Interview Part 3…WG1 Co-Chair Stocker Exposes His Rank Non-Objectivity / Activism

Here’s the last part of the tough Weltwoche interview with IPCC WG1 Co-Chair Thomas Stocker (see Part 1 here and Part 2 here).


Lüning: Next Weltwoche refers Stocker to the natural cycles, which fit well with the 20th century’s overall pattern. The Little Ice Age also was characterized by low solar activity.

Weltwoche: There’s a very simple explanation: A little ice age prevailed until well into the 19th century. Glaciers peaked at around 1860. This is indeed only normal that it has gotten warmer again.

STOCKER: That’s true for the glaciers. But it doesn’t explain the speed at which the melt occurred over the last 30 or 40 years and for how strong the warming has been since the beginning of the 20th century.

Lüning: Over the last 50 years, the sun was stronger than at almost any time, yet supposedly had nothing to do with the temperature and glacier development? And earlier in the past the sun and its cycles indeed did play a role. Now we are being told that this role was suddenly lost over the last decades? That doesn’t make any sense.

Weltwoche: During the Roman Times when Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants there were even fewer glaciers.

STOCKER: Yes, but we also have to ask ourselves: What else was different 22oo years ago? The sun did play a role because of the inclination of the Earth’s axis. Back then the summers received more sunlight – about 10W per square meter more. It’s obvious that it was warmer back then.

Lüning: 2200 years ago the Earth was in the midst of the Roman Warm Period, one of the warm phases occurring every millennium whenever the sun was active. But instead of discussing this real factor, Stocker prefers to drift off to the very long-term Milankovitch cycles, which do not play any role in today’s climate development. This is an obvious attempt to distract the reader. With Stocker once again bringing up Milankovitch, he could have brought up the mid-Holocene climate optimum of 7000-5000 years before present when it was 1°C warmer than today. The reason back then was indeed a special Milankovitch Earth orbital geometry, But because this long warm period of the past doesn’t fit with the climate-alarmist concept, Stocker avoids it.

Weltwoche: Don’t you feel a little queasy when astrophysicists say the sun is currently weakening as much as it did during the Little Ice Age of the 17th century?

STOCKER: No, today it is impossible to forecast solar activity because unfortunately we are missing precise data and models. But we cannot exclude that such a phase may have already begun. However, it’ll eventually end – and in the meantime the CO2 concentration continues to rise and this will lead to even greater warming.

Lüning: Oh dear, this is not good, Professor Stocker. Today we can almost say there’s a consensus among astrophysicists that the sun will be very inactive over the coming decades. A Swiss paper on this topic by Steinhilber and Beer (see the last paragraph of our blog article”Wer ist Schuld am Kältewinter? MPI-Studie weist eher auf die schwache Sonne anstatt des arktischen Meereises hin. Die Sonne im März 2013“) appeared recently. Currently there is hardly a single paper out there that contradicts this. It’s no use playing dumb on this point and, as is the case with the pauses in warming, to act like nothing is really known and that everything is just chaos. The reconstructions of solar activity of the past thousands of years are very regular in nature and the pattern cannot be ignored. What’s even worse is that Stocker mixes-up the solar internal cycles with the Milankovitch cycles. The two have nothing to do with each other. The solar internal cycles involve changes in the intensity of the sun’s hydrogen reactors. Stocker’s reference to CO2 changes in sync with the Milankovitch cycles that are 20,000 years and more completely misses the barn. Could it be that Stocker is not familiar with the subject and is thus incapable of keeping the mechanisms apart? Or is it just another attempt to mislead the reader?

The closing part of the interview speaks for itself and requires no commentary.

Weltwoche: Let’s get down to the fundamentals. Sociologist Gerhard Schulze says: “Science is organized skepticism.”

STOCKER: I’ve not heard that.

Weltwoche: In climate science, ‘skepticism’ is a dirty word.

STOCKER: The term “climate skeptic” often gets used. That is so. But skepticism is the driving force of science. We also ask: Is it really so? Did we really understand that correctly? Climate science does not differ from the other sciences.

Weltwoche: Your colleague Hans von Storch, however, writes in his current book “Die Klimafalle” that scientists did not think enough about falsification, that is refuting a hypothesis, which alone moves science forward.

STOCKER: That’s his view. When we started researching the last 50 years of climate development, we indeed applied falsification by testing all possible explanations. We could have arrived at the result that the sun was 90% responsible and CO2 10%. But all calculation showed just the opposite.

Weltwoche: Was your result already decided when the IPCC started in 1989?

STOCKER: No, the task was to openly and comprehensively report on the level of knowledge on anthropogenic warming.

Weltwoche: Indeed: that climate change was man-made was certain from the very beginning.

STOCKER: Not at all. Millions of measurements and the physical understanding form the foundation of this claim.

Weltwoche: Hans von Storch also says: “The debate on the subject that we could be wrong is taboo.” Don’t you ever ask yourself that?

STOCKER: The debate over the period of little warming started about three years ago. At the IPCC it is not a taboo. Rather, a group is looking at and assessing the published scientific studies on the question – and not some blog posts or treaties. How often did such similar phases of stagnation occur in the past? How probable will they be in the future? What are the explanations for them? On this important subject we are creating a box of three or four pages -that’s a complete overview.

Weltwoche: What are the main statements of your report?

STOCKER: Today I can’t tell you any more than the New York Times can.

Weltwoche: To put it in another way: What reactions do you expect in policy-making?

STOCKER: That’s difficult to predict.The climate problem, that’s my personal estimation, at the moment is certainly not at the top of their agenda, but it is closely tied to energy and resource policy. We can only hope that climate policy again explicitly returns to the agenda. Many of the decisions we make, like those on energy infrastructure, will have consequences for decades into the future. Therefore the report should make a contribution that these decisions are made with the knowledge of all the facts.

Weltwoche: Numerous times already in the last decades climate scientists have said that if something isn’t done by a certain date, then it’ll be too late. These deadlines have come and gone, without anything happening.

STOCKER: With such statements you have to be extremely careful. To the contrary in climate change there are indeed developments where at a certain time-point they will be irreversible. For this reason last year I wrote an article, “The Closing Door of Climate Targets”. Missing is the knowledge that certain climate targets, for example keeping the warming under 2°C, will soon be no longer achievable. We are racing ahead in a car towards a concrete wall and pressing the accelerator down even though we know that the braking distance hardly suffices.

Weltwoche: That means: Mankind is committing collective suicide.

STOCKER: No, but adapting to climate change and its effects is going to cost a lot of money, take up lots of resources that we could otherwise apply more sensibly. And it is going to lead to conflicts over these resources.

Weltwoche: You’re not making a depressing impression.

STOCKER: No, if I were depressive, it would adversely effect my abilities to disseminate the findings of science. Should I just clam up and not speak about the problem? I’m not going to do that. The problem is there, it is one of the biggest that humanity faces, and we have the choice on how big it’s going to be. I want to inform about that.

Lüning: We had to wait until the very end for Stocker to out himself as an activist. “The problem is there, it is one of the biggest that humanity faces,” he says. We should all be concerned when a leading IPCC referee, someone who is supposed to view and summarize the scientific literature objectively, has already personally made up his mind for the climate-alarmism side. With this backdrop, what are the chances the IPCC will revise its overblown temperature projections and modify its models when there is so much powerful evidence showing that natural climate factors are playing a role in the warming? How will Stocker suddenly appear when the anthropogenic global warming effect is far less dramatic than what he vehemently projected in the past and projects currently?

One of the most important tasks for the IPCC in the coming years will be to prevent personal interest conflicts and to assure an appropriate amount of skepticism when handling scientific literature. Until then the IPCC reports unfortunately will not be able make any sensible contribution to understanding the complex climate interrelationships.


4 responses to “Interview Part 3…WG1 Co-Chair Stocker Exposes His Rank Non-Objectivity / Activism”

  1. Robin

    Thanks Pierre and Sebastian. It is very important that this be recorded. The fact Stocker is so high in WG1 and yet missing key understandings is almost beyond belief. It reminds me of a question to the air quality chief at EPA at a congressional hearing. She was asked how much CO2 was in the atmosphere. She didn’t know. I guess you don’t need to know science when you have the religion.

  2. Ed Caryl

    Stocker is all about confirmation bias. He will take no input that contradicts his preconceived notions. His view on skepticism as a part of climate science confirms that for him AGW is a religion, not a science. There are many studies that point to the sun rather than CO2 driving climate. He makes an active choice to ignore them.

  3. Otter

    ‘The debate over the period of little warming started about three years ago’

    Good. God. He appears to have missed the last 20 years of skepticism. And apparently believes the ONLY thing we’re being skeptical about, is the non-warming of the past 15 years.

    And yet AGW True Believers call Me ‘irrational.’