The Solution is the Problem
Posted by Jeff Id on April 1, 2010
Willis Eschenbach asked a number of questions of climate scientists at this thread on WUWT. I’m not a ‘climate scientist’ but the questions are fun, and those of us who are not climate scientists can form informed opinions on these. On the WUWT thread, climate scientists are invited to answer, here, anyone who considers themselves to have an informed opinion can answer. Or just pick one and let it fly.
My guess is that the advocacy crowd will be a bit surprised by our makeup. Feel free to ignore my answers and put down your own.
Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?
— I don’tlike the word environmentalist because it’s been co opted by people with political agendas that go against the good of humanity and the environment. Of course I understand and support the need for minimal human impact, however our policies have gone way past reasonable in far too many instances. Forest management policies which end up promoting vast wildfires are a great example. I own a green company and spend more time outdoors than most. Our favorite vacation is camping — rustic tent style — where we spend our time having a minimal impact on the environment around us.
Preface Question 2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?
Skeptic – I’m skeptical that there is enough information of high enough quality to answer the key questions about man’s influence on climate. I lean toward a denier of measurable man made change as of late primarily because of the corruption of the science seen here and elsewhere over the last year and a half.
Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?
An odd question in my opinion, it has two separable parts. The answer to the preferred temperature portion is no. There is no preferred temperature for earth. There is a preferred temperature for humans, and a preferred temperature range for economic success. The most disasterous thing that can happen to the Earths environment is another ice age and it’s not a question of will it happen but when will it happen.
Part II is more interesting, it discusses active maintenance – of course active is a term of art for engineers so I read the question as— is there an active feedback loop. Does some part of the climate system actively respond to an increase in temperature with a negative feedback? This is a difficult question. In my opinion it only makes sense that this mechanism must exist because the Earths climate is far too stable for too great a time to be an open loop zero feedback system. However, my belief in the likelihood of this (and belief is the right word) is based only on the fact that nothing in nature happens by accident. It’s odd to find a round rock perched on the side of a hill. Quantum physics is defined by probability yes, but by accident no.
If I answer is just cold and scientific, nobody really knows the magnitude of the feedbacks that exist.
Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?
NA – Willis’s answer is fine.
Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?
I’ve seen no evidence to support that temperatures are outside of normal variation in any way whatsoever. I’ve seen no evidence that temperature changes have affected any portion of the environment in an unusual manner whatsoever. In the past these claims were fun, now it disgusts me when we see news reports of one disaster or another. Attributing Katrina to AGW is a great example.
Question 4. Is the globe warming?
This is a funny question, sure the earth did warm in the last 30 years. The frame of the question implies that we know what next month or next year’s temperature might be. We don’t know what next year or the next decade will bring.
Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?
The ugly bit about global warming is that there is validity in the ability of CO2 to capture heat. The problem is that it ain’t very much heat and nobody knows how feedbacks will respond to it.Humans therefore necessarily cause some warming, it could be vanishingly small though, especially if the feedbacks to temperature changes are actually negative.
Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?
Beyond a few instances of local changes, we don’t know how the climate is being affected.
Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?
Nobody knows. Again, it’s not possible to tell given the young nature of the science and poor quality of the data. Climate science in genereal is in its infancy of understanding. Currently it’s having a great deal of difficulty progressing due to the pollution of the science by the global wealth redistribution political movement. When someone tells me that they know the answer to this question, my first response now is — bull.
It’s unnecessary to even begin discussing the literature on this. There are simply too many unknown and unquantified factors.
Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?
Willis answered this well also. Climate models only show potential explanations for a climate system as imagined by modelers. The biases of the modelers are naturally included in the models. Therefore models are not evidence of anything, however to the IPCC, the right models are the golden gooses. Yes they are useful, but a model which is unproven is completely useless for predicting the future climate.
Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?
Not a chance. Scientists make the claim that models of climate are more accurate than models of weather due to the averaging nature of the bulk effects. On some levels that is potentially true. However, there are far more confounding factors in a climate model than a weather model. The effects of ice melt albedo on the oceans, permafrosts, ocean currents, solar output and such. With only a very short record of temperatures currents and other factors, the assumption that climate models are better, is nothing more than a wild-assed-guess.
Not that there aren’t plenty of things to learn from climate models but as McIntyre’s Santer rebuttal, Lucia and Chad at treesfortheforest have all shown, the models aren’t even working over the short period of time shown in today’s data.
Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?
Not to a statistically demonstrable degree.
Question 11. Is the science settled?
Of course not. Physics and Math have been around far longer, are far more defined, and have higher quality experts in them. They are still not settled. We can’t even tell you what light really is. Settled is a political mantra designed to make us jump into world govenrments and cap and trade fiasco’s. Those who make this claim are advocates who would trick you out of your money for their own best interests.
Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?
Climate science has been corrupted to the point where it is a mash of true science and belief in an appropriate course for human politics.
Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?
Here, many of you will disagree with me. The peer review system is not the problem in climate science. The problem is that govenrrment money has corrupted the whole process. The government funds have created a necessary outcome for the science and the scientists locked in this system are acting according to their best interests – on average. Not every scientist follows lock step with the intended policy but those that do are those who have percolated to the top. Not ever air molecule has the average room temperature, but in bulk they add exactly to room temp.
Therefore the only way that the peer review process will ever be corrected is to remove the driving monetary incentive to a pre-determined conclusion. Any other proposal looks like mental masturbation to me.
Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?
You all know my opinion on this. We don’t have the technology to do anything about CO2 output. We cannot change the output of CO2 without violent destruction of our society. Politicians (who have their own motives) therefore prefer moderate money theft and redistribution according to personal preferences. While party scientists prefer more government regulation of industry. These are nothing but political preferences which run directly counter to the development and production of working technology to counter the problem. These though, are the foolish solutions which they present.
It’s clear to me that the solutions are more important to them than the problem, therefore as the title says, the solution is the problem.
Lets hear your answers though. Leave them here or at WUWT. I think there are plenty of reasonable positions which can be had on these points.