Wednesday 2 January 2013

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Fraud

Have you ever been called a proponent of the theory Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) or Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW)? Typically just the abbreviation. No? Then you probably never commented at a climate "skeptic" blog and suggested that possibly some aspect of climate science might be sound, if only by accident.

Photo of a wild fire by Zach Dischner used under a creative commons CC BY 2.0 license.

My guess would be that the "proponents of CAGW" are supposed to be scientists and people that tend to believe climatologists over climate "skeptics". So what does the scientific literature say about catastrophic climate change? In the Web of Science, you can find one article for the term "Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change". For comparison there are "approximately 75,755" articles on "Climate Change".

This article is "the evolution of an energy contrarian", an autobiographical essay by a gas company manager and researcher Henry R. Linden. It does not make the impression that it was reviewed.
Abstract: An analysis of the forces that have shaped energy and energy-related environmental policies is presented through the eyes of an active participant in their evolution over the past 53 years. ... Today, proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, again claiming scientific consensus, threaten to create even greater energy market distortions at large social and economic costs. The author traces his conversion to energy contrarian to the general failure of consensus and to his own misjudgments in these critical policy areas.
(my emphasis)

Furthermore, there is one article for the term "catastrophic anthropogenic global warming", while there are "approximately 17,866" articles on "global warming". This article is another single-author paper and written by Alan Carlin (Wikipedia | his blog) for the Special Issue on Advances in Environmental Economics with guest editor Alan Carlin(!). This journal publishes very fast: one article of the special issue was published in 1 month, while Carlin's article took the longest, but it was still published within 3 months.

Abstract: Economic analyses of environmental mitigation and other interdisciplinary public policy issues can be much more useful if they critically examine what other disciplines have to say, insist on using the most relevant observational data and the scientific method, and examine lower cost alternatives to the change proposed. ...
The economic benefits of reducing CO(2) emissions may be about two orders of magnitude less than those estimated by most economists because the climate sensitivity factor (CSF) is much lower than assumed by the United Nations because feedback is negative rather than positive and the effects of CO(2) emissions reductions on atmospheric CO(2) appear to be short rather than long lasting. ...
The risk of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming appears to be so low that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it, including geoengineering.
(my emphasis)

You got to love it when an economist from the RAND company knows better what the climate sensitivity is as climatologists ("United Nations"). The irony is that this paper, which is a peer-review catastrophe, explains at length why citing non-reviewed works is fine and the peer reviewed literature on the climate sensitivity needs to be ignored.

This "paper" should never have been published in the scientific literature. Fortunately, it is well hidden in a journal on public health were no climatologist or economist will find it. In this way, the peer-review system did do its filtering job.

A beautiful meme

With this post I just wanted to show that the Theory of Catastrophic Global Warming only exists in the minds of climate ostriches and is not present in the scientific literature. The two papers that look like exceptions are from climate ostriches and ended up in the literature by mistake and again accuse others of holding such a theory (as on the "skeptic" blogs).

In contrast to the scientific literature, these two catastrophic terms (and their abbreviations) are mentioned in over 8000 pages on WUWT.

This probably shows where the "skeptics" get their science information from: blogs and main stream media. Both have a history of turning almost every story into an unprecedented breakthrough or a major catastrophe to attract more readers, but are not the best sources for factual information on climate.

I understand that CAGW is a beautiful meme for the climate ostriches. You can use it to accuse others of doom saying. Who would like to be part of that? And you can make petitions "against the theory of CAGW", which everyone can sign as we have no idea whether the situation will become catastrophic. And the "skeptic" will shout: look how many people signed my petition against climate science.

In my view the main catastrophic climate is the discussion climate at "skeptic" blogs. I would be nice to see this catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

UPDATE: An interesting thought by Sean at Climate, People & Organizations.
Catastrophe means a "reversal of what is expected". Thus climate change will only result in catastrophes in the eyes of climate ostriches. The rest already knows something will happen.

More posts on climate skeptics

No trend in global water vapor - another WUWT fail

A guest post claims to have found a scientific paper stating that there is no trend, but the paper did not even compute one

Blog review of the Watts et al. (2012) manuscript on surface temperature trends

A fast preliminary review of an unpublished erroneous manuscript by Anthony Watts and colleagues.

Investigation of methods for hydroclimatic data homogenization

An example of the daily misinformation spread by the blog Watts Up With That? In this case about homogenization.


Carlin, A. A Multidisciplinary, Science-Based Approach to the Economics of Climate Change. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 8, pp. 985-1031, doi:10.3390/ijerph8040985, 2011.

Linden, Henry R. The evolution of an energy contrarian. Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 21, pp. 31-67, doi: 10.1146/, 1996.


  1. Great last line, could not agree more.

  2. This Carlin article is unbelievable, one long blog post, including suggestive pictures of doubtful origin. Is it possible to revoke such an article, which clearly does not belong in a scientific journal?

    1. I have looked into this. It might be hard to get the Carlin paper retracted. The publisher, MDPI, has history of bad papers that have not been retracted.

      The publisher already produced at least two previous scandals due to insufficient peer review. A paper solving "the puzzle of the origin and evolution of cellular life in the universe" led several editors to resign. That such a paper can be published is sad and enormously funny; read the post of Retraction Watch for a good laugh.

      The second article is another climate skeptic paper by Roy Spencer and Danny Braswell and led to the resignation of another editor.

      Last year MDPI promised to retract a paper because it ended up in the wrong journal, but up to now they did not do so.

      The academic standards of MDPI do not seem very high. This is all the more worrying as MDPI plans to start the journal Climate in 2013. More important as the publisher is probably the editor-in-chief. I hope she will have a better appreciation for academic standards.

  3. This is kind of a tricky subject, because while there isn't research specifically about 'catastrophic' AGW (which is a subjective term), there is research into AGW impacts which can certainly qualify as catastrophic impacts (e.g. mass extinctions). Personally I think that "CAGW" is the most likely outcome if we don't get our GHG emissions under control, but again, the problem is that what's deemed "catastrophic" is subjective.

    However, I wouldn't simply toss out the phrase "CAGW", because that could be taken to mean that catastrophic climate consequences are not possible, which is certainly not true.

    1. I guess the main reason why the word catastrophe does not appear in the scientific literature is that is is so subjective. To me the extinction of species is an enormous loss, they will never appear again and millions of years of (co-)evolution is lost. Someone believing in creation may just see it as one day of work.

      The other reason is that the climate change and the global warming are solid theories, the consequences are much more difficult to predict. Especially so as they depend on many more things as just climate change. If the third world would be just as rich as the industrialized world, they could cope with climate change much more easily.

      I am Dutch: if The Netherlands evacuates before it is flooded, only the cultural heritage is lost (which is probably no catastrophe to an American libertarian :-) ). If we wait until the flooding, which I expect, there will also be a large loss of life. Who would be to blame, climate change or human stubbornness? The climate sceptics of that time will say that the flood was caused by a storm and the high tides. Others will say The Netherlands was stingy and did not increase the dikes sufficiently.

      Catastrophes will happen and I expect that climate change will make them more likely, but they are not part of the core of the theory. Thus rightly, the term CAGW is not used in the scientific literature.

    2. More clearly stated: a catastrophe always or at least typically has multiple causes.

  4. Looks to me as though you have missed what is going on, which is a meme going back many years, of a threshold, lets use the Hansen "tipping point" as a well known recent example.
    Now given there is a lot of propagandist methods in play by professionals, it becomes a decoding problem, what is actually meant.
    Those calling a shovel a shovel, calling out directly seem to sometimes use the catastrophe as a descriptive of something which does not directly say that (let you work out why it is not used).

    I've seen cases of the C standing for Carbon too.

    Lot of hotheads on all side, ignore them.

    What you have written could be mangled, I hope you now see one of the reasons. (I am grinning, no issue, I don't know you)

    Now, will Google allow this comment, not allowed to snoop. Nope, try name only, argh, now it wants illegible. Start guessing or give up.


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