7 thoughts on “The IPCC’s Attribution Methodology”

  1. McKitrick has done good work. But since I can’t understand what he writes, not being a statistician, I’m not sure what to do with this kind of thing. Tah-dah!
    I wish people on both sides had this attitude towards work they don’t understand. But they don’t.

    1. It got politicized in order to keep the checks rolling in. The more alarmist, the more money is sent their way. Regrettable but understandable. At least some of the fallout I hope is a better understanding of dendrology.

      This is nothing new for Science. Nuclear science, a backwater of college Physics Depts. in the 1920s & 30s benefitted tremendously thanks to WWII and the Cold War politics that followed.

      1. I think your analogy is strained.

        Do you think that the United States should have not fought the Cold War and have developed and deployed a nuclear arsenal to deter the Soviets? Do you think the menace of International Communism was overblown?

        The Cold War and post WW-II rearmament was a project of the Liberal Consensus that bristled at the suggestion from the Right that they were “soft on Communism.” But there were those leftward on the political spectrum who snarked about “finding Communists under every bed”, and there were even some on the Isolationist Right who felt that the Cold War was unnecessarily undercutting the cause of liberty.

        I am not trying to close off discussion. The Cold War was driven by politics — the politics of not ending up as defacto slaves to the Soviets — but was it “politicized”? Is there a case that Soviet military power was overblown, in part because of their propaganda and disinformation in their pursuit of power on the international scene, and that the Cold War mainly served to enrich defense contractors?

        Conversely, do CO2 emissions pose a risk to the global environment, even though schemes such as the Green New Deal are little more than Socialism, done badly? With Socialism done seriously being the Tennessee Valley Authority that generated the electric power for enriching uranium that brought WW-II to a close and Socialism done badly being Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the attempt to turn steel making into a cottage industry?

        With a serious response to CO2 being a Socialism that builds nuclear power plants and a stupid response being a Socialism that wants to rely on rooftop solar panels?

        1. Gee I’d like to get into this with you more but this forum is just too restrictive.

          But to answer your questions. No I believe the Cold War was inevitable, given Stalin’s Russia. There was thought of putting the A-Bomb under international control in the very early days after the war to avoid an arms race. But it was quickly apparent that was just a pipe dream. And so we were off to the races. It was a peculiar race at least at the beginning because shortly after the WWII ended, our ability to produce bombs had somewhat fallen off a cliff. Bringing back Oppenheimer, I.I. Rabi, and James Conant, etc. back to Los Alamos to get a handle on restoring our ability to produce A-bombs[1]. Obviously it didn’t remain that way for long. We also had a bit of a delivery issue, with the B-29 trying to carry heaver and heavier a-bombs across the vast Asian expanse that was the Soviet Union, leading to the development of the enormous B-36, then B-47 and finally the B-52. (B-58 was not as much of an operational success as compared to the B-52 so it’s a bit off to the side). And of course the development of the ICBM and sub-launched IRBMs. (Scant difference between land and sea these days). Another area of science known as aerospace. If the motivation for all of this was not the politics of who retains strategic superiority over a foe in wartime, then what was it about? Philanthropy? If you are narrowing your definition of politics to solely our two party system here in the US, then sure there was finger-pointing, but as you show, the consensus was to move forward on Atomic Energy and Weapons as a policy of national survival. But isn’t that form of public policy also just another form of politics? The word political is not an antonym for the word consensus.

          But that also doesn’t mean that all this effort didn’t have huge impacts on Science as did WWII before it. We also had a government agency, the AEC, actively promoting the ‘peaceful atom’ to get nuclear electric plants up and operating. All of this a boon to nuclear science, was it not?

          I’m merely pointing out what happened in the past, not arguing against it. I personally think nuclear power is the way forward. Not windmills, solar cells and massive banks of lithium batteries. But it’s rather interesting that we as a country still prefer to rely on Socialist ‘public utilities’ and ‘public education’ to supply our energy and education. Why is that? Is it NIMBY for energy? Bad habits for education? Fear mostly?

          You do ask a lot of good questions. I’ll let others address some of the other points you raise. I’ll just stick to clarifying the point of what I had suggested earlier about socialized nuclear science as a parallel for socialized climate agendas.

          I don’t see it as a stretch at all. More as the norm established in the 20th Century. Go back and see how scientists were funded in the days before WWII. Esp. in the 18th &19th centuries.

          [1] Dark Sun – Richard Rhodes A very good read. This book deals far more with government/science interaction at the height of the Cold War than did it’s predecessor The Making of The Atomic Bomb, which deals more with the odd personalities involved, pushing at breakneck speed to make something real from what was only theory while at the same time fighting WWII .

          1. Dark Sun covered the Soviet espionage activities that allowed them to close the gap in having an atomic weapon at breakneck speed. The Soviets getting the A-bomb unexpectedly soon was a driver to the US development of the H-bomb, which was Rhodes “dark sun.” And after that, it was off to the arms races.

            Being employed in Big Higher Education, there are two anecdotes from that book that I find interesting and inciteful.

            The Soviet bomb program was overseen by the feared second-in-command-to-Stalin and head of the secret police Lavrentiy Beria. The secrets stolen from the US by traitors were piped directly to Beria, who shared them with Soviet physicist Igor Kurchatov who was in charge of the engineers and physicists of the bomb program.

            To the extent that Kurchatov was informed, he was not to share this information and certainly not the source. The other factor that Kurchatov was clued in to was that there was no guarantee that the information he received wasn’t compromised by US counter intelligence to lead the Soviets down false paths.

            Kurchatov left his engineers and scientists to figure out the Bomb on their own, but he encouraged them to consult with him if they had doubts. During WW-II he grew his beard as a gesture of defiance against the Nazi invasion of his homeland (according the Rhodes), and when his scientists were stuck on a problem, they spoke of “going to ask The Beard.”

            So if his people came up with a result that was at variance with the stolen US atom bomb data, he would tell them, “I am not so sure about your results — check your equations and measurements more carefully.” He wouldn’t tell them their result was wrong, because maybe that was what the American wanted the Soviets to think, but we wouldn’t tell them “the right answer” to maintain compartmentalization and need-to-know of the valued intelligence collection. It was like engineering students asking the professor for clues on homework during “office hours” and the professor being coy about this so the students would do the work.

            The other Rhodes story is when the Soviet scientists were going to “go critical” with their first graphite-moderated version of the Enrico Fermi experiment at the University of Chicago. Getting this to succeed was a crucial milestone towards breeding plutonium to build an A-bomb.

            Beria was in attendance at this initial experiment, and given the man’s reputation, it wasn’t just scientific curiosity and the motivation of an engineer to have a success.

            So they prepared their radiation counters and began withdrawing the control rods from their pioneering reactor. The counters started to click and the lights blinked with each detection of a high-energy particle. They withdrew the control rods some more, and the frequency of the clicks and blinks increased. They withdrew the rods to their stops and the clicks were a roar and the lights were on constantly.

            They had achieved their first nuclear chain reaction. There was cheering and slapping of colleagues on the back, and they broke out the vodka in celebration of this achievement. At that point, Beria, ever suspicious of the scientists doing this beyond his intellectual powers of comprehension yelled out, “What sort of fool do you think I am? All I see here are blinking lights!”

            Some students in the Engineering program are similarly uncertain about what is unseen.

          2. Apart from a few quibbles about the US bomber aircraft programs — according to Wikipedia, the world’s most authoritative source, development of the B-36 super long-range piston-engine bomber goes back to WW-II days, when it was uncertain that England could hold out against the German onslaught and bombing raids on Continental Europe would have to be conducted from the continental US or maybe Canada. Furthermore, the B-47 Stratojet was of much shorter range, but it was deployed from forward bases.

            That said, Rhodes goes into the sorry state of affairs of the Air Force in being able to credibly drop an A-bomb on Russia if it came to that, not just because of limitations of the aircraft but the inadequacy of tactics and training to do this. Curtis LeMay “took charge” of the nascent Strategic Air Command and “whipped his troops into shape” conducting mock raids on US cities the public never knew about. His cockiness regarding this achievement and the resulting capabilities described by Rhodes fed into the narrative of “Dr. Strangelove” and other movies.

            I had my own cockiness talking about Rhodes’ narrative in Dark Sun about the B-29 being rushed into the fight against Japan and catastrophic engine failures causing higher losses than the Japanese fighter planes. I shared this with a WW-II veteran who served as a flight engineer, and he gave me the “stink eye” and “silent treatment” for even mentioning this.

            Years later, he disclosed that immediately after the surrender of Japan, a general had ordered the planes in his squadron to overfly their base in a kind of victory parade. Whereas this veteran hadn’t missed being in harms way in missions over Japan, this day he was in the infirmary when his plane suffered multiple engine failures, and his crewmates from WW-II were all lost apart from the tail gunner.

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