. Unfortunately, the great essay you also linked to in your comments appears to have evaporated...

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

My Dear Hengist, why don't you read the Nordic Sagas which recall how the Mediaeval Warm Period allowed the Norwegian Vikings to expand their agriculture....;o)

The IPCC Lysenkoists at Durban called for 210 ppmv CO2 which would, if you believe the IPCC science, a third of the way back to the next ice age and kill billions, but which is essentially irrelevant because that science is wrong. Net CO2 climate sensitivity is probably slightly negative now we have IR band saturation near the Earth's surface,

Certainly it can't be more than ~0.45 K before the control systems of the planet operate. So why don't you tell your middle class lefty acquaintances that the grey bearded experts [Lindzen is 70 I believe] have decided to wrest control of the subject from the talentless amateurs.who haven't the physics to understand that what they have been claiming is total bunkum.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

There is no contradiction between warming being beneficial and climate having "complicated human life throughout history". You're engaging in semantics again.
History has demonstrated that warm periods have been times of positive development for the human race while cold periods have usually been to the detriment of civilisations across most of the world.
Since that has been a generally accepted view for a very long time perhaps you would like to provide us with your reasons and (preferably) your peer-reviewed evidence that this is not so.
I wait with bated breath.

Jan 27, 2012 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

"If elected officials feel compelled to "do something" about climate, we recommend supporting the excellent scientists who are increasing our understanding of climate with well-designed instruments on satellites, in the oceans and on land, and in the analysis of observational data. The better we understand climate, the better we can cope with its ever-changing nature, which has complicated human life throughout history. However, much of the huge private and government investment in climate is badly in need of critical review.

Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of "incontrovertible" evidence."

Hear, Hear!!

Jan 27, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

@mydogsgotnonose I don't doubt what you say about the experiences of the mediaeval Norsemen, but the contention was that warming will be an overall benefit to the planet, meaning a net benefit to all, I don't know of any scientific study that supports such a contention.

Jan 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone


How about your feeling on how Jones and Co thought they could deal with Professors Jones and Keiler, see Jan 27, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Don Keiller

You mention peer review. What do you thin peer review should involve?.

Jan 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Dear Hengist: the question is immaterial anyway because the planet is now cooling as shown by N. Atlantic heat content which when it rose in the 1990s was why the IPCC lot thought they'd cracked it!

This cooling is the direct consequence of the reversal of the Arctic melting, a form of biofeedback with a period of ~70 years.

The solar data are dire: we're heading for the weakest sun in 300 years and by 2020, we'll be very cold because we also have the cold PDO as shown by the Barents' Sea.

So, tell your metes to prepare for icebergs in the Irish sea in the 2030s.

Jan 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose


My understanding of Prevost was that he figured out that bodies that exchange energy via radiation do so until they reach thermal equilibrium. After that, the power transmitted from body i to body j equals the power transmitted from body j to body i - whatever their equilibrium temperatures turn out to be. Obviously, in 1790, he was not invoking quantum mechanics arguments.

Suddenly reduce T2. Immediately, according to S-B, q2 falls. Because of this, the filled density of states of body 1 suddenly falls and because of the principles of Local thermodynamic Equilibrium and Equipartition of Energy, molecular kinetic energy in body 1 is transferred to its photon emitting state.

This did not figure in any of the quantum mechanics that I studied.

I hesitate to quote a website beloved of the much-missed and hopefully soon-to-return BBD. But it does seems that many textbooks on heat transfer take an alternate view from yours. The website author offers several possible tongue-in-cheek explanations such as "1. Professors in the field of heat transfer write rubbish that is easily refuted by checking the second law – heat cannot flow from a colder to a hotter body".

Thank you for responding. I appreciate your efforts but I still don't get it and I imagine that I am not alone.

Jan 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Note: one of the signatories is Prof. Kelly:

(sorry Bish - I can't quickly find the links here)

Jan 27, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Related but slightly off-topic - was trying to sleep as my wife was watching The Jonathan Ross Show last night - one of the guests was David Attenborough. Wossy of course could not resist asking His Attenboroughness his views on 'climate change' - which of course followed the same old, same old (although he didn't seem ENTIRELY convinced himself about what he was saying)...
'Glaciers are retreating...' (really..?) 'So many scientists agree...' (really..?) 'The sea level could rise as much as a metre...' (really..?) 'Some Pacific islands have already disappeared...' (really..? Name one...)
Which only goes to prove, that if you get someone eminent enough in a vaguely-related field to endorse the received wisdom, then it MUST be right...

Jan 27, 2012 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Hengist -

"...I don't know of any scientific study that supports such a contention."

I didn't spot your name on the author roll? Secretarial omission or did they not have your contact details? I think with your extensive knowledge you should drop them a line and bring them up to speed. Here are the people you need to call:

Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.

Jan 27, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Martin A: you're right but I'm talking about a temperature gradient. At equilibrium, after an exponential adjustment following a step change, you get another q1-q2 as the net energy transfer with q2 the Prevost Exchange linking the IR density of states.

Th corollary is Kirchhoff's Law of Radiation with emissivity = absorptivity.

The problem with most scientists is that they fail to account for the difference between photonic energy and heat. You must consider the conversion process and the statistical thermodynamics thereof.

I don't think anyone has thought about this for 60 years which is why climate scientists have fallen into the trap of imagining that you can add up the measured Prevost Exchange signal aka DLR and the IR from the Earth's surface which is energy transfer from the sun.

Take that away from the models and the positive feedback is suddenly much less.

Jan 27, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

The essay mentioned by Justin was written by Cliff Ollier, Emeritus Professor and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, The University of Western Australia. The title was "Lysenkoism And GW” and the web address:

I wonder if a place like WayBackMachine would be keeping it?

Jan 27, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

mydog - can I suggest you contact JeffId at theAirVent and put up a guest post on your view? IMO it will get a thorough testing and it will save you having to post it on 101 different threads all over the internet. As well as taking threads off topic you risk becoming background noise - if your view has substance, IMO, your currently reactive approach does not serve you best. Best wishes.

Jan 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Hengist, can you point me to a peer reviewed paper that states, with at least 95% certainty, that an increase of 1C over century timescales will have globally adverse effects?

Jan 27, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Martin A: I have looked at the SOD and he makes the same mistake as many others which is to forget the intermediate step of conversion of absorbed photonic energy to heat.

To put it very succinctly, at the hotter body the net transfer of kinetic energy to excited vibrational [IR] or electron orbital [Vis] states is positive and vice versa for the colder body.

Thus the sum energy of the photons from the colder body to the hotter body never adds to the kinetic energy of the hotter body.

I suggest that a way of educating yourself in the principles is to study the 'Gibbs Paradox' where he showed that you cannot use the concept of an individual quantum of energy in statistical thermodynamics because it gives the wrong entropy.

This is difficult stuff but I've noticed before that the SOD is prone to fundamental errors: I was taught by someone who studied under Max Planck in the 1930s. Nowadays even Professors of Physics are technicians, not scientists. And because Trenberth wasn't taught formal physics, he walked into the trap.

Another example is Ramanathan whose IR work is wrong wrt thermalisation. In 1993, Will Happer, a competent physicists, warned climate science of its imminent failure when he resigned as Director of Research for the US DoE because he refused to lie for Gore.

The cooling we are seeing now was a hostage to fortune of people who bunged the first thing they thought of into models and sold their souls to the politicians. I'm not yet certain when the subject degenerated into fraud. The latest date is 2004, but it could have been 1997 when they decided to fake the hockey sticks after the link between CO2 and the end of ice ages was broken.

Jan 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

The CAGW meme is primarily a cause, a movement, relying mainly on messaging, audience gullibility, bluster and propaganda. The proponents will spare no effort to silence or denigrate any opposition or publicity which threatens to expose their cause to critical debate, precisely because it is so vulnerable.

Fierce rebuttals are always mounted, regardless of whether the opposition is in the political debating chamber, the academic journal, the media column, the documentary polemic, or the internet blog.

This is why such letters as this will be vilified, simply because they are so damaging, carry a hundred times the punch of any rebuttals, and encourage stimulation of the latent rational logical reasoning in the general public psyche, which can so easily prick their inflated balloon of fear.

Jan 27, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Jan 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Martin A

What you say about photons not carry a label appears correct, but the reality is that we do not know or understand photons fully. Accordingly, we do not know for certain whether a photon needs to caery a 'pass' to be admitted entry to the warmer world inhabitted in T+ and it may be the case that a photon from T- whilst not having a label does not carry the required pass to affect the T+ world.

I have never seen experimental data on this but perhaps you have and I would be interested to see it.

The experiment I would like to see is a black metal strip at say 30 deg C being placed in a well insulated container containing an inert non GHG gas at say 10 deg C and the time taken for the hot metal strip to cool. I would then like to see that experiment repeated but this time with the addition of a second black metal strip at a temperature of 10 deg C (ie., the same temperature as the non GHG gas). I would like to see a comparison of the time taken for the hot metal strip to cool in both scenarios.

In the second scenario the hot metal strip will enjoy the benefit of receiving photons emitted from the cold metal strip and thus if you are correct, the time taken for the hot metal strip to cool should be extended in the second experiment. It is important to use a non GHG atmosphere so that no photons are being radiated from the gas. It is important that in the second experiement the second black metal strip is (on introduction) precisely the same temperature as the gas. Ideally, both the gas and the metal (or other radiating object) should have the same latent heat capacities.

If you have seen an experiment of this (or similar) then I would very much like to review the experimental data.

Jan 27, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

I am pleased to see this letter published in mainstream media. Whether the letter is signed by 16 or 31,000 signatures is not important. What is important is that the letter (which is signed by some respected scientists) has been published in the WSJ. This is a newspaper with wide circulation even extending outside the USA.

The important fact is that many will read this letter and a few people who are undecided may become even more skeptic or even to now conclude that AGW is overhyped and not of real concern. Eventually, drip by drip, the public's perception of the validity of AGW and the need to do something about it will wane, and with this waning the public's acceptance of green taxes and subsidies will decline until such time as they openly oppose the idea of green taxes and subsidies. As this happens, the political agenda will change since politicians will see being ‘green’ not as a vote winner but as a vote loser. The politicians will then distance themselves from the green agenda.

Slowly the tide in public opinion is beginning to change. The Daily Mail today published an article on how those who were convinced that climate change was real and happening has fallen since 2006 from 86% to 76% and those who were fairly concerned about the issue has fallen from 81% to 65%. See further

Of course, UK political policy is still firmly behind the cAGW myth and the need to do something about it. As oldgifford says: January 27, 2012 at 2:24 am the UK government is still peddling the scare tactics with a view to justifying policy and expenditure. As usual, they exaggerate. They are concerned about droughts and warm weather related deaths and give the impression that the UK will become like southern Spain when any school boy (or school girl) should know that southern Spain is about 10 degC warmer than the UK, not 3 to 5 deg C warmer as the IPCC computer projections would have one believe will occur. IF (and as we know this is a very big IF) the UK warms by about 3 to 5 deg C then what will happen is that Scotland will become more like the midlands, the midlands more like southern England and southern England more like the Channel Isles. This would in practice be a very pleasant shift in climate. Materially, for geographical reasons rainfall patterns will not change that much over the UK. For sure, there may be less rainfall in the South and even in the midlands. However, the UK is a small island surrounded by lots and lots of water. Its weather and rain is dominated by the Atlantic and the mountainous regions of Scotland, North West England and Wales. These mountains will not move, nor will the Atlantic and there will always be rainfall as weather fronts coming off the Atlantic meet these immoveable mountain ranges. There will always be rainfall here as any geography student would recognize and therefore it is a simple matter of sensible water management. This is not difficult nor in fact particularly expensive.
What will kill cAGWism is the present economic problems which for ordinary people is of far more significance and concern, and a continued period of cold weather with unaffordable energy/heating costs. The UK has had at least 3 cold winters in a row. This has severely dented confidence in AGW despite the PR being put out by the mouthpiece one of AGW most committed believers, the BBC. However, this year, the winter has been mild but it appears that this might now change and winter will close with a cold spell which may last for a month. See
Regrettably this is what is needed, the realities and problems of a severe financial crisis combined with a series of cold winters. It is only this that will make the wider public and the politicians smell the coffee and appreciate that nature rules, that you cannot fight nature and must work with it. Most importantly, you should not throw away good and hard to earn money on socialist dreams which in reality are worse than dreams because in stark reality they are the stuff of nightmares; how many of us would truly wish to wake up in 18th century poverty? How many of us would wish to experience intermittent and unaffordably expensive energy and to see that all industry and with it hope of employment and prosperity exported to China, India and the other fast developing nations.

Jan 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

This article got some play in the Financial newscasts this morning. Varney and Company of Fox Business News played it for about five minutes. THAT was important.

And having it in the WSJ is not good for the greenies. Also ENER1, a maker of electric car batteries also did a SOLYNDRA.

The grand green plan is unwinding fast.

Jan 27, 2012 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

@TerryS IPCC reports 1, 2, 3 and 4 spring to mind

Jan 27, 2012 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

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