Vahrenholt’s & Lüning’s Skeptic Book Marks A Tipping Point – The End Of Climate Consensus In Germany

Last week parts of Germany’s media were reporting on the latest (again) alarmist findings of the Max Planck Institute (MPI), which announced that the Arctic was melting faster than expected, and that its latest model scenarios projected an ice-free Arctic in the summertime by the middle of the 21st century and, should CO2 emissions continue their rise, the Arctic would also be ice-free in the wintertime.

The Arctic is melting faster than expected, alarmist Max Planck Institute claims (US Navy photo)

But today something is different. Back just a couple of years ago, media coverage of such announcements in Germany were far more intense and spectacular. Not so today. Fewer media are turning up for the weekly end-of-world press conferences. Major media outlets are gradually losing interest in the fading climate catastrophe. Indeed it’s as if some are realizing that something is rotten in Germany’s once prestigious climate science institutes – and in those around the world.

For example, top selling German daily Bild did not even bother to feature the MPI’s Arctic meltdown press conference. Instead Bild featured a story on how clouds have been getting lower and that a negative feedback seems to be in play and is acting to cool the planet.

German flagship news magazine Spiegel also skipped reporting on the MPI doom and gloom crystal ball model findings, at least online up to now. Instead it featured a story on the Gleick stolen identity and document theft scandal in the USA, thus further tarnishing the already soiled image of climate science today.

So when Bild newspaper and Spiegel shift gears and change directions, then it’s undoubtedly a worrisome development for those on-board for the climate catastrophe joyride. Gone are the days of universal, lock-step media consensus.

Germany’s movement of skepticism started some years ago, and then picked up steam in 2009 in the wake of the Climategate emails and Germany’s 2nd international skeptic climate conference. A series of brutal winters, combined with weird Politburo-type explanations claiming it was caused by warming, provided yet more fertile ground for the seeds of skepticism. German skeptic blogs also sprouted and coordinated. The Internet buzzed with skepticism and before you knew it, the global warming establishment began having fits about the budding open discussion.

Then came Vahrenholt and Lüning.

Bild Feb. 6 page 2 story.

And with them a mushroom cloud. On February 6, influential Hamburg-based publisher Hoffmann & Campe released a skeptic book called “Die kalte Sonne” – on what happened to be Germany’s coldest day of the winter. The release of the book also coincided with Bild’s smashing page 2 story “CO2 Lies – Renowed Team of Scientists Catastrophe Is Panic Mongering” and Spiegel’s “We’re Being Fooled” interview with Vahrenholt.

Die Welt newspaper followed the next day with a full page report called “The Sun is Giving Us Time“. In no time Vahrenholt’s and Lüning’s book became a bestseller. The grand climate gig was over.

Even more revealing was the reaction of the German environmental press and the alarmist climate institutes. Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg slammed the book, but did so without even reading it. So did Mojib Latif. Both claimed that the book’s line of argumentation had long since been dispelled. But this was a ridiculous claim since the book’s conclusion is based in large part on the latest scientific findings, which are now just in the process of being discussed. The few other counter arguments that they offered were of pre-IPCC AR4 nature. They fully neglected solar amplification mechanisms and ocean cycles. Horrifying is the appearance that these renown scientists are not even aware of historical climate cycles.

Lüning recently wrote that he had expected much tougher counter argumentation and is surprised that it’s been so easy so far.

Hartmut Grassl, former Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, took on an indignant attitude in a TV interview, refusing to even acknowledge the book and insisting his catastrophe fantasy is real.

The University of Osnabrück even cancelled a scheduled speech by Vahrenholt at the last minute, saying it wasn’t interested in his kind of discussion – calling it “provocative”. One student later told me that she found the University’s reaction strange and had nothing to do with expanding knowledge.

Today these institutes wonder why influential media like Spiegel and Bild are no longer bothering to report on their science. It’s not surprising – you can hear “We’re right, and we don’t want to discuss it!” only so many times before you lose interest altogether.


32 responses to “Vahrenholt’s & Lüning’s Skeptic Book Marks A Tipping Point – The End Of Climate Consensus In Germany”

  1. John Silver

    “should CO2 emissions continue their rise, the Arctic would also be ice-free in the wintertime.”

    That is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Why would they say that?

    1. DirkH

      They just look at the PIOMAS model (which is probably, ahem, wrong) and extrapolate what it says.

      1. John Silver

        PIOMAS says next year:

        I guess they can say anything they want since they are on a missionn from Glog (Global Government).

  2. Adam

    Anyone know when the English translation of the book will be released?

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    “Lüning recently wrote that he had expected much tougher counter argumentation and is surprised that it’s been so easy so far.”

    That is my experience too. The people of the CAGW side seem to cite old scientific papers, if they cite science at all (usually it is just hand waving rhetoric). So with the large amount of papers in the last year or so like Dragić et al 2011, Allan 2011 and of course Lindzen & Choi 2011 it is easy to trump their arguments.

    Lately my discussions with CAGW people are becoming shorter and shorter as they increasingly refuse to discuss any actual science at all.

    1. DirkH

      The five stages of death are

      They don’t have to occur in this sequence, and it might play out differently in each cult follower.

      You’re observing “denial”. Keep on prodding them. They’ll automatically change to the next phase.

      1. Mindert Eiting

        Dirk, these are the five stages of mourning. I would explain Gleick’s behaviour as bargaining and depression is not visible in public. Probably, many alarmist are now half-way bargaining and depression.

        1. DirkH

          No, Gleick was “anger”.
          And “depression” can be visible in public: Google images for “weepy Bill McKibben”.

          1. hro001

            No, Gleick was “anger”.

            I’m not so sure about that, Dirk!

            Gleick’s phishing expedition lasted 10 days. Anger is not, well, sustainable over such a long period of time.

            My theory is that – notwithstanding his MacArthur “genius” status (which makes him “too smart to get caught”) and his apparent lack of a functional moral compass – Gleick is afflicted, if not driven, by chronic green envy.

            Until l’affaire Wagner (circa August 2011), Gleick was relatively unknown … a little pisher in the Big Green Pond.

            And in less than a year, he’s succeeded in going from pisher to phisher.

            See: Gleick and the green factor$

            But truly warms the cockles of my heart to learn that the positive “feedback” resulting from Vahrenholt and Luning’s book is having such a significant impact.

          2. DirkH

            Good article. But it doesn’t rule out “anger” IMHO… There are two types of anger: the “rampaging” kind and the brooding, simmering kind… Gleick showed the latter type of anger throughout all of his Forbes blogging carreer.

  4. John F. Hultquist

    First, thanks for the update. I would have no idea about what is happening in Germany without you.

    Your photo of the 3 bears visiting the US Navy is not new to me but the thought I had just now is. A few years ago I was on a solo hike in the nearby hills (east slope extension of the Washington Cascades). I came face-to-face with a Cinnamon (colored) Black Bear. We were moving toward each other on a faint trail. I took a few quick photos while watching and wondering what to do. I think he (?) would have been doing the same if he had a camera. Within a few seconds he went to the side and around me about 15 meters away – at a very fast gallop or whatever the movement is called. Very impressive. Anyway, it was obvious he wasn’t thrilled to see me.

    Do you suppose the sailors had previously thrown food down to the Polar Bears? Why else would they not run from this ice-breaking behemoth? There are at least several other photos of subs coming up from under the ice, so this isn’t a one time affair. Just wondering.

    1. John Silver

      Black bears and Polar bears are exact opposites. A cat can tree a blackie, fact.

  5. matti

    The global warming establishment better get used to the idea of having defend a a failed science and unless they change their tune ,they will be ignored by most as the general public compares the climate that was predicted with what is really happening. We are now experiencing the climate from the ocean’s energy that was put into the oceans during the decline of solar cycle # 23 and except for a brief spurt of solar energy during the last four months of 2011, there could be very little warming on the way for sevaral decades . The running 11 year average of the sunspot number has currently dropped to around 40 , the same level it was during the period of 1880 -1920, a period of declining global temperatures . Whether it will go lower will depend on the accuarcy of the solar forecasts .

  6. John F. Hultquist

    Regarding the solar cycle driving current weather, there is still not a clear step-by-step explanation. Until there is I cannot to see the usefulness of claiming so. As something for study – yes. This reminds me of an old explanation for what, in wine making, is called the second fermentation or the malolactic conversion. Wine made after harvest was put in cellars and some of it began to “ferment” again in the spring. Some attributed this to the same “spirits” or life-force of nature that brought sap and swelling buds to the vineyard. Now we know bacteria are involved. Had those interested focused all their attention investigating “spirits” they would not have found the bacteria. At this point in the search for explanation of weather and climate changes there is more than one place to investigate.

    1. Ulrich Elkmann

      As for investigating AGW by, hmm, researching the Spirits in wine, one gets the impression that they already covered that approach. Or the effectiveness of Old Pulteney as fuel for rowing to the pole.

  7. matti

    John F . Hulquist

    If you do not accept solar events affecting current weather , do you accept AGW science ? or what do you believe? Not being critical here but just intereseted? I buy past solar events affecting current weather and yes I also accept that we have much more to learn to understand clearly the solar/ocean /atmosphere link and to what degree it affects the climate . but that does not prevent me from researching this subject or sharing my ideas with others . Others in parallel can study other causes . I assume that you do not buy the message of the Kalte Sonne either then if you do not accept the sun affecting weather?

  8. mwhite

    “A series of brutal winters, combined with weird Politburo-type explanations claiming it was caused by warming”

    The BBCs still at it, the report did the rounds on the BBC news yesterday.

    And a written report from R Black if you cannot view the video.

  9. John F. Hultquist


    Since the last glacial advance Earth has warmed. I think I understand that and I am most recently impressed by this paper:

    You can find Luboš Motl’s comments here:

    What has happened since then is not adequately explained, at least as far as I am concerned.

    As for AGW – I’ve read lots of papers. None convince me there has been more than a degree C of warming. Probably less. There can be a bit more over the next 50 to 100 years. At its peak I don’t think it will be noticeable or significant. If the solar aspect you are fond of are true they will likely swamp the small warming caused by AGW. Human caused-carbon dioxide will likely peak during that cycle and start down. It is probably not necessary to say this but I think catastrophic-AGW is nonsense.

    As for current solar events affecting current weather – I read the papers and the posts and the comments – and I’m still waiting for a step-by-step explanation. I don’t say anything about the role of solar events except I don’t know.

    I am aware of historical scientific debates. When the “floating continents” idea was first proposed it was not generally accepted because there was no explanation for how it could work. Now we know how it works and have given it a new name. When the “scablands” of eastern Washington State were claimed to have been formed by catastrophic floods, few believed. Seeing was not believing. The “how” could not be explained. Now it has.

    I may have missed the defining paper on the solar connection wherein the “how” is explained. Where is it?

    1. DirkH

      I think Bob Tisdale is explaining the step changes by ENSO upwellings well. See his blog.

      During one solar cycle, the UV photons can penetrate the ocean down to below the thermocline. Energy accumulates below the stable thermocline until the entire ENSO area becomes metastable, ready to release its energy. When it happens you get an El Niño.

      Can’t point to a peer-reviewed paper, though.

      1. John F. Hultquist

        While I’m familiar with Bob’s postings, I do not see the exact phrasing you use. “. . . the entire ENSO area becomes metastable. . .” If you have an exact link, please add it. If not I’ll send him a note asking where to find his discussion of the UV/thermocline thing. His search box doesn’t help much. Maybe I should buy his e-book!

        1. DirkH

          It’s conjecture by me, John; but it looks like at least something similar happens: See
          “Importance of BLT”
          on this page:

  10. matti

    John F Hulquist
    Thanks for your observations .
    I don’t think that a single defining paper exists yet to show the solar /ocean /atmosphere connection. I don’t if such a paper will exist for a time yet. Science is not yet that static when it comes to sun /earth connection. The data is still scattered about and one has to search it out.Look at all the defining papers that have been written about the origins of man and do you think there is clear answer or defining paper yet? The climate science is not that far advanced yet in my opinion to have defined answer even though the global warming establishment claim that all is settled . That is pure nonsense in my opinion. Any honest climate scientist will admit that. However there is plenty of material out there that define the areas that have been better researched and the areas that have not and where current research work is being done or where there is much debate still. The solar /ocean /atmosphere lag times is one such an area where there is much more work to be done . The predetermined and preselected CO2/political agenda side tracked a lot of valuable scientific research energy and funds into a single and perhaps the wrong direction , when we could have had an honest and unrestricted science study to properly evaluate all factors that affect our climate including the sun/oceans/ atmosphere aspect.

    I agree, with DirkH that BobTisdale has done a lot of excellent analysis about the ocean side especially . If you follow the solar blogs on WUWT or ICECAP and the papers noted it will lead you where the debate is . Follow the comments by Sval gaard on the solar issues.

  11. matti
  12. John F. Hultquist

    matti & /Dirk

    We seem to agree on all this, so let me point out what I do find objectionable. Read this post:

    Dirk got snipped for what? Agreeing with David A.?
    matti was AWOL.

    The problem with the post, and others like it, is its reflection-like opposite of AGW. Catastrophic cooling-events are being discussed with a certainty not justified by explanatory certainty. How does that help the skeptic’s reputation?

    1. DirkH

      John, I got snipped for an edgy remark to Connolley.

      I think David Archibald is on the “extreme cool end” of the spectrum and don’t think it too likely that he’s right. But I found this post interesting:

      especially this graphic

  13. matti

    John F. Hultquist

    Interesting observation. To me these blogs are not perfect nor are they scientific journals. They represent a wide cross cut of opinions and views . WUWT is the most poular scientific blog in North America . So a lot of people must be intersted in what is being blogged . I know I am. Pierr’s blog is similar with a European flavour. In fairness to both blogs they regulary publish the warmist articles and comments as well if you have followed both of these blogs . I do not comment on many topics or tracks as time and my reduced energy level at my age does not allow for this .

    I do agree with you that the sceptics can fall into the same trap as the warmist if they exaggerate the potential for cooling without adequate science or homework in order to obtain more attention for their views . You may have noted that I often use terms like cooler weather rather than an ice age or I may use the expression “in my opinion rather ” rather than stating a scientific fact. However this is a blog between a variety of people and what suits one may not suit another . Too much science and details turns many off who like shorter summaries and simple comments. I often will scan for papers on scientific notices or news letters in order to get the detail that I may want but this level of detail would be inappropraite for all blogs

  14. archaeopteryx

    The Arctic was low on ice back in 1922, as well.

    “…a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures… …so little ice has never before been noted” (August 1922)

  15. Neo

    For far, the body count for this climate catastrophe seems rather small.
    I think more people die each year by choking on children’s marbles than are dying from this climate catastrophe. In the US, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) considered some time back requiring that a warning label be etched into each child’s marble, but it was deemed unworkable and set aside.
    This climate catastrophe deserves the same treatment.

  16. Mervyn Sullivan

    The University of Osnabrück even cancelled a scheduled speech by Vahrenholt at the last minute, saying it wasn’t interested in his kind of discussion – calling it “provocative”.

    Does this not remind us of the Roman Catholic Church’s persecution of Galileo?

    “The Earth is firmly fixed; it shall not be moved.” – Psalms 104:5

    It was this verse that was used as evidence against Galileo, who argued for the theory of Copernicus, that the earth is not immovable, but rotates around the sun.

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