22 January 2007

Render Unto Caeser

As global warming science leaves its boisterous adolescence behind, we're starting to see the long-expected pull back: Climate scientists feeling the heat: As public debate deals in absolutes, some experts fear predictions 'have created a monster' (Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle, 1/22/07). This article rehashes several recent articles prompted by climate scientists starting to confess publicly that their models are less reliable than has been presented and that younger scientists are feeling pressured to make their results conform to the global warming orthodoxy. Ironically, it seems to have been Al Gore's success in scaring people by publicizing the worst possible climate change possibilities that is the immediate cause of the pullback.

The heart of the Chronicle story is not that climate scientists are not actually absolutely 100% sure that we're all doomed. The heart of the story is this:
Gerald North, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, dismisses the notion of widespread tension among climate scientists on the course of the public debate. But he acknowledges that considerable uncertainty exists with key events such as the melting of Antarctica, which contains enough ice to raise sea levels by 200 feet.

"We honestly don't know that much about the big ice sheets," North says. "We don't have great equations that cover glacial movements. But let's say there's just a 10 percent chance of significant melting in the next century. That would be catastrophic, and it's worth protecting ourselves from that risk."
We need scientists to tell us what they believe is likely to happen and to demonstrate that their results can survive a skeptical inquiry. But it is for the government and the people to decide what to do based upon the scientists' report. It is not enough to tell us that the results will be catastrophic. Tell us what the results are and let us decide whether they are catastrophic. The not-at-all hidden agenda of the true believers in anthropogenic global warming is to present the science so that it leads to only one possible choice.


Peter Burnet said...

I think it may have a longer adolescence than you imply. We aren't dealing with objective observation here. Apparently the IPCC is coming out with the results of a new mega-study next month that will "remove all doubt" and "finally" establish anthropogenic climate change as a fact. These guys make ceremonial declarations of fact more regularly than the Darwinists do with evolution.

I've also noticed a spate of articles of late from individual climate change scientists who are described as having originally been sceptics about all the brouhaha and decided to crunch their own numbers to teach the fanatics a thing or two. Lo and behold, the fanatics were right all along and now our hero is beating the drum for reforms that make Al Gore look half-hearted. It is polemically very effective ("Even boring, sceptical old Bob is now on board"). It would be fun to look at their funding histories.

Here is some interesting commentary on the voodoo economics of climate change.

Hey Skipper said...

In yesterday's International Herald Tribune was a stem-winder of an article about the Davos gab fest.

Some prominent person there was quoted as saying that "opponents of anthropogenic global warning need to be actively suppressed."

Given the unknowns, there might be a precautionary case to be made, but they have gone way beyond that.

joe shropshire said...

It's science, it's completely self-correcting. Nothing to worry about here.

Duck said...

I'm willing to admit that anthroprogenic global warming is a reality, but I really don't know. I think it is as foolish to deny that it is possible as to comfirm that it is absolutely happening.

However, it is not up to scientists to decide what we should do about it if it is true. The worst thing we should do is destroy the global economy by trying to quit fossil fuels cold turkey.

One of my biggest concerns about global climate treaties is not so much the do-ability of man-made climate controls, although that is a huge concern. It is the precedent of guaranteeing climate stasis. We are opening ourselves up to massive political discontent and liability once we start down that route. What if we don't succeed, are we liable to lawsuits from the damaged nations? What about side effects? Are we liable for unexpected droughts, or severe weather? Just think about how much the world's people curse the weather now. They will all be cursing us once we take on the ridiculous task of climate control.