Saturday, October 24, 2015

On Climate Change - What Most bothers me.

In my opinion the greatest tragedy of the climate change debate is science itself.

To begin with Science is never settled...period (sorry Al Gore, David Suzuki, George Monbiot, Naomi Klein et al). Even if the overwhelming consensus of opinion points in a certain direction one can never close the book on science itself (hell even Newton's seemingly rock solid Law of Universal Gravitation had to be reworked using the better model of General Relativity).

In fact any scientific position is at least one verified experiment away from a possible reduction to the trash heap of bad ideas. Ideas once believed to be sacrosanct - caloric theory of heat, organic vitalism, blended inheritance, impossibility of heavy than air travel - confirm this reality. Each of these had popular support and were in vogue amongst the 'consensus' but failed to stand up to the evidence. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) may be another example. The jury is still out on this one.

As somebody with a science background my biggest criticism of AGW is that the hysteria around it has been driven by a tremendous faith in scientific mathematical modelling. While successful in certain areas mathematical modelling is highly dependant on the parameters and boundary conditions that the modeller inputs into a system. Tweak these parameters in different ways and one can obtain virtually any result you wish. In short they are subject to the bias of the scientist who in many a case are not as objective as they should be (are any humans for that matter?).

The other problem with the AGW hypothesis is that some of the early work on which it rests has been driven by shoddy science. Michael Mann's Hockey Stick graph is the obvious example (it has been debunked) but so are the flawed understanding of cause and effect that put the cart before the horse in misinterpreting the carbon dioxide/temp lag time. IPCC reports are often filled with errors and contrary to the voice of its apologists does not represent the consensus that its advocates would have you believe.Many of those who signed on to it often didn't read the report in its entirety.

This is not to say that one should deny AGW but at the very least we should challenge those advancing AGW as the key driver for Climate Change to provide better evidence. At present they are lacking in this regard and this is unfortunate. As voting citizens we are all entitled to this as the issue appears to dominate much debate and decision making with respect to contemporary Environmental Policy.

Contrary to the voices of derision you are not being 'anti-science' and are in actuality more in step with the natural sceptism that ultimately makes science successful as an enterprise. Deference to authority is after all not a characteristic of modern science. Nor should it be.
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