Consensus (not again!) and very uncertain models

In an editorial on 14 May, Nature calls on governments to “work together to build the supercomputers needed for future predictions that can capture the detail required to inform policy.”

They’re talking about the approximately fifteen detailed computer models developed by teams around the world in a continuing attempt to better understand earth’s complex climate. The modellers want access to supercomputers to help improve their predictions. Fair enough. Everybody wants bigger toys.

But along the way, this prestigious weekly manages some breathtaking assertions that deserve closer attention.

First, they say only supercomputers “can capture the detail required to inform policy”. Now, that is not reassuring, considering that governments have actually been devising policy since the IPCC’s First Assessment Report (FAR) in 1990. It’s an astonishing thought, that for 18 years we haven’t been given the detail necessary to get good policy.

What does that say about the policies we’ve got? Lacking proper detail, they must, we now learn, be mere approximations. They could easily be wrong. They might be making global warming worse.

Let’s look a little closer. What the modellers are looking for, and the thing that is missing, is “detail”; so what’s a detail? It is a fact, a piece of knowledge, perhaps a measurement, such as “the temperature is 15.5°C”, or a process, such as “a cloud forms now” or “evaporation has increased”.

It’s quite simple: if these “details” have been lacking, it means knowledge has been lacking.

We’ve been brow-beaten by the alarmists for years, telling us we’ve got to do something about the warming “crisis”, without enough knowledge. So the next question has to be: “Will our current policies do any good?”

For example, should we be reducing CO2 emissions by 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, or 25% of 2001 levels by 2035, or pegging emissions at 2004 levels by 2020 (pick your own numbers)? Should we be increasing our emissions?

Do we have eight years to get things right before passing some kind of tipping point and setting off a “runaway” temperature that will kill all our grandchildren? Or do we have fifteen years? Or fifty? It would certainly be wise to revisit our decisions when we get better “detail”.

Nature correctly asserts that these computer models have greatly influenced public opinion. But then they trot out the nonsense that “consensus is all but universal”, inviting us to believe what is patently untrue—that everybody agrees in this dangerous warming that we’re causing. If that really was the consensus, we wouldn’t need to keep saying it; we’d be getting stuck in and doing something about it.

Of course there’s no consensus! There are instead serious, strong, fact-led debates being conducted around the world, mostly on the Internet, but lately increasingly acknowledged in conventional media, that, from several different directions, ably refute the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

Politicians, you ignore this real debate at your electoral peril!

Let Nature state the evidence for the dangerous warming, please. It’s not fair to keep it secret, since we’re all in the same boat. Come on, out with it!

The editorial repeats, as though it needed to convince us, that current models are insufficient tools for “practical policy”. They want “simulations good enough to guide hard decisions”. Well, it’s funny, but so do we, actually!

Reliable simulations would be especially welcome, as we’re soon to be asked (in New Zealand, according to the Sustainability Council of New Zealand) for $4.4 billion over the next three and a bit years to “fight climate change”. That’s our money—ours, the New Zealand people’s, own hard-earned cash. Golly, that’s a lot of money!

We’ll be paying in more expensive power, petrol, direct taxes and prices generally, since absolutely everything, except perhaps getting dressed and going for a walk, requires the use of at least one internal combustion engine, which we’re not really to be trusted with.

All this, on the basis of predictions from unverified computer models which everybody acknowledges can’t predict even next week’s weather, much less the climate 50 years from now. The idea was ludicrous, but now that it’s getting serious (because of the money, the lost jobs, the reduced overseas competitiveness, etc.), it’s beyond ludicrous—it’s becoming criminally insane.

Nature really drive home the message that we can’t trust the climate models, not one of them, and I believe what they tell us. Oh, notice they have a novel way of describing “wrong”—what else can “differs from reality” mean?

“Today’s modelling efforts, though, are not up to that job [of providing simulations good enough to guide hard decisions]. They all agree on the general direction in which the climate will move as greenhouse gases build up, but they do not reliably capture all the nuances of today’s climate, let alone tomorrow’s. Moreover, each model differs from reality in different ways.”

Unbelievable. The modellers are looking for more knowlege, through a better computer. How much more do we, who must pay the bill, want knowledge? We’ve never been more in need of a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

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