Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is the end near for the people who are claiming that the end is near?

Troubling news to report about the people who like to bring us such troubling news about global warming. Here is Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Research Professor of Environmental Sciences
University of Virginia, from his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on Thursday, February 12, 2009 on the question that some people think is settled:
We often hear that “the science is settled” on global warming. This is hardly the case. While almost all scientists agree that global surface temperature is warmer than it was a century ago, there is considerable debate about the ultimate magnitude of warming, as evinced by the broad range of future mean surface temperature given by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Uh oh. There goes his grant money. Don't tell his dean.

Michaels reports that "our models [of global warming] are in the process of failing." And if the models used to predict global warming are failing, then there is no solid basis for the "costs" of global warming that we are all supposed to incur in order to save ourselves from impending doom.

Michaels cites 21 commonly used global warming models and shows how in recent years the actual global warming is at the very bottom of the projected range. In other words, the projections being used by policymakers are overestimating the level of global warming:
In fact, judging from these results, it’s time for climate scientists to get back to work and generate models which will be able to estimate the recent past and present within their normal confidence ranges.

Until that is done, all we know is this: calculations of the costs of inaction, based upon models that are clearly overestimating warming to the point that they can no longer be relied upon, are likely to be similarly overestimated. In that eventuality, the costs of drastic action can easily outweigh the costs of a more measured response, consistent with what is being observed, rather than what is being erroneously modeled.

But since the actual levels of global warming are mostly lower than predicted, we have to find something else really scary to talk about.

Like carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions have increased more, not less than was predicted, so we can wave around reports about the unexpected rise in carbon emissions in the air and people will naturally assume that means that global warming must be increasing more than we thought it would even though it isn't.

HT: Master Resource

1 comment:

Lee said...

Jim Morrison's take: I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer... The future's uncertain and the end is always near.