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International Journal of Science and Philosophy

Hot Talk, Cold Science


  • Jan-Erik Solheim, Independent Scientist

Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate

The book Hot Talk, Cold Science is a «must» for everybody who wants to know the background for today’s climate hysteria. In addition, it gives an updated summary of how little we understand about the Earth’s climate. It shows how wrong it can get if we use complicated and un-validated climate models to predict climate hundred years from now, while the same models go wrong for a few days weather forecasts. 

Twenty-two years have now passed since the first edition of the book Hot Talk, Cold Science by S. Fred Singer. The second edition arrived a couple of years later. Singer passed away in April 2020. He had then just finished this third and updated edition with assistance of David R. Legates and Anthony R. Lupo. This edition is published by the Independent Institute in the US in 2021.

Fred Singer was a pioneer in the development of satellite and rocket technology. He constructed the first instruments for measuring ozone from satellites and was the main responsible for the development of weather satellites in the US. He was founder and first director of the science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and founder of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and the main author of most of the NIPCC-reports. 

Most people find the climate debate difficult. Alarming predictions of a climate crisis and the doom of the world we know if we don’t sacrifice the way of living we are accustomed to, scare people to accept expensive and unnecessary actions to save the planet. What we observe is a small warming trend – almost not measurable, accompanied with an increase in atmospheric CO2 which is greening the Earth and provides more food for all living. 

 In the book we are told with supreme clarity what lies behind the creation of a supranational organization: The International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is an international agreement based on CO2 as the main driver of climate. When enough countries had signed the convention (now signed by 197 parties), a series of yearly climate Conferences of the Parties (COP) started. The COPs have agreed on protocols and rules for more-or-less-binding agreements on how to reduce CO2 emissions. As a result, we got the Kyoto-Protocol Disaster, the Copenhagen-Failure, the Paris-Agreement and may expect Something Stronger in Glasgow in November this year. 

Singer tells how the scientists in the IPCC second main report (AR2) were sabotaged. They concluded that “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases” and “No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes.” This was changed to “the pattern of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate” in the editorial process. 

The change came after a letter of instruction from the US Department of State to the head of the IPCC Working Group I, Sir John Houghton, which asked for changes designed to the political agenda of setting up international control of energy. This corruption was reinforced by climate models which predicted a climate sensitivity [by doubling the CO2 content] of 1.5 to 4.5 °C. In the last report (SR15), “discernible evidence” had grown to anthropogenic emissions as the only reason for all temperature increase since 1950. This will, for political reasons, be reinforced in the next report (Gilett et al. 2021).

In the section Hot Talk we can read about A Fake Consensus of Scientists, Corruption of the Peer Review Process, the Missing Hotspot, the Hockey Stick Deception, and the Climategate Scandal. The latter revealed how key IPCC scientists were hiding their raw temperature data and the methodology of their selection of adjustments, conspiring to delete incriminating emails, and undermining the peer review system, making it difficult for skeptical scientists to publish their work in scientific journals. 

In part two: Cold Science, we learn What Science Really Says. This part is updated with the help of Legates and Lupo and is a concise and well written summary of what we know and don’t know about climate. Here we learn how the extreme claims by IPCC are modified by IPCC itself – the missing Hot Spot, temperature hiatus, hurricane drought and modest sea level rise. 

To challenge the findings of IPCC, Fred Singer convened a group of scientists in 2003 and this became the Nongovernmental International Panel of Climate Change (NIPCC). Hundreds of scientists around the world have participated in production of a series of reports titled Climate Change Reconsidered. 

Short summaries of the findings of NIPCC are written under the heading What We Think We Know: orbital, natural internal and solar variability, water vapor responsible for most of the greenhouse effect and a greener world because or more CO2, and What We Know We Don’t Know which is far more than we know. Some examples: No scientific value of a single global temperature estimate, inaccurate and corrupted surface temperature records, un-validated climate models, and many claims of extreme weather events and sea level acceleration which do not happen. A very interesting graph is Figure 18, which shows how the number of stations in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) declined from 3500 in 1970 to less than 500 in 2000, while the relative number of stations at airports increased from ≈35% to ≈80% during the same period.

Fred Singer is not afraid of challenging the conventional wisdom in chapter 10: Does CO2 Lead to Cooling? He claims that a possible warming by greenhouse gases is negated by water vapor and our planet’s temperature remains stable. He explains that “greenhouse gas” means only that CO2 absorbs some IR-radiation: it does not guarantee climate warming. He shows (Box 6) how the warming/cooling depends on the atmospheric lapse rate: A greenhouse gas produces cooling of the climate if the molecular transitions are in a region of positive lapse rate. This happens in the stratosphere and at the winter poles.

Finally, they explain how little, if any, money is spent of the $2billon yearly environmental research budget to study the benefits of more CO2 in the atmosphere. The greatest impact of climate change, historically, is that warm periods produce larger harvest and cold periods cause famine. The small warming and more CO2 have produced a boon for agriculture and a positive effect on human health. 

The book also discusses the topics of the ongoing climate debate: Mitigation (Reduce Emissions), Sequestration (Storing CO2) or Adaption (turning Tragedy into Opportunity). Many good arguments are presented here, as under- or over-conservation, costs and environmental risks, and the normal adaption to climate and weather, which is always better with a strong economy. Singer also presents ideas for what to do if we need to warm the Earth to overcome a Little Ice Age, which may start this century because of diminishing solar activity. He proposes to inject water as mist just above the tropopause, creating ice particles which will temporarily stop IR-radiation in the window 8 to 10 µ and warm the Earth. 

Singer, Legates and Lubo conclude that climate change is a complex and difficult subject requiring the insights of many disciplines. It is easy to get lost in technical debates for instance on the radiative properties of carbon dioxide (CO2), while other more important topics as the water cycle, are overlooked. They recommend focusing the discussion on the following four essential truths:

  1. ”The warming from 1910 to 1945 was real: it is confirmed by thermometer records as well as proxy data, but it occurred before human greenhouse gases could have caused it. The warming from 1978 is almost entirely fake, an instrumental artifact found only in one heavily manipulated and unreliable database of surface observations.
  2. ”Since 2000, there has been little if any warming attributable to GHGs, a pause that is now approaching twenty years (omitting El Niño events). This means none of the extreme weather, floods, hurricanes, etc. that are so often attributed to “global warming” by the popular press and some prominent scientists could have been triggered by our GHG emissions. It is all fake news. 
  3. ”Climate models fail to accurately replicate global temperatures since 1979 (when accurate satellite data became available); they “run hot”, meaning they forecast more warming than has occurred in the past or will happen in the future. They are therefore unvalidated by observations, making them unsuited for use in policy making.
  4. ”The most reliable data on sea level rise show a steady linear rise of 18 cm per century and no acceleration in the past century. The historical record shows the rate of sea level rise did not increase during the warming 1910-45, demonstrating that sea level rise does not depend on air or sea-surface temperatures. Therefore, predictions of increased coastal flooding or “disappearing islands” are not based on science, but instead are intended to to frighten the people into supporting someone’s political agenda.”

If these four findings are true, there is no climate crisis. However, in a final note the authors point to the parallel between Lysenkoism and the current state of politics. It may take a whole generation of scientists to pass away before we can return to a state where climate change can be studied and evaluated in the light of true scientific inquiry and not from a politically correct perspective. We sincerely hope that we are wrong.

Reference:Gillett, N. P. + 14 (2021) Constraining human contributions to observed warming since the pre-industrial period, Nature Climate Change.

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