Those of us who are—to say the least—highly sceptical of the alarmists' claims have constantly worried at not only the science but also the credibility of those presenting it. Because, if those people are themselves compromised then so is the quality of the evidence.
This tactic might be—and is—dismissed as a series of ludicrous ad hominem attacks, but it has been forced upon us largely by the climatologists' refusal to release the raw measurements on which they have based their reports.
What has not helped the alarmists' case is that these attacks on their own personal credibility have proved to be justified. When evidence has been released, it is often not the raw figures, e.g. the Met Office's recent stats release, which leads to (entirely justified) accusations of obfuscation; when the raw figures are released, all too often they show precisely the kind of deeply unscientific manipulation that we sceptics have constantly accused them of; their computer models, which lead to the catastrophic claims, are constantly derided by those who know the concepts intimately, as well as being catastrophically undermined by their own documents.
Most recently, of course, the CRU documents leak* was incredibly embarrassing and damaging for the CACC Club: the code undermined the reliability of the evidence itself, whilst the emails revealed the climatologists at the very centre of the CACC to be a bunch of under-hand, biased, unpleasant little shits who had utterly undermined the peer-review process that formed the large part of the basis of their reports' reliability.
It was also highly damaging to the great god of CACC—the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This institution is chaired by multi-millionaire businessman, Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, who has been, to put it mildly, highly compromised through the revelations of his extensive CACC-dependent network business interests—revelations which have been driven entirely, in a perfect example of brilliant investigative journalism, by the tenacious Dr Richard North.
As such, alarmists' have been falling back to the position that the IPCC is the ultimate peer-review: so uncompromised are its scientists that its every word must be treated as Gospel, so rigorously peer-reviewed are its papers that the periodical ARA reports are not to be questioned.
Which is why the revelation about the Himalayan glacier predictions, reported as hearsay by The New Scientist and as fact by the IPCC's ARA4, is another nail in the coffin of the CACC faction—especially now that it has reached the MSM in an article that gives rather more detail than the NS snippet that I relayed a few days ago.
Some scientists have questioned how the IPCC could have allowed such a mistake into print. Perhaps the most likely reason was lack of expertise. Lal himself admits he knows little about glaciers. "I am not an expert on glaciers.and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about," he said.
Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, has previously dismissed criticism of the Himalayas claim as "voodoo science".
Last week the IPCC refused to comment so it has yet to explain how someone who admits to little expertise on glaciers was overseeing such a report.
This kind of revelation strikes at the very heart of the CACC foundations because without the IPCC there is no catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. Let me explain...
Despite the claims to the contrary, there is very little concrete evidence for the idea that man is warming the planet. What there are, apparently, is lots of little indicators and it is these that add up to the evidence for CACC.
In fact, in the course of calling me a fuckwit, LeftOutside illustrated this point quite eloquently.
From Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science:The logo of the Cochrane Collaboration features a simplified “blogogram”, a graph of the results from a landmark meta-analysis which looked at an intervention given to pregnant mothers. When people give birth prematurely, as you might expect, the babies are more likely to suffer and die. Some doctors in New Zealand had the idea that giving a short, cheap course of steroid might help improve outcomes, and seven trials testing this idea were done between 1972 and 1981. Two of them showed some benefit from the steroids, but the remaining five failed to detect any benefit, and because of this, the idea didn’t catch on.
Eight years later, in 1989 a meta-analysis was done by pooling all this trial data. If you look at the blobbogram in the logo you can see what happened. Each horizontal line represents a single study: if the line is over the to the left, it means the steroids were better than placebo, and if it is over to the right, it means the steroids were worse. If the horizontal line touches the big vertical “nil effect” line going down the middle, then the trail showed no clear indication either way. One last thing: the longer the horizontal line is, the less certain the outcome of the study was….
The diamond at the bottom shows the pooled answer: that there is, in fact, very strong evidence indeed for steroid reducing the risk – by 30 to 50 per cent – of babies dying of complications of immaturity.
I hope the comparison and implication is clear. Asking the doctors to look at the various mentioned above would not have elicited a response that the treatment was “good” or “very good,” the responses would, in fact, be somewhat similar to the attitude to various climate models in our survey.
But the combination of these results – or our climate change models – is greater than the sum of their results. This is what DK, Bishop’s Hill and PJM have all missed. This is the fatal flaw in their logic.
The gap between climate scientist’s confidence in the various climate models and their professed belief in anthropogenic climate change does not mean they have a “faith” in climate change in excess of the evidence.
The trouble is that whilst climatologists might have a rather better overview of these studies than myself or Bishop Hill (who are, after all, merely amateurs with a day job to hold down), it is very unlikely that they have actually read all of these studies.
And the politicians certainly haven't.
All of these people rely on those at the IPCC whose day job is to study and collate these reports to draw the evidence together.
One of the weaknesses of climate science is the relative paucity of raw data: despite the protestations of warmists, there is only one network of climate stations across the world; there are only a few trees suitable for tree ring proxies; there are only a few suitable ice core sites, etc. And all of the agencies doing temperature reconstructions use those same data. These agencies then apply their own adjustments to determine the information that they want (apart from GISS, which takes NOAA's adjusted figures and then add their own adjustments).
In the same way, most climate scientists do not collect their own data: they rely on the data and findings of previous papers. If those data and findings are wrong or compromised, then so are all of the reports based on them—which is the majority of them.
Think of the process as a massive inverted pyramid with the downward-facing point as the raw data and the ever-increasing mass on top as the multiplicity of reports based on said data. Obviously, if the data are wrong, so are all of the models, reports and prognostications based on them.
Similarly, the faith in CACC is based on the credibility of the IPCC simply because people do not have the time to do what the IPCC does, i.e. to collate and assess the many hundreds of reports on climate. And the IPCC is increasingly compromised.
To bring it back to Goldacre's analogy, imagine if it emerged that those who were involved in the Cochrane Collaboration were in the pay of the makers of infant steroids; not only this, but they had deliberately overlooked critical studies and included results that were mere hearsay to back up their report.
This is the situation that the IPCC is in—its credibility is increasingly being shot to pieces and, with it, the major underpinnings of the CACC movement. Once the lights are switched on and the IPCC god is shown to be nothing more than a man in a crudely painted suit, the entire CACC religion will come crashing down.
And then governments will have to think up some fresh global disaster to ensure the compliance of their increasingly unsettled peoples.
* An overview of the implications gleaned from the CRU documents—especially some of the more overlooked aspects—is long overdue, and I will start working on that as soon as I can.