Confessions of a Climate Curmudgeon

 

I have always been skeptical of the catastrophic claims of climate hysterics. There are several reasons for this. I myself have substantial experience observing, measuring, and analyzing complex systems and I just don’t accept that our ability to measure the entire planetary climate is as comprehensive as the hysterics would have us all believe. Adequately measuring and predicting the behavior of even man-made complex systems is not a comprehensively solvable problem. But we are nevertheless expected to believe that we have solved the problem of reliable sensor data for an entire planet.

I also harbor skepticism toward models or, at least, toward anyone who argues for making societal-scale changes merely based upon models. It is easily possible that our climate models are about as accurate as the Covid models were. So imposing societal hardship simply on the basis of models is a hubristic approach only an ideologue could love. Perhaps one of the upsides of the self-inflicted injury associated with Covid policy will be that the public will become far more skeptical of models in general, and of model purveyors in particular.

Third, models are not “science” in the way that people normally think of science. Models do not reflect experimental results but only computational speculations. No one has done actual experiments to prove any of the models because such experiments simply cannot be done at planetary scale. Models are merely mathematical predictions. Where the climate models are concerned, their actual predictive power has been consistently underwhelming. For thirty years or more, the looming climate catastrophe has always been just over the horizon but never actually right here.

Fourth, the climate hysterics tend to self-disclose their own mendacity by never balancing their shrill predictions of catastrophe with any consideration that there could actually be corresponding upsides to, say, warming or increasing CO2. For example, a reasonable person might ask if warming could expand the amount of arable land on the planet? Or if CO2 could improve plant growth efficiency, which would then be a boon to agriculture and thus contribute to human flourishing? I’m not saying that I know that such upsides exist, only that the climate neurotics rarely, if ever, provide an evenhanded analysis. Their consistently stark, one-sided predictions ought to raise warning flags in the minds of everyone not overly inclined toward abject credulity.

All of this bubbled up because of a recent study which reminds us that, not only is CO2 specifically NOT a poison, it is actually beneficial for many things.

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  1. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Brawndo is what plants crave.

    • #1
  2. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Brawndo is what plants crave.

    Heh. No doubt.

    • #2
  3. QuietPI Member
    QuietPI
    @Quietpi

    YES!  “Computational speculations” indeed.  And there’s another very important phrase back there in the punch card days, that seems to have been forgotten: GIGO.  The phrase has been forgotten.  The principle is SO alive and well.

    I was still in college, or maybe recently finished, when the Big Switch, from “The Coming Ice Age” to “Global Warming” took place.  I didn’t take any classes specifically on climate or meteorology, but weather played a big part in nearly every class I did take.  To be sure, I never did buy the ice age thing either.  But I found it intriguing – all these “environmentalists” with their signs demanding that we stop burning fossil fuels, logging, eating meat, whatever, disappeared for, oh, a couple weeks.  Then they reappeared, with only slightly changed signs, or maybe not changed at all, demanding the SAME  THINGS -now in order to stop global warming!  

    Hey, wait a minute!

    Also notable, all these protestors, to the extent that I knew them, were, oh, psychology and sociology majors.  Science and engineering majors seemed curiously absent.

    • #3
  4. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Another problem with climate models is the sun.  It is the primary source of heat for Earth, and it’s output varies.  Sometimes by a lot.  And no model can possibly account for that.

    So there you go.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    QuietPI (View Comment):
    Also notable, all these protestors, to the extent that I knew them, were, oh, psychology and sociology majors.  Science and engineering majors seemed curiously absent.

    My daughter was an animal sciences major at the University of Vermont fifteen years ago. She had to take a course in the liberal arts department on “racism,” of course. She said, “Mom, it’s a different world over there.” 

    • #5
  6. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Man-made CO2 must be the problem because before anthropogenic emissions, CO2 was never the determining factor in past climate.  CO2 lags rather than leads temperature change in the Vostok ice core studies.  And CO2 was not determinative of the Roman or Medieval warming periods nor of the Little Ice Age.  But in 1988 CO2 took over as the control knob because #Science. The failure of the planet to warm as rapidly as the models, the absence of ice-free arctic summers and the non-extinction of the polar bear notwithstanding, something whose impact we really can’t measure with precision and which has vastly less impact than other known factors is the precise control knob.  #Science!!

    • #6
  7. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    My problem with the “climate change” panic is that it ignores the most important fact: Earth’s climate has always changed. The sorts of temperature changes they’re predicting now, even if they’re correct, are hardly unprecedented; indeed, they’re relatively insignificant compared to some of the enormous climate changes that have happened in the past.

    I once heard somebody, completely unironically, say that we needed to figure out how to “keep the Earth at the right temperature.” OK, fine. Please take a look at the Earth’s history, and tell me which of those temperatures is the “right” one.

    So what if human activity is now a factor that might contribute to how the climate changes? It’s one factor among many, and far from the most powerful.

    So what if climate change causes species to die out? That’s hardly new; it has been happening continually for four billion years. That’s why we’re not surrounded by dinosaurs or mastodons.  That’s how evolution works: species die out because they’re not well adapted to conditions, and new species move in. As the eminent scientist Ian Malcolm said, “Life, uh, finds a way.”

    So when someone starts talking about how we need to “save the planet,” they’re asserting that the historically modest climate changes they’re talking about are uniquely, unprecedentedly extreme. As long as their predictions are so exaggerated and their proposed solutions so impractical, I see no point in trying to have a discussion.

    • #7
  8. John Diehl Member
    John Diehl
    @JohnDiehl

    George Carlin had the right take on the condition of the  planet.

    • #8
  9. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):
    I once heard somebody, completely unironically, say that we needed to figure out how to “keep the Earth at the right temperature.”

    70-75° all spring and summer with no days over 90°, 40-50° in the winter, no days under 30, maybe a moderate snowfall every 3 weeks or so. Shouldn’t be too hard.

    • #9
  10. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    I’ve  heard only invalid dialog in the climate change debates. It is the climate hysterics who make errors at the most layers.  They make catastrophic errors of thinking, not to mention reading and writing, at every level of the pyramid of reasoning.

    A sufficient cause in the chain of causes of all of this dialectical error, these debates comprising invalid arguments about the wrong question or no question at all,  is the lack of higher education. By higher education I mean learning how to read, reason, and write correctly: learning the art of dialog, which is knowledge that we are not born with and must be taught.

    • #10
  11. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    No one ever questions how good are the models to begin with. 

    How well was the code written. I remember when the East Angelia debacle related to climate change broke, some of the code used to produce the models was put out in the public. there was some horrific code (e.g. there was one subroutine that would return “0” no matter what the input was given). 

     

    • #11
  12. mildlyo Member
    mildlyo
    @mildlyo

    I’m tempted to sympathize with the John Yoo’s of today who are as smart as their meritocratic intellectual predecessors but whose efforts are wasted on the crackpot theories in vogue today:

    Previous generations isolated the periodic table of elements and built the Hoover dam.

    The following generation worked out plate tectonics and characterized the fission and fusion reactions of the periodic table.

    This generation cannot maintain the roads and sewers built in the past, preferring to waste their intellects on consideration of Irreproducible theories of climate and 27 genders.

     

    • #12
  13. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I’ve heard only invalid dialog in the climate change debates. It is the climate hysterics who make errors at the most layers. They make catastrophic errors of thinking, not to mention reading and writing, at every level of the pyramid of reasoning.

    A sufficient cause in the chain of causes of all of this dialectical error, these debates comprising invalid arguments about the wrong question or no question at all, is the lack of higher education. By higher education I mean learning how to read, reason, and write correctly: learning the art of dialog, which is knowledge that we are not born with and must be taught.

    Debate and numbers are racist and threaten the planet. [mike drop.]

    • #13
  14. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Another problem with climate models is the sun. It is the primary source of heat for Earth, and it’s output varies. Sometimes by a lot. And no model can possibly account for that.

    So there you go.

    If you are a “climate Skeptic” (which is intended as an insult, but sounds like a scientist to me), I assume you see the website https://wattsupwiththat.com/.  It has a lot of background information.  One of the most interesting is the survey of US based weather stations used for US climate measurement.  A remarkable number have been corrupted (i.e., next to airport runways, AC units and so on)

    The certainty that any problem (if it is not just normal variation) is caused by humans and CO2 has prevented analysis of anything else like the sun, orbital variation and so on.

    • #14
  15. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Don’t forget about climate scientist who “Hide the decline” 

    • #15
  16. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    Keith Lowery:

    All of this bubbled up because of a recent study which reminds us that, not only is CO2 specifically NOT a poison, it is actually beneficial for many things.

    Don’t forget that other beneficial greenhouse gas: water vapor. 

    You can not only feel it’s effect on a hot humid day, you can see big clouds of it in the sky.  Somebody should do something about it!

     

    • #16
  17. Terry Mott Member
    Terry Mott
    @TerryMott

    I graduated in ’86 with a BS in Computer Science with an emphasis in scientific applications programming, with a second major in mathematics.  In other words, I was specifically trained in the techniques, challenges, and pitfalls of writing code like the climate models during the time that the first such models were being developed.

    I called BS on the models as soon as I read about them (long before I became politically involved, btw).  It was obvious to me that there’s no way to model something as complex and chaotic as the global climate with sufficient accuracy to be anything more than an academic exercise.  Their claims of predicting the global temperature decades into the future were laughable.

    • #17
  18. GeezerBob Coolidge
    GeezerBob
    @GeezerBob

    I hold that no one is competent to pontificate on climate if they cannot answer the question, “What happens if all the CO2 is removed from the atmosphere?” This is a critical consideration that is widely ignored.

    • #18
  19. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):
    I once heard somebody, completely unironically, say that we needed to figure out how to “keep the Earth at the right temperature.”

    70-75° all spring and summer with no days over 90°, 40-50° in the winter, no days under 30, maybe a moderate snowfall every 3 weeks or so. Shouldn’t be too hard.

    You mean Camelot?

    • #19
  20. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I’ve heard only invalid dialog in the climate change debates. It is the climate hysterics who make errors at the most layers. They make catastrophic errors of thinking, not to mention reading and writing, at every level of the pyramid of reasoning.

    A sufficient cause in the chain of causes of all of this dialectical error, these debates comprising invalid arguments about the wrong question or no question at all, is the lack of higher education. By higher education I mean learning how to read, reason, and write correctly: learning the art of dialog, which is knowledge that we are not born with and must be taught.

    Debate and numbers are racist and threaten the planet. [mike drop.]

    Rec’d for “mike” not “mic.”

    • #20
  21. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    Shoot, the computer models didn’t even accurately predict last weekend’s weather in Maryland.

    • #21
  22. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):
    I once heard somebody, completely unironically, say that we needed to figure out how to “keep the Earth at the right temperature.”

    70-75° all spring and summer with no days over 90°, 40-50° in the winter, no days under 30, maybe a moderate snowfall every 3 weeks or so. Shouldn’t be too hard.

    The “right temperature” or the target temperature of all efforts to stop global warming is depicted on every evidentiary chart as “0”.

    Example in the latest “science” from the BBC:

    • #22
  23. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Seen on Ricochet years ago, and used ever since:

    All models are wrong. Some models are useful.

    • #23
  24. RetiredActuary Coolidge
    RetiredActuary
    @RetiredActuary

    Although the models clearly have major problems, I think the bigger problems are practical.

    Francis Menton in his Manhattan Contrarian blog has many posts pointing out the sheer impossibility of meeting the emissions targets in the announced timeframe, the reliability problems (when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining) and the likely horrendous cost involved in making the effort.  The big question in my mind is how much damage will be done before we put a stop to this until we come up with scalable and cost effective alternatives to fossil fuels. 

    I am not aware of any power source that isn’t opposed by some segment of environmentalists.  

    And then we have some suggesting that the only solution is a massive reduction in the human population.  So, I suppose we need to keep on eye on future gain-of-function research into pandemic possible pathogens.

    • #24
  25. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Another problem with climate models is the sun. It is the primary source of heat for Earth, and it’s output varies. Sometimes by a lot. And no model can possibly account for that.

    So there you go.

    That’s why all the Global Warming advocates purposely disregard the Sun as a factor.  It would totally spoil their pet narrative.  It’s almost surreal that the Sun, the source of all warmth,  is completely ignored.

    • #25
  26. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Keith Lowery:

    Fourth, the climate hysterics tend to self-disclose their own mendacity by never balancing their shrill predictions of catastrophe with any consideration that there could actually be corresponding upsides to, say, warming or increasing CO2.

    The proof of this is that none of the Global Warming people nor the Environmentalists ever acknowledge or celebrate that Planet Earth has been turning green at an incredible pace for the last 50 years of so.  This purposeful disregard for the greatest news for Planet Earth shows that they do not want to hear good news.  If all the environmental ills suddenly went away, their lives would be over for there would be nothing left to fight for.  It’s kind of like Fidel Castro and “The Revolucion!”  He had to constantly gin up revolutionary spirit for 55 years to keep his regime going, even though the revolution had ended in 1958.

    • #26
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    That’s why all the Global Warming advocates purposely disregard the Sun as a factor.  It would totally spoil their pet narrative.  It’s almost surreal that the Sun, the source of all warmth,  is completely ignored.

    Are you sure they all disregard it?  I don’t have any information or reason to say otherwise, other than that I am a bit surprised.   

    • #27
  28. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    That’s why all the Global Warming advocates purposely disregard the Sun as a factor. It would totally spoil their pet narrative. It’s almost surreal that the Sun, the source of all warmth, is completely ignored.

    Are you sure they all disregard it? I don’t have any information or reason to say otherwise, other than that I am a bit surprised.

    Yeah, they ignore it.

    • #28
  29. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    That’s why all the Global Warming advocates purposely disregard the Sun as a factor. It would totally spoil their pet narrative. It’s almost surreal that the Sun, the source of all warmth, is completely ignored.

    Are you sure they all disregard it? I don’t have any information or reason to say otherwise, other than that I am a bit surprised.

    I haven’t seen a single one over the past 20 years that acknowledged the Sun’s role in Global Warming.  Quite the contrary, they will often come right out and say it is not a factor.  I know it seems bizarre, but a lot of stuff from that crowd is bizarre.  For instance, they never acknowledge the NASA satellite temperature measurements, which are much more accurate and cover the whole Earth, not just pin-pricks on choice land.  That is because the readings show only half as much warming as the primitive ground-based measurements.

    Of course a bunch of scientists who do not go along with the warming hysteria, confirm that the Sun is a major factor.

    • #29
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    That’s why all the Global Warming advocates purposely disregard the Sun as a factor. It would totally spoil their pet narrative. It’s almost surreal that the Sun, the source of all warmth, is completely ignored.

    Are you sure they all disregard it? I don’t have any information or reason to say otherwise, other than that I am a bit surprised.

    I haven’t seen a single one over the past 20 years that acknowledged the Sun’s role in Global Warming. Quite the contrary, they will often come right out and say it is not a factor. I know it seems bizarre, but a lot of stuff from that crowd is bizarre. For instance, they never acknowledge the NASA satellite temperature measurements, which are much more accurate and cover the whole Earth, not just pin-pricks on choice land. That is because the readings show only half as much warming as the primitive ground-based measurements.

    Of course a bunch of scientists who do not go along with the warming hysteria, confirm that the Sun is a major factor.

    I just now did a search for “climate models solar variability” (without the quotation marks) and came up with this 2018 article at something called EOS.org.   It’s titled “Better Data for Modeling the Sun’s Influence on Climate : Several international initiatives are working to stitch together data describing solar forcing of Earth’s climate. Their objective is to improve understanding of climate response to solar variability.”

     

     

    • #30
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