"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Why do I talk so much about the greenhouse gas hypothesis on this blog? The simple and somewhat provocative answer is that this is precisely what the lukewarmers don't want me to do. If they had indeed wanted it then the would have done it themselves on their highly frequented internet forums, wouldn't they?
I will stop here for the moment and define the term lukewarmer. Here I do not refer to any person, layman or scientist, who at some point in their life believed that greenhouse gases elevate the surface temperature by some small amount through the so called greenhouse effect. Neither do I refer to Roy Spencer, although I guess he is an archetype of what could be called a "scientific lukewarmist". The people I am referring to are perhaps more accurately denoted the lukewarmist gatekeepers, and then you probably know which people I am talking about: Lord Monckton, Judith Curry, Anthony Watts, Willis Eschenbach, and well known in Sweden, Peter Stilbs. To name a few. Rarely do you excite the same amount of fury and contempt as when you approach any of these with theories such as that of Nikolov and Zeller, or even worse, if you mention the name Hans Jelbring. Try it, and you will see for yourself. Depending on the particular personal characteristics of the lukewarmer you get a somewhat different reaction though, but the motive is the same. Mission: Save the greenhouse effect! Which greenhouse effect they want to save is not clear though, since none of them are capable of defining it. It is more the public belief in something which is to be called the greenhouse effect.
As a corollary to this we may then ask, who is the real enemy? Is Al Gore really dangerous or is he perhaps merely an inconvenience that has to be dealt with for a certain amount of time. True, if it hadn't been for Al Gore and the IPCC few of us would have been involved in this.
Now imagine you are a lukewarmer, how do you proceed? Most of the methods they employ, to a great sucess in some cases, I believe fall under the category Cognitive Disruption. The first insight that hits the lukewarmist could be the following: Al Gore is going to loose. It is not what perhaps many less politically sophisticated people think: Al Gore might win. The scope of the political project is simply so huge that it is only a matter of time before the Fargo collapses, and when it does we need to have a narrative in place for the public which explains this monumental failure. The Lukewarmist Narrative.
You all know what I'm talking about:
The natural greenhouse effect is real, (since it is written down in nice analytical formulas using greek letters in books that no one has bothered to check for 100 years), but then evil Al Gore came along with his evil computer models and screwed everything up. The actual warming effect upon a doubling of CO2 can be any number between 0 and 1, because the (undefined) greenhouse effect is counteracted by negative feedbacks. These feedbacks also happen to be undefined.
Upon careful inspection any reasonable person realizes that this narrative is devoid of any real scientific analysis, it is purely emotional. Apart from constantly hammering this narrative in to the public mind, there are a number of other ways by which they distract peoples attention away from the greenhouse effect and its weak points.
1. Make people think about something else, the sun, the decadal pacific oscillation, the uncertainty of whether forecasts, and so on. This is accomplished by keeping controle of the priviledge of problem formulation. The question is not whether the GE hypothesis is correct, but instead what are the causes of climate change. This is sufficient for most people.
For those who anyway insist on discussing the basics of the GE there are some further strategies:
2. Redefine the GE. Make it appear as if the GE is equivalent to the Thyndall gas effect. Of course it is not, but in order to discover this you need to dig into the sources which most people don't do. Replace formulas with cartoons, because critisism of cartoons is harmless. "Come on, it's just a cartoon".
3. Be deliberately vague on the temperature lapse rate. Say that it is caused by gravity, people will not discover the inconsistency with the cooling of the stratosphere anyway.
4. Don't mention the cooling of the stratosphere. And if you have to, say that "the greenhouse gases in the stratosphere cools the earth", that should do the trick.
5. Be deliberately vague on whether the thermodynamic system is in equilibrium or not. This is another reason for always making the discussion be about the surface temperature. That way you can make it appear as if the GE is an obstuction to cooling, like a blanket, and hence do not a priori violate the second law of thermodynamics. Though make sure to attack any alternative explanation on the basis of the second law.
6. Make sure you are always in the attacking position. This is accomplished by never clearly defining your own standpoint.
So there you have it. Sophisticated? Not really, but it appears to have worked remarkably well up to this point. The politicians and the public are slowly but securely loosing interest in global warming and instead beginning to slipp down into the nice and cosy lukewarmist fog, ideally suited for people with lukewarm characters and intellects. So I guess the only thing I can do is to congratulate the lukewarmers for this masterful deception.
Or could perhaps the course of history take another turn?