We are glad to be hosting an interview with John O’Sullivan, Hans Schreuder and Derek Alker. John and Hans are key authors in the Slaying the Sky Dragon book and Derek is a closely associated member of the scientific team.
Emma: What are your backgrounds? How did you get interested in this topic?
John: I am a teacher and lecturer by training becoming a part-time professional online science writer around eight years ago. I covered any and all subjects of interest to general readers. I saw, first-hand, how environmentalism was becoming a religion. Over time I gradually got to know many experts from around the world (many with PhD’s) in diverse disciplines from meteorology to metallurgy, climate science to Chemistry, plus Physics, Mathematics, Thermodynamics, Astrophysics, Biology, etc. In November 2009, when the appalling revelations about ‘Climategate’ hit the online science community, many of us came together purely as concerned citizens. We were shocked by the contents of thousands of emails showing that government climate scientists were in secret faking data, botching scientific laws and seemingly building a fictitious doomsday narrative to meet the demands of policymakers funding their academic institutions. From around the world scientists began to come together and speak out on blogs and message boards. We openly and painstakingly went through the data sets, the inter-faculty correspondence and other evidence exposed by the mass of emails. There was outrage that billions of dollars of taxpayer money was being invested in dishonestly resurrecting a long-ago abandoned hypothesis concerning so-called “greenhouse gases”. As unpaid experts worried about the misuse and abuse of science we wanted to understand why there was a culture, from the very top downwards, of criminal destruction and alteration of global temperature data by the key government researchers at the UK’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) based at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and elsewhere.
Hans: Started my professional life as an analytical chemist and did scientific work in the pharmaceutical, rubber and plastics industries for fifteen years. Following on after that I spent some thirty years in electrical contracting work. My chemical training alerted me to the impossibility of a gas, any gas, warming the earth more than the sun could. When I realised, by around 2006, how strong the “belief” in catastrophic man-made global warming was growing I decided to start my website and a few years later Tech-Know-Group . Today I have over ten thousand papers, essays and letters open to the public at no charge.
Derek: I have a BA in Geography. Over the course of my employment years I have had several, varied, jobs – none of which are directly related to climate or, indeed “science”. I have, however, always had a deep interest in nature and the sciences. The television programme, “The World About Us” was one that I would frequently watch and it was one such programme in which David Attenborough explained at great length and with great emotion how we were destroying the planet. He was asking the audience to join in a distributed computing climate modelling programme, because supposedly they needed as many people as possible to run the computer climate model so that they could get clusters of results with which they hoped to predict climate changes. So, I joined in with this even though at that time I knew nothing about computers. I asked questions and usually got helpful answers. Then one day, on a BBC forum, I asked a simple question “According to the theory of what is being modeled, when a cloud passes over me I should be warmer because of back radiation, but I feel cooler – why?” I was jumped upon by many of the “names” who had previously been friendly and helpful. I wondered what I had done that was so wrong, so I continued to ask “awkward” questions and the replies became almost abusive! Something was wrong and in order to discover what this may be I set out on a journey that I could never have previously envisaged.
Jodie: John, how have you progressed personally and/or professionally since your interview with RT in 2010?
John: Since I gave the TV interview on RT science has really moved forward and exciting developments have kept coming. The success of the ‘Slayers’ book has spawned the formation of Principia Scientific International (PSI) and we proudly boast 1,000+ members, many with science PhD’s, helping our cause. We’ve been buoyed by the relentless flow of exciting new discoveries e.g. Svensmark’s CERN cloud experiments confirm cosmic rays impact climate; volcanic activity in deep oceans is a now more recognised as a constant (previously unaccounted) real impact on global temperature. Due to its success PSI now takes up a huge amount of my time and we are relentless in publishing new science articles and recruiting quality contributors. It has been an honour to serve as an advisory body to policymakers and we expect more of that kind of involvement in the future.
J: What is your greatest achievement in this area?
J: Among our achievements is being widely regarded as the body of scientists who successfully challenged and exposed the flimsiness at the core of consensus science. We showed hard evidence that carbon dioxide has only ever been used in science and industry as a cooling gas – never to cause warming or delay cooling. Before CFC’s CO2 was industry’s preferred refrigeration gas! Now NASA and the universities admit they rely on a flat-earth, simplistic model of the earth, lit continuously by an insipid sun unable to melt ice, is devoid of water, vegetation and geothermal inputs. This flat, dry, dead earth model is what is taught to undergraduates and inputted into models. Other serious and false assumptions about the role of carbon dioxide (CO2) on climate that we exposed are becoming accepted e.g., there was never been shown any evidence of “back radiation” heating, it simply doesn’t exist and prominent climate scientists, such as Georgia Tech’s Dr Judith Curry have now disassociated from it. Importantly, our science inspired independent research in 2012 at Monterrey, Mexico performed by Professor Nasif Nahle. He demonstrated experimentally in the open atmosphere that CO2 absorbs and re-emits radiation in a tiny fraction of one second. Thus, proving the “greenhouse gas” conjecture of “trapped” heat or “delayed” cooling is too trivial to be a measurable climate mechanism. The rise of the ‘Slayers’ forced the climate debate to shift from a two- way dispute over “how much” warming is due to CO2 into a three-sided debate. Now alarmists and “lukewarmists” who both supporting the notion of CO2 forcing are up against us, the ‘Slayers’ (Principia Scientific International) who show, through hard evidence that in the real world carbon dioxide is only proven to work as a coolant. In 2010, when we began, we were a few dozen dismissed by the consensus as “mavericks.” Today our science is increasingly recognized internationally as based on hard, empirical evidence and the known laws of physics. In short, it is fact versus fiction battle: we are champions of applied science (experiments, actual measured data) versus the other two groups (alarmists, lukewarmists) who adhere to the failed computer models (physically unverified, fed synthetic, contrived numbers).
H: Having two websites that are overflowing with proper science that are available free of charge and free from adverts.
J: What is your greatest disappointment in this area?
J: Naively, we hoped that the paradigm shift away from the greenhouse gas conjecture would have been over by now. But, with so many reputations, investments, policy decisions, depending on the continuation of CO2 junk science, it may be a few more years till our work is fully done.
H: Not having been able to get just one scientist – who is convinced of the warming by carbon dioxide – to discuss the issues with me. Have tried the Dept. of climate change, the Royal Society, Global Warming Policy Foundation, Science and Public Policy Institute and others that I do not recall now.
E: You mention the inaccuracy of data in your book, how could the public tell which sets of data are accurate?
J: It is now impossible for anyone to be sure that any of the global temperature data sets are reliable to any extent. Ground thermometer networks have only been used extensively in the UK and US for 150 years and almost all the southern hemisphere, and the Polar Regions have no historic thermometer data at all. We do know for a fact from the leaked Climategate emails that Professor Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the UEA intentionally withheld and lost and destroyed crucial raw data sets that would have implicated him and other government scientists in a massive and internationally coordinated criminal conspiracy involving hundreds of billions of tax dollars. At least Jones admitted his “mistakes” but only after the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution had expired. It speaks volumes that Jones was allowed to keep his well-paid job after “official” government investigations swept the controversy under the carpet.
H: There is no way at all that the public can tell which data set is accurate, hence the whole climate scare has to be a contrived event.
D: With a natural system as large, complex and dynamic as the earth’s climate system it is impossible to measure any climate metric to any meaningful degree of accuracy. Therefore the public, who in the main are nowhere near as qualified as the people who produce the data, would find it impossible to tell what is accurate and what is not.
E: Do you believe we should abolish homogenization of data? We obviously need to cut out the data which has been skewed due to instrumental changes and systematic errors, so do we need to refine the process rather than abolish it entirely?
J: In terms of the faking/destruction of climate data in the above scandal, trust in climate scientists has been so irreparably damaged that all claims made from homogenized or “adjusted” data is now tainted. In future, only when and if ALL the computer codes and raw data are released will sensible independent scientist again begin to trust government-funded research.
D: Homogenisation of data is a necessary evil. However, that does not mean it should be used. When data is corrected or invented, which is the purpose of homogenisation, the figures produced are not data. All the data has been skewed, therefore none could actually be cut out. This means that we can neither refine the process, nor abolish it entirely. What we need is a proper record of all the changes and the original data, which all too often, sadly is not the case e.g. a couple of years ago the New Zealand Government had to admit in court that it neither knew, nor had a record of what its original temperature record was.
E: What data would we use instead? If we only rely on raw data couldn't it be horribly skewed, and therefore worthless?
J: In a perfect world we would only have perfect data. But in our imperfect world scientists, like any group of professionals, muddle through and are just as prone to confirmation bias, corruption and incompetence. So much historic global temperature data has tragically been lost to science forever, thanks to Jones and co., that it will take generations to rebuild a new temperature record extensive enough to show actual (not modelled) climate variation.
Good scientists are open about allowing other scientists to check their data, their calculations, computer code, etc. to ensure all is above board. Nowadays, that so few corrupt/incompetent scientists are ever taken to task is an indictment of the state of the so-called peer review (pal review) system among the “prestige” science journals. The rules of the scientific method, relied upon since the time of Sir Isaac Newton, tells us that scepticism must always be our watchword.‘Nullius in Verba’ was until recently the noble motto of the once prestigious Royal Society in London. It translates as ‘on the word of no one’. As such, claims based on secret science are inherently unethical and suspicious and should be rejected.
D: Today, with current technology, knowledge and finance we still cannot measure any climate metric accurately enough – therefore there is no data we could use “instead”. All data is skewed. e.g. “The Urban Heat Island Effect” – when most temperature stations were built they were “out of town”; as towns have grown, the temperature stations have not been moved and so the towns have become nearer to the stations (if not around them). This then affects the data produced. Thus giving global averages skewed by localised effects.
H: Any and all data sets are subject to mis-interpretation and mis-management, so I can’t answer your question.
J: What legal or personal repercussions have you faced?
J: We have been subject to endless threats and abuse. False allegations, misrepresentation of our work and smear tactics were hard to bear for most of us. But standing out of it has been the two multi-million dollar SLAPP lawsuits filed against our co-founder, Dr Tim Ball, separately by UN IPCC climate modeller, Andrew Weaver and then by Dr Michael “hockey stick” Mann. These have dragged on for six years and won’t get to court until 2017. Tim, a retired 77-year-old pensioner, has endured the endless pressure of that.
E: My understanding of global warming, and the greenhouse gas effect is: the Earth is absorbing radiation from the Sun, we are giving off IR radiation back out. The IR is absorbed by these 'greenhouse gases', once this is re-radiated the majority of it escapes our atmosphere, but some is re-radiated back to Earth. Without thinking any further, with the continuous radiation we receive from the Sun, does this not mean, over time, due to the trapped energy, that we will heat up? Ignoring climate, the greenhouse effect, etc. are you trying to say that certain aspects of physics, such as thermodynamics and Planck's Law, and not just climate change in-particular, are wrong?
J: All the solar infra-red (IR) radiation received by the earth is re-emitted back to space, none is stored or trapped. We know this fact from the verifiable satellite records going back to 1979 which proves “energy in equals energy out.” What actually occurs within the atmosphere while the IR radiation interacts with atmospheric gases is still unclear because of the remarkable properties of earth’s water cycle. So, this is a big question that needs a detailed and long answer which cannot be easily given in a couple of paragraphs. But in essence, as our book shows, the biggest problem is that (a) climate research is still an infant science and, (b) the vast majority of per se climate scientists are unqualified and recruited ad hoc from the “soft” earth sciences (geographers, etc.). As the leaked emails show, invariably the most dominant among these people have a pre-determined agenda. Whatever the evidence might say, some genuinely believe instinctively that humans must be causing “catastrophic” changes to our climate system due to industrialization. However, few if any of these people have any higher level “hard” training in Physics and Chemistry and are thus prone to error and exaggeration. It is they (from their own leaked emails) who have been caught mangling the scientific laws you mention. This is why a sceptic organisation like us comprised of over 1,000 experts trained in the ‘hard’ sciences (better qualified in thermodynamics and the application of Planck’s Law) is needed to help government researchers sort out the mess they have created. Our research shows that since the 1980’s, when alarm about ‘greenhouse gases’ got some traction in the public consciousness, government climate researchers formed a “closed shop” in doing their work. This is revealingly typified by the appalling behaviour of Professor Jones and others at certain key institutions. Our conclusion, from analysing the evidence, is that a small clique of influential researchers unethically and unlawfully hid data out of fear of being exposed for incompetence/fraud. Honest jobbing scientists lower down the chain were compliant in unwittingly going along with tasks supportive of the core concept of man-made (literally!) climate change. The task of understanding earth’s complex system is a multi-generational and Herculean one and no one has anywhere near enough data to form valid conclusions. For climate research to be done properly will need genuine open cooperation with truly independent experts from Physics, Chemistry, Astrophysics, etc. to ensure the outcome is per the spirit of ‘Nullius in Verba’.
H: Many questions in one point, but the most important one to answer is this one: energy that ends up re-radiated back to its emitter cannot make that emitter any warmer than it was – if that was not so, engineers have missed a trick to supply the world with free and unlimited energy. Just a few minutes of thought will confirm what I just wrote. Secondly, yes, there is a deep-rooted mis-understanding about the apparently automatic absorption of any level of energy by any substance, regardless of that substances existing temperature and, crucially, its absorptivity and emissivity characteristics. Only when the substance under radiation is at a lower energy level than the radiation will that energy be absorbed and only then can it cause that substance to gain energy and thus rise in temperature, how much depends on its absorptivity and emissivity characteristics.
By the way, the above two points alone are enough to stop climate alarm at the hands of carbon dioxide emissions at a stroke.
D: In order to answer this question it must be understood that firstly, colder cannot heat hotter (i.e. the colder atmosphere back radiating towards the earth’s surface cannot heat the warmer earth’s surface – any vertical temperature profile will show the earth’s surface as the warmest part of the system) and secondly, energy cannot be trapped – it can be stored, it can be delayed, but it cannot be trapped. To view the climate system from a radiation only point of view is misguided at the least. It leads to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Although it is correct to say that we receive constant radiation from the sun, this cannot be a reason that we will heat up, as energy cannot be trapped. We are not saying that The Second Law of Thermodynamics and Planck’s Law are incorrect – we are saying that they are being misapplied. Specifically, within the climate models, atmospheric and terrestrial radiation are simply added together – the resulting sum determining the intensity of surface radiation. i.e. colder and hotter are added together, but the result is giving the reason for warming as being “colder is heating hotter”. This not only applies to The Second Law of Thermodynamics, but is a misapplication of Planck’s Law, also, as Planck’s law only describes a flow of heat from hotter to cooler – there is no flow from cooler to hotter.
J: Have you managed to convert any alarmists to your cause?
J: We have had many emails from converts thanking us for helping them understand about the actual physical and chemical properties of carbon dioxide and the false assumptions woven into the greenhouse gas theory. Whilst we have successful and respected scientists from the alarmist camp privately confiding their support for us, those currently employed and dependent on career advancement have asked us not to reveal their identities.
H: Hah, I have never even met a proper alarmist. Am quite an anti-social creature these days and do not visit places where the alarmists would hang out, which is probably best for my own well-being. My websites speak for me.
J: What do you aim to achieve with your new book?
J: The last six years has seen us get stronger, our science is increased in validity and robustness. The new book carries on from where the first book left off. We have new evidence, fresh analysis. With the growth of PSI our authors now have such a depth and breadth of scientific expertise at our disposal. The new book is more a cohesive narrative, written in a crime “whodunit” format that will be aimed more at laypeople, not just scientists. Our mission now is to impact the mass market, general readership.
H: To help ever more people to see how the wool has been pulled over their eyes.
J: Where do you see yourself and PSI in 10 years’ time?
J: Our aim is to become the world’s most prominent independent international science association; to remain untainted by political bias and never beholden to any government(s). If support continues, then I’m happy to serve PSI as overall coordinator for years to come.
H: One can only speculate about the future, so at best I would hope to have helped expose the chicanery by the UN IPCC and all associated organisations, but they are all into each other’s pockets, so I actually hold out no hope to stop them. Am just clear in my own mind that I have given it my best and will continue to do so.
We were given their book ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon’ as a review copy, and this interview is a follow-on.