Geologieprofessor und Lehrbuchautor Andrew Miall übt heftige Kritik an Klimaalarm-Masche: Natürliche Klimavariabilität wird zu wenig berücksichtigt

Fast jeder Geologe wird im Laufe seines Studiums einmal mit den Lehrbüchern des Kanadiers Andrew Mialls von der University of Toronto Bekanntschaft gemacht haben. Auf der Webseite der Universität werden seine Standardwerke aufgeführt:

He is the author of the book “Principles of Sedimentary Basin Analysis”, a research-level synthesis first published in 1984. A third edition of this book was published in 1999. The book is widely used for undergraduate and graduate training and for professional practice, and has now sold more than 10,000 copies worldwide. A second book, ” The geology of fluvial deposits: sedimentary facies, basin analysis and petroleum geology ” was published in April 1996. A third book ” The geology of stratigraphic sequences ” appeared in 1997.

Für seine besonderen Leistungen wurde Miall mehrfach ausgezeichnet:

Honours and Awards
1977, 1979, 1980: Tracks Award, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists
1983: Past President’s Medal of the Geological Association of Canada
1991: Outstanding Paper of 1991 Award, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology
1995: Elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Geological Association of Canada
1995: Elected a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada
1996: Dean’s Award, University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
1997: Dean’s Award, University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
2001: Honorary Doctorate, University of Pretoria, South Africa
2001: Installed as first incumbent of Gordon Stollery Chair in Basin Analysis and Petroleum Geology
2003: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Grover E. Murray Distinguished Educator Award
2005: Appointed Vice-President: Academy of Science , Royal Society of Canada
2007 Appointed President: Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada

Nun hat sich Miall im Blog der Geological Society of America zusammen mit seinem Kollegen Nick Eyles auch zur Klimadiskussion geäußert. Miall und Eyles kritisieren in ihrem Beitrag vom 10. Oktober 2014 die Katastrophenhysterie, die von Wissenschaftlern, Politikern und Medien zusammen betrieben wird, um Forschungssgelder, Klimasteuern und unterhaltsame Schauergeschichten zu sichern. Eine der Hauptursachen in der fehlgeleiteten Diskussion sehen die beiden Geologen in der Nichtberücksichtigung der vorindustriellen Klimageschichte. Die geologisch-historische Perspektive und natürliche Klimavariabilität werde zu wenig beachtet.

Im Folgenden einige Auszüge aus dem bemerkenswerten Beitrag:

[...] Scarcely a day goes past without some group declaring the next global environmental crisis; we seemingly stagger from one widely proclaimed crisis to another each one (so we are told) with the potential to severely curtail or extinguish civilization as we know it. It’s an all too familiar story often told by scientists who cross over into advocacy and often with the scarcely-hidden sub-text that they are the only ones with the messianic foresight to see the problem and create a solution. Much of our science is what we would call ‘crisis-driven’ where funding, politics and the media are all intertwined and inseparable generating a corrupting and highly corrosive influence on the scientific method and its students. If it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead is the new yardstick with which to measure the overall significance of research. [...]

Trained as geologists in the knowledge of Earth’s immensely long and complex history we appreciate that environmental change is normal. For example, rivers and coastlines are not static. Those coasts, in particular, that consist of sandy strand-plains and barrier-lagoon systems are continually evolving as sand is moved by the waves and tides. Cyclonic storms (hurricanes), a normal component of the weather in many parts of the world, are particularly likely to cause severe erosion. When recent events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy cause catastrophic damage, and spring storms cause massive flooding in Calgary or down the Mississippi valley, and droughts and wildfires affect large areas of the American SW these events are blamed on a supposed increase in the severity of extreme weather events brought about by climate change. In fact, they just reflect the working of statistical probability and long term climate cyclicity. Such events have happened in the past as part of ongoing changes in climate but affected fewer people. That the costs of weather and climate-related damage today are far greater is not because of an increased frequency of severe weather but the result of humans insisting on congregating and living in places that, while attractive, such as floodplains, mountain sides and beautiful coastlines, are especially vulnerable to natural disasters. Promises of a more ‘stable future’ if we can only prevent climate change are hopelessly misguided and raise unnatural expectations by being willfully ignorant of the natural workings of the planet. Climate change is the major issue for which more geological input dealing with the history of past climates would contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of change and what we might expect in the future. The past climate record suggests in fact that for much of the Earth’s surface future cooling is the norm.[...]

It is self-evident to us that the public debate concerning environmental change largely lacks an understanding of natural variability. Since the last Ice Age ended, some 12,000 years ago, Earth has been through several periods lasting hundreds of years and possibly longer when it was either warmer or colder than at present. Several earth scientists have suggested that a study of natural variability over recent geologic time should be completed in order to provide a baseline against which anthropogenic change may be evaluated, but this important history has not been introduced fully into the public debate, and is a long way off. It has to be said that the natural variability of the last few thousand years or hundreds of years or tens of years has formed almost no part in the ongoing discussion of climate change which in some circles assumes that any change since 1940 is largely man-made. This opinion is uninformed by geologic science. The way forward it strikes us is for more scientific honesty and less politics, less grandstanding. ‘We don’t know’ is an honourable credo for scientists.

Ganzen Beitrag im Blog der Geological Society of America lesen.

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Der IPCC macht unter der Führung des Eisenbahningenieurs Rajendra Pachauri keine gute Figur. Immer wieder kam es aus der Fachwelt zu Kritik an der Vorgehensweise. Im Jahr 2011 erschien gar ein Sonderband im Journal “Climatic Change”, in dem u.a. die fehlende Darstellung der unterschiedlichen Ansichten in den verschiedenenen Fachgruppen bemängelt wurde. Gary Yohe und Michael Oppenheimer schrieben im Eingangsessay damals:

Some of the ideas that spring to our minds, in order of their degree of departure from current practice, include:

1. Fully reporting differences of judgment within working group chapters, including identifying specific views with particular experts;

2. Establishing competing assessment teams within IPCC as well as using other approaches developed for intelligence analysis (Tetlock 1991; Goodman and King, this issue). Full reporting on divergent outcomes of teams would be one way to satisfy the need to go beyond the emphasis on consensus, but only a limited number alternative teams could be deployed on only a handful of questions, or IPCC would be overtaxed;

3. In a twist on the Tol proposal, bidding out certain questions to groups affiliated with IPCC yet operating under rules which each would propose in order to provide an optimum combination of uniformity and diversity under IPCC’s tent.

As IPCC and its supporting community continue to tinker with the process, though, it is important to recognize the importance of doing it right. In the climate world where coping with uncertainty is a way of life, expressing conclusions carefully is essential. Scientific knowledge will evolve, and conclusions will change. Sometimes new knowledge will strengthen existing conclusions. Other times, new knowledge will weaken confidence in accepted wisdom. And sometimes, errors will be made (in the assessments as well as in the underlying science). Ultimately, any set of adjustments in how IPCC treats uncertainty and otherwise conducts its business must not only attain the approval of governments but, just as important, the active and engaged cooperation of the participating scientists. Such an effort will require that our community bring as much enthusiasm and originality to the task of increasing the transparency, comprehensibility, and utility of its assessments as we bring to our research.

Ganzen Artikel in Climatic Change lesen (open access).

Leider wurden diese sinnvollen Vorschläge vom IPCC in der Folge weitgehend ignoriert. Man wollte offenbar kein Risiko eingehen, das mühsam aufgebaute Gebäude der Klimakatastrophe durch abweichende Meinungen und fehlenden Konsens zu gefährden. Immer mehr Wissenschaftler wollen sich diese fehlende Transparenz jetzt aber nicht mehr bieten lassen. Sie fühlen sich von der Politik und Aktivisten missbraucht. Offener Widerstand ist jedoch noch immer gefährlich und kann die Karriere und Fördermittel kosten. Man kann nur hoffen, dass der freie wissenschaftliche Gedankenaustausch in Zukunft irgendwann wieder ohne Angst vor Nachteilen möglich sein wird.