The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Hard Work

This morning, the media hamsters were dutifully scurrying about reporting on the latest UN IPCC reports that, they claim, predict climate disaster—the oceans inundating major cites, humongous hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts, food shortages, and hey, here's a new one, massive social unrest. All of this, according to the IPCC is due to too much carbon—not natural climatic cycles, not the sun's activity, not changing ocean currents—no, too much carbon!

How much is too much? No one really knows. What is the percentage impact on climate? No one knows. Have the models that predict this been vetted, are they accurate? Not exactly. How can we explain massive climatic swings before the anthropogenric injection of carbon dioxide? Irrelevant! What about the dramatic near term reduction in warming? A blip!

Of course, the UN solution involves trillions of dollars transferred from developed countries to poor countries with the onus on Western nations (who, parenthetically, have already reduced emissions across the board). What about China and India—the world's most significant polluter's? Let's not talk about that.

Anyhow, what the media hamsters studiously avoid is a more detailed discussion in the IPCC report. It's presented in dry scientific language (much less drama) and although reportedly it was edited to tone down any hint of equivocation, Matt Ridley summarizes:
The forthcoming report apparently admits that climate change has extinguished no species so far and expresses "very little confidence" that it will do so. There is new emphasis that climate change is not the only environmental problem that matters and on adapting to it rather than preventing it. Yet the report still assumes 70% more warming by the last decades of this century than the best science now suggests. This is because of an overreliance on models rather than on data in the first section of the IPCC report—on physical science—that was published in September 2013 ...
The IPCC's September 2013 report abandoned any attempt to estimate the most likely "sensitivity" of the climate to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The explanation, buried in a technical summary not published until January, is that "estimates derived from observed climate change tend to best fit the observed surface and ocean warming for [sensitivity] values in the lower part of the likely range." Translation: The data suggest we probably face less warming than the models indicate, but we would rather not say so.
Of course, the left-wing proponents of climate change have adopted climate catastrophe as a psuedo-religion, so modification in projections based on deeper study hold little credence if they conflict with their religious dogma.

Those of us who are climate change 'heretics' (that's a more appropriate word than "deniers" given the religious aspects of true believers) simply suggest that we should understand the problem before we try to solve it by spending trillions, ruining industries, displacing people, and otherwise bouncing off walls without a clue of where all of this is headed.

Just today, Wired online presents a fascinating profile on Freeman Dyson, a genius mathematician who has accomplished more in science in a weekend that Al Gore has accomplished in a lifetime. When asked why he has taken the "controversial" heretic's position on climate change, he responded:
[Wired]: With a majority of scientists on the other side of this issue, what would it take to convince you to switch sides?

[Dyson]: What I’m convinced of is that we don’t understand climate, and so that’s sort of a neutral position. I’m not saying the majority is necessarily wrong. I’m saying that they don’t understand what they’re seeing. It will take a lot of very hard work before that question is settled, so I shall remain neutral until something very different happens.
But "hard work" and thorough analysis are anethema to the true believers. Barack Obama, Al Gore, and John Kerry (leaders of the climate change religion) would rather propose "solutions" before the problem is understood—after all, only heretics like Dyson, counsel a more measured and rational approach.

Dyson's comments, along with those of many heretics on climate change are rejected out of hand by the Left. These comments infuriate true believers, but for just a moment. They'll then do what all religious fanatics tend to do—reject any evidence that conflicts with true belief and plod onward in search of a holy grail.

UPDATE (3 April 14)

If the hamsters of the mainstream media were doing their job, every outlet, including the climate change cheerleading NYT might report the following, summarized nicely by Rupert Darwall:
The 2013 IPCC Report] summary, as the object of intensive political editing by government officials, is a document designed to generate talking points for sympathetic politicians and pundits to re-spin. Scientific coherence is not its goal. Instead of raising the bar in pursuit of objectivity, the current working group doubled down on its 2007 summary: It unfurls a series of distortions designed to magnify the threats, ignore the benefits, and downplay the possibility of adapting to climate change.

Its most eye-catching claim is that negative impacts of climate change on crop yields are more common to date than positive impacts are. This improbable claim finds only the weakest support in the main body of the report, with its qualification that climate change played a “minor role.” It is, the report states, “extremely difficult” to define a clear baseline from which to assess the impact of climate change, and many non-climate factors are often difficult to quantify.

More egregiously, the summary speaks of rapid price increases following climate extremes since the 2007 report. This negligence amounts to downright dishonesty, as the summary omits mention of one of the principal causes of the 2007–08 spike in food prices, which is highlighted in the main body of the report. It was not climate change that increased food costs, but climate policies in the form of increased use of food crops in biofuel production, exacerbated by higher oil prices and government embargoes on food exports.

In attempting to attribute changes in farm output to climate change, the IPCC makes heavy use of models linking climate to agriculture, most of which assume that farmers don’t change their behavior as the climate changes. Instead of relying on speculative models based on the condescending assumption that farmers are robots and don’t adapt, a more intelligent approach would be to examine how farmers and agricultural output have reacted to climate change in the past. But the IPCC rendered this approach impossible when it erased previous periods during which temperatures might have been higher than they are now (symbolized by the Hockey Stick in the IPCC’s 2001 report).
It's interesting that the climate change religion is built on distortions, omissions and out-and-out lies. Those who disagree (the "deniers") are heretics who are demonized. The intent is to frighten—not to inform, to coerce, not the analyze. But that should come as no surprise, given that's the general strategy of those who champion this junk science.

UPDATE (4/7/2014):
The Wall Street Journal comments further:
The IPCC's "Fifth Assessment Report," or AR5, is generating the usual alarmist headlines: "Impacts on All Continents, Worse to Come" was typical. That's partly a function of what the IPCC frontloads into the 28-page "summary for policymakers," the only portion of the report that most politicians or journalists ever bother reading, and that is sexed up for mass media consumption.

So it's worth diving deeper into the report, where a much more cautious picture of the state of climate science comes into view. Gone are some of the false alarmist claims from the last report, such as the forecast that the Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035 or that hurricanes are becoming more intense. "Current data sets," the report admits, "indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century." Recall the false claims of climate cause and storm effect last year after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.

Absent, too, are claims such as the one made in 2005 that global warming would create 50 million "climate refugees" by 2010 (later pushed back to 2020). In its place, we have the refreshingly honest admission that "current alarmist predictions of massive flows of so-called 'environmental refugees' or 'environmental migrants' are not supported by past experiences of responses to droughts and extreme weather events and predictions for future migration flows are tentative at best."

The report is also more cautious about temperature predictions. It acknowledges that the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 "is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951," and it predicts modest temperature increases through 2035 of between 1° and 1.5° Celsius. More importantly, it acknowledges that "the innate behavior of the climate system imposes limits on the ability to predict its evolution."
Hmmm. It's interesting that the media hamsters never mention any of this as they repeat the dishonest and alarmist garbage contained in an IPCC report "Summary" that does not in any way summarize the true contents of the report.