Nobel laureate on temperatures
Feb 2, 2012
Bishop Hill in Climate: Models, Climate: Surface

Revkin posts what I have to say is an astonishingly fatuous letter from Nobel laureate Burton Richter in response to the letter of the 16 in the Wall Street Journal.

Armed with my own Nobel Medal, I say if you can read a graph, the evidence is indeed incontrovertible because the temperature has gone up. The Physical Society is right, he is wrong, and I can’t understand why he complains about the temperature rise issue when there is more to discuss on the second question; who is the villain?

This is what is known in the trade as a straw man. Nobody is arguing that temperatures have not gone up, including the 16 signatories of the Wall Street Journal letter. Somehow one expects that Nobel laureates would be able to string together a logical argument (or at least that the winners of scientific Nobels would be able to do so).

The 16 scientists note only that temperature hasn't risen for over ten years. This is inconsistent with a world warming at 2 degrees per century and is surprising in view of the increases in greenhouse gases we have seen over the same period.

Let me say it again: the question is not whether temperatures have risen or whether mankind has affected the climate. Temperatures have always risen and fallen and mankind has always affected the climate. The question is whether we have a problem on our hands. The poor performance of the climate models suggests that the problem is much less than we have been led to believe.

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