Climatologist Breaks the Silence on Global Warming Groupthink

12/14/201514 Comments

Dr. Judith Curry is Professor and former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Following is her verbal remarks as delivered to last week's US Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on "Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate Over the Magnitude of the Human Impact on Earth’s Climate."

Transcript via

I thank the Chairman and the Committee for the opportunity to offer testimony today.

Prior to 2009, I felt that supporting the IPCC consensus on climate change was the responsible thing to do. I bought into the argument: “Don’t trust what one scientist says, trust what an international team of a thousand scientists has said, after years of careful deliberation.” That all changed for me in November 2009, following the leaked Climategate emails, that illustrated the sausage making and even bullying that went into building the consensus.

I starting speaking out, saying that scientists needed to do better at making the data and supporting information publicly available, being more transparent about how they reached conclusions, doing a better job of assessing uncertainties, and actively engaging with scientists having minority perspectives. The response of my colleagues to this is summed up by the title of a 2010 article in the Scientific American: Climate Heretic Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues.

I came to the growing realization that I had fallen into the trap of groupthink. I had accepted the consensus based on 2nd order evidence: the assertion that a consensus existed. I began making an independent assessment of topics in climate science that had the most relevance to policy.

What have I concluded from this assessment?

Human caused climate change is a theory in which the basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. No one questions that surface temperatures have increased overall since 1880, or that humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, or that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the planet. However there is considerable uncertainty and disagreement about the most consequential issues: whether the warming has been dominated by human causes versus natural variability, how much the planet will warm in the 21st century, and whether warming is ‘dangerous’.

The central issue in the scientific debate on climate change is the extent to which the recent (and future) warming is caused by humans versus natural climate variability. Research effort and funding has focused on understanding human causes of climate change. However we have been misled in our quest to understand climate change, by not paying sufficient attention to natural causes of climate change, in particular from the sun and from the long-term oscillations in ocean circulations.

Why do scientists disagree about climate change? The historical data is sparse and inadequate. There is disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence, notably the value of global climate models. There is disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence. And scientists disagree over assessments of areas of ambiguity and ignorance.

How then, and why, have climate scientists come to a consensus about a very complex scientific problem that the scientists themselves acknowledge has substantial and fundamental uncertainties?

Climate scientists have become entangled in an acrimonious political debate that has polarized the scientific community. As a result of my analyses that challenge IPCC conclusions, I have been called a denier by other climate scientists, and most recently by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. My motives have been questioned by Representative Grijalva, in a recent letter sent to the President of Georgia Tech.

There is enormous pressure for climate scientists to conform to the so-called consensus. This pressure comes not only from politicians, but from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists. Reinforcing this consensus are strong monetary, reputational, and authority interests.

In this politicized environment, advocating for CO2 emissions reductions is becoming the default, expected position for climate scientists. This advocacy extends to the professional societies that publish journals and organize conferences. Policy advocacy, combined with understating the uncertainties, risks destroying science’s reputation for honesty and objectivity – without which scientists become regarded as merely another lobbyist group.

I would like to thank the committee for raising the issue of data versus dogma in support of improving the integrity of climate science.

This concludes my testimony.

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Comments (14)

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  1. rockshot says:

    This woman is a BRAVE heroine for the TRUTH. Thank you Ma’am!

  2. Collin says:

    By far the largest issue we all have to face ( those that make it to this site ) is the total unpreparedness of the myopic multitude to consider even one major discrepancy in the endlessly regurgitated dogma.
    Thank you Dr Judith Curry for speaking out, few have the intestinal fortitude!

  3. rltmlt says:

    Thanks James for continuing to provide evidence that challenges the credibility of this ongoing boondoggle ! This does have a historical precedent from over four hundred years ago when various civilizations were pressured into adopting the belief that the Earth was flat. Various ship’s captains and astronomers worked to correct this false belief based on their real world experiences, sometimes at great risk to their and their families lives !

  4. mdj says:

    At this time my primary concern with the climate change issue is finding the connection between ‘climate change’ and geo-engineering. I haven’t been able to make a direct link yet, though the hottest days I have experienced were either total white outs or with heavily lined skies. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

  5. bladtheimpailer says:

    The religious like fervor surrounding “alarmist” climate science is still showing all the signs of fanaticism when challenged today.I was recently banned from commenting and comments deleted, essentially censored,from the “Rabble” web site for posting just such comments as Ms. Curry makes here. This supposedly “progressive” site, a support mechanism and discussion limitation device for Canada’s NDP political party, which buys into the anthropogenic-CO2 catastrophic global warming pseudo science postulations, is unwittingly supporting the international financial and corporate globalist agenda with their unquestioning position in service ultimately to neo liberal economic policy and programs. This stance exemplifies how far the politics of Canada have been herded into a narrow construct. The NDP was the party which brought many of the socialist programs Canadians enjoy today to popular notice and eventual adoption. What a sad state of affairs exists in Canada today, A triopoly run by the powers as James says, that shouldn’t be..

  6. ktrammel says:

    A good resource on calm and sane assessment of climate variation over long stretches of time is given by Ben Davidson of, who gave a good overview at EU2014:

  7. swr02 says:

    Michael Crichton on Global Warming folly 2006. A real hoot!

    • nosoapradio says:

      I just had to thank you swr02 for the Crighton link. Though I’d heard of him he’d apparently, and incredibly, escaped my focussed attention. I’ve only just begun listening and will have to put it aside until tonight but he represents a breakthrough for me as I’m also looking for some great fiction novels! Anyhow, Great link! (for the moment at any rate) Thanks again! I’ll keep you posted!

  8. candideschmyles says:

    The facts she states are “the Earth is warming, Co2 is increasing and that causes higher temperatures”. Her caveats are to do with opinion on data interpretation of how much and why. She is rightly critical of consensus bullying but makes no mention of the bullying that goes on in the denialist camp. Like here. Where the use of selective interpretations of data are used to push an agenda and to hell with rationality. And not just the rational of the climate debate itself but the rational of a site that purports to expose the oligarchs yet hosts their publicly exposed shills.
    The fact is climate change is and always will be a fact. You can deny releasing billions of tons of locked up carbon into the biosphere causes zero effect but you need to prove it. Simple chemistry, schoolboy chemistry, says you can’t. I am sick to the back teeth of both sides of the debate.

    • rtamaki says:

      Nobody here has ever claimed that “releasing billions of tons of locked up carbon into the biosphere causes zero effect.” Listen carefully. The critical question is how much effect will it have, and will that effect be primarily positive or negative. On that question, there is by no means anything approaching scientific consensus.

      And are you claiming that Judith Curry is a shill of the oligarchs? I think you had better learn more about her history. She has suffered seriously for position. She was once an esteemed member of the climate science establishment. But when she saw the level of corruption endemic in climate science she started calling out for greater integrity and transparency. As a result, rather than acknowledging the problems within the climate science community, they chose rather to shun and vilify her. For the record, she is a tenured professor, and draws her income from public funding.

      What you need to recognize is that climate scaremongering is just the other claw of a pincer movement to consolidate power among the global elites. On the one hand we have the great terror hoax, that plays well into the hands of the right-wingers, who will willingly grant increased powers and militarism to the state and diminution of personal rights for the sake of protection. On the other hand, while many liberals rightly see (at least partially) through the terror hoax, they are easily swayed by the fear-mongering of the climate science establishment, because it stands as a credible proxy for their anti-capitalist predilection. Consequently, they willingly and uncritically accept fake pronouncements of 97% consensus and coming catastrophe, and are willing to travel to the ends of the earth to lobby national and transnational governments to take upon themselves even greater levels of control over the rest of us. The result is the same: greater state control and reduced personal liberty.

    • Apollo Slater says:

      What bullying are you referring to? I’d be curious to see an example.

      I’m also curious who these “shills” are on this site and your evidence of their being shills.

      As for the “schoolboy chemistry”, what’s in dispute is not whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but whether the human contribution has any discernible effect on the overall climate. Thus far, there is no evidence for it. Keep in mind that CO2, natural and human, is a tiny part of the greenhouse effect, most of it mediated by water vapor. Also, the human contribution is a drop in the bucket compared to the carbon content of the biosphere and oceans. Earth naturally cycles CO2, we are not simply adding to a static system. “Schoolboy chemistry” is not sufficient to support the claims of human-cause climate change.

  9. bla, bla, bla “…disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence…” bla, bla, bla…

    She only casts a certain (small) doubt on the amount of human influence in the supposed warming – and, doesn’t even denounce the fact that there is no warming, at all (but, that has actually been a cooling in the last years – has denounced in the e-mails that she admits to have read).

    And, her “critiques” have even been promoted by one of the publications involved in all the lying, with the latter writing articles calling attention to her declarations. (While people who really denounce this falsehood, are not only not mentioned/promoted by this same lying media, but even have to go into hiding:

    To me, this is clearly a case of “controlled opposition”. (So that people turn their attention to this type of “critics”, instead of listening to the people who make the real critiques.)

    “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”
    — Vladimir Ilich Lenin

    And, if anyone’s interested, I leave here the links to three videos that I consider much better.

    1) A very good small lecture, denouncing all this falsehood:

    2) And, if you want shorter videos – like the one posted – two very interesting confrontations with people spreading this propaganda: ,

  10. And, speaking about people who make real critiques, just the other day I was listening to a lecture by a Brazilian university Professor, involved in a group that dismantles the whole “global warming” charade, where he denounced that, not only have the copy rights to the The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary been bought by the establishment, but that a person involved in its production or distribution(?) was also “suicided”.

    (Surely, not the case with this “Dr. Judith Curry” – who, by know, should be calmly and comfortably enjoying a nice drink, in some private room, of some elitist institution.)

  11. info5 says:

    Heres a video of George Carlin talking about global warming. Its pure gold!

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