March 19, 2007

Consensus is not science

The first in a never ending series of environmental messages sponsored by Duck Friday ™, because ducks are part of the environment and have avowed to offset their farts by 100% by doubling their flying time, thereby reducing their web print.

Man's most judicious trait, is a good sense of what not to believe. Euripides

Science by its very nature is an argument.

You don't appeal to consensus if you have a scientific argument.

We still can't predict the weather beyond the next few days.

Our understanding of the physics of climate is still so limited, we cannot explain natural variability or predict when droughts will break, or the when and why clouds form.

Massive variations in the sun's heat radiation are far more influential in warming than accumulating greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere account for only about 2 per cent to 3 per cent of the overall warming effect, meaning even major increases in gases lead to only slight shifts in temperature: between 0.5C and 1C.

The paper by a team of geophysicists reported an unexplained decline in cloud cover until 1998, which caused the Earth to absorb more heat from the atmosphere. This resulted in increases in incoming solar radiation more than 10 times bigger than the same effect attributed to greenhouse gases.

We don't still understand the very complex climate system. None of the models have proved to be accurate at all. So using the outputs of models is fallacious because they're not evidence of anything, they're just hypotheses.

Very few of the models are independent and they all share certain profound difficulties. They all get clouds hugely wrong and a small change in clouds has a much bigger effect than doubling CO2.

I think it is probably without precedent in any Western democratic process, the idea that you would publish an executive summary before the report and then openly say that 'we need a few more weeks to work on the report to make sure it is consistent with the executive summary'.

Sceptics point to a paper published in Nature and Science magazines showing the historical relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature has the gas lagging, not leading.

That is, greenhouse gas rises occurred about 800 years later than allegedly matching temperature change, as the warming seas released more gas into the atmosphere and trapped it when cooling.

The debate in Australia has effectively decoupled the science from the policy response. We have agreed the issue is too important to wait for more conclusive answers, that we are prepared to act comprehensively on climate change, possibly at considerable cost, on the trust that most respected, credible scientists are deeply concerned about the seriousness of this threat.

The Australian, March 17, 2007 - Rebels of the sun, Matthew Warren

The public can’t be sure about how sensible it is to plan an outdoor wedding in seven days time, but they have embraced 100 year temperature and ocean level forecasts with religious zeal. If the Rapture is a goal, a personal longing, then the possibility (the wish?) of the end of life as we know it, caused by our own hand, is, for many it would seem, the penultimate Rapture.


  1. In a large part, we're allowing fear and emotion to dictate official public policy about the environment rather than reason or ethical considerations.

    I read earlier today somebody (Nicholas Shakespeare, was it?) talking about the virtual destruction of Sydney within 100 years, justifying himself by saying 'We must acknowledge the real risks.' (My emphasis). Nor was this quote uncommon!

    It would take a Socrates to dissect the lies and spin and propaganda being produced in the name of 'climate change'.

  2. I checked, and it wasn't Nick Shakespeare that used that quote, though he did talk in apocalyptic tones about Sydney's destruction. Obviously the quote was from somewhere else.

  3. If "we" collectively insist on letting science determine economic, resource and social policies Timmy, I'd at least like it to be real science, not merely the "concerns" of sciencists, not one of whom can tell me what the weather will be on my birthday next month, nor can they tell me how a cloud forms, where they will form, and what they will do when they get there.

    I'm damned if I'm going to continue buying into what might well turn out to be one of the most reprehensible and economically destructive hoaxes in history.

    "SCIENCE" is the practice of testing hypothesis, which are either upheld or not - science can never offer proof of anything, only mathematics offers proofs. Science also entails being able to repeat tests, over and over, and getting the same result. Real tests. Not data in a computer.

    It's easy to replicate computer models, because everyone is using essentially the same data, within certain parameters, so, invariably, hypothetical scenarios, with a dodgy premise to start with, produce similar results.

    That isn't science.

  4. Oh, and, um, I have rather changed my mind on all of this Tim.

    The more I have thought and the more I have read, the more disgusted I am with the "environmental" and "sustainability" industries. I was always mildly appalled, now I am totally appalled.