Roy Spencer has a new post called Still Epic Fail: 73 Climate Models versus Measurements. In this post Roy gloats at the apparent fact that all the models predict much higher mid-troposphere temperatures than is observed by satellites or by balloons. However, as already shown by David Appell at Quark Soup, one of the reasons there is such a discrepancy is that Roy has averaged two satellite datasets that actually have wildly different temperature anomalies. What I found interesting, though, was Roy’s final comment
Forgive me if I sound frustrated, but we scientists who still believe that climate change can also be naturally forced have been virtually cut out of funding and publication by the ‘humans-cause-everything-bad-that-happens’ juggernaut. The public who funds their work will not stand for their willful blindness much longer.
So, why do I think this is an interesting comment? Well, thanks to a few comments on my previous post, I’ve been made aware of an organisation called the Cornwall Alliance. The tagline on their own homepage is “For the Stewardship of Creation” and the homepage goes on to say “The Cornwall Alliance is a coalition of clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, academics, and policy experts committed to bringing a balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development”. So, I guess it is reasonable to assume that this is a Christian organisation with a reasonably literal interpretation of the Bible.
So why is this organisation relevant to global warming/climate change? Well they have an Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming that supporters are encouraged to sign. This declaration has a set of beliefs and a set of things that are denied. So what are these beliefs and denials? Well, the first belief is
We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.
So, the Earth and its ecosystem is created by God, is admirably suited for humans and global warming is simply one of the many natural cycles that have taken place over the Earth’s history. I assume that this belief indicates that those who signed this declaration deny anthropogenic global warming (AGW). So, what else does it say?
We believe abundant, affordable energy is indispensable to human flourishing, particularly to societies which are rising out of abject poverty and the high rates of disease and premature death that accompany it. With present technologies, fossil and nuclear fuels are indispensable if energy is to be abundant and affordable.
Okay, so energy plays an important role in allowing us to progress and in allowing people to rise out of poverty and to have better lifestyles. Fair enough, I’d probably agree with that. But, currently the only viable energy sources are fossil fuels and nuclear power? Okay, fossil fuels have indeed been a fantastic energy source, but indispensable?
So, what are some of the things that this declaration denies? Well, for example
We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.
Okay, so complete denial that human contributions to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming. Given that those who signed this declaration deny AGW, presumably they should be happy to be called deniers.
So, what’s point of this? Well this seems to clearly be an organisation that is openly denying that our use of fossil fuels is having any significant impact on global warming. They believe that it has to simply be natural, presumably because they believe that God created the Earth for us and hence would not allow anything to happen that would risk our future existence on the planet. Why is this relevant to this post? Well the list of prominent signers of this declaration includes one Dr Roy Spencer. I guess I can’t be absolutely certain that he has signed it, but the Cornwall Alliance are clearly claiming that he has.
So, Roy feels that he has been cut out of research funding because he thinks global warming could be natural. I don’t know if he has been cut out for this reason (maybe he just writes rubbish grant proposals) but he appears to have signed a declaration that asserts that global warming is natural. Not might be natural, is natural. The signers of this declaration have essentially declared their belief about global warming. Everyone’s entitled to their beliefs, so I don’t have an issue with anyone signing this. I do, however, have an issue with a scientist who claims to be doing research into climate change and global warming signing this declaration but then not making that clear in any discussions about global warming and climate change.
If Roy Spencer has indeed signed this declaration then he has essentially made up his mind about global warming. His research is not to consider if global warming is natural, it’s to show that global warming is natural. This completely changes how one should assess his research and anything he writes about global warming and climate change. Many accuse climate scientists of being biased but this seems like a classic example of explicit bias. Essentially it seems that Roy Spencer’s research is aimed at confirming his view that global warming and climate change are simply a consequence of some natural process and are not anthropogenic. I think everyone should bear this in mind when considering Roy Spencer’s views on global warming and climate change.