Neal Asher wishes to discredit Global Warming, a phenomena backed up by nearly 200 years of science and the laws of physics. Neal has been a science fiction writer for several years, and the quality of his books are not in dispute here; he seems a fine fellow, and a deservedly popular writer. But it is his science, or rather his lack of scientific knowledge, that I wish to dispute, and I do this because I believe posts such as his are damaging. At no point does he back up his statements with evidence, so I want to address what he says, because this is not the first time he has made such claims.
Let’s look at what he says.
The Global Warming faithful have been telling some very pig porkies for a long time and have been getting away with it. However, with Green taxes biting, revelations of bald-faced lies like the Mann Hockey Stick and the stream of bullshit that’s been coming out of East Anglia University, with a steady drop in seasonal temperatures over the last ten years and the last severely cold winter that the idealogically correct Met Office computer failed to predict, people are starting to wake up.
Where to begin… First of all, Neal makes the classic example of citing the Mann Hockey Stick as incorrect. This graph is the famous line graph that shows the shocking upward trend in average global temperatures recently when compared with the past 1000 years. The first mistake here is that there is one hockey stick (whereas there are in fact several). What Neal believes to be true is that the hockey stick was proven wrong. It was originally challenged by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (an economist and a mathematician), who have themsleves been thoroughly debunked. The case was investigated by U.S. Congress, and subsequently more than a dozen scientific papers (there are over a dozen hockey sticks) comprehensively backed up the original graph; moreover, the measurements taken from all over the world, in a variety of different ways, showed more than ever that the average global trend over the past 2000 years now and with the last 150 years revealing a severe increase.
Reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperatures for the last 1,000 years according to various older articles (bluish lines), newer articles (reddish lines), and instrumental record (black line). (Source.)
Neal’s second big error is the classic denier technique of cherry-picking data. He states: “with a steady drop in seasonal temperatures over the last ten years and the last severely cold winter”. What usually happens is that he, like many deniers, would pick a year like 1998, which was an unusually hot year – El Niño – and states that the preceding few years are cooler. He doesn’t look at global averages, which are what we should concern ourselves with. (Let’s not forget, we’re talking global climate and not local weather.) You can read more here.
Temperature measurements from satellites, land, sea and air across the globe, from NASA to the Met Office, all point to a global average increase. To state otherwise, with no evidence, you would have to be wilfully blind.
Asher then states that there is “bullshit that’s been coming out of East Anglia University”. He is referring to the hacked emails of climate scientists which, at best, showed that scientists are human beings and can be grumpy. There have been several inquires into the matter, all of which show that yes, the scientists were wrong to suppress access to their data in 1990, but that the science itself is sound. This was bad practice (science should be made free to all) but to make such claims – again, based on no evidence – should cause concern. I should repeat: the scientists at the centre of the row have been cleared. And repeatedly so.
Why does this matter? This is no global conspiracy, no dreaded left wing movement to tax us to death; one that even includes George Bush, admittedly a latecomer to the communist movement, and which dates back to 1824. People are dying, and will continue to die, unless something happens. For such untruths to spread across the internet is deeply, deeply immoral, and only serves to stop lives being saved.
And Neal Asher does this without referencing any peer-reviewed data whatsoever.
I’m afraid I’m heading out so I’ll have to leave it there. I’ll hopefully continue later this weekend.