Nine years ago self-proclaimed "climate hawk" David Roberts was contemplating Nuremberg trials for deniers:
When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.
But in his latest piece, at Vox.com, he's singing a rather different tune:
Basically, it's difficult to predict anything, especially regarding sprawling systems like the global economy and atmosphere, because everything depends on everything else. There's no fixed point of reference.
Now he tells us.
Grappling with this kind of uncertainty turns out to be absolutely core to climate policymaking. Climate nerds have attempted to create models that include, at least in rudimentary form, all of these interacting economic and atmospheric systems. They call these integrated assessment models, or IAMs, and they are the primary tool used by governments and international bodies to gauge the threat of climate change. IAMs are how policies are compared and costs are estimated.
So it's worth asking: Do IAMs adequately account for uncertainty? Do they clearly communicate uncertainty to policymakers?
The answer to those questions is almost certainly "no."
Mr Roberts is almost certainly right. But he's unlikely to find any takers for that line among the warm-mongers at next month's Paris climate jamboree.As I explain in my new book, the IPCC used Michael E Mann's ridiculous hockey stick to sell certainty: 1998 is the hottest year of the hottest decade of the hottest century in, like forever.
Given the zillion-dollar alarmism industry it fueled, it would be asking a lot for its beneficiaries to back away from that to something more qualified. And thanks to the cartoon climatology of Mann's stick, there are millions of starry-eyed activists who now think the very concept of "uncertainty" is a denialist plot. In my book, I quote Professor Richard Muller, writing in 2004, very presciently:
Suppose, for example, that future measurements in the years 2005-2015 show a clear and distinct global cooling trend. (It could happen.) If we mistakenly took the hockey stick seriously--that is, if we believed that natural fluctuations in climate are small--then we might conclude (mistakenly) that the cooling could not be just a random fluctuation on top of a long-term warming trend, since according to the hockey stick, such fluctuations are negligible. And that might lead in turn to the mistaken conclusion that global warming predictions are a lot of hooey. If, on the other hand, we reject the hockey stick, and recognize that natural fluctuations can be large, then we will not be misled by a few years of random cooling.
If only they'd listened. Instead, "uncertainty" was banished, with precisely the consequences Muller foresaw.
~Still, there are no uncertainties in Medicine Hart, where David Gue writes to The Medicine Hat News. He certainly has my number:
Thanks to Robert Wallace for his entertaining rant about climate change, acid rain and glaciology. It was meant as a joke, wasn't it?
Perhaps a more accurate headline would have been "Massive evidence for climate change ignored by non-scientist deniers."
Wallace cited two main sources of information for his opinions: Mark Steyn and Chris Horner. Unfortunately, both these gentlemen are masters of "fallacious extrapolations and distortions in data" — the very thing Mr.Wallace scorns.
Mark Steyn is a musician, author, drama critic, DJ and occasional guest host for Rush Limbaugh. He has no known education beyond high school.
Oh, my! You can see why David Gue prefers to get his science from authoritative types like Nobel Laureate Professor Dame Naomi Klein, FRS, PhD.
I may have no known education, but I know some guys who have, which is what the book is all about. I very much enjoyed this review of "A Disgrace to the Profession" from John Kranz at Three Sources, who hadn't expected to enjoy it:
I mentioned in a Review Corner teaser that I had not intended to read Mark Steyn's A Disgrace to the Profession. I enjoy his wit and style, but a whole book beating up on a single climate scientist sounded a bit much. I grabbed the (generous) Kindle sample to kill some time and found it it to be quite "not put downable." Each of the 110 Chapters is only a couple of pages; the temptation to read just one more can last an entire afternoon.
Each of these brief chapters introduces a highly credentialed source -- Steyn admits he felt besieged by typing so many letters after people's names. Most are in the field of climate science, and most, if not quite 97%, accept and are quite concerned about anthropogenic climate change. There's a small smattering of "deniers," but the bulk are peers of Dr. Mann who feel that his work hampers the cause. Steyn simply collects these, sets up the story, and quotes them.
The total effect is totally damning -- I hope to never cheese Mr. Steyn off enough that he writes a book attacking me.
"Five stars for Mr Steyn," writes Mr Kranz, who brings us back to uncertainty:
It is refreshing to see 100 or so scientists care enough about integrity and science to push back. But it is an open question how much the concern goes away if the hockey stick graph received the public discrediting it deserves. Most of the sources remain all in (as am I), but the public was brought on board with the hockey stick: the IPCC (3rd), VP Gore's movie, and some credulous young people accept that as truth. Without it, much uncertainty is restored.
You can have "uncertainty", which is what scientists believe, or you can have the cartoon climatology of the hockey stick, which is what the alarmism industry and its dupes believe. My bet is that the Paris conference has no interest in uncertainty.
~There are other ways to support Mark's side in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, if you're so inclined:
You can buy a gift certificate starting at $25 (and soaring way up from there), for yourself or your friends and family. The gift certificates have no expiration date, so if, in ten years' time, your favorite nephew has a sudden burning desire for $100 worth of Mark's disco CD, it'll still be valid. On the other hand, if you want to buy a certificate and sit on it until Mark wins the case, that works, too.
The gift certificates are available online here. Alternatively, US and Canadian customers can make a telephone purchase by calling (866) 799-4500 toll free from 8am to 3pm Eastern time on weekdays.