Some listeners to my recent video discussion, “Post-Election Connection”, felt a lack of shared reality with the casual rejection of consensus climate science. Before recording, I might have better expressed to Darrell my goal to reach a wide audience of my friends who are not [already] part of our research communities like Tragedy & Hope. So I should explain this position with a bit more detail, relative to its complexity.
I never really questioned the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) theories until 2007 Al Gore claimed the debate was over in Congress. I minored in math, took and obsessed in a course specifically on chaos. And I think models for the most complex collection of chaotic systems and subsystems should always be up for serious debate, even when perfect information is available.
Over the years, I periodically attempted to research all the strongest arguments from ‘both sides’, and eventually it was a research obsession for a good six months. This resulted in compiling an attempt to re-frame the debate using essays and videos, which you can find at SolarNotBombs.org. It takes an hour to fully describe my position, but will do my best to summarize…
The science is all about predicting the temperature, and this should be the primary evidence used to endorse or reject the theory. “Climate change”, including increasing extreme weather, is still allegedly caused by the net rise in average global temperatures. Sea-level rise is another alleged symptom which, to be an accurate sub-theory, also still requires the premise of catastrophically rising temperatures.
Given the scope and complexity of these temperature predictions, all parties agree that the computer models are only intended to be reliable for predicting temperature changes over decades. The first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predictions came out in 1990, so the first human experiment to compare observations with projected temperatures is only in year 26. Most seem to argue that it might not have be long enough to start taking the data seriously. Therefore, the burden of proof still logically lies upon those alarmed about climate change, not those skeptical about the computer models, which are the primary expression of theory.
But if we were to take the observational data seriously right now, then 26 years ago the IPCC models projected there would be at least twice as much warming as has been observed now in 2016. That’s a serious margin of error, over 100%, so the IPCC data alone should classify “climate skepticism” a totally rational position.
Regarding the scientific consensus, the majority of scientific research has been done on the symptoms of climate change, not on proving the CAGW premise. And out of the 11,944 peer-reviewed studies analyzed by Cook et al., shockingly only 73 papers explicitly endorse or reject the theory with quantification. Meaning only 0.6% of these papers can be proven false, quantifiably.
Just last year, scientific bodies adjusted the recent history of temperature records, inching them closer to projections. The predictions should changed to match the observations, not vice-versa. Also, since the models are created in part by calibrating simulations to match data records, adjustments in that data must also logically adjust the models. If the calibration data was wrong, the models logically have to be wrong too. So last year’s temperature record adjusted should not actually help the consensus position, as it appears to.
All that said, I also want to see societies quickly move to renewable and free energy sources. If the United States had put every federal climate change dollar straight to buying solar panels for government buildings since 1990, then the country would now have 10 times as much solar installed, and it would already be half the price per watt (and that’s without factoring in any positive feedback loops in the markets).
Basically, I wish the environmental movement and scientists hadn’t been distracted with the least provable theory. I wish the focus wasn’t on re-framing the sixth element on the periodic table as a catastrophic pollutant, while people have invented countless other potential ecological disasters, the mitigation of which could still achieve the same shared needs of a cleaner, safer world. Because the science is so weak, I don’t like solutions that focus our eggs in the greenhouse gas basket, and I would prefer if two halves of the country weren’t ridiculing each other, or using labels like “denier”.
Finally, I don’t like solutions that expand global governance, as corruption in government increases with distance from those “represented”. Unfortunately, this is a related topic. I prefer solutions that decentralize the creation, distribution, accessibility, and usage of power, in all its forms.