Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On How We Got Into this Entire Mess (i.e., Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change - Previously Known as Global Warming)

  The obvious answer of course is that government got involved but let's dive a little bit deeper here. Specifically, I would say that there are three major reasons and here they are.  a) The fact that the government bureaucrats, politicians and governments, radical environmentalists, and activist scientists started with a hypothesis that they were totally wedded to and instead of conducting experiments to reject the null hypothesis they looked just for phenomena that made them look correct (as Murry Salby pointed out, if it's your job to find anthropogenic climate change, you had better find it or you'll be cast out of that job). b) The fact that the government only funded one side (which is completely unacceptable). c) The fact that politicians seem almost innately drawn to issues which call for them to act and solidify state power. And d) the fact that none of the "research" was done using the double-blind procedure which remains the gold standard for scientific inquiry (having instead activist buffoons like James Hanson, Michael Mann, and Keith Briffa controlling and manipulating the data)...............................................................................................Yes, there are of course other factors involved here such as entrenchment of bureaucracy, noble cause corruption, mass psychosis, cronyism (the fact that banks and various corporations stood to benefit greatly from the proposed policies; green energy, carbon trading, etc.), etc. but in my opinion it's always been this incestuous relationship between science and government that jet-propelled the thing.


BB-Idaho said...

Some of your argument has some merit. I met a young married couple, normal in
all respects except they were both PhD atmospheric physicists working for a private think tank in the Pacific NW. So let's give them the benefit of the doubt: their
'concern' isn't political, it is simply the data, rising CO2, rising global temperature..taking place in the closed system we call the atmosphere. As scientists we should expect they would be curious and learn as much as possible about the causes. In my science work, double-blind was welcomed and cured more than one skeptical naysayer; peer agreement reinforces hypotheses. Since atmospheric studies rely mostly on historical data, there isn't much in the line
of laboratory experimentation, and double-blind testing is nearly impossible (unless your have some ideas). So the science thus far has been torn between
academia and the energy company house scientists and lets give them both credits and even admit both poles may have their biases. Surely, there are sectors which
have muddied the waters; you mentioned politics and green industries (but forgot the even more egregious fossil fuel lobby). We presume their interest are non
scientific, non sociological/anthropological, but monetary. Whether the 'sky is falling' POV is merited regarding AGW is certainly arguable: some concerned scientists believe preemptive action necessary, others think action will only occur when (and if) serious atmospheric phenomena affect society significantly. Others,
mostly non climate scientists, see no problem whatsoever and I guess one of these groups is likely correct. We won't know in our lifetimes, given the nature of long term phenomena. We recall the arguments of the physicists over whether a chain reaction could or could not produce enough fission to produce an A-bomb. The argument was not settled until the Trinity Test: the first atom bomb, fueled by
Plutonium, which did not exist prior the the start of the argument. As for data manipulation, that is spawn of advertising the darling of Wall Street and the bane
of science and medicine, but it happens. Luckily, science by its nature soon discovers and fixes the falsity, but there have been and always will be true believers in concepts whether based on fact or not. Me, I suspect there are more
important things to worry about in my senior years.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

What we can agree on is that a doubling of CO2 in an experimental setting will give you approximately a 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature. The problem here is that the atmosphere has so many other variables and it now appears (through the findings of Lindzen and Spencer) that the feedbacks are negative (not surprising in that natural systems almost always have negative feedback loops; the human body, for instance); meaning that a doubling of CO2 will probably only raise temps by about .4 degrees Celsius. A problem? In my mind, not so much but even if it is even Al Gore seems to be coming around more to adaptation as opposed to prevention and on this I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Gore.