The Libertarian Warmist Brigade

 

shutterstock_170221427Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Jonathan Adler, a scholar with “strong libertarian leanings” urges conservatives to accept man-made global warming, even though it is not “ideologically convenient.” Although I doubt whether his embrace of anthropogenic global warming (AGM) is all that inconvenient — a surefire way for any conservative to gain mainstream credibility is to take up some liberal cause, and lately that means either climate change or same-sex marriage — Adler does, I think, make two important points: 1) one’s ideology should not influence one’s conclusion about climate change (or lack thereof), and; 2) belief in man-made global warming does not necessarily mean that you endorse loony left solutions to climate change.

Fair enough, but Adler himself does not summon any evidence in favor of human-caused warming.  Instead he cites an article in Reason by libertarian science writer Ronald Bailey, who makes the case for AGM. But none of Bailey’s evidence proves any link between human activity and climate change. Indeed, I don’t think he even presents evidence of a long-term warming trend: he cites no data earlier than the 1950s, and much of his data is from the last couple decades — surely a mere blip in climate terms.  Bailey concedes that scientists can only speculate as to the reason for the 17-year hiatus in global warming, and he declares that the growing extent of Antarctic sea ice is “a climate change conundrum.” Other than that, it’s a slam dunk case for AGM.

Ricochetti: is this the best evidence there is for AGM?  I’m not convinced, but if you are, come out and make the case.  There’s nothing to be ashamed of – with Adler and Bailey, you’re in very respectable company.

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  1. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    The entire global warming scare is based on computer models, with the most important parameter a postulated 3X multiplier effect of water vapor–by far the most potent and abundant greenhouse gas– interacting with CO2.  The fatal problem for the warmists is that the predicted effect is not supported by the data.  The upper troposphere should be warming in lockstep with increasing CO2, but this is not occurring and, as has already been noted, net global warming has “paused” entirely for the past 17-19 years.

    The late author Michael Crichton put it best in his 2003 Caltech lecture Aliens Cause Global Warming:

    To an outsider, the most significant innovation in the global warming controversy is the overt reliance that is being placed on models. Back in the days of nuclear winter, computer models were invoked to add weight to a conclusion: “These results are derived with the help of a computer model.”

    But now, large-scale computer models are seen as generating data in themselves. No longer are models judged by how well they reproduce data from the real world-increasingly, models provide the data.

    As if they were themselves a reality. And indeed they are, when we are projecting forward. There can be no observational data about the year 2100. There are only model runs. This fascination with computer models is something I understand very well.

    Richard Feynmann called it a disease. I fear he is right. Because only if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen can you arrive at the complex point where the global warming debate now stands. Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we’re asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future?

    And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?

    For the latest overview on the topic, I recommend Climate Change:  The Facts. If you are interested in digging more deeply into the science–but still staying clear of climate mathematics–it’s tough to beat Singer and Avery’s Unstoppable Global Warming:  Every 1,500 Years .

    • #31
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Fake John Galt:I live in a flood zone. At certain times of the year I watch weather and hydrologic prediction services very closely. Most of theses services release their data several times a day. These predictive models get somewhat accurate about a day out but still miss the mark a fair amount. They are better than they used to be but still not that great.

    My question is if your computer models can not accurately get weather and flood conditions predictions correct for a geographic region because the models can not capture enough data then how the heck can they get the weather / climate conditions for the whole world, 500 years into the future right. The answer is that they can’t. All the models are is a method for scientist to use to try to understand how our world works better. To build a billion dollar industry and invoke draconian laws based on what is effectively a learning tool is downright irresponsible.

    I live on Cape Cod, home to our own weather station in Chatham. The weather forecasts are never right. Never.

    • #32
  3. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Western Chauvinist:The evidence is non-evidence? Models are not evidence, never will be. Their predictive value is either validated or invalidated by evidence — data.

    I have a nephew who is an astrophysicist. His career has been in modeling the behavior of sodium atoms and ions on various planetary bodies. His PhD dissertation invalidated the life’s work of another astrophysicist in the field. That’s science. It doesn’t “prove” anything, but it’s really good at disproving wrong theories. Most laymen don’t understand this.

    I think it might be more correct to say that they’re a wholly different kind of evidence than observation, rather than that they’re not evidence. They’re also very dependent on user bias and should always be treated with less authority than direct observation.

    Western Chauvinist:

    Add to this that the “precautionary principle” has done nothing noticeable to advance the human condition, and that evil is ascendant in the world and, yes, I disdain AGW arguments. As Prager questions, would you rather have “he fought CO2 emissions” or “he fought evil (ISIS)” on your tombstone?

    I’ve always disliked that point, as it compares things that are dissimilar in two ways; i.e., apocalyptic global warming is bunk and but not caused by direct human agency, while ISIS is real and caused by directly by people.

    If someone devoted his life to increasing farm yields or protecting us from asteroid impacts, that sounds like a very worthy epitaph.

    • #33
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    It has always struck me that those attempting to reduce CO2 levels (other than through photosynthesis) display a bias against plant life. Have you seen how much faster plants grow given even a small increase in atmospheric CO2? So why do the Climate Warriors want to hurt plants?  Why do they want a browner (and whiter) globe? I thought it was supposed to be the green movement. But, no. Like Jadis they seem to want a world where it is always winter and never Christmas.

    Seawriter

    • #34
  5. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Western Chauvinist:The evidence is non-evidence? Models are not evidence, never will be. Their predictive value is either validated or invalidated by evidence — data.

    I have a nephew who is an astrophysicist. His career has been in modeling the behavior of sodium atoms and ions on various planetary bodies. His PhD dissertation invalidated the life’s work of another astrophysicist in the field. That’s science. It doesn’t “prove” anything, but it’s really good at disproving wrong theories. Most laymen don’t understand this.

    I think it might be more correct to say that they’re a wholly different kind of evidence than observation, rather than that they’re not evidence. They’re also very dependent on user bias and should always be treated with less authority than direct observation.

    Tom that’s very wrong.  A model is in effect a hypothesis, nothing more.  It predicts events in the real world, it does not demonstrate them in any sense whatsoever.  A modeler’s review of evidence may contribute to how he chooses to construct his model — in other words it may inform the hypothesis/prediction/guess that his model represents.  But the model itself, and it’s predictions, have no evidence value whatsoever.  Evidence is what occurs in the natural world.

    It is, by the way, terribly important that we remember that.  The claim that these models “prove” this or that is at the center of the warming hysteric’s arguments, and it is deeply, disturbingly, and to anyone who knows anything about the scientific method, obviously, false.

    By the way, I’m surprised no one’s mentioned it yet, but this is a really well articulated view of what’s would be needed to substantiate the warmist’s claims.

    • #35
  6. user_1152 Member
    user_1152
    @DonTillman

    Alinsky rule number 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.

    I’ll suggest embracing Global Warming and use it to actively dismantle all of the “green” programs that turn out to have negative effects on the environment:

    • The ethanol fuel program is energy inefficient and wastes food resources.
    • Car pool lanes which increase traffic congestion, fuel consumption, and exhaust emissions.
    • The ban of incandescent lamps that are 100% efficient if the emitted heat is put to use, which is usually the case, especially considering the poisonous chemicals in fluorescents.
    • The ban on oil pipelines as they are the safest and most efficient way to transport oil.
    • The overly strict environmental regulations that replace domestic low-pollution factories with foreign high-pollution factories.
    • “Cash for Clunkers” that rendered perfectly good cars unusable and unrecycleable.
    • The MTBE gasoline additive that was included to reduce air pollution but ended up polluting groundwater and had to be superfunded.

    And so forth…

    • #36
  7. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @RobertMcReynolds

    It is striking in which the AGW crowd seeks to have us accept it as though they are proselytizing a religion.  It’s not that we have to accept it because there irrefutable evidence that humans are the main driving force of climate change or that there is without a doubt demonstrable evidence that the earth is actually warming.  We have to accept it because it is mainstream.  The priesthood of “science” has said we must.  The biggest clue for me that this was a sham from the get-go was the fact that the solution to it was socialism.  How people can’t see through this attempt to complete the full socializing of the US I will never know.

    • #37
  8. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Dan and Michael—thank you! Very helpful!

    There are other costs to the focus on global warming, regardless of which side is closer to being right —-I read an essay in the New Yorker a few weeks ago by an ornithologist who said that phrases like “global warming poses the greatest threat to bird life” are actually making it much more difficult to do the kind of basic conservation work that might actually help protect and preserve bird populations so that they’re here to evolve and adapt to whatever the climate of the future might be. “The birds are doomed anyway” is not the sort of slogan that is likely to encourage a real estate developer to install bird-safe(r) glass in his new high rise office building.

    Gratifyingly, this validated my long-held contention that apocalypticism of any kind tends to distract and discourage us from attempting to do good things in the here and now. There are environmental problems that we can solve, for the benefit of the present generation and future generations too (if any!?).

    • #38
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