"Global Warming Bombshell"

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As physicist Richard Muller calls it in his article in Technology Review. It turns out that the famous "hockey stick" graph which purports to show that the last 100 years were the warmest years in the last 1000 years is a result of a bad statistical analysis. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relied heavily on the "hockey stick" as evidence for its conclusion that man-made global warming is a growing and serious problem.

Earlier this year, I spoke with Ross McKitrick, one of the researchers who questioned the "hockey stick." McKitrick was surprised (dismayed?) about how much resistance his analysis was getting from the "scientific community." McKitrick also told me that climatologist Michael Mann, the creator of the "hockey stick," started pulling his data from his website when he found out that McKitrick and McIntyre were re-analyzing it. So much for scientific reproducibility and openness.

The fact that the "hockey stick" is hooey doesn't mean that there is no man-made global warming, but it may well mean that natural variations in global climate are much greater than the perturbations caused by human activities. As many scientific papers often conclude: Further research is needed.

Just a heads up–I will be reporting on the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in Buenos Aires in December. Should be very interesting since the Russian Duma and Federation Council have just ratified it.

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  1. Global warming is a FACT…so is global cooling.

  2. “The fact that the “hockey stick” is hooey, doesn’t mean that there is no man-made global warming”

    Just want to reiterate that point made by Ronald, before the trolls get here. It’s bad enough that they don’t RTFA, now we have to get them to RTF-post-about-the-A.

  3. “The fact that the “hockey stick” is hooey, doesn’t mean that there is no man-made global warming”

    Just want to reiterate that point made by Ronald, before the trolls get here. It’s bad enough that they don’t RTFA, now we have to get them to RTF-post-about-the-A.

    Erm, yeah … doesn’t mean that there is, either. Oops, guess I’m a troll ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. It seems to me that the mere _possibility_ that we are changing the climate in ways which might result in rising seas and desertification is reason enough to institute cost-effective environmental-protection measures. The moment we have conclusive proof will be too late.

    We’re all going to die. That’s no excuse for messing up the place for those who will come after us.

  5. I look forward to the day when mankind has to frantically burn all the forests in an attempt to ward off the next ice age, which we will shortly be descending into. Not because I don’t like forests, but because it will be ironically amusing.

  6. JDM was against predictions of a coming ice age before he was for them.

  7. Moonbat Raymond, can you even point to one piece of scientific evidence (I’ll even accept a reasonable junk-science study that resembles a scientific one) to back up your bald assertion that:

    “[t]he moment we have conclusive proof [that we are changing the climate]will be too late [to remedy the damage attributable to our actions].”

    c’mon just one. I’ll wait.

  8. raymond, I think nearly everyone who reads this site will agree with your statement, the key phrase being ‘cost-effective’. The problems with the remedies stated to date are that the benefits have been extremely subjective. For instance with Kyoto, is the delay of temperature rise for – what is the figure, 5 years? – a limited period of time worth the severe economic retardation that would go with it? Some say yes, some say no, most don’t understand the question. Most people can seem to understand what the benefits would be, but don’t have any way to assess their value, in any terms at all.

    Maybe it’s the engineering I do, but it seems that nearly everything like this is an engineering problem. The answer to most questions clients have, about whether we CAN or CANNOT do some discrete thing is ‘Yes, we can.’ But is it worth it? Lots of things need to be weighed. Is it better to build the roadway in the wetland, or take out the historic property, or go through the poor neighborhood, or not build it at all? Each one has costs, each one has benefits, none is perfect. Can we reduce man’s effects on the environment? ‘Yes, we can’. But do we do it by closing all the factories, or forcing people to buy hybrid cars, or putting up windmills all over the place, or slaughtering millions of people (Not a representative sample of global warming remedies)? Each one has benefits, each has costs. Unfortunately, shrillness on each side of the debate has driven out most frank discussion of the costs and benefits to any remedies.

  9. It seems to me that the mere _possibility_ that we are changing the climate in ways which might result in lowering seas and frozen wastelands is reason enough to institute cost-effective environmental-protection measures. The moment we have conclusive proof will be too late.

    ===============

    There. And I have as little “proof” as you do. There’s pretty much a “mere _possibility_” of anything!

  10. “JDM was against predictions of a coming ice age before he was for them.”

    I don’t get it.

  11. Modern environmentalism is more a religion than a science… a situation that often influences what should be scientific research. The unfortunate result is that the credibility of all environmental research is diminished. It would be sad indeed if legitimate science demonstrated global warming only to have the world ignore the warning because of distortations by the deep green religious zealots.

    Crichton Speech

  12. Wow, Joe, I never expected that from you… good one ;-}

    Along the lines of JDM’s post, imagine Raymond’s moonbat parents worried about global cooling in the mid-70’s “the ice age is coming, the ice age is coming!”. I mean, shoot, there wasn’t really good proof, but the South sure froze it’s ass off in the winter of 77. Better do something now, before we are all frozen almost solid, with snot-sickles hanging from our noses …

    Better do something now, man, before it’s too late – hard to accomplish anything with a big stilagtite hanging from one’s nose. Probably the brightest idea back them (second to burning down the old-growth forests, per JDM) would have been to set off a few Giga-ton-equiv. nukes out over the ocean – just over the ocean somewhere, or maybe the north pole. No harm, no fowl, get the UN involved, sign a treaty, all that …

    It’s a good thing globally-cooler heads prevailed then, and hopefully in the future engineers without an agenda can eventually make a fairly predictive world climate model. It’ll probably show that man’s effect on world temperatures is very minimal, especially compared to one singular natural event like a volcano eruption or large fire.

    I don’t think that would stop Raymond from worrying about the sky falling ….

  13. “”JDM was against predictions of a coming ice age before he was for them.”

    I don’t get it.”

    JDM, it sounds like Joe is making fun of both “global warming/cooling/staying-the-same” and Kerry flip-flops at the same time. That’s why that comment was so out-of-the-blue unexpected and refreshing.

    …. must be a different Joe or parallel universe …

  14. The fact that the “hockey stick” is hooey

    How sure are you about that?

  15. Wow, looks like I was wrong. I wouldn’t have called him a moonbat, especially since he did say ‘cost-effective’. But I guess if you don’t immediately dismiss things because someone someone else disagree with says them you’re a “moonbat”.

  16. I think the moonabt part was “We’re all going to die. That’s no excuse for messing up the place for those who will come after us.”

    I mean, look at the fuckin’ mess those damn, uncaring dinosaurs left behind. It’s a good thing humans can adapt to their environments because no other species before or after us ever could or will.

    Every species dies off. The best part about humans is that we’ll do it by our own hand. We’re impatient that way.

  17. I guess so, Highway. Even with the “cost-effective” thrown in, the statement literally smacks of moonbat-meat. I mean, come on, you’re dealing with a complex problem that has not been modeled successfully by any means, and may not be for a long time.

    We don’t know enough yet how much effect, if any, man is having on global temperatures, how the oceans and atmosphere make natural corrections, what exactly is the overriding natural climate trend (most say the earth will be heading toward another ice-age on a scale of a few thousand years, as we are in an “inter-glacial” deal now), etc.

    I wonder if you are really an engineer, Highway, or maybe a computer person who thinks computer programming, administrating UNIX or coding HTML is engineering?

    Engineers do not go trying to solve problems before they even understand what the basics of the problems are. First, global climate, which is complex as hell, has to be understood. To be of any use, a mathematical model would have to accurately predict what how the climate changed over the last so-many years starting with the correct intial conditions. That would be without the addition of a bunch of fudge-factors just to make the model fit.

    Only then (many years from now) could such a model be tested out on future observations of the climate. If it worked halfway decent, then it would be time to find out which, if any, human activities, have significant effects. Then, you would be at the point where Raymond is now – come up with a solution.

    That’s how engineering is done, and we don’t need politicians, hollywood leggy-supermodels, and Raymond’s moonbat parents to tell us how to fucking do engineering, Okay??

  18. “For instance with Kyoto, is the delay of temperature rise for – what is the figure, 5 years? – a limited period of time worth the severe economic retardation that would go with it?”

    The benefits of implementing Kyoto will come not from the decreases contained in the treaty itself, but from the fact that the programs and technologies created to reach the modest goals of Kyoto will open the door for much greater reductions thereafter. Doing a cost/benefit analysis using the Kyoto-mandated reductions is like analyzing the costs and benefits of a new drug based on the sales price of the first pill, or a new automotive line based on the sales price of the first one off the assembly line.

    Kyoto is a kick start to get us over the hump. Once its goals are achieved, it’s all downhill from there.

    Highway, “…closing all the factories, or forcing people to buy hybrid cars, or putting up windmills all over the place, or slaughtering millions of people…Unfortunately, shrillness on each side of the debate has driven out most frank discussion of the costs and benefits to any remedies.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Such panicky, chicken little shrillness. Did you know that mandatory seatbelt laws mean there will be no automobile manufacturing in the United States by 1975?

  19. Hey Jimmy,

    Before I throw you a life preserver, let me spend the next four days running some calculations on its bouyancy and ergonomics.

    What’s a little salt water, after all? In some ways, salt water is good!

  20. Sorry, Highway, I read your post as “…shrillness on ONE side of the debate…”

    You were making the same point I was.

  21. I don’t get that one, Joe. Is it about rising sea levels?

    You started off good this afternoon, but you’re starting to tail off …

  22. The discussion seems to have no relation to the article cited, but:

    Tim Lambert responded to the Muller article some time ago, and also has a quick-reference guide to his (and others’) disagreements with McKitrick and McIntyre.

    Lambert also links to this discussion on sci.environment.

    I’m having a hard time tracking the statistical minutiae, so I won’t comment further.

  23. “Before I throw you a life preserver, let me spend the next four days running some calculations on its bouyancy and ergonomics.”

    Criminy. Whoever was hectoring you yesterday about bad analogies certainly hit the nail on the head.

  24. This is not proof, but it is perhaps interesting to people whose minds are not totally made up:

    Annual survey on glacier length variations in the Swiss Alps

    And btw, thanks for the lesson in educated persuasion. I shall certainly continue to read and ponder your arguments as seriously as you have made them so far.

  25. McKitrick? Isn’t he the guy who claims there’s no such thing as an average temperature? Isn’t he the guy who confused degrees and radians in a geographic statistical package?

    Not to say that he’s wrong, mind you. Just suggesting that ideology and sloppy statistics make a foul brew, wherever you stand politically.

  26. Anyone interested in this topic should check out this recent paper in Science: press release. It argues that the most cost-effective approach is to hedge against the possibility of climate change: Doing a little now to mitigate long-term climate change would cost much less than doing nothing and making an adjustment in the future…

  27. “I don’t get that one, Joe. Is it about rising sea levels?”

    No, it’s about not always having the luxury of waiting for perfect engineering before taking needed action.

  28. I agree with you it’s not proof. Is this the best you can do? Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of “scientific consensus” about our impending global climate catastrophe?

    My mind is only made up because you have failed to carry your burden of convincing me that there is even a man-made global climate problem in the first place let alone a reason why we need to do anything to solve it.

    We can’t accurately predict next week’s weather and you want us to cripple our economy based on some supposed change in the weather decades from now.

    You’ve put the global cart is in front of the climate horse. As it stands you’ev only proved that you have an opinion and that it has no basis in scientific fact.

  29. raymond,

    Glaciers advance and retreat continuously at different rates in different places around the world. Climate changes continually. In some areas glaciers are advancing. The “hockey stick” was an attempt to normalize temperature data accross the globe. Figuring out if the global temperature is rising, and by how much is not a matter of looking at the thermometer, or any local measurement, but of coming up with a statistical model that accounts for all of the various changing data.

    This newest information is that the computer program which performed the “hockey stick” analysis was not correctly performing the statistical operation that the researchers claimed it was.

    Some amateur speculation (which is what we do here) – When upper atmospheric temperature was finally measured, it proved to be much lower than anyone expected, based on the hockey stick model for surface temperatures. This caused a change in the statistical model, and a downward reevaluation of how much warming was going on by many. If the overall model correctly accounts for the flawed surface temperature (if it proves out to be flawed) there may well be another downward revision in the consensus (such as it is) temperature picture.

  30. “No, it’s about not always having the luxury of waiting for perfect engineering before taking needed action.”

    This is an opportunity for someone to use the phrase “begs the question” correctly, and not sound like an idiot, or a newspaper editor.

  31. “This is an opportunity for someone to use the phrase ‘begs the question’ correctly…”

    Not to mention “false dilemma.”

  32. …and I was under the impression that life preservers actually were tested before production. Must have been a good guess not to make them out of lead.

  33. The prudent thing to do would to wait for peer review of this new analysis.

    The only “conclusive proof” is to wait 25 years and see if things get hotter. Short of that we have to rely on models.

  34. Jimmy, would you rather see my Civil Engineering degree? Or perhaps my Professional Engineering certification would be preferred. Or maybe my 10 years of designing highway and environmental systems. Thanks for asking. And no, engineers do not wait until the entire problem is defined before starting to work on it. Ever hear of ‘design build’? Yes, it costs somewhat more, but it also gets things done quicker, because it overlaps the study and solution phases.

    We do understand the basics of the problem: Humans effect environmental changes. That’s why we’re different from sloths, or dinosaurs, or monkeys. No, we don’t yet know the scope of those changes, in part because we haven’t gotten enough data. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start hypothesizing on the possible results, or coming up with concepts for ameliorating the changes. And no, we don’t know what the results of climate warming will be. They could be the rise in sea levels, desertification, or perhaps a global ice age. Does that mean it would be a BAD idea to cut greenhouse gas emissions? Not at all. Personally, I favor things that don’t affect me personally as much, such as planting forests and advocating fuel efficiency. Nuclear, wind, geothermal, and hydro electrical generation where applicable. But not immediately shutting down the current power plants, because that would cramp my style. I don’t know if I agree with anything in the Kyoto Agreement beyond the general stated premise, to reduce human effects on the biosphere. I certainly do not advocate its adoption, because unlike joe, I think those technological improvements won’t be sped up by it, but will be strangled by it, because of the ticking clock of the agreement and the government centric top-down administration of it. I fear it will be like the NASA space program, where because of the government administration, we’re forced to push old tech to the bleeding edge because we don’t have time to allow trial and error of new tech to happen. I do agree we can’t really figure out what the benefits will be, but I think the costs of that particular agreement are too high (aside from the fact that they are extremely prejudicial). But like I said in my previous post, which joe belatedly noticed, there are shrill factions on both sides, the chicken littles who think the sky is falling, and the ostriches with their heads in the sand saying nothing is happening. Right now, they’re driving the debate, which is not helpful. I don’t want government forcing policies either way. But maybe a way to keep that from happening is to do some work ourselves, to help out a little bit.

  35. good god, this hockey stick business is making my head spin, incorrect normalizations, degrees/radians, etc, etc. I’m just waiting for the revelation that someone didn’t account for relativistic effects, it’s only a matter of time. What’s a non-stats expert to do? Wait a second, I AM a stats expert and this stuff is still making me queasy. Agree or disagree with him but Tim Lambert’s handy guide (helpfully linked by Tom Scudder above) does at least summarize the whole dispute in an easy to digest table. Though I’m not sure that that’s good enough, maybe we should start breaking out Venn diagrams.

  36. “Not to mention ‘false dilemma.'”

    OK, how about:

    When kderosa says claims we cannot address global warming without “crippling our economy,” he is presenting a false dilemma.

    JDM, yes, my analogy begs the question, “But how do you know the situation requires immediate action?” The point of the example was not to answer that question, but to point out the problem with Jimmy’s assertion that we shouldn’t do anything about a problem until we have a very high degree of understanding of its exact dynamics. You don’t always have that luxury.

  37. “Wait a second, I AM a stats expert and this stuff is still making me queasy.”

    This is all very easy to solve. According to Muller, McKitrick took the computer code in question, which is published online by Mann, and ran random data sets through it. It produced “hockey sticks.” Now if they are lying, or not actually using random data, fine. Their experiment is 100% reproducible, and it can be sorted out by anyone with a FORTRAN compiler.

  38. “Climate change” is the perferred term these days amongst climatologists.

    Highway,

    Its not been demonstrated that Kyoto will cause “severe econimic retardation.” Indeed, in the case of many countries, the credit trading regime will be a boon for them. And no, I am not a proponent of the Kyoto protocol.

  39. “When kderosa … claims we cannot address global warming without ‘crippling our economy,’ he is presenting a false dilemma.”

    Except that I didn’t claim that, at least without the aid of your creative parsing and selective quoting. Clearly, I’m merely using hyperbole to stress my point.

    “The point of the example was not to answer that question, but to point out the problem with Jimmy’s assertion that we shouldn’t do anything about a problem until we have a very high degree of understanding of its exact dynamics.”
    … which is still presenting a false dilemma. I’ll settle for “some” understanding, currently we have none.

    “You don’t always have that luxury.”

    Why not? We haven’t even identified that a problem exists, let alone that we have to act right now to remedy it without wiating for scientific proof.

  40. Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick…

    Are they scientists? Is that a fair characterization? Because as far as I know McKitrick is an economist (the “dismal science”?), and McIntyre is a professional rock hound.

    Furthemore, I think Ron Bailey is doing us a disservice by implying that this is some sort of new criticism or bit of data regarding Mann’s work – because it isn’t. I read the McIntrye, et. al. article over a year ago after all, and they have had a web page up about these matters since at least that time. Furthermore, Mann has specifically rebutted McIntrye, et. al., claims, and it would have been nice if Bailey had provided us a link to that rebuttal. I’ll dig it up when I got home this evening and post it here then.

  41. “The point of the example was not to answer that question, but to point out the problem with Jimmy’s assertion that we shouldn’t do anything about a problem until we have a very high degree of understanding of its exact dynamics. You don’t always have that luxury.”

    That’s just it, Joe! We do have the luxury. We are not all gonna die the Day after Tommorrow(TM)! Even if, these 3 – count em – 3 big ifs are true, IF man is causing significant climate change, and IF it is more significant than the changes due to the coming natural trends, and IF the environment proves not to have the natural feedback cycles that we don’t completely understand yet, then we aren’t all gonna freaking die. In fact, no one’s gonna die due to that.

    So, chill, honey bunny.

    And Highway, go ahead and email me a scan of your PE and I’ll believe it. Design and build does not mean design what you don’t understand. It means you start work on a project in which the full design hasn’t been put on paper (or in Pro-E or Autocad, nowadays). I don’t believe you’ll find civil engineers designing building with materials with unknown tensile/compressive strenghts and elastic moduli (oooh, latin ..). You don’t start specifying a beam without knowing the loads to be put on it and without knowing how to calculate shear, moments and stresses, do you? Well?

    That’d be stupid. It’s equally stupid to have our government lay down edicts at the point of a gun to tell people how to do business (as far energy sources go) based on some BS from reporters and “scientists” with agendas to carry out.

  42. “severe econimic retardation” I don’t think the retardation is all economic, Jean, I mean, Jason.

    ;-}

    Anyhoo, after all this talk, nobody has taken me up on the Global Warming Challenge.

    Anyone, anyone, Ferris, Jean, Joe …

  43. “Does that mean it would be a BAD idea to cut greenhouse gas emissions? Not at all. Personally, I favor things that don’t affect me personally as much, such as planting forests and advocating fuel efficiency. ”

    You just sound awfully statist, Highway, even though you seem to change your tune after the above sentence.

    Hey, I don’t mind at all if you think you should get a smaller car, quit using the wood stove, plant trees, etc. More power to ya. I like planting trees a lot myself. But that’s your and my business, not the business of the US Feds or the UN.

    You talk about starting a solution to a problem you don’t understand yet. Bull! Let’s just say all the little guys end up caring enough around the whole world to decrease CO2 + H20 concentrations in the atmosphere (oops, but one volcano might up and blow and wipe out about 50 years of that, but hey let’s not think about that). Maybe it turns out that the net effect is actually just to increase cloud cover enough to cause a cooling trend than sure doesn’t help much as we enter a new ice age …. How ya gonna feel then.

    Joe, you go pull out your life preserver (BTW, that’s not politically correct – they are now personal flotation devices, PFD’s) and jump ship. Meanwhile the rest of us may make a radio call or even figure out if the ship is really sinking before we do that. We’ll see you in Hawaii if you are a good swimmer ;-}

  44. Gosh, Jimmy, you might want to reread my last post, since you restated what I said in your ‘rebuttal’ to it.

    Me: “I don’t want government forcing policies either way.”

    You: “It’s equally stupid to have our government lay down edicts at the point of a gun to tell people how to do business (as far energy sources go) based on some BS from reporters and “scientists” with agendas to carry out.”

    And no, you wouldn’t do final design on a beam that the bridge hasn’t been laid out yet. But that’s as far as your poor analogy goes. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t start studying for the bridge locations when the projected traffic says there’s gonna be a need for it 20 years in the future. Engineers don’t just do final design. There’s plenty of preliminary engineering to do, in both cases. You seem to be saying that just because we don’t have a perfect model of the earth’s climate that we should ignore issue altogether. I don’t agree. I think we should let people talk about it, argue studies, and take whatever actions they personally they want to. I also think that people want to reduce their impacts personally. We aren’t ‘designing what we don’t understand.’ People are designing things with less impacts. Maybe that will bring the onset of the ice age earlier. Maybe it will forestall desertification or mass oceanic evaporation. Maybe it won’t have any effect whatsoever. I don’t know. But why shouldn’t people be allowed to put their efforts and wealth toward being less impactful if they want to? You seem to have missed something I said earlier. Humans impact the environment. That must be acknowledged. Is it really such a stretch to think that would extend to the entire biosphere, instead of just local areas?

  45. “You seem to be saying that just because we don’t have a perfect model of the earth’s climate that we should ignore issue altogether.”

    No, I say because we don’t have a damn clue, not an “imperfect model”. We have a long way to go to get good data for the weather next Monday (today is already Thursday), as a poster pointed out.

    Yes, I realize that even a good climate model may not be able to forcast local weather. I’m just saying we have a long way to go to figure out man’s effect on the climate, if any at all. Sure, we have an effect on the earth in general, and some of it is positive.

    “But why shouldn’t people be allowed to put their efforts and wealth toward being less impactful if they want to?” That’s what I said – I agree there. You show your statist views, though, when you say “we”. You and your friends, sure. Me at the point of the gun by the government, no.
    You go all out, Highway. Have a ball. I know it may help you score with chicks to say all this, so I can’t blame you at all there either. It hasn’t helped Joe, yet, but ya gotta try, know what I mean?

  46. Jimmy,

    Would it be “statist” of me to say the National Guard should stack sandbags when the river’s going to flood? And use tax dollars to cover their costs?

    Would it be statist of me to say that demolishing the Guard’s sandbag wall should be illegal?

    I’m just wondering how far you’re willing to take this “government shouldn’t restrict our freedom to prevent disasters” line of thought.

  47. No.

    No.

    I’ll tell you in a minute…

  48. I’ll give one last plug for the process of science.

    Climate scientists may be political in their policy recommendations, but who else are we going to trust to make climate predictions? If you rely on your own intuition as a measure of scientific truth, then you’ll have to throw out most of modern physics.

    The question should be, what do people who spend every day thinking about climate think of this new analysis?

  49. DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS!

  50. Oops one more no.

    Joe, those guys don’t go out there heaving sandbags around unless the river’s rising to flood levels as they work. My answer to all your questions would be yes, if you said we don’t even know if is gonna flood anytime soon, and in fact nobody knows if it’s gonna be a wet year yet!

    You won’t see them out there putting sandbags around towns that will get flooded in 2050 assuming some of the most outlandish half-assed global climate models may be right. I’d have a serious talk with my commanding officer at that point if I were a guardsman – it’d remind me too much of Cool Hand Luke. “Hey, why you putting the boss’s dirt in the boss’s hole! What we have hear is failure to communicate.”

    Same with you and I Joe, it’ a real failure on my part to get a simple point across. We have no clue what’s what man’s effect on the climate is, if any. How many times should I say this??

    That analogy just proves my point. You are trying to coerce the rest of the country to spend their dollars (taxes and hidden costs) on your agenda to stop something that may never happen, and may be the reverse.

    Would you want your tax dollars to go right now, Joe, to a new program to increase CO2 and Water Vapor emmissions to help prevent to coming ice age?

  51. Jimmy, wouldn’t you say that there’s a non-zero probability of climate change? That certain kinds of change have a certain probability given our current knowledge, and that those changes have an economic impact that we can at least estimate?

    There is a small probabilty that I will get in a car crash this year. I buy insurance against that event. Should we not buy some climate-change insurance?

  52. A) I don’t think you should buy insurance if I have to pay part of it.

    B) This isn’t a really good analogy, but let’s say you were one of those lawyers (say John Edwards’ kid brother) who likes to have people hit him so he can sue them and wear a neck brace in court (see Brady Bunch – I forget which episode – I know it was one in which Marsha looked really cute … :-} I.e. an accident would be a good thing. However, you might still get in a wreck that you were not trying to cause by cutting into a lane and then slamming the brakes really hard.

    Why would you buy insurance in this case? You’re trying to get in a wreck, right?

    Yeah, bad analogy, but I’ve already written so too bad … We don’t even know if the weather will get colder so why in the heck are we spending money to stop it from getting warmer?

    OK, let’s say I hear someone come through my front door in the middle of the night. I know my friend is out getting hammered, and he said he might come by later.

    It might be him, but it might be a burglar. I could yell who is it, or at least watch. If he moves quietly and has black clothes and a wool cap on, then I have a good idea. If he does a cartwheel across the living room, breaks the bi-fold door yelling “heey maaaan, what’s up … maaaan I saw two of everything coming over here whoowee!”, then I also have a good idea.

    Maybe, you, Rikurzhen, would just not bother and shoot him in the head, cause hell, that would be preventative, wouldn’t it? Me, I’d like to find out the facts as much as I could before ruining my life and that of those around me based on a fear. And BTW, burglars are proven to be real, global warming NOT.

    I just am not doing well at analogies today.

  53. “Climate scientists may be political in their policy recommendations, but who else are we going to trust to make climate predictions? If you rely on your own intuition as a measure of scientific truth, then you’ll have to throw out most of modern physics.”

    It’s not gonna take scientists, it’s gonna take engineers. Scientists don’t have to be right all the time – engineers do.

  54. “Climate scientists may be political in their policy recommendations, but who else are we going to trust to make climate predictions?”

    Predictions? You mean wild ass guesses with no basis in scientific fact. They have’t even established correlation yet, let alone causation. So why do we care about their predictions at this point?

    “There is a small probabilty that I will get in a car crash this year. I buy insurance against that event. Should we not buy some climate-change insurance?”

    I’d sooner buy Godzilla insurance if I worked in a skyscaraper in downtown Tokyo. I understand the existence of Godzilla has been scientfically proven to the same extent as climate change. But why take a chance.

  55. Jimmy Antley,

    Scientists don’t have to be right all the time – engineers do.

    Yeah, right. I hope this was sarcasm, because if not, its one the dumbest comments made on Hit n’ Run.

    Please see: Henry Petroski, Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering

    Let’s also note that for real engineers, learning from failure is a major source of knowledge; indeed, some engineering programs even teach classes on the subject.

  56. kderosa,

    You mean wild ass guesses with no basis in scientific fact.

    This is slightly hyperbolic.

    To be frank, most of the commentators here don’t know shit about climate science. I know just enough to know that I should be very cautious in what I say about the subject.

  57. The benefits of implementing Kyoto will come not from the decreases contained in the treaty itself, but from the fact that the programs and technologies created to reach the modest goals of Kyoto will open the door for much greater reductions thereafter.

    maybe it will and maybe it won’t, mr joe — i don’t think anyone can say, and assuming that a) the technology will come and b) anyone will want it are very large assumptions indeed. really, why not dump several billion into, oh, satellite-laser missile defense schemes by the very same logic?

    FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, all of that is besides the point. the basic digust i hold for kyoto and the process that created it is this: scientism (not scientific method, but scientism) was allowed to become the cassus belli behind major economic and legislative decisions. at this point, climatology has all the rigorous merit of psychology: there is no effective modelling because the reality far too complex and poorly defined to abstract meaningfully into mathematical systems we can solve, and there is no effective laboratory experimentation because any benchtop is meaninglessly reductive.

    kyoto is based on junk — empiricism without experimentation and a misconceived belief in scientism that is the opposite of science. the hard truth is that global environmental interactions may not only by unknown now; they may be *unknowable*, as in beyond the limitations of humans using scientific method to understand.

    scientism is a massive and increasingly frequent problem in the west, and one that any rational person should fear and oppose when it infects government policy debates.

  58. So you (plural) are asserting that climatology is no better than guessing?

    I know that some of the social sciences seem that way, but I have a hard time believing that a physical science is no better than guessing.

  59. That’s all well and good, Jimmy, but as so many libertoids have solemnly reminded me, the issue of statism is not about the rightness or wrongness of a policy, but about “who decides.” Funding measures designed to prevent disasters doesn’t become any more and less “statist” depending on the wisdom of the project. If you knew for certain that global warming was going to cause disasters in 50 years, efforts to head it off would be no more or less “statist” than they are today.

  60. Jimmy, wouldn’t you say that there’s a non-zero probability of climate change? That certain kinds of change have a certain probability given our current knowledge, and that those changes have an economic impact that we can at least estimate?

    mr rikurzhen, there is a *certainty* of climate change. in fact, all evidence of the historical record shows *constant* change, which is sometimes and unpredictably both rapid and catastrophic. that is what we already know about earth.

    There is a small probabilty that I will get in a car crash this year. I buy insurance against that event. Should we not buy some climate-change insurance?

    this is to pretend that you know both the premium and the prescription when you know neither. i’m not arguing that we quit examining the problem — but there has to be a common-sense humble understanding that we don’t know anything now and we may *never* know enough to take action with a meaningful expectation of a beneficial outcome because such certainty is impossible given the design of the system.

    the assumption you make is that eliminating the macro human impact on the environment is desirable — that such a thing, if it were possible, woudl restore us to some nirvanic baseline. that is not a safe assumption, and you have no valid reason to believe so because there is no static baseline! it could just as easily be discovered in the future that the effect (whatever it truly is) of greenhouse gas emissions has actually improved our lot and is continuing to by counteracting some radical opposite force.

    in such a situation, the effect of action without understanding is random at best.

  61. I have a hard time believing that a physical science is no better than guessing.

    if it were a science, i’d agree.

    but this isn’t dropping a ball and a feather in a vacuum. the system is utterly beyond comprehension in complexity, isn’t even defined rigorously, and may well defy meaningful abstraction and analysis for hundreds of years — and possibly always! one must say that global macro environment may simply be beyond the ability of scientific method to examine and explain.

    moreover, there is no experimentation that can be done on the system to produce verifiable results. we can’t even devise effective lab abstrations of the system because we don’t understand it well enoguh to define it. without effective experimentation, climatology will never be more than philosophy.

    again, continue examining the system — but don’t pretend we know anything like enough to do something with an expectation of anything more than a random outcome.

  62. No, I’m not being sarcastic, Jean, I mean Jason Bourne.

    Scientists run experiments, make observations, etc. in order to verify theories, but sometimes the theories are nothing but. They will then be confirmed or disproved by other scientists.

    Engineers, on the other hand, work with knowledge that is mostly well-known. I’m not saying it’s easy, just that the theory behind the stresses in a beam, for example, can be calculated knowing that the theory behind the equations is correct. Otherwise, I would not feel safe leaving in the house. Well, or staying in the house, for that matter.

    Yes I have read a couple of Petroski’s books. Read my words, dumbass, I said an engineer has to be right. I didn’t say they always are, but they must be in order not to get people hurt, killed or have the company go under.

  63. gaius, replace “climatology” with “human genetics” (something that I know personally) and you have a seemingly accurate argument that does not actually fit with the truth. Again, I’ll express scepticism about your scepticism.

  64. “If you knew for certain that global warming was going to cause disasters in 50 years, efforts to head it off would be no more or less “statist” than they are today.”

    No, they would be the same, Joe, and if it was very plain that the earth was gonna be flooded in a Noah’s Ark type manner, I would see any labor-intensive remedy as something that could indeed involve the National Guard.

    It would be statist of me to be pushing for burning all of our national forests to generate enough quick CO2 to prevent global cooling, wouldn’t it?

  65. a seemingly accurate argument that does not actually fit with the truth.

    perhaps, mr rikurzhen, you could explain to me how that argument doesn’t fit genetics.

  66. “To be frank, most of the commentators here don’t know shit about climate science. I know just enough to know that I should be very cautious in what I say about the subject.”

    “I know that some of the social sciences seem that way, but I have a hard time believing that a physical science is no better than guessing.”

    Climate science is not yet a mature science, much like medical science wasn’t 200 years ago. It wasn’t until the life insurance industry started demanding results that the practice of medicine turned into the respectable scientific field that we know today.

    Until we start getting some reproducible empircal results from the “climate scientists” what they say is nothingmore than a guess (or as the real scientists put it — an hypothesis).

  67. “Just don’t forget to flush the toilet.”

    What’s the point in that Raymond? Most don’t flush properly do to environmental regulations requiring 3 G flushes.

    Good work, Greenies!

  68. Was: “do to”

    Should Be: “due to” or I guess “doo-doo”

  69. respectable scientific field

    is it “respectable” science, mr kderosa? today i was told that red wine prevents cancer while white wine causes it. i’m told something ridiculous like that virtually every day.

    obviously, some extent of biological investigation is indeed scientific. but, again, the systems involved are complex and not understood — and, it must be said, potentially not understandable.

    any number of drugs in use today are observed empirically to sometimes “work” (often enough to be patentable) but *how* cannot be explained. most people assume that an explanation will come in time — but that belief in science is not necessarily a future truth.

    that’s not a mature science by a long shot. i think an honest examination of modern medicine — especially pharmacology — must yield that it is not science so much as philosophy. and most practicing physicians will tell you so.

    btw, that’s not to belittle it — philosophy can be beneficial too.

  70. Well, it doesn’t fit non-human genetics, because there we have robust experimental methods.

    It could be the kind of argument leveled against human genetics where we cannot do experiments. However, we actually know a lot about human genetics despite that limitation. (Some might argue that knowledge of humans as biological systems is actually the most developed — but all geneticsts think that their system is the best.) For example, within the limits of our current technology we are able to manipulate human genetic disease, etc.

    I don’t know the details of climate science, but I don’t see reason to dismiss it a priori.

  71. “is it “respectable” science, mr kderosa?”

    Much of the research in medicial science is conducted in accordance with the scientific method. Much of it is also junk science, like your wine study. Matureness is a matter of degree. Just because the the field is complex and we still have limited knowledge of the biological processes doesn’t mean that the field is not yet a mature one.

    For the most part, the phsyicians are not the ones doing the scientific research, nor are they scientists.

    Btw, a drug doesn’t have to “work” to be patentable, it merely has to be novel, unobvious, and have utility.

  72. Raymond, my disclaimer is just that you seem to be more ignorant than us about these things. It’s great that you know how to read and all. Congratulations! How bout learning some math next? If you knew some, you could actually use the numbers, graphs, and tables in some of the articles and reports about global warming to help you understand.

    There’s not any post on this whole thread where anyone said they don’t care about trashing the environment, and they think it’s great your pooch got glass in his foot. We’re saying this global warming stuff is BS up to this point, and scientists have a long way to go before engineers can make and test any kind of accurate mathematical climate model.

    Damn, you are obtuse, dude. I’ll say it again: I don’t want more taxes and regulations coming from our government designed to prevent some future catastrophy that right now is not even good science fiction.

    Raymond, I wonder if by reading, you mean saying the words. That’s not enough. It’s obvious that your comprehension is not up to snuff, if you didn’t understand what most of us have been writing for the last damn 4 hours. Quit wasting my time.

  73. You require absolute, scientific proof?

    i would ask, mr raymond, that we at least be able to demonstrate how what we’re going to do will affect a positive change.

    we simply can’t do that now w/r/t greenhouse gases and climate change. for all we know, if we’re honest with ourselves, cutting emissions would *raise* the temperature. we just don’t know! no shame in that. continue to examine the situation rigorously.

    what not to do is get carried away in some apocalyptic mythology redux that has (it must be said) reappeared time and time again in human history — including repeatedly the modern era. people have a need to be afraid, i speculate. judgement day is a resonant myth for a reason — and global warming is a sort of secular judgement day, imo. if you look at the myths side by side, they’re remarkably similar.

    Very often those shouting “Proof proof! There is no proof!” are the same people who, in spasms of horrified righteousness, hurled American might at Saddam, his Weapons of Mass Destruction, and various innocent civilians.

    please don’t lump me in with those people ๐Ÿ™‚ — they suffer the same apocalyptic-panic syndrome i reject, but from a different angle.

  74. have utility

    sorry, mr kderosa — i abstracted this to “work”.

    i think we differ in definition more than viewpoint. i accept what you’re saying. my point is that science is a method, and the method has limitations of understanding that complex systems (like biologies) can exceed in some respects.

    an honest scientist should acknowledge that limitation and not pretend that all physical systems are explainable by humans using science. to do otherwise is to foster the belief system of scientism.

  75. Are the conclusions of climate scientists debated in peer reviewed journals? Are there consensus statements issued by expert groups?

    This is the best way to know if climate science is serious. Intuition won’t do.

    I don’t mean to name call, but there is a group that rejects the science of evolution, and many of these arguments sound similar to theirs.

  76. Gaius, I agree with you and recognize the definitional differences. I also agree that today we do not yet know enough about many complex systems such as human biology and climatology. I believe this is the point many of us have been trying to get across to the moonbats in this thread.

  77. “Are there consensus statements issued by expert groups?”

    Consensus is not science.

    At one time, the consensus was that the world was flat and that the earth was the center of the universe. It took the scietific achievement of galileo, kepler, et al. to show us otherwise.

  78. Jimmy Antley,

    Engineers, on the other hand, work with knowledge that is mostly well-known.

    That really depends on the field of engineering one is discussing, and, to be blunt, is beside the point. Its better to state that “some engineers” deal with mostly well-known knowledge. Other engineers work in fields where things aren’t so well known.

    I’m not saying it’s easy, just that the theory behind the stresses in a beam, for example, can be calculated knowing that the theory behind the equations is correct. Otherwise, I would not feel safe leaving in the house. Well, or staying in the house, for that matter.

    Yet engineers are involved in buildings and other structures that collapse. Furthermore, you have yet to really justify your earlier remark; indeed, all you done is dance around an explanation without making one.

  79. Dancing around it, huh? I’ll repeat it:

    Scientists run experiments, make observations, etc. in order to verify theories, but sometimes the theories are nothing but. They will then be confirmed or disproved by other scientists.

    Engineers, on the other hand, work with knowledge that is mostly well-known. I’m not saying it’s easy, just that the theory behind the stresses in a beam, for example, can be calculated knowing that the theory behind the equations is correct. Otherwise, I would not feel safe leaving in the house. Well, or staying in the house, for that matter.

    Yes I have read a couple of Petroski’s books. Read my words, dumbass, I said an engineer has to be right. I didn’t say they always are, but they must be in order not to get people hurt, killed or have the company go under.

  80. “Are the conclusions of climate scientists debated in peer reviewed journals? Are there consensus statements issued by expert groups?”

    Now you’re getting closer to the point. There is no consensus regarding the global climate model approaching that regarding, say, the motion of the planets in the solar system. That is extreme, so let’s say even the formation of earthquakes.

    Some of the basic principles that the scientists deal with are well known. The 3 modes of heat transfer, formation of clouds, hydrology, evaporation, etc.

    However, the problem is so complex because there are so many things going on. Now, to make headway, some of the effects, such as the oceans’ absorption of CO2 may be just fudged in the models for now. I don’t think any respectable scientist would just do fudging and blow it off. Of course, the research paper will mention the unknowns. In a climate model these unknowns may be given a tolerance range, and the model run with many variations on the *many* different coefficients that aren’t really know.

    However, are the reporters gonna get that deep into the paper to see that? No way, they just aren’t numerically (or scientifically) literate at all. So, they will take to worst case, and say “hey, a respectable scientist says …. we are in the deep shit…”

    Now eventually some of the unknown processes will be studied more and can be pinned down numerically a lot better. I’ve got nothing against the advancement of Science. I just don’t want to hear all the BS from people who don’t know dick about it.

  81. kderosa, in your example that was a non-scientific consensus being replaced by a scientific one.

    But to interpret your point charitably, there have been times when science has reached an incorrect consensus. However, the existence of a consensus in climate research at this time leads me to believe that climate researchers have some confidence in their conclusions.

    There is a market of ideas in science, and a dissenter would profit greatly if they could offer a counter argument to the current consensus. Thus, the failure to disprove the consensus is supportive of its truth.

  82. Rikurzhen,

    The consensus on this discussion thread is that there is no consensus on global warming/cooling/staying-the-same, I believe.

  83. I believe the consensus of this thread is also that the current consensus of climatologists is not a scientific consensus either. Furthermore, the consensus of experts is meaningless unless the underlying science is sound. In which case the consensus is irrelevant. Consensus is not a substitue for sound science.

  84. That’s fine; but unless you’re a climatologist with new data or a new analysis, how can you come to those conclusions?

  85. It’s not science because it’s not interesting. Ordinary science can be made interesting to people who like cool things like that; but these papers stress how scientific they are, and refer to other papers describing how scientific they are, and have an elaborate peer-review system that picks peers by open outrage and press release.

    So, in an adult society, this is not surprising, but it’s not science.

    Most scientists will have worked with people like that, and either joined them (this is known as a management career path), or joined another lunch table crowd where things are still interesting.

    You get to the truth by having interested people hack away at it, with different approaches and insights. That’s all shut off here.

    Publically, you get occasional refutations and denunciations of refutations; both of these are interested in something other than science.

    Peer review is not science.

    I could go into “modelling.” Cut and paste and get whatever you want.

  86. Dancing around it, huh? I’ll repeat it:

    And you keep on dancing and obfuscating and avoiding.

  87. Jason Bourne (or Gary Gunnels or Jean Bart) is so fucking tiresome sometimes.

  88. kderosa,

    I believe the consensus of this thread is also that the current consensus of climatologists is not a scientific consensus either.

    It is a scientific consensus. It was come to via sound scientific methods (or as sound as one can get in climate science) and in good faith. Now maybe that consensus is wrong, but scientific methods do not guarantee that falsities aren’t taken for truth. The history of science is replete with good scientific methods leading to faulty notions, with these being corrected over time. What you have a problem with is the end result. Don’t confuse that with the methods themselves.

    Ron Hardin,

    There is nothing inherently wrong with modelling; and there is certainly nothing unscientific about it.

  89. You said it, exasperation! He/she never seems to get around to answering any of the details of any post.

    I’ve had it man, you take over. I’m just glad he/she is too young to vote (or at least writes like it).

  90. It doesn’t matter if the data is flawed. Global warming and the move to “stop it” has never been and will never be about saving the environment or science or anything like that. Its about feeling good about yourself. Its about shutting down the excesses of the capitalist system. Its about stopping multinational corporations from exploiting the poor masses across the earth. Facts and science have nothing to with the issue. Its a moral issue about how we deal with ourselves and the earth. Its about that blind belief and faith in the moral superiority of doing your part by driving a hybrid car or slashing the tires of an SUV. How dare you people discuss facts and science in this context. You don’t question or demean people’s closely held religous views like this. I find the whole thing to be nothing but hate-speech.

  91. kberosa,

    Your comments also illustrate a complete lack of knowledge regard the real progress climate science has made since the 1970s. For example, the early models assumed very simplistic notions about clouds, today, the cloud variables they use nearly resemble that which exists in real life.

  92. Jimmy Antley,

    I answered you quite deftly. You’re the one who avoided my comments by merely repeating your first comment. The egg is on your face I am afraid.

  93. John,

    Certainly there is a set of environmentalist who have “faith” in their version of climate change; kberosa and his ilk share an opposite, though equally passionate “faith,” about climate change.

  94. Nah, Jason/Gary/Jean, I don’t taste any egg. You could go back and read my posts, though, if you want to learn something.

    Then after that, how about an answer, please?

  95. “…the cloud variables they use nearly resemble that which exists in real life.”

    Ever the scientist, aren’t you? So, what variables do you mean, Jean? Are you talking about state properties of the air/water-vapor mixture, Gary? Or, do you know your ass from a hole in a cloud, Jason?

    Bring it on. Gimme some details, man. Otherwise, I’m gonna still correcdtly believe your are completely full of shit.

  96. WAS: “your are completely full of shit.”

    S/B: “you are completely full of shit.”

    Either way is correct though, really.

  97. “It is a scientific consensus. It was come to via sound scientific methods (or as sound as one can get in climate science) and in good faith.”

    Which is to say not very sound at all. Let’s be clear: statistical correlation dos not equal scientific or evidentiary proof. Statistical correlation can only be used to disprove an hypothesis.

    All the climatologists have, at least with respect to climate change, are shaky correlations, i.e., junk science.

    We’re now over 100 posts into this thread and none of the moonbats have been able to provide one scientific study to support their position.

    Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.

  98. kderosa, no scientific hypothesis can ever be “proven,” not by *any* kind of evidence.

    Consensus statements that represent the best science on climate change exist. If anyone here has substantial evidence (or analysis) to refute the findings in these reports, I would enourage you to publish your results.

  99. What makes you think the existence of that paper indicates consensus, Rikurzhen? I skimmed through some of the sections just now, but I gotta go soon.

    I just wanted to look at few graphs first. Check this (from chapter 11 on sea level rise):
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig11-12.htm

    Just look at the uncertainty, then read the notes below which talk about even more factors that are unknown. C’mon, the graph (model results of mean sea level rise at yr. 2100 AD), show anywhere from .5 ft to 2.2 ft. Yes, I still deal in feet and lb, sorry, I just converted it in my head.

    I mean, you, I, KDersoa, Jean/Gary/Jason-Ross (well he wouldn’t understand much of it) could go through this paper and have a big discussion. I would like to, actually, but it’s not gonna happen tonight. The final result would be: We don’t have good enough mathematical models – as in good enough to even report to the public. Secondly, the natural trends of the climate aren’t even being taken into account. i.e. much of this paper’s model is based on damn observations, not theory. That does not work in the long run – you’ve got to understand the processes.

    I gotta go. Thanks for the comments y’all, with the exception of Jason/Jean and Joe who can both kiss my ass, as I guess that’d be easier for them than actually reading my posts and replying to the information contained therin.

  100. I don’t mean to name call, but there is a group that rejects the science of evolution, and many of these arguments sound similar to theirs.

    mr rikurzhen, genetic evolution of biological forms is an easily observed phenomena (at the microbial level) with a great deal of physical evidence and mechanisms that have been identified and experimented with. still we learn about new pathways, but a science it is.

    none of that is true of climatology. people can’t even agree on what they’re observing. there’s no comparison.

  101. It was come to via sound scientific methods (or as sound as one can get in climate science) and in good faith.

    mr bourne, wadr, you are far off point on scientific method here.

    1) observation/definition
    2) hypothesis
    3) prediction
    4) experiment

    the point of today’s news in climatology is that 1) is still being contested. 2) is utter speculation without rigorously articulated 1), and 4) is an impossibility — and may always be so, thanks to the irreducable complexity of the system.

    but they’ve got plenty of apocalyptic 3)? that’s a religion, folks.

    Consensus statements that represent the best science on climate change exist.

    mr rikurzhen, respectfully, the point of today’s news is that the analysis on which that consensus was primarily based is incorrect, if not fraudulent. as of today, *there is no consensus* — which should be warning enough on the arbitrariness of consensus (which pays very well in my line of work). the flat-earth analogy is (while historically inaccurate) completely apropos.

    consensus means nothing because scientists are human and, therefore, mostly terrible scientists.

  102. There is nothing inherently wrong with modelling; and there is certainly nothing unscientific about it.

    absolutely, mr bourne, but the model is only as good as the abstractions made to construct it. i can model an apple with a stick and a tennis ball. that doesn’t make it a useful predictor.

    in climatology, those abstractions are necessarily very poor because the system is vastly more complex than we can even *observe* at this point, much less measure.

    moreover, the reduced linear mathematics that are used in the models are infantile compared to the actual governing physics, which we barely understand.

  103. Antley,

    I see you still lack the courage to address my comments.

    kdreso,

    …statistical correlation dos not equal scientific or evidentiary proof.

    One wonders who amongst this fine crowd claimed that it did? Is there some reason why you are throwing this non-sequitor in?

    All the climatologists have, at least with respect to climate change, are shaky correlations, i.e., junk science.

    This is what you keep suggesting, and I continue to ask you to actually demonstrate this. So far all I see are repetitions of unsubstantiated claims.

    We’re now over 100 posts into this thread and none of the moonbats have been able to provide one scientific study to support their position.

    I think my position is rather clear; I think climatology is a credible and worthy field of science and you do not. And I keep asking you to cite anything which can demonstrate your claim, and you continue to avoid such.

  104. kderosa,

    Let me suggest that you know nothing about climate science, and that this is the reason why you come up empty when asked to justify your claims.

  105. I’ll repeat my admonisment: The prudent thing to do would [be] to wait for peer review of this new analysis.

    What concerns me is that many commenters seem to have reached the conclusion of this article before it was even published — although note that it was rejected by Nature, yet we don’t know why.

    Anyone can generate a good-sounding (but false) criticism if they are esoteric enough. My experience in science tells me to be suspicious of such claims if I am not an total expert on the topic.

    Experts report that the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate. If I were dictating policy, I would attempt to hedge against that possibility according to the magnitide of the threat and the likelihood of it being real.

    I understand that some of you don’t think the likelihood is very great, but I hope you don’t expect anyone to simply take your word for it.

  106. If one man jumps up and down on the Golden Gate Bridge, no big deal. If the entire population of Chicago does it, something’s going to fall down.

    If one man wants to drive around in a humvee, no big deal. If 100 million people do it, something might just collapse.

    Sometimes, an individual acting alone has no (discernable) effect on a system while, when acting in concert with other individuals, he can destroy it. In other words, an individual act may have no consequence – until it cumulates with the similar acts of others. (This is sort of the obverse of Paine’s “common pot”.)

    The only valid role – and the obligation – of a government is to secure our fundamental rights.

    If we admit that we (and by the second “we” I mean “present and future human beings”) have a right not to be forced to live in a filthy, dangerous environment, then we have to admit that there is some point at which the government must step in and… do its job.

    So long as one man and one man only (ok, two men. ok. _three_ men) wants to jump up and down on the bridge, it would sound silly – tyrannical! – for the government of California to forbid this. But if jumping up and down on Golden Gate becomes a national pastime, it would be a violation of the state’s obligation _not_ to control it.

    If one man drives a humvee, then… Hey. Look at the rich kook driving his big-balls humvee. But if the population of the US want to drive humvees (or other gas-guzzlers), then… Hey!

    Many years ago, there was “no proof” that acid rain was harmful to the environment. Many of the same arguments as we read in this thread against obligatory scrubbers and catalytic converters and “clean coal” were popular with the “hard-headed realists” of the time. Then, people started to notice the vast swathes of forest turning brown and the curious lack of fish in certain lakes. And science caught up with common sense.

    First, the rich countries with the most dramatic problems instituted environmental controls. But since the problems were cross-border, they couldn’t be solved by one country alone. It was, after all, France’s pollution which was floating over here killing our trees. So, a cross-border solution had to be found. An inter-governmental solution. An individual in France was able to buy only cars equipped with catalytic converters. Some European guy’s “right” to buy a sulfate-spewing humvee was going to be violated.

    i would ask … that we at least be able to demonstrate how what we’re going to do will affect a positive change.

    As I said above, I am no green. I don’t think global warming has been “proven”. However, just as I saw the forests turning brown and concluded that something was going on, I look at the evidence of the glaciers and think… Hey! Something’s going on!

    I can’t demonstrate what you want me to demonstrate. Common sense tells me, though, that some of what we are doing is harmful to the environment, and we have at least – until the proof is in – to start stopping doing that something. And we are going to have to stop doing that something in concert with other governments.

    I think it’s reasonable – in fact, responsible – for a (perfectly selfish) libertarian to support reasonable, cost-effective efforts to stop adding greenhouse gasses and CFCs to the atmosphere. I think we have an obligation to “do no harm”.

    Just about the only decision Bush has taken that I’ve agreed with is the one concerning the Kyoto treaty. I thought he should have explained his decision better to the world, of course, and come up with a more intelligent set of solutions to address the problem of possible global warming. But I thought I understood the reasons behind the decision.

    He didn’t do that, though, and I apparently didn’t understand his reasons. Turns out, he’s just a big-balled-humvee-driving bridge jumper. And his decision makes all of the US look like big-balled-humvee-driving bridge jumpers, too.

    “Affect a positive change”? I can’t prove that what I propose will do that. But common sense tells me that if I do no harm, then… I’ll end up doing no harm.

    That would already be a huge libertarian step.

  107. “Let me suggest that you know nothing about climate science, and that this is the reason why you come up empty when asked to justify your claims.”

    Written like a true junk scientist or at least one who doesn’t know the difference.

    In science, the burden of proof is on the researchers trying to advance a theory. In contrast, junk scientists like the current crop of climatologists, are trying to turn this burden upside down. This reversal of the burden is known as the “precautionary principle”: Better safe than sorry. (That sounds familiar.)

    So, Jason, the yoke remains firmly on you to prove the causation of climate change, not me. I have merely pointed out that you have failed to carry your initial burden of proof. I am not the one claiming I know how what causes climate change, quite the contrary, my point is that no one yet knows despite the “scientific consensus.”

  108. Also, scientists have been analyzing ancient ice cores culled from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, and have analyzed the ancient air bubbles trapped therein. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has indeed been steadily climbing ever since the start of the Industrial Age.

    Once before on a Hit and Run post somebody asked why so many libertarians refuse to consider the possibility of global warming. I suggested that it was an example of the old saying “When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” After all, libertarians are purely committed to the idea of unregulated free-market rugged individualism. Since environmental problems cannot be solved by rugged individuals in an unregulated market, but will involve a certain degree of (gasp!) collective effort, the easiest way to continue to believe that the Free Market is the solution to all of life’s ills is to deny any problem which might suggest otherwise.

    And by the way, I don’t GIVE a rat’s ass about the fact that “Jason Bourne” is posting under a false name. If y’all find fault with his arguments, PLEASE understand that simply typing “Jason/Gary/Jean” is not a valid counterargument.

  109. To make the GW argument two points must be made. 1)the earth is in fact getting warmer, 2)made made emissions (namely CO2) are responsible. For the sake of argument lets say the first is true (and even that looks dubious now). The single scrap of evidence that CO2 can be blamed for warming is two computer models. I know a bit about computer modeling, I model condensed molecular system. The models are complicated, but nowhere near as complicated as the models used for climate change prediction. I have looked at the two climate models myself and was very surprised to find them dependant on several hundred parameters (not a good sign). The deal breaker on their predictive value for future global temperature trends is their inability to predict past trends. The models I use are good, but I would never suggest for a moment that economic policies should be based on them. For many the ‘reality’ of GW plays into their larger world view. For some it validates that man is destroying the earth, for others it illustrates the shrill histrionics of the environmental left. However, for scientists researching climate change they understand the more dire their predictions the more money they get. It must be very difficult for them to maintain the proper objectivity. I remain sceptical.

  110. “Also, scientists have been analyzing ancient ice cores culled from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, and have analyzed the ancient air bubbles trapped therein. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has indeed been steadily climbing ever since the start of the Industrial Age.”

    A quick search of the keywords on Google results in pages of articles showing that this has been thoroughly debunked.

    Isn’t science wonderful.

  111. Kderosa–
    Link, please? I did a Google search and couldn’t find any debunking sites, only more sites suggesting it’s true.

  112. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has indeed been steadily climbing ever since the start of the Industrial Age.

    what’s worse, ms jennifer, is that this DOES NOT MATTER. the leap you’re making — more co2 means global devastation — is entirely symptomatic of mythology, not any science.

    today’s news (if verified) means that there has been no temperature spike — even if co2 levels have been increasing, this would mean that changes in co2 levels as we have observed have *no observable effect*. (it may in a absurdly reductive benchtop experiment, mind you, and it may in poorly-abstracted computer modelling — but it can do both of those and still matter not in the slightest in reality.)

    this thread has been a real education — i am SHOCKED at how unscientific we lot here are! many of the posts on this thread could be used in a classroom to demonstrate the terrifyingly poor understanding held by most people of basic scientific method. amazing!

    Since environmental problems cannot be solved by rugged individuals in an unregulated market, but will involve a certain degree of (gasp!) collective effort, the easiest way to continue to believe that the Free Market is the solution to all of life’s ills is to deny any problem which might suggest otherwise.

    and i, for one, do not fit that description, fwiw. ๐Ÿ™‚

  113. I think some of you need to learn a little about complexity, chaos, and uncertainty as it applies to science.

  114. today’s news (if verified) means that there has been no temperature spike —

    If you are referring to the article on which all this discussion hangs, it means no such thing.

    Or is there other news?

  115. what it says, mr raymond, is

    But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records.

    But it wasn?t so. McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.

    Now comes the real shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called ?Monte Carlo? analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!

    That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.

    that effectively says that the data, properly analyzed, will not show the trend that indicates global warming in the industrial age because trendless data, improperly analyzed, showed the trend.

    i abstracted that down to “no temperature spike”.

  116. i abstracted that down to “no temperature spike”.

    No. What you did was change

    Y, which was used to show X, is not valid

    to

    X is not true.

    There’s a HUGE difference.

    Your “abstraction” betrays the meaning of the entire article.

  117. shall we get semantic? lol — no, i agree logically with what you’re saying. what i’m maning to say is

    Y showed X under random conditions

    therefore, Y showing X is not significant

    could X still be shown significantly sometimes in the future? yes. but the point seems to me to be that only a faithful man can now hang on to X; X has no rational basis. that’s why this news is a “bombshell”.

  118. raymond-

    The conclusion is that their method of data analysis will produce the ?hockey-stick? from noise. Two days ago I did this very same thing to test one of my analysis routines. I fed in pure noise and compared it to the analysis of my data. It is a very simple and common way to test for artifacts from simple coding errors. I frequently see articles retracted due to these kinds of errors. However, even an error free analysis of data does not mean that the data generated from a computer model means anything (I refer you to my earlier post). A model of this complexity can yield wildly different results depending on the parameter set used. All this is fine and acceptable in the context that computer models are routinely used. A model is used to generate a set of ?predictions?, which are then tested by experiment. The holey grail of modeling is to make an accurate prediction that is then verified through experiment. This rarely happens. The most accurate model in my field, Car-Parinello, uses first principles quantum mechanics with very few approximations. There are a handful models that use such proven and accurate underlying functional forms. Earlier this year one of the approximations they used was shown to be inadequate and all the work they had done was discounted. Climate change models have stepped out of this prediction/experiment framework and are now being used as a foundation for public policy. If CO2 emissions are causing catastrophic warming of the atmosphere it is more than reasonable to implement restrictions on these emissions. Currently there is no evidence to link CO2 and global temperature change, just speculation.

  119. Currently there is no evidence to link CO2 and global temperature change, just speculation.

    Please read the page I linked to above. The one about Swiss glaciers. It presents evidence of – at least – global warming.

    Moreover, in one report we find the following:

    The compensating effect (from the mass gain in Antarctica), however, fades if atmospheric carbon-dioxide were to reach levels above doubled values. This would then induce sufficient warming to initiate melt also on the Antarctic ice-sheet. Thus, the deceleration of sea level rise due to the net mass gain on the polar ice sheets may only be effective as long as carbon-dioxide concentrations can be stabilized below double the present values.

  120. raymond-
    Fine, yesterday was cooler than today; we know climate has changed in the past and it will again. The link between CO2 and global temperature is a foregone conclusion in the paragraph you site.

  121. I’m sure you won’t be back, but what the heck.

    Yeah. Yesterday was cooler than today.

    Nobody get excited. It’ll be all right, if we just close our eyes.

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