This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Global Warming Science Is Not Overheated

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Media portrayals of climate scientists as a community split into warring factions are common. Particularly for those who would deny global warming in general and anthropogenic global warming and the role of CO2 emissions in particular, such a split helps trivialize the majority scientific opinion, in the same way disputes about the the details of evolution allow it to be touted as "just a theory" by creationists.

A couple of recent articles have thrown new fuel on that denial engine by pitting one scientist against the other. Taken together and in light of comments from other scientists, the two articles appear to prove the opposite: Scientific debate is alive and well. The takedown of global warming science is just not happening.

The first article, written by Patrick Michaels and published in Forbes on Feb. 3, draws on professional criticism of the scientific community in a literary journal by retired climate scientist Garth Paltridge. Paltridge's point is that his profession has been corrupted. Scientists have been swayed by a majority, government-led opinion and have allowed politics to influence their interpretations. The Forbes article echoes his conclusion that not only has global warming been "oversold," to the detriment of scientific credibility, but that a rebound of more objective opinion is coming in which the entire global warming edifice will come crashing down and scientific credibility with it.

Like many critics of global warming science, Paltridge emphasizes the last 14-year period of flatlined recorded global surface temperatures, which I discussed in more detail in my article Thursday, Global Warming 'Haitus' Is an Illusion, Study Finds. He pooh-poohs the notion that heat could be trapped in the deeper ocean and labels it a desperate attempt to save the global warming hypothesis.

The second, written by David Rose and published Feb. 15 in the Daily Mail, cites scientist Mat Collins, associated with the UK's Met Office, as saying that science can't link global warming to changes in the jet stream at the top of the world that have caused severe storms in England. This is news because the chief scientist of Met Office, Dame Julia Slingo, is on record appearing to say the opposite.

In actuality, Slingo's remarks don't seem as far removed from Collins as the Daily Mail author indicates. Speaking broadly, she said there was no definite proof of a link between climate change and the storms but that "all available evidence" seemed to point to a connection. Collins, speaking specifically about the jet stream part of the equation, said, "There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge."

Paltridge, the author of the Daily Mail article, and Michaels, the author of the Forbes article, imply that these differing views amount to a war of truth vs. lies. They believe there is an inability of climate change scientists to entertain contrary arguments and a lack of sensible scholarly discussion within the scientific community.

But the fact that those views are being discussed at all in the media illustrates that scientific discussion and dissent are prevalent. In addition to being a Met Office scientist, Collins is a scientist for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That panel is at the heart of many criticisms about global warming science (including those of Paltridge) for its attempts to cultivate a consensus and shape international policy, a blending of politics and science that for many chafes against the spirit of independent inquiry.

Yet independent inquiry and dissent persist. In my conversation with scientist Matt England this week he noted inconsistencies in the models and, far from brushing past them, used them as guides for future research.

"The science that we're in is all about the ability to make projections," England said, adding that sometimes predictions miss the mark. "The hope is as we go down the track we'll work out why that might be."

I asked England specifically how he felt about the Forbes article's contention that the risks of climate change had been "oversold.'"

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,493.37 -69.93 -0.42%
S&P 500 1,925.15 -5.52 -0.29%
NASDAQ 4,352.6390 -17.1340 -0.39%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs