Monday, February 15, 2010

And yet another "The science is sound, we just made some typos" defense

of the IPCC report. And the "Do something NOW or DIE!" bullshit. I'm going to borrow a couple of paragraphs:
Climate researchers say the errors do not disprove the U.N. panel's central conclusion: Climate change is happening, and humans are causing it. Some researchers said the U.N. panel's attitude -- appearing to promise that its results were infallible, and reacting slowly to evidence that they were not -- could undermine the rest of its work.

"What's happened here is that there's an industry of climate-change denialists who are trying to make it seem as though you can't trust anything that is between the covers" of the panel's report, said Jeffrey Kargel, a professor at the University of Arizona who studies glaciers. "It's really heartbreaking to see this happen, and to see that the IPCC left themselves open" to being attacked.

Kargel said he noticed an error in the report of the IPCC's second working group, a research unit, in 2007. The report said huge glaciers in the Himalayan mountains might disappear by 2035. Some glaciers are melting, but they are too enormous to disappear that quickly: "It's physically impossible to kill the ice that fast," Kargel said.

He said colleagues regarded the error as too ridiculous to fuss about until recently
Ignore actual errors of fact, ignore people connected making piles of money off the report, ignore all that: "It was just some typos, and the deniers are causing problems that will kill us all!" I highlighted that line because it sums this crap up very well: "We know it's an error, but it's not worth bothering with" UNTIL it helps lead to finding a bunch of other, far more serious errors, at which point it becomes "Stop worrying about the transcription errors, just believe us because The Concensus Says We're Right!" We're supposed to ignore the inconvenient(for them) facts and just Trust The IPCC. Yeah. We're supposed to ignore things like this:
Ridley gives pride of place to Stephen McIntyre, a retired mining consultant in Toronto with a genius for forensic statistical analysis. He was the one who back in 2003 first exposed the problematical data and the sleight of hand underpinning the hockey-stick graph, which purported to abolish the medieval warming period.

Ridley notes: "He has also uncovered a mistake in data that conveniently prevented 1934 being warmer than 1998 in America; the splicing together of the records of two Antarctic weather stations as if they were one; the smoothing of sea-level rise in a way that conveniently concealed its recent deceleration; the use of a Swedish lake sediment series upside down so it showed recent warming instead of cooling; and most recently the reliance of an attempt to resuscitate the hockey stick on a ludicrously small sub-sample of just 12 Siberian larch trees."

We're really going to do that and let you destroy our economy and freedoms, sure thing.

In the latest edition of The Spectator, Matt Ridley, a veteran science journalist, offers an explanation for how the consensus came unstuck. "Despite 20 years of being told they were not just factually but morally wrong, of being compared to Holocaust deniers, of being told they deserved to be tried for crimes against humanity, of being avoided at parties, climate sceptics seem to be growing in number and confidence by the day. What is the difference?

"In a word, the internet. The `climate consensus' may hold the establishment -- the universities, the media, big business, government -- but it is losing the jungles of the web. After all, getting research grants, doing pieces to camera and advising boards takes time. The very ostracism the sceptics suffered has left them free to do their digging untroubled by grant applications and invitations to Stockholm."
Part of Ridley's argument is that it's distinguished scientists in retirement, who have no fear of faculty censure or funding bodies and have nothing to lose, who have led the internet revolt. In Australia, that body includes Garth Paltridge, the author of The Climate Caper, and William Kininmonth, author of Climate Change: A Natural Hazard. As well as publishing books and journal articles, both have an internet presence.

And we're back to "Who profits?" This points out one of the drivers of a lot of this bullshit: money. Push the 'right' idea and the weenies will give you grant and other money; push the information that this is mostly bullshit and they freak; some because they actually BELIEVE, many because it threatens the money train.

I'm pissed off about this stuff more than usual today, because almost got into an argument with a friend last night; forwarded the article pointing out what some of the unintended consequences of declaring the polar bear 'threatened' were likely to be and the reply was "That's silly! Hunting doesn't threaten the bears, they're going to die because the ice is all melting!" None of the facts about the increase in Arctic sea ice, none of the information coming out matters because "All the responsible scientists who aren't bought off by Big Oil say AGW is happening!"

It's enough to piss off the Good Humor man.

Added: Bore Patch has this on the subject, as to how it got so screwed in the first place and why so many don't want it un-screwed.

1 comment:

Borepatch said...

Great, great post. And thanks for the shout-out.