So, it turns out there’s an obscure anti-skeptic website out there with the amusingly misleading name of Skeptical Science.  Unlike its more mainstream skeptical counterparts, this site has a permanent format that lends itself to citing, perhaps better than more popular news-driven global warming websites.

While the information on the site is at best tendentious, some readers seem to view it as a legitimate research resource, so it stands to reason that other permanent pages should exist to rebut such resources where they are inaccurate.  So (with a nod to the yeoman’s work done by Poptech, yes this is a bit of an homage!) here is a first tentative start at establishing my own humble permanent resources.

And boy, are there some inaccuracies on there.  Let’s start with this one, and we can add more later.

Hansen 1988

The FactsJames Hansen came before Congress in 1988 and presented three scenarios.   These scenarios were explicitly related to emissions:  Scenario A was termed “business as usual” and assumed exponential increases in emissions and predicted rising temperatures as a result.  Pat Michaels at CATO has a fairly exhaustive look at how badly the predictions failed, and why.  Others have also measured prediction against results.

The SkepticalScience Dodge: The site claims that Hansen only predicted temperature based on “forcings,” not emissions.   This is a version of the shell game which is common in climate advocacy: a claim is made, the claim turns out to be false, and when the claim is challenged a different claim is defended.  This is a typical tactic in pseudoscience.

The Rebuttal:  Any reasonable person reading Hansen’s testimony would understand him to be speaking about emissions, which the EPA says have grown exponentially in line with Scenario A.  While it is true that the models themselves had greenhouse gas concentrations as inputs, Hansen’s testimony makes it clear those concentrations were chosen to represent emissions scenarios, and Hansen’s failure to predict how concentrations would respond to emissions caused his temperature predictions to fail as well.

Line graph of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels for 1900 through 2008. The line graph shows a slow increase from about 2,500 teragrams of carbon dioxide emissions in 1900 to about 5,000 teragrams of carbon dioxide emissions in 1950. After 1950, the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is more rapid, reaching approximately 32,000 teragrams of carbon dioxide in 2008.

Indeed it would be very strange if Hansen, a strong advocate for emissions controls legislation before that day and since (even to the point of hijinks such as being arrested at coal-fired power plants) had not made his argument to Congress hinge on emissions.   And to now claim that Scenario C temperatures were always the expected response to Scenario A emissions is simply mendacity.

The scientific method arrives at truth by testing theories by their predictions, and Hansen’s prediction was clearly wrong.


Updates to the above may be made as deemed appropriate.  Responses from all welcome, please try to avoid ad hominems.  The goal of this post and any others that follow it is to arrive at truth.