Jul 5, 2010

See You in Mid-August

I'm currently on a writing retreat, working hard on my upcoming book, Decoding the Climate Bible: Almost Nothing You've Heard About the UN's Uber Report is True.

Until mid-August, therefore, this blog will be on hiatus. To those of you in the Northern hemisphere – enjoy your summer. To my friends in Australia, New Zealand, and other southerly locales, may winter treat you kindly.

Until we meet again, below are some of the submissions to the body currently examining the manner in which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conducts itself.

Keep in mind when you read these that the public has long been told that the IPCC's findings should be trusted because it is a paragon of virtue. We've been told its approach is rigorous, transparent, robust, and inclusive (see quote at bottom of p.7 of PDF). We've been told it employs a meticulous "peer-reviewed process." Indeed, according to its chairman, no one can imagine a better way of doing things since the IPCC's modus operandi is unparalleled on the planet.

Among those persons who beg to differ are:


See my IPCC-related blog posts in the right-hand column here.


>> The water cannon of the climate debate
>> Climate bible gets 21 'F's on report card
>> Cross-examining the IPCC
>> The great peer-review fairy tale
>> What's left if we disregard non-peer-reviewed claims?
>> Cutoff dates, what cutoff dates?

Jul 3, 2010

1969 Climate Predictions Miss by a Mile

Czech physicist Lubos Motl reports on an important memo just released by the Richard Nixon library. Written by presidential advisor Daniel Moynihan in 1969 it reveals that the "carbon dioxide problem" was viewed as an environmental concern by some highly placed US government officials way back when.

This memo reads, in part:
It is now pretty clearly agreed that the CO2 content [in the atmosphere] will rise 25% by 2000. This could increase the average temperture near the earth's surface by 7 degrees Fahreheit. This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter. [bold added]
Motl has drawn up a handy chart that demonstrates just how wide of the mark these predictions were. Rather than increasing by 81 parts per million as the "pretty clearly agreed" experts feared, CO2 rose by only 45 parts per million.

Rather than spiking by 3.9 C (7 degrees F), the actual temperature increase between 1969 and the year 2000 was a practically imperceptible 0.3 C. Which means the experts were off by 1200 percent.

Most embarrassing of all, rather than rising 305 cm (10 feet), sea level increased by a paltry 10 cm (3.9 inches). Which means the experts overestimated that particular danger by 2950 percent.

Moral of the story: no one has ever been able to predict the future. Not even highly educated, highly regarded government advisors.

We humans can tell ourselves no end of scary stories. We can exhaust our financial, institutional, and emotional resources preparing for imaginary dangers based on hypothetical scenarios. Or, as Bob Carter argues persuasively in his important, accessible-to-the-lay-person book Climate: The Counter Consenus, we can take sensible steps to protect ourselves from hazards we're dead certain to encounter. These are the ones that have always been with us: droughts, landslides, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and so forth.

With so many very real challenges to cope with, why do we humans spend so much energy obsessing about hypothetical ones?
  • Motl's blog post is here
  • the actual memo is here
  • read a news article about the released Nixon papers here


>> 10-year snow prediction fails miserably
>> A bogus 21-year-old climate prediction
>> Global disaster is so 1976
>> The big picture: the Y2K lesson