A Veneer Of Certainty

How dependable is climate science?

Not enough to base energy policy on.

[Update a few minutes later]

A vigorous fisking of what Judith Curry calls “the stupidest [peer-reviewed] paper ever written.” With all respect to Professor Curry, that’s a pretty high bar, even in this field.

[Update a couple minutes later]

OK, I slightly misquoted her.

[Update a while later]

Link is fixed, sorry!

10 thoughts on “A Veneer Of Certainty”

  1. If climate alarmists had a viable case for their political agenda, they would have won the argument 30 years ago.

    Instead, they’re reduced to attacking rational skepticism as Thoughtcrime.

  2. Dr. Koonin: What are you using them as?
    Dr. Collins: Well, we took exactly the same models that got the forcing wrong and which got sort of the projections wrong up to 2100.
    Dr. Koonin: So, why do we even show centennial-scale projections?
    Dr. Collins: Well, I mean, it is part of the [IPCC] assessment process.

    “It is part of the assessment process” is not a scientific justification for using assumptions that are known to be empirically wrong to produce projections that help drive the political narrative of a planet spinning toward a climate catastrophe.


    What is striking is that climate science doesn’t even understand natural variation enough to show whether or not current climate variation is natural or unnatural. The range of climate and weather activities is not outside the bounds of natural variation.

    The link also emphasizes that “scientific” conclusions are based on assumptions based on models based on assumptions and at each stage there are serious flaws and uncertainties which should prevent any sensible person from grand absolute predictions and how proposed policies will affect them.

    Considering how moderate our current variable climate is now compared to how a variable climate acts during glaciation, we should be thankful to be living when we are. Extreme global scale drought doesn’t seem like a likely outcome when less water is tied up in ice sheets, yet that always seems to be part of the fear mongering.

    1. Instead of debating, highlighting and, where possible, resolving disagreement, many mainstream climate scientists work in a symbiotic relationship with environmental activists and the news media to stoke fear about allegedly catastrophic climate change, providing a scientific imprimatur for an aggressive policy response while declining to air private doubts and the systematic uncertainties

      This is important too because it emphasizes that climate science is not engaging in a good faith debate. When a scientists who believes in AGW can not express doubts or uncertainties about the science lest it give credence to skeptics who are regularly demonized and dehumanized for expressing those same doubts, it shows this is all about politics and tribal in/out group relationships and nothing about science.

      It also trends into religiosity with forbidden knowledge and heretical beliefs where faith in the ultimate predictions and the moral prescriptions is more important that the actual validity of those predictions or moral foundation.

  3. I think that by the time of 2100, earth’S average temperature will be around 16 C and sea level will about 10″ higher than compared to 2000 AD.

  4. Here’s the lengthy blurb from the paper on the authors of the paper and their affiliations.

    Jeffrey A. Harvey (j.jharvey@nioo.knaw.nl) is affiliated with the Department of Terrestrial Ecology at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, in Wageningen. JAH, Daphne van den Berg, and Jacintha Ellers are with the Department of Ecological Sciences–Animal Ecology at the VU University Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. Remko Kampen works in Gouda, the Netherlands. Thomas, W. Crowther is with the Department of Terrestrial Ecology at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, in Wageningen, and with the Institute of Integrative Biology, in Zürich, Switzerland. Peter Roessingh is with the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. Bart Verheggen is affiliated with Amsterdam University College, in The Netherlands. Rascha J. M. Nuijten is with the Department of Animal Ecology at Netherlands Institute of Ecology, in Wageningen. Eric Post is affiliated with the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis. Stephan Lewandowsky is with the School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol, in the United Kingdom, and with CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Ian Stirling is affiliated with the Wildlife Research Division of Environment and Climate Change Canada, and with the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada. Meena Balgopal is with the Department of Biology at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins. Steven C. Amstrup is affiliated with Polar Bears International, in Bozeman, Montana, and with the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie. Michael E. Mann is affiliated with the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park.

    Notice the last name on the “the stupidest [peer-reviewed] paper ever written”, Michael Mann once against cameos in a shabby paper. A fair portion of that list, including Mann, has pretty shaky credentials (Remko Kampen in particular whose claim to relevance is that he works in a town – googling, he appears to be a “climate justice” advocate) with respect to the criticisms of blogs disputing that polar bears are oppressed by climate change.

    If we were to use the internal standards of their paper, would a good portion of this list qualify? Of course not.

    The real value of the paper appears to be as rhetorical theater. Once a counterargument exists, no matter how shabby, the adverse criticism of these blogs is rebutted and may be safely ignored.

  5. So along with Climate Science, we have a two new additional Sciences: Advocacy Science and Denial Science!

    I defer to what the esteemed Fred Brooks once lectured during a talk he gave when his book “The Mythical Man Month” had been recently published to which I attended. To paraphrase:

    Areas of study that are true sciences already have distinctive names. Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, these are true sciences. An area of study that appropriates the word “Science” in its name is inherently not a Science. As examples I give you Computer Science, Military Science…

    Under the Brooks rule “Climate” would be a Science, “Climate Science” I leave to the Brooks interpretation.

    Besides the appropriation of the word ‘Science’ to bestow credibility, we seem also to have a disturbing trend where modelling and projection is being used to replace observation in the peer-reviewed literature.

    Back in the late 70’s there were distinctions being drawn in academia between the so-called “soft-sciences” and the “hard-sciences”. About the only thing that connected the two were the use of mathematics, statistics in particular. Physicality, esp. in the so-called “soft sciences”, seemed to take a back seat over modelling and projections. Those chickens are coming home to roost now as careers are at stake and peer review will provide no protection against abuse.

  6. The scarier chickens coming home to roost are the millennials with their rather complete leftist brain-washing who are now eligible voters. Very little real science can penetrate their worldview. Unless they get some serious red-pilling the future looks bleak.

    1. Bleak time historically have been pretty good at administering red pills. Sometimes the pills are even non-fatal.

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