'The Science is Settled' is a Mirage

'The Science is Settled' is a Mirage
July 6, 2013

James H. Rust

James H. Rust is a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, a retired professor of nuclear... (read full bio)

Hold on to your hats.  Atomic weights have been changed for five elements shown by the June 12, 2013,  announcement "Not So Constant:  Atomic Weights Changed for Five Chemical Elements" from the United States Geological Survey.  The elements whose atomic weights were changed are magnesium, bromine, germanium, indium, and mercury.

We have been taught for years in chemistry and physics courses atomic weights were always constant and you might say "the science is settled".  This is another example where items in science thought to be "settled" are not settled.  Perhaps it is foolish behavior to adopt the premise "the science is settled".

For years agencies of the United States government adhered to the climate science hypothesis increased atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming (CAGW).   Government agencies have said "the science is settled" and refused debate on the hypothesis and in most instances refused considerations of or funding for research that may refute CAGW.

Recent examples of United States government positions are shown at a Chicago fundraiser May 29, 2013, when President Obama said “I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change.”  At his swearing in ceremony May 21, 2013, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz declared he is “not interested in debating what is not debatable.”  At his speech on climate change at Georgetown University June 25, 2013, President Obama said, "So the question is not whether we need to act.  The overwhelming judgment of science — of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements — has put all that to rest."  These remarks echo the long-standing plea of climate alarmists "the science is settled" with regards to burning fossil fuels causing CAGW.

There is an encyclopedic amount of peer-reviewed literature challenging CAGW.  Paraphrasing poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning "How much information refutes CAGW.  Let me count the ways."  A good start is the two reports by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change Climate Change Reconsidered and Climate Change Reconsidered:  2011 Interim Report published by The Heartland Institute.  These reports published in 2009 and 2011 contain over 1200 pages and are available online.  Recognition of these reports is given by their recent translation into Chinese and distribution by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Let it be very clear that the reports distribution by the Chinese Academy of Sciences does not imply endorsement of these reports.  The Chinese Academy of Sciences does not get into the CAGW endorsement business which unfortunately can not be said of the American Academy of Sciences.  These reports were published to provide information contrasting views shown by the four volumes of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC).

Much of the United States government's concern about CAGW is based on future predictions of climate by numerous global climate models (GCM) calculations.   A recent paper by Dr. Roy V. Spencer June 6, 2013, "STILL Epic Fail:  73 Climate Models vs. Measurements, Running 5-year Means" compares model predictions with experimental global temperature data.  All of the 73 GCM seriously overestimated global temperatures when compared with actual temperature measurements from 1980 to the present.  This invalidates GCM as a tool for policy decisions.  Perhaps President Obama needs to re-examine his Georgetown University statement "millions of measurements--has put all that to rest."

It is time for all scientists and United States government agencies to agree the science is not "settled" when it comes to CAGW.  Debate needs to take place on CAGW and consequences of attempts at its mitigation by curtailing fossil fuels use.

James H. Rust

James H. Rust is a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, a retired professor of nuclear... (read full bio)