Meanderings

It’s not climate change causing fires

Alaska is burning and it’s due to global warming. No, wait, that’s impossible. One cannot attribute any single event to warming. What one can do is declare they are a scientist, then make psychic predictions about future fires. That makes the predictions scientific. Yes, Alaska is burning. It’s dry and hot and it happens. It happens more frequently where people live and recreate. So my psychic prediction is if we made everyone live in a tiny area, fires would decrease dramatically. Except for the ones caused by lightening, which would increase in size dramatically with no one around to put them out.  Note: do not check on historical fire data. Your belief in global warming could be affected.  Huge fires occurred long before the industrial revolution.

Foray into fiction here

I was reading a blog that mentioned “Waterworld” and the poles melting. (To be honest, I had to check on that. The movie was so bad I didn’t remember why it was the world was flooded.) “Waterworld” was science fiction. Does anyone remember the meaning of the word “fiction”? It seems the news has become fiction, too, so maybe soon we’ll see “MediaApocalypse” where all members of the media are eaten by creatures that crawled out of the not-so-dying-ocean and were angered that humans were thinking they were so big and powerful they controlled the weather. We could have Bill Nye eaten early on, along with Michael Mann and all the network news anchors. After that, the film pretty much ends as people go back to their daily lives and stop hiding under tables waiting for the end. Not as messy as a zombie apocalypse, but there’s no good way to naturally produce a zombie.

Wow, it gets get more and more out in left field

Under the “Unbelievably Stupid Waste of Time and Money” comes this from the Daily Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3133317/Scientists-creating-eco-cows-try-reduce-greenhouse-gases-generated-herds.html
If you are paying the slightest bit of attention (okay, there went half the audience….), when it’s brought up that people breathe out CO2, it is immediately, loudly and rudely pointed out that ONLY fossil fuels cause this problem. The cows are eating grass and then releasing the CO2 as part of the carbon cycle that is natural. One might argue that a TINY percentage of CO2 is added to the air, but only a scientifically illiterate person claims cattle add to the problem. Yet, here we are with money wasted trying to decrease cattle flatulence while telling people that breathing out CO2 doesn’t change anything. A scientific theory?  Unlikely with this kind of commentary.  Black is white and white is black.

It’s not to save the planet, it’s to kill capitalism

EPA proposes tougher fuel-efficiency standards for trucks from “The Washington post”. This headline should read “EPA proposes to further collapse the economy in the name of saving the planet”. It is obvious this is not about people and their having good lives, but rather pushing everyone into poverty and/or government assistance. This is the perfect way to create lay-offs, shut down businesses, etc all of which are exactly what the EPA wants (and possibly the Pope, since closing businesses and laying people off cuts into that crass commercialism his encyclical is decrying). Try not to think about the reality that developed nations do far less environmental damage than the poverty filled nations. Fossil fuels allow people to not cut wood for heat, not burn dung for cooking, not clear cut in the hopes of growing more food and not starving, etc. Why would anyone want to have people starving, polluting the air with filthy fuels and clear cutting forests to survive? Maybe the Washington post could run an article explaining this.

(Moderation of comments may be slow as I will be away from the computer for a couple days.  Apologies in advance.)

IPCC psychic predictions

The IPCC psychic predictions:

1. Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states and other small islands, due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and sea-level rise.

Sea level is rising about 3 mm per year. In 100 years, you get 300mm of rise. The IPCC reportedly put a range of 28 to 98 cm by 2100. So 3 feet in 80 years. Don’t see people fleeing like refugees from that rate. Plus, there is a lot of uncertainty in the prediction.  Not to be a killjoy, but coastal zones are always hit with storms and flooding. Humans have lived near coasts and dealt with this for 100’s of years. With better technology and resources, it should be at least as doable as any other time in history.

2. Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to inland flooding in some regions.

First, “in some areas” is just exactly what a psychic would use. Totally lacking in detail and will positively happen. With or without the AGW theory being correct. Note it does not say “increased risk”.

3. Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity, water supply, and health and emergency services.

Again, not statement of an “increase”, just “risks”. Humans have to deal with extreme weather all the time. If there’s more extreme weather, humans have dealt with it. We have managed even though more people are affected. Critical services and infrastructure are lost frequently. People cope. Should we make improvements to our infrastructure and homes–sure. Warming or no, the storms will keep coming.

4. Risk of mortality and morbidity during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations and those working outdoors in urban or rural areas.

Interesting they say “working outdoors in urban or rural areas”. Climate change believers tend to be nitpickers on language and you would have thought they would have realized this actually reads that people in semi-rural or semi-urban areas are not included. How did that one get past the editor? Why not just say “outdoors”?
Extreme hot and extreme cold can kill, now and in the future. Cold kills fewer people in the US in part due to “snowbirds”–people who move from one climate to another, kind of like migratory birds, only the migration occurs in cars, rather than walking or flying. Perhaps people will improve on that system. Also, people who like hot gravitate to hot, same for people who like cold.
For centuries, people have worked outside in extreme heat and extreme cold.

5. Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings.

Again, nothing new. Drought and famine have existed for the entirety of human history. It has alway s been harder on the poor. They failed to mention cooling causes famine also–the Irish potato famine comes to mind. There is absolute certainty that some of these things will happen. No real predictions short of what has always happened will continue to happen.

6. Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.

I believe this describes the dust bowl–that pre-global warming disaster that changed the way we farm. Same old thing humans have always contended with. Only now we have more advanced technology and better ways to deal with this. Poorer nations will catch up as they always have.

7. Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.

The “risk” is that systems will change, not be lost. That is exactly what nature has always done–change, adapt. Is is fascinating that the same scientists who may heartily espouse evolution can be the same one shouting loudest that nothing should change or that the change can be “too fast”. As for livelihoods, buggy whip manufacturers were displaced by cars, furriers put out of much business by the PC animal rights crowds, machinery replaced humans in many areas. The world went on.

8. Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for livelihoods.
Loss and movement of water systems is nothing new. The ecosystems will change, not be lost (unless you argue that every time there is an evolutionary change, it’s bad because something is lost–that evolution is bad). Yes, some species will be lost, no matter if the planet warms or not. It’s call survival of the adequately fit. Nothing new.

The IPCC report reads like what a carnival psychic would say–vague predictions many of which are going to happen with or without AGW. It’s sad that pseudoscientific vague predictions have been called science when discussing the climate.

Several places I read on the report said:
“there is no new science in this report, which assesses recent science since the previous IPCC report in 2007”
No new science but an increase in likelihood that humans are causing climate change? How does that work? Same way a psychic does–by saying whatever you think someone wants to hear and hoping no one asks about the details.

Another interesting statement in the report:
“Attribution of observed impacts in the WGII AR5 generally links responses of natural and human systems to observed climate change, regardless of its cause.”
Translation: Nature or human caused, it matters not so far as what we try to scare you with. If we separated them, you might see that nature really is a lot more dominate than we admit. No need for those pesky details.

There is talk of adaptation in the document, but not in many of the press releases. It’s fascinating how science gets trampled all to death in the name of saving the planet, which we have little evidence needs saving. Perhaps they changed to the psychic method because actual predictions of melting glaciers, hotspots and Arctic ice were so problematic in the past. It appears there’s much, much more to learn about natural climate change, CO2 and modeling before we can move past the psychic predictions.

 

Scientific badger

Scientific badger

 

 

 

 

An Invalid Analogy

In our paper, a professor from our university claimed our congressional representative was ignoring the science on climate change.

He first makes the tired 97% agreement claim. Yes, 97% of the 79 people who wrote the most peer-reviewed articles in peer-reviewed journals. Translation: 97% of 79 people who’s fellow climate scientists agreed with what they wrote think climate science is true. Of course, consensus does not determine truth in science, so even if 99% of 3000 scientists agreed, it would not make the hypothesis or theory true. Only evidence and testing and open review can do that.

Then came the now standard “If you had cancer, you would go to an oncologist, right?” The clear implication is you must have a specialist or appropriate authority for scientific decisions. Thus, you need the IPCC (which is not science organization, but rather a political one that decides what the whole world needs to do) and James Hansen to tell you about climate change.

There is a serious flaw in this claim—or maybe it’s a deliberate slight. Yes, you do go to an oncologist for treatment of cancer, but very often a family doctor or even a dentist makes the referral. This means a non-specialist can recognize cancer or potential cancer. The understanding of what cancer is is present in these “non-specialists”, unlike climate science where anyone outside the elite peer-reviewed are often ignored or downright vilified. Can you imagine an oncologist refusing to see you because your lowly GP thinks you have cancer? Who is your GP to make a diagnosis like that? If the oncologist said you did not have cancer but your GP did, would you seek a second opinion or just go with the specialist who is the authority and ignore the non-authority GP?

There are many different ways of treating cancer and a recognition that there is much more to be learned. There is no consensus in what will work because consensus is not important—results are. Money is always being raised for new studies on cancer and treatments for it. It is not “settled” science.

The second problem with the comparison is oncologists success is measured by remission and cure rates. No one checks for how many articles the oncologist has published or is his cure rate is peer-reviewed. This is because there are concrete, testable practices in oncology. If a treatment fails, it is evident in a short period of time. Contrast this to climate change which is mostly mathematics and computer modeling. There is no immediate, concrete verification of the theory. Much of the damage is forecast decades out. How can a person have any idea if a theory that cannot be verified for 50 years is even close to accurate? To be science, the theory has to be testable and falsifiable. Climate change theory is neither. Oncology is.

If oncology worked like climate change, an oncologist would do a few tests of how you are feeling and feed the information into a computer program to produce a graph that show possible outcomes. He cannot use any empirical information outside of a biopsy to diagnose the cancer. Everything else is a CI or probability graph. If the graph says “treat now and agressively” and that translates to “cut the limb off or the cancer COULD spread”, you would have to amputate the limb because it COULD save your life.

In reality, an oncologist would do empirical tests, then give the patient choices for treatment. The patient may opt to go for amputating the limb to avoid the possibility that he could die if he does not. In oncology, that is a choice. In climate science, it is not. The treatment is prescribed for the world and there is NO discussion in any of it.
If your oncologist treated your cancer using computer models and decided FOR you the treatment, then and only then could going to an oncologist for treatment be somewhat comparable to going to an expert in climate science to get the diagnoses and treatment for the planet.

Empirical science is not the same as theoretical. Biopsies are not the same as inputting “average” temperatures from various places around the globe and manipulating the data, the declaring the earth is warming. The comparison is invalid and climate scientists should be looking for something that is similar if they want to get climate science questioners to consider their behaviour and analogies to be scientific.