In the following interview, Dr. Willie Soon, a solar and climate scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, questions the prevailing dogma of man-made global warming and challenges his peers to “take back climate science.” His remarks are his personal opinion based upon 19 years of scientific research.
ClimateTruth: What drives climate change on Earth?
Dr. Soon: Most of the weather and climate variations we observed are essentially related to the sun and the changing seasons – not by CO2 radiative forcing and feedback. The climate system is constantly readjusting naturally in a large way – more than we would ever see from CO2. The CO2 kick [impact of CO2 emissions] is extremely small compared to what is happening in a natural way. Within the framework of a proper study of the sun-climate connection, you don’t need CO2 to explain anything.
ClimateTruth: What is your opinion of the anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming theory?
Dr. Soon: It’s never been about the science – even from the very beginning. It’s based on confusion and a mixture of ideology. We should deal only in the facts that we do know.
ClimateTruth: Many of the scientists promoting the global warming theory appear to be driven by politics rather than hard scientific data. What are your thoughts?
Dr. Soon: I am a scientist. I go where the facts take me. And the facts are fairly clear. It doesn’t take very long to discover that their views [of man-caused global warming] aren’t grounded in the facts. Why would any solid science need so much promotion and advertisement and the endless shouting about how the science has all been “settled”? And now we’re supposed to believe that the growing consensus on the street that humans are not responsible for global warming is due mainly to the confusion created by climate “deniers.”
ClimateTruth: Many scientists like you (often referred to as “skeptics”) are ridiculed and isolated for challenging the dogma of man-made global warming. Many of your peers have been very successful in their efforts to marginalize anyone who deviates from the approved script? What is happening?
Dr. Soon: The pro-AGW supporters have become more and more confrontational in their attacks on scientists who challenge their views. For instance, Stephen Schneider [a professor of environmental studies at Stanford University], says that skeptics sell garbage and that we are playing games with science. He compares it to selling drugs and believes that we are criminals who should go to jail. Guess what? You don’t pull that sort of thing on people who know something about science.
ClimateTruth: What needs to be done to combat the strong-arm tactics being used against scientists who disagree with the AGW theory?
Dr. Soon: Science needs to stand up. The AGW movement is killing science. It’s very unhealthy in many ways. They are corrupting science for material gain. It’s time for us to take back climate science.
ClimateTruth: Many AGW scientists state with confidence that there is a very high probability that the earth is warming. Therefore, something must be done now to cut CO2 emissions. How accurate are their statistics?
Dr. Soon: Their probabilities are absolute crap. They are pulling these statistics out of thin air. It is completely anti-science. They talk about 90 percent probability. It sounds high, but would anyone fly in an airplane if it would crash once out of every 10 flights?
ClimateTruth: The temperature data over the past eight years or so seem to indicate that we have entered a period of global cooling. Are we experiencing a cooling trend?
Dr. Soon: If you look at the data empirically, there is a cooling tendency. We’re already seeing signs. The possibility of a colder climate ahead is a very real thing.
ClimateTruth: What is your opinion of Al Gore?
Dr. Soon: He’s somebody who needs to just shut-up and stop spreading nonsense. He has neither credibility on science nor moral standing.
ClimateTruth: In its latest Assessment Report, the IPCC talks about a “water vapor feedback” that magnifies the warming of CO2 emissions. Does such a feedback exist?
Dr. Soon: There is some CO2-water vapor feedback. But it’s not operating on a global scale. The modellers cannot accurately separate water vapour from the effects of clouds and rainfall. In other words, they lack the detailed understanding of clouds required to construct atmospheric models. But they keep tuning their models and claiming they can accurately simulate the effects of water vapour, but how can you do this when you can’t model clouds or rainfall properly. Changes in clouds and rainfall can overwhelm what little effect CO2-water vapour has on temperature. CO2 can never be the climate driver they say it will be over the next 20 to 50 years.
ClimateTruth: Which plays a stronger role in its impact on climate – atmospheric CO2 or changes in albedo?
Dr. Soon: If you change planetary albedo by as little as one or two percent, it has the same effect as doubling atmospheric CO2. The warming we’ve experienced in the late 20th century could just as easily be explained by small decreases in cloud cover – natural changes in the system –and have nothing to do with CO2.
ClimateTruth: You have developed a theory showing a close correlation between solar radiation and temperatures in the arctic and surrounding regions – and, perhaps, even globally. Would you like to explain it?
Dr. Soon: In 2005, I discovered a surprisingly strong correlation between solar radiation and temperatures in the Arctic over the past 130 years. Since then, I have demonstrated similar correlations in all the regions surrounding the Arctic, including the U.S. mainland and China.
The close relationships between the abrupt ups and downs of solar activity and of temperature that I have identified occur locally in coastal Greenland; regionally in the Arctic Pacific and north Atlantic; and, hemispherically, for the whole circum-Arctic, suggesting that changes in solar activity drive Arctic and perhaps even global climate.
There is no such match between the steady rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and the often dramatic ups and downs of surface temperatures in and around the Arctic.
I recently discovered direct evidence that changes in solar activity have influenced what has been called the “conveyor-belt” circulation of the great Atlantic Ocean currents over the past 240 years. For instance, solar-driven changes in temperature, and in the volume of freshwater output from the Arctic, can cause variations in sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic five to 20 years later.
The hallmark of good science is the testing of a plausible hypothesis that is then either supported or rejected by the evidence. The evidence in my paper is consistent with the hypothesis that the sun causes climatic change in the Arctic.
It invalidates the hypothesis that CO2 is a major cause of observed climate change – and raises serious questions about the wisdom of imposing cap-and-trade or other policies that would cripple energy production and economic activity, all in the name of “preventing catastrophic climate change.”