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Thread: How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong

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    tWebber
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    Can this episode of the endless 'okay, we're friend-ish again, now we're not' drama derail be moved? Thanks.
    Trump is basically "Bruce Wayne pretending to be a foppish retarded billionaire" tier genius, in case nerds need a simpler metaphor.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demi-conservative View Post
    Can this episode of the endless 'okay, we're friend-ish again, now we're not' drama derail be moved? Thanks.
    If the Jerk who started this thread so desires.
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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demi-conservative View Post
    Back to the main topic:

    There is no consensus on how much the temperature is going to rise, not least because they're still making significant adjustments to the models, with post #1 highlighting yet another 'Oops, gotta fix it again'. What's more, there is no consensus on the consequences of an unknown magnitude of temperature increase.

    While there is consensus that AGW is happening, the consequences of AGW are ill-understood like high cholesterol consumption, resulting in no scientific case to make any significant change to economies and societies.
    I believe you are over estimating and misrepresenting the disagreements and scientific consensus among scientists concerning Global Warming. The only trend among scientists that I can see is Global Warming is indeed happening due to human influence, and based on the most recent research the rate of warming is increasing. Some of my recent posts in 2019 thread reflect this.

    The article does not represent the consensus among scientists, there is no 'We' her in the article, except that the knowledge of science changes and increases with time.

    they most definitely do know many of the consequences of Global Warming such as the rise in sea level, which based on the latest research is increasing. Also the increase in arid regions and the increased melting of the ice in the polar regions.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 11-14-2019 at 02:05 PM.
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  5. #84
    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demi-conservative View Post
    Back to the main topic:

    There is no consensus on how much the temperature is going to rise, not least because they're still making significant adjustments to the models, with post #1 highlighting yet another 'Oops, gotta fix it again'. What's more, there is no consensus on the consequences of an unknown magnitude of temperature increase.
    I don't think that that's entirely accurate. The linked editorial wasn't any indication of "gotta fix it again", because almost all of the instances it talked about happened before the development of modern climate models. And there's less a lack of consensus on how much the temperatures are going to rise, as there is a consensus that the rise is going to be within a range, but we don't know enough to figure out precisely where in that range it will be.

    The latter might seem a bit pedantic, but it's a fairly significant difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by demi-conservative View Post
    While there is consensus that AGW is happening, the consequences of AGW are ill-understood like high cholesterol consumption, resulting in no scientific case to make any significant change to economies and societies.
    Again, that's not accurate. There are some consequences that we don't understand well, but lots of them we do. We know the ocean levels will rise. We know heat waves will become more common, cold waves less. We know areas with high humidity will see more precipitation, and that this will come in the form of increased storm intensity rather than more storms. We know that droughts will become more severe because increased heat will dry out the soils faster. etc.

    There's uncertainty about the exact degree of those changes that will see, and how quickly the changes will take place, but little uncertainty about whether they'll happen.

    As for what there's a case to do, that's not a scientific question. But it's worth remembering that choosing to do nothing is still choosing something.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    I don't think that that's entirely accurate. The linked editorial wasn't any indication of "gotta fix it again", because almost all of the instances it talked about happened before the development of modern climate models. And there's less a lack of consensus on how much the temperatures are going to rise, as there is a consensus that the rise is going to be within a range, but we don't know enough to figure out precisely where in that range it will be.

    The latter might seem a bit pedantic, but it's a fairly significant difference.


    Again, that's not accurate. There are some consequences that we don't understand well, but lots of them we do. We know the ocean levels will rise. We know heat waves will become more common, cold waves less. We know areas with high humidity will see more precipitation, and that this will come in the form of increased storm intensity rather than more storms. We know that droughts will become more severe because increased heat will dry out the soils faster. etc.

    There's uncertainty about the exact degree of those changes that will see, and how quickly the changes will take place, but little uncertainty about whether they'll happen.

    As for what there's a case to do, that's not a scientific question. But it's worth remembering that choosing to do nothing is still choosing something.
    I always appreciate your calm reasoned responses, Lurch.
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    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I always appreciate your calm reasoned responses, Lurch.
    Always bang your head against the wall before responding, and it tends to tone things down.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    Always bang your head against the wall before responding, and it tends to tone things down.
    And the thing about banging your head against the wall --- it feels so good when you stop.
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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    Oh, good, the old "scientists were wrong once, and therefore we should conclude they're always wrong" argument. I'm convinced!

    That's leaving aside that you're not even using an analogous situation.
    You wanted to know why - so stop the defensiveness. I'm answering the question you posed.

    'Scientists' weren't wrong once - they spent forty plus years of denigrating eggs relentlessly only to reverse course and sing the praises of the humble ova. Wash, rinse, repeat. Battling studies told wildly different tales over the years giving advice that was supposed to be followed religiously (seriously for those with heart conditions) because it was TRUE - until it wasn't.

    But still people trusted this advice - ridiculously simplistic and reversing every few decades though it was.

    Only, it wasn't good advice - and may have been counter-productive in some cases - 'oopsie' doesn't cut it. This sort of thing ran rampant through nutrition/medicine and other sciences for decades because most people aren't taught squat about methodology and assume they have no choice but believe.

    Trust has been hideously betrayed and undermined. It lasted longer than it had any right to, but trust seems to be seriously waning now. Not merely in the corners with those who are easily dismissed - skepticism of 'science' (the industry, not the methodology) is becoming mainstream.

    Did i mention computer modeling in my statements? I did not. So why are you bringing it up?
    Do you really think 'CO2 is a greenhouse gas' is the reason climate is a political issue? It isn't - the computer models are.

    There is evidence that CO2 trails warming - by up to 800 years - rather than leading it. That evidence is based in actual data, not modeling of data.

    So yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas - literally in that greenhouses intentionally pump the stuff in as do aquariums. Turns out CO2 is great for plants. None of that proves the sky is falling - or not.

    So we're back to the models as far as public policy is concerned - and so far they are batting zero in the public square. Whether or not activists should make insane claims, they have and scientists have pocketed the money.

    Why would CO2 being a greenhouse gas override the evidence of unfulfilled claims?

    And this is an even worse argument than the other two. You know what's happened to climate funding over the last several decades? Nothing, it's right where it was at the start (adjusted for inflation). You know why? Because the money to solve climate change goes to engineers, materials scientists, and biochemists. They're the ones who can make new renewable energy systems, enhanced biofuels, etc. Solving climate change doesn't need climatologists, and they're not getting any extra money just because people are taking it seriously.
    Seriously trying not to laugh. I know you're serious and I'm really trying to take it that way but you just argued the sky is blue.

    Of course money is going to 'solutions' - climate change is 'settled science', remember? Only insane 'deniers' don't believe CO2 is a pollutant, right? Why would any rational person support funding research now? The deal is done, right?

    Literally Poli Sci 101 - government funds problems only until they stop being on the public radar. Once the problem isn't big enough to look good on a graph or make constituents call in, funding goes elsewhere. There's no surprise in a dearth of research funding in the face of scientific consensus - congrats, politicians believe in scientific consensus. And so, they stop growing funding into research - be glad they aren't cutting it yet.

    But my point was that much of the research is tainted - exactly like the AHA v Egg industry - because 'science' as an industry found political bedfellows. With an increasingly skeptical public (and the level of that skepticism has likely always been underestimated) it doesn't matter anymore how much or little funding impacted conclusion - it's the appearance of impropriety as John Q Public is being asked for ever more in the name of Climate Change that makes John Q wonder about just how well dressed this emperor is.


    So, back to your question of why it's not enough that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    The public trust has been abused one time too many. Repeating the mantra that CO2 is a greenhouse gas simply won't quell the rising tide of distrust and skepticism.

    That's why.


    (The argument is also bad because climate change is accepted by scientists in countries - and companies! - that are overtly hostile to their conclusions, including here in the US. So, their conclusions appear to be independent of politics.)
    In a word 'deniers'. Twenty years of calling even mild skepticism 'climate change denial' isn't washed away by 'look, we had some push back'. No, the scandals and the public pressure to conform create quite the opposite conclusion.
    Last edited by Teallaura; 11-14-2019 at 05:57 PM.

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    radical strawberry
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Big Oil the primary investor in alternative energy? If so whatever we do for energy they win.
    Frankly, I think that's a best case scenario. If the fossil fuel industry discovers they can use their capital to provide energy in a way that's less dangerous to the environment, they'll lose their incentive to support the doubt merchants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I am well aware of the focus of the article, Jim. We're talking about the title. I will concede that the title may well be from the editor rather than the author, and so my comments may have been misplaced in that regard.

    Juvenal is on record as being highly disparaging of headlines which do not accurately reflect the content of the associated article, but perhaps the Grey Lady gets a pass.
    I believe the headline reflects the actual views of the author. And I also believe the headline is an intentional play on the public misperception that climate scientists are in error because their conclusions are too alarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    So, i've finally gotten around to reading it, and i disagree with the central thesis. The author is basically focusing on a bunch of cases that can be summarized as "we don't have any data on this, so we assume this aspect of the climate is relatively stable." Then when we got data, it turns out it wasn't. But the issues he ends up using to illustrate this are largely unrelated climate phenomena, and and the data that came in to show they could change rapidly came in decades apart.

    So, the author's not misrepresenting any of the individual storylines, but he's trying to piece them together into a narrative i don't think applies. Scientists weren't underestimating climate change, they were simply being conservative in their conclusions until they had sufficient data.

    Has that left us worse of when it comes to preparing for potential impacts? Yes. Have they been accused of being flaming radicals regardless of their conservatism? Yes. Should they have done anything differently? I think conservatism was scientifically appropriate in these circumstances.
    Whoa, it's not often I disagree with the Lurch.

    I brought the story into Nat. Sci. as a push back against the reaction to conservative pressure that has caused climate scientists to minimize the potential impacts of climate change. Any estimate is going to be wrong, one direction or the other, but the current political climate in the US has caused the overestimates to be neglected in favor of the underestimates.

    That, in itself, reinforces the bias in public perception where the most likely scenario becomes further biased toward lower impacts, in an ironic positive feedback loop.

    That, as I see it, is the central thesis.

    Science is a process of discovery. It can move slowly as the pieces of a puzzle fall together and scientists refine their investigative tools. But in the case of climate, this deliberation has been accompanied by inertia born of bureaucratic caution and politics. A recent essay in Scientific American argued that scientists “tend to underestimate the severity of threats and the rapidity with which they might unfold” and said one of the reasons was “the perceived need for consensus.” This has had severe consequences, diluting what should have been a sense of urgency and vastly understating the looming costs of adaptation and dislocation as the planet continues to warm.

    More, risk/benefit analysis argues strongly that we should focus on the worst case scenarios that have inspired the Extinction Rebellion and other youth-led activism, accepting the risk that cleaning up our environment and opening up a vastly larger energy market providing cheaper alternatives to every developing country on earth and bringing happier and more productive lives to the neglected billions living on two bucks a day, it was all for nothing.

    YMMV.

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