His refusal to talk about climate change goes beyond what he perceives as the limits of his job. “Natural variability in my opinion is still the primary driver — and all of a sudden you become a sinner.” In other words, Spann doesn’t think humans are the main cause of climate change. He isn’t alone. A survey of around 2,000 American Meteorological Society members released last year revealed that 38 percent of meteorologists aren’t convinced that humans are the main cause of climate change.
Specifically, let’s talk about the climate models that attempt to predict the future temperature of the planet. But before we do, it’s important that you know a little about me. I’m a physicist. I taught at Columbia University and then at Princeton for five decades. I have published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers. I have coauthored several books, including one of the first on how carbon dioxide emissions—CO2—affects the climate. I served as the director of the Office of Energy Research at the US Department of Energy. And before that, I invented the “sodium guide star,” which is still used on most big astronomical telescopes to measure and correct for atmospheric turbulence—that is, for the unpredictable movement of air and water. This turbulence blurs the images of stars and other space objects. One more thing: I care deeply about the environment. We live on a beautiful planet. I want to keep it that way. I’ve spent a lot of time working to do just that. In short, I know a lot about the earth’s atmosphere and climate. I also know a lot about long-term predictive climate models. And I know they don’t work. They haven’t worked in the past. They don’t work now.