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October 05, 2005

Comments

Mark Bahner

Hi Dan,

You write, I wrote that I agreed completely with the view that Sashka attributed to Michael Crichton, that more fear of climate change creates more climate change funding.

You replied, "Okay, I'll grant that your logical proposition here is sound, but I'm to aware of any evidence to back it up."

Oh, geez. There's so much, I don't know where to begin, but:

1) Did you know that the "projections" that had the largest emissions and highest temperatures were added to the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) AFTER peer review?

2) Have you noticed that the IPCC TAR has no chapter or chapters regarding the benefits of global warming?

3) Did you know that the projections for methane atmospheric concentrations in the TAR essentially completely ignore a decade of data prior to the publication of the IPCC TAR? (Essentially, atmospheric methane concentrations started to plateau in the 1990s, but that was ignored in the 2001 publication of the TAR.)

You also write, "As to whether their predictions are disprovable - of course they are. A warming of less than 1.4 degrees c. would disprove them."

Well, that may be your common-sense view of what's in the TAR, but the TAR EXPLICITLY states that the "scenarios" are NOT predictions of the future. Also, all the "projections" (not "predictions"! :-)) are for what would happen in the absence of government intervention. So if the warming is 1.3 degrees, or 1.2, or 1.1...they simply say that government intervention (prompted by their wonderful warnings) is what made the temperature be less than the 1.4 degrees "projected."

Best wishes,
Mark

P.S. I'm discussing the "projections" in the IPCC TAR here:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/science_policy_general/000596revisiting_bob_palme.html#comments

Dan Allan

Mark,

Not sure why I'm continuing with this, but here goes.

I wrote:
"First, I'm not aware that skeptics are having trouble getting funding."
You wrote:
"I never wrote any "skeptics" (a strange name to call any scientist, since every scientist should be a skeptic) were having trouble getting funding.

I wrote that I agreed completely with the view that Sashka (sorry about the previous mispelling, Sashka) attributed to Michael Crichton, that more fear of climate change creates more climate change funding."

Okay, I'll grant that your logical proposition here is sound, but I'm to aware of any evidence to back it up. For instance, the people at Real Climate hardly strike me as overly ideological. From what I have seen and read, the AGW forecasts are driven by where the best science takes them. that some may be left-of-center politicals (as some, perhaps most, scientists in all fields are) in no way proves that their methods and/or findings are driven by ideology.

Regarding your second point, which I believe is: that specifying a predicted temperature range, without applying likelihoods to any of these outcomes is unscientific - here I have to vigorously disagree.

I believe you are confusing "unscientific" with "scientific, but still uncertain about the correct answer, and wisely cautious about claiming to know more than you do." As to whether their predictions are disprovable - of course they are. A warming of less than 1.4 degrees c. would disprove them. And if you believe this is highly unlikely - well then you are not really much of a skeptic after all, since we are only arguing about the magnitude of the warming. THere is nothing unscientific about saying, "we're not sure yet."

An amusing sidelight to this, which proves nothing either way, is the "precipitation probability" I see associated with weather forecasts. And yet I have actually seen it rain on days when the forecast is "zero percent" probability, and not rain when there is a "100 percent" probability. How is this possible? I think the answer is that forecasters take the probabilities that come out of the models as gospel. If the model says, "100 percent probably" they state that the probability is 100%, forgetting that they might want to take into account the probability that the model is wrong!

Anyway, regards.

Dan

Mark,

Not sure why I'm continuing with this, but here goes.

I wrote:
"First, I'm not aware that skeptics are having trouble getting funding."
You wrote:
"I never wrote any "skeptics" (a strange name to call any scientist, since every scientist should be a skeptic) were having trouble getting funding.

I wrote that I agreed completely with the view that Sashka (sorry about the previous mispelling, Sashka) attributed to Michael Crichton, that more fear of climate change creates more climate change funding."

Okay, I'll grant that your logical proposition here is sound, but I'm to aware of any evidence to back it up. For instance, the people at Real Climate hardly strike me as overly ideological. From what I have seen and read, the AGW forecasts are driven by where the best science takes them. that some may be left-of-center politicals (as some, perhaps most, scientists in all fields are) in no way proves that their methods and/or findings are driven by ideology.

Regarding your second point, which I believe is: that specifying a predicted temperature range, without applying likelihoods to any of these outcomes is unscientific - here I have to vigorously disagree.

I believe you are confusing "unscientific" with "scientific, but still uncertain about the correct answer, and wisely cautious about claiming to know more than you do." As to whether their predictions are disprovable - of course they are. A warming of less than 1.4 degrees c. would disprove them. And if you believe this is highly unlikely - well then you are not really much of a skeptic after all, since we are only arguing about the magnitude of the warming. THere is nothing unscientific about saying, "we're not sure yet."

An amusing sidelight to this, which proves nothing either way, is the "precipitation probability" I see associated with weather forecasts. And yet I have actually seen it rain on days when the forecast is "zero percent" probability, and not rain when there is a "100 percent" probability. How is this possible? I think the answer is that forecasters take the probabilities that come out of the models as gospel. If the model says, "100 percent probably" they state that the probability is 100%, forgetting that they might want to take into account the probability that the model is wrong!

Anyway, regards.

Dan

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