Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Global warming: "...a god-send for politicians"

Why do so many politicians want to so much to insist upon a scientific consensus over global warming when that consensus just doesn't exist? Dr Gerrit van der Lingen of NZ's Climate Science Coalition has a convincing theory [hat tip Lindsay Mitchell]:

"I always say the issue is a god-send for politicians. It's fantastic to say we are saving the planet but they will never be held to account in 30 to 50 years time. I call it a very convenient diversion for them." He said the evidence was not overwhelming. "This is one of the biggest myths or lies. It is not certain at all. We want evidence, very simply. "I give lots of lectures and I always say climate change and sea-level change only happen in computer models. Time and again, if one checks the real world against what I call the virtual world, they don't stack up at all." Insulting the [Climate Science] Coalition's views was the easy way out and avoided the debate, he said.
It's worth recalling however that not everyone proposes an authoritarian solution for any climate problems that do exist. However, and very conveniently, former Margaret Thatcher advisor Christopher Monckton summarises for the Sunday Telegraph the climate chaos over the claims for climate change -- and this is perhaps the clearest, most succinct summary of the rational skeptics' view that I've read. He begins:

Last week, Gordon Brown and his chief economist both said global warming was the worst "market failure" ever. That loaded soundbite suggests that the "climate-change" scare is less about saving the planet than, in Jacques Chirac's chilling phrase, "creating world government". This week and next, I'll reveal how politicians, scientists and bureaucrats contrived a threat of Biblical floods, droughts, plagues, and extinctions worthier of St John the Divine than of science.

Sir Nicholas Stern's report on the economics of climate change, which was published last week, says that the debate is over. It isn't. There are more greenhouse gases in the air than there were, so the world should warm a bit, but that's as far as the "consensus" goes.
Read on here for the first of what promises to be two excellent pieces by Monckton on this increasingly topical debate.

LINKS: Climate frenzy a diversion, say scientists - The Press
NZ Climate Science Coalition
What would a libertarian do about global warming? - Not PC (October, 2006)
Climate chaos? Don't believe it - Sunday Telegraph

RELATED:
Politics, Global Warming, Science, Politics-UK

12 Comments:

Anonymous hemi said...

Why do so many politicians want to so much to insist upon a scientific consensus over global warming when that consensus just doesn't exist?

But it does.

All these organisations agree that Climate Change is a problem...

* Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Bazil)
* Royal Society of Canada
* Chinese Academy of Sciences
* Academié des Sciences (France)
* Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
* Indian National Science Academy
* Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
* Science Council of Japan
* Russian Academy of Sciences
* Royal Society (United Kingdom)
* National Academy of Sciences (United States of America)
* Australian Academy of Sciences
* Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
* Caribbean Academy of Sciences
* Indonesian Academy of Sciences
* Royal Irish Academy
* Academy of Sciences Malaysia
* Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
* Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
* NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
* National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
* State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)
* Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
* Royal Society of the United Kingdom (RS)
* American Geophysical Union (AGU)
* National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
* American Meteorological Society (AMS)
* Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

Now, admittedly, many scientists disagree with the views of their peers, and that is normal, and to be expected. It doesn't however, change the fact that the consensus view is that Climage Change exists.

As per the linked-to wikipedia article on 'consensus': "In the ideal case, those who wish to take up some action want to hear those who oppose it, because they count on the fact that the ensuing debate will improve the consensus. In theory, action without resolution of considered opposition will be rare and done with attention to minimize damage to relationships."

11/07/2006 11:06:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

Of course climate change exists. But 'climate change' is not synonymous with 'global warming'. And I'm old enough to remember my science teachers categorically stating that we were 100,000 yrs overdue for another Ice Age.

They're the same ones who changed direction in the blink of an eye ...

The real question is how many of those organisations are publicly-funded?

Follow the (public) money - particularly where politicians are concerned.

11/07/2006 01:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Hemi said...

But 'climate change' is not synonymous with 'global warming'.

Okay then, 'climate change caused by human activities is a reality.'

The real question is how many of those organisations are publicly-funded?

And how many of the skeptics are funded by oil companies and large industry?

Surely, in most cases, scientists have to be funded by someone? Are all scientists biased towards the views of their paymasters? Both NOAA and NASA receive funding from the US Government, which, until very recently, has totally denied the existence of Global Warming. Surely taking such an unpopular view would result in them losing funding (which may actually be the case, but that's another story). Why would they take such an unpopular take on the issue if it wasn't something they actually believed in?

They're the same ones who changed direction in the blink of an eye ...

Consensus can change. Let's hope, in this case, that it does. I can't see, however, why taking steps that will lessen potential damage to the environment is a bad thing either way.

11/07/2006 02:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Kane Bunce said...

Hemi, heaps of people agreeing it exists doesn't make it true. Reality defines what is true not the consensus.

You should watch the Penn & Teller's Bullshit episode about global warming and why it is Bullshit with a capital B. Actually make that the whole word being capital.

There is also The Science of Discworld, which has a chapter on why global warming is rubbish and non-existant.

Also a lot of those are government ones, so they are hardly reliable. The exact reverse in fact.

Besides most species can survive external temperatures of well above 10 degrees Celcius above the norm, so it is nowhere near a catastrophe yet. especially since is is "BULLSHIT".

Sus, you are right that climate change and climate and global warming are not the same. Creatures throughtout history have survived the fact that this planet's natural changes of the climate.

Hemi, there is NO hard evidence, no proof that stands up to rational analysis that supports your claim that it is a reality. And since rationality is the recognising of reality it can never be wrong, thus proving the porrf wrong, thus showing global warming "experts" aren't, thus making global warming a thing we cannot rationally believe in.

Most of the sceptics aren't. I know Penn and Teller aren't. They're funded by Hollywood, which isn't exactly the biggest carbon dioxide emitter. Then their are people like myself, my cousin, PC, and Sus that don't have any funding, but yet realise the truth by looking at reality through rational analysis, which is the only way to see reality at all.

Also NASA and co believing in it doesn't prove anything. Reality isn't decided by belief. It is decided by reality.

As for how it is bad thing, how about the crippling effect it will have on the economy. Since we rely on the economy to survive, we'd be crippling our means of survival. Do you want to see deaths on a greater scale than during the Great Depression? Because that is what will happen if global warming alarmists happen. We'll have the greatest depression we've ever seen. In fact we'll return to the bad old pre-industralism days were survival was a lot harder. Coincidently socialism and statism is taking us that way anyway, as Ayn rand's Atlas Shrugged illustrates. But global warming alarmists would speed that up.

11/07/2006 02:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Hemi, you answered your own question .. yes, publicly-funded organisations changing their tune in order to not lose funding.

No argument with your last sentiment, per se. The argument is with having those steps *forced* upon us by politicians using dubious 'science'.

And you better believe I'm dubious where the UN's concerned - because as Monckton quotes Chirac: it's less about saving the planet than 'creating world govt'.

*That's* the issue. That's why politicians are hell-bent on using this.

11/07/2006 02:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Hemi said...

Hemi, heaps of people agreeing it exists doesn't make it true. Reality defines what is true not the consensus.

But consensus gives us the starting point for what to investigate, and the areas that are generally agreed upon. A lot of modern science is entirely based upon agreement amongst people rather than the 'reality'. At either end of the physical size scale, cosmology and quantum physics are often based on assumptions that are worked and reworked as more investigation is done. The 'reality' of either is unlikely to ever be known to us, so we do just ignore those aspects of our physical existence, or just try our best to get a better incomplete understanding through further research, always knowing that we will never be able to know the 'reality'.

Also a lot of those are government ones, so they are hardly reliable. The exact reverse in fact.

Eh? I thought we'd been over that. Why are government funded scientific studies any less reliable than those funded by large industry?

Hemi, there is NO hard evidence, no proof that stands up to rational analysis that supports your claim that it is a reality.

But there is. Read the IPCC report. Read the dozens of articles published by scientists who study this stuff. How much 'hard' evidence do you need? It's getting hotter, as predicted. How much hotter before it becomes a 'reality'?

Besides most species can survive external temperatures of well above 10 degrees Celcius above the norm, so it is nowhere near a catastrophe yet.

Well, probably yes, but so what? A 10 degree change in temperature would have accomanying changes to climate and coastlines that would be disastrous to the world economy. It's all very well surviving as a species, but not if it means decades of upheaval as the world's mostly coastline based larger cities start to have problems staying above water.

Do you want to see deaths on a greater scale than during the Great Depression?

Ahaha. You live in your reality, I'll live in mine.

Hemi, you answered your own question .. yes, publicly-funded organisations changing their tune in order to not lose funding.

But the opposite was true. NOAA and NASA took a line that was contrary to what their government was saying. Only recently has the government come into line with what the scientists were saying all along.

The argument is with having those steps *forced* upon us by politicians using dubious 'science'.

Was is the science so 'dubious'? Seriously, dozens of the world's pre-eminent scientific organisations (as listed above) endorse the theory of Global Warming. Many have published articles and papers stating so.

Again, I'm not saying the overwhelming consensus that currently supports Global Warming might not be overthrown by an alternate view, but current evidence and theory points to this being an incredibly big problem for humanity (and not in an 'end-of-the-world' way, just a 'having-to-deal-with' way).

A handful of dissenting climate scientists, a couple of TV magicians and a UK tory journalist aren't swaying me as much as the views of hundreds of presumably intelligent scientists.

11/07/2006 04:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Hemi said...
[Okay then, 'climate change caused by human activities is a reality.']

You must be a sucker Hemi. There is climate change which is a fact. To assert that it is caused by human activities is naive and blindly following the consensus of the majority.

Hemi said...
[And how many of the skeptics are funded by oil companies and large industry?]

I am a skeptic but I am not funded by anyone to debate on the subject.

Hemi said...
[Consensus can change.]

Yes, exactly. On the scientific evidence that is well established ,it is human activities that cause global warming, then my opinion will change. At the moment, there is no direct evidence that it does exist. The only evidence they have now is computer models. It does not mean that Computer models are bullshit, but in doing large scale numerical simulations, the model have to be very consistent with observations. If the models stood up to the consistency of observations in agreement with simulations, then there is some indication that the model is somehow valid, but it does not mean it is the true representations of the physics of the climate process. There could be hidden variables that are not observables by humans but their indirect effect on other variables are measurable.

Hemi said...
[Read the IPCC report. Read the dozens of articles published by scientists who study this stuff.]

I have read most of it, and I had to stop reading it because it is simplistic with the models covered there, which does make you think that the world's fate is determined by a first order differential equation.

Hemi said...
[At either end of the physical size scale, cosmology and quantum physics are often based on assumptions that are worked and reworked as more investigation is done.]

Really? Why are you comparing climate change to established physics as Cosmology & Quantum Mechanics. Climate science is completely different to those core Physics disciplines. Alot of peer publications in 'Climate Science' are based on 'Inductive Inferences', where there is no Physics at all involved. Cosmology & Quantum Mechanics are deductive which they were formulated based on some known facts about reality that have shown to work on certain domain. Assumptions are then made about the unknown. Quantum Mechanics were not formulated out of the thin air. It was formulated based on 3 main principles in Newtonian Physics that were known to be true. So, Cosmology & Quantum Mechanics are generalisation of Newtonians. Climate change science is no generalisation at all, because if you compare some of those different models that have been published, there is some holes and also some contradictories. For example, there is a huge hole in 'Feedback of Coupling Climate Systems'. There is no model which can solve this highly non-linear scenario at the moment. Not even any of those organisations you have quoted above.

Hemi said...
[Read the dozens of articles published by scientists who study this stuff.]

Yes, but some of those papers published by those scientists don't touch the difficult problems of 'Nonlinear Coupling Systems', and most of them don't even have a clue to what 'Nonlinear Coupling Systems' is. I will be keen Hemi if you can find out a scientist from those organisations you listed above who have formulated a complete 'Climate Coupling Systems' model which is available to look at somewhere.

11/07/2006 05:33:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Hemi, you countered my question "Why do so many politicians want to so much to insist upon a scientific consensus over global warming when that consensus just doesn't exist?" with the statement, "But it does."

The thing is that all those organisations you list do indeed insist that there is a consensus, but they achieve that by the simple expedient of branding all those with whom they disagree "climate change deniers." The recent modus operandi of the Royal Society is instructive to the methodology. See here and here.

If I may quote from Christopher Monkton's linked article, which you appear not have addressed:
"Sir Nicholas Stern's report on the economics of climate change, which was published last week, says that the debate is over. It isn't. There are more greenhouse gases in the air than there were, so the world should warm a bit, but that's as far as the "consensus" goes."

In fact, there is not even consensus on how much the planet warmed last century (or what caused it), let alone by how much or by what means it might warm this coming century. As Monckton records:
"In the US, where weather records have been more reliable than elsewhere, 20th-century temperature went up by only 0.3C. AccuWeather, a worldwide meteorological service, reckons world temperature rose by 0.45C. The US National Climate Data Centre says 0.5C. Any advance on 0.5? The UN went for 0.6C..."

To continue with Monckton's article, this time from his references and detailed calculations [pdf]:

"ALL TEN of the propositions listed below must be proven true if the climate-change "consensus" is to be proven true. The first article considers the first six of the listed propositions and draws the conclusions shown. The second article will consider the remaining four propositions.
Proposition
1. That the debate is over and all credible climate scientists are agreed. Conclusion: False
2. That temperature has risen above millennial variability and is exceptional. Conclusion: Very unlikely
3. That changes in solar irradiance are an insignificant forcing mechanism. Conclusion: False
4. That the last century’s increases in temperature are correctly measured. Conclusion: Unlikely
5. That greenhouse-gas increase is the main forcing agent of temperature. Conclusion: Not proven
6. That temperature will rise far enough to do more harm than good. Conclusion: Very unlikely
7. That continuing greenhouse-gas emissions will be very harmful to life. Conclusion: Unlikely
8. That proposed carbon-emission limits would make a definite difference. Conclusion: Very unlikely
9. That the environmental benefits of remediation will be cost-effective. Conclusion: Very unlikely
10. That taking precautions, just in case, would be the responsible course. Conclusion: False"

11/07/2006 06:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Hemi said...

If I may quote from Christopher Monkton's linked article, which you appear not have addressed:
"Sir Nicholas Stern's report on the economics of climate change, which was published last week, says that the debate is over. It isn't.


Well, when I spoke of a "UK tory journalist" not swaying my opinion, that's who I meant. But regardless, I'm happy to admit the debate is still open. But again, if you look at the definition of "consensus", the consensus is currently with the Global Warming believers. And, again, if their opponents, the data and the reality starts to reflect something different from what they're proposing, then I'm sure they (as well as I) will change their tune.

Why are you comparing climate change to established physics as Cosmology & Quantum Mechanics.

I thought I had tried to make that clear. If you believe that we know all there is to know (ie. the 'reality') of quantum physics, and that the behaviour of sub-atomic particles is predictable, and similarly to the movement and behaviour of distant galaxies then I suppose my analogy is clearly flawed. I was just trying to point out that science is often based on data and assumption, as opposed to hard evidence and tangible 'reality'.

But we would appear to be at loggerheads. I will thus bid this discussion farewell...

11/07/2006 08:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Hemi,

Here is the most difficult part of climate modelling which was addressed in this workshop (see link below). What is not known yet (due to difficulty in the formulations of the climate model) is how coupling systems relate to other coupling sytems (or sub-systems), or how one climate sub-systems relate to other coupling sub-systems. Read carefully and then decide for yourself that the most difficulty part is not yet been solved. So, let the debate go on and don't shut it too soon, because scientists have not yet fully understood how climate coupling systems work. It is highly non-linear & very complex to model & solve. Until scientists have got some clear idea on how this most difficult problem work, then perhaps we hope that they are closer to finding the solution. But now, the consensus team has been pushed by the Green Peace, and the debate is not yet final.

"WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE SYSTEM FEEDBACKS"
http://grp.giss.nasa.gov/reports/feedback.workshop.report.html

11/07/2006 09:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Hemi,

Here is a dynamical systems model of a "prey & predator". The "prey & predator" is a non-linear coupling systems which is known as 'Lotka-Voltera' equation. The domain is biological population control systems , but it is no different to dynamical systems in a climate systems. The systems is coupled because there are variables 'x' & 'y' appearing in both equations, which means if either 'x' or 'y' is perturbed (changed) then both equations are affected, and you call this a coupling systems.

"Lotka-Volterra equations : Predator-Prey equations"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volterra-Lotka_equations

Both the equations for predator & prey are first order differential equations, that is 'dx/dt' or 'dy/dt'. Also both equations contain a cross-term multiplications that is 'x*y' and this is what make this systems non-linear (cross-term).

In the workshop for feedback in climate systems that I posted in my previous message, it seemed that scientists are facing more complex dynamics than is simply shown by the 'predator-prey' model, because they were discussing a systems within systems (or sub-systems within sub-systems). God knows how many of these sub-systems within sub-systems they are trying to figure out. So, in terms of consensus, it is rubbish to say that the debate is final.

If you're interested to see how the "predator-prey" dynamical systems model (Lotka-Voltera) look like in its 'Block Diagrams' form, then take a look at this link below. The block diagram is at the bottom. The diagram is only for 2 equations (predator-prey), however, imagine how would a complete non-linear dynamical climate model is formulated which approximate the reality of nature? I bet that the feed-forward & feed-back of signal flow between variables are going to be much more complex for a climate model than the 2 variables of the 'predator-prey' dynamical systems.

"Lotka-Volterra (predator-prey) : Block Diagrams".
http://www.mit.edu/~ghe/

11/07/2006 09:46:00 pm  
Anonymous Kane Bunce said...

Hemi, if "scienec" is based upon agreement instead of reality then it isn't science. The job of science to is recognise reality for what it is, not to agree. As for quantum physics it blatantly ignores reality, thus making it innaccurate. Only acknowledgng reality can lead to be accurate, not consensus and not ignoring reality, and not asumptions. As the authors of The Science of Discworld said, science needs reason (the recognition of reality) or else it fails.

As for us not knowing the reality of them that is rubbish. To the rational man reality is always knowable.

They are less reliable because they abide by the will of the politicians who fund them. Politicians will do what they percieve to be in their political interest not what is accurate. Also government funded ones have been proven by their privately funded ones to be less reliable.

Hemi, it is not getting hotter. According to reports 2005 was not the hottest year. 1998 was. That was 8 years ago. Besides warming occuring does not prove man caused it. We don't yet know enough about the planet's climate cycle to know if the planet is doing it to itself. Ther is no proof we are causing it.

As for rising sea levels, studies prove they are NOT rising at all.

Hemi, we cannot live in seperate realities. There is only 1 reality and we all live in it. The only difference lies in whether we choose to see it or not.

Hemi, just because so many endorse it doesn't make it true. If I wanted to play the numbers game I could point out that a even larger number disagree with that view. Instead I will stick with saying those ones are more reliable than your sources and provide better proof to their views. Such as: Antartica is actually gaining ice overall and Canada's polar bear population isn't shrinking (in fact 11 out of 13 are gorwing or stable).

The detractors include the incredibably intelligent and, more importantly, rational authors of The Science of DFiscworld, which are all scientists.

Also many scientists are finding natural causes for most of the "global warming things". For example a team of Russian scientists believe they have proved that water vapour affects the climate more than CO2. If natural causes are the reason we can do nothing about it and must simply go along for the ride.

Also falafulu made good points in his last two posts.

11/09/2006 11:05:00 am  

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