Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Fred Pearce at New Scientist: Making Stuff Up

with 6 comments

In a recent article in New Scientist journalist Fred Pearce decided to make up a quote by Dr. Gavin Schmidt.  Read on to see Gavin’s letter to New Scientist that correct’s Pearce’s Journalism 101 mistake:

In the piece entitled “Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal”
( )
Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.

“But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”

This is completely made up. My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from their introductory letter:

“At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.  The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.  At no point did I declare that the ‘science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:

Pearce might well note that even I am included in the “spectrum” that “disagree[s] with Schmidt”!

Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.

Yours respectfully,

Gavin Schmidt

PS. I am not a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’ either.

Pearce states that two of the issues that most perturbed the Lisbon paticipants were:

  1. The biggest, most totemic, issue remains the IPCC’s adoption of the “hockey stick” narrative, which holds that 20th-century warming is unique over the past millennium. Most in Lisbon saw this as a scandalous example of IPCC editors taking sides in an unresolved debate, and of how “scientific findings were judged according to their political utility”.
  2. Equally contentious is the charge – the pet subject of several in Lisbon – that the IPCC is “in denial” about whether ocean oscillations, which can absorb and release heat from the atmosphere but are not well represented in climate models, could explain the global warming of the past 40 years.

#1 is has been addressed in my blog post titled: Shooting the Messenger with Blanks where I showed that the hockey stick-shape temperature plot that shows modern climate considerably warmer than past climate has been verified by many scientists using different methodologies (PCA, CPS, EIV, isotopic analysis, & direct T measurements).

#2 seems odd.  How does a warming ocean cause nights to warm faster than days, the troposphere to warm while the upper layers are cooling, winters to warm faster than summers, measured increases in downwelling heat, and measured decreases in outgoing heat from the planet?

What magic are the oceans performing that are mirroring the effects of greenhouse warming while simultaneously stopping the effects of massive increases in heat-trapping gases?

I will be sending a copy of The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism (which details the human fingerprints of global warming) to Fred Pearce and to New Scientist as soon as I post this article.

Written by Scott Mandia

February 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Have you gotten an answer to sending the guide to New Scientist?


    February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    • I received a polite reply from NS but they did not state whether they would forward the Guide. Sigh.

      Scott A Mandia

      February 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  2. I’d also be thrilled to find out the version of thermodynamics that allows the ocean to transfer energy (heat) to the atmosphere without cooling itself – in fact simultaneously heating (retaining energy) itself.

    Mandia: Precisely!


    February 10, 2011 at 5:39 am

  3. Hard to know what’s happened to Fred. He used to be one of the best science journalists but in the last year or two he’s gone off the rails on climate. Hopefully not just feeding the media’s penchant for contrarianism – it is more the rewarding strategy for a freelancer.


    February 22, 2011 at 12:53 am

    • Stephen, Fred’s articles are just plain odd all over the place. He really isn’t feeding contrarianism, in my opinion, but seems to have created his own little ideal world, and anything that doesn’t fit in there can get a few choice comments.


      February 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

  4. Excellent post, great timing.
    Hope you don’t mind me sharing a hunk of the last part. I got a slippery debating partner over there (makes for great writing exercise), I’m looking forward to seeing what she thinks about Gavin’s summation.

    PS I… we sure do appreciate all that your doing to help get real information out there.


    April 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: