The Full Case for Climate Change Action

Have just reposted a posting by Willis Eschenbach at “Watts up with That”. Eschenbach contends what is lacking in the AGW argument is not just a coherent scientific case. It is also the proper verification and defence of the science. Predictive failures are ignored, and critics vilified.

I made the following comment on the blog.

Might I point out that you have left out a couple of stages?

It is necessary and but not sufficient to

1. Show a strong probability that extra-normal global warming will occur.

2. That if such warming occurs, that it will have catastrophic consequences – with likely impacts in extent and in place.

At this point the Climate Scientists pass the problem over to the economists.

3. Even, if you accept the disaster scenarios, there is no policy available that will contain CO2 at 2 or 3 degrees of further warming, without imposing greater costs on humanity that impose greater costs on humanity than the worst case scenarios. However, some will say that Stern solved this problem and showed this was theoretically possible. However, it was one that would work by hitting the poorest hardest.

4. Even if you accept that a mitigation policy is theoretically possible, it will only work if every country contains their emissions. If the rapidly growing countries, especially China and India, do not contain their emissions then the emissions- cutting of the West will be of no effect. Further, if the policies to not fall into Stern’s maximum cost of $80 per tonne of CO2 saved (The IPCC’s is much lower), then the policies are doing more harm than good.

So there are four stages of this justification – Forecast, consequences, policy and implementation. It is only the first two that the climate scientists have some competency.

Just because a doctor diagnoses a new condition does not give him the instant insight into the cure, nor the ability to know the dosage or the side-effects of any new medicine.

I hope to post a graphical explanation of the AGW case in the coming days or weeks.


AGW – The Limits of the Science

Just posted to Wattsupwiththat.

To say that we cannot make any predictions from models is inaccurate. However, a combination of the scarcity / inaccuracy of data and the highly complex nature of climate systems severely limit what we can be extrapolated. We are restricted to the most basic of “pattern predictions”. With respect to future temperature changes this is most probably restricted to the range of longer-term (30 plus years) trends. Prof. Bob Carter’s analysis is probably as far as we can go on the available data. That is we have a uniform, increasing, average temperature trend over the last 150 years, with 60 year cycles providing deviations around this trend. This trend is unexceptional when viewed from temperature data from ice-cores going back hundreds of thousands of years.

The attempt to cast every unusual weather event in terms of anthropogenic warming, and only selecting the data that fits the theories, not only risks policies that are inappropriate. It may lead us in failing to pick up the signals of potential trends for which the signal is weak, or where detection is from trends or patterns that do not fit theory. For example my house, along with hundreds of others in the area has been without water for over twelve hours now due to a burst water main, caused by the severe cold. A contributing factor to the delay in repair was the lack of resource available. Too much reliance on speculative forecasts of increasingly mild winters, and snow being a rare event has virtually eliminated contingency planning for extreme cold. Yet natural factors (e.g. La Nina, lack of sunspots) would have suggested otherwise.

The AGW science is not only costing us more for fuel. It is also putting us at greater risk of the consequences of extreme weather.

For Robert Carter’s views, see a video at