The Spectacle Blog

The Fudge Factor

By on 7.15.09 | 3:48PM

I appreciate Bill O'Reilly informing his large audience that cap-and-trade is a con, as he has for the past two evenings. And I'm not unused to the ritual "hey, I believe in global warming but..." preface to certain skepticism that so many feel compelled to offer for reasons unique to each, one of which reasons is surely on occasion sincerity and equally as often a vain attempt to curry favor or credibility with those who will never afford it.

What's sticking in my craw is O'Reilly's insistence that since the 1970s it has warmed one dgree (F or C, he didn't say, but as you'll see it makes no difference). Specifically, it is that his vehemence is accompanied by a shrug and "look, it's just what the stats say" or something very close to that, even sneering at others who disagree as unable to read a thermometer. OK. Let's look at the thermometer.

Doing so we see that this claim is simply made up. Whether he's making it up, is sure he heard it somewhere, his staff wrote it, etc., I of course do not know. But he's clearly sticking with it, so let's get something straight: no it hasn't warmed a degree since the 1970s, or anything within a cannon's shot of there. Thanks to the continued cooling we've even arrived right on the nose of the 30-year average for that period, which is another way of saying no warming at all, let alone anything statistically significant.

You don't even get a degree since the 1970s by taking Jim Hansen's torturing-slash-corruption of the data by emphasizing surface thermometers -- hundreds of which have now been exposed to be placed on airport runways, above air conditioning units venting hot air and even above a BBQ grill, and the vast majority of which instruments in the U.S. violating applicable siting standards.

In short, that is to say that you can't really even make that claim up. It's pulled from thin, cooling air.

Here's the totality of the satellite record (h/t for the mock-up to AlGoreLied and plotted data courtesy of Dr. Roy Spencer), which runs to 1979 because that's when we launched these babies in response to equal certainty about Man-made cooling. You may be interested to know that that also was the end of a three-decade-plus cooling and the coldest decade of the century. Even given that, do you see a degree, or even any appreciable warming or a trend in there anywhere?

Let's stick to facts. But drop the sneering at those who disagree and whose dispute is grounded in actually looking at the thermometer.

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