2019-12-05 letter from Dave Burton to attendees at the Ruth Pauley Lecture by Prof. Michael E. Mann in Southern Pines, NC
This is the web-view of the letter from Dave (with links):
This is the printable version of the letter from Dave (the one I probably gave you just before or after the 12/5/2019 Southern Pines
lecture by Prof. Michael E. Mann):
January 7, 2020 UPDATE — Tomorrow's edition of The Pilot newspaper
will include my guest op-ed column about Prof. Mann's misleading presentation. Here's a copy of the article with hyperlinked references added:
Unfortunately, many of Prof. Mann's claims during his lecture were highly misleading. Here's a list of high-quality resources
where you can learn more about what the best scientific evidence really shows about climate change:
That list includes:
• accurate introductory climatology information
• in-depth science from BOTH skeptics & alarmists
• links to balanced debates between experts on BOTH sides
• info about climate impacts
• links to several of the best blogs on BOTH sides
Here's the straight scoop about the Climategate scandal, to which Prof. Mann alluded (though not by name), and which he falsely suggested was much ado about nothing:
For a deeper treatment, I can recommend this article by "M&M" (Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, the team of scientists who famously "busted Mann's hockey stick"):
This is the infamous spliced “hockey stick” graph, in which Dr. Phil Jones used “Mike's Nature Trick” to “hide the decline” in temperature proxies:
The “Mike” of “Mike's Nature Trick” was Prof. Michael E. Mann. Those revelations were deeply shocking to me, and to many other scientists.
One of them, Canadian Prof. Tim Ball, wrote that Mann belonged in the “state pen, not Penn State.” Mann recently
lost a defamation lawsuit against Prof. Ball, which he had filed because of that remark.
These were among the other false claims Prof. Mann made during his Ruth Pauley Lecture:
- He claimed CO2-induced climate change has worsened hurricanes. It hasn't. Hurricanes are not becoming more frequent or more destructive. The worst & deadliest hurricane in American history (in fact, the worst natural disaster) was the Galveston hurricane of 1900, when atmospheric CO2 was at about 296 ppmv (estimated from ice cores). (Also, the frequency of large tornadoes has declined substantially, though I don't think anyone is certain why.)
- He specifically blamed Hurricane Florence on CO2-induced climate change. But the worst hurricane to hit North Carolina was Hazel, in 1954, when CO2 was at about 313 ppmv.
- He claimed CO2-induced climate change has worsened wildfires. It hasn't. The worst & deadliest wildfire in American history was in Wisconsin in 1871, when CO2 was at about 288 ppmv.
- He claimed CO2-induced climate change has worsened droughts. It hasn't. Global drought incidence and severity have not worsened, and drought impacts have declined, because CO2 makes plants more drought-resilient. The worst drought in American history was the "dust bowl" in the 1930s, when CO2 was under 312 ppmv.
- He blamed sea-level rise on CO2-induced climate change, but the rate of coastal sea-level rise has not detectably accelerated since the 1920s.
- He specifically blamed the sea-level rise at Tangier Island on CO2-induced climate change, when he surely knows that the real problem there is land subsidence, perhaps due to the unique geology of the southern Chesapeake.
- He blamed criticism of his false claims on stupid Republicans and evil fossil fuel companies. But most criticism comes from scientists who, like Prof. Steve Koonin, who was President Obama's Undersecretary for Science, have examined the evidence and discovered the truth for themselves. I am one of them. I am one of over 30,000 American Scientists signed the Global Warming Petition, affirming our conclusion that manmade climate change is modest and benign, and CO2 emissions are beneficial, rather than harmful.
- When I quoted Prof. Koonin's correct assertion that sea-levels were rising as fast 70 years ago as they are now, Prof. Mann falsely suggested that Prof. Koonin said that because he's in the pay of fossil fuel companies.
- He claimed CO2-induced climate change is exterminating the Great Barrier Reef. But the Great Barrier Reef is doing fine. It is 20 million years old, and it has withstood CO2 levels both much higher and much lower; and temperatures both substantially warmer and much colder; and water levels both higher and much lower. If you look at a map of coral reef locations around the world you cannot help but notice that they're clustered around the equator, and they're most common in the warmest seas. Even the very, very warm southern Red Sea has many thriving coral reefs. The cooler Mediterranean has almost none.
- He claimed that the polar ice sheets are melting. That's true for Greenland, most years, but the rate has not increased since measurements began. (It actually didn't have any net ice loss during two of the last three glaciological years, but that was a fluke.) It's not true for Antarctica, because temperatures there average more than 40° below zero, so it obviously cannot melt. Antarctica does lose some ice where glaciers flow into the sea, and due to sublimation; it also gains ice through snowfall. Those processes are in very close balance. Scientific studies disagree about whether the net change is slightly positive or slightly negative, but all agree that the contribution to sea-level change is negligible: less than three inches per century.
- He mentioned "Arctic amplification," but suggested that it's a bad thing. It's not. It's a very good thing! It means that "global warming" isn't really very global: it disproportionately warms places which are much too cold, and makes their very harsh climates slightly milder. It has much less effect on places that are warm enough already.
Almost as bad as Prof. Mann's false claims about damage from CO2 was his complete failure to mention the benefits
of rising CO2 levels:
- Rising CO2 levels make agriculture more productive. The fact that outdoor CO2 levels have risen from "pre-industrial" levels around 280 ppmv to the current 411 ppmv is responsible for about a 20% increase on global crop yields.
- If we didn't have that extra 20%, mankind could approximately make up the difference by putting all the world's rainforests, both tropical and temperate, to agricultural use.
- Rising CO2 levels make plants more water-efficient and drought resilient. That has helped substantially to reduce the threat of drought-induced famines.
- Are you old enough to remember when drought-induced famines were frequently in the news, in places like Bangladesh? Well, now, despite their rising populations, Bangladesh and India have food surpluses, every year. Higher CO2 levels are among the reasons for that.
- As CO2 levels continue to rise, the benefits will continue to increase. Commercial greenhouses use CO2 generators to raise daytime CO2 levels, typically to about 1500 ppmv. They go to that expense because it makes the plants dramatically healthier and more productive. (Unfortunately, there're not enough recoverable fossil fuels in the ground to get outdoor CO2 levels anywhere near that high.)
- Do you think that talking to your plants helps them grow? It's not your soothing voice, it's the CO2 you exhale! Your breath has a CO2 content of about 40,000 ppmv (4%), and the plants love it!