Archive for April, 2010

Claude Allègre: L’imposture climatique

April 13, 2010

I finished reading this book, that provoked many angry comments and a call for censorship by over 600 French “climatologists” (see preceding blog).
This is not a scientific book on climate change: it is written as an interview of Claude Allègre by journalist Dominique de Montvalon. There are not many figures, and those which exist are more like black/white hand-drawn sketches, and not the usual glossy computer generated stuff. This is by design, to give more an overall impression as some very precise presentations. The book is very easy and agreeable to read, but some questions of the journalist are somehow infantile (e.g. the repeated insistence that climate is such a complex thing).

Allègre speaks straight from the heart, and takes no diplomatic precautions.  James Hansen is called a “fanatic”, and the mafia-like manners of some of the top IPCC authors are clearly described. He also is very outspoken on the  profiteers, and does really not hold Al Gore in high esteem. Nevertheless Allègre is a man who cares for the environment, and he points to the ocean acidification problem. He also warns from the green ideology of negative growth.
Having read the book, I wonder how adult scientists can turn to their minister for help to forbid it… This is clownesque!

I made a short comment at realclimate.org, and here is Gavin Schmidt’s answer:

Francis Massen:

Climatology and IPCC bashing is on the rise, and even if one may deplore unfair personal attacks, it would be too easy to reject all recent critics as being too far away from the real thing (i.e. having allegedly not much published, as Hans von Storch is given as an example). Claude Allègre, a geochemist, former French minister of Education and holder of the 1986 Craaford Price in geochemistry (book in France “L’imposture climatique” (approximate translation: climate swindle). This book is so successful, that more than French 600 “climatologists” are asking their minister for help and censuring. If this non-scientific, very outspoken book makes such a splash, is it that all buyers are imbeciles or uniformed? Or could there well be some truth in both Allègre’s book and in the Der Spiegel article?

[Response: Allègre’s book is garbage – full of basic errors, misrepresentations, and simply made up ‘factoids’. And I doubt that you are really wanting to make and argument that book sales numbers trump scientific truth? I recall that Velikovsky and Erich von Daniken were both very successful…. – gavin]

I am sure Gavin has not read the book, but parrots what he has been told by some French colleague. Let us not forget that Allègre is a scientist, who understands what he speaks about; maybe it is this that pushes so many alarmists (or “carbon centrists”) through the roof.

I suggest, you buy the book and read it… and make your own mind on it.

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French climate realists get more press

April 3, 2010

Le Figaro, one of the most read French daily papers, has an interview with Prof. Vincent Courtillot, that would not have been possible some years ago. Let me remember that in France two prominent scientists are the most outspoken skeptics of the IPCC and the AGW climate scare:  Claude Allègre, which is a former professor of geochemistry and a former minister of Education is well-known for his very clear (some say: brutal) rumblings. Vincent Courtillot, a geophysicist and specialist in paleomangetism and director of the “Institut de physique du globe de Paris“, says in short that the IPCC is not the holder of the scientific truth. It should be noted that this interview is in response to a petition by some 400 French “climate scientists” to their minister of Education who complain about the climate skeptics (the text of this petition and Courtillot’s answer can be found here). It is indeed strange that scientists have to ask their minister for help, akin to small children that are unable to defend themselves.
In the same issue of Le Figaro, editorialist Yves Thréard writes with some irony that the politicians have made a serious error by over-dramatizing the climate question (you have to watch French TV news to be inundated by messages on “saving the planet”, reducing CO2 emissions,… usually presented in a larmoyant, remorse loaded whining tone);  he also insist rightfully that current eco-political messages all are negative, with their litany of  mandatory negative development, and that a switch to positive ecology is needed.

So finally, the tide is turning in Europe’s press  too, and climate hysteria seems to become uncool.

PS1 :  Read also this excellent comment (in French):  “Climato-scepticisme: Galilée convoqué devant le Saint-Office?”

PS2, 04 Apr10 : Here is an open letter (in French) from mathematician Benoît Rittaud to the writers of the petition