Hans von Storch On Warming Pause: “…Fellow Scientists Are Very Hard-Pressed For An Explanation”

SWR German Public radio had a segment today featuring the warmist director at Germany’s Ministry of Environment, Harry Lehmann, climate scientist Hans von Storch and Spiegel science reporter Axel Bojanowski.


What follows is my report on the segment.

SWR moderator Gábor Paál says right at the outset regarding the 15-year global warming stop, “Climate science is no longer certain like it was a few years earlier“.

Hans von Storch (HvS) says from 0:52 to 2:21 that the temperature has not developed like the models said it would, saying that there could be several explanations for that: 1) could be just a grand coincidence, 2) the models have gotten natural variations all wrong, 3) it could be that CO2’s assumed climate sensitivity is somewhat exaggerated, and 4) it could be that there is another factor out there that we never considered, like the sun. HvS adds that he sees himself and his fellow scientist “as hard pressed to explain what’s going on” and that this is so because “climate science is so highly politicized and because we have colleagues who claim things with great certainty that later turn out to be not so certain.”

At the 2:30 mark the warmist Ministry of Environment Dr. Harry Lehmann is asked if all the uncertainty is a problem for him. He responds with “yes and no“, and claims that there is a 90-95% certainty that there is manmade climate change and that policymakers have to act as a precaution. Surprisingly he admits that there has been a warming stop and that the models were wrong and that more research is necessary. But he insists climate protection measures are still necessary as before.

At the 3:50 mark geologist and Spiegel journalist Axel Bojanowski explains that the uncertainty in climate science is indeed headline news and that today there is an overdue need to discuss these uncertainties, which was something the media neglected in the past.

At the 4:42 mark on whether the oceans may be responsible, von Storch says that “this could be an explanation” but that the main problem is the models are failing to show what we are now observing. Hans von Storch states in no uncertain terms that climate scientists have not been taking the scientific approach of examining all potential hypotheses. Instead some climate scientists are motivated by certain special interests, and are choosing the hypothesis that best suits their needs, and are thus choking off real science. HvS adds: “We need to take the time to formulate the various hypotheses and to sort them out. This is going to take some time. And that may be inconvenient for the political business.” He adds in response to Fritz Vahrenholt’s The Neglected Sun book that “the sun is a candidate that needs to be checked over.”

At the 8:19 mark HvS makes his displeasure with politics clear in no uncertain terms. “As a scientist. I tell policymakers absolutely nothing. Politics does not result from science. Activists like to claim that it does.” Lehmann responds by claiming that politicians are obligated to act as a precaution based on the best science at hand so that the human species can survive in 15 years or 100 years time.

On the upcoming IPCC AR5, Bojanowski says that except for the sea level rise projection being pushed up, little has changed from AR4. On the 95% certainty that man is responsible for the climate change, Bojanowski says flat out: “This is naturally not a scientific number, but a number that was voted on by a few scientists” and this figure is based on very shaky ground.

Lehmann says that the deficiencies in the AR4 have since been resolved, but HvS is unconvinced, saying “that remains to be seen” and that the IPCC report is still vulnerable to activist scientists who fancy themselves as planet rescuers – there’s nothing in place to prevent that type of a conflict of interest. Bojanowski adds that the improvements to the IPCC process have only been partially implemented and that there is still a big problem with transparency and that we are still “dealing with a very difficult construct that we need to be critical of.”

At the 15:00 mark Bojanowski is asked about whether or not the 15-year pause is going to be mentioned in the upcoming summary report, to which he responds that this is being hotly disputed. HvS reminds Lehmann that especially he, as a director in the Environment Ministry, really needs to know about the 15-year pause and what the implications of this are for the future. It really needs to be mentioned. Lehmann insists: “Even though the models failed to foresee the 15- years pause, they do show that the climate change is man-made“. At this point HvS sits Lehmann down and schools him, reminding him: “Models don’t show climate change is man-made, data do. Not the models!” Von Storch adds that right now the models are not adequate for projecting the future because they only look at increased CO2 concentrations and not a host of other factors. At this point, HvS is tearing poor Lehmann apart, getting close to humiliating the poor environment director.

HvS goes on to explain to listeners that climate is “horribly complex matter” and that there are just so many variables that are poorly understood, citing clouds, aerosols and that the oceans are not even close to being modeled adequately. He says he expects research to yield surprises here.

Later there’s much discussion about the 2°C target. HvS tells listeners that it’s a political number that gladly gets used by politicians and activist scientists, and that it is not a scientific one. HvS advocates regions and countries developing their own adaptation strategies and that a centralized IPCC is not really what’s needed. Local regions know better what needs to be done to adapt to local climate changes. HvS advocates reductions in CO2, but what’s affordable for each area.

The discussion drags on for awhile about the effectiveness and value of the IPCC. Bojanowski mentions again that the IPCC process is far from transparent and that too much is taking place behind closed doors. This is not how science is supposed to be.

HvS believes a good scientific report includes both consensus and dissent. The IPCC strives only for the “best science”, and how does on differentiate between good and bad science? The exclusion of dissent is not the idea.

At the 32-minute mark, moderator Paál brings up the notorious brochure/ that Lehmann’s office published in May, which singled out and pilloried dissenting scientists and journalists. Paál correctly points out the brochure’s one-sidedness and asks why it failed to discuss the obvious uncertainties, and claimed the science was settled. “Why can’t your Ministry truthfully deal with the uncertainties?” But Lehmann insisted it does deal with uncertainties and that it serves as an information guide for the citizens. Paál: “But like I said, there was nothing about the warming phase in it“. Lehmann here shamelessly tries to weasel out, claiming that the warming pause discussion started only 2 years ago.

Concerning the brochure’s infamous pillory of skeptic journalists and scientists, Lehmann also tries to deny that they were pilloried. Hans von Storch immediately shot back “Yes they certainly were pilloried“. Again Lehmann tried to deny the brochure’s one-sidedness. Bojanowski interjected, saying “the brochure was not balanced” and he wonders what business is it for a federal ministry to “warn the public of certain journalists“.

Paál asks Lehmann if the federal Environment Ministry is more cozy with some institutes (like the Potsdam Institute) than with others. HvS answers: “Certainly”. Lehmann shamelessly denies that, too. Unbelievable. Then Lehmann flat out lies about his ties and function in support organizations of the Potsdam Institute.

On the subject of media quality, HvS feels the print media has been doing a good job on reporting climate, but that television leaves much less to be desired, saying some outlets are too focused on catastrophic images and alarmism. He also senses a public that is growing weary of the topic, that they are losing interest, and no longer want to be bothered with the dubious predictions of global downfall.

In then end von Storch sums up saying: “If the warming pause continues another five years, then perhaps our understanding of climate was more faulty than we thought.”

If this 45-minute SWR German public radio discussion was meant to be a debate, Lehmann lost it big time, at times looking foolish and lacking understanding of climate science. HvS definitely looked like he lost patience with the politicization of climate science. Bojanowski overall made a good impression of a careful and balanced science journalist who understood the material at hand.

German readers are invited to listen to and comment on the SWR interview.


8 responses to “Hans von Storch On Warming Pause: “…Fellow Scientists Are Very Hard-Pressed For An Explanation””

  1. Ike

    Thx! I will listen to it tomorrow. Good night.


  2. Werner

    Thanks for the summary!!

  3. Bernd Felsche

    HvS already came out mid-interview stating that the quantitative understanding of clouds hasn’t significantly improved since the 1980’s.

    It’s not like clouds were obviously a minor factor! But nothing has moved because all the money’s “on” CO2 as being the big thermostat knob. At least for the UN-IPCC.

  4. Manfred

    A very green background (including director at Greenpeace international) and installed at UBA under the SPD-Green government. Like many others, he was not replaced after the government changed.

    Seems to travel a lot around the world on his climate mission
    Certainly a nicer job than just controlling smoke stacks and water polluters in Germany.

    Dr. Harry Lehmann

    Physicist Dr. Harry Lehmann has been the head of the Federal Environmental Office’s “environmental planning and sustainable strategies” department since 2002. Between 1980 and 1985 he was member of the “UA1” collaboration in Geneva. Following that, he was the head of the engineering office at “UHL Data” specializing in software development and “system analysis and simulation” at the Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy of Wuppertal between 1985 and 1999. Since 1985 he has taught amongst his esteemed colleagues at the University of Lüneburg. He was also the Unit Director of “Solutions and Innovations” at Greenpeace International and one of the founders of Eurosolar, where
    he was president between 2000 and 2006. Furthermore Harry Lehmann is the Chairman of the “Faktor 10 Club” working for resource productivity and has also been the Chairman of the “World council for Renewable energy” since 2011. He will also be taking part in the panel discussion entitled “Green solutions for airfreight: Reality and visions”.

  5. Faustino aka Genghis Cunn

    Pierre, thanks for that very helpful summary – useful in debate. Flagged by Judith Curry.

  6. Faustino aka Genghis Cunn

    PS: it’s inconceivable that such a discussion could take place on public radio in Australia, where the ABC promotes warmist extremists and refuses to talk to dissenters. Well done, Germany.

  7. DirkH

    Maybe now that the alarmists control 100% of the Bundestag and of course the ultragreen UBA; we skeptics count as a protected minority, so we get a little token exposure on the state radio.

    Must protect the poor climate skeptics even though they are completely insane, because we have now disenfranchised them totally and prevented them from ever again having a say in the direction of Glorious EU Science. Long live Lysenko.

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