# Climate science was wrong!

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I'm in for the tweed jackets and scotch ( single malt Lagavulin please ), but can we make it Cuban cigars instead of pipes.

Oh, and you win an argument ( or convince someone to your point-of-view ), by reason and evidence, not by clobbering them over the head with demerit points.
Just sayin'.

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I think it requires a rather profound misunderstanding of how science funding works to make that argument. To explain for those following - say I apply for a federal grant. The whole packet might

You can't see what's wrong with that statement? Climate science is based on informed guesswork, it's all about projections that go many decades into the future, when there are complete unknowns involv

"I say old chap, I've just made a model on my computer, and it says your car will be uncomfortably warm in 80 years time, and most of my friends agree."        😭

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It’s hard using reason and evidence to change the mind of a person who holds a position at which they arrived using neither.

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9 hours ago, MigL said:

Oh, and you win an argument ( or convince someone to your point-of-view ), by reason and evidence, not by clobbering them over the head with demerit points.
Just sayin'.

I see it as a badge of honour.

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10 hours ago, iNow said:

It’s hard using reason and evidence to change the mind of a person who holds a position at which they arrived using neither.

True. The people who show up to argue the contrary-to-science viewpoint typically aren't here to learn, but rather to instigate and pontificate, and it invariably ends up that they don't have much of an understanding of what they are critiquing (both the details of the science and often, generally how science is done). It's not just climate change where this occurs.

IOW, can't be addressed as an information gap problem, because they don't think they have an information gap. (See also: Dunning-Kruger syndrome)

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On 11/18/2019 at 6:35 PM, mistermack said:

I don't deny any religion. I'm just waiting for decent evidence. And the burden of proof is on the believers.

I think in this case it's on everyone. An extraordinary claim would be that the climate won't change at all over time...that's never happened.

Weather of course is the noise, but the glacier and icefield melting is pretty much undeniable evidence which way things are currently going.

The rate of change is the greatest threat. Organisms need time to adapt and evolve, man included. Man at least has a chance to plan based on gathering and evaluating best evidence.

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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I think in this case it's on everyone. An extraordinary claim would be that the climate won't change at all over time...that's never happened.

Yes. And that is a rebuttal of the silly notion (seen in some discussions) that climate scientists are making it up to secure funding, since they would still be charged with studying climate anyway

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Weather of course is the noise, but the glacier and icefield melting is pretty much undeniable evidence which way things are currently going.

Which again underscores that we need to be studying the phenomenon

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26 minutes ago, swansont said:

Yes. And that is a rebuttal of the silly notion (seen in some discussions) that climate scientists are making it up to secure funding, since they would still be charged with studying climate anyway

I think it requires a rather profound misunderstanding of how science funding works to make that argument.

To explain for those following - say I apply for a federal grant. The whole packet might be 50-100 pages of densely written technical documents. I will probably take me a month or more to put together. It has a 10-20% chance of being funded, and if it's a big one, might net $1 million dollars of funding. My institution immediately takes 55% as overhead. The vast majority of the rest will pay for the salaries of the people I employ. Some will go towards lab costs. If I'm lucky I might get to claim one month of summer salary (for the three months of the year the university doesn't pay me) for 3-5 years. Ergo, I might actually pocket a few thousand dollars at best. On the other side, Ian Plimer - a mining geologist who doesn't even work on climate science, pockets over$400,000 per year from the fossil fuel industry, and "coincidentally" is an ardent critic of climate change.

If I'm going to make up data or espouse a false belief for profit, I'm sure as hell not going to be saying climate change is real.

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13 minutes ago, Arete said:

I think it requires a rather profound misunderstanding of how science funding works to make that argument.

I agree wholeheartedly. And yet, there are those who persist in making it.

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3 hours ago, swansont said:

I agree wholeheartedly. And yet, there are those who persist in making it.

I think these will be people who claim to be sceptics but are not sceptical - they are not going to search out and examine the evidence.

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8 hours ago, swansont said:

Yes. And that is a rebuttal of the silly notion (seen in some discussions) that climate scientists are making it up to secure funding, since they would still be charged with studying climate anyway

I don't know the numbers, but I would hope there has been a substantial increase in funding for the study of climate change.

8 hours ago, swansont said:

Which again underscores that we need to be studying the phenomenon

Agree.

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4 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I don't know the numbers, but I would hope there has been a substantial increase in funding for the study of climate change.

Well it may (or may not) surprise you but climate change research has been subject to political scrutiny. During the Harper years in Canada, for example long-standing research projects which have collected valuable data have seen severed cuts and some programs were essentially halted. The Trudeau government has since then reversed some of those decisions, but there are still many projects being in danger of being shut down. The fatal thing about many of these projects is that in order to provide good data they need to collect samples on a regular basis. Funding gaps result in data gaps which in turn result in poor quality models. In the US, the current government also has cut funds to project initiated earlier (as well as withdrawn funds to finance global climate change-related projects). Most researchers that I know in that field mention that there is a certain urgency within the community and peer reviewers for these types of studies are often positive (if one comes up with reasonable ideas). However, big calls specifically targeting those challenges are not in line with the data gaps we still have.

That being said, it is difficult to track the dollars in detail, as not all related research are labelled as climate change-related projects. For example, a study may study the change in insect population, or forest ecology and eventually come to the conclusion that changes in weather patterns are the main drivers. While the study is not specifically looking at the effects of climate change, it may nonetheless provide important insights.

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I think it is easy to understand where 'climate skepticism' comes from: climate deniers are simply afraid that they have to step back in in the luxury they are used to, that others will tell what they are still allowed to do, and what not. (not talking about oil companies, where it is clearly they want to squeeze every bit of fossile fuel from the earth to prolong the time they can make easy profit.) Only a small minority of people are prepared to step back (a bit...) for the greater good of all.

In this sense, I am afraid I am also a kind of 'bad guy'. I go to work with my car (a small car, not using much gas, but I can't deny it uses gas...), live my life as nearly anybody else. No, in this respect I am not proud of myself. It's a kind of herd behaviour, I am afraid: I do not want to live a life that is much more difficult than that of my friends and colleagues. So it is my conviction that only collective action works: on basis of voluntariness nothing substantial will happen.

But then the denialists draw the trump (😨!) card of 'socialism': every law that impacts the freedom how to spend your money is called socialistic and thus bad. (I assume many Americans would call Europe socialist, if they only knew...).

Fact for me is that we really live in a climate crisis, and in time of crisis all people should hold together for the greater common good. The problem is that the climate change is relatively slow (compared to a human life, not geologically), and not visible clearly in daily life. Only  pictures of glaciers make a real visible case. For the rest we have statistics. When the crisis would be clearly visible, and threaten our way of life on very short notice, people would act. Think e.g. about Great Britain and WW II. The whole economy was transformed into a 'war economy'. And I am convinced that only a 'climate economy' possibly could save us.

Thereby I am afraid we are already too late: we already passed several tipping points, like melting of tundras, glaciers and ice shelves, maybe even methane ice. Even if we would stop emitting CO2 today, I think global heating would go on.

And so I am back at the article I linked to in the OP: I think the climate scientists of 25 years ago on one side could not believe what their (maybe still rough) estimates told them; on the other side they might have been afraid for plainly telling what their estimates say. Telling there is a crisis, and nearly nobody sees it, would have more or less disqualified them.

One last point: mistermack calls climate science 'religion'. Fact is that many people see it that way. But those are the same who say evolution is religion, or even science as a whole. They simply do not (want to) understand the empirical basis of science, and that science develops as more and more evidence becomes available. I think that generally in such oppositions one can say that somebody who throws the 'religion' argument against established science is the one that argues religiously himself. They only see the 'world view aspect' of science, but not the substance it is based on.

No, I am not very optimistic.

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10 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I don't know the numbers, but I would hope there has been a substantial increase in funding for the study of climate change.

In the US the federal budget for climate change has increased, but not necessarily for research

"Federal funding for climate change research, technology, international assistance, and adaptation has increased from $2.4 billion in 1993 to$11.6 billion in 2014" (inflation making that 2.4 seeming like 3.8, so it basically tripled in spending power)

But some of that money (and money from the stimulus spending bill in 2009) went toward mitigation efforts, because climate change is real. One would assume less money would be spent if the findings were otherwise (but maybe not zero, because "pork" is a thing in the budget process)

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I think climate change and global warming are pretty much undeniable.

But if say you use a model that predicts that it will happening 3 X faster than it later turns out that it actually does, I would argue that you are further off the mark than someone who predicts no change, regardless of whether their prediction is based on better data or better science.

I think it is fair to attack their arguments if they are not scientifically based, as we have to use best evidence, and I think it is fair to consider the effects of changes greater than we might suspect, given the greater threat they represent, but if you feel compelled to argue that is more correct interpretation then you are straying from best science...if you do so far enough the religious analogy is getting closer to being on the mark.

I don't think we should be shouting down scientific skepticism we don't agree with. Make a counter argument rather than hit the demerit button. Attack the argument not the poster

We don't know the future, but we can see the trends.

Here is a link to concerns with regard to one species alone.

It doesn't fully explain why the Polar bear population in Canada is suffering but it attributes it to global warming and ice field melting and reduction.

I would have difficulty thinking of reasonable counter arguments, and though I am far from well informed, I accept their results, predictions and concerns. They seem to be consistent with what I believe I know.

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16 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

if say you use a model that predicts that it will happening 3 X faster than it later turns out that it actually does, I would argue that you are further off the mark than someone who predicts no change, regardless of whether their prediction is based on better data or better science.

The models depend on how we as supposedly intelligent beings respond and change our behavior. Predicting climate is not the problem. Predicting politics is.

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5 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

But if say you use a model that predicts that it will happening 3 X faster than it later turns out that it actually does, I would argue that you are further off the mark than someone who predicts no change, regardless of whether their prediction is based on better data or better science.

I'd argue the opposite. "No change" is not a baseline or default. It is specific model indicating a type of steady-state situation. Trends up or downwards indicate deviations from it. Thus, if you capture the trend but get the rate wrong it still means that you have captured more mechanisms at work moving away from the stable assumptions (but may be missing or underestimating some elements) compared to a model which predicts no change.

On 11/21/2019 at 1:06 AM, Eise said:

I assume many Americans would call Europe socialist, if they only knew...)

Surprise! Quite a few do, actually.

On 11/21/2019 at 1:06 AM, Eise said:

And so I am back at the article I linked to in the OP: I think the climate scientists of 25 years ago on one side could not believe what their (maybe still rough) estimates told them;

I may be misremembering, but I am fairly sure that in the early 90s/late 80s a consensus in the scientific community has formed regarding climate change (wasn't IPCC established around that time)? Obviously some would have been careful about making predictions, but I vaguely remember some being fairly outspoken on that matter back then. After all, it generated enough momentum for the Kyoto protocol, which, considering the power of the opposition, indicates that the science of that time created enough momentum to get politics moving (which is always an astonishing feat).

19 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I don't think we should be shouting down scientific skepticism we don't agree with. Make a counter argument rather than hit the demerit button. Attack the argument not the poster

The big issue is that that this type of skepticism denies science and as such there are no valid counter arguments. If folks already decide on what they want to believe there is not a lot of ways to dissuade them. It used to be possible to demonstrate e.g. that their arguments were sponsored by the industrial PR groups. But now these beliefs are so tightly integrated into their political identity, that this would only be perceived as an attack against them, rather than the arguments.

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21 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

But if say you use a model that predicts that it will happening 3 X faster than it later turns out that it actually does, I would argue that you are further off the mark than someone who predicts no change, regardless of whether their prediction is based on better data or better science.

3 minutes ago, CharonY said:

I'd argue the opposite. "No change" is not a baseline or default. It is specific model indicating a type of steady-state situation. Trends up or downwards indicate deviations from it. Thus, if you capture the trend but get the rate wrong it still means that you have captured more mechanisms at work moving away from the stable assumptions (but may be missing or underestimating some elements) compared to a model which predicts no change.

You are making assumptions about the "no change" models. They could fully incorporate as many or more mechanisms while "getting the rate wrong". If they are more accurate they are more accurate, even if they don't capture the obvious warming, if the comparative model  overly exaggerates the trend. To not recognize that (when or if it is the case) is poor science, and to refuse to on principle is a turn toward "religion".

What we need are models that are sufficiently accurate and the political will to "err on the safe side' which in this case is clearly preparing as best we can for faster warming.

I think I should add that I believe most independent scientific reports on this, the vast majority indicating the truth in global warming.

But at the same time I don't believe the "12 years to Armageddon" predicted by some. Unfortunately those predictions don't help IMO, even if they have at their base a reasonably scientific "tipping point"...good science should not get hijacked to make political arguments...no matter how well intended.

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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Here is a link to concerns with regard to one species alone.

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10 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

You are making assumptions about the "no change" models. They could fully incorporate as many or more mechanisms while "getting the rate wrong". If they are more accurate they are more accurate, even if they don't capture the obvious warming, if the comparative model  overly exaggerates the trend. To not recognize that (when or if it is the case) is poor science, and to refuse to on principle is a turn toward "religion".

That is not how models generally work. The accuracy of a model is not contingent on just having somehow all possible parameters in them, but rather to accurately model (and ideally predict) what the interplay of these factors cause. A no-change model obviously fails to capture important mechanism that actually lead to (the observed) increase in temperature. As such it useless as it is unable to even predict the rough trend.

Meanwhile, model predicting trends but getting the rate wrong at least got the trend correctly, but may not be fine enough to get the rates correct. An analogy is perhaps if you are sick and have a fever and one diagnosis claims that you are actually healthy and the other diagnoses some disease but is unable to suggest which bug you actually have. The latter carries more information than the former and coincides better with available data.

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6 minutes ago, CharonY said:

That is not how models generally work. The accuracy of a model is not contingent on just having somehow all possible parameters in them, but rather to accurately model (and ideally predict) what the interplay of these factors cause. A no-change model obviously fails to capture important mechanism that actually lead to (the observed) increase in temperature. As such it useless as it is unable to even predict the rough trend.

Meanwhile, model predicting trends but getting the rate wrong at least got the trend correctly, but may not be fine enough to get the rates correct. An analogy is perhaps if you are sick and have a fever and one diagnosis claims that you are actually healthy and the other diagnoses some disease but is unable to suggest which bug you actually have. The latter carries more information than the former and coincides better with available data.

Again. Even if it misses the trend direction...it can be a  better model. (and may be a better candidate to be tweaked and improved)

For purposes of illustration only...a model predicting no change in the next 20 years is clearly better than one that predicts a 100C increase...

The one predicting the 100 degree increase is obviously crap, even if it got the direction of the change correct. The other may or may not be salvageable.

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2 hours ago, mistermack said:

To be brutally honest its Friday evening, Im tired after carying a g damn 200 pound washing maschine from a cellar with steps through a garage and a driveway uphill to a truck with my Father in law who pisses me off and I currently don't care about the polar bears. I'm tired, to a point I'm not even enjoying the drink Im having while my missus has her period, her world is collapsing with every breath she takes while crying and being pissed off at the same time - as far as I'm concerned the polar bears can go extinct tomorrow if no further implications to me and my family - f'em.
There have been tens of millions of species on our planet which went extinct, one more or one less, phhh. The thing is that the lady in the clip seems to imply that Polar bears not going extinct = Theres no climate change problem. I hope we both agree that this would be an extremely moronic line of thinking now would it? Please take 30 seconds to look at the link belowe and think about climate change on Earth. I presume you have children, grandchildren or nephews, grand daughters, cousins, the whole shebang. Please look at this and tell me that youre not worried about Homo Sapiens fucking the Earth up for the last 80 years to the point in which it IS a problem and WILL be a much BIGGER one:

https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

Edited by koti
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3 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

For purposes of illustration only...a model predicting no change in the next 20 years is clearly better than one that predicts a 100C increase...

But of course that is not the argument that you made.

Quote
3 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

But if say you use a model that predicts that it will happening 3 X faster than it later turns out that it actually does, I would argue that you are further off the mark than someone who predicts no change, regardless of whether their prediction is based on better data or better science.

Here you claim that a no-change model is by default better than an accelerated timeline. I would concede that predicting the trend alone may be way off, but I was thinking within constraints that you provided (in this cause moderately off, rather than extreme unrealistic values).

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14 minutes ago, CharonY said:

But of course that is not the argument that you made.

It is exactly the same argument exaggerated in hopes you might recognize the validity.

Would you make the same arguments if "no change" was somehow the threat to our habitats, and warming was innocuous?

Edited by J.C.MacSwell
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Wheeuww !
Wasn't sure where you were going with that Koti.

Hope your kids and grandkids have an un-spoilt Earth to enjoy.
I also hope you have the means/employment to make sure they have that chance.

If governments want people on board, they have to present alternatives.
Not just say "Go without. Its for the benefit of all".

Instead of subsidizing oil companies and giving car manufacturers billions of our dollars, make charging E-vehicles as easily as gasoline, so that people who don't live in big cities can switch, and travel across a country like Canada
Make standards for ALL new homes for metal roofs and solar panels ( and incentives for retrofit )
Invest heavily in nuclear ( like France ) and fusion research.

Don't allow the buying of carbon credits or tax carbon.
That just allows the rich to keep polluting while the rest suffer ( for the benefit of all ).

Incidentally, melting tundra does release greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere, but it also allows for the new growth of plant covering.
I don't know if one a counteractor to the other, but there is some carbon re-capture.

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6 minutes ago, MigL said:

Don't allow the buying of carbon credits or tax carbon.
That just allows the rich to keep polluting while the rest suffer ( for the benefit of all ).

I think we should tax carbon.

If this falls unduly on the poor or middle class there are other ways to compensate.

A carbon tax will have a reducing effect on carbon emissions. It would also provide revenue that can help pay for pollution reduction, studies etc and can be used for the above mentioned compensation.

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