WHAT I Learned About Climate Change: The Science Is Not Settled

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EXCELLENT article written by a ‘Vegan Democrat’ and former CAGW believer, highlighting the reasons why many remain sceptical of the “settled science” of climate change…

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By David Siegel Entrepreneur, investor, blockchain expert, start-up coach, CEO of the Pillar project and 20|30.io

What is your position on the climate-change debate? What would it take to change your mind?

If the answer is It would take a ton of evidence to change my mind, because my understanding is that the science is settled, and we need to get going on this important issue, that’s what I thought, too. This is my story.

More than thirty years ago, I became vegan because I believed it was healthier (it’s not), and I’ve stayed vegan because I believe it’s better for the environment (it is). I haven’t owned a car in ten years. I love animals; I’ll gladly fly halfway around the world to take photos of them in their natural habitats. I’m a Democrat: I think governments play a key role in helping preserve our environment for the future in the most cost-effective way possible. Over the years, I built a set of assumptions: that Al Gore was right about global warming, that he was the David going up against the industrial Goliath. In 1993, I even wrote a book about it.

Recently, a friend challenged those assumptions. At first, I was annoyed, because I thought the science really was settled. As I started to look at the data and read about climate science, I was surprised, then shocked. As I learned more, I changed my mind. I now think there probably is no climate crisis and that the focus on CO2 takes funding and attention from critical environmental problems. I’ll start by making ten short statements that should challenge your assumptions and then back them up with an essay.

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  1. Weather is not climate. There are no studies showing a conclusive link between global warming and increased frequency or intensity of storms, droughts, floods, cold or heat waves. The increase in storms is simply a result of improved measurement methods. There has been no real increase.
  2. Natural variation in weather and climate is tremendous. Most of what people call “global warming” is natural, not man-made. The earth iswarming, but not quickly, not much, and not lately.
  3. There is tremendous uncertainty as to how the climate really works. Climate models are not yet skillful; predictions are unresolved.
  4. New research shows fluctuations in energy from the sun correlate very strongly with changes in earth’s temperature, better than CO2 levels.
  5. CO2 has very little to do with it. All the decarbonization we can do isn’t going to change the climate much.
  6. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon dioxide is coming out of your nose right now; it is not a poisonous gas. CO2 concentrations in previous eras have been many times higher than they are today.
  7. Sea level will probably continue to rise — not quickly, and not much. Researchers have found no link between CO2 and sea level.
  8. The Arctic experiences natural variation as well, with some years warmer earlier than others. Polar bear numbers are up, not down. They have more to do with hunting permits than CO2*.
  9. No one has demonstrated any unnatural damage to reef or marine systems. Additional man-made CO2 will not likely harm oceans, reef systems, or marine life. Fish are mostly threatened by people, who eat them. Reefs are more threatened by sunscreen than by CO2.
  10. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others are pursuing a political agenda and a PR campaign, not scientific inquiry. There’s a tremendous amount of trickery going on under the surface*.

Could this possibly be right? Is it heresy, or critical thinking — or both? If I’ve upset or confused you, let me guide you through my journey…

Read all of it here: What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled | Medium

Highly recommended ~ 38 minute read with an abundance of supporting data, evidence and peer-reviewed “science”….

This nine-thousand-word essay represents over 400 hours of research boiled down into a half-hour reading experience, with links to 250+ carefully chosen documents and videos. I’m building the argument from the bottom up, so take your time and see if it makes sense. Along the way, I’ll list five “smoking guns” that I think make the argument for decarbonization unsupportable. Before we dive in, I want to talk about …

David Siegel | Medium

What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled | Medium

H/T  🇦🇺 Canberroo  🇦🇺

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A cooling consensus

“There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

“I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.” 

“Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”
― Michael Crichton

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Climate change

A cooling consensus

GLOBAL warming has slowed. The rate of warming of over the past 15 years has been lower than that of the preceding 20 years. There is no serious doubt that our planet continues to heat, but it has heated less than most climate scientists had predicted. Nate Cohn of the New Republic reports: “Since 1998, the warmest year of the twentieth century, temperatures have not kept up with computer models that seemed to project steady warming; they’re perilously close to falling beneath even the lowest projections”.

Mr Cohn does his best to affirm that the urgent necessity of acting to retard warming has not abated, as does Brad Plumer of the Washington Post, as does this newspaper. But there’s no way around the fact that this reprieve for the planet is bad news for proponents of policies, such as carbon taxes and emissions treaties, meant to slow warming by moderating the release of greenhouse gases. The reality is that the already meagre prospects of these policies, in America at least, will be devastated if temperatures do fall outside the lower bound of the projections that environmentalists have used to create a panicked sense of emergency. Whether or not dramatic climate-policy interventions remain advisable, they will become harder, if not impossible, to sell to the public, which will feel, not unreasonably, that the scientific and media establishment has cried wolf.

Dramatic warming may exact a terrible price in terms of human welfare, especially in poorer countries. But cutting emissions enough to put a real dent in warming may also put a real dent in economic growth. This could also exact a terrible humanitarian price, especially in poorer countries. Given the so-far unfathomed complexity of global climate and the tenuousness of our grasp on the full set of relevant physical mechanisms, I have favoured waiting a decade or two in order to test and improve the empirical reliability of our climate models, while also allowing the economies of the less-developed parts of the world to grow unhindered, improving their position to adapt to whatever heavy weather may come their way. I have been told repeatedly that “we cannot afford to wait”. More distressingly, my brand of sceptical empiricism has been often met with a bludgeoning dogmatism about the authority of scientific consensus.

Of course, if the consensus climate models turn out to be falsified just a few years later, average temperature having remained at levels not even admitted to be have been physically possible, the authority of consensus will have been exposed as rather weak. The authority of expert consensus obviously strengthens as the quality of expertise improves, which is why it’s quite sensible, as matter of science-based policy-making, to wait for a callow science to improve before taking grand measures on the basis of its predictions.   

Anyway, Mr Cohn cites a few scientists who are unruffled by the surprisingly slow warming.

It might seem like a decade-long warming plateau would cause a crisis for climate science. It hasn’t. Gerald Meehl, a Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has seen hiatus periods before. They “occur pretty commonly in the observed records,” and there are climate models showing “a hiatus as long as 15 years.” As a result, Isaac Held, a Senior Research Scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, says “no one has ever expected warming to be continuous, increasing like a straight line.” Those much-cited computer models are composed of numerous simulations that individually account for naturally occurring variability. But, Meehl says, “the averages cancel it out.”

Isn’t this transparently ad hoc. The point of averaging is to prune off exceedingly unlikely possibilities. It does not vindicate a model to note that it gives no weight—that it “cancels out”—its only accurate constitutive simulations.

If “hiatus periods are commonly observed” is the right way to think about the current warming plateau, then the rest of Mr Cohn’s article, examining various explanations of the puzzle of the hiatus would be unnecessary. But, as all the pieces discussing the warming plateau make perfectly clear, climate scientists are actually pretty baffled about the failure of their predictions. Is it the oceans? Clouds? Volcanoes? The sun? An artifact of temperature data?

As a rule, climate scientists were previously very confident that the planet would be warmer than it is by now, and no one knows for sure why it isn’t. This isn’t a crisis for climate science. This is just the way science goes. But it is a crisis for climate-policy advocates who based their arguments on the authority of scientific consensus. Mr Cohn eventually gets around to admitting that

In the end, the so-called scientific consensus on global warming doesn’t look like much like consensus when scientists are struggling to explain the intricacies of the earth’s climate system, or uttering the word “uncertainty” with striking regularity.

But his attempt to minimise the political relevance of this is unconvincing. He writes:

The recent wave of news and magazine articles about scientists struggling to explain the warming slowdown could prolong or deepen the public’s skepticism.

But the “consensus” never extended to the intricacies of the climate system, just the core belief that additional greenhouse gas emissions would warm the planet.

If this is true, then the public has been systematically deceived. As it has been presented to the public, the scientific consensus extended precisely to that which is now seems to be in question: the sensitivity of global temperature to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Indeed, if the consensus had been only that greenhouse gases have some warming effect, there would have been no obvious policy implications at all. As this paper has maintained:

If … temperatures are likely to rise by only 2°C in response to a doubling of carbon emissions (and if the likelihood of a 6°C increase is trivial), the calculation might change. Perhaps the world should seek to adjust to (rather than stop) the greenhouse-gas splurge. There is no point buying earthquake insurance if you do not live in an earthquake zone. In this case more adaptation rather than more mitigation might be the right policy at the margin. But that would be good advice only if these new estimates really were more reliable than the old ones. And different results come from different models.

We have not been awash in arguments for adaptation precisely because the consensus pertained to now-troubled estimates of climate sensitivity. The moralising stridency of so many arguments for cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and global emissions treaties was founded on the idea that there is a consensus about how much warming there would be if carbon emissions continue on trend. The rather heated debates we have had about the likely economic and social damage of carbon emissions have been based on that idea that there is something like a scientific consensus about the range of warming we can expect. If that consensus is now falling apart, as it seems it may be, that is, for good or ill, a very big deal.

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Related:

Modelling Climate Alarmism


Rodney Hide: NZ PM’s Scientific Adviser Talks Non-Science

  • “Consensus is the cachet of politics, not science.”
  • “It’s not what people think or say that matters in science but what objective reality does.”
  • “Consensus doesn’t decide science. The facts do.”
  • “The theory of man-induced catastrophic global warming rules out next-to-nothing and tells us next-to-nothing.”
  • “The global warming scare is more akin to a modern-day religion than science. “
  • “Science doesn’t argue from authority, elected position, or status. It’s the objective world that decides science; not governments.”

Tallbloke's Talkshop

science-v-politics-cartoonFrom New Zealand’s National Business Review:

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, has done us all a favour and provided a textbook illustration of the difference between science and non-science.

His recent report, New Zealand’s Changing Climate and Oceans, boldly predicts an average temperature increase of 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2090. That prediction is the key give-away. It’s not science; it’s prophecy.

Science makes bold and surprising predictions but about the here and now, not a hundred years hence. The difference is that scientific predictions are testable whereas prophecies aren’t.
We won’t know for a hundred years whether Sir Peter’s prediction stacks up and the historical experience with prophecies is that there are always excuses when their time is up.

But that’s not all. The Gluckman Report tiresomely declares there’s scientific consensus for the theory of human-induced catastrophic global warming. But so what? Consensus is the…

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