As a Canadian environmental consultant, Dr. Timothy F. Ball isn’t a household name in America...yet.
However, his writings, speeches, and television appearances concerning the science and lack thereof surrounding anthropogenic global warming make him a distinguished member of the growing list of skeptics around the world desperately and passionately fighting to inject some facts into this contentious debate.
On Thursday, I received an e-mail message from Dr. Ball addressing the dangers inherent in the current global warming alarmism being exhibited by the media and folks like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore, and how “incompetent” and possibly “malevolent” scientists are unfortunately aiding in the misinformation campaign.
What follows is a partial text of his e-mail message presented with his permission (emphasis added):
Distinguishing between theoretical and experimental science is a nice academic exercise, which is totally wasted on the public even though it is their understanding that drives which way the politicians act and spend money. Al Gore intuitively knows this, others cynically exploit it.
The major problem with the politicizing of climate, especially in the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], is it took computer model experiments that produced scenarios and presented them as predictions. This practice was exacerbated by the greens, people with a political agenda, and the media who invariably focused on the worst case scenario because it suited an agenda.
For instance, it was interesting how quickly the media picked up on the reduction in the temperature range of the IPCC AR4 [Assessment Report #4]. The change involved raising the lower level scenario and reducing the higher one. Many of the media gave the impression they were cheated of more sensationalist headlines.
The infighting within the SPM group [IPCC Summary for Policymakers] seems to show how critical it was for many to maintain the higher level scenarios because of their shock potential. Stephen Schneider's comment in Discovery magazine provides most of the explanation you need for what went on and his participation in the more recent Impact Study and recent testimony in Washington confirm the modus operandi is still in place.
Sadly, too many of the modelers and many scientists who did not understand, did little to disabuse the public or the media of the severe limitations, the original intent, and the nature of what was being presented. In fact, too many acted to obfuscate the truth and attacked those who tried to explain.
The transition from theoretical and experimental scenarios to predictions parallels news stories on climate or any other science for that matter. A reporter finds a speculative study in a scientific journal and writes a story. Articles usually contain most of the conditional phrases used by scientists. However, the headline is usually active voice and definitive, "Scientist predicts..." In the same way it is in the transition from the Technical Report to the SPM that the conditional has been effectively eliminated.
As I have said for years, climate models are a useful but severely limited tool in the laboratory that must meet scientific responsibilities. Unfortunately, they are clearly not doing this, which is why we need an independent audit.
When you go public and allow the output of the models to become the basis of global, national and regional policy there is a different set of responsibilities and these are definitely not being met.
Worse, they are deliberately being manipulated and misused.
Again, it is one thing for uninformed people intimidated or fooled by the manipulation to be pursuing what they're told is good and necessary, but it is something very different when it is the producers of the models who willfully or through lack of understanding are doing the misleading.
It appears to me if you didn't know what you were doing with the science you were incompetent; if you did know you were malevolent.
The following was my response to Dr. Ball:
You aptly conclude, "It appears to me if you didn't know what you were doing with the science you were incompetent; if you did know you were malevolent."
I would like to take this an important step further: as policy is being determined from such reports, I suggest quite fervently that if you did know, you were malfeasant.
Economic policies across the globe are being impacted by these reports. Billions nay trillions of dollars might be at risk and/or transferred. If it turns out that scientific studies are being intentionally altered for political and/or economic gain, how are the involved parties different from those who manipulated energy data during the late '90s/early '00s as part of an electricity trading scheme which bilked Californians out of billions of dollars?
As we know that many of the guilty ended up being seriously charged with a variety of felonies, are the folks who are intentionally manipulating climate data similarly guilty?