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CLIMATE SLEEP WALKING February 22, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Global Warming Politics, Natural Environment.
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At Common Dreams, John Acherson, argues that the ” United States  is headed towards a dystopic plutocracy”.  The reason, he says, is because  “the country is running on lies, myths, deceptions and distractions”  So what is new and what is different?

One of his examples is the proposition that “Climate change is just a theory, and we can’t afford to address it”. And then he claims:

Thanks to Republican denial, Democratic complicity and press malfeasance, we’re literally sleepwalking into the worst catastrophe the human race has ever faced.

Professor Bob Carter, from James Cook University, based on ice core data begs to differ. Looking at the climate record provided, he suggests the claims in temperature over the geological record are not exceptional:

His conclusions run counter to the “Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” suggested by Union of Concerned Scientists.

So what about ice cores:

Sinclair Davis at Catallaxy quotes The Wall Street Journal and the disagreement between opponents and proponents of carbon dioxide as the critical causal factor in the warming of the earth observed in the atmosphere and the oceans. In the most recent opinion piece, the opponents suggested that the predictions were incorrect therefore the theory should be abandoned, choosing to ignore what says above. In comments Louis Hissink suggests the greenhouse model has been thoroughly demolished and David Evans checks the climate models predictions against the best data and finds the climate models gets them wrong.

The Wall Street Journal had in May 2010 refused to publish a letter, then published in The Guardian from a number of scientists, which read in part:

We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything. When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying society should never take action. For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet.

Scientific conclusions derive from an understanding of basic laws supported by laboratory experiments, observations of nature, and mathematical and computer modelling. Like all human beings, scientists make mistakes, but the scientific process is designed to find and correct them. This process is inherently adversarial— scientists build reputations and gain recognition not only for supporting conventional wisdom, but even more so for demonstrating that the scientific consensus is wrong and that there is a better explanation. That’s what Galileo, Pasteur, Darwin, and Einstein did. But when some conclusions have been thoroughly and deeply tested, questioned, and examined, they gain the status of “well-established theories” and are often spoken of as “facts.”

Now the question is will the WSJ offer the  climate scientists a right of reply?

So what are climate models and how do they work:

It might be useful to revisit ice cores and greenhouse gases in the formation of climate models:

Have the climate models been falsified, as claimed, and therefore we do not need to be concerned the welfare of great grand children of those people under the age of ten alive today? There still is the problem of over-population, biodiversity, energy, water and food security. The moral and social rationale for economic growth was not to provide for a small minority at the expense of the planet and the larger global community. It is unconscionable not to consider the welfare of those who will living on this planet which will span just three generations from those now beginning their lives now, and will be six generations representing one hundred and twenty five years.

POSTSCRIPT:

Do these projections as represented by the opponents of carbon dioxide induced climate change who published in the WSJ falsity the theory?

FURTHER OBSERVATION AND REFERENCES:

Climate science has public policy implications. So it moves into the political sphere of non-scientists and non-scientifically trained people. Given the framing values governing the world views of the most active participants in the public square of debate, not excluding the vested interests groups and the deployment of public relations techniques, climate science becomes individually and collectively a test of how we conduct our democracy. Democracy is in essence an engagement by the members of the “the polis” in public inquiry across the various media platforms. Majority opinion, election and political structures are the means to the end, but the process begins with the individual, or in effect social interaction with groups of people and between different groups. Truth is not inimical to democracy or to science, but rather the central purpose of both.

My method such that it attempts to compare and contrast the various opinions, to weigh different arguments. The aim is to use “systematic doubt” and to use rational and dispassionate inquiry. The truth is whatever it is. Descartes also had rules for the direction of mind that included not just breaking things down but looking at the whole process. I find I have to sleep on things and give myself time to think about them which probably reflects the fact, among other variables, that I do not know enough about the subject. For example, it is one thing to criticize climate models, but you need to know why they are adopted, subject to known and unknown limitations. What was the historical context for their creation as well as the judgment that greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide. To this end, Climate Watch Magazine, produced by NOAA is a reasonable source.

Barry Bickmore, at Real Climate, addresses the issues raised by the WSJ op-ed. It seems the problem is not so much climate science models as statistics.

Economist, William D Nordhaus, who was quoted in the letter by the climate science “rejectionists” and who strangely managed to misquote his findings, for the wrote The New York Review of Books. His article was called: “Why the Global Warming Skeptics are Wrong”.

 

 

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