Why Schwarzenegger sounds like Obama on global warming, cap-and-trade …

Global Climate Change: What's going on here?

Before we commit to spending trillions of dollars, ceding a portion of our sovereignty to foreign panels and commissions, and limiting the freedoms of Americans, perhaps it is worthwhile to stop for a moment and consider the obvious.

Beyond name calling …

Many have suggested that the issue of environmentalism has taken on many of the aspects of a religion. The reliance on faith over logic. The need for people to accept the words of the climate leadership without question. And that the self-interests of the religion’s promoters be overlooked. So to both the climate jihadists and deniers, here are a few items of concern. 

The inherent bias in the science may be political and is certainly “human … ”

One side is likely to excoriate the other because some portion of the funding for climate research has come from those associated with energy production. Big oil, big gas and big coal are the demons. While it is nice to have a clear cut demon for the purposes of securing media support, rallying the troops and collecting contributions, this type of attack overlooks the obvious. That the funding provided by governments, non-profit foundations and educational institutions should be similarly suspect. Especially a government who can assert greater control on its economy and population, raising taxes to support the political bureaucracy and profiting in numerous ways from the conclusions of the research. Likewise, there is an inherent bias in those educational institutions which rely heavily on government grants and projects for a major portion of their day-to-day funding. Not to mention the foundations whose grants and stipends seems to reflect both the political and personal persuasion of its leadership and major contributors.

So what I am saying is that there might be, and in all likelihood there is, a significant political bias in the research being performed and presented on climate research.

On a personal level, those who are institution administrators or staff scientists are statistically more likely to explore routes of scientific enquiries that attract funding and adhere to the broad societal goals of the institution. Agreement with other institutions of similar repute is often cited as an indication of the correctness of the inquiry; although nothing could be farther from the actual truth.

Science is not performed by consensus and committees don’t decide on what constitutes scientifically-derived fact. To those who are doing science, a fact may only be a temporary assumption until proven wrong.  

Peer review may not always be effective in eliminating institutional or personal bias in science; or for that matter, guaranteeing the soundness of the underlying science  …

Scientists are fond of stating that publication in a prestigious journal which demands peer review answers many questions as to the legitimacy of the research. Of course, this is far from the truth. First, the prestigious journals are often over-priced sources of revenue for their sponsors. Second, the editor of the peer-reviewed journal often functions as a mini-potentate of their own fiefdom. The choice of who is to peer-review and article is often as important as the choice of an author. Having well-credentialed and prestigious reviewers gives a work a certain amount of credibility which may be undeserved.

Peer review satisfies a number of criteria. The credentials and strength of the available peer-review panels speaks referentially to the prestige of the publication. The peer review process weeds out obvious crackpot theories from people who may be charlatans and publicity seekers. And, of most import, the peer review attempts to insure that obvious errors do not appear in the published piece and that the article is clearly written.

What the peer review does not do – is often what the public colloquially expects of peer review. That is, the peer review panel does not examine the data in-depth and verify the validity of the computational models. The peer review panel does not express and opinion on the work other than to declare that it is ready for publication in a scientific journal and that the article meets the journal’s standards for subject matter, clarity of content and authorship.

It should be remembered that those scientists who author research papers are not always required to produce their raw data, their computer models and their work-papers to the peer-review panel. And even if they did, there is no guarantee that the panel would have the time and inclination to examine the models and test the data. Although this might be something of public perception, it is not the function of the peer-review panel to engage in these affirmative activities.

Unfortunately, the peer-review process can be subject to the petty whims of the peer-review panel or be selected in such a manner as to promote some submitted papers over others. In this endeavor, peer-review is performed by humans – complete with petty jealousies, foibles and allegiances. Of course, it is up to the journal’s readers to challenge papers, mount credible responses and to serve as the counter-foil that keeps science relatively honest.   But, as we have seen in the past, this is not a guarantee. Especially where the scientists can be separated into discernable camps of cliques.

About the data …

Much of what has been published about global warming comes from relatively limited historical weather station data or so-called climate proxies like tree-rings, ice cores, ocean sediments and other stand-ins which can be roughly correlated to past climate trends and events.

There are relatively few weather stations for a very large planet. Many of these stations exist in populated areas because people are interested in their local weather. Other, more widely scattered stations exist for weather prediction and other scientific endeavors. Unfortunately, not all weather data is accurate or reliable. It has been shown that increasing urbanization greatly affects temperature measurement. As does station placement, the surrounding environment, the type of instruments used, the enclosures for these instruments and the movement of stations to different locations for practical purposes.

Therefore, in an attempt to provide “uniform” data for their climate models, many scientists have manipulated the data in a manner as to improve their computational value to the researchers. Where instruments have failed, are obviously in error or have been relocated, the scientist may attempt to correct the actual data. Since the data may be voluminous, these corrections may be applied to all of the data originating from a station or to just the missing or outlier values. This effort gives rise to the suspicion that the data may have been modified for nefarious purposes; mostly to support a pre-ordained conclusion or theory. This type of inappropriate manipulation has been done in the past and will, in all probability, be done in the future.

About the models …

Most researchers are not statisticians, programmers or instrumentation specialists even though their actual work does require such multi-disciplinary interaction. Therefore, we must consider that some of the computer models, especially those hand-crafted a module at a time, may contain bugs or other flaws which would adversely affect the output. Most computer models are a hodge-podge of different modules which both represent the underlying scientific principles being used to craft the model and those which serve purely to manipulate large datasets. Therefore, most climate models are extremely complex and remain somewhat unauditable.

Where are we NOW …

Contrary to Al Gore’s assertion of consensus and settled science, there are deep divisions in the scientific community. And with the publication of the purloined climate documents from the Climate Research Unit of University of East Anglia, we now have some insight into the personalities and petty behavior of some of the prominent climate research scientists. Enough so as to demand a thorough and complete inquiry into the matter of global warming and public policy.

We can continue to fund scientific research in the area, but we need to reexamine the entire matter from the ground up.

But, we need a new type of “open peer review” which is made possible by the Internet. Taking a page from the collaborative creators of “open source software,” we should be calling for a similar effort in the science of global warming as it involves computers and data.

Of course, there is a single impediment to this “open peer review” initiative. That the institutions and scientists have a proprietary need to keep their data and models out of the public domain to preserve their competitive advantage when securing funding for new research. A prime motivator in a “publish or perish” environment where reputations and funding rest on being the first to publish seminal papers on newly emerging scientific discoveries.

So I believe, that is broad, costly and intrusive public policy is to implemented by our government on the basis of science, that the government release the models and the data in the form of “open source” materials which can be “peer reviewed” on a much larger scale. Of course, there should be no problem with this as a significant part of the funding comes from the very taxpayers which are being told they must conserve and alter their lifestyles based on this scientific “evidence.” Evidence which lives only in the silicon silliness of computers and which does not correlate well with current climate records.

Bottom line …

I am one of those skeptics, denier if you must label me something, that believes that the Sun’s variability, the Earth’s Orbit, the dynamics of our planet, deep ocean currents, volcanic activitiy and other such factors greatly outweigh man’s ability to control the climate. I also believe that CO2 is a lagging indicator of warming oceans and not a causal effect of global climate change. Add to this a deep distrust of the democrat party which controls our government and I find great merit in open source peer review prior to adopting public policy.

And should we discover that global warming is not a problem, let us concentrate in eliminating environmental hazards, improving our water supply, improving our shelter against natures awesome fury, improving our food sources and, of course, exploiting nuclear energy to gain independence from those who take our money and do not wish us well.

-- steve

The open source peer review initiative …

  • Publish the raw data
  • Publish the corrected data with explanations for the corrections
  • Publish the computer models in a compilable form along with a “make program” to allow people to build and test the working model.
  • Publish a module by module explanation of the underlying assumptions
  • Publish the “forcing” values needed to produce the models upon which public policy is based

This would allow all of the various people, scientists, programmers and others to participate in a review of the science … before the taxpayer commits to being tapped for trillions of dollars.

To those who said that the matter can’t wait and this is an emergency … the planet has been around for a long time and is functioning in a self-sustaining loop, to think that this is an emergency is unwarranted and speaks of unbelievable hubris.

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"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

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS