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Burt Rutan calls Anthropogenic Global Warming
 (AGW) a Fraud

An engineering approach to the AGW debate

By Burt Rutan


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Who is Burt Rutan?

Burt Rutan was Time magazine's "100 most influential people in the world, 2004" and Inc. Magazine's "Entrepreneur of the Year." Newsweek called him "the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer." (After this, Time may call him the greatest persona non grata of the year.)

Rutan has received hundreds of awards including: Presidential Citizen's Medal, Two Collier Trophies, Academy of Achievement Golden Plate and the Charles Lindbergh Award. He has developed 44 new aircraft types since 1972 including; Voyager (1986 RTW-non refueled), SpaceShipOne (2004 Funded by Paul Allen, winner of X-prize) and the first commercial spaceship - SpaceShipTwo (2009 Funded by Sir Richard Branson).

Something seriously wrong

1 Jan 10 - (Excerpts) - "Few significant products are driven to commercialism, validated by claims of the scientific community.  Before investing in a new product, those committing funds almost always look to an Engineering Study or Engineering Design Review, rather than using only the claims of Scientists.  This is not being done at all, with the AGW-planet crisis issue.

"One has only to look at the two most notable charts (below) from two United Nations IPCC summary reports, published a decade apart, to realize that something might be seriously wrong. 

Picture 1

Estimated average global temperatures for the last thousand years

"The fact that the 2001 “hockey stick” chart was presented in color in several sections of the 2001 IPCC report, without explaining how the scientists managed to completely eliminate their earlier depiction of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age (both are well covered in historical documents as well as scientific analysis is unacceptable behavior.

"Noting that the “hockey stick” chart was removed in later editions of the IPCC “scientific” reports supports the conclusion that something is indeed wrong.  It was removed because an outside investigation was conducted that resembled a proper engineering review - with a finding of fraud. 

"Specifically, the fraud was identified by showing that the critical data for the chart came from cherry picking just a handful of Siberian trees (tree ring proxy to estimate temperature), without evidence that the researcher applied the proper scientific method.  Using all the data or any random selection of 10% of the tree ring data showed no significant correlation of planet warming to human CO2 emissions.

Fraud not limited to cherry picking

"The fraud was not limited to the tree cherry picking.  The computer code for presentation had been tweaked such that a hockey stick shape is produced even if the data set is developed with a random number generator! 

"The horrific result of this scandal was that the 2001 UN hockey stick chart formed the very foundation of a non-scientific theory that resulted in the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize, a movie Oscar and a best-selling book.

Why I studied AGW

"My lifetime work from childhood to the present has been focused on aircraft/spacecraft design and development, with flight-testing being my career specialty.  Thus, I have always been challenged to determine the accuracy and meaning of a large amount of disparate data and have often been required to apply those interpretations to development of a product that absolutely must be safe and robust.

"Four years ago I noticed something troubling about the challenges facing the global warming alarmists.  I started my research on anthropogenic (i.e. man-caused) global warming (AGW) because, I found to my surprise, that to claim a catastrophic AGW theory as a “proof”, the climate scientists thought they only needed to show that human emissions MIGHT cause a fractional-degree global decadal temperature rise, for an earth that generally varies 20 to 40 deg F every 24 hours and varies as much as 80 to 100 deg F every year – This seemed to be a Herculean task indeed.

"Another thing troubled me - those scientists that claimed that warming is human-caused and catastrophic, tended to be the ones who sought out the media to proclaim their views (an unusual behavior for scientists immersed in the proper scientific procedure).  The larger group of scientists that did not agree tended to be mute.  This, of course gave the media and some politicians an impression that there was scientific “consensus”, even though it did not exist.

Does not pass sanity check

"Also, an engineer knows it is wrong to arbitrarily select a single theory (for example, human emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) effects) as a ‘proof cause’ of warming.  This is especially true when that single-proposed cause is a small effect among the many other possible causes.  Pointing to sharp increases of measured temperature and then claiming global warming is due to the miniscule human additions to the planet’s atmospheric GHG, while ignoring the fact that cooling periods are also observed while emissions increase, does not pass a sanity check.

"I found that no conclusion on human greenhouse gas (GHG)-blame could be made if one honestly considers the other causes. This is supported by the observation that the climate likely has always had at least today’s temperature swings, in the absence of any significant human activity.  Also, the GHG warming effect is primarily driven by water vapor, not by CO2, and the human emissions’ portion of atmospheric CO2 is tiny.

Human-caused GHG seemed, to my engineering mind, impossible

The climate scientist’s problem of proving his human-caused GHG crisis theory seemed, to my engineering mind, impossible.  This is what attracted me to study the raw data and to see if there was fraud in its summary presentations, since the slightest changes in the data, such as a bit of cherry picking tree rings or even an ‘innocent’ selection of a truncated temperature data set, is all that would be needed to alarm the naive non-scientific audience.  My conclusion is that, if the analysis by climate scientists had been required to pass a typical engineering preliminary design review, the crisis theory would have never been passed on to the non-technical audience.

"The entire process of scientific study of the earth’s climate data, combined with the computer models developed to predict future climate, is extremely susceptible to abuse - even minor data ‘adjustments’ or data cherry picking, can completely change the conclusions. 

Climate models adjusted after the fact

"Further, I found that none of the climate models had predicted the 1999-to-2009 cooling until they were “adjusted”, after the fact.  I see “adjustments-after-test” all the time in aircraft development.  The stress-analysis specialist can always accurately predict a wing failure after he adjusts his model, following a shop test of ultimate wing strength.  Note, that wing design is relatively straight forward compared to the chaotic behavior of climate.

Top climate scientists do not respect or use proper scientific process

"My most alarming finding was that many of the top climate scientists do not respect or use a proper scientific process.  This finding was not just for the global warming issue, it was prevalent and pervasive back during the ozone hole scare, where the primary blame was attributed to human CFC release and the panic was alarmist-driven, not data driven.  Based on available climate data, no respectable engineering study would accept the theory of human-caused GHG increase as proof to justify any new development or any large expenditure of funds to “fix the warming problem”.

Current warming beneficial to the planet

"The current ice-age-recovery warming slope is modest.  This warming is beneficial to the planet, its plants and its animals (including humans). This is true even if a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 is added to assist the warmth. 

One prediction that makes common sense

"However, I found one prediction that, to me makes the most common sense.  The graph below (by Dr Syun Akasofu, IARC Founding Director and Professor of Physics, Emeritus UAF) shows a 320-year time period.  The long, straight dashed line shows the accepted long-term trend - a modest 0.6 deg C per 100-year warming, i.e. the continuing recovery from the Little Ice Age, extrapolated for the next century.

"The Observational Data box shows the measured, previous 120-year history of global temperature anomaly, ending in the year 2002.  The wiggly red line within this box illustrates the most reliable data; the last 25 years that include satellite atmospheric measurements. Note how the recent decade of cooling (green arrow pointing to the 2009 temperature point) fits in fine with the observed mild temperature oscillations over the last 100 years.  This all supports a logical prediction that the next 100 years should mimic the last 100 years; supporting a beneficial warming trend and a sea level increase by 2100 of only 6 to 8 inches.

"Of course, the thing that stands out on the Akasofu chart is the overlaid IPCC prediction for the next 100 years. This politically driven "forecast" is not supported by any careful analysis of past or present climate data, including predicted human CO2 emissions. 

Dr. Akasofu Prediction Summary

Dr Syun Akasofu prediction.jpg

             If Dr Akasofu were willing to add the Little-Ice-Age cycle to his
             calculations, I (Robert Felix) think his chart would show a strong
             downward curve, but still, his conclusions are much more logical
             than those of the IPCC.

See entire article: (click on Climate Change)

More info

While this is Rutan's first publication on AGW data presentation fraud, some of his conclusions were originally presented on July 19th 2009 at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design (when he accepted their lifetime achievement award).

He presented a lecture on Predictions and AGW Data Fraud at the Oshkosh Wisconsin Air Venture event (the world’s largest convention) on July 31st 2009. 

View video of this presentation here:

This Introduction and the complete report (when available)
are posted for downloading at:

Thanks to Burt Rutan for these links

See also An Engineer's Critique of Global Warming 'Science' 




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