MasterResource has previously posted on the work of the Climate Intelligence Foundation, an independent charitable group that focuses on climate-change science and climate policy. CLINTEL, founded in 2019 by emeritus professor of geophysics Guus Berkhout and science journalist Marcel Crok, has grown in stature with great promise for the future.
CLINTEL’s policy positions, communicated at the highest levels of government, begin with a World Climate Declaration, “There is No Climate Emergency.”
Climate science should be less political, while climate policies should be more scientific. In particular, scientists should emphasize that their modeling output is not the result of magic: computer models are human-made. What comes out is fully dependent on what theoreticians and programmers have put in: hypotheses, assumptions, relationships, parameterizations, stability constraints, etc. Unfortunately, in mainstream climate science most of this input is undeclared.
To believe the outcome of a climate model is to believe what the model makers have put in. This is precisely the problem of today’s climate discussion to which climate models are central. Climate science has degenerated into a discussion based on beliefs, not on sound self-critical science. We should free ourselves from the naïve belief in immature climate models. In future, climate research must give significantly more emphasis to empirical science.
Recently, CLINTEL updated their Scientific Manifesto, one of the most important climate documents in the debate today, which guides the Global Climate Intelligence Council (see below). It is reproduced, beginning with the introduction, in its entirety.
On 11 June 2020 the undersigned, Professor Guus Berkhout, sent an open letter to the President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), as well as an English version to the European (EASAC) and global (IAP) umbrella organisations of the Academies of Sciences. This letter (attached) expresses concern that academic freedom has largely disappeared in climate science.
The letter is based on CLINTEL’s scientific manifesto, AVDIATVR ET ALTERA PARS (“Let both sides be heard”, one of the two fundamental principles of natural justice recognized by the law of civilized nations). The manifesto comprises ten propositions governing independent scientific research. All scientific research ought to comply with these propositions. Bad scientific practice inevitably leads to bad scientific results.
The ten propositions are presented below, with a brief examination of the extent to which current climate research complies with them.
1. The complexity of multi-factor, multi-scale systems demands close co-operation between a wide range of scientific fields and disciplines
Climate change has a wide variety of causes, natural as well as anthropogenic. Integration of knowledge from many scientific disciplines, such as astronomy, geology, archaeology, meteorology, oceanography and biology, is indispensable to a full understanding of the complex causal relationships that underlie climate change. At the same time, the integration of theoretical knowledge with measurement technology should have a high priority. This is hardly the case in today’s mainstream climate research.
2. Sound scientific research is open-minded and characterized by a wide variety of viewpoints without dogmas and prejudices
Within established climate science, curiosity and diversity are being suppressed and the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) dogma is ruthlessly enforced. Think of IPCC’s extreme scenario RCP 8.5, being widely presented in the literature as ‘business as usual’. Despite pressing scientific, economic and social grounds for questioning that dogma, any scepticism is presented as unscientific. However, science is neither a religion nor a political faction. Science advances not by chanting “I believe!” but by asking “I wonder?” Funding for climate-sceptical research is non-existent today. Censorship complicates and all too often prevents the publication of critical articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
3. Faith in scientific models is faith in the underlying assumptions; only correct assumptions lead to correct answers
What computer models tell us depends entirely on what model-makers have input to them: hypotheses, relationships, parameterizations, arithmetical simplifications, boundary conditions, etc. Unfortunately, mainstream climatologists seldom discuss these choices in their complex climate models. For instance, how sensitive are the modelling results to the biased assumptions of modelling groups? We still know very little about it.
4. With enough model parameters it is always possible to reconstruct measurements from the past; it says, however, little about the models’ validity
The famous mathematician John von Neumann (1903 – 1957) said: “With four parameters I can fit an elephant: with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.” The real test of models is whether they can accurately predict future measurements. But that is where climate models go wrong. For 30 years, the IPCC has falsely predicted alarming high temperatures in its reports. Considering its failure, why does it still continue to publish its speculative long-term climate predictions?
5. In scientific progress sound measurements are decisive; breakthroughs in science are initiated by the availability of better measurements
Think of the spectacular improvements in microscopy and the capability of modern telescopes. Think of the Dutch LOFAR antenna network, which has already discovered thousands of new galaxies. Unfortunately, mainstream climate science is less interested in measurements than in mere models. Particularly in the extremely complex climate issue, new measuring systems should have the highest priority as a yardstick to verify the validity of IPCC’s model assumptions.
6. The history of science shows time and again that new insights do not come from followers but from dissenters; doubters and dissenters make history in science
Copernicus, Galilei, Newton, Gauss, Curie, Einstein, Watson, Crick, Wilkins and Hawking all looked critically at the prevailing consensus and dared to take a different path. Progress would not have been possible without them. In contrast, the mainstream climate community have produced few advances. They have diverted themselves into an ever-bitterer defence of the narrow CO2-warming hypothesis. Doubters and dissenters are not tolerated.
7. Separation of science and politics is a great good; Academies of Sciences should protect scientists from political ideologies
When political ideologues proclaim “consensus”, critical scientists are sidelined, excluded from the scientific discourse or even dismissed. For instance, Professor Peter Ridd, an expert on coral reefs, exposed several unsound peer-reviewed scientific papers falsely asserting that climate change is killing the Great Barrier Reef. His university dismissed him after decades of service. The courts have declared his dismissal improper and have ordered the university to compensate him.
Not only was the university’s misconduct a flagrant violation of academic freedom: it has also sent a dangerous signal to young scientists: do not dare to defy dogma or you will be driven out. Climate censorship brings us back to the Middle Ages. AGW dissenters are excommunicated.
8. Academies of Sciences have a moral responsibility to warn society of senseless conclusions that follow from naïve belief in scientific models
So far, climate models have proven unable to make reliable predictions of global warming. Therefore, their predictions are not a sound basis for making government policy. Climate policies are costly. They have major consequences for society. For example, IPCC’s predictions about extreme warming and sea-level rise have caused much fear and unrest in the world. As today’s climate policy is based on these alarming model predictions, the existing energy infrastructure is unnecessarily being demolished with imprudent haste. A typical example of climate stupidity is spending billions of dollars on dirty, wood-fired power stations. For this supposedly “green” solution, forests with unique ecosystems are being destroyed.
9. The scientific community should be more honest about the limits on the power of mankind to subdue natural variability
Science should start to resist the absurd green engineering agendas of supranational organisations. To think that we can always control the complex processes from weather and climate in the macro world to the mutation of pathogens in the micro world is as naïve as it is arrogant. Let us not behave as though we were present-day Don Quixotes. In climate research, we should focus not on mitigation but on adaptation to the many consequences of natural variability ahead of us – changes that we are powerless to control.
10. The science is settled is a consensus statement that will never be used by scientists of integrity
Argument from consensus conflates two ancient logical fallacies – of headcount and of appeal to imagined authority (argumentum ad populum and ad verecundiam). The statement that “the science is settled” is an assertion of imagined consensus deployed by climate activists as a substitute for science. Quoting Michael Crichton (1942 – 2008) on this subject: “Science is not consensus and consensus is not science”. The Paris Climate Accord of 2015, which set the climate agenda for decades, is based on this statement. However, the truth is that the science is not settled at all. We have little idea how much or how little mankind is contributing to global warming. We also do not know whether or to what extent warmer worldwide weather will be net-harmful or net-beneficial.
Mainstream climate science does not meet any of these ten propositions. Climate research had taken a direction which, however profitable to its practitioners, is unworthy of science. The interests of science and politics have become strongly intertwined. As a result, the search for the objective scientific truth has been abandoned for decades. History will blame the scientists, administrators and politicians who initiated, fostered and furthered this scientific scandal.
In 2015, the Academies of Sciences should have warned world leaders loud and clear that the science is not settled at all. By their negligence, the Academies made themselves complicit in the absurdity of the Parish Agreement.
The Academies of Sciences see themselves (rightly or wrongly) as guardians of science. If so, should they not at last creak into action? On the basis of immature scientific models, an absurdly costly climate policy is being imposed on the world. In the name of science, vital infrastructures are being destroyed. Worse, poor people are dying in their millions every year because they cannot afford costly “renewable” electricity.
Dr. A.J. (Guus) Berkhout Emeritus Professor of Geophysics Member, KNAW President, Climate Intelligence Group (CLINTEL)
The CLINTEL Council is composed of the following individuals:
World Climate Declaration AMBASSADORS
NOBEL LAUREATE PROFESSOR IVAR GIAEVER NORWAY/USA
PROFESSOR GUUS BERKHOUT / THE NETHERLANDS
KEES LEPAIR / THE NETHERLANDS
PROFESSOR REYNALD DU BERGER / FRENCH SPEAKING CANADA
TERRY DUNLEAVY / NEW ZEALAND
VIV FORBES / AUSTRALIA PROFESSOR
PROFESSOR JEFFREY FOSS / ENGLISH SPEAKING CANADA
JENS MORTON HANSEN / DENMARK
MORTEN JØDAL / NORWAY
PROFESSOR DEMETRIS KOUTSOYIANNIS / GREECE
ROB LEMEIRE / DUTCH SPEAKING BELGIUM
PROFESSOR RICHARD LINDZEN / USA
HENRI A. MASSON / FRENCH SPEAKING BELGIUM
PROFESSOR INGEMAR NORDIN / SWEDEN
JIM O’BRIEN / REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
PROFESSOR IAN PLIMER / AUSTRALIA
DOUGLAS POLLOCK / CHILE
PROFESSOR ALBERTO PRESTININZI / ITALY
PROFESSOR BENOÎT RITTAUD / FRANCE
DR. THIAGO MAIA / BRAZIL
PROFESSOR FRITZ VAHRENHOLT / GERMANY
THE VISCOUNT MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY / UNITED KINGDOM