Science systematically understating climate change

A new report from David Spratt who is Research Director for Breakthrough and co-author of Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action. His recent reports include Recount: It’s time to “Do the math” again, Climate Reality Check, Antarctic Tipping Points for a Multi-metre Sea-level Rise and Disaster Alley: Climate change, conflict and risk, and Ian Dunlop who is a senior member of the Advisory Board for Breakthrough. Ian was an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. From 1998-2000 he chaired the Australian Greenhouse Office Experts Group on Emissions Trading. He is a member of the Club of Rome:

Three decades ago, when serious debate on human-induced climate change began at the global level, a great deal of statesmanship was on display. There was a preparedness to recognise that this was an issue transcending nation states, ideologies and political parties which had to be addressed proactively in the long-term interests of humanity as a whole, even if the existential nature of the risk it posed was far less clear cut than it is today.

As global institutions were established to take up this challenge, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and the extent of change this would demand of the fossil-fuel-dominated world order became clearer, the forces of resistance began to mobilise. Today, as a consequence, and despite the diplomatic triumph of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the debate around climate change policy has never been more dysfunctional, indeed Orwellian.

In his book 1984, George Orwell describes a double-speak totalitarian state where most of the population accepts “the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane.”

Orwell could have been writing about climate change and policymaking. International agreements talk of limiting global warming to 1.5–2°C, but in reality they set the world on a path of 3–5°C. Goals are reaffirmed, only to be abandoned. Coal is “clean”. Just 1°C of warming is already dangerous, but this cannot be said. The planetary future is hostage to myopic national self-interest. Action is delayed on the assumption that as yet unproven technologies will save the day, decades hence. The risks are existential, but it is “alarmist” to say so. A one-in-two chance of missing a goal is normalised as reasonable.

Climate policymaking for years has been cognitively dissonant, “a flagrant violation of reality”. So it is unsurprising that there is a lack of a understanding amongst the public and elites of the full measure of the climate challenge. Yet most Australians sense where we are heading: three-quarters of Australians see climate change as catastrophic risk, and half see our way 1 of life ending within the next 100 years.

Politics and policymaking have norms: rules and practices, assumptions and boundaries, that constrain and shape them. In recent years, the previous norms of statesmanship and long-term thinking have disappeared, replaced by an obsession with short-term political and commercial advantage Climate policymaking is no exception.

Since 1992, short-term economic interest has trumped environmental and future human needs. The world today emits 48% more carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the consumption of energy than it did 25 years ago, and the global economy has more than doubled in size. The UNFCCC strives “to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”, but every year humanity’s ecological footprint becomes larger and less sustainable. Humanity now requires the biophysical capacity of 1.7 planets annually to survive as it rapidly chews up the natural capital.

A fast, emergency-scale transition to a post-fossil fuel world is absolutely necessary to address climate change. But this is excluded from consideration by policymakers because it is considered to be too disruptive. The orthodoxy is that there is time for an orderly economic transition within the current short-termist political paradigm. Discussion of what would be safe –– less warming that we presently experience –– is non-existent. And so we have a policy failure of epic proportions.

Policymakers, in their magical thinking, imagine a mitigation path of gradual change, to be constructed over many decades in a growing, prosperous world. The world not imagined is the one that now exists: of looming financial instability; of a global crisis of political legitimacy; of a sustainability crisis that extends far beyond climate change to include all the fundamentals of human existence and most significant planetary boundaries (soils, potable water, oceans, the atmosphere, biodiversity, and so on); and of severe global energy sector dislocation.

In anticipation of the upheaval that climate change would impose upon the global order, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was established by the UN in 1988, charged with regularly assessing the global consensus on climate science as a basis for policymaking. The IPCC Assessment Reports (AR), produced every 5–6 years, play a large part in the public framing of the climate narrative: new reports are a global media event. AR5 was produced in 2013-14, with AR6 due in 2022. The IPCC has done critical, indispensable work of the highest standard in pulling together a periodic consensus of what must be the most exhaustive scientific investigation in world history. It does not carry out its own research, but reviews and collates peer-reviewed material from across the spectrum of this incredibly complex area, identifying key issues and trends for policymaker consideration.

However, the IPCC process suffers from all the dangers of consensus-building in such a wide-ranging and complex arena. For example, IPCC reports, of necessity, do not always contain the latest available information. Consensus-building can lead to “least drama”, lowest-common-denominator outcomes which overlook critical issues. This is particularly the case with the “fat-tails” of probability distributions, that is, the high-impact but relatively low-probability events where scientific knowledge is more limited. Vested interest pressure is acute in all directions; climate denialists accuse the IPCC of alarmism, whereas climate action proponents consider the IPCC to be far too conservative. To cap it all, the IPCC conclusions are subject to intense political oversight before being released, which historically has had the effect of substantially watering-down sound scientific findings.

These limitations are understandable, and arguably were not of overriding importance in the early period of the IPCC. However, as time has progressed, it is now clear that the risks posed by climate change are far greater than previously anticipated. We have moved out of the twilight period of much talk but relatively limited climate impacts. Climate change is now turning nasty, as we have witnessed in 2017 in the USA, South Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires, more intense flooding and more damaging hurricanes.

The distinction between climate science and risk is now the critical issue, for the two are not the same. Scientific reticence — a reluctance to spell out the full risk implications of climate science in the absence of perfect information — has become a major problem. Whilst this is understandable, particularly when scientists are continually criticised by denialists and political apparatchiks for speaking out, it is extremely dangerous given the “fat tail” risks of climate change. Waiting for perfect information, as we are continually urged to do by political and economic elites, means it will be too late to act.

Irreversible, adverse climate change on the global scale now occurring is an existential risk to human civilisation. Many of 3 the world’s top climate scientists quoted in this report well understand these implications — James Hansen, Michael E. Mann, John Schellnhuber, Kevin Anderson, Eric Rignot, Naomi Oreskes, Kevin Trenberth, Michael Oppenheimer, Stefan Rahmstorf and others — and are forthright about their findings, where we are heading, and the limitations of IPCC reports.

This report seeks to alert the wider community and leaders to these limitations and urges change to the IPCC approach, and to the wider UNFCCC negotiations. It is clear that existing processes will not deliver the transformation to a low-carbon world in the limited time now available.

We urgently require a reframing of scientific research within an existential risk-management framework. This requires special precautions that go well beyond conventional risk management. Like an iceberg, there is great danger “In what lies beneath”.

Full report.

Comments

    • ResearchtimeMEMBER

      Wow, science is now the problem – who knew???

      Mind you, Club of Rome has had such a prestigious predictive record (i.e. world running out of metals and oil in the 1970’s) that we should give them such credence is ironic!!!

    • desmodromicMEMBER

      @RT, therefore all Science is wrong? Ehrlich and co probably had a mild panic given what they knew then from models of population growth and 1960s knowledge of resource availability. The broad themes are correct nonetheless. No species experiencing exponential population growth has ever simply tapered the growth to a sustainable new high population. All such populations crash. It is a bit like trying to taper a housing ponzi, eventually the weight of debt (or people) causes a collapse. Harder to pick is the trigger or the timing.

    • “Wow, science is now the problem – who knew???”

      Wait, he didn’t say science was a problem, all he said is we should ignore “climate deniers”. I don’t personally agree, I believe one should always be open to new (credible) evidence, but based on the current body of research I don’t know how much attention we need to give them.

      I mean should we give anti vaccination groups air time when there is such a large body of evidence that suggests vaccinations are beneficial and have few serious side effects? Given the evidence, is it not reasonable for most parents to largely ignore the anti vaccination movement and trust in the peer review process? Which itself isn’t ideal, but unless you’re a scientist, or know a hell of alot about an issue, it’s very easy to led astray by junk science.

  1. A leadership that cannot tackle a credit bubble has zero chance of addressing anything more substantial. We are goners thrice over, economically, environmentally and morally.

      • We are having fewer children (in Australia). The federal government just imports more people from the developing world to more than make up the difference.

        Tony is right. While we live in an uber-financial never ending growth world we are screwed. We are letting markets build the world where externalities are not priced in. It can’t end well.

  2. From The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/09/this-is-how-your-world-could-end-climate-change-global-warming

    “Back at the diner in New Hampshire, Huber told me about his “favourite story”: the US Army’s real-life parable of the so-called Motivated Point Man. In 1996, a platoon of light infantry spent days in the Puerto Rican jungle acclimatising to stifling heat and humidity, cautiously monitoring their water intake before simulating a night-time raid. The platoon included “some of the most fit and motivated soldiers in the battalion”. When the evening of the raid came, the platoon leader began leading his troops through the jungle, machete-ing a path through the brush. Before long, he was felled by fatigue and delegated his leadership to an underling. When the second private failed to advance the platoon quickly enough, the platoon leader demanded to lead again. But soon he found himself hyperthermic and unable to walk. His soldiers had to douse him in cold water and supply him with intravenous infusions. Eventually, four soldiers had to carry him. Before long, the extra demands vitiated the entire platoon, all of whom began to fall prey to heat stress. The exercise had to be called off before it became a massacre.

    “So I look at that as, if it’s night-time and acclimatised, fit people can just disintegrate into a pool of useless people on stretchers. That’s what I see happening to society, to cultures,” Huber said. “If you want to know how mass extinctions happen, that’s how. So when people talk about the Pleistocene megafauna extinctions and Clovis people, sometimes they act like it’s a mystery how these things happen. But it happens in exactly the same way. You have something tearing apart the strongest members, the weaker ones try to fill in the gaps, they’re really not strong enough to take it and the whole thing collapses.

    “You want to know how societies collapse?” Huber said. “That’s how.””

  3. Forrest GumpMEMBER

    The IPCC data is so severely sanitized that its worthless.
    In order for research to be accepted into the IPCC, it needs to be sifted through a series of peer reviews first whereby if any one of the proven facts has not been collaborated by at least 2 other studies, then then entire paper (not just the fact in question) cannot be submitted.

    Once it has passed that first peer review, it continues on the journey of other reviews by differing agencies, and the final review is undertaken by the government of ones own country, whereby generally, any data that is detrimental to economic growth or similar is omitted or watered down.

    The review process prior to submission and acceptance can take 3 years or more. So when the IPCC finally tables and discusses the data, its already out of date.

    That is one of the reasons why the international agreements of limiting global warming to 1.5–2°C is a waste of time. Un-submitted data already proves that we are on the way to +4°C with sea level rises of +4.0m are a given.

    • 4C and you are looking at 10-12m searise and the disappearance of most of Florida and Bangladesh. The fact that there is still a substantial portion of people out there denying the evidence (waves at RT and WW) is proof that the key element in the Drake equation is propensity for technological societies to destroy themselves.

      • JMN. I’m all for global warming.
        I once owned a hotel in the lake district of the UK. The area is full of glacier cut valleys.
        the RAF used to do low flying over the joint cos the valleys were so deep.
        I always used to think that if this joint ever cools down this business is rooted, but fortunately the joint is warming up.
        How about those 49 or 79 new volcanoes recently founder under the Antarctic ice. obviously they will have no effect??
        Now if I was a tragic like r2m, I wold say first indications are there may be too many humans on the joint and we need to get rid of heaps
        the average global temp is something like 15c, yet humans run at 38c just the heat loss from humans could be having some effect, but heat rises, and outer space is a big joint to try and heat up, but just thinking. WW

      • WW, sorry, but that’s a silly argument. The average world temp is 15 deg, and humans run at 38, so, what me worry.

        Jesus.

        Come help me put some insulation in my roof when it’s 35 out and a zillion % huimidity and see how you acclimatise. (for 8 hours)

      • HC, plenty of cedar cutters then dairy farmers down your way lived well for much longer that you have been there, with out insulation. you’re just soft.
        A teaspoon of cement powder every morning for a while will fix it.

      • WW, others have called out the risibility of your response, but I sense something darker with you You are miserable, and you want others to suffer in a sick and twisted attempt at feeling better. Maybe you don’t have progeny and couldn’t care less if the world goes on after you kick the can. If this is the case then you need to seek help as you may be suffering depression.

      • JMN me depressed, no. I’m as happy as ever,
        Cept unlike most I have all my controls well within my own grasp, and a big fence.
        (unlike most, I worked hard in my younger days and absorbed an education)

    • “In order for research to be accepted into the IPCC, it needs to be sifted through a series of peer reviews first whereby if any one of the proven facts has not been collaborated by at least 2 other studies…”

      Er… how is “peer review” different from the other studies and researches on other topics?
      Everything in science needs peer review and it is permanently open for scrutiny. Otherwise a lot of insufficiently good science would find its way to the top obscuring the view.

      Even if a research is “late by 3 years”, once out it tells us if we are on the right path… or, you know,… perhaps on the not-quite-the-right path.
      Otherwise we could end up chasing own tail of even chasing the wrong target. Imagine we’re on the 5-7*C temp increase path and we are modeling around 2-3*C because no one scrutinises the findings…

      • Peer review! didnt king charles do a peer review of the old testament, to suit the new outlook, then the mormons and the 7 day adventurers each do a peer review for the changed outlook, so the original story is now lostin time, fortunately.
        I think the pope did a peer review of Galileo’s work as well.
        The public are going to do a peer review on pell i can assure you.

      • Wiley Wolf, there are no prefect human systems, and I think it’s safe to say the peer review, and scientific process itself, are not perfect, but it remains better than most of the alternatives.

      • RW, mate in the past, today where most of the public opinion comes from an iphone, makes public opinion flawed.
        hence for example we have the Constitution to get us back to reality every now and then.
        surely it is obvious to you that the big decisions are coming from the leaders of the big 5, the punters are getting just enough spin to stop em revolting.

      • @ Wiley

        If only “Old Testament” was an aspiring scientific paper…
        and GW was not hijacked by the eco-nazis…

      • DJ, over in links mig is onto the peer review after Aristotle
        Romans, setter upperers of the catholic faith
        they peer reviewed most knowledge out of existence and replaced it with faith. and included sheep in the stories.
        like turbnall flying in that 50 year old aircraft, staying in the air only on faith.
        this undoing in RE is going to cause all sorts of questions about faith, and will lead to insurrection.
        big trouble ahead.

      • @ Wiley W

        * king charles do a peer review of the old testament *

        Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work. It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility.
        More at Wikipedia

        Not sure I understand the meaning of your last comment in this form and the link between religion and GW or RE issues (apart from eco-nazis religiously following their dogma)

    • Yes, but…

      I wonder why that is.

      Can you imagine the difficulty in explaining the actual quantum of the issue to most people. Who are busy worried about paying their power bills? The problem is of such magnitude as to be immaterial to most people. They can’t grasp it.

      Science has a marketing problem (it also has a problem in the guise of the Koch’s of the world).

      Be

      Just sent off another PTA Category A yesterday. And adding more water tanks and firefighting equipment, power storage.

      Probably time to start ramping up the preparations.

      On the flip side, a 4M sea rise will give me ocean views whereas we currently look across a lovely low set value.

      Should sent house value up and mean my relations party cachet goes through the roof. yoohoo Reusa

    • FS am slowly translating those notes from Hamming
      I replied thanks, but I was barred at the time.
      so thanks. WW

      • No problem. It’s a book that I’d recommend to anyone, as much for the attitude that Hamming forced himself to adopt when he realised that he wasn’t as smart as he thought himself to be as the lessons on his research and field of expertise.

      • FS applies to me exactly, as a sole inventor i have to continually put the work down (3d autocad) and come on here for while for example, to highlight my shortcomings in the design. He could be writing to me in many places. Has assisted me immensely.But it is very technical, not for the snow flakes. It will be in word if anyone wishes a copy. may be able to send it via the hosts here WW

    • LBS, the article is behind a paywall, and I don’t think half the people on MB would read the Australia even if they paid us $4 a week to do so. Or maybe it’s just me..

      • It’s just a standard Australian hatchet job on the BOM because they’ve got some thresholds to trigger manual verifications in their automatic data gathering systems, playing to the usual “climate change is a worldwide conspiracy stretching back half a dozen generations” premise.

        EDIT: Here’s the outcome of the review: http://media.bom.gov.au/releases/378/bureau-welcomes-findings-of-automatic-weather-station-review/

        So it looks like the cause was equipment failure.

        (Personally, I’m been thankful for the BOM’s data manipulation. This last winter has been beautifully mild.)

      • What’s equipment that fails at low temperature got to do with a conspiracy?
        What about that equipment that may not have been suitable for the measured climate that may have created errors that are close to the average to raise the warning?
        If any data is flawed, results from it will be flawed too.

        I knew it, BOM was wrong!
        The last winter was freezing!
        Ask my wife and the ice age is here!

  4. Lol…..its global warming oops I mean climate change…..oooops wait a minute didn’t you lot just change it to something new. Ha ha keep the funny comments coming need the laugh….

  5. I find the Dilbert guy’s take on the debate to be interesting.
    He makes some fair points on the real problems with persuading people that the science is legit.

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/158549646496/how-leonardo-dicaprio-can-persuade-me-on-climate

    “f you want to convince me that climate change is real, the best approach is to abandon the current method that packages climate models in a fashion that is identical to well-known scams. (Or hoaxes, if you prefer.)

    Let me say this doubly-clear. When I say climate models are packaged in a fashion that is identical to known scams, I am not saying they are scams. I’m saying they are packaged to look exactly like scams. There is no hope for credibility with that communication plan.

    To make my point visual, imagine walking into your kitchen and finding an intruder wearing a ski mask and holding a gun. You assume this person is not your friendly neighbor because he is packaged exactly like an armed burglar. If you shoot that intruder, and it turns out to be your neighbor playing a prank, you probably won’t go to jail because it isn’t your fault. The problem was that your neighbor packaged himself to look exactly like an armed burglar.

    Climate scientists tell us that there are hundreds of climate models, all somewhat different. I assume that most of them do a good job predicting the past (hindcasting) because otherwise they would not be models at all. Hindcasting is one minimum requirement for being a model in this field, I would assume.

    Then science ignores the models that are too far off from observed temperatures as we proceed into the future and check the predictions against reality. Sometimes scientists also “tune” the models to hindcast better, meaning tweaking assumptions. As a non-scientists, I can’t judge whether or not the tuning and tweaking are valid from a scientific perspective. But I can judge that this pattern is identical to known scams. I described the known scams in this post.”

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/158069201161/my-1-million-climate-model-bet

    “My $1 Million Climate Model Bet
    Posted March 6th, 2017 @ 9:19am in #climate science #whenhub

    I will bet anyone $1 million dollars that I can come up with a climate forecast model that ignores C02 and still predicts the temperature 30 years from now to within half a degree. Does anyone want to take that bet?

    Obviously there is a trick involved, so I won’t accept your bet for ethical reasons. But let’s see if you can figure out how I could win that bet every time.

    All I need to do is make a hundred different models, each producing output that is half a degree apart, until I have at least one model that fits every possible outcome. My models would look like this:

    Model 1: Current Temp + .5 degrees
    Model 2: Current Temp + 1 degree
    Model 3: Current Temp + 1.5 degrees
    Etc. …”

    ——–

    Personally, I remember the predicted flooding of most of Indian subcontinent+Asia by the year 2000. Didn’t happen.

    That said, there’s far stronger points which correlate with fighting climate change.
    Who’d argue with:
    * Pollution is bad.
    * We are robbing our great-great descendants of the fuels they will need to make steel and plastics. It is our responsibility as temporary stewards of this earth to save them some.

    Those points are much, much stronger than the climate models which are routinely wrong.
    Hammer those points and climate change skeptics would be inclined to agree.
    We should build a greener world because it’s cleaner, and because we owe it to our descendants. It’s the right moral thing to do regardless of whether we’re affecting our climate.

    • I wonder why Scott Adams is surprised that not all models are successful. It would be a difficult task to model something so complex as the climate. The questions to ask would be why were some successful, some unsuccessful and what can be learned from them. It is by coincidence that, when taken as a whole, it appears to have the same structure as a scam. He’s overlaying something extra that is external to the science itself. And while it makes him appear clever, it is rather disingenuous and distracts from the science.

      • “The world is full of risks that might happen, but there are darned few that we know, to a scientific near-certainty, will happen, unless we take rapid remedial action. If we spotted an asteroid on a collision course with the Earth, and had a means to prevent the collision or to mitigate the damage, it would be absolutely idiotic not to do so. And that’s where we are now with climate.”

        Comparing near-certainty (risks that may happen e.g. perils from AGW) and a certainty (asteroid on collision with Earth) is symptomatic of the eco-nazi views. Plenty more in the links to quote each and every here.
        It is not about what is being said on AGW topic, it is about denial of the critic.
        Most of eco-nazi are actually useful idiots to those that have wrong agenda on GW and CC

      • Yep, cheap on those 457 visas 😉

        In Russia, I rocket scientist.
        In Australia I a janitor.

        Welcome back Revert2Meaningless
        I always enjoy a good LOL

    • Al Gore’s endorsement has turn it into an identity politics issue, so you can say he did more to cause climate change than anyone else in the world.

      The switch to renewable is inevitable. You simply show two charts : China oil usage from 1980 to 2015, then show them India’s projected oil usage as it becomes rich as well. Similar, for coal you can totally ignore CO2 and just look at price per kilowatt generated. The obvious business gas is actually undermined by the obsession with CO2-based identity politics.

    • The people who are hallucinating the hardest on this topic are the non-scientists who believe they have done a deep dive into the scientific papers and the climate models and arrived at a rational conclusion. The illusion here is that getting information from other humans is the same as “science.”

      Another group of hallucinators believe that they can determine the scientific truth of climate change by counting the number of scientists on each side. But that ignores the fact that science often has the majority on the wrong side. That happens every time a new idea is starting to replace an old one. Darwin did not agree with the consensus when he introduced evolution. Einstein’s ideas were slow to catch on, etc.

      My point here is that I don’t care how many climate models are accurate if you don’t tell me how many were wrong. If 99 out of 100 climate scientists create models that are wrong, and one gets it right, would you bet on that winning model to stay right in the future?

      Nice articles. Oversimplified but very descriptive of the 3rd position on the GW (other 2 being eco-nazi and eco-ignorants)
      Being reserved on what is perceived as no-alternative science does not mean that research into what could be human input into GW or CC should be abandoned.
      To use the last sentence of quoted text above: “If 99 out of 100 climate scientists create models that are wrong, and one gets it right…” that model could still be right.

      • @DJ “If 99 out of 100 climate scientists create models that are wrong, and one gets it right…” that model could still be right.

        So you are willing to bet the existence of humans on earth based on ‘1 out of 100 models MAY by right’?

      • You need to read the whole article to get the full context.

        I am saying
        1. human input into GW and CC may not have been proven beyond doubt but the risks of it being correct are good enough to act as if it is a certainty.
        2. eco-nazi knee-jerk reaction with links to the websites they cannot comprehend but use as “science” is not helping the cause and disables a normal discussion thereby working against the cause.

      • @DJ human input into GW and CC may not have been proven beyond doubt”
        Wrong. That the world is warming and that humans are the major contributors has been proven beyond doubt. It is the fossil fuel industry that propagating the myth that there is any doubt (using the same tactics that the tobacco and CFC industry used).

        I read the article when if first came out (as a Dilbert fan) and it (like most deniers) confuses climate models with proof of climate change. It (and many deniers) go ‘look, the models are wrong so scientists must be wrong about climate change’. But climate models are just tools to try to predict effects. Climate models are not used to prove that the earth is warming or that humans are the cause.

      • Another group of hallucinators believe that they can determine the scientific truth of climate change by counting the number of scientists on each side. But that ignores the fact that science often has the majority on the wrong side. That happens every time a new idea is starting to replace an old one. Darwin did not agree with the consensus when he introduced evolution. Einstein’s ideas were slow to catch on, etc.

        In Scott’s world, nine out of ten doctors telling you that you have cancer means you still don’t have any idea what’s wrong with you, even when they’ve all got a bunch of test results saying you’ve got cancer. You should totally still consider the bloke in the smoky tent with the leeches, because it’s an even chance he’s right. And those doctors all want you to stop smoking.

      • @DJ human input into GW and CC may not have been proven beyond doubt”
        Wrong.

        What is the accuracy of E=mc² ?
        Very likely, most likely, extremely likely… beyond doubt?
        Nothing in science is absolutely beyond doubt. It is its main driver of progress.
        Human input is extremely likely but not beyond doubt as it is *anything* based on scientific modelling of overly complex systems (e.g. climate)

        As I said, I do not oppose action on GW and CC as if human input indeed is beyond doubt but I do not accept eco-nazi views that there should be absolutely no critic.

      • @ smithy

        I was awaiting your response…

        “In Scott’s world, nine out of ten doctors telling you that you have cancer means you still don’t have any idea what’s wrong with you, even when they’ve all got a bunch of test results saying you’ve got cancer. You should totally still consider the bloke in the smoky tent with the leeches, because it’s an even chance he’s right. And those doctors all want you to stop smoking.”

        nice switch but it is
        >if nine out of ten doctors are telling you that you are *likely* to have cancer because whole bunch a test says you are *likely* to have it is still no guarantee you have it<

        But unlike eco-nazi view, another medical opinion is always welcome until it is proven either way (but that should not stop one from reacting as if indeed there is a cancer)

        Edit:
        Oh, and remember the case of ulcer where 999 out of 1000 doctors would tell you it was because of the oily, spicy, whatever food?

      • nice switch but it is
        >if nine out of ten doctors are telling you that you are *likely* to have cancer because whole bunch a test says you are *likely* to have it is still no guarantee you have it<

        Nothing was “switched”. I never said that a cancer diagnosis was guaranteed because 9/10 doctors say it was cancer. I said that according to Scott, 9/10 doctors telling you that you have cancer shouldn’t make you think it’s any more likely you’ve got cancer than just one doctor, or 4/10 doctors. Further, since occasionally somebody tries homeopathy and the cancer goes into spontaneous remission, nobody else should take those 9 doctors seriously either (homeopaths could be the next Einsteins, after all).

        But unlike eco-nazi view, another medical opinion is always welcome until it is proven either way (but that should not stop one from reacting as if indeed there is a cancer)

        Nobody has a problem with more medical opinions. It’s the homeopath opinions most people think are a waste of time. The problem that the homeopaths have is that all the evidence the doctors find keeps pointing towards homeopathy being complete bunkum. But people still keep insisting we give the homeopaths attention. Because Galileo.

        Adams is merely parroting the tired old meme that “scientific consensus” means “X is true because a bunch of scientists agree it’s caused by Y”, when in reality consensus means “X is caused by Y, a bunch of scientists agree based on evidence”.

        Oh, and remember the case of ulcer where 999 out of 1000 doctors would tell you it was because of the oily, spicy, whatever food?

        Indeed. Demonstrated false by A THEORY SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE AND EXPERIMENTALLY VERIFIED, something sorely lacking from people arguing against climate change.

      • @ smithy

        oh, nice “unpacking” or should I say shredding the conversation to nanoparticles?
        Now we have 3 topics all diverting away further…

        Nothing was “switched”. I never said that a cancer diagnosis was guaranteed because 9/10 doctors say it was cancer. I said that according to Scott, 9/10 doctors telling you that you have cancer shouldn’t make you think it’s any more likely you’ve got cancer than just one doctor, or 4/10 doctors.

        So, accordingly we agree that human input into GW and CC is “more *likely* than if only 4/10 scientists said it and even *more likely* than 1/10” but not as likely as 10/10 (guaranteed)

        Further, since occasionally somebody tries homeopathy and the cancer goes into spontaneous remission, nobody else should take those 9 doctors seriously either (homeopaths could be the next Einsteins, after all).

        I see, so minority peers that disagree with majority are just [blanket] pseudo-scientists. Ioannis Lykoudiswas labelled pseudo-scientist and was penalised for that disagreement with the majority.
        In the article Scott uses simple math of probabilities to point towards cherry picking of the good data (99/100 fail but 1/100 get it right) and false positives this can induce.
        I pointed above using that chapter that such logic does require the cost2risk analysis in addition and when the risk (GW/CC) outweighs the costs (further research, higher accuracy) the action should be taken, irrespective.

        Nobody has a problem with more medical opinions. It’s the homeopath opinions most people think are a waste of time. The problem that the homeopaths have is that all the evidence the doctors find keeps pointing towards homeopathy being complete bunkum. But people still keep insisting we give the homeopaths attention. Because Galileo.

        So all we have to do is to label those with inconvenient facts or truths with emotional labels (e.g. deniers. homeopaths, idiots…) and problem solved. How come there are calls not to research any more as we have learned what has to be learned?

        Adams is merely parroting the tired old meme that “scientific consensus” means “X is true because a bunch of scientists agree it’s caused by Y”, when in reality consensus means “X is caused by Y, a bunch of scientists agree based on evidence”.

        LOL, what about “X is *likely* caused by Y, a bunch of scientists agree based on evidence available”
        No, even better:
        The scientific consensus is that the Earth’s climate system is unequivocally warming, and that it is extremely likely (meaning 95% probability or higher) that this warming is *predominantly* caused by humans.
        (predominantly as a very specific quantity)
        Again, I am not arguing that there is no human input into GW and CC and that all is good, nothing to worry about but that the mankind did not complete the research into climate and consensus may shift into another direction (but also agree that probabilities are high enough not to gamble and to warrant reaction)
        I would like to be shown where does Adams parrots the old meme “X is true because a bunch of scientists agree it’s caused by Y”.

        “Oh, and remember the case of ulcer where 999 out of 1000 doctors would tell you it was because of the oily, spicy, whatever food?

        Indeed. Demonstrated false by A THEORY SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE AND EXPERIMENTALLY VERIFIED, something sorely lacking from people arguing against climate change.”

        Ouch, shouting and switching again.
        I am not arguing *against* climate change and I mentioned that numerous times.
        This was to show that (nearly all the doctors on the planet) scientific consensus does not mean final conclusion is achieved and that further research combined with, guess what, scrutiny of “known truth” (dietary causes) brought us to the new, more accurate finding (bacteria).
        A life story of Ioannis Lykoudis is particularly interesting for having different view and arguing against the established “facts”. Before he could have “another medical opinion” he had to be labelled a pseudo-scientist.

        Bottom line is not what is the depth of the human input into GW and CC but the attitude that we have reached some state of the facts pinnacle and a religious dogma that “known truth” cannot be ever questioned or scrutinised, where those with a (slightly) different view are labeled “deniers”, homeopaths, idiots etc.

      • So, accordingly we agree that human input into GW and CC is “more *likely* than if only 4/10 scientists said it and even *more likely* than 1/10” but not as likely as 10/10 (guaranteed)

        How is whether we agree relevant ? My comment was about what Scott Adams is saying.

        I see, so minority peers that disagree with majority are just [blanket] pseudo-scientists.

        No. That’s you pummelling another straw man.

        I would like to be shown where does Adams parrots the old meme “X is true because a bunch of scientists agree it’s caused by Y”.

        That would be the part where he lays into people who are “just counting”.

        I am not arguing *against* climate change and I mentioned that numerous times.

        I didn’t say you were.

        However, you are portraying people who disagree but do not provide any evidence or reasoning to support their perspective, as equivalent to people who disagree but do have an alternative idea and evidence to support it, and imply we should give both credence simply because they disagree (because Galileo).

        Very few people questioning climate science fall into the latter group, for decades now.

        Bottom line is not what is the depth of the human input into GW and CC but the attitude that we have reached some state of the facts pinnacle and a religious dogma that “known truth” cannot be ever questioned or scrutinised, where those with a (slightly) different view are labeled “deniers”, homeopaths, idiots etc.

        No, we have not. We have reached the point where the vast, vast, vast majority of “climate sceptics” have zero to offer on the “new science” front, and are generally playing a god-of-the-gaps type game with the known science because they don’t like the political implications of dealing with a global phenomenon.

        Yet, apparently, just because they disagree, they need to get floor time.

  6. Its hard to understand how the IPCC is not ‘alarmist enough’ when all of their past projections are now shown to have overestimated warming. The observed warming is below even their documented ‘best case’ scenarios.

    So it does no good at all to debate science and accuse realists of not accepting science. Its the models, they are flawed, and we simply do not have models that are accurate enough to prove any hypothesis.

  7. Good job MT has twisted AGL’s arm to keep Liddell open otherwise I’d be worried that some of this information really was sinking in. What’s important here is that we have clear, understandable and implementable policies that we intend to follow through with. /sarc

  8. There is a lot of misinformation being peddled.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-11/chinas-electric-aka-coal-fueled-car-companies-soar-promise-petrol-vehicle-ban

    China is in a great position to build cheap EVs and also build PV panels to supply them. There is no reason shopping centres, street parking carports can’t have a solar canopy feeding the EVs. As far as I can see, a lot of urban driving could be satisfied by a few KWh per day. The idea that cars are useless unless they have a 600km range is silly. EVs and solar panels look like a perfect match, especially if the energy can go direct to the EV without a distribution network.

    Interestingly, the US built a very efficient intercity transport system in the mid 20th century. They were called “trains”. In a moment of madness, they converted to road transport because it was more flexible and oil would never run out.

    Besides, who could resist a GP 38 in Sante Fe Blue and Yellow?
    http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr1451.htm

  9. Just out of curiosity, are there any bona fide climate scientists posting above. I know that I’m not one.

    • In a way, that is not really the right question. Even though climate scientists study climate, they use tools provided for them by others. In particular, a lot of climate science is based on mathematical modelling of complex systems (climate). The modelling techniques use mathematics that sometimes is wrong or poorly understood. This is something that probably cannot be explained easily to lay people, who tend to view scientists as oracles. A climate scientist is a climate oracle, A geology scientist is a geology oracle. Just remember that before Einstein all scientists firmly believed that Newtonian physics was infallible.

      Here is an interesting talk by a professor at UNSW. https://njwildberger.com/2016/10/05/upcoming-talk-on-the-goldbach-conjecture/ He has a lot of interesting ideas, including recent thinking on Big Number Theory. Now most people will be asking what does this have to do with climate change? Well, new ideas in mathematics have a lot to do with our understanding of complex systems and how modelling works. That directly affects how we think about models, and it is probably a topic that climate scients don’t know a lot about.

      • I disagree. If we follow your line of reasoning then most scientists are failed mathematicians. Yet, maths is just the language of science, a tool we use to help us describe and understand nature. The scientists have knowledge of their field and a greater ability to know what it is to look for than the mathematicians.
        And going Kuhnsian in regard to imperfect knowledge and the occasional scientific revolution does not automatically dismiss the results that we have. Satellites are still launched based on Newtownian physics because Einstein’s insights don’t have enough of an effect at that level. But for applications like GPS they do call on Einstein because the calculations require dealing with something that travels at the speed of light, the signals. Assuming that humans survive another two millennia, they’ll probably have an advanced understanding of the world that makes Einstein look like Aristotle. But the difference between Aristotle and modern science is that Aristotle’s was deductive, not inductive. The science of today is based on theories that can bed tested. They are tested. The results need to be verifiable. That is what peer review is for. So, in asking whether any of us are in fact climate scientists instead of just a group of people with opinions and access to the internet I am asking a relevant question. I’m trying to find out whether anyone above should be treated with less skepticism than the others. I’m happy to out myself as someone who is merely scientifically literate at the most basic level, but not a climate scientist. That’s important because almost all of the above discussion is based around climate science.

      • I am not a Climate scientist. That does not exclude me from benefitting from the data and modelling of that data into the foreseable future.
        I have attended CC lectures conducted by BoM and CSIRO , where the scientists showed their data, and explored the implications of it into the future.
        The scientists did aknowledge that their conclusions were on the conservative side .
        Basically what they said was that summers would be hotter and last longer. Winters would be warmer and shorter. there would be more frequent and severe floods, bush fires , droughts, less frequent , but more powerful cyclones / hurricanes.There will be Sea level rise from melting ice and thermal expansion .
        They said that if we allow the global average tempreture to increase to 3-4 degrees C agriculture would cease.

      • footsore – not all science is very heavily reliant on computer modelling. Biology, geology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry do not hinge on computer models. Climate is the study of a large nonlinear loosely coupled systems. These complex systems are not well understood, and you will find that the modellers generally prefer not to think about this. The general public do not have any idea about the issues involved, which only causes confusion. Climate science is a bit different to other fields, in that it will improve but since it is the study of a system with very long time constants, it may need thousands of years.

        The big problem with models is actually described by a well accepted concept – the butterfly effect. This says that in a complex system a tiny input can result in a major change. If you accept this, then you have to accept that we are always potentially on the verge of muliple future outcomes. That can not be modelled. The only constraint to this is that matter energy and entropy are preserved, and that there are a continuous set of adjacent states to get from one point to the next. That means within time windows you can sometimes get predictability.

        Without any disrespect to scientists, I think that the two “issues” we have with modern science are –

        Underestimating the shortcomings of computer models (climate science)
        Overestimating the value of statistical inference (medical science)

  10. The United Nations has publicly stated its goal is not to ‘solve’ climate change, but to seek to redistribute wealth and expand its authority through more central planning. UN official Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III, admitted what’s behind the climate issue: “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”

    A remark from Maurice Strong, who organized the first U.N. Earth Climate Summit (1992) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil revealed the real goal: “We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrialized civilization to collapse.”

    Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO), addressing the same Rio Climate Summit audience, agreed: “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” (Wirth now heads the U.N. Foundation which lobbies for hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to help underdeveloped countries fight climate change.)

    Also speaking at the Rio conference, Deputy Assistant of State Richard Benedick said: “A global warming treaty [Kyoto] must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the [enhanced] greenhouse effect.”

    In 1988, a former Canadian Minister of the Environment told editors and reporters of the Calgary Herald: “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

    In 1996, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev emphasized the importance of using climate alarmism to advance socialist Marxist objectives: “The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order.”

    Speaking at the 2000 U.N. Conference on Climate Change in the Hague, former President Jacques Chirac of France said: “For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance, one that should find a place within the World Environmental Organization which France would like to see established.”