Summary of Bolt’s argument: The world has stopped warming; a famous scientist states this; even the IPCC makes this claim.
Summary response: Andrew Bolt cherry picks his data.
Logical fallacies present: Cherry picking (x2); association fallacy (x1).
Bolt’s claim: “Yes, the planet warmed about 0.7 degrees last century, but then halted. Professor Richard Lindzen, arguably the world’s most famous climate scientist, has argued for two years that “there has been no warming since 1997″. Others date the pause as late as 2000.”
Response: Andrew begins his list of 10 signs the global warming scare is “over” with an egregious falsehood which has been debunked more times that can be counted: the myth that warming stopped in 1997.
One of the sources for this myth is a 2012 Mail on Sunday article by David Rose. I won’t cover the same ground so many others already have. However I would point readers to the following:
- A statement by the UK Met Office that debunks Rose’s claim
- And article by Peter Gleick in Forbes titled Global Warming Has Stopped”? How to Fool People Using “Cherry-Picked” Climate Data
As Gleick’s article notes, it is an example of cherry picking facts – its both a logical fallacy and intellectually dishonest.
Bolt – and sceptics who make the same claim - ignore the even more compelling evidence of a warming planet: rising levels of ocean heat content.
Bolt only refers to land temperatures, data that pertains to only 29% of the planet’s surface.
The other 71% of the planet is covered by water.
As this graph from Skeptical Science indicates warming has not paused, but is accelerating:
Note the warming of both oceans to 700 metres and below.
Bolt tries to bolster his claim by associating it with the views of “the world’s most famous climate scientist” Richard Lindzen.
Once again, Andrew Bolt employs another logical fallacy – the fallacy of association. His argument is no more valid than this:
Richard Lindzen likes cheese flavoured corn chips: Richard is famous. Therefore, cheese flavoured corn chips are the tastiest.
By associating a value with Lindzen – his fame – Bolt hopes to persuade the reader that his argument that the world stopped warming in 2007 is factual.
Lindzen’s fame has nothing to do with the truth of the claim: it is no more persuasive than stating Lindzen enjoys a particular kind of corn chip.
Even the IPCC admits the world has stopped warming?
Claim: “Even the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted in its latest draft report that while its usual measurements of global temperature found some warming trends since 1998, “none of these are statistically significant”.
Response: The last sentence contains a blatant example of cherry picking. While it is now difficult to obtain a copy of the leaked documents, the IPCC did not “admit” the planet had stopped warming.
If anything AR5 further confirms humanities role as virtually certain in causing climate change, as this article from The Conversation notes:
“The draft report, which was still undergoing a peer review process, said that “there is consistent evidence from observations of a net energy uptake of the earth system due to an imbalance in the energy budget.”
“It is virtually certain that this is caused by human activities, primarily by the increase in CO2 concentrations…”
Bolt has merely lifted a single phrase from thousands of pages and used it to misrepresent the conclusions of the IPCC.
Cherry picked facts, falsehoods and logical fallacies.
And this is only the first of Bolt’s ten signs.