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Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by MichaelJoeWilliamson, Aug 28, 2013.
No he didn't
Actually, the deniers have been more correct than:
-Dr. Paul Ehrlich and The Population Bomb
-Peak oil theory
-'70's ice age theory
and a whole slew of Global Warming predictions including
-Arctic ice free
-Manhattan under water
-increase of hurricanes, sea level, floods, fires
and a variety of other calamities
Wow, this is getting to be a very large conversation. I'll do my best to keep it short here. Edit: I did a pretty poor job of that, as usual.
It is not the accuracy of the models that I am comparing to the birth control; it is the potential for disparity between actual and perceived accuracy. And absolutely this cuts both ways. I have long thought that many of the "green" left has latched far too strongly onto the severity and certainty of the models. This is their natural inclination, just as the natural inclination of the "individual liberty" right is to downplay such science.
To the first statement, I say 'maybe', but I very much disagree with the second. It is my understand that the total Earth heat budget models are still tracking very well with observations. Do you agree with this? The inaccuracy seems to stem from a failure to predict the distribution of this added heat. Is this inaccuracy important? Is it important enough to just throw up our hands and say, "everything is wrong" and just forget about it? This type of reasoning is as much art as science, but I still think we can come to answer.
As for a hypothesis either being predictive or not, I think this is an over-simplification. The predictions are not yes/no, so how can their assessments be so categorically and arbitrarily black and white? If I am a fisherman that can predict where a rare school of fish will be swimming 50% of the time, is this "predictive" or "not"? What about 55% of the time? 65%? 80%? 90%? 95%? To me, you cannot force a continuous spectrum into categorical demarcations. And the example I am giving is a simple one-dimensional model. When we have multiple dimensions, a yes/no assessment becomes even less useful.
I think that the question that I am asking is very different than the question you are hearing. Rather than asking for an example of failed prediction, I am asking how we, as observers, evaluate "failure". I am asking us to consider the nature of our personal epistomological approaches. It is my memory that you were skeptical of AGW before this "standstill" became apparent, yes? Or was it this standstill alone that makes the prediction "wrong"? What if there was no standstill? Would it still be wrong? What if the warming returns consistent with the ocean abatement hypothesis? What if there were more "100 degree readings" in the US recently? Is it these empirical results or is it the theory where your disagreement arises?
Well I was specifically talking about our (yours and my) relative ignorance compared with that of the scientists. Are we really qualified to assess their rationality?
But if we are asking and independent question about policy recommendations, I don't know. I don't even really follow that side very much. I can say that I have heard of a couple of economic arguments for a carbon tax that have caught my attention. Some economists, probably many economists, like the idea of adding a carbon tax and then offsetting that tax with a reduction in income tax. I think that the beauty of the plan is that it has the ability to appease both sides: It should decrease carbon emissions without significantly impacting economic growth. I usually stay out of the policy debate, since we can't even agree on the science, but I am intrigued with this idea.
If you are right, then they would be wrong.
The failed predictions of calamities are really one set of big issues that are rarely addressed, by anyone supporting AGW. Even by the more intelligent and thoughtful ones like Rade.
Blam! I love it when people, like yourself, use sound reasoning to make a point... the added facts reinforces your point beautifully.
Appreciate the nice words, MJW.
As I've said before, I am not really big on using the performance of advanced models based on basic models to evaluate the basic models. I assume we are agreed on this? This is one reason that I am usually quiet on hurricane and flooding predictions. (that, and I know virtually nothing about them)
That said, if you would like me to take a look at them with you, I certainly be open to it. We would just have to be willing to go about the assessment systematically, which makes it a bit of a pain. But like I said, I'd do it.
proof is in the puddin rade
Strangely enough, they say the same thing.
I am not trying to say that they are right necessarily, but criticisms like they are "idiots" or the "proof is right here" doesn't really get us anywhere, since these criticisms are leveled by both sides. Likely, we are seeing a manifestation of the Dunning-Kruger effect, but on which side? In order to answer that, we need an independent standard of assessment. But good luck getting them to agree to your proposed standard. And I'm guessing that you won't be thrilled with theirs either.
I would not claim to know a lot about the hurricane and flooding models either, other than to point out the certainty some scientists have claimed as to the predictions based on their models. Hell, many of them even gave us timetables. Some long since over.
These dire predictions have formed much of the impetus calling for CO2 reductions. They were used as "proof" the economies of the world should be attenuated to avoid certain disaster.
While I think we should reduce our output of CO2, I'm not at all surprised that climate models failed to predict temperatures correctly. Models are great for what they are, i.e. to allow to study the workings of the system you're studying. However, when they're used to predict, they all fall down even with perfect output data. Why? Because we are trying to study a system that is extremely complex, random, chaotic. Given that we don't have perfect data and are using proxies for missing data further aggravates the inaccuracy.
If we looked through these predictions together, I'm sure that I'd agree that many of them did prove rather inaccurate, but I really don't know what proportion of who's policy recommendations were based on what predicted outcomes. The figure that I most recently heard, from economist Robert Pindyck, was that the world could lose 10-20% of its capital stock. I won't pretend to determine whether this qualifies as a disaster, but clearly this outcome would be it's own economic attenuation. I haven't read though his stuff too thoroughly, but I think much of this loss comes from shifting agriculture geography and protection/loss of coastal habitat.
Here's a recent paper by him that we can check out to get an idea of his calculations:
I am not sure what the bolded means. You will need to explain it better. But I do know that a market economy has brought about the best conditions for mankind. Therefore, we should be very suspicious of taking actions that attenuate the positive impacts of a market economy.
To be sure, some regulation is necessary. A market economy is, after all, run by humans, with all our foibles. But to subdue the economy for the uncertainty surrounding AGW is just foolish.
Sorry, I missed this earlier
I am not sure the "individual liberty" group downplays science. I certainly do not and can be called a member of that group
I am not sure that I do. For the simple reason is that many of the heat budget models seem to have been hastily made up and introduced in order to try and explain away the pause. Call it the introduction of a "Planks Constant" in climate science. Introducing these heat budget factors might make the math work better from the AGW perspective, but nobody seems to understand why or how it occurs.
They might turn out to be accurate, but the jury is very much out
Depends. If some scientists say Arctic ice will disappear by such and such a date, then it is indeed black and white. Or that hurricanes will inexorably become more numerous and more severe. That has either happened or it has not.
Now, to your point, if one wants to look at the predictions of global climates, then accuracy is defined as measured temperatures falling within a band of probabilities. Certainly not as on or off. That said, if actual temperatures fall outside that band for any length of time, or even if they fall into the most low range of the probability band, then I think one can and should conclude that the models need adjusting, as does the hypothesis.
I have consistently been of the opinion that science should uncover the underlying natural mechanisms of climate change before it undertakes the ambitions notion of determining mankind's impact. Or at the very least, before suggesting draconian methods to reduce carbon emissions
That said, this is not an either/or process either. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are certainly increasing and energy use is almost certainly much of the cause. The claim that those increases in concentrations will have no impact on the environment or on climate change is just as silly as the claims the impact will be catastrophic.
I am very glad that we are now using kinds of energy sources that emit less CO2, such as converting electrical energy producers from coal to gas. Even though this is being done for other reasons more primary than climate change. This conversion also has the added benefit of reducing widely agreed upon pollutants, as well as making the USA much more energy independent.
Further, I will really believe those that claim catastrophic impacts actually believe it themselves when they change their behavior to drastically reduce their own carbon emissions. And further when they also begin to propose aggressive policies to move from high CO2 emission sources to low ones. Such as the afor mentioned natural gas and perhaps a movement to nuclear energy.
I thought I read where the whole carbon tax methods have been shown to be lacking, at least as they have been implemented in Europe? I will have to go and look for those articles, as it has been awhile since I have read them.
I think what Pindyck means by capital stock is irreversible investments in capital structure, like farms, roads, buildings, etc. This basically reduces production potential by 10-20%, which clearly impacts the ability of the economy, even if it doesn't do so through legislative regulation.
I don't think anyone is interested in ending the market economy, but the (admittedly difficult to calculate) costs of climate change should obviously be considered in the over all decisions here. Adopt regulations that reduce your economic output by 50% and you are likely hurting yourself via legislation. Do nothing and you likely hurting yourself via inaction. There is a "best-ish" course of action here, likely somewhat above zero regulation.
Climate change/global warming/ is about $ nothing else.
I would not want the human on the earth to suffer the impact of reducing production potential by 10%
Sure, for known pollutants where the impact and risks are reasonably well understood. CO2 concentrations are not in that category.
This the debate. I am slowly reading through Pindyck's article that I linked for you, and I think you'd be happy with his acknowledgement of the uncertainties. Despite this, he does I believe arrive a policy recommendation somehow, so I am interested to see his reasoning. As I said above, I think we have good reason to believe that both doing nothing and doing a lot are likely going to give us sub-optimal results. I wouldn't pretend to know how to make decisions after that, but I'll see what Pindyck says, at least.
An example of a "on/off" prediction
Now that it is 2013, what do we find?
...there is mounting evidence that Arctic ice levels are cyclical. Data uncovered by climate historians show that there was a massive melt in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by intense re-freezes that ended only in 1979 – the year the IPCC says that shrinking began.
Professor Curry said the ice’s behaviour over the next five years would be crucial, both for understanding the climate and for future policy. ‘Arctic sea ice is the indicator to watch,’ she said.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...global-warming-predictions.html#ixzz2eJUV5IZr
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I scanned the article and I think your discussion simplifies the problem while failing to highlight the uncertainty of outcomes which is emphasized in the article - or perhaps I misunderstand you. Beyond the uncertainty of these type analyses which the author notes is the possibility of "catastrophic" outcomes which he discusses and the lack of clarity of what even that means. For instance, he does not mention the possibility of political turmoil - up to and including wars - over changing land uses, but he does note the comparison to nuclear war during the cold war, which was not quantifiable but none the less a great motivator for action to avoid it. In sum, while 20% burden sounds pretty bad it does not begin to hint at the potential seriousness of the problem, and seems almost manageable. We don't know that it will be.