onsdag 19 augusti 2009

Authority vs Science: Unreason vs Reason

Leading MIT atmospheric physicist and climatologist Richard Lindzen in a talk on The Politics of  Global Warming at the International Conference of Climate Change, New York City, March 8 2009, reminds us about a few simple truths concerning science in general and the science of climate modeling in particular:
  • Endorsing global warming as scientist, just makes life easier.
  • Most arguments about global warming boil down to science vs authority. For much of the public authority will win, since they do not want to deal with science.
  • The climate alarm movement has control of carrots and sticks; most funding for climate would not be there without alarm.
  • What can be done is to better understand science, in particular the logic of science. Actually, science and logic is often not that hard to understand. 
  • Current climate models have large positive feed-backs with thermal radiation decreasing under increasing seasurface temperature, while Nature most likely has negative feed-back.  Getting people including many scientistst to understand this, is crucial. 
  • The Global warming issue has done much to set back climate science, in particular the notion that climate is one-dimensional totally described by some fictitious global mean temperature and some single gross forcing a la CO2 level, is grotesque in its oversimplification.
Lindzen tells us something  important: Good science and scientific logic can be understood by many. Authority cannot win against science in the long run. 

However, in the short run it can, as is illustrated in the previous blog: Evidently Sir David Attenborough has little understanding of the mathematics of climate models, and thus easily can be convinced that predictions of climate models is the truth: If climate models show global warming up to 10 degrees Celsius over the next hundred years, because the accuracy is not better than 10 degrees, then we have to take action to prevent a certainly dangerous increase of 10 degrees. But is it reasonable to keep poor people from increasing their standard of living because climate models are inaccurate? Is it?

Note that Sir David Attenborough has joined the Optimum Population Trust with the following modest proposal on its agenda:
  • The West should provide money to promote contraception in the Third World and poor countries would be denied 'carbon allowances' unless they control their numbers. 
  • Progress on climate change is being seriously hampered by the widespread refusal to acknowledge the link between total greenhouse emissions and the sheer numbers of emitters. 
  • It is time we abandoned this crazy taboo.
The idea to limit energy consumption of poor people until they have become rich enough to have few children is amazing in its inhuman Moment22 stupidity. Is this also a result of climate models? What does Sir David Attenborough say? Maybe it is time for an interview...

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