Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Three realities of Climate Change

Professor Bob Carter wrote an article in Quadrant magazine in November of 2008 called The Futile Quest for Climate Control. Any emphasis is mine.

In it he says there are three realities for Climate Change: Climate Change knows three realities: science reality, which is what working scientists deal with every day; virtual reality, which is the wholly imaginary world inside computer models; and public reality, which is the socio-political system within which politicians, business people and the general citizenry work.

Here are a number of extracts from his lengthy article:

Science Reality: is that climate is a complex, dynamic, natural system that no one wholly comprehends, though many scientists understand different small parts. So far, science provides no unambiguous evidence that dangerous or even measurable human-caused global warming is occurring. …As Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick (in Taken by Storm) have observed:
“Global warming is a topic that sprawls in a thousand directions. There is no such thing as an ‘expert’ on global warming, because no one can master all the relevant subjects. On the subject of climate change everyone is an amateur on many if not most of the relevant topics.”

…The hypothesis of the IPCC was, and remains, that human greenhouse gas emissions (especially of carbon dioxide) are causing dangerous global warming. The IPCC concentrates its analyses of climate change on only the last few hundred years, and has repeatedly failed to give proper weight to the geological context of the 150-year-long instrumental record. When viewed in historical context, and assessed against empirical data, the greenhouse hypothesis fails. There is no evidence that late-twentieth-century rates of temperature increase were unusually rapid or reached an unnaturally high peak; no human-caused greenhouse signal has been measured or identified despite the expenditure since 1990 of many billions of dollars searching for it; and global temperature, which peaked within the current natural cycle in 1998, has been declining since 2002 despite continuing increases in carbon dioxide emission.

Therefore, science reality in 2008 is that the IPCC’s hypothesis of dangerous, human-caused global warming has been repeatedly tested and failed. In contrast, the proper null hypothesis that the global climatic changes that we observe today are natural in origin has yet to be disproven. The only argument that remains to the IPCC—and it is solely a theoretical argument, not evidence of any kind—is that their unvalidated computer models project that carbon-dioxide-driven dangerous warming will occur in the future: just you wait and see! It is therefore to these models that we now turn.

Virtual Reality: is that computer models predict future climate according to the assumptions that are programmed into them. There is no established Theory of Climate, and therefore the potential output of all realistic computer general circulation models (GCMs) encompasses a range of both future warmings and cooling's, the outcome depending upon the way in which they are constructed. Different results can be produced at will simply by adjusting such poorly known parameters as the effects of cloud cover.

…The modellers themselves acknowledge that they are unable to predict future climate, preferring the term “projection” (which the IPCC, in turn, uses as the basis for modelled socio-economic “scenarios”) to describe the output of their experiments.

The confidence that can be placed on GCM climate projections is indicated by the disclaimers that the CSIRO always includes in its climate consultancy reports. For example:
“This report relates to climate change scenarios based on computer modelling. Models involve simplifications of the real processes that are not fully understood. Accordingly, no responsibility will be accepted by CSIRO ... for the accuracy of forecasts or predictions inferred from this report or for any person’s interpretations, deductions, conclusions or actions in reliance on this report.”

It is clear from all of this that climate GCMs do not produce predictive outputs that are suitable for direct application in policy making; it is therefore inappropriate to use IPCC model projections for planning, or even precautionary, purposes, as if they were real forecasts of future climate. Notwithstanding, it remains the case, amazingly, that the IPCC’s claims of a dangerous human influence on climate now rest almost solely on their unrealistic, unvalidated GCM climate projections.

Public Reality: in 2008 is that, driven by strong environmental lobby groups and evangelistic scientists and journalists, there is a widespread but erroneous belief in our society that dangerous global warming is occurring and that it has human causation.

…opinion polls show that most of the rest of us have become severely alarmed about the threat of human-caused climate change. Therefore, public reality, as perceived by the Rudd government at least, is that the Australian electorate now expects the government to “do something” about global warming—that is, to introduce a carbon dioxide taxation system. This means that there exists a strong disjunction between climate alarm as perceived by the public and the science justification for that alarm.

The means by which the public has been convinced that dangerous global warming is occurring are not subtle. The three main agents are: the reports from the IPCC; incessant bullying by environmental NGOs and allied scientists, political groups and business; and the obliging promulgation of selectively alarmist climate information by the media. Indeed, the combined alarmist activities of the IPCC, crusading environmental NGOs, some individual leading climate scientists and many science agencies and academies can only be termed a propaganda campaign. However, because all of these many interest groups communicate with the public primarily through the gatekeepers of the press, it is the press that carries the prime responsibility for the unbalanced state of the current public discussion and opinion on global warming.

We will examine each of these three main agents used to convince the public throughout this blog.

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