Saturday, January 23, 2010

Climate Change Keystone Kops

I thought, at one time, that scientists were supposed to be rational beings. As Climategate continues to snowball -- though you couldn't tell if you're reading American news media outlets as the scandal seems, at least to the news folks, to be a purely British phenomenon -- additional revelations keep emerging that demonstrate how scientists and climate change true believers are using scare tactics, not science, to push their agendas.

This is a critical error. If scientists and true believers want to convince skeptics that climate change is real -- and I believe they do a fairly good job in some aspects of this -- I have to confess they end up looking like the Keystone Kops when their exaggerations and half-truths come to life.

The Times Online offers this report revealing that in 2007, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change incorrectly linked global warming to an increase in natural disasters, based on an unpublished and unreviewed study that when it was published, the Times said, "had a new caveat. It said: 'We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses."

The cited study, written by Robert Muir-Wood, suggested that a 2 percent annual increase in catastrophes from 1970 to 2005 coincided with a period of global warming. He cautioned, however, as the Times Online reports:
Muir-Wood was, however, careful to point out that almost all this increase could be accounted for by the exceptionally strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. There were also other more technical factors that could cause bias, such as exchange rates which meant that disasters hitting the US would appear to cost proportionately more in insurance payouts.

Despite such caveats, the IPCC report used the study in its section on disasters and hazards, but cited only the 1970-2005 result.
Roger Pielke, an environmental studies professor at Colorado University, who commissioned the study, chided the UN for cherry-picking information from Muir-Wood's study. The Times Online says:
Pielke has also told the IPCC that citing one section of Muir-Wood's paper in preference to the rest of his work, and all the other peer-reviewed literature, was wrong.

He said: "All the literature published before and since the IPCC report shows that rising disaster losses can be explained entirely by social change. People have looked hard for evidence that global warming plays a part but can't find it. Muir-Wood's study actually confirmed that."
To me, this illustrates that the true believers of climate change will look for any bit of evidence to support their claims -- even evidence they have to take out of context or misinterpret deliberately in order to use it as proof. Muir-Wood and Pielke were interested in presenting data as it relates to the real world. Those interpreting their data to present it as it relates to the religion of climate change do themselves and their cause a disservice, and once again offer evidence to skeptics that their claims overall must be questioned.

Also this week, the Daily Mail Online offers a report showing that claims that the Himilayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 were that -- just claims. In fact, the individual cited making the claim says he said no such thing and admits that the number was pulled out of the air. He and others accuse the UN of taking the claim for fact in the same IPCC report when it had never been proven in order to put political pressure on world governments to act to curb climate change.

Noble reasons, I suppose, but nobility fades when the route taken there is unethical at best, scientifically wrong at worst.

The Daily Mail Online says:
Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, who began to raise doubts in scientific circles last year, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25.

‘My educated guess is that there will be somewhat less ice in 2035 than there is now,’ he said.

“But there is no way the glaciers will be close to disappearing. It doesn’t seem to me that exaggerating the problem’s seriousness is going to help solve it.’

One of the problems bedevilling Himalayan glacier research is a lack of reliable data. But an authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: ‘Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.’
Let me empahsize something Prof. Graham Cogley says: "It doesn't seem to me that exaggerating the problem's seriousness is going to help solve it." All it does is fuel the skeptics and do-nothings who want to find evidence against climate change as badly as those who believe in it want to find evidence that it is imminent.

Of course you'll notice another telling fact in these reports" Both were done by British newspapers. The British press seems to regard this as newsworthy, this Climategate. Not so the American press, which is toeing the climate change line simply by ignoring these things. Or, if not ignoring, at least capably burying the stories next to the tide schedules on page 39.


StorageCraft said...

The climate change has already started showing its effect around the world. The temperature this winter has fallen a lot below than the normal levels and a lot many of them are suffering because of it.

Mister Fweem said...

So you're saying weather isn't climate? I -- and others -- beg to differ: