Andrew Bolt’s Herald Sun Article 24/12/2018
Claim 1: Global Warming has slowed dramatically since last century, giving lower temperatures as compared to the climate models. (Source: Dr Roy Spencer – see http://www.drroyspencer.com/2018/12/the-five-questions-global-warming-policy-must-answer/)
First observation is what data is being used to make this claim and is it surface or lower atmosphere or sea surface data.
Spencer shows two graphs one for the surface and the other for the lower atmosphere.
The graphs show temperature anomaly data, variation of average temperature from 30 year mean. The trend lines on the data show an increasing trend in temperature. Variations from year to year above the Yaxis 0 line indicate hotter.
I see no reason why one would conclude that there is evidence for global warming slowing, in fact, it continues the trend.
Turning to the accuracy of climate models, again I can’t see what the issue is here, the models indicate a similar trend. One would expect variance from actual data, is it a statistically significant difference. (see http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aaf342/meta) for a nice balanced research article on the ‘pause’, which it refutes and discusses the statistical issue.
Claim 2: Global Warming is causing more and worse cyclones
This would appear a contentious area, an article in National Geographic (https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/hurricanes-cyclones-move-slower-drop-more-rain-climate-change-science/) makes an interesting observation about slowing speed and dropping more rain and rising sea levels will contribute to the intensity of storms increasing with the frequency decreasing.
This article gives a balance view and discusses the role of climate models (https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/)
The claim is misleading as it does not consider the broader view, and implicitly is dismissing the role of more sophisticated models.
Claim 3: Global warming is causing more drought, the IPPC claims there is no global trend.
The IPCC do claim on a global scale there is no evidence of increased drought based on climate change, but not on a regional scale. This aspect is discussed in the report and indicate areas like the Mediterranean and Middle east are experiencing man induced drought.
This is a blog article reference so caution is needed but it provides some interesting insights which deserves more investigation (http://catallaxyfiles.com/2018/12/05/ipcc-contradicts-experts-pours-cold-water-on-man-made-reversible-global-drought-hysteria/)
The claim is misleading and concludes that no systemic global change indicates that there can be no regional change.
Claim 4: Rainfall in Australia has increased in the last century
Here is the BoM report (http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/updates/articles/a010-southern-rainfall-decline.shtml) the key point is that trends are regional in nature not global, which is what the statement implies, that is the increase would impact all areas equally. The report from CSIRO make similar reading (https://www.csiro.au/en/Showcase/state-of-the-climate).
The following report (https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/climate-campus/australian-climate-change/australian-trends/) indicates
“Rainfall averaged across Australia has slightly increased since 1900, with a large increase in north-west Australia since 1970. A declining trend in winter rainfall persists in south-west Australia. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the south-east since 1990.(climatechangeinaustralia, p1)
The claim is misleading and ignores regional differences.
Claim 5: Global warming means less food
The evidence stated to refute this claim is the grain harvest have set records in the past few years, there is no source given. There are however many research papers and government sources which at the very least ought to have been considered to give balance.
The claim is not negated and does not consider the broader discussion.
Claim 6: Polar bears are becoming extinct.
Emotive issue. This recent article outlines a view that possible global warming with cause problems for the bears (https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/02/polar-bears-starve-melting-sea-ice-global-warming-study-beaufort-sea-environment/), whereas Crockford indicates an increase (https://polarbearscience.com/2013/07/15/global-population-of-polar-bears-has-increased-by-2650-5700-since-2001/)
Claim 7: Consensus (97%) is largely debunked
The claim is about the likely impacts of climate change, it is a good point. However, that has been the case all along and I can’t see why one would use the word ‘debunked’. It is a very complex area and such statements tend to trivialize the matter.
In support of the claim Lindzen is referenced, he is retired from MIT. He disputes the likely impacts, but his own colleagues disagree with him, a fact I suggest should be noted and discussed. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/06032017/climate-change-denial-scientists-richard-lindzen-mit-donald-trump
Curry (https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/27/special-report-on-sea-level-rise/) provides an independent research report on sea rise. It makes interesting reading, but is not conclusive and has not been peer reviewed, it is published by her private company. These latter facts should have been noted.
Claim 8: Australia cutting emissions is not going to have any effect.
This is of course true, Australia accounts 1.3% of emissions, with a proportion of 0.3% of the world’s population.
We also export a considerable amount of coal and iron ore to two of the worlds leading emission countries i.e. India and China.
We will suffer the consequences of climate change over which we have no control other than to (a) sensibly consider the matter and (b) encourage others to take action. The best way to do this is by setting an example. However, given our emissions intensive economy we have an enormous and costly adjustment to go through.
Claim 8: Refutes Phelps’ claim that Kiribati and Tuvalu will disappear due to climate change.
Kench’s research supports refuting this claim.
In conclusion, Andrew Bolt’s has presented many of the claims before. What I have attempt to show here is that the claims are mostly misleading and do not consider the broader picture. The article takes sides and is not balanced, nor does it seek to take a balanced approach. There an implication that consensus exists that climate change is real, but suggests there less consensus about the significance of any change. The evidence provided mentions two individuals, one a retired academic whose colleagues have ALL rejected his claims, and one an independent company owner whose research has not been peer reviewed, at least as far as I could determine. Such evidence is not sufficient to support the main claim of the article.
Overall, the article is misleading and does not seek to add materially to the publics understanding, rather it deals in contestable generalities.