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(Hot) Air Let Out of California's Climate Change Lawsuit

April 2, 2018

California thought there might have been some kind of conspiracy by oil companies to hide secrets about global warming. Umm ... no.

california court

The California court climate class ordered by a judge has ended — with everybody agreeing the climate has changed.

This is good news. It means anybody who calls an oil company representative a “Climate denier!” from now on will either by lying or ignorant. This ought to make for quieter politics.

We saw earlier that the state of California was suing some oil companies.

Grant Me This

The concern was that because certain people were raking in a lot of money, they might have been tempted to skew research results in the direction of the money source. Well, it’s a fallacy to say that because somebody took the government’s money to engage in climate research they necessarily shaded results in the government’s favor. But it does increase the chances.

What’s that? You think it’s only private concerns that are seduced by money? That, somehow, when an agency takes government funding all possible avenues of confirmation bias and enticements to please the hand that is feeding them are removed? How odd.

Anyway, California thought there might have been some kind of conspiracy by oil companies to hide secrets about global warming. We also saw that secrets of the kind hoped for by climate activists weren’t really possible.

But Judge William Alsup didn’t know that and so ordered both sides to present to him a tutorial in the physics of externally heated fluids flowing over a rotating sphere. The class as scheduled to last a mere four hours. But, hey, what’s so hard? Activists, politicians, celebrities, even reporters know all about this simple subject.

We’re Here to Help

Aiding his honor were two friend-of-the-court briefsone of which was led by Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, Willie Soon, David Legates, Yours Truly, and others. The other was from scientists William Happer, Steven E. Koonin, and Richard S. Lindzen.

Happer and the others provided a lovely summary.

1. The climate is always changing; changes like those of the past half-century are common in the geologic record, driven by powerful natural phenomena

2. Human influences on the climate are a small (1%) perturbation to natural energy flows

3. It is not possible to tell how much of the modest recent warming can be ascribed to human influences

4. There have been no detrimental changes observed in the most salient climate variables and today’s projections of future changes are highly uncertain

Interested readers can explore the reasoning behind this four simple and true points at their leisure. Share them with every concerned citizen.

Monckton’s (my) group had two straightforward points.

First result: … there is no “consensus” among scientists that recent global warming was chiefly anthropogenic, still less that unmitigated anthropogenic warming has been or will be dangerous or catastrophic …

Second result: … even if it be assumed [for the sake of argument] that all of the 0.8 [degree Celsius] global warming since anthropogenic influence first became potentially significant in 1950 was attributable to us, in the present century little more than 1.2 [C] of global warming is to be expected, not the 3.3 [C] that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had predicted.

The rest can be read and enjoyed by all. Or sent to your favorite lawmaker.

Time’s Up: Hand In All Papers

Reports are the class had all the excitement of a late-term lecture on obscure numerical approximations to partial differential equations — which, as all activists know, are used in climate models. Yet the judge took an active interest.

Alsup didn’t let the tricky stuff fly over his head — he jumped in to make the presenters explain. At one point, he questioned Oxford scientist Myles Allen [hired by California] on the graph he was using: “Explain that graph there? I still don’t get it,” Alsup said.

Allen’s explanation only muddied the waters further. “I just don’t think your chart demonstrates what you’re telling me,” Alsup said. After a moment, Allen realized he must have grabbed the wrong figure. “You’re absolutely right,” he said.

Apparently, California’s idea that the oil companies secreted away formulas for cooler, or maybe it was warmer, weather did not persuade Judge Alsup. A reporter who was in the judicial classroom tweeted “Judge slams California cities lawyers says they misled the court – says document they claim ‘shows conspiracy’ shows nothing of the sort #climatechange tutorial.” Other attendees agreed.

I’m a Climate Cop, You Idiot

This result can’t be what muscle man Arnold Schwarzenegger hoped for. In between squat thrusts (we imagine) Arnie grunted that oil companies ought to be sued for murdah. Murder, that is. As in willful killing.

This shows what can happen if you avoid the library and spend too much time in the gym.

[First published at Stream.]

Author
William M. ‘Matt’ Briggs is a policy advisor at The Heartland Institute.
matt@wmbriggs.com @mattstat
William Briggs, ICCC10 (Panel 11: Attacks on Scientists and the Corruption of Science)

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