Saturday, January 10, 2009

Climate Change: Modelling the Modelers and Novel Science

The models tells us that … this model suggests…

It’s no surprise Wayne Swan, Penny Wong and Kevin Rudd seem to love the modelers, those behind the scenes mystery minds willing to forecast what is going to happen to our economies and climate in 2010, 2020, 2050 and beyond. By way of example I draw your attention to the following headlines:

THE Rudd Government will press ahead with its emissions trading scheme, arguing that modelling to be released today proves it is pro-growth and good for the nation's long-term economic competitiveness …

As you know, the Government released its Treasury modelling yesterday on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. And what that modelling demonstrates …

Treasurer Wayne Swan says Treasury modelling proves that acting now to reduce carbon emissions will be cheaper than taking no action …The comprehensive economic modelling released today has painted a rosy picture of how emissions trading will affect the economy and households. The economy and incomes will continue to grow under emissions trading - just by a little less, it says …
Notice what all these statements’ and headlines rely upon? That's right, models, and yet, meteorologists armed with satellite imagery of what is brewing westward cannot accurately provide a 5-day forecast and likewise, the Governments foremost economic minds could not predict the present financial crises a few weeks out.

Unbeknown to some models come in various guises those based on abstractions (abstract models), those based on cause and effect (causal models), the mathematical, those based on probability distributions (statistical models), those based on a computer program which tries to simulate an abstract model (computer model) etc. Indeed, there are many more, however they all have one thing in common, they are based on abstractions, concepts, and theories, though not necessarily hard truths of science, i.e. the models used to derive estimates and thus policy are based on assumptions that have largely gone untested.

In reviewing the book, Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique by Stephen J. DeCanio one judicious critic wrote:

…”did you know that the models used by neo-classical economists to consider climate change have so many solutions to their equations that they cannot produce information useful to policymakers without being rigged to do so … did you know that the assumptions then used to run the models either have been shown to be completely wrong or have never been validated scientifically … did you know that the energy models being used to project the economics of climate issues decades into the future have been wildly inaccurate in making much shorter term predictions … If not, you need to read DeCanio's book.

DeCanio rips away the fig leaf of objectivity from economists claiming to produce valid information for the climate change debate. Deconstructing their models through all their theoretical twists and turns, DeCanio reveals how their biases shape assumptions that in turn predetermine the outcomes of their analyses, a heads I win, tails you lose approach. DeCanio shows how these models, posing as application of the scientific method, with hundreds of equations that seem objective, actually are a classic example of `garbage in, garbage out'.”
And yet, quite incredibly as a society we are on the verge of consenting to the government’s proposal to tax us over climate change, and in doing so, lowering living standards. In effect, Rudd’s scheme massively increases government intervention in the economy. In its first year alone it involves the Government ripping $11.5 billion from industry and consumers and deciding who best to reward or prop up. State planning is back with a vengeance! Moreover, what is unsettling is that it is all based on treasury models underpinned by untested assumptions.

If we were going to model, it would be sensible to base them on all available science. Meanwhile, the thousands of scientists who are shouting from the rooftops opposing this global warming swindle are being largely blacked out of the news media.

Moreover, here is what some Australian scientists are saying:
When it comes to light that the carbon scare was known to be bogus in 2008, the ALP is going to be regarded as criminally negligent or ideologically stupid for not having seen through it. And if the Liberals support the general thrust of their actions, they will be seen likewise.

Dr. David Evans, consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005.

AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is a fiction and a very dangerous fiction.

William Kininmonth, head of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre (1986-1998), Australian delegate to the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Climatology (1982-1998).

[There is] an atmosphere of intimidation if one expresses dissenting views or evidence. It is as if one is doing one’s colleagues a great disservice in dissenting and perhaps derailing the gravy train. …The global warming monopoly is seriously bad for science.

David Packham, former CSIRO principle research scientist, senior research fellow in a climate group at Monash University, and an officer in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

It is my strong belief that CSIRO has passed its use-by date. The organisation that bears the name of CSIRO has very little in common with the organisation that I joined in 1971, one that produced so much of value for Australia during its first seven decades. … As an example, consider the Garnaut Report [on global warming], possibly the longest economic suicide note in Australia’s history. It is based on the dire predictions of CSIRO’s modelling programs.

Dr. Art Raiche, former CSIRO Chief Research Scientist.

I have yet to see credible proof of carbon dioxide driving climate change, yet alone man-made CO2 driving it. The atmospheric hot-spot is missing and the ice core data refute this. When will we collectively awake from this deceptive delusion. …I contend that those professional scientists and advisors that are knowingly complicit in climate science fraud and all that is derived from it, will continue to be exposed by the science itself.

Dr. Guy LeBlanc Smith, retired CSIRO Principal Research Scientist.

Many distinguished scientists refuse to participate in the IPCC process, and others have resigned from it, because in the end the advice that the panel provides to governments is political and not scientific.

Dr. Bob Carter, Paleoclimate scientist, James Cook University and former chairman of the earth science panel of the Australian Research Council.

What terrifies me is the way the state governments in Australia with their emissions trading they are contemplating using the superannuation funds to invest in carbon trading—they’re going to lose their money!

Emeritus Professor Lance Endersbee, former dean of engineering and pro-vice chancellor at Monash University.

Finally, here is what Australia's first NASA astronaut had to say ...

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead. It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake.
Melbourne born Geophysicist Dr. Phil Chapman, an astronautical engineer and the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut.

What more can we say ...

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