William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

An excuse I hadn’t thought of

A few weeks ago I speculated what would happen if human-caused significant global warming (AGW) turned out to be false. There might be a number of people who will refuse to give up on the idea, even though it is false, because their desire that AGW be true would be overwhelming.

I guessed that these people would slip into pseudoscience, and so would need to generate excuses why we have not yet seen the effects of AGW. One possibility was human-created dust (aerosols) blocking incoming solar radiation. Another was “bad data”: AGW is true, the earth really is warmer, but the data somehow are corrupted. And so on.

I failed to anticipate the most preposterous excuse of all. I came across it while browsing the excellent site Climate Debate Daily, which today linked to Coby Beck’s article “How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic“. Beck gives a list of arguments typically offered by “skeptics” and then attempts to refute them. Some of these refutations are good, and worth reading.

His attempt at rebutting the skeptical criticism “The Modelers Won’t Tell Us How Confident the Models Are” furnishes us with our pseudoscientific excuse. The skeptical objection is

There is no indication of how much confidence we should have in the models. How are we supposed to know if it is a serious prediction or just a wild guess?

and Beck’s retort is

There is indeed a lot of uncertainty in what the future will be, but this is not all because of an imperfect understanding of how the climate works. A large part of it is simply not knowing how the human race will react to this danger and/or how the world economy will develope. Since these factors control what emissions of CO2 will accumulate in the atmosphere, which in turn influences the temperature, there is really no way for a climate model to predict what the future will be.

This is as lovely a non sequitur as you’re ever likely to find. I can’t help but wonder if he blushed when he wrote it; I know I did when I read it. This excuse is absolutely bullet proof. I am in awe of it. There is no possible observation that can negate it. Whatever happens is a win for its believer. If the temperature goes up, the believer can say, “Our theories predicted this.” If the temperature goes down, the believer can say, “There was no way to know the future.”

What the believer in this statement is asking us to do, if it is not already apparent, is this: he wants you to believe that his prognostications are true because AGW is true, but he also wants you to believe that he should not be held accountable for his predictions should they fail because AGW is true. Thus, AGW is just true.

Beck knows he is on thin ice, because he quickly tries to get his readers to forget about climate forecasts and focus on “climate sensitivity”, which is some measure showing how the atmosphere reacts to CO2. Of course, whatever this number is estimated to be means absolutely nothing about, has no bearing on, is meaningless to, is completely different than, is irrelevant to the context of, the performance of actual forecasts.

It is also absurd to claim that we cannot know “how the human race will react” to climate change while (tacitly or openly) simultaneously calling for legislation whose purpose is to knowingly direct human reactions.

So, if AGW does turn out to be false, those who still wish to believe in it will have to work very hard to come up with an excuse better than Beck’s (whose work “has been endorsed by top climate scientists”). I am willing to bet that it cannot be done.

44 Comments

  1. Excellent point. So there really is no point in being a skeptic at all, is there? You simply cannot win the argument!

    Something else that has bothered me about the skeptics’ arguments is that CO2 is truly unpredictable. I mean, you cannot really tell in advance whether CO2 will decide to warm the planet, or to cool it, as it did in January 2008.

    This is merely another uncertainty that makes it impossible for skeptics to disprove global warming. I am absolutely certain that we can find many more if we set our minds to it!

  2. Excerpt from letter-to-the-editor of the Durango (CO) Telegraph 2/7/08:
    A salient but strange characteristic of the global warming movement is its distaste for good news. One might expect that people would rejoice when presented with finding after finding indicating that humanity has at most a small effect on climate and that the disastrous predictions are not happening nor are they likely to happen. But instead there is denial of fact; there is
    anger, name calling, avoidance and the continual raising of non sequiturs; ? nothing at all like, ?Gee, I hope that?s right,? or ?That?s good news? or ?Tell me more.? These people are so invested in disaster that they have developed a kind of immune system response to good news. Their metaphorical ?white blood cells? attack it lest these contradictions be allowed to spread.
    The famed social psychologist Leon Festinger, developer of the concept of cognitive dissonance, conducted early studies of the good news rejection phenomenon. One study looked at people who bought bomb shelters during the Cold War. It was found that such people tended to exaggerate the threat of nuclear war, and nothing could dissuade them. Good news about relaxed tensions and peace initiatives was rejected. Such developments brought about cognitive dissonance, bizarrely almost as if they were invested in nuclear war. The psychological model is that their belief system became part of their identity, their self, and information at odds with that belief system became an attack on the self. This helps explain why such people can be resistant to information that would be judged positive on a rational basis. Festinger?s book, When Prophecy Fails, tells of a group of doomsday believers who predicted the end of the world on a particular date. When that didn?t happen, the believers became even more determined they were right. And they become even louder and proselytized even more aggressively after the disconfirmation. All this sounds familiar.
    Let us hope that global warming advocates will ultimately be able to accommodate to the real world where human-induced climate disaster does not occur.

  3. How funny!

    Here’s my standing on this whole “AGW” theory;

    There’s simply no proof that it exsits. Nobody has ever proven anything to support it. However, nobody has disproved it either.

    I say, STOP wasting the money, stop the unarguable fact that people are making MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of dollars in this delima, and start focusing on the environment.

    I say, we DO have only one planet at this point in time, YES let’s take care of it. HOWEVER, let’s take the steps we need in order to have a clean environment and stop doing it for political or financial reasons. THAT’S what this is really about.

    Right now, it’s not an ACTION we need to take as believers would tell you, it’s PREVENTION.

  4. Yea,well this is the same sort of rhetorical chicanery that I used to hear back in high school from the smart ass know it all atheists who would assert to me that my God cannot possibly be omnipotent….because either God can build a wall so high that He can’t surmount it… which would mean He isn’t omnipotent….or He CAN”T build such a wall at all…..again denoting He isn’t omnipotent….if Mr Beck is self deluding enough to think that he can discredit those of us who don’t fall for anAL GOREtentive and his non stop panty wetting con job,then he needs some remedial courses in logic and disputation

  5. Briggs

    February 20, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Robbins,

    Hmm. I don’t think that Beck’s flawed argument falls under the same category as the argument against omnipotence.

    We can say that Beck’s argument is flawed regardless whether AGW is true or false.

    Briggs

  6. A bit off topic but related to the refutaions: The GISS graph shown here: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20080116/208422main_global_temp_change.jpg

    indicates a temperature anomoaly from 1910 to 1940 then cooling then warming again. How is the warming from 1910 explained by the AGW crowd? And why the cooling in 1940-80? I do not think there was a great deal of CO2 yet, and anyway the cooling should not then have happened. Maybe they would blame it on the birth of G W Bush?

  7. I’m reminded of Orwell’s ‘19884’ where Winston speaks of his tormenter O’Brien: Arguing with someone perhaps more intelligent than you but completely insane so that whatever you say is
    is wasted effort. It’s rather like an arguement with a person
    who says the moon landings were faked, photographed in a studio
    somewhere on earth? They are impervious to reason or even the slightest possibility of the’re being wrong. Their belief has become
    iron hard objective truth, their proofs a description of reality. So it is with the global warming CO2 is at the heart of all human ills
    arguement. It is circular, self proving, all evidence for it is sound
    while all evidence against it is really evidence for it. The global warming industry makes predictions and everything falls within those predictions, cold, heat, stability, everything.
    The “CO2 is Death” crowd is like the little girl that was drawing a picture of God. When asked how she could draw such a picture when no one knew what He looked like she replied, “They will in a minute”. So too the proof for AGW is in the next study, the next model, the next measurement, the next field trip, tree ring, ice core, air sample, the next generous grant. How does one argue with such insanity?

  8. This is like the argument I am having with a retired professor.

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/prediction_and_forecasting/001343the_consistentwith_.html

    The models can’t be wrong because he uses Bayesien theory, but he cannot/will not use that theory to answer the question in the original post. While my comments may not have been exactly consistent seeing as how the last time I thought much about Bayesien theory was 15 years ago, he keeps contradicting himself.

    And Jack, they say that sulphates in the air increased our albedo without providing any proof that the worldwide level of sulphates was reduced in the 1970s thus allowing the sun in to warm us up again.

    John M Reynolds

  9. This one reminds me of the medieval trial by ordeal.

    For those who aren’t aware of English history, the accused is tied up and thrown in water – if they sink (and drown) they are inncocent, if they float thay are guilty and hanged for the crime.

  10. I love this stuff. It get better all the time. He better check the sun. No sunspots for 13 days. Sounds cold to me.

  11. There is no possible observation that can negate it. Whatever happens is a win for its believer. If the temperature goes up, the believer can say, ?Our theories predicted this.? If the temperature goes down, the believer can say, ?There was no way to know the future.?

    Untrue.

    This is the same issue that crops up when discussing the accuracy of Hansen’s 1988 projections.

    Beck is correct in noting that there are two major sources of uncertainty: climate physics, and emissions.

    If the emissions follow projections, but the climate does not, then the climate physics is falsified. True, it is always possible to say “there was no way to know the future” (no matter what happens). But it is not possible to say “the climate models were right” if the radiative forcing goes up substantially, but temperature does not.

    If the emissions do not follow projections, then the emissions projections are falsified (and the climate projections are uninformative regarding the validity of the climate physics).

    Either way, the projection may be falsified by observations.

    In general, the emissions will never follow projections exactly. If you want to go back and tell how well a model did, you either have to (a) find a model run with an emissions scenario that is similar to what did happen (even if it wasn’t regarded as the most likely scenario), or else you have to (b) re-run the original model with the true emissions (and other forcings) that transpired. Assuming (a) or (b), it is perfectly possible to evaluate the accuracy of climate projections in the future and to tell how well they did.

    P.S. It is also not absurd to claim that it is impossible to know how the human race will react, while calling for the human race to react. You are confusing a desire for a particular outcome with knowledge of which outcome will actually transpire in the future.

    Your climate posts are much better when you stick to statistics.

  12. I’ve read in the scientific magazine “Science et vie” february 2006 that even several decades of cooling wouldn’t contradict the AGW theory. Anyway all prediction/forecast are so far ahead that the scientist will all have die before they are accountable.

  13. When I write a skeptical letter to my local rag here in la la Connecticut, I am always subjected to intense flaming in the weeks that follow. My favorite is when high schoolers write and shame me for my lack of faith and basically blame me for the warming as if my blasphemy is one of the reasons it is getting warmer.

    I always respond to the effect that this is New England and it is where they used to burn witches. Despite my amusement, I’m very glad the witch burning is now metaphorical and not actual.

  14. I think the response is even weaker than your’re reading. He says that the models can’t predict because there’s no way to know how much CO2 there will be. True, but that doesn’t answer the question. The question is “how accurate are the models *with a given amount of CO2*.” He doesn’t answer that question at all, and instead creates more CO2 with the burning of his straw-man.

  15. Exactly the same argument was used by the Y2K bug fanatics in ‘explaining’ why none of their predictions of doom actually came true: obviously they had made so much fuss with their hysteria that people had been motivated to fix the problems that would have arisen, and so they deserved the credit for saving the world! Nothing about what a flawed model of the world they had in the first place…

  16. Briggs

    February 21, 2008 at 5:00 am

    π,

    Actually, I do believe I was right after all. The title of Beck’s post, the implication skeptic’s question I mean, was “Do the models work?” Without exception, the models are predicting warming. If the warming does not occur, then the models will have failed. It is at that point that explanations or excuses or alibis will be brought out. So when you say

    But it is not possible to say ?the climate models were right? if the radiative forcing goes up substantially, but temperature does not.

    I say it is possible and that people will do just that. Of course, I might be wrong about this. It might be that, if the models fail, people abandon them and say, “Looks like we were wrong all this time. Well, these things happen. We’re now going back to studying the African Monsoon.” Just to be crystal clear: I am making a prediction of human behavior, not physics.

    The sources of uncertainty are also irrelevant to the question of “do the models work?” Besides, it’s likely, I think we can both agree, that emissions aren’t likely to slow their rate of increase any time soon.

    I take your point about predicting the reaction of the human race. It is often rational to take action in the face of uncertainty. Given that, I do not feel it is rational to say “cut emissions” when the models that predict harmful outcomes based on emissions do not have skill.

    P.S. Quite sincerely, thank you for your comments.

    P.P.S. I forgot to say that I think that “falsifiability” is nearly useless as an operative concept. Surprisingly, it turns out to deeply related to statistics. I’ll be talking about that later.

    Briggs

  17. It’s called “cognative dissonance” and we are in the midst of it. I made a prediction on New Year’s eve that best exemplifies it. I said “Global cooling will be blamed on global warming.” Mark my words.

  18. John M Reynolds, you commented that “… they say that sulphates in the air increased our albedo without providing any proof that the worldwide level of sulphates was reduced in the 1970s thus allowing the sun in to warm us up again.”

    I get the impression that they didn’t decrease very much at all. I remember reading somewhere that the levels in Western Europe and the US declined in the late seventies and eighties, but that this was offset by increases elsewhere with the result that the atmospheric concentration didn’t go back down to the early 1970s levels until sometime in the early 1990s.

    http://capita.wustl.edu/CAPITA/CapitaReports/GlobSEmissions/GlobS1850_1990.htm (a paper from Atmospheric Environment) has some graphs which seem to support this (e.g. figs 5, 6 and 7).

  19. George:
    “Cogitive dissonance”

    As with most psychological phenomena/theories there are other not necessarily specified factors involved. We do not all experience cognitive dissonance to the same degree – some may not experience it all under any circumstances, though this may be an equally dysfunctional state as that afflicting Festinger’s end of the worlders. Also I know of no measure of likelihood of or tendency to individual cognitive dissonance. Skeptics and proponents are equally subject to it to some unspecified extent. (In other words it is not a very precise theory.)

    More to the point, Briggs thinks many AGWers will be afflicted by severe CD, PI thinks relatively few of those who understand the models will be. My bet is that Briggs is more likely to be right so long as no computer model emerges that better predicts the actual temperatures/climate. Apocryphally, Einstein dismissed quantum physics since God did not play dice with universe. Einstein apparently spent half his life trying to avoid the implications of quantum physics. Einstein’s cognitive dissonance, however, should not be viewed in quite the same way as most AGWers preference for reading pro-AGW articles as opposed to skeptical AGW articles. P.S. The reverse undoubtedly holds for AGW skeptics!

  20. Beck’s statment:
    “these factors control what emissions of CO2 will accumulate in the atmosphere, which in turn influences the temperature”

    IPCC theory demands positive feedbacks to drive the runaway temp. They recognize carbon provides diminishing returns in terms of heat retention ability. Without those positive feedbacks, the catastrophic scenarios ain’t happening. Given approxixmately 60% of the heat retention ability a doubling of CO2 will attain has been realized and resulted in roughly a .6 deg C increase, the chances of all those theoretical positive feedbacks kicking in is dropping. If we do double without any effects, essentially no matter how much carbon humans put in the air, it will have negligible affect additional affect and nothing to drive the positive feedback. Put another way, even if CO2 went to 10,000 ppm, the “insulating” ability is essentially the same as 550 ppm.

    Now, I’m sure he does know this. It’s not a difficult concept to understand, whether one understands the underlying science or not. Says to me his words are either poorly or carefully chosen; only he knows. Either way, it continues stoking the panic fire for people who read the the headlines.

    Mr: Briggs. I just found your site. Booked marked and looking foward to learning more. Thanks very much.

  21. I am 15 years old and at my age i cannot believe the stupidity of people! SO like a liberal to answer a question by changing the subject. Why cant they just admit their wrong? And about the whole predicting the future thing, if humans cant predict the furure they why is he worring about global warming. By saying that he only disproves his point more. If humans cant predict the future then the theory global warming from green-house gases is more likely to be fake.

    On a side note i really enjoyed this article just because it models a conversation with any liberal so well.

  22. Jon Jermey:

    I was a programmer working on Y2K fixes for a bank for just over 2 years, so I can speak to this. There are two important differences between Y2K and AGW.

    First, with Y2K there actually was a problem that needed to be corrected. The software I worked on at the bank would have failed after Y2K. There’s a similar amount of hype, but Y2K was demonstrably an issue, no need to rely on vague models. Left untouched the bank would have ceased operations, that was a provable, scientific fact. Those of us in the trenches working on the problem knew it would be fixed and we abhorred all of the over-hyping, since we knew it wouldn’t *end up* being a problem.

    Second, with Y2K there were a lot of changes that could be pointed to when it didn’t explode. With AGW, if the temperature starts going down in the next few years, what will the AGW supporters point to as their achievement? It can’t be the lowering of CO2, because none of them even claim that CO2 can be reduced that quickly. I’m sure that they’ll try to claim it was them, somehow, but I fail to see how they can provide any evidence of changes they made to lower temperatures. At least with the Y2K bug I could actually point to the lines of source code which were changed.

  23. You completely misunderstood what Beck was trying to say. All he’s saying is that model predictions depend on one’s assumptions, viz. what initial values and functions you choose for GHG emissions over time, world population, the development of national economies, the availability of energy resources such as oil, coal, etc., and the decisions we make about technologies. You have to choose *some* set of values for these variables, then you run your model and it makes a prediction (within its own uncertainties). But you cannot be sure what the real values will be for these parameters, so that introduces a second, different kind of uncertainty.

  24. In my first years as a practicing Christian I was convinced we lived in the final generation. Those of us holding to such a view found a way to believe everything fit into our “terminal generation” understanding. Gradually I came to realize that much of my “this is the end” thinking came simply from a desire to think of myself as having the inside truth on how the world is working. I was on the bottom of the movement. Many of those on the top of the movement were making lots of money. It was far more profitable to write books about catastrophe and convince people they had a special insight by believing the literature they were reading, than it was to tell people they had no special insight and were simply human beings needing to live responsibly regarding the gifts they had been granted in our experience of life and creation. Two truths we can agree on. We should aim to make good use of our environment, and we probably ought to beware of those who claim to have everything figured out.

  25. Point taken: what I should have said is that while the Y2K scaremongers were convinced that doom was approaching, none of them were prepared to single out any particular system and assert positively that it would fail; because if they could have known it would fail then a programmer would have been able to fix it. The result was what psychologists call ‘free-floating anxiety’: we were all supposed to be really scared without having any specific ideas of what we were scared of.

    There are plenty of other examples, of course. Politicians in particular love this kind of situation because they can stir people up to action without ever having to specify exactly what will happen if we DON’T do what we’re told.

  26. There are many examples of this with the climate change people – there is no standard by which their claims may be judged – we have climate change whatever and its going to destroy the world unless we destroy it by fixing climate change qed

  27. Briggs

    February 22, 2008 at 5:27 am

    David,

    Not quite. The way most models are run is at different levels of CO2 and then compared. So while you might be wrong about how much CO2 will be pumped into the air, you already have a model predicting the temperature at whatever level of CO2 you have.

    Briggs

  28. Briggs, climate models do not simply take CO2 as an input — there are more variables that that. This is why the IPCC has considered a large number of economic scenarios in their forecasts. Each scenario leads to a different prediction. See the IPCC FAR v1 p756.

    You cannot compare models that make different economic assumptions. Every scientist knows that.

  29. Briggs

    February 22, 2008 at 9:57 am

    David,

    You’re quite right, and that’s what I get for speaking loosely.

    So, as long as once of the economic scenarios comes to pass, then we’ll look forward to verifying the climate prediction made given that scenario.

    Briggs

  30. I don’t agree with your interpretation of what Beck said. Climate model requires a CO2 emission level forecast as an input (among many other inputs). It is obvious that there is a significant amount of uncertainty on what future levels of CO2 emissions will be. This uncertainty on the inputs should not be associated with the law of physics on greenhouse effect which are well established since the work of Svante Arrhenius (1896). In other words, the model is quite good (but not perfect) but if won’t prevent you from providing bad inputs (the “garbage in-garbage out” principle).

    P.S.: great site, keep up the good work!

  31. I have to say that I disagree with most of the comments. Are the models predictive of anything? What do the models predict for other variables than “global” temperature?

    the IPCC models are quite undecipherable and contain many many parameters which are contained in appdices or on the web, but not in any easily understood form. Talking from my very elementary understanding ( correct me if wrong) , each parameter decreases the degrees of freedom that any model will have and decreases the ability to predict based on a statistical test: the predicitive errors will always be larger the more parameterized a model is.
    adding a parameter to take into account some new variable will ususally make the model look better, but it wont give it the ability to predict better. the models will not be able to tell you whether model A or model B is a better model. So do the climate models have the ability to predict anything within a reasonable range of standard deviation or error?

    Furthermore none of the models that I know of provide a reason for a hotter artic with virtually unchanging co2 and almost no temp changes in the tropics with some changes in CO2. Instead we hear about a “global” temperature and a “global co2”. So if any of you know about a climate model that actually provides predictions for spatial distribution for co2, methane, temperature and so2 and particulates, and deals with spatial distribution of irradiation and earth heat sources, I would like to see it.

    And Just talking about a “global temperature” prediction is not enough. A climate model should be assessed for performance on all the variables and should provide an error value for all the variables. Where is the ouput that can be checked?

  32. > So, as long as once of the economic scenarios comes to pass,
    > then we?ll look forward to verifying the climate prediction made
    > given that scenario.

    The situation isn’t that simple, and you should stop trying to force it to be so.

    *None* of the IPCC scenarios will, strictly, come to pass. Some will be closer to the reality of the future than others. To the extent that their input values and trend assumptions are accurate, then, yes, you can make a judgement about that particular model, just as you can make a judgement about Newtonian gravity’s potential to predict the rotation in the orbits of the planets or the rotation in the perihelion of Mercury.

    Look, the point is that *all* scenarios lead to trouble. A very few predict trouble on the low side, but there’s no inherent reason to buy them as opposed to predictions on the high side. Most of them predict significant trouble.

    In any case, do you decide against buying fire insurance for your home because the best-case scenario is that it won’t burn down in 50 years. Of course not. You consider all the possibilities. In the end, none of them exactly comes true, but you make an educated guess when you can about the future.

    Briggs, you’ve given no reason here to think that an “educated guess” does not basically follow something like the “average” of the the IPCC scenarios….

  33. When I buy insurance I am damned if I am going to spend $50B to insure a house that is only worth $1M and with a projected loss of $10,000 per year.

    What are the actual risks that we are being asked to insure against?

    Evidence from the past suggests that world temperatures were both higher and lower than they are today (by large amounts) and that CO2 levels were higher and lower than they are today, and they were higher by large amounts as well.

    Further, personally, I think it would be better for most people, including my aged parents and relatives, if things were a bit warmer than they are today, on average. Up around the temperatures of the MWP would be good.

  34. David:
    In other words the WAGS might come to pass. This reminds me of Cayce some of his predictions might come to pass.
    My educated guess is that your educated guesses do not tell me a whole lot about what the climate will be in the future over and above normal variation.

  35. There was a similar discussion at Roger Pielke Jr’s site a few months ago – what events or non-events would it take to convince scientists that the AGW hypothesis has failed?” (pundits & enviros are, of course, self-recusing)

    My take at the time was rather cynical. To the AGW Faithful – scientists included – every event is proof of humanity’s dangerous tinkering with The Climate. Warm winters, cold winters; floods or droughts or anything in between – it’s the AGW, stupid.

    But on reflection, the pass/fail test will be a useful litmus test in distinguishing scientists from pseudo-scientists. Of course it’s not that simple – at the extreme end, people like James Hansen or Michael Mann have crawled too far out on a very rotten limb and there’s simply no going back, and the life sciences have always been prone to religionism and moral one-upmanship; but observing those who haven’t staked their careers and reputations on AGW should be most interesting in the near future.

    I spent a few hours at Beck’s site a few years ago. His wannabe condesension was initially entertaining, but like all cultism, it quickly grew boring so I haven’t stopped by in some time. But I am glad to know that he’s at least consistent.

    17. George Potts | February 21st, 2008 at 6:15 am: ?Global cooling will be blamed on global warming.?

    Already happened! See Pielke Sr’s post from Feb 14, “You’ve got to be kidding!” Don’t know how to hot-link here, but you can copy-paste: http://climatesci.org/

    You’ll also have to scroll down a bit.

  36. christopher Hanley

    February 23, 2008 at 4:29 am

    “…. There is indeed a lot of uncertainty in what the future will be, but this is not all because of an imperfect understanding of how the climate works. A large part of it is simply not knowing how the human race will react to this danger and/or how the world economy will develope” Beck April 03, 2006.

    Yeah, utterly disingenuous.
    Beck knows, like every other sane person, that human caused CO2 will not diminish, but accelerate.
    Sounds like defense arguments in possible future tort actions are being honed and ‘road tested’.

    This is his honest opinion:
    “…The fact is we already have one in hand [anthropogenic CO2] that is consistent with all the available evidence and physical theories.
    Early 20th century warming was around .4oC in three decades, late 20th century is .6oC in three decades and a bit more now and almost certain to continue ” Beck June 26, 2006 1:29 PM.

  37. Apart from the model problems to do with the fact that most if not all expect warming to follow increased CO2 which outside the infrared absorbtion theory has little to support it, there is also the problem of the economic forecasts or scenarios.

    Here we can apply real world tests and will find, surprise surprise that economic forecasts are invariably wrong. In fact the most amazing thing is that economic forecasts are not only wrong over 50 year timescales, they are wrong over 3 month or 12 month or 2 year periods. Yet still we swallow them whole.

    If the IPCC and Governments had real confidence in the nonesense they spout, they would be willing to force and pay for public audit of all the models so that they can be exposed for the frauds they are.

  38. Just a correction for Sam (13):

    No “witches” were burned in New England – or anywhere else in the USA – ever.

    I know it makes a great story but it just isn’t true. In the sole American witchcraft trial – the infamous Salem case – some people were accused by their neghbours of practicng witchcraft and a number of these unfortunate individuals were executed by hanging (and one by being crushed under a stone). But no one was burned…

  39. Jon Jeremy:

    You are right on the money. In essence he Y2K scare mongers are no different than the AGW scare mongers. At least the Y2K believers had “something behind the curtain,” as it were. The AGW supporters have only vague models and weak science.

  40. My recollection is that he was crushed under many stones, in what turned out to be a local land dispute, thoiugh it certainly made use of the hysteria around witches. Much of the realestate in question is actually in Danvers MA.
    The moral is to avoid fanatics, be they secular or theocratic.

  41. The term is ‘pressed.’ They put a rock on his chest and asked him to confess. If he refused, they added another rock and demanded his confession again. The idea was to do this repeatedly so that he’d eventually confess his witchcraft, and then hang for it. Of course, if you keep piling rocks on somebody’s chest eventually it gets really hard to breathe…

  42. The immediate problem I noticed with Beck’s supposed rebuttal is that it essentially stated that there is no way to compare a model’s “predictions” with the response of the actual climate. If that is the case, and I believe it is (perhaps for different reasons than Beck’s simple assertion that the forcings input into the model won’t match the actual, future forcings), then the “rebuttal” actually proves the point it was trying to rebut. If you can’t verify the results of a computer model against the real world, the results of the model, are by definition, speculation. Thus, if the model is the only basis for a quantitative assertion of the contribution of CO2 to the observed warming signal (and it is – you can’t go out and empirically measure that contribution), then the whole global warming theory, at least as a quantitive assessment, is equally speculative.

  43. Kepler (demolish) Vs Einstein’s

    Areal velocity is constant: r² θ’ =h Kepler’s Law
    h = 2π a b/T; b=a√ (1-ε²); a = mean distance value; ε = eccentricity
    r² θ’= h = S² w’
    Replace r with S = r exp (ỉ wt); h = [r² Exp (2iwt)] w’
    w’ = (h/r²) exp [-2(i wt)]
    w’= (h/r²) [cosine 2(wt) – ỉ sine 2(wt)] = (h/r²) [1- 2sine² (wt) – ỉ sin 2(wt)]
    w’ = w'(x) + ỉ w'(y) ; w'(x) = (h/r²) [ 1- 2sine² (wt)]
    w'(x) – (h/r²) = – 2(h/r²)sine²(wt) = – 2(h/r²)(v/c)² v/c=sine wt
    (h/ r²)(Perihelion/Periastron)= [2πa.a√ (1-ε²)]/Ta² (1-ε) ²= [2π√ (1-ε²)]/T (1-ε) ²

    Δ w’ = (d w/d t – h/r²] = -4Ï€ {[√ (1-ε²)]/T (1-ε) ²} (v/c) ² radian per second
    Δ w’ = (- 4Ï€ /T) {[√ (1-ε²)]/ (1-ε) ²} (v/c) ² radians
    Δ w’ = (-720/T) {[√ (1-ε²)]/ (1-ε) ²} (v/c) ² degrees; Multiplication by 180/Ï€
    Δ w’ = (-720×36526/T) {[√ (1-ε²)]/(1-ε)²} (v/c)² degrees/100 years
    Δ w” = (-720×3600/T) {[√ (1-ε²)]/ (1-ε) ²} (v/c) ² seconds of arc by 3600

    Δ w” = (-720x36526x3600/T) {[√ (1-ε²]/(1-ε)²} (v/c)² seconds of arc per century
    This Kepler’s Equation solves all the problems Einstein and all physicists could not solve

    The circumference of an ellipse: 2Ï€a (1 – ε²/4 + 3/16(ε²)²- –.) ≈ 2Ï€a (1-ε²/4); R =a (1-ε²/4) v=√ [G m M / (m + M) a (1-ε²/4)] ≈ √ [GM/a (1-ε²/4)]; m<<M; Solar system
    Advance of Perihelion of mercury.

    G=6.673×10^-11; M=2×10^30kg; m=.32×10^24kg
    ε = 0.206; T=88days; c = 299792.458 km/sec; a = 58.2km/sec
    Calculations yields:
    v =48.14km/sec; [√ (1- ε²)] (1-ε) ² = 1.552
    Δ w”= (-720x36526x3600/88) x (1.552) (48.14/299792)²=43.0”/century

    Conclusions: The 43″ seconds of arc of advance of perihelion of Planet Mercury (General relativity) is given by Kepler’s equation better than all of Published papers of Einstein. Kepler’s Equation can solve Einstein’s nemesis DI Her Binary stars motion and all the other dozens of stars motions posted for past 40 years on NASA website SAO/NASA as unsolved by any physics

    Anyone dare to prove me wrong?

  44. Dear altruist realists all over the world!

    Shouldn’t we start protesting against any replacement of the greedy Kyoto protocol with another worse in Copenhagen?

    Can self-destructive egomaniacs stop by themselves aztec-like human sacrifices?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiGpL69T8aw

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