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The Critique of Tabloid
Climatology by Marcel Leroux

Marcel Peroux, a French climatologist, has written a very interesting and valuable exposé of the climatology that has come to dominate the attention of the media and government policy makers in this era of global warming hysteria. Leroux is an empirical climatologist and thus a real climatology who is a professor at a university in France and the head of a climatological research institute. His book is entitled in translation Global Warming -- Myth or Reality? : The Erring Ways of Climatology.

Leroux is outraged at what has happened to the respectable field of climatology in the past twenty years since the U.S. federal government started pouring about a billion dollars a year into global warming research. This level of funding provided the climate modelers each with several million dollars a year and what the U.S. government got was tabloid climatology because those research grants were dependent upon producing sensationalistic, apocalyptic pronouncements. The tabloids do not have to exaggerate these sensationalistic pronouncement; they only have to assert that the apocalyse is coming next summer instead of fifty years in the future.

Leroux's book is solid empirical climatology but in the introduction he allows himself to express his outrage in some fine rhetoric. For example, he says

Recent happenings in the field of climatology give cause for complaint, as do the approaches of some of its practioners, especially those who, lacking any real qualification, claim to belong to the climatological community, but give it an erroneous image. It is galling to see the media 'hype' which ensues every time a meeting of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] is announced, every time an extra drop of rain falls here, or fails to fall there, or every time a door slams because the wind is blowing a bit more strongly than is 'normal'. How irksome it is to hear the simplistic slogans, and sometimes barefaced lies, churned out yet again; to have to put up with the Diktat of an 'official line' and the parroted pronouncements of the 'climatically correct', numbing all reflection. It becomes over more difficult to stomach the kind of well-intentioned naïvety or foolishness which, through the medium of tearful reportage, tugs at our heart strings with tales of doomed polar bears, or islanders waiting for the water to lap around their ankles …

Hardly a week goes by without some new 'scoop' of this nature filling our screens and the pages of our newspapers. 'Global warming', caused by the 'greenhouse effect', is our fault, just like everything else, and the message/slogan/misinformation becomes ever more simplistic, ever cruder! It could not be simpler: if the rain falls or drought strikes; if the wind blows a gale or there is none at all; whether it's heat or hard frost; it's all 'because of the greenhouse effect', and we are to blame! An easy argument but stupid! The Fourth Report of the IPCC might just as well decree the suppression of all climatological textbooks, and replace them in our schools and universities with its press communiqués!

Leroux is not impressed with the output of the IPCC:

We do have to resort to complicated models to tell us that an increase in CO2 brings about, theoretically, an increase in temperature, a simple of rule of thumb, a 'back-of-the-envelope' calculation, will suffice.

Leroux might have noted that the IPCC managed to leave out all negative feedback effects while included the positive feedback ones. It also manages to justify leaving out dissident opinions. After referring to an example of the suppression of alternate climatological views by a French government official, Leroux says

This process of the elimination of opponents, which is general at all climatic conferences, has been denounced, notably at an IPCC meeting at the Moscow Academy of Sciences in July 2004. Some British scientists, great proponents of the official doctrine, committed 'intellectual terrorism' by excluding 'climato-skeptics' from the proceedings even though they were internationally recognized: modeller R. Lindzen, entomologist P. Reiter, oceanographer N.-A. Mörner and meteorologist R. Khandehar. One of the principal advisors to the Russian government, A. Illinarinov, called it 'totalitarian ideology'! And is not the idea of censorship unacceptable in so-called democratic regimes?

Because Leroux knows that the standard ploy of the tabloid climatologists and the religio-political movement they have spawned is to assert that any critic is either a crackpot or in the pay of the oil companies or both. He therefore gives some personal information that ordinary would not appear in a scholarly work. As he puts it:

I was going to omit certain facts, but the passionate nature of the debate suggests that they be mentioned. [I am] Doubly a doctor, from University and from the state, in Climatology, I am a member of the Société Météorologique de France and the American Meteorological Society. As a Professor of Climatology, my employer is the French Republic, which has adopted the official religion of 'climate change', to which I do not adhere. I am not beholden to any 'slush fund', and my Laboratoire de Climatologique, Risques, Environment (LCRE), in spite of its links with the Centre National de la Rechererche Scientifique (CNRS), has never received any funding from this state institution, certainly by reason of heresy. I am neither a militant nor an armchair 'eco-warrior', but I live in the countryside, near the littlel village of Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence, on the 'Grand Site Sainte Victoire' (immortalized by the painter Paul Cézanne), a listed and protected area of mountains and wild forests. I grow vegetables in my (small) 'organic' kitchen garden. I am naturally inclined to question things, and I am basically a Cartesian, living by Réne Descartes' primary precept of 'never assuming anything to be true which I did not know evidently to be such' (Discours de la Méthode, 1637).

(To be continued.)


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