If you are the President’s chief scientific advisor then you have a duty to be informed and keep informed, and a duty to refrain from making indisputably false statements. Such responsibility is obviously too much for John Holdren, who has shown himself again as an inveterate liar (see earlier posts All who hate Me love Death and Growth of Crops, Weeds, CO2 and Lies). In a recent interview with New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, Holdren repeats the litany of ‘evidences’ for anthropogenic global warming, which he must know are patently untrue if he has read any scientific literature over the past few years. Holdren said
We all talk about the acceleration of climate change in its impacts that we’re observing. One sees the incidence of wildfires going up more rapidly than people expected, the incidence of heat waves and droughts going up more rapidly, sea level is rising more rapidly… All of these indicators are moving more rapidly.
Wrong on all counts. It’s simply impossible for Holdren to be honestly mistaken here, because the data in some cases comes from US government agencies. Consider sea level rise. There is not the slightest evidence that “sea level is rising more rapidly”, that this represents an “acceleration of climate change in its impacts”. When Holdren says “One sees…” he cannot mean to ‘foresee’ as a ‘seer’ might do, since his previous statement makes it clear that this is one of the accelerating ‘impacts that we’re observing’. Well, it’s really very easy to determine Holdren’s integrity since we can simply look at the data that ‘we’re observing’. Do records show that sea level rise is accelerating, “rising more rapidly”? Not at all: sea level rise has been pretty steady over the last 100 years, except in the last few years when it has appeared to slow down significantly, even to the extent of appearing to show a declining trend since 2006. Wolfgang Scherer, Director of Australia’s National Tidal Facility correctly states
One definitive statement we can make is that there is no indication based on observations that sea level rise is accelerating.
Who knows what the future holds, but it is simply deliberate falsehood to claim that there is an acceleration in sea level rise. Check it out for yourself: here is the data (over thousands of years, a hundred years, and 15 years):
Note that the last graph is from NOAA, a US government agency. One scientific conclusion that can be drawn from these graphs is that sea level rise to date is not anthropogenically related.
What about droughts? Are they increasing, and are they accelerating in their increase? Neither! The latest data has been compiled by Sheffield et al in the Journal of Climate (2009), Global and continental drought in the second half of the twentieth century: severity-area-duration analysis and temporal variability of large-scale events. The authors
identified 296 large scale drought events (greater than 500,000 km2 and longer than 3 months) globally for 1950-2000…the mid-1950s showed the highest drought activity and the mid-1970s to mid-1980s the lowest activity.
So, over that 50 year period, drought was greatest when CO2 concentration was lowest. As for recent trends, we can find this in Sheffield and Wood’s paper in the Journal of Climate (2008), Global Trends and Variability in Soil Moisture and Drought Characteristics, 1950-2000, from Observation-Driven simulations of the Terrestrial Hydrologic Cycle, which records
Trends in drought duration, intensity, and severity are predominantly decreasing…concurrent changes in drought extent are evident, with a global decreasing trend of between -0.021% and –0.035% yr-1.
Sorry Holdren, drought is not only not on the up and accelerating upwards, it is declining globally in extent, duration, intensity and severity.
Maybe Holdren was just talking about USA? No chance!
Over the Americas, trends are uniformly negative and mostly significant.
So we could go on. Again, no informed and honest person could make the statements Holdren does. Holdren has been spouting nonsense since the late 1960s and 1970s, and has spent too much time in cahoots with dreamers like the notorious atheist Paul Ehrlich, his co-author on several books. Ehrlich made the following ridiculously foolish predictions:
(1968) The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.
(1969) Hundreds of millions of people will soon perish in smog disasters in New York and Los Angeles…the oceans will die of DDT poisoning by 1979…the U.S. life expectancy will drop to 42 years by 1980 due to cancer epidemics.
(1969) If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in year 2000.
(1970) In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct.
(1974) nutritional disaster seems likely to overtake humanity in the 1970s (or, at the latest, the 1980s)…A situation has been created that could lead to a billion or more people starving to death.
These filthy dreamers are in the mode of the climate alarmist Stephen Schneider, another of Holdren’s long-time friends and associates, who infamously said
…we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have…Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.
In the early 1970s, Schneider, who studied the role of greenhouse gases and suspended particulate material on climate as a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was “full on” about catastrophic global cooling, and he discounted the idea that increasing CO2 would mitigate it by causing global warming. In Schneider S. & Rasool S., Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141, he wrote
It is found that even an increase by a factor of 8 in the amount of CO2, which is highly unlikely in the next several thousand years, will produce an increase in the surface temperature of less than 2 deg. K.
Of course, Schneider jumped once he saw the CO2 bandwagon coming along, and has been a diehard CO2 global warming alarmist ever since. But we know from his 1971 paper that he’s aware he is perpetrating a lie. We know where the balance between being effective and being honest lies with him.