Spencer before the Senate

A few days ago, Dr. Roy Spencer gave testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer. To say his testimony wasn’t at all what she wanted to hear, would be an understatement.


Regarding the currently popular theory that mankind is responsible for global warming, I am very pleased to deliver good news from the front lines of climate change research. Our latest research results, which I am about to describe, could have an enormous impact on policy decisions regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite decades of persistent uncertainty over how sensitive the climate system is to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we now have new satellite evidence which strongly suggests that the climate system is much less sensitive than is claimed by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Another way of saying this is that the real climate system appears to be dominated by “negative feedbacks” — instead of the “positive feedbacks” which are displayed by all twenty computerized climate models utilized by the IPCC. (Feedback parameters larger than 3.3 Watts per square meter per degree Kelvin (Wm-2K-1) indicate negative feedback, while feedback parameters smaller than 3.3 indicate positive feedback.)

At this point I can almost see Boxer, in my mind’s eye, swallowing her tongue.

Spencer has had his findings peer reviewed. In fact, it was reviewed by some of those responsible for the computer models the IPCC used:

Significantly, prior to its acceptance for publication, this paper was reviewed by two leading IPCC climate model experts – Piers Forster and Isaac Held- both of whom agreed that we have raised a legitimate issue. Piers Forster, an IPCC report lead author and a leading expert on the estimation of climate sensitivity, even admitted in his review of our paper that other climate modelers need to be made aware of this important issue.

To be fair, in a follow-up communication Piers Forster stated to me his belief that the net effect of the new understanding on climate sensitivity estimates would likely be small. But as we shall see, the latest evidence now suggests otherwise.

It should be noted that Spencer doesn’t descend to the level of many of his opponents and call Forster a ‘denier’ or a ‘heretic’. Unlike them, apparently, he has some confidence in the soundness of the science backing his position. Obviously when that’s the case, there’s no real reason to resort to that sort of nonsense, is there?

Spencer then goes into a detailed description of his findings that you can read an the link. Somewhere in there I’m almost positive Boxer’s eyes glazed over.

Spencer concludes with “policy implications” and says:

Obviously, what I am claiming today is of great importance to the global warming debate and related policy decisions, and it will surely be controversial. These results are not totally unprecedented, though, as other recently published research has also led to the conclusion that the real climate system does not exhibit net positive feedback.

While it will take some time for the research community to digest this new information, it must be mentioned that new research contradicting the latest IPCC report is entirely consistent with the normal course of scientific progress. I predict that in the coming years, there will be a growing realization among the global warming research community that most of the climate change we have observed is natural, and that mankind’s role is relatively minor.

Or, shorter version, “you politicians need to sit back and relax until the science is is complete on this, but there are indications enough to doubt the initial take on all of this and policy shouldn’t be implemented that may be both costly and unnecessary”.

Naturally Congress, which is up to its armpits in costly and unnecessary legislation is unlikely heed that warning unless enough of a ruckus is raised to make them.

Speaking of warnings, Spencer also says:

I hope that the Committee realizes that, if true, these new results mean that humanity will be largely spared the negative consequences of human-induced climate change. This would be good news that should be celebrated — not attacked and maligned.

And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research. This Committee could, at a minimum, make a statement that encourages that goal.

Wow, talk about shouting in the face of the wind. I think at this point you could probably hear a pin drop in the hearing room – no celebration there. After all – Al Gore wrote it, they believe it, and that settles it.


Crossposted at QandO.

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