In response to a major climate change story in the progressive New York Times, Digg Senior Editor Steve Rousseau noted that the article provoked criticism and offered a pre-read piece. I find that the Times’ premise that humans almost solved the riddle of climate change using public policies if not for the ignorance and venality of the populace is ludicrous.
Here is an excerpt from Steve Rousseau…
Here's What To Read About That Giant New York Times Climate Change Piece
On Wednesday, the New York Times Magazine published "Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change." In the piece, the longest the New York Times has reportedly ever published at over 30,000 words, writer Nathaniel Rich takes a narrative look into the science and eventual political debate that took form from the year 1979 to 1989.
In terms of sheer scope, the quality of the writing and the depth of reporting it is undeniably worth your time. For many who are lacking in the history of climate change policy here in the US, it's crucial, relatively accessible reading.
That said, this being the internet, it is nigh impossible to publish something without drawing some criticism. A piece on climate change that approaches novel length is bound to attract the attention of just about everyone in and outside the field.
Read Steve’s piece at: https://digg.com/2018/nytimes-climate-change-losing-earth
Here is what I emailed Steve …
Loved your piece, but found it wanting as it did not pose an elemental question: how do we know a political solution to a natural phenomenon will work?
The part that I cannot understand is how man's influence over fossil fuels can ever moderate the influences of the Sun's energy output in all spectral bands, the production of extraterrestrial cosmic rays, the Earth's position relative to the Sun, the Earth's precessional and rotational dynamics, the Earth's vulcanology and plate tectonics, the heat transfer and behavior of deep ocean currents, and the most significant greenhouse gas influence, water vapor (clouds). All of which are the significant drivers of climate change since the Earth manifested an atmosphere and oceans.
Even if we could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, the only inkling of the effectiveness of such an action required one to change a parameter in the climate models which still overstate historical reality of climate in the short term.
Thirty thousand words or three million words cannot change the single fact that politicians and special interests are attempting to use science to advance a political agenda.
Which leads me to my position …
Can you trust all climate researchers?
A number of well-educated and well-experienced scientists appear to have abandoned research for advocacy and activism. Some to build a broader reputation among their peers and the public, some to increase the prestige of their sponsor, and some to attract a larger share of the available funding for their projects and institution. The primary red flag is a researcher who fundamental field is not directly related to atmospheric physics, but is in an associated field such as geology, paleontology, economics, anthropology which I suspect is using some association to climate science to attract attention and funding.
Unfortunately, when science moves beyond telling into the realm of selling, we may also see an attempt to mediate and eliminate information that casts doubt on the tale being told or disparages or suppresses information that does not support the existing narrative or agenda.
Remembering that consensus is a political construct and that fashionable contemporary science has been proven wrong in the past, one must look at any breach of the controlled skepticism of the scientific method as problematical, especially if research results cannot be replicated, confirmed, or falsified. Or the authors refuse to make their datasets and programming available to other competent researchers in the field.
It should be understood that the United Nation's IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a political, not scientific, body that cherry-picks scientific papers that support its viewpoint; mostly to execute an agenda that leads to greater political influence and funding for the United Nations as an extra-governmental body. The various editions of the IPCC's assessment reports have revealed shoddy research, unsubstantiated conclusions, and are not meant to be science products, but political guidelines for member nations.
The most significant factor affecting the climate discussion today is the fact that the IPCC's original framework focuses on anthropogenic (human-made) global climate influences rather than all global climate influences. To discount the Sun's energy output in all spectral bands, the production of extraterrestrial cosmic rays, the Earth's position relative to the Sun, the Earth's precessional and rotational dynamics, the Earth's vulcanology and plate tectonics, the heat transfer and behavior of deep ocean currents, and the most significant greenhouse gas influence, water vapor (clouds) is foolhardy and unscientific.
And not forgetting that "peer review" is a publishing process to weed out ..., improve clarity and communications as research is prepared for publication. It does not replicate, evaluate, or validate the researcher's findings or conclusions. From examining email chains, we have seen that prominent researchers in climate sciences have reviewed each other's work, promoted or suppressed research that deviated from the commonly accepted findings and conclusions, and in some ways compromised the entire process of peer review.
Specifically related to climate research...
The historical terrestrial datasets have been compromised. First by site location and instrumentation issues which see results artificially nullified by the siting location. Leaving but a relative handful of valid sites with appropriate instrumentation.
The historical datasets further compromised by the loss of the raw data over time and being replaced by anomalous data representing the deviation from an artificially-chosen thirty-year baseline. Less than a blink of an eye in geological time scales involved with gross climate cycles. And further corrupted by the so-called "homogenization" process that adjusts for observational time, differences in site location, and missing or anomalous data by replacing the missing or apparent anomalous data for the purposed of computation and display.
Effects of time of observation adjustments …
It still is questionable whether or not researchers can detect and accurately measure man's climate signal among the noise of an infinitely variable and chaotic climate. It is the "pretense of knowledge" that portrays findings as being precise to two-digits when we know that those digits are an artifact of computation and that the actual error band is far broader than the results indicate. One need only change the TOBS (Time of Observation) to see how a net negative can be interpreted as a net positive.
The most accurate datasets today are those created by satellite. Unfortunately, these extend back a relatively short period (approximately 30+ years) and diverge from the results contained in the manipulated terrestrial datasets that are erroneously considered the "gold standard" of data.
Most of the climate models themselves are but an inadequate and incomplete approximation of the underlying physical processes, substituting "parameterization" in place of process equations. Also, many models are fine-tuned with this parameterization process to produce results that replicate the highly-manipulated historical data but ultimately fail by several orders of magnitude to describe current situations which are eventually falsified over time. The explanation for poor correlations is almost always blamed on the lack of sophisticated modeling of older model output, even though modeling today is more likely than not to have the same degree of error when examined tomorrow.
Climate models versus historical records …
While most climate researchers are no dishonest per se, there is a trend to project "local" findings onto a global scale and to suggest that the findings and conclusions are valid everywhere. And, considering the divergence from polar to equatorial conditions, this is difficult to accept without further research.
Each political entity is trying to co-opt science to justify their political agendas. In fact, one might conclude that carbon dioxide was chosen because it impacts all economies through the control of energy discovery, production, storage, transmission, and use. Something that cannot be said of the more potent greenhouse gas methane, and certainly not of the naturally occurring clouds which are the primary moderator of weather, with the behavior of the deep ocean currents (the oscillations) being of secondary importance.
Unfortunately, climate science has become big business funded by the taxpayers and wielded by the politicians for their self-interests. To solve the rationalization of research today would demand some level of control over increasing political corruption and the political pandering to the special interests.
The climate will continue to change, as it has since the atmosphere formed around the planet. The climate will continue to oscillate up-and-down around some unknown mean over time, producing ages of glaciation and periods of interglacial warming. None of us reading this will be alive to see the effects of the climate over the periods of time it would take to see cyclic trends definitively. Thus providing the perfect political dodge -- demanding immediate action to meet a planetary emergency and never having to be accountable for errors if and when something happens.
We may be one errant comet away from another mass extinction, and perhaps we should be more concerned about runaway viruses and bacterial mutations created in our laboratories than outlawing the use of fossil and fissile fuels.
And, at present, there is no clear-cut course where science can make a measurable and meaningful contribution to altering the climate. Therefore, the only moral and ethical way to deal with the ambiguities of science and nature is to be faithful to the science, not the political interpretation or prescriptives that deprive us of our lives, liberty, and property.
In the final analysis, I am having a hard time understanding how reputable researchers, absent the motivation of money and recognition can honestly say that we are facing a planetary emergency when the scale of nature dwarfs the extent of man's puny efforts.
But that is the beauty of today's climate change predictions; there is no conceivable outcome that could ever disagree with the ambiguous rhetoric, where a researcher can say virtually anything they want without being held accountable in their lifetime.
Even worse, after all of the time, effort, and energy expended in the study of the climate, we still do not know whether there is a complete and coherent solution that will allow humans to make detectable alterations of climate on a global scale.
So what we have at present is not an arguable theory of climate change, but an extensive collection of approximations and calculations based on assumptions and conjectures that, if true, may reveal the existence of a confirmable theory.
Considering the number of researchers who have worked on climate change for many years and its underlying causes remain unknown, it may mean that the answer to climate change is non-trivial or non-evident from modeling or perhaps, like most chaotic systems, no satisfactory answer will allow human intervention on a global scale.
We just do not know what we do not know.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius