“Truth Challenged” – Wall Street 16 – minus 15 – strikes again

March 27, 2012

Not too long ago the “Wall Street 16”, a group of spokespeople for the fossil fuel industry, published a widely distributed piece in the Wall Street Journal, further confirming that once-great paper’s morph into just one more tentacle of Rupert Murdoch’s Foxis of Evil.

Now the leader of that group, the hapless Will Happer, (long time promoter of tobacco pseudo science,  climate killing greenhouse gases, and anything else right wing funders will task his Marshall Institute “think” tank to take on) is back again with another empty repetition of old climate denial saws, currently ricocheting around the denial-o-sphere.

Ben Santer took Happer to task in a recent lecture at Chico State University above, and Barry Bickmore takes it the current piece below.

Barry Bickmore:

A few months ago, I gave a talk at Utah Valley University entitled, “How to Avoid the Truth About Climate Change” (click here for video).  In the talk, I introduced the concept of “truth-challenged individuals”–people who are better than the rest of us at ignoring evidence that contradicts what we want to believe–and gave a few examples.  Well, it’s time to add another such individual to the list–Prof. Will Happer, a physicist at Princeton.

In 2010, Prof. Happer testified before a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, “Over the past ten years there has been no statistically [significant] global warming. This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC computer models.”  The problem was that the IPCC models DO predict there will be whole decades of less rapid warming or even some cooling as the temperature gradually rises.  But since the weather is “chaotic” in the short term, exactly WHEN these short-term dips in the temperature trend will occur is hard to predict, so different models (or even the same models run with slightly different starting conditions) will project the dips at different times.  This FACT is clearly evident in the following graph, taken from Fig. 10.5 of the IPCC AR4 Working Group 1 Report.   It shows climate model temperature projections for the A2 emissions scenario, with the individual lines representing individual models or averaged groups of models.  Just look at some of the more squiggly lines, which represent individual models.  They go up for several years, then they go down for several years, but in the long term the trend is up.

IPCC AR4 model projections for the A2 scenario. Individual lines represent output from individual models or groups of models. The output is subjected to a 3-year running average.

Oh, I’m certainly not the first one to point this out about Happer’s false testimony.  Ben Santer and his colleagues published a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research last year, in which they showed, “Claims that minimal warming over a single decade undermine findings of a slowly-evolving externally-forced warming signal [e.g., as in Investor’s Business Daily, 2008; Happer, 2010] are simply incorrect.”  (Click here for a free pre-publication version of Santer’s paper.)

Well, now Happer has made the same claim again in the Wall Street Journal.

If anyone can point out where Prof. Happer has dealt with Santer’s refutation of his (obviously) false testimony, please do so in the comments.  To me, it looks like he’s simply ignoring it.

Mike MacCracken, who I recently showcased for his 1982 talk on climate change, has also taken Happer to task in some detail, in a piece that makes are fine primer on the well-worn myths of climate denial – here.

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3 Responses to ““Truth Challenged” – Wall Street 16 – minus 15 – strikes again”


  1. “Climate killing” greenhouse gases, or climate altering GHG’s? One of the absolute best sites around on climate, climate change, and climate crocks seems, perhaps more often lately, to diminish its message by unnecessary over-the-top rhetoric. Otherwise, please keep up the truly excellent work: your site has converted at least 2 former deniers that I personally know of.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      ok, climate altering. good news about converting deniers. I hear that story from people all the time.

  2. Mike Says:

    As long as there is a steady supply of scientifically illiterate people ready to accept what Happer and his ilk have to say, they won’t have to answer their critics and will continue to cut and run, just like his royal holiness, the supercallifragilisitc “Lord” Monkton has recently done with Peter Hadfield. Until the education in the principles and conventions of science is improved at all levels of school, this will continue to be the case and the rest of us will continue to try and point out where the charlatans are wrong and hope we get through to some. I must admit Peter it is funny that your hatefulness has made you a scapegoat.


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