In Defence of the Climate Change Sceptic

Before we get into today’s issue, I would encourage you to take the time to read the special report on Peak Gold written by my colleague and friend, Greg Canavan.

Greg’s research is methodical, well-reasoned and supported by in-depth technical analysis.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the drivers behind, and how to profit from the global gold bull market, then please go here.

Plenty of ‘brickbats and bouquets’ were thrown my way after The Rum Rebellion article ‘Why the Community is Rallying behind Israel Folau’.

There was no middle ground. Opinions were polarised.

Here’s a snippet of what readers had to say…

Hi Vern, Thanks for your email today regarding Israel Folau. I appreciate your courage to raise this matter.

You’re a denier.

What concerns me is the content of your contribution which is not of a financial or economic nature. You are quite uninformed about climate change (global warming) and I am only too willing to engage in a respecting and respectful debate with you on this topic.

To Vern Gowdie, This is arguably the best article ever written by someone from Port Philip Publishing simply because it affects everyone in the country. Well done Vern.

To Vern I have never read such opinionated twaddle as your piece today. It has nothing to do investing and more to do with a very narrow view of the world. Clearly I don’t share your views.

Thank you Vern, for the Thursday issue.. I and my friends were really impressed with your article. We will be speaking up more.

Are you personally driven by some Coal lobby position? Perhaps you have shares in coal and other potentially stranded assets? Or are your apparently deranged views on the climate emergency facing the planet based on some fundamentalist Christian views also?

The last one gave me a good laugh.

The only share in my portfolio (a modest investment of a few thousand dollars), is in a company researching how to make LED lighting more energy efficient.

As far as my religious status goes…‘lapsed Catholic’ sums it up. There’s no agenda…just questions.

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Are climate change models flawed?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of sceptic is: ‘a person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions.

Am I a climate change sceptic? Absolutely.

Am I a Modern Monetary Theory sceptic? Absolutely.

And when it comes to a whole host of accepted opinions — like share markets always go up and property values never go down on a nationwide basis — we should all be inclined to question and doubt the merits of those beliefs.

When it comes to climate change, we’re told — ad nauseum — ‘the science is settled’.

Shut down. No further discussion needed. If you don’t accept the scientific ‘evidence’, you’re given a label — denialist or sceptic.

Well I’m proud to say, I’m a bona fide sceptic.

And here’s why.

NASA tells us (emphasis is mine).

The world is getting warmer. Whether the cause is human activity or natural variability—and the preponderance of evidence says it’s humans—thermometer readings all around the world have risen steadily since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.

The science backing NASA’s statement comes from the ‘Global Average Surface Temperature’ (GAST) dataset.

However, in June 2017, a number of very highly credentialed US scientists published a research report — you can access the report here — that states…

The objective of this research was to test the hypothesis that Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST) data, produced by NOAA, NASA, and HADLEY, are sufficiently credible estimates of global average temperatures such that they can be relied upon for climate modeling and policy analysis purposes.

Sounds reasonable to me.

Is the information we’re being told as ‘fact’, really the true picture or one that’s been ‘doctored’ to suit the climate change narrative?

Worth asking the question, I think.

What did the research identify?

It was found that each new version of GAST has nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history. And, it was nearly always accomplished by systematically removing the previously existing cyclical temperature pattern.

According to the research report, the GAST dataset has been adjusted to create ‘a steeper warming linear trendwhen in fact, temperature patterns should be cyclical…

The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.

If the temperature datasets ‘are not a valid representation of reality’, then we’re being hoodwinked…big time.

That prospect is definitely worth exploring further.

As you’d expect, a report that questions the credibility of NASA and other climate agencies could not go unchallenged.

Counter claims have been made that the report was riddled with errors. Fair enough. That’s what a healthy debate should be about.

The truth?

Honestly, I do not know. Which is why I keep questioning accepted opinions.

In the NASA statement, we’re told ‘the preponderance of evidence says it’s humans’ that are causing the world to heat up.

Not so, according to an article published in The Helsinki Times on 14 July 2019 (emphasis is mine):

A new paper published by researchers from the University of Turku in Finland suggests that even though observed changes in the climate are real, the effects of human activity on these changes are insignificant.

The paper was published by Jyrki Kauppinen and Pekka Malmi, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, Finland.

The research paper, published on 29 June 2019 — you can access the report here — is at odds with NASA’s statement.

Instead, the researchers argue there’s a flaw in the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) modelling.

The error is in the ‘global circulation model’ (GCM)…to quote from the report (emphasis is mine)…

GCM-models used in IPCC report AR5 fail to calculate the influences of the low cloud cover changes on the global temperature. That is why those models give a very small natural temperature change leaving a very large change for the contribution of the greenhouse gases in the observed temperature.

Again, the validity of this research has been questioned by those who are sceptical of climate change sceptics.

Ah, the irony.

But the Finnish academics aren’t the only ones researching the ‘low cloud, high temperature’ hypothesis.

This is from an article published by Japan’s Kobe University on 3 July 2019…

New evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an “umbrella effect”.

When galactic cosmic rays increased during the Earth’s last geomagnetic reversal transition 780,000 years ago, the umbrella effect of low-cloud cover led to high atmospheric pressure in Siberia, causing the East Asian winter monsoon to become stronger. This is evidence that galactic cosmic rays influence changes in the Earth’s climate.

The findings were made by a research team led by Professor Masayuki Hyodo (Research Center for Inland Seas, Kobe University) and published on June 28 in the online edition of Scientific Reports.

The start of this extract…‘New evidence suggests’…reminds me of the quote attributed to John Maynard Keynes…

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

When presented with credible new evidence, will the climate changers be receptive to the possibility of the ‘science is NOT settled’…and perhaps change their mind?

Or, is it only us sceptics who should exercise such mental dexterity?

And casting further doubt over whether we should accept at face value ‘the science is in’, is the controversial sacking of Professor Peter Ridd.

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 16 April 2019…

The Federal Circuit Court has found that James Cook University acted unlawfully in dismissing a physics professor for his criticisms of colleagues’ work.

Peter Ridd was sacked last year after he repeatedly questioned the quality of research about the impact of global warming on the Great Barrier Reef.

What was the Professor’s sin?

In January 2018, Professor Ridd co-authored an article published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Here’s the opening paragraph (emphasis is mine):

Research science used to inform public policy decisions, herein defined as “Policy-Science”, is rarely subjected to rigorous checking, testing and replication. Studies of biomedical and other sciences indicate that a considerable fraction of published peer-reviewed scientific literature, perhaps half, has significant flaws.

And you wonder why I’m a sceptic.

What I’ve shared with you today is only some of the climate change claims and counter claims I’ve read.

If the IPCC and NASA models are seriously flawed, then the hysteria over climate change has — ironically — been a great waste of energy.

On the other hand, if the models do actually provide true and correct readings, then what’s the solution to the problem?

The answer to that question will be the subject of tomorrow’s Rum Rebellion.

And, for anyone wondering what’s climate change got to do with economics?, that question will also be answered.

In the meantime, climate change evangelists — the ones who pontificate from on high about the need for affirmative action — only serve to make us sceptics even more sceptical.

The self-proclaimed ‘Climate Leaders’ group recently named their first NSW Climate Leader…the honour was bestowed upon Zali Steggall.

Prior to the Federal election, Steggall and then sitting member for Warringah, Tony Abbott, squared off in a people’s debate.

When Zali Steggall was asked what is she personally doing to combat climate change, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, her reply was...while she doesn’t have solar panels, her parents do, and she is looking into the electric car option.

Zali’s 18-word response could have been distilled into a one-word answer: ‘nothing’.

It’s this ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude that really riles people.


Vern Gowdie,
Editor, The Rum Rebellion

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Vern has been involved in financial planning since 1986.

In 1999, Personal Investor magazine ranked Vern as one of Australia’s Top 50 financial planners.

His previous firm, Gowdie Financial Planning, was recognised in 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007, by Independent Financial Adviser magazine as one of the top five financial planning firms in Australia.

In 2005, Vern commenced his writing career with the ‘Big Picture’ column for regional newspapers and was a commentator on financial matters for Prime Radio talkback.

In 2008, he sold his financial planning firm due to concerns about an impending economic downturn and the impact this would have on the investment industry.

In 2013, he joined Fat Tail Investment Research as editor of Gowdie Family Wealth. In 2015, his book The End of Australia sold over 20,000 copies and launched his second premium newsletter, The Gowdie Letter.

Vern has since published two other books, A Parents Gift of Knowledge, all about the passing of investing intelligence from father to daughter, and How Much Bull can Investors Bear, an expose on the investment industry’s smoke and mirrors.

His contrarian views often place him at odds with the financial planning profession today, but Vern’s sole motivation is to help investors like you to protect their own and their family’s wealth.

Vern is Founder and Chairman of The Gowdie Advisory and The Gowdie Letter advisory service.

The Rum Rebellion