Deniers R Us – Claude Allègre

Posted on March 17, 2012


One of a continuing series on climate change deniers, their ideas and their allegiances. 

Claude Allègre, l’imposteur climatique

I’ve written about our friend Claude before, the politician-“scientist,” in Simple Sam & the Three Deniers, where I explained that I wouldn’t accuse him of being a fraud for sketching in tree-ring data from the future so long as he produced the time machine he used to get the data.  That issue arose from a graph Allègre reproduced in his book, L’imposture climatique, purporting to be from the work of Swedish paleoclimatologist Håkan Grudd.  In fact, Allègre’s use of Grudd’s work misrepresented it in several ways.

Grudd himself produced the following diagram in explanation.

The black and white represents Allègre’s use of Grudd’s work, together with a hockey-stick-type graph purporting to track CO² concentrations in the atmosphere up to the year 2100.

The red line represents Grudd’s actual work, a graph of summer temperatures in the far north region of Torneträsk, Sweden, covering the period 500 to 2004.

Allègre reproduces Grudd’s work fairly accurately up to about 1900, but then his own graph diverges into fantasy and fabrication.  Håkan Grudd calls Allègre’s use of his work—and of his name—misleading and unethical.

As well as altering Grudd’s original graph, Allègre also misrepresents it.

Grudd’s graph applied to local and geographically-circumscribed summer temperatures.  It could never stand in as a proxy for global temperatures, which is how Allègre used it.  In fact, it is misleading to suggest that high summer temperatures are necessarily correlated to high year-round averages.  Hot summers and cold winters could conceivably cancel out to produce more or less average years.  (Modern climate change is characterized by winters which are warming up even faster than summers are, so knowing winter temperatures is crucial to measuring overall year-round temperature rise.)

Even Allègre’s add-on CO² hockey stick is sheer fantasy.  It shows CO² levels in 2100 of 380 ppm.  As of now, the CO² level in the atmosphere is already 393 ppm.  (Maybe a time machine misfire again, eh, Claude?)

Claude Allègre’s Climate Denier Resume.

Wrote L’imposture climatique, where he published the doctored diagram discussed above and engaged in attacks on climate scientists.

Featured in Lawrence Solomon’s [climate change] “Deniers” column in the right-wing newspaper the National Post, and in Solomon’s book of the same name.

Featured in the Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla) list of “700 Dissenting Scientists.”  (This list has been previously discussed in Senator Inhofe’s Magic 700 Climate Change Deniers Debunked.)

Partly because of the Håkan Grudd affair, but also because of Allègre’s unsubstantiated attacks on climate change scientists, in May 2010 more than 600 French scientists signed a letter in protest against him.  See the original letter here (in French) together with the first 400 signatories: