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Thursday, 18 November 2010

How can I trust the science?

A presentation to the US Congress by a "scientist" pushing the alarmist message sums up quite a bit of why I don't believe the message these people are pushing. This supposedly 'respected' scientist made two statements (among many) that are particularly worrying when they are uttered by someone who should, one hopes, know better.

Her first utterance concerned the influence of 'climate change' on 'weather.' According to her, if we do not act immediately the climate change will "work its way into the weather and, once its in the weather, it's there for good." Now I may be merely an ignorant member of the public, but climate IS what drives weather. "Weather" is a part of "Climate" whether we like it or not. Climate is a long term, over arching driver. It is what makes it rain in winter, but not in summer, or vice versa. Within that is the day to day weather, driven by atmospheric pressure changes, water vapour levels and ocean temperatures.

The second thing she pronounced was that sea levels will rise by 3 feet (90cm) by 2100. That is a full foot more than the most extreme prediction by the IPCC and a huge leap from the actual increase at preset measured at 3mm per year... With 90 years to go to her chosen date, even I can work out by simple multiplication that this means that in 2100 the average sea level rise will have been 270mm - less than 1 foot or 30 cm.

I have no doubt that the world climate is shifting, what I take leave to doubt very strongly is the 'science' which is presented as 'final' and 'settled' when it is not. The scientists involved have no better idea of what is driving the climate change than the average reasonably educated and informed member of the public. They have a lot of data and some fancy computer models, some good PR people who know just how to misrepresent the science so that it scares the ignorant and convinces the politicians to throw money at 'research' and that's about it.

To my mind, the sort of wild statements uttered by Greenpeace, the sort of scientist who makes these wild predictions and the intense tree huggers who swallow this garbage, prove the point. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

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