William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Pope Is Wrong About Global Warming


God bless Pope Francis. But he is wrong about global warming, and even wronger about “special interests” trying to keep global warming going.

The Holy Father knows a lot more than I ever will about the Catholic faith, but he doesn’t know much about the physics of fluid flow on a rotating sphere, nor is he aware of the difference between scientific claims about reality and reality itself. About these subjects, I know much more than he.

The headline is “Pope in Kenya: Francis Warns Against Special Interests Derailing Climate Talks“.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Pope Francis has warned that it would be “catastrophic” for world leaders to let special interest groups get in the way of a global agreement to curb fossil fuel emissions on the eve of make-or-break climate change talks in Paris.

This is not only wrong, but backwards. The only “special interest groups” to fear are those aiming to make a buck out of global warming, and those seeking to gain political power to fight the unbeatable. Which is to say, “climate change”: it is impossible—not unlikely, impossible—to stop the climate from changing.

Regular readers know that my total lifetime compensation for all the work I have ever done in climatology is in the low four figures, mostly from speaking fees (I average about one compensated speech per year). This wealth is not unusual. All the skeptics I know are similarly rewarded, though it’s true that some make less (yes, less). And all of us take it in the neck when we deal with the public. I’ve lost track of the jobs and opportunities I’ve lost because I’m a “denier.”

Contrarily, the government hands out BILLIONS—that’s billions-with-a-B—to those who support the government’s goals. Environmental groups rake it in from the government and—drum roll—from oil companies, who are more than generous with their moola in that direction. True, some coal companies have spent a comparative pittance defending themselves against baseless and ridiculous charges. This defense is taken by the weak-minded as proof that these companies are covering up deep global-warming secrets, in much the same way the deluded take denials by the Air Force that they have UFOs on ice as proof the Air Force is lying.

Take the appalling, immoral Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who was behind the move by the twit Jagadish Shukla to have the government RICO prosecute those who dare to speak against prophecies of doom. This offensive creep Shukla pays himself and his wife half a million dollars a year with government money to do very little except write letters asking for his enemies be prosecuted. Nineteen other big name climate scientists signed the farcical letter demanding their critics be tossed in the hoosegow.

If that’s not a special interest, I don’t know what is. This is only one of hundreds of examples.

Now for the science. The Pope can be forgiven for not understanding American power politics, for not fathoming how slimy leaders would lie, lie, lie, and lie some more in an effort to have their way with the world. But he ought to understand reality has not conformed to the thousands of predictions of apocalypse that have been made these past twenty, thirty years.

Global warming models stink. They are lousy. They cannot make skillful forecasts. They haven’t been able to match reality in a very long time, for some twenty years. It is well past the time to conclude that the theories on which the rely are broken. It used to be a fundamental scientific principle—it was part of the famed scientific method!—that when a theory didn’t work, it was tossed out. Now the opposite is true: if reality doesn’t match the theory, it’s reality that’s dumped. Or “readjusted”, but only ever in the direction of the theory.

I mean, really. Who is fooled by this? I’ll tell you who isn’t. Our dear leaders in Washington, who damn well know the truth. They know that storms have not been increasing, that non-existent global warming has not caused terrorism, and that none of the doom we have been promised has happened. But they don’t care. They only care that they that can save us. What was it Mr Obama said upon election? We are are the ones we have been waiting for. Hello, hubris.

Francis has made ecological concerns a hallmark of his nearly 3-year-old papacy, issuing a landmark encyclical earlier this year that paired the need to care for the environment with the need to care for humanity’s most vulnerable.

Francis argues the two are interconnected since the poor often suffer the most from the effects of global warming, and are largely excluded from today’s fossil-fuel based global economy that is heating up the planet.

Again, the opposite is true. Take cheap, reliable, efficient fossil fuel away from up-and-coming economies and you doom them to real poverty. Further, everybody knows this. There has been no global warming. Our best records, the satellites, show this.

The Pope declared it would by “‘sad, and I dare say even catastrophic,’ were particular interests to prevail over the common good at the upcoming climate conference in Paris.”

It would be sadder if we signed over to politicians even more control than they already have to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. That would really hurt The Poor™.

So why does the Pope believe all these demonstrably false things? Bad advice, in part. He cocks his ear towards fringe scientists who do not hold the best interests of the Church in mind, but who believe the earth is alive and can get sick (yes). Plus, the fellow who runs the Vatican’s science academies can’t abide being told he’s wrong. He also desires to please the world.

There’s another part, though. Any leader may receive faulty intelligence, but the actions taken on that intelligence are the leader’s responsibility. That’s the price paid to be in charge. The Pope ought to realize the full scope of what he is asking for. That starts by educating himself at least on the science.

Holy father, God bless you. I’m available for consultation any time.

Stream: There’s Big Money in Global Warming Alarmism

The government is ready to hand out more global warming grants.

The government is ready to hand out more global warming grants.

Cop21 is upon us. Dread it. The Pope yesterday spoke of the corrupting influence of “special interest” groups. Amen to that. Although these groups aren’t who the Pope thinks they are. More on that tomorrow.

Today: go to The Stream to see There’s Big Money in Global Warming Alarmism

A sociologist with no training in the physical sciences is puzzled why most Americans think the world is not doomed by global warming. So flummoxed is Yale’s Justin Farrell that he decided to study the question in the most scientific way possible. And he managed to publish his results, “Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change,” in the once prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

What do you think his conclusions were? Perhaps that thirty years of failed temperature predictions boosted Americans’ skepticism? Or that the obvious eagerness of politicians to leverage exaggerated fears have left many skittish? Or maybe it’s the dearth of severe storms, despite the many promises that floods and droughts would drown and parch us all?

No, none of that. Farrell discovered that private groups spent their own money to say that things were not as bad as alarmists claimed. He told The Washington Post that these “contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust.” Indeed, I, myself a climate scientist, no longer trust anything non-scientists like Farrell tell me about global warming (which he incorrectly calls “climate change”).

Farrell is right about one thing: Global warming alarmism is big business. On one side you have Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, The Climate Project and dozens upon dozens of other non-governmental organizations who solicit hundreds of millions from private donors and from government, and who in turn award lucrative grants to further their agenda…

Go there to read the rest.

I have a nice little list of the groups. Tomorrow we talk about the Holy Father’s other errors. Yes, errors.

Old Lodge Skins’ Prayer Of Thanksgiving

The real Little Big Man.

The real Little Big Man.

In what is now a tradition, here is the death prayer from Old Lodge Skins, which comes at the close of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (who died in 2014).

Then he commenced to pray to the Everywhere Spirit in the same stentorian voice, never sniveling but bold and free.

“Thank you for making me a Human Being! Thank you for helping me become a warrior! Thank you for all my victories and for all my defeats. Thank you for my vision, and for the blindness in which I saw further.

“I have killed many men and loved many women and eaten much meat. I have also been hungry, and I thank you for that and for the added sweetness that food has when you receive it after such a time.

“You make all things and direct them in their ways, O Grandfather, and now you have decided that the Human Beings will soon have to walk a new road. Thank you for letting us win once before that happened. Even if my people must eventually pass from the face of the earth, they will live on in whatever men are fierce and strong. So that when women see a man who is proud and brave and vengeful, even if he has a white face, they will cry: ‘That is a Human Being!’…”

I stood there in awe and Old Lodge Skins started to sing, and when the cloud arrived overhead, the rain started to patter across his uplifted face, mixing with the tears of joy there.

It might have been ten minutes or an hour, and when it stopped and the sun’s setting rays cut through, he give his final thanks and last request.

“Take care of my son here,” he says, “and see that he does not go crazy.”

He laid down then on the damp rocks and died right away. I descended to the treeline, fetched back some poles, and built him a scaffold. Wrapped him in the red blanket and laid him thereon. Then after a while I started down the mountain in the fading light.

Incidentally, eschew the movie of the same name, which shares only the title and the names of a few characters from the book, a book which is the moral and historical opposite of the politically correct film. It is a book which contains no anachronisms, itself a matter of great celebration.

Also highly recommended (as historical orientation) is the classic The Fighting Cheyennes by George Bird Grinnell, who was born in 1849 and who wrote the book in 1915 (it’s still in print). It is a non-patronizing, non-romantic look at the battles the Cheyenne fought, in, as much as was possible, their own words.

Berger wrote Little Big Man at a time (1964) when white boys still wanted to run off and be Indians. Nearly twenty years later, the TV show Grizzly Adams fulfilled the same escapist function. What little boys want to be now they had best keep quiet about or out come the pills (or awards).

Old Lodge Skins was Little Big Man’s adoptive grandfather. The scene takes place shortly after the Battle of Little Big Horn which the Cheyenne called the Battle at the Greasy Grass.

There is much in this prayer that still works. Men, remember to offer it or one like it as thanksgiving today.

Best Equivocation Joke: Open Thread


It being a slow traffic week and me being on the road and swamped—COP21 is coming up next week, working on a new book, news of the old one is coming soon, et cetera, et cetera—I didn’t have time to say anything of interest today.

What better time for a joke challenge? As I often say, the best jokes are built on equivocation. My all-time favorite: Two cannibals are eating a clown and one says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

And that reminds me of one told to me by Ianto Watt, author of The Barbarian Bible:The True History of Man Since the Fall of Troy. Did you hear about the cannibal who ate his brother? He threw up his arms in despair.

Since much of the world is at war—and hey, even we might be—it’s time to be a little less serious. What are your favorite jokes? But only those based on equivocation, mistaking one word or sound for another.

For example, this one doesn’t count: One snowman said to another, “That’s funny. I smell carrots, too.”

But this one does: Why did Mozart kill all his chickens? Because when he asked them who the best composer was, they’d all say “Bach bach bach!”

Get cracking! (And don’t forget my mother reads this blog.)

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