A long time ago I knew a pilot, a fellow student who flew to university from his home somewhere, and parked his plane at the local airport, using it infrequently because it cost a lot to fly. One day there was a plane crash elsewhere in Australia, and he refused to fly his plane until there had been two more. Fatal crashes came in threes, he told me, and he did not wish to be one of this three. I was still learning to be a social scientist at that time, and did not ask why the recent one was not the second or third of an earlier series rather than the first of a new one.
As retailed in my last post, the death of a family member terminated our cruise. When we arrived home from the funeral there was an email telling me of the death of a friend of some standing. Yes, he was old, but we had been at the same lunch only a month before. The next day a phone call told of the death of a much younger woman I had worked with in the music domain in 2013. That’s three deaths in three days, at least in my knowledge of them. No more for a while, please.
Three weeks away were a puzzle for me. Had anything happened in that time? The ship had a daily newspaper for each of the USA, Canada, Britain and Australia, but I decided that a holiday meant that I didn’t want to know. That was fine while on board, but meant that when I got home I had no idea what if anything had happened; I still don’t, and probably never will, in any detail. I was out of Australia for the whole of 1965 and the whole of 1975, and for some months on either side of those years. Australian history in that time is still a bit of a mystery for me.
But some things haven’t changed much, especially in the ‘climate change’ area. My emails are now full again of what is happening there, and it is as though I was never absent. Here is Larry Kummer, editor of the Fabius Maximus website, with a suggestion that since ‘hindcasting’ models (running them to ‘predict’ the average global temperature of past decades) is not a true test of their skill, the US Government should fund a proper test.
Take the models used in the First Assessment Report (FAR, 1990), the Second (SAR, 1995), and the Third (TAR, 2001). Run those models using actual emissions as inputs, with no changes of the algorithms or baselines. How accurately will the models’ output match the actual global average surface temperatures? This has been done before in rough form, but never completely and recently – as warranted by the scale of the threat. It’s not the time for short cuts and partial tests.
The resulting predictions would provide fair tests of the models’ skill over significant periods: 25 years since FAR, 20 years since SAR, and 15 years since TAR. The top line results would be useful for the public and our leaders, and also provide the basis for more sophisticated analysis by scientists.
If those early models worked well, then we can assume later models work even better. If those models could not successfully predict over several decades, then the public could reasonably require more evidence before spending trillions of dollars — or even making drastic revisions to our economic system, as urged by Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate and Pope Francis in ‘Laudato Si’.
Good idea? Of course, but why would those in authority want to do it? They are happy with the way things are. Now here’s another one from the USA, a big-wheel funds manager, excoriating President Obama and those who have signed the President’s ‘pledge’ in support of a climate deal in Paris next month. Our corporate leaders would rather cave in to political pressure that is based on pop science and emotion than focus on creating shareholder value? How sad… Shareholders should seriously question executives who appease such environmental extremism and zealotry. Amen to that, say I.
He went on: Man-made climate change was not proved by the data, and the politicisation of the issue, particularly in the US, has made it impossible for other voices to be heard. Anyone questioning the science is met with a chorus of abuse by opponents. Their answer is ‘X per cent of scientists’ and ‘Big Oil’. My answer is ‘data, data, data.’ Amen to that too.
Meanwhile, Anthony Watts, of WUWT, has been running stories about the scare articles leading up to Paris and the 21st Conference of the parties. These are dutifully picked up be the media. I saw the headlines while I was away, but was unable to read the stories in full. The most recent ones refer to a paper suggesting that global warming will lead to more kidney disease, and to another that the optimum temperature for human productivity is 13 degrees Celsius*. I doubt that I would be at all productive at that temperature, but the inference we are intended to draw is that if the world grows warmer GDP will fall.
Graham Lloyd of The Australian (24/25 October) has written an admirable piece about the coming Paris Conference, emphasising that the fuss will not be about the science, but about the money. The notion that $100bn should annually be handed over to developing countries to compensate them for the ‘damage’ caused by global warming, which in turn is said to be the result of the high standards of living of developed countries, is the centrepiece of the ‘Agreement’ that is still being contested.
I don’t know what our new Prime Minister thinks about this, but I would be surprised if Australia agrees that it should do anything of any consequence here. Given that Chinese emissions are expected to go on increasing steadily until 2030, and that India has now said much the same about its own, there seems no prospect at all that emissions can be contained or controlled. Of course, emissions have been going up for 18 years now without much response from global temperature. And I saw a figure somewhere that suggested that small thousands of coal-fired electricity generating plants were planned for the next decade or so. Maybe emissions will postpone the cooling that some see in prospect.
All in all, things seem to be much the same, despite all the change (and Mr Turnbull is in favour of change). For those who agonise about the failure of Western governments to do anything really serious in combatting the climate hysteria, it is well to remember that no party in power will do anything that is likely to cause a substantial fall in its poll ratings We would need several years of really cold weather, poor crops, starvation and death before those in power would begin to say that perhaps the ‘consensus’ got it wrong, and we need to drop all that warming stuff and concentrate on real problems right now.
Footnote The Lloyd piece is really good, and worth buying the paper for, if you can still find a copy. A shorter version can be found at the Global Warming Policy Forum, to which I subscribe.
- I won’t go on doing this every day, but today’s WUWT has a piece about how global warming will make things worse for women, because men (in the third world especially) are such misogynists.