Marcel Leroux: Global Warming Denier

Marcel Leroux is not a hack, from what I can tell. He was a Professor of Climatology at Jean Moulin University in France and the director of the Laboratory of
Climatology, Risk, and Environment before his death in 2008.

As far as I can tell, his main scholarship is a book entitled Global Warming: Myth or Reality? where he is critical of the prevailing scientific opinion.

This book was published without the peer-review process, which is always a red alert for me; however I have been unable to find on the web any critical analysis of the book, only glowing praise from the denier crowd who hang their hats on a lot of discredited figures.

However, I was unable to find anything discrediting the ideas in this book. The only critique I found Leroux address was from a French farmer (link is a .PDF), which is somewhat less than robust.

The book costs several hundred dollars, so I am reluctant to shell out that kind of money to find out for myself. I do wonder if there are critiques of the book or his work that I can examine first.

I don’t have it, but from what I could read on Amazon it seems to be pretty much the same old arguments you see all the time. I didn’t notice anything new. Maybe get a copy from your library if you’re really interested, but it seems like a waste of time frankly.

That Wikipedia article is so effusive that it makes me suspicious. Everything he wrote seems to be redefining an entire field or overturning a consensus. I know nothing about climatology, but that summary of his works has a Velikovskian vibe to it.

He’s a contrarian. Which is useful in that it challenges established truths, which causes people to continue to think critically. But it doesn’t mean that he’s right.

The AGW debate is settled and has been for a while. The only people still clinging to denial are either contrarians, religious nutters, political nutters, or those who are bought and paid for by the enteties who are largely responsible for and making money off the human part of climate change.

In less polarised and more secular nation, there’s no longer any debate on whether humans are changing the climate. The debate is about what can or should be done about it. The conservative standpoint has gone through four stages:

  1. There is no climate change
  2. There is climate change but it’s not because of humans
  3. There is climate change because of humans, but nothing can be done about it
  4. There is climate change because of humans and the market will solve the problem

Here (in Sweden) the conservatives have at least started paying lip service to the problem, and have put some small reforms into place. Some of which are somewhat effective, others which are either ineffectual or counter productive.

The main reservations against doing more at the moment are:

  1. The US is much worse! (so what? If my neighbour beats the hell out of his wife it’s ok for me to slap mine around a bit?)
  2. Sweden is really good at it! (no we’re not, we’re not just as bad as some others. If every nation had the same per capita emissions as Sweden the situation would be even worse)
  3. Sweden has such a small population that it won’t make any difference! (flawed reasoning, this is a global problem meaning that every person and nation is responsible, no matter what amount of people reside within the administrative area of the nation. It’s the per capita effect that determines whether it is sustainable, or the US could just divide itself into 300 different nations and claim they have no impact).

Never heard of the guy, or his University.

So I looked it up and it turns out the Université Jean Moulin isn’t a science faculty. Its main departments are Law, Literature & History, Business, Foreign Languages and Philosophy. If it still has a climatology department it must be an underfunded sideshow.
In fact, the website of the LCRE (that university’s climatology lab) looks like it has been cobbled up by a student, and still lists Leroux as their head so mustn’t have been updated in a while.

All in all the place doesn’t scream “first rate egghead tank here !”, is all I’m saying.

Oh, look - last paper published in Energy and Environment. And uses the classic “It’s only a model” argument. Quelle surprise

Leroux died in 2008.

Global-warming denial can be fatal! You have been warned!

The peer review process for textbooks is different from that of peer reviewed journals. While it may be strange if he didn’t have the text reviewed by his peers, the fact that it’s not in a peer reviewed journal may not be alarming in and of itself. Most of my science and engineering textbooks have a page or more in the front tanking the reviewers, but they certainly didn’t go through the same process as an article in journals. In general, the author or publisher determines who reviews the textbook, so review wouldn’t necessarily be as meaningful.

Skimming that page that describes his book, it seems he is writing more about the politicization of global warming than he is writing about global warming itself. Which is a fair distinction, it’s entirely possible to believe that man does have an effect on the environment while at the same time believing the IPCC is a load of political horseshit. Saying ‘people who claim the science is settled are morons and dead wrong’ is not the same thing as saying ‘the theory that man affects the environment is dead wrong’. One is debating real science, the other is saying idiots really are just idiots.

That being said, I didn’t see anything new here. There are thousands of sites pointing out how common perception of global warming and it’s politicization are wrong already. It’s important to keep in mind that the IPCC really is a political group with an agenda that doesn’t do any science, but it’s not worth a few hundred bucks for a book about it either.

The problem happens when politicians ignore science to continue stubbornly to stick to their ideology. Even recent history demonstrates how costly it could be to ignore the scientists or the experts.


(non global warming example of Republicans ignoring science while grandstanding)

The IPCC was created to help the politicians to follow the best up to date science to avoid disaster in the future (Even in a future that we could get if nothing is done regarding CO2 and Methane emissions). The future will celebrate the leaders that prepared properly and spit on the names of the ones that willfully ignored the issue.

Of course the IPCC does not do science, they check the best science available (with the help of the scientists too) to make their policy recommendations, once again, if you think [del]education[/del] mitigation is expensive, try ignorance (and leave the mess to future generations).

Especially, the ignorance of our Republican politicians:
http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/10/mo-brooks-nasa-climate-change/