The "Climate Change" movement continues to push the new meaning of political science to the limits of absurdity. Our January 2008 essay "Intellectual Hysteria" described previous personal revelations by charismatic intellectuals. The main conclusion by Thomas Malthus, in the late Eighteenth Century, was that global population would grow geometrically while the ability to grow food would only grow arithmetically. His conclusions were that there were too many people on the planet - particularly of the lower classes.
The next big one, Stanley Jevons' revelation in the 1860s was that the world would run out of coal (too many consuming people) and civilization would collapse.
The latest example started as "Global Warming", but with so many impartial earth scientists saying "So what - it's been warming for some 12,000 years", the label for the movement evolved into "Climate Change". And under either name it is the best-financed promotion of intellectual hysteria in history. The number of specific concerns seems to be expanding exponentially; with for example, a cub reporter theorizing that warmer weather will cause more kidney stones. Kid you not.
Generally, the pitch, beyond underlying prejudices about "too many people", is that personal anxieties about man-caused global warming can only be relieved through massive increases in taxation and regulation. This is distinctive from Communist theories that were intended to improve mankind, rather than the planet. That some 100 million were murdered by their own governments in the quest to create the "new man" is no longer a politically acceptable movement.
Thus the authoritarian movement, as vividly defined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, becomes "I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet." (July 29, 2008).
Some announcements seem coordinated, or perhaps it's the media flocking to buzz-topics. On March 23, The Sunday Times reported on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's leading advisor on climate and environment. Jonathon Porritt stated "UK population must fall to 30 million". At 61 million now, implementation of such radical policy will be interesting.
Then on March 31 BBC.com headlined "Earth Population 'Exceeds Limits'", and the story included "There are already too many people living on the Planet Earth". This was from "One of the most influential science advisors" to Hillary Clinton.
Somewhat earlier, on March 6 The Independent quoted Secretary of State Clinton: "Never waste a good crisis...don't waste it when it can have a very positive impact on climate change". That was in her address to the European Parliament.
And as Monica Kopacz (Applied Mathematics and Atmospheric Science, Harvard) observed in the April New York Times Magazine: "Only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get attention. So, yes, exaggerate...this is the only way to assure political action and thus more funds for climate research."
On May 27 The Times quoted Professor Sir Harold Kroto (chemist): "Fighting climate change will take more than a technological revolution. A new era of science education is also needed. The project doesn't require geniuses, but those with passion".
This reminds of Stanley Jevons' message in 1865 "This is a question of almost religious importance which needs the separate study and determination of every intelligent person."
At any rate, the educational propaganda seems to be effective in schools. As The Treehugger recently reported: "There's a new bogeyman lurking in the closet, and this one isn't imaginary. One out of three US children, aged 6 to 11, fears that Ma Earth won't exist when they grow up, while more than half - 65% - worry that the planet will be a blasted place."
Fortunately, Mother Nature is actually chilling out on the climate - and not a moment too soon. Our July Climate Report noted that the months of June and July were unusually cool in New York City. That was reported by the NAOO National Weather Service. In their August 11 report on the contiguous United States, NOAA noted: "The average July temperature of 73.5 F was 0.8 degrees below the 20th century average".
Unfortunately, the movement has yet to chill out, but one of the main influences on cooling from the above average high readings of a few years ago continues. The declining phase of the last solar cycle that might have ended in late 2006-early 2007 has extended, establishing the deepest solar minimum since 1913. The table updates to August 25:
Current Stretch: 46 Days
2009 Total: 188 Days (79%)
Since 2004: 699 Days
Typical Solar Minimum: 485 Days
On data back to 1849, there are only 6 sets of consecutive spotless days longer and those were in the high 40s. The longest were 48 days to May 1902, 54 days to April 1879, 63 to May 1901 and 92 to July 1913.
These numbers are real, un-manipulated and cannot be refuted by ambitious statists to use yet another set of personal revelations to impose authority upon the public. The other aspect that is beyond political spin is the cooling that always goes with a deep solar minimum.
A recent chart shows the history of total spotless days since the mid 1800s. The highs (deep solar minimums) until around 1920 were associated with cooler times and the lows (solar maximums) in the 1960s and into the 1980s were associated with warming. The numbers such as "12" refers to the count of the solar cycle and now Solar Cycle "24" is pending. The latest plot at 640 days is behind as the count is now at 699.
The count of spotless days is one way of keeping track of diminished solar activity and output of energy.
The opposite, or the increasing solar activity in the 1960s and 1980s, was the highest in a couple of hundred years.
This is now the deepest solar minimum since 1913, and the transition has been rapid.
As at August 25 the number of spotless days is at 699.
Points we have covered earlier are worth reviewing.
Climate warming leads increases in atmospheric carbon by some 400 to 800 years. Not the other way around.
The popular promotion that modern human activity increases carbon is an example of a primitive syllogism that concludes that because two things occur together they are causally related. Industrialization began a remarkable expansion in the mid 1800s and temps have been increasing since then. Yeah-sure roosters crowing in the morning "cause" the sun to rise.
Throughout all of man's existence warming trends have been beneficial.
This was the case with the Medieval Warm Period, which cannot be explained by anthropogenic global warming. In 1995 this was inconvenient for the promotion and Jonathan Overpeck emailed to a colleague he assumed sympathetic to the movement: "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period." Overpeck is a professor at the University of Arizona and an IPCC lead author.
The Little Ice Age also cannot be explained by the promotional theory.
Michael Mann's "Hockey Stick" chart virtually eliminated the Medieval Warming and The Little Ice Age. That it has been completely discredited has been belatedly admitted by the IPCC.
Obviously, this form of political science needs constant auditing, and as this deep solar minimum continues, Mother Nature will be instructing a number of "scientists" who have succumbed to the sirens of funding and media celebrity.
In an equivalent period of intellectual hysteria during the rampant inflation in the early 1800s, Goethe dryly observed: "Most men only care for science so far as they get a living by it, but they will worship error when it affords them a subsistence."
Reid Bryson has been considered as "the father of scientific climatology". He passed away in 2008, aged 88, and one of his observations was: "If you want to be an eminent scientist you have to have grad students and a lot of grants. You can't get grants unless you say, 'Oh, global warming, yes, yes, carbon dioxide.'"
There is an old saying in promotional stock markets that "So long is the price is going up, the public will believe the most preposterous story."
On obvious reasons, global temperatures are declining. The promotional side and corruption of climate science will soon follow.