The Invisible Judith Curry

January 21, 2014

(NO FRAKKING CONSENSUS) Dr. Judith Curry has spent 30 years studying the climate. She currently chairs the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

by Donna Laframboise

Testifying before a committee of the US Senate yesterday, this even-tempered, matter-of-fact professor made a number of remarks the public deserves to hear. For example, she referred to human-caused, greenhouse-gas related global warming as:

a theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. [bold added]

Hiring an appliance repair man involves a similarly well understood mechanism. He performs a task, I give him money. The fact that I’ve had to call him is less important than the magnitude of the situation. How much repairing will he need to do before my washing machine works properly? Will my bill be $50 – or $350?

The significance of Curry’s public statements has been overlooked by media outlets who are supposed to be keeping us informed. A mainstream climate scientist has advised US lawmakers that we don’t know whether the amount of warming caused by humans will be trivial or substantial.


Here’s what Curry said next:

Multiple lines of evidence presented in the recent [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s] 5th assessment report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is now weaker than in 2007… [bold added]

Never mind the spin that accompanied the release of the IPCC’s summary document last September. Someone who is equipped to read the long version of the IPCC’s report, and to understand the full implications of what’s being discussed there, says that evidence supporting the idea that humans are causing significant global warming appears to be weaker – not stronger – than it was seven years ago.

Where are the headlines? Why didn’t Curry’s testimony lead the evening news? Does the public not have a right to know that a reputable climate scientist thinks the IPCC “does not have a convincing or confident explanation” as to why “there has been no significant increase in surface temperature” for the past 16 years?

Do we not deserve to hear that much of what we’ve been told about global warming could be wrong? Here’s Curry again:

Attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 15+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob that can fine tune climate… [bold added]

The idea that carbon dioxide emissions will trigger dangerous global warming is at the very heart of the climate crisis. Take that idea off the table and there’s no longer any sane reason to pursue costly, job-killing emissions reduction programs. Nor is there the slightest justification for regarding CO2 as “pollution.”

Although I’ve been unable to find any mainstream media coverage of Curry’s testimony, the Washington Post and BusinessWeek did report on something else that happened yesterday. Eighteen activist groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama.

The term “carbon pollution” appears six times in that letter – which further declares that CO2-emitting fossil fuels “will inevitably lead to a catastrophic climate future.”

These activists don’t want much – just an entirely new economy powered by entirely different energy sources. But reinventing an economy is neither cheap, simple, nor painless. Wherever it has happened – Soviet Russia, Communist China, Cambodia – the political elites have turned totalitarian and millions have been hounded, imprisoned, starved, and subjugated.

These 18 environmental groups – including the Sierra Club, American Rivers, Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, and Friends of the Earth – are nevertheless keen for America to embark on such a perilous journey.

If a bona fide climate scientist thinks we have no idea what’s going on, this makes as much sense as purchasing a new washing machine before the repair man has determined the status of the current one.

Aren’t environmentalists supposed to be against the wasteful squandering of resources?