Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Climate Change Catastrophe

For years now, I've been a "climate change" skeptic. I don't deny that the climate changes, I do, however, question three things:

1. That the earth is, in fact, warming

Many of the ground-based temperature monitoring stations are located in urban areas, where temperatures would naturally be warmer. Some of them have famously been sited right next to heat extractor ducts from aircon and the like. So the immediate implication of this is that the surface data we have is not reliable and is very likely to be skewed upwards.

There is also not a very good coverage of these stations. Much of the land mass is not covered AT ALL. Almost none of the sea is covered, either. And the alleged rise in sea temperatures can also be questioned, if not ignored, because of changes in the methodology of taking the sea temperature over time.

However, warmist alarmists have extrapolated from the coverage that they do have, that temperatures are the same in places that don't have thermometers as they are in place they do have thermometers. This is roughly akin to saying "because it's raining in , it is raining all over the UK" or saying that "because it's raining over most of the UK, it's raining all over the world."

So, we now move on to satellite-observed temperatures. These are widely regarded as being the most accurate measurements. However, these have only been running for about 20 years, so they cannot be compared with other data sets in any sensible manner.

And only one of the six sets of satellite data shows any kind of warming trend. It is wildly out of kilter with all the other sets of data. Oddly enough, this is the data which comes from NASA, (very much) under the control of James Hanson, who has made a lot of career out of ... being a warmist alarmist.

All the other evidence that I have seen says that there is no visible warming trend, in fact there is a slight cooling trend, which frightens me a lot more than a warming trend. But more of that later.

So, first and foremost, I'm not convinced that the earth is currently warming at all.

2. That if the earth is warming, man is causing it

Now, the next question is that we have to assume that the earth is warming. The connection between any putative warming and man's meagre scratchings on the planet is, as far as I can tell, based on lots of hand waving, wishful thinking and "computer models".

Now, the computer models have a very similar deficiency to the thermal records: granularity. Computer models assume that areas of 122,500 square miles have the exact same climate. And if that sounds fair, think about the fact that the UK is 93,000 square miles in area. Does the Peak District have the same climate as Brighton? Does Nice have the same climate as Val d'Isère? How about London and the Nürburgring?

Yet as far as our climate modellers are concerned, this is a valid assumption.

There is also a considerable amount of debate about whether "climate change gases" (of which CO2 is not a significant driver, it's just used because it's relatively easy to monitor and track and hence, tax) have positive or negative feedback in a loop. If they have positive feedback, the loop spirals out of control and "bad things" happen. If they have negative feedback, then the spiral self-corrects and stabilises out. Current research indicates that the feedback is negative, so that even if the temperature is rising (and it isn't) and man is causing it (we don't) then it's not a problem anyway.

There is a lot of skepticism about the funding of anti-warmists. "Oil companies protecting their butts" is a common charge. And it's true, they could be protecting their butts and lying to us. But you could be taking money off the oil companies and telling the truth, the two are not mutually exlusive. What is not recorded with anywhere near the same prominence, however, is the source of funding for all the warmists. Well, mostly it's from governments, i.e., it's your and my tax money at work. At least the oil companies are spending their own money pushing their case.

And while it's equally true that taxpayer funding does not preclude the warmists from telling the truth, the idea that these noble-minded people are all doing it for Gaia is ludicrous. Warmists are people, too. They want funding. They want headlines. They want power.

And governments? Well, they luuurve the idea of an opportunity to increase their reach and grasp, and global wormening definitely gives them justification for just about anything they want. Let's face it, when was the last time the government told the truth about anything, let alone anything big? Iraq? Iran? Swine Flu?

So, I'm not convinced that man is causing any change to the global climate.

3. That if the earth is warming, the consequences will be bad for us

It is universally portrayed to us that any and all of the consequences of global warming will be catastrophic. There will be either flooding or droughts. Tempestuous weather, earthquakes, tsunamis and the finger of God inserted into our collective rectum all the way up to the elbow. Species will be wiped out left, right and centre. But historically, warmer paleo-climates were periods of incredible benefit for the creatures who lived then. Plant life was more abundant and bio-diversity (all hail to Gaia) always peaked in times of warmth. Surely at least some of the extra rain that falls will be beneficial?

Also, we're on our way out of an ice age. When Krakatoa erupted and we had a serious chillout, the effects on the earth were very immediate and frightening: crops failed, snow and ice, no summer - it was a fucking catastrophe. Bio-diversity and Gaia be fucked, a couple of years of that and humankind would have taken a serious beating.

In contrast, the Medieval Warm Period was regarded as a period of prosperity and progress. I'm personally much more frightened of Global Cooling than I am of Global Warming.

4. The old bullshit detector

It started going off from day one, really. "The science is settled" was a typical example. The science is never fucking settled. When I was at school, they still taught something like the Bohr model of the atom, which we now know is completely inadequate. Yet here we have a relatively young science, which is somehow miraculously already fully-formed and completely understood.


Then there is the involvement of the IPCC. Supposedly a conglomerate of impartial, unbiased scientists working for the good of the world, it is, in fact, an enormous fuck-off multi-national unelected, unaccountable but still taxpayer-funded quango. The interesting thing is that although scientists draft the boring, unreadable technical documents, governments draft the summaries. Quite often, the technical documents say one thing and the summaries (which are all anyone ever reads, let's face it) say the complete opposite. A number of scientists have left the IPCC because of their dismay at being misrepresented - and some of them have been warmist alarmists!

I've already alluded to the issue of dodgy data earlier in the post, but this week a quite staggering bit of information has come to light:

"I hardly know where to begin in terms of commentary on this difference."
Possibly the understatement of, well, several centuries from Mr McIntyre there. There is a detailed exposition of the events over at Bishop Hill, but in a nutshell, a scientist cherry-picked a bunch of data which led to a false conclusion and when all the data was considered, there was no proof AT ALL of the so-called "hockey stick" rise in temperatures.

So, lies, bullying, bluster and quangoes. And no evidence. And fraud. And we pay people to enable governments to fuck us around some more. It sounds
just like a New Labour project, to be honest.

Update: more from DK.


Anonymous said...

you have clearly stated the reality of the situation. the real and immediate problems are over-fishing, pollution (thanks for all the mercury-vapour "green" bulbs!) and deforestation. these problems could be conceivably dealt with by governments, but won't be. instead, carbon dioxide is the straw-man, to be used as a means of taxation. in reality, it benefits plant growth and is harmless.
global warming is a myth, the general trend is down. the world was once a molten, airless blob. it was once completely covered in glaciers. it has been everywhere in between, including supporting trees and reptiles at the south pole. we are being taught to fear good weather. we are being lied to.

Dr Evadne said...

Yep. This is the sort of thing that really, really, really winds me up. Especially when it comes packaged with Ed Milliband and other dorks who don't know an isobar from a pint of pish.
Those of us who have studied climatology, stratigraphy, global tectonics, glaciation, blah, blah, blah, know that the climate is changing and will do regardless of how many wind mills they stick up outside my house. In fact someone should find out if wind farms generate their own microclimate.
I'm sick of it but more sick of the fact that these scare tactics are being used to 'legitimately' extract even more tax/cash from us and give it to power companies, local authorities and Gordon Brown. Climate change this, climate change that. Its bollux and now I'm going to lie down in a darkened room (in order to save fuel).

Anonymous said...

Cap&Trade is the opportunity of a lifetime for governments. This is just like the opportunity which arose from the Civil war; Income tax was introduced to pay for the civil war and has remained with us ever since. Cap&Trade will be used in the same way. In 20 years, after the planet has long been "saved" Cap&Trade will remain, permanently. We can deliver action on climate change without Cap&Trade, just through regular legislation which encourages investment in renewable enrgy. We don't need Cap&Trade. But governments view Cap&Trade as a golden goose, the chance to make billions in new revenue. That's what the battle over Cap&Trade is rally about. If we wanted to save the planet, we would already have regular legislation to achieve this. But Cap&Trade will generate too much money to let go without a fight. Cliamte change is really about the money, nothing else.

bayard said...

@Anon(17:25): What Civil War are we talking about, Brit or US?

Reefknot said...

Manmade Global Warming is just a scam to justify taxing you more. Governments have already started to do this, Ergo I am right.

AntiCitizenOne said...

Considering your IT background I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the most obvious (to Programmers) flaw in AGW theory.

Basically recursive AGW computer models ignore a feature called "Exponential Error" basically over time the amount of error expands relative to the predictive signal.

Say for example a simulation + data is 95% accurate (and that's an exaggeration). Then after 1 cycle there is 5% error and 95% accuracy.

What about predicting 2 cycles ahead?
well 0.95^2 = 0.9025 = 90% accuracy and 10% error.

What about predicting 30 years ahead?

21% accuracy 79% error.

What about predicting 100 years ahead (like AGW believers do)?

0.5% accuracy 99.5% error.

AGW Is a con.

Edgar said...

The Bohr model is still used as an introduction to quantum mechanics. The reason that it is so is that more sophisticated treatment requires an understanding of how to solve second order partial differential equations.

You see the point, here? If you do not have years of experience in climate modelling and nonlinear dynamics, you cannot see what the data are showing.

You're like the 'A'-level student who thinks that electrons orbit, therefore they just must have angular momentum. The experimental fact that, in its rest state, the hydrogen atom's electron has zero angular momentum is incomprehensible to a person at that stage of learning.

You are not entitled to have an opinion on the science, Obo, although you are quite entitled to express any prejudice you choose to support.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Edgar, well, excuuuuse me.

I may not be able to argue the intricacies of climate modelling with superior beings like yourself, however, I can tell when I'm being bullied and bullshitted.

And warmist alarmists are bullying and bullshitting me. Your delightful arrogance notwithstanding.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Obo, you missed Point 5.