Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fritz Vahrenholt, Der Spiegel: I Feel Duped on Climate Change... A Review

Examining Fritz Vahrenholt's 
answers in his Der Spiegel's interview
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The outgoing German electric utility executive Fritz Vahrenholt recently published a book "Die Kalte Sonne" (The Cold Sun) that put him at the top of the media circuit for a while.

I was given Vahrenholt’s interview with Der Spiegel {Germany’s premier news magazine} as a supposed eye opener.  Instead I found a man way too convinced of his own infallibility, who described the science with appalling deceitfulness.  Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter do a nice job of interviewing and getting Vahrenholt to open up.  Still answer by answer he says things I know are blatantly false.  Then Vahrenholt’s constant disingenuous complaints about the IPCC went so over the top, they demanded a rebuttal. 

By the end of it I was angry enough to start all over again, to consider and research Vahrenholt’s answers.  My intention was to document his nonsense answer by answer.
After many delays and other projects I’ve fairly finished it, 

though I have the feeling I'll be working on it for a while yet.
Review of Fritz Vahrenholt A Denialist In Action. 

I do warn you, it's a long one (23 questions), specifically intended for the student of the Art of Denial.

Der Speigel’s article, published February 8, 2012, includes a hefty six hundred word introduction to this “practiced provocateur” that makes for a good read:,1518,813814,00.html

Examining  Fritz Vahrenholt replies to Der Spiegel interviewers {Stampf and Traufetter}: 
'I Feel Duped on Climate Change'

3)  DER SPIEGEL: Nevertheless, your precipitous withdrawal from RWE management is reminiscent of the scandal surrounding Thilo Sarrazin, who was forced to resign from the board of Germany's central bank in 2010 following the publication of his controversial book on immigration and integration.

Herr Vahrenholt: This isn't a precipitous withdrawal. Besides, I don't need Thilo Sarrazin as a role model. I also didn't need a role model when I drew attention to risks in the chemical industry in my 1978 book "Seveso ist überall"

Today, I want new scientific findings to be included in the climate debate. It would then become clear that the simple equation that CO2 and other man-made greenhouse gases are almost exclusively responsible for climate change is unsustainable[1]. It hasn't gotten any warmer on this planet in almost 14 years, despite continued increases in CO2 emissions[2]. Established climate science has to come up with an answer to that [3].
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[1]  Right out the gate Vahrenholt brandishes rubbish, the scientific discussion is alive and well.

I know I’m not a scientist, but I do read many abstracts and reports and with the wonder of the Internet there are many lectures available where one can hear scientists explaining their work.  Invariably their talks are balanced reviews, weaknesses and areas needing further investigation are openly acknowledged. Contrary views are actively considered and nuanced assertions are wrestled with.  And the process is infused with a common goal of better understanding, something the deep pockets can't figure out.

No climatologist claims CO2 is “exclusively responsible” for climate change.  Take a look for yourself at some of the discussion going on:
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Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis
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9.2   Can the Warming of the 20th Century be Explained by Natural Variability?
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9.4.1 Global-Scale Surface Temperature Change
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9.7   Combining Evidence of Anthropogenic Climate Change
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[2]  It’s simply not true that our planet hasn’t warmed these past ten, fifteen years.
This is a typical denialist misdirection of the facts, supported by willfully ignoring the full body of evidence.  A good faith review of the evidence including polar regions and our oceans contradicts this contrarian meme.

[3]  Doing a search For 'Missing Heat' Confirms More Global Warming 'In The Pipeline'
2009 - 2nd hottest year on record while sun is coolest in a century
2010 - 2011: Earth's most extreme weather since 1816?
2011 Year in Review (part 1)
2011 Year in Review (part 2)
2011: World’s 10th warmest year, warmest year with La Niña event, lowest Arctic sea ice volume

"Global Warming Has Stopped"? How to Fool People Using "Cherry-Picked" Climate Data

Peter Gleick ~ 2/05/2012
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4)  DER SPIEGEL: You are an electric utility executive by profession. What prompted you to get involved in climatology?

Herr Vahrenholt: In my experience as an energy expert, I learned that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is more of a political than a scientific body. As a rapporteur on renewable energy, I witnessed how thin the factual basis is for predictions that are made at the IPCC. In one case, a Greenpeace activist's absurd claim that 80 percent of the world's energy supply could soon be coming from renewable sources was assumed without scrutiny. This prompted me to examine the IPCC report more carefully.
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Such grand claims are easy to make, but where is some supporting evidence?
For instance where can this 80% claim be found in the IPCC report?
I sure couldn’t find it here:
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change - Renewable energy
Renewable energy:
“... For example, IEA (2006b) projected in the Reference scenario that renewables will have dropped to a 13.7 % share of global primary energy (20.8 % of electricity) in 2030, or under the Alternative Policy scenario will have risen to 16.2 % (25.3 % of electricity).”

Search - for renewable energy -,
I found ten pages worth of results and an extremely nuanced examination... nowhere can I find Vahrenholt’s claim echoed.  Yet empty charges like his are embraced by the gullible.
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5)  DER SPIEGEL: And what was your conclusion?

Herr Vahrenholt: The long version of the IPCC report does mention natural causes of climate change, like the sun and oscillating ocean currents. But they no longer appear in the summary for politicians. They were simply edited out.[1] To this day, many decision-makers don't know that new studies have seriously questioned the dominance of CO2. [2] CO2 alone will never cause a warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. Only with the help of supposed amplification effects, especially water vapor, do the computers arrive at a drastic temperature increase. [3]
I say that global warming will remain below two degrees by the end of the century. This is an eminently political message, but it's also good news. [4]
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[1] There is no other way to put it: Vahrenholt is lying about what’s in the IPCC report!   
As’s review of this claim makes clear:

Misrepresenting the IPCC
Vahrenholt refers to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Summary for Policymakers (SPM).  The following quotes are taken directly from the SPM, which Vahrenholt claims has edited out all mention of natural causes of climate change.  The first quote is the first sentence in the SPM.

* "The Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report describes progress in understanding of the human and natural drivers of climate change, observed climate change, climate processes and attribution, and estimates of projected future climate change."

* "Human and Natural Drivers of Climate Change

Changes in the atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases and aerosols, in solar radiation and in land surface properties alter the energy balance of the climate system.  These changes are expressed in terms of radiative forcing, which is used to compare how a range of human and natural factors drive warming or cooling influences on global climate."

* "Changes in solar irradiance since 1750 are estimated to cause a radiative forcing of +0.12 [+0.06 to +0.30] W m–2, which is less than half the estimate given in the TAR."

* "It is very unlikely that climate changes of at least the seven centuries prior to 1950 were due to variability generated within the climate system alone. A significant fraction of the reconstructed Northern Hemisphere inter-decadal temperature variability over those centuries is very likely attributable to volcanic eruptions and changes in solar irradiance, and it is likely that anthropogenic forcing contributed to the early 20th century warming evident in these records."

* "The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes alone."
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[2]  Vahrenholt what studies specifically “seriously question the dominance of CO2?”  It is so easy to make grand claims but producing actual supporting evidence is much more difficult.  

[3]  Vahrenholt reports this as some revelation.  No one claims it’s CO2 alone.  Moisture content in our atmosphere, H2O being the most potent “greenhouse gas” is no surprise - there are many other known cascading consequences.  Various positive feedback mechanisms that don’t deserve Vahrenholt’s flippant dismissal.  

[4]  His certitude in his genius is astounding as he assures us global warming will remain under 2°.
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6)  DER SPIEGEL: You make concrete statements on how much human activity contributes to climatic events and how much of a role natural factors play. Why don't you publish your prognoses in a professional journal?

Herr Vahrenholt: Because I don't engage in my own climate research. Besides, I don't have a supercomputer in my basement. For the most part, my co-author, geologist Sebastian Lüning, and I merely summarize what scientists have published in professional journals -- just as the IPCC does. The book is also a platform for scientists who apply good arguments in diverging from the views of the IPCC. The established climate models have failed across the board because they cannot cogently explain the absence of warming.
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Vahrenholt, exemplifies the problem with dilettantes, they feel they have a right to pick and choose facts, much like fiction writers who have artistic license to mold science facts to fit their stories not restrained by the true reality of the thing.  At least fiction writers and readers appreciate it’s entertainment, not the real world.

But the likes of Vahrenholt disregard the depth of real world complexity, only choosing those little morsels that fit their imagination… convinced all else is beside the point.  And when they get called-on-it scientifically or when the big guys slam them ~ * Incidentally the big guys are those that actually did put in the study time and the work, the focus/blood/sweat’n/tears that it takes to understand something as complex, but not incomprehensible, as our climate and biosphere ~

The Vahrenholt types cry foul and conspiracy, rather than a little introspection... appreciating ones own flaws for a change.  Give credit where credit is due.

Regarding Vahrenholt’s contempt for “Models” there’s much more to it than he could ever admit to.  A good faith review of the information available reveals many good reasons for valuing climate models.  Rather than getting misdirected by Vahrenholts simplistic lies.  Spend a little time seriously trying to understand them:

General Circulation Models of Climate

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How reliable are climate models?

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Dry and long, but that’s how it is:

Anatomy of a Climate Model: How Robust are Climate Projections?

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As for Vahrenholt’s canard of our planet’s warming having stopped. 
That claim is smoke’n mirrors.  A good faith review of the full spectrum of Earth Observation reveals an entirely different picture.  Give it a try here’s a starter:
Why Wasn’t The Hottest Decade Hotter?

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Rob Painting at
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7)  DER SPIEGEL: You claim that the standstill has to do with the sun. What makes you so sure?

Herr Vahrenholt: In terms of the climate, we have seen a cyclical up and down for the last 7,000 years, long before man began emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. There has been a warming phase every 1,000 years, including the Roman, the Medieval and the current warm periods. All of these warm periods consistently coincided with strong solar activity. In addition to this large fluctuation in activity, there is also a 210-year and an 87-year natural cycle of the sun. Ignoring these would be a serious mistake 
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This whole answer is grossly misleading.  Climatologists are well aware of the various cycles and other influences Vahrenholt doesn’t even mention.  It’s more of his fictionalizing rather than any accurate teaching/reporting.

Incidentally Vahrenholt’s solar cycle relationships breaks down as soon as you give them a closer look, he doesn’t even describe them accurately.  To get a little overview of the complexity, check it out:

Vahrenholt’s kind of oversimplification and misdirection does society disservice.  
We need to start learning about some of this and stop pretending it can be ignored as Vahrenholt’s bromides clearly mean to do.
Incidentally, Vahrenholt doesn’t even bother to mention such factors as volcanic activity and ocean currents.
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8)  DER SPIEGEL: … but solar researchers are still in disagreement over whether the cycles you mention actually exist. What do you think this means for the future?

Herr Vahrenholt: In the second half of the 20th century, the sun was more active than it had been in more than 2,000 years. This "large solar maximum," as astronomers call it, has contributed at least as much to global warming as the greenhouse gas CO2. But the sun has been getting weaker since 2005, and it will continue to do so in the next few decades. Consequently, we can only expect cooling from the sun for now.
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Vahrenholt resorts to some correlation.
Still the irony of Vahrenholt justifing his theory with correlation... one that actually breaks down.  
Still he feels quite comfortable making an absolute prediction.
So tell me again what are we supposed to learn from a fella who seems in love with his own certitude...  who freely ignores information...  who bristles at anyone who disagrees...
Why trust Vahrenholt?

Here’s another article from those folks at
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9)  DER SPIEGEL: It is undisputed that fluctuations in solar activity can influence the climate. Most experts assume that an unusually long solar minimum, evidenced by the very small number of sunspots at the time, led to the "Little Ice Age" that began in 1645. There were many severe winters at the time, with rivers freezing over. However, astrophysicists still don't know the extent to which solar fluctuations actually affect temperatures.

Herr Vahrenholt: Many scientists assume that the temperature changes by more than 1 degree Celsius for the 1,000-year cycle and by up to 0.7 degrees Celsius for the smaller cycles. Climatologists should be putting a far greater effort into finding ways to more accurately determine the effects of the sun on climate. For the IPCC and the politicians it influences, CO2 is practically the only factor. The importance of the sun for the climate is systematically underestimated, and the importance of CO2 is systematically overestimated. As a result, all climate predictions are based on the wrong underlying facts.
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Here’s that phantom “many scientists assume” thing again.  Why not actual citations?
Please note in reviewing the above articles and the many studies they refer to, how much time and serious study has gone into this question.  Thus revealing that Vahrenholt is yet again mistaken when he claims the sun’s influence is being ignored by climatologist.

Vahrenholt complains that “ CO2 is practically the only factor” no CO2 is not and never has been assumed to be the “only” factor.  Multiple studies from basic physics, to paleoclimatology, to satellite and ground based data consistently show CO2 (and other GHG) to be the “major driving factor” in our modern situation.  Two very different things.  Yet Vahrenholt doesn’t care to serious review that reality, he’s just out to make political points.
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10)  DER SPIEGEL: But you are doing exactly what you criticize climatologists of doing: Using a thin body of data, you make exact predictions. In your book, you estimate the sun's influence on the climate down to the last 0.1 degrees. No one can do that.

Herr Vahrenholt: I don't claim that I know precisely whether the sun is responsible for a 40, 50 or 60 percent share of global warming. But it's nonsense for the IPCC to claim that the sun has nothing to do with it.
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So he’s not sure, but feels comfortable making absolutist statements.  
Furthermore, it’s nonsense to claim the IPCC dismisses the sun.

Jeez what balderdash!  Visit the IPCC search engine:

Search Search the IPCC 4th Assessment Report for “solar forcing
Here are just a few of the ten pages worth of relevant results: Indirect Effects of Solar Variability
2.9.1 Uncertainties in Radiative Forcing Solar Forcing
7.5.3 Effects of Aerosols and Clouds on Solar Radiation at the Earth’s Surface Role of Volcanism and Solar Irradiance Technologically-varied solar radiative forcing
Chapter 9: Understanding and Attributing Climate Change
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11)  DER SPIEGEL: On balance, you predict a global cooling of 0.2 to 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2035. Why such a risky prediction?

Herr Vahrenholt: If you want to revitalize the deadlocked debate, you have to have the courage to name a number. And we derive this number from scientific studies on climate history to date.
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To revitalize the “deadlocked debate” he tosses out a number?  A number derived from an isolated personal interpretation of studies on climate history, an interpretation that hasn’t been presented to the scientific community for review or critique?  That’s not helping anything - that’s an egomaniac’s crazy-making at work.
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12)  DER SPIEGEL: So your contention that we are wrong about global warming is merely a provocation?

Herr Vahrenholt: No. I mean it very seriously, and I know that dozens of solar researchers agree with me. I am perfectly aware of the defamation I will have to listen to in the near future. The climate debate also has some of the trappings of an inquisition. I'm curious to see which truth ministry will now initiate proceedings against me. Perhaps it'll be the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, which is headed by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, an adviser to the chancellor.
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The illusive “dozens of researchers” where are their papers, where is their evidence?
Resorting to the “Inquisition” Vahrenholt sounds downright paranoid, topping it off with delusions of a “truth ministry.”  When in fact the arbiters of truth are the community of educated scientists who review and critique each others work.  To sort of the chaff from the grain.
At this point Vahrenholt truly sounds like a kook.
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13)  DER SPIEGEL: You claim that the standstill in global warming since 2000 has been caused in large part by a simultaneous decline in solar activity. But, in fact, the sun behaved relatively normally until the middle of the century, only becoming noticeably quieter after that. How does this fit together?

Herr Vahrenholt: There are two effects: the declining solar activity, as well as the fluctuations in ocean currents, such as the 60-year Pacific oscillation, which was in a positive warm phase from 1977 to 2000 and, since 2000, has led to cooling as a result of its decline. Their contribution to the change in temperature has also been wrongly attributed to CO2.

Most of all, however, the last sunspot cycle was weaker than the one before it. This is why the sun's magnetic field has continued to weaken since 2000. As a result, this magnetic field doesn't shield us against cosmic radiation quite as well, which in turn leads to stronger cloud formation and, therefore, cooling. What else has to happen before the IPCC at least mentions these relationships in its reports?
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He does not answer the question.  
Back to the cosmic rays, Vahrenholt never mentions that these fluctuation are miniscule and that their impact is even tinier against the back light of our sun and atmospheric factors.
Then another unsupported claim regarding the IPCC.

Vahrenholt asks: “what has to happen for IPCC to at least mention these relationships?”
What has to happen for Vahrenholt to do a search of IPCC’s report? Try it:

Go to and type in: Galactic Cosmic Rays.
1.4.3 Solar Variability and the Total Solar Irradiance - AR4 WGI ...
The effects of galactic cosmic rays on the atmosphere (via cloud nucleation) and those due to shifts in the solar spectrum towards the ultraviolet (UV) range, ...

2.7 Natural Forcings - AR4 WGI Chapter 2: Changes in Atmospheric ...
Least certain, and under ongoing debate as discussed in the TAR, are indirect effects induced by galactic cosmic rays (e.g., Marsh and Svensmark, 2000a,b; ... Indirect Effects of Solar Variability - AR4 WGI Chapter 2 ...
Whether solar wind fluctuations (Boberg and Lundstedt, 2002) or solar-induced heliospheric modulation of galactic cosmic rays (Marsh and Svensmark, 2000b) ...

References - AR4 WGI Chapter 2: Changes in Atmospheric ...
Rev. Geophys., 41, 1021. Harrison, R.G., and D.B. Stephenson, 2006: Empirical evidence for a nonlinear effect of galactic cosmic rays on clouds. Proc. Roy. Soc.

Historical Overview of Climate Change Science
of the 20th century unless those changes can induce unknown large feedbacks in the climate system. The effects of galactic cosmic rays on the atmosphere (via ...

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14)  DER SPIEGEL: What you neglect to mention is that it hasn't been proven yet that cosmic radiation, which is shielded by the sun at varying degrees of effectiveness, truly leads to more cooling clouds on Earth. So far, it is only a hypothesis.

Herr Vahrenholt: It's more than that. The Cloud Experiment, headed by physicist Jasper Kirkby, has been underway at the CERN particle research center near Geneva since 2006. The initial results of tests conducted in a chamber in which the earth's atmosphere was simulated showed that cosmic particles do indeed lead to the formation of aerosol particles for clouds.
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A hypothesis is being examined, doesn’t not make the hypothesis true.
Plus he misrepresents what CLOUD found as the next question points out...
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15)  DER SPIEGEL: But the aerosols demonstrated in the Cloud Experiment are much too small. They would have to grow before they could actually serve as condensation germs for clouds. Whether this happens in nature is still an open question. You present this as a fact.

Herr Vahrenholt: You will find many correlations between cloud cover and cosmic radiation in the book. I'd like to know why the IPCC doesn't thoroughly examine this mechanism. My guess is that the answer to this question would jeopardize the entire foundation of the IPCC predictions.
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Side stepping the question Vahrenholt again relies on vague correlations (which don’t stand up under closer scrutiny) to assert fact.  
Then reaches for his conspiracy boogyman to impugn the IPCC and make a ridiculous claim.
As the above IPCC search results show IPCC has examined the available literature.
So once again Vahrenholt is caught in wild speculation worthy of a fiction writer.              
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16)  DER SPIEGEL: Nevertheless, you should be more careful with prognoses on future solar activity. In 2009, US scientists predicted that there would be no sunspots for years. In fact, they returned in 2010. The truth is that we are experiencing rather normal solar activity at the moment.

Herr Vahrenholt: The solar cycle is everything but normal. NASA scientists predict that this cycle will indeed be the weakest of the last 80 years. Not only did it start two years too late, but it's also very weak. And, besides, you can't just count sunspots. Cosmic particles continue to rain down on us because the sun's magnetic field is hardly shielding us.
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Side stepping the question Vahrenholt again relies on vague correlations and dreamy predictions to assert fact.  
Then reaches for his conspiracy boogyman to impugn the IPCC and make a ridiculous claim.
As the above IPCC search results show IPCC has examined the available literature.
Furthermore solar experts say the fluctuations that do occur are too small to be involved in the current warming situation.         
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17)  DER SPIEGEL: It's true that there will be a large solar minimum sometime in the next 500 years. But no one knows exactly when. The probability that this will occur in the next 40 years is less than 10 percent. But, in your book, you predict: "It is clear that the sun will be responsible for colder periods in the first half of this century." Do you know more than all astrophysicists combined?

Herr Vahrenholt: The probability of a large solar minimum, as it occurred during the Little Ice Age, is indeed less than 10 percent. But we are at the beginning of a lighter decline in solar activity of the kind we see every 87 and every 210 years. I've spoken with many solar physicists who expect this to happen.
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Again the unnamed “many.”  Where are their studies? Where is their peer reviewed literature?
Where is the evidence? Why does Vahrenholt ignore so much of the evidence already gathered?
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18)  DER SPIEGEL: We know many other solar scientists who question this. Another maximum is just as statistically likely as a minimum. Predicting what the sun will do in the coming decades borders on fortune-telling.

Herr Vahrenholt: I know only one German solar scientist who has expressed such doubt. Various American and British solar research groups believe that weak solar cycles are ahead. I take this seriously and expect only cooling from the sun until 2050.
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More of the ever present mysterious unnamed scientists.  He wants us to take him serious, but how can we when he doesn’t take the available evidence seriously?
I rather trust real full time professionals such as:

“Earth's Energy Budget Remained Out of Balance Despite Unusually Low Solar Activity”
“A new NASA study underscores the fact that greenhouse gases generated by human activity — not changes in solar activity — are the primary force driving global warming...”
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19)  DER SPIEGEL: And what will you do if temperatures continue to rise, after all?

Herr Vahrenholt: Then I'll give SPIEGEL an interview in 2020 and publicly admit that I've made a mistake. But I'm convinced that it won't be necessary.
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So Vahrenholt’s message is we should do nothing for another decade.  Sounds like what the deep pockets of self-interested old oil men are telling us.  Tragically the longer we wait the more expensive and disrupting solutions will be.  We have already waited long enough considering the overwhelming amount of accumulating evidence.
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20)  DER SPIEGEL: Do you seriously believe that all 2,000 scientists involved in the IPCC are deluded or staying true to the official line?

Herr Vahrenholt: It's not like that. However, I am critical of the role played by the handful of lead authors who take on the final editing of the report. They claim that they are using 18,000 publications evaluated by their peers. But 5,000 of them are so-called gray literature, which are not peer-reviewed sources. These mistakes come out in the end, just like the absurd claim that there will no longer be any glaciers in the Himalayas in 30 years. Such exaggerations don't surprise me. Of the 34 supposedly independent members who write the synthesis report for politicians, almost a third are associated with environmental organizations like Greenpeace or the WWF. Strange, isn't it?
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More of the conspiracy boogyman.  The IPCC has clearly spelled out procedures that the participants follows.  The folks who are participating don’t deserve Vahrenholt’s schoolyard jeering, he sounds like an angry man wanting to do as much mischief as possible.
~ It is not true that a handful of lead authors dictate the final editing. ~
“All IPCC reports must be endorsed by the Panel during a Working Group or a Plenary Session.”--

Yes, the Himalaya debacle was a black eye, 2035 rather than 2350 but it still doesn’t undermine the basic physics and scientific underpinning of climatology, or the fact that Earth observations confirm a melting cryosphere, warming oceans and warming surface measurements when the entire globe is considered.  

Besides, considering the length and breadth of TAR, it’s amazing more mistakes aren’t found.  Interesting, but something denialist won’t admit to, pretty much all of IPCC mistakes have been found by the very scientists who make up the community, who same folks who are constantly being demonized by the likes of single minded ideologues.
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21)  DER SPIEGEL: Why are you taking on the role of the climate rebel with such passion? Where does this rage come from?

Herr Vahrenholt: For years, I disseminated the hypotheses of the IPCC, and I feel duped. Renewable energy is near and dear to me, and I've been fighting for its expansion for more than 30 years. My concern is that if citizens discover that the people who warn of a climate disaster are only telling half the truth, they will no longer be prepared to pay higher electricity costs for wind and solar (energy). Then the conversion of our energy supply will lack the necessary acceptance.
~ ~ ~
Vahrenholt sounds rambling, building one misconception upon the foundation of a previous misconception.  He claims“people who warn of a climate disaster are only telling half the truth” when he himself is the one ignoring huge swaths of information.  It’s contemptible and childish, like covering one’s eyes, ears, and screaming in order to hide from the real world.
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22)  DER SPIEGEL: If we take your book to its logical conclusion, it will be unnecessary to reduce CO2 emissions at all.

Herr Vahrenholt: No. Even a temperature increase of only one degree would be a noticeable change. But I am indeed saying that climate change is manageable because the cooling effects of the sun and the ocean currents give us enough time to prepare. In any case, it will be easy for us in Germany to adjust.
~ ~ ~
Here Vahrenholt seems to be talking out both sides of his mouth.  We are already close to a one degree rise and increasing unsettled weather is indeed reflecting this reality.  The sun is (relatively) cooling the planet as Earth & Solar Observations reveal.  Ocean currents aren’t giving us much time to prepare.  How can we prepare if denialists advocate for doing nothing? For ignoring it for another ten years?  As for the oceans Vahrenholt once again exposes his willfully ignoring the body of available science.  
Here is a quick tour, with links to pursue your interests:

Why ocean heat can’t drive climate change, only chase it
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Why did sea level fall in 2010?
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The Latest SOHO Images & Information
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23)  DER SPIEGEL: So, is it a mistake to concentrate exclusively on the reduction of carbon dioxide?

Herr Vahrenholt: Yes. In addition to carbon dioxide, we also have black soot, for example. It creates 55 percent of the warming effect of CO2, but it could be filtered out with little effort within a few years, especially in emerging and developing countries. And, in doing so, we would achieve huge benefits for human health.
~ ~ ~
While true that black soot contributes to warming it is a short term effect and does not justify ignoring the long term dangers of ever increasing CO2 and other GHGs.  We have more than one problem to master.
For some basic details and links to further details visit -
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24)  DER SPIEGEL: Would the expansion of wind energy have proceeded as quickly without concerns over the climate?

Herr Vahrenholt: It was a driving force. But it was mainly engineering skills that brought wind energy to a profitable level. Again, I want us to continue stressing renewable energy, which we have to make competitive. I just think that we should proceed sensibly: Wind power and biomass are fine in Germany, but no solar panels, please! They're better off in Africa and southern Europe. It's crazy to install 50 percent of worldwide solar panels in "Solar Country Germany" for fear of the supposed climate disaster and to spend €8 billion ($10.4 billion) a year on it!

25)  DER SPIEGEL: But aren't you shooting yourself in the foot when you say that climate change isn't really that bad? How do you intend to keep justifying emissions trading if you feel that greenhouse gases are irrelevant?

Herr Vahrenholt: All I'm saying is that CO2 is a climate gas, but that its effect is only half as strong as the IPCC claims. Nevertheless, we still have to reduce CO2 emissions through worldwide emissions trading. And there are also other reasons to burn fewer fossil fuels. We don't have that much coal, oil and gas left in the world, so we have to economize more. We also have to become less dependent on imports from totalitarian countries.
~ ~ ~
Once again talking out both sides of his mouth. Vahrenholt believes CO2 is a GHG but the effect is half as strong as the IPCC claims.  On what basis does he so glibly discounts decades of work by thousands of serious scientists remains a mystery.  

Vahrenholt has show that he doesn’t know what the IPCC has published, nor does he seem interested in the full body of scientific evidence as evident in this interview.  Instead parroting inflammatory cartoon attacks that aren’t supported.  Take an actual look at IPCC’s formidable volumes of information.  These guys and gals have worked the problem from every angle and they are not shy about admitting to gaps and unknowns.
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26)  DER SPIEGEL: Surveys show that fear of the climate catastrophe has declined. Are you preaching to the choir with your all-clear?

Herr Vahrenholt: The fear mongers are still shaping the political debate. According to the German Advisory Council on Global Change, environmentally minded countries should forcibly bring about reduced consumption for the sake of protecting the climate. This takes us in the direction of an environmental dictatorship. And the fearmongering is also beginning to take effect. When I was in a restaurant recently, I overheard a woman at the next table telling her children that it's wrong to eat an Argentine steak -- because of the climate. That's when I ask myself: How could we have come to this point?
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The disconnect always amazes.  
After the above performance Vahrenholt has the nerve to bemoan “fear-mongering”
Well I bemoan Vahrenholt’s ruthless demonizing and wonder how anyone can take him seriously.
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27)  DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Vahrenholt, thank you for this interview.
Interview conducted by Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter and translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
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Der Spiegel.Online ~ Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter interview Fritz Vahrenholt 
 February 8, 2012

If the link doesn't work Google: ~ Fritz Vahrenholt  "I Feel Duped on Climate Change"~

I have included many links to because quite frankly they have become the foremost teacher geared to the layperson audience.  They support their explanations with references and links to the scientific sources that underpin their articles.  They also have a very lively informative and on-point discussion following each post.  A place for serious skeptics to frequent and challenge with assertions which are met with serious replies.  SkS moderators have managed to keep the discussions free of insults and attacks and senseless digressions.

School yard insults are easy to toss, but let someone come up with serious, documented complaints regarding and its substance.  Dare ya.


 Here is some further reading from

The first article is authored by Dr. Rob van Dorland (KNMI) and Dr. Bart Verheggen (PBL),
The second comes from Dr. Bart Verheggen

Comment on EER interview with Fritz Vahrenholt

Also published in European Energy Review (EER).
Greenhouse gases are responsible for warming, not the sun

Scientists working on climate on a daily basis must have been rather astonished by the interview with Professor Fritz Vahrenholt (European Energy Review, May 2, free registration required). Vahrenholt, chief of RWE Innogy, self-proclaimed climate expert and author of the book Die Kalte Sonne (The Cold Sun), claims that “the contribution of CO2 to global warming is being exaggerated”.

These claims, however, do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. We assess his ideas in the light of the scientific literature on the role of the sun versus other climate forcing factors. The dominant influence of greenhouse gases follows not only from their basic physical properties, but also from their “fingerprint” in the observed warming. The sun, in contrast, has not exhibited any warming trend over the past 50 years. The sun is thus not responsible for the warming seen during this period. Greenhouse gases in all likelihood are. 

From this quick analysis, it seems unlikely that Vahrenholt’s claims would stand up to scientific scrutiny. They should be taken seriously, but only as an idea that deserves further research and assessment, rather than as a scientific fact or theory that rises to the level of robustness of basic climate science. In that respect, the physical science basis of the IPCC 2007 is still strong. Vahrenholt’s ideas do not change that conclusion.


Response to Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

In their reply to our criticisms, Prof Fritz Vahrenholt and Dr Sebastian Lüning exhibit a misunderstanding of various key aspects of climate science. Their claim, that mainstream science is radically wrong, is unfounded and not backed up by sufficiently strong evidence. In our response published at EER, we only focused on a few selected issues of contention. Here we reply to all of Vahrenholt’s and Lüning’s arguments and allegations.

-         A long reference list in their book is by itself not persuasive for their argument. In their reply they already show a tendency to misinterpret published research (e.g. Solanki 2004; Mann 2008; Berger 2011).
-         They present their view as some kind of superior alternative to the IPCC. That is a very strong claim. The least they should do is to submit such a claim to scientific scrutiny, rather than hiding behind a long -partly misunderstood and partly cherrypicked- reference list.


In short, Vahrenholt’s and Lüning’s reply does not change our conclusion: Their claim that “the contribution of CO2 to global warming is being exaggerated” does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. The sun is not responsible for the warming seen during the past 4 decades. Greenhouse gases in all likelihood are.
Climate changes in the deep past (going back hundreds of thousands or even millions of years) can not be explained, let alone quantitatively modeled, without a substantial warming effect from CO2. We invite readers to view this excellent talk by the American geologist Richard Alley.
It’s telling that no physics-based climate model has been developed that can simulate past and recent climate changes without a substantial warming effect from an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Wishing away the effects of CO2 is not enough in science; it needs to be quantitatively demonstrated.

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