Facebook has another go at climate truth arbitration

By Patrick Michaels

Last year, Facebook briefly slapped a “false” label on an op-ed I wrote with statistician Caleb Rossiter on the poor performance of the computer models that predict future global temperatures. That label blocks Facebook users from seeing and sharing an article. We explained in detail in a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the label was “unsupported by the data and analysis of UN and U.S. government agencies.”

I am a climate scientist. I know the U.N. data because I was an author and reviewer of many of the U.N. climate reports, even as I grew increasingly unsatisfied by their gradual evolution from real science into advocacy science.

To its credit, Facebook removed the “false” label and indeed adopted a new policy of not “fact-checking” op-eds. But Facebook has slapped another “false” label on a YouTube video of my Oct. 21, 2018, interview on Life, Liberty & Levin. They probably would have let it pass except for the fact that nearly 3 million people have watched it.

The arbiter of climate truth is a group contracted to Facebook called Climate Feedback, itself funded by professional climate alarmist Eric Michelman. It gets exercised about anything deviating from its apocalyptic religious view of climate change. It was particularly upset by Michael Moore’s recent film on the true environmental and financial costs of wind and solar projects, which turn out to be anything but “renewable.” In fact, as Moore showed in his folksy “Believe me; I’m an amateur” style, these boondoggles require massive fossil fuel energy inputs to build the infrastructure that provides their intermittent and costly power and so don’t even reduce net carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate Feedback accused me of stating erroneously that “about half” of the warming of nearly a degree in Celsius since 1900 is caused by carbon dioxide. But this is a fact, not an opinion. There are two warming spells that occurred in the 20th century. The first one started in 1910, long before we had put enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to create much of a warming effect. And interestingly, the rate of warming in the early 20th century is indistinguishable from the rate of the second warming, beginning in 1976.

In rebutting my assertion, Climate Feedback relies on a computer climate model simulation from the United Nation’s collection. The U.N. uses 105 model runs, and 104 of them are incapable of simulating the three-dimensional behavior of the entire global tropics. The one model that does work predicts hardly any global warming, but call the special prosecutor; it’s a Russian model.

Climate Feedback was also upset that I said warming may have stopped from the late 1990s to the beginning of the big El Nino warming of 2014-16. In my extended piece on Climate Feedback’s shenanigans, I included a graph of global monthly surface temperatures from the most pristine scientific record we had at the time of the Levin taping. This clearly shows the “pause,” which was discussed a great deal at the time it happened.

Is Facebook aware that all of those vaunted climate models are “parameterized” (i.e., fudged) to get the answer the modelers want? I’m exaggerating about this, right? Well, here’s what climate modeler Thorsten Mauritsen wrote in the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems a mere two months ago: We have documented how we tuned the MPI‐ESM1.2 [Max-Planck Institute Earth System Model 1.2] global climate model to match the instrumental record warming; an endeavor which has clearly been successful. Due to the historical order of events, the choice was to do this practically by targeting an ECS [equilibrium climate sensitivity—the amount of warming resulting from a doubling of carbon dioxide] about 3 [degrees celsius] using cloud feedbacks, as opposed to tuning the aerosol forcing.

What this means is that his climate model (like everyone else’s) was unable to simulate the climate of the 20th century from first physical principles. So, he forced the issue by mucking around with the cloud parameters even though that was likely to induce massive errors in the tropics. After all, the only truly unpardonable sin would have been to come back with a model that stood out too much from everyone else’s.

Unfortunately, Facebook is back to censoring informed, defensible scientific opinion with less defensible scientific opinions. It was a great platform when it upheld the free exchange of ideas.

Patrick Michaels is a former professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and a former president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He is the author of Lukewarming (2016) and Scientocracy (2019) and a senior fellow with the CO2 Coalition in Arlington, Virginia.

This article appeared on the Washington Examiner website at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/facebook-has-another-go-at-climate-truth-arbitration


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