Climate’s uncertainty principle

by Garth Paltridge

On the costs and benefits of climate action.

Whether we should do anything now to limit our impact on future climate boils down to an assessment of a relevant cost-benefit ratio. That is, we need to put a dollar number to the cost of doing something now, a dollar number to the benefit thus obtained by the future generations, and a number to a thing called “discount for the future”—this last being the rate at which our concern for the welfare of future generations falls away as we look further and further ahead. Only the first of these numbers can be estimated with any degree of reliability. Suffice it to say, if the climate-change establishment were to have its way with its proposed conversion of the global usage of energy to a usage based solely on renewable energy, the costs of the conversion would be horrifically large. It is extraordinary that such costs can even be contemplated when the numbers for both the future benefit and the discount for the future are little more than abstract guesses.

Assessment of the future benefit is largely based on two types of numerical modelling. First, there are the vast computer models that attempt to forecast the future change in Earth’s climate when atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased as a consequence of the human activity of burning fossil fuel. Second, there are the computer-based economic models which attempt to calculate the economic and social impact of the forecasted change of climate. Reduction of that impact (by reducing the human input of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere) is the “benefit” in the cost-benefit calculations.

Taking the climate change calculations first, it should be emphasized that in order to be really useful, the forecast must necessarily be of the future distribution of climate about the world—on the scale of areas as small as individual nations and regions. Calculating only the global average of such things as the future temperature and rainfall is not useful. The economic models need input data relevant to individual nations, not just the world as a whole.

Which is a bit of a problem. The uncertainty associated with climate prediction derives basically from the turbulent nature of the processes going on within the atmosphere and oceans. Such predictability as there is in turbulent fluids is governed by the size (the “scale”) of the boundaries that contain and limit the size to which random turbulent eddies can grow. Thus reasonably correct forecasts of the average climate of the world might be possible in principle. On the scale of regions (anything much smaller than the scale of the major ocean basins for example) it has yet to be shown that useful long-term climate forecasting is possible even in principle.

To expand on that a little, the forecasts of the global average rise in temperature by the various theoretical models around the world range from about 1 degree to 6 degrees Celsius by the end of this century—which does little more than support the purely qualitative conclusion from simple physical reasoning that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase the global average temperature above what it would have been otherwise. It does little to resolve the fundamental question as to what fraction of the observed rise in global surface temperature over the last thirty or so years (equivalent to a rise of about 1 degree Celsius per century if one is inclined to believe observations rather than the theory) is attributable to the human-induced increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. There is still a distinct possibility that much of the observed rise in global temperature may be the result of natural (and maybe random) variability of the system.

While the forecasts of future global average climate are not really trustworthy and would probably not be very useful even if they were, the potentially much more useful forecasts of regional climates are perhaps just nonsense. A good example supporting this rather negative view of the matter is the variability of the set of hundred-year forecasts of the average rainfall over Australia. Each forecast was produced by one of the many climate models from around the world. The present-day measured average is about 450 millimetres per year. The forecasts for the next century range from less than 200 mm to more than 1000 mm per year. That sort of thing makes finding a model to support a particular narrative just too easy.

As a consequence, the economic models of the future of regions and nations are highly unreliable if only because their regional and national inputs of forecasted climatic “data” are unreliable. But to make matters vastly worse, the economic models themselves are almost certainly useless over time-scales relevant to climate. Their internal workings are based on statistical relations between economic variables devised for present-day conditions. There is no particular reason why these relations should be valid in the future when the characteristics of society will almost certainly have changed. As Michael Crichton put it: “Our [economic] models just carry the present into the future.” And as Kenneth Galbraith once remarked: “Economic forecasting was invented to make astrology look respectable.”

There is a lot of discussion among academics as to what should be an appropriate “discount for the future” to apply in the cost-benefit calculations associated with human-induced climate change. The discussion quickly becomes incomprehensible to the average person when phrases such as “cross generational wealth transfer” and “intergenerational neutrality” and so on appear in the argument. These are fancy terms supposedly relevant to what is essentially a qualitative concept of fairness to future generations. The concept is so qualitative that there is virtually no hope of getting general agreement as to how much we should spend now so as not to upset the people of the future.

There are two extremes of thought on the matter. At one end there are those who tell us that the present-day view of a benefit for future generations should be discounted at the normal rate associated with business transactions of today. That is, it should be something of the order of 5 to 10 per cent a year. The problem for the academics is that such a discount would ensure virtually no active concern for the welfare of people more than a generation or so ahead, and would effectively wipe out any reason for immediate action on climate. At the other end of the scale, there are those who tell us that the value of future climatic benefit should not be discounted at all—in which case there is an infinite time into the future that should concern us, and “being fair” to that extended future implies that we should not object to spending an unlimited amount of present-day money on the problem.

Academics tie themselves in knots to justify the need for immediate action on climate change. For example, we hear argument that “discounting should not be used for determining our ethical obligations to the future” but that (in the same breath) “we endorse a principle of intergenerational neutrality”—and then we hear guesses of appropriate discount rates of the order (say) of 1.5 per cent a year.

The significant point in this cost-benefit business is that there is virtually no certainty about any of the numbers that are used to calculate either the likely change of climate or the impact of that change on future populations. In essence it is simply assumed that all climate change is bad—that the current climate is the best of all possible climates. Furthermore, there is little or no recognition in most of the scenarios that mankind is very good at adapting to new circumstances. It is more than likely that, if indeed climate change is noticeably “bad”, the future population will adjust to the changed circumstances. If the change is “good”, the population will again adapt and become richer as a consequence. If the change is a mixture of good and bad, the chances are that the adaptive processes will ensure a net improvement in wealth. This for a population which, if history is any guide, and for reasons entirely independent of climate change, will probably be a lot wealthier than we are.

Perhaps the whole idea of being fair to the people of the future should be reversed. Perhaps they can easily afford to owe us something in retrospect.

The bottom line of politically correct thought on the matter—the thought that we must collectively do something drastic now to prevent climate change in the future—is so full of holes that it brings the overall sanity of mankind into question. For what it is worth, one possible theory is that mankind (or at least that fraction of it that has become both over-educated and more delicate as a result of a massive increase of its wealth in recent times) has managed to remove the beliefs of existing religions from its consideration—and now it misses them. As a replacement, it has manufactured a set of beliefs about climate change that can be used to guide and ultimately to control human behaviour. The beliefs are similar to those of the established religions in that they are more or less unprovable in any strict scientific sense.

This essay originally appeared in The Quadrant.

Moderation note:  as with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and relevant.

213 responses to “Climate’s uncertainty principle

  1. That is, we need to put a dollar number to the cost of doing something now, a dollar number to the benefit thus obtained by the future generations.

    Comparing different numbers that they have no understanding of.

    • Cost – benefit does not necessarily have to be made in “dollar numbers”. That is sickeningly mercantile inhuman perspective to take as a starting point. It also implies the need ( and desirability ) of expressing every tree or human life in terms of some kind of accountant’s beans.

      How do you put a “dollar number” on a human life, do you assess its contribution to GDP, or amount of credit “wealth” it will allow a banking institution to create on its ledger? Does that mean a life in California is worth more than a life in Africa ?

      Or maybe some Malthusian greeny will want to rate human life as a negative on the balance sheet, since all human life is a “cancer” on the face of the Earth.

      A more sensible and humane approach would be like Bjorn Lomberg’s work, looking at what can be done immediately with the insane kinds of money being suggested for “fighting climate”.

      • No, there’s nothing inherently “sickeningly mercantile” about denominating costs and benefits in dollars. It is the way we all do such calculations every day, and we are very good at them, at the level of microeconomics. Of course, there are some reasons for caution, because at the macroeconomic level markets break down in certain predictable (and limited) ways, and there are good reasons at the margins to reject the axiom that everyone’s tastes are equally valid (and, therefore, that summing the dollar valuation each individual places on a particular asset is the correct valuation for that asset to society as a whole). But the truth–the dark truth modern people seem to have so much trouble confronting–is that people are perfectly capable of making starkly economic decisions in which they place a dollar value on their own lives and the lives of their family members. We like to pretend that such economic calculations are impossible, but the very opposite is true. Every time you get in your car to drive to work you’re making that calculation. The nature of mortal life in the material world makes it impossible to avoid such calculations. That’s because there is no course of action that assures you survive–in the end, you won’t. All you can do is juggle the various risks to try to optimize your survival and prosperity. The dollar is just an arbitrary unit that you can use to compare one risk with another.

    • Dan Stromberg

      Hi!

      There is a at least one article addressing the issues of the cost of doing something. Sterner and Azar published an article in Science, like 10 years ago, discussing the cost for implementing a carbon dioxide tax, at a level that would take us to a reasonable decrease in fossil fuel use. Thomas Sterner is a a really experienced and appreciated macroeconomist. The conclusion was that the increase in GDP with a tax and without a tax, was so similar that it was hard to distinguish the two curves. There was a delay in GDP by three months, if I recall it correctly. Maximum 6 months. Technology transitions are perhaps not so costly, if you do them in an efficient way. Of course, there could be losers and winners, within the business sector and among countries. There is of course also the Stern report, by Sir Nicholas Stern.

    • FWIW – Cost benefit analysis will often lead to erroneous conclusions.

      Marginal cost / marginal benefit is the better analysis.
      Somewhat similar to the law of diminishing returns.

  2. yes, we have truly created a climate cult. Cults are typified by irrational behaviour, a messianic belief in the cause and a certainty that the cult member is correct. Cults can last a long time

    tonyb

    • Absolutely correct. And cult is the best word to describe it.

      Perhaps CAGWC (CAGW cult)

      • FIT 3: Whereas that mysterious burst of warming in the 1980’s and 1990’s, – claims of an Unprecedented Warming Period, UWP, but no, the long historical record, CET, Central England Temperature Record tells us not so, the Medieval Warming Period was just as warm and maybe warmer, and there’s all those other see-saw weather perturbations, ‘The pendulum of climate change,’ that Brian Fagan, author of ‘The Little Ice Age,’ observed ‘rarely paused for more than a generation,’

        Herewith Tony Brown, climate historian, CET long term temperature data:

        https://beththeserf.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/3.png?w=491&h=368

        Temperature data cross referenced with all those written records, farmers’ almanacs, ships’ logs, records of glacier retreats and advances.

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

        In those ups and downs in the long CET record, @Figure 6, several hockey sticks can be observed prior to the Mann construct, one in the early 1100’s, another in the late 1600’s, and one in the early 1900’s before the mid-century cooling prior to the 1980’s warming.

      • oops – wrong order for FIT 3

      • Peter Lang

        That’s OK, Beth. You are allowed one mistake in your life. :)

      • There have been many, Peter, but as I’m still here, none of ’em too Darwinian. Re mistakes, serfs (hopefully) try to learn from them, thinking fast and slow,

    • Yes. This is beginning to look exactly like Cargo Cult Science.

      • Whereas global warming is claimed to be a wicked problem, a mysterious je ne sais quoi, – yet demanding of fear and guilt responses to the unknown, exemplified by Paul Ehrlich’s panic predictions, and attributable to alarm-triggering messaging as described by H L Mencken, there are some who look askance at mysteries masquerading as problems, myself among them, and so herewith, in Five Fits, a serf review of the wicked and mysterious ‘problem’ of man-made global warming.

        FIT1: Whereas ‘mysterious’ denotes ‘uncertainties,’ of ‘what,’ ‘why,’ ‘ how’ and who knows ‘where or when,’ many in the cli-science community have hazarded guesses regarding the unknowns of climate science, many failed papers and predictions regarding same, short term predictions adjustable to time extensions for man-made Climate Armageddon, for loss of arctic ice, death of polar bears and lemurs, increase of wildfires, weird weather events, rising of seas, un-documented but mega wipe-out of species … though not those countless bats and birds hit by wind turbines or zapped by miles of solar arrays.

        Of the ‘what’ and ‘why,’ carbon is said to be the main actor in the drama, CO2, basis of life on Planet Earth, only 0.039 percent of our atmosphere but vital for plant growth, oxygen and us, has now gone rogue (?) or maybe demonized, likely the latter, for raisons d’etat. Read Professor Richard Lindzen’s paper regarding politicks behind the climate-change science in which he traces conscious efforts to politicize Climate Science, the most impressive exploitation for political purposes being ‘creation of the International Panel on Climate Change by two United Nations bodies, the United Nations Environmental Panel and the World Meteorological Organization.‘ https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf Christiana Figueres adds another dimension, to the above; ‘it’s about creating a United Nations-managed New World Order.’

        Regarding ‘how’ man made global warming has come about, it’s explained by way of shortwave CO2 forcing, a complicated phenomenon, arguments about climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 continuing and continually adjusted.

        Each cause of global warming heats up the atmosphere in a distinctive pattern, its ‘signature.’ The signature of carbon emissions is a prominent ‘hotspot’ at about 10-12 kms in the air over the tropics. The hotspot is integral to the IPCC climate theory, ref. the IPCC Assessment Report 4 (AR4) 2007. Ch 9 for Source of Signature based on IPCC 1890-1999 warming, ref: https://sciencespeak.com/MissingSignature.pdf Dr David Evans, author of the above link, describes on pp 12,13, the process for water vapour feedback where the troposphere is effectively a blanket at the water vapour absorption frequencies. That hundreds of temperature sensitive radiosondes have not been able to find this signature is a travesty about which the supporters of the Carbon global warming theory are either silent or make tendentious claims of, ‘ well, it ‘could’ be there.’ ‘But it isn’t there,’ says David Evans. ‘No hotspot, therefore IPCC climate theory is fundamentally wrong.’

      • FIT 2: Whereas climate models are the crystal ball of climate science, ‘science’ not séance, so they’re okay, well not so okay, there’s that failure of the model projections to match observations. And that’s a major fail.

        https://beththeserf.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/2.png?w=504&h=344

        There’s that failure of the model projections to deal with complex interactive atmospheric and oceanic systems.

        https://judithcurry.com/2016/11/12/climate-models-for-lawyers/

        Says denizen kim @ Climate Etc. Feb.2011, regarding inter-active climate-change:

        I think I’ve never heard so loud
        the quiet message in a cloud.

        Observes Ross McKitrick on that Hockey Stick model, icon of the IPCC review of Climate change, the core issues; the cherry-picked, proxy data set and the flawed methodology.

        https://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/hockey-stick-retrospective.pdf

        Noted problems in that Hockey Stick proxy data, (C Loehle 2009.) Regarding effects of moisture, shade and other factors on ring growth, this ode, from Brad Keyes of CliScep blog, Dec.2013.

        Ode to a Bristlecone Pine.

        What good is that wood?
        That wood is no good.
        Would you graph that wood?
        I don’t think I would.

      • FIT 4: And whereas the laws of logic conform to nature’s laws. Nature can’t be unnatural, contradictory, paradoxical or magical, the Darwin Award is for getting it right, which means getting to survive another day,

        Wicked problem, indefinable je ne sais quoi, it’s a masquerade, appearance instead of reality, (eat a photo of a burger next time), resemblance to truthiness, it’s called a mystery,- a mystery is a nothing to which are attributed properties.

        Mystery of alleged unprecedented global warming crisis. What is it? Aristotle’s Laws of Logic apply. Law of Identity: a thing is what it is and not something else. If it can’t be clearly defined and measured, what is it? No ‘maybe’s,’ ‘could be’s’, ‘should be’s,’ Aristotle’s law of Non-Contradiction Regarding Statements and Theories: A self-contradiction is a lie. For all propositions P, it is impossible to be P and not P at the same time. True in logic as in nature, what is unreasonable is not true.

        There’s no such thing
        as truth you know,
        I swear that this is true,
        the universe exists to
        make a fool of you.

        Aristotle’s Law of the Excluded Middle: truth is a binary alternative, can’t mess with Mister In-Between. If a proposition can’t evaluate to ‘true’ or ‘false’ it is by definition unreasonable. The mysterious is Mister In-Between. It doesn’t equate to ‘true’ or ‘false.’ What is ‘it,’ this mysterious wicked problem? The mysterious is a null set. An empty set has no properties. Phantasmagoria.

      • FIT 5: Herewith an addendum … -So if not magical, that patch of warming in the 1980’s-1990’s – what is it? Well whatever it is, it has to conform to proper tests, to observation, and there’s a paper by Professor W.J.R Alexander that says it is the sun and those Cheshire sunspots that come and go, and what is more there’s a long hydrological record, back to the Egyptians, as evidence that this is so.

        I have a paper in hard copy by Professor Alexander, ‘A critical assessment of current climate change science.’ (April 2006) that I downloaded in 2011, but I can’t get Google to retrieve it. I discuss it in some detail on my blog, see below. It is a detailed study of the river flow of the Vaal River, South Africa’s major river, and its synchronicity with the double sunspot cycle such that Professor Alexander was able to predict the South African floods of 1995 and 2006. https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/56th-edition-serf-under_ground-journal/ I have found some of its significant data reproduced in a shorter publication by Alexander on Professor Pielke’s blog. It includes in its Tables 9 and 10, on pp 23/24 of the original paper. Figure 9 is very important. It demonstrates the unequivocal synchronous relationship between annual sunspot numbers and the annual flows in the Vaal River. Note the alternating above (rising) and below (falling) flow sequences. Note also their synchronous relationship with sunspot numbers; as well as the statistically significant (95%), 21-year periodicity in the flow data that is synchronous with the double sunspot cycle.

        https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/climate-change-the-west-vs-the-rest-by-will-alexander/

        Professor Alexander observes that in a number of his memos and publications he has demonstrated an undeniable linkage between changes in solar magnetic polarity and concurrent changes in South African rainfall and river flow.

        ‘As long ago as in 1995 at the international IGBP conference here in Pretoria after I presented my Floods, droughts and climate change study,’ says Professor Alexander, ‘I asked the question, What causes El Nino? I received the joking response that if I could answer that question I might qualify for the Nobel Prize. Well, I can now answer that question. It is the direct consequence of changes in solar magnetic polarity. The occurrences during the past months, January and February 2006, have provided the proof that I needed.’ A critical assessment of current climate change scice, April 2006 p29.

        Now here’s a contra hypothesis to CO2 man made warming and it’s based on observations that don’t conflict with the projections (predictions) or the long historical record. Regardless of whether Alexander is correct about the weather or not, the flaws in the existing IPCC theory remain. They are there on the record.

      • beth

        Thank you for your 5 FITs although they gave me fits, that is, I had to slow down my reading, ie, thinking slow. Each sentence seemed packed with substance, which, when I think about it, means I have to go out for a walk to think about it.

      • Richard, fits and hysteria at a smidgeon of whether warming is the present madness of crowds.

      • beth

        I’m back from my walk and I’ve had a think. Madness: anger or insanity?

        Taking your cue: ” that being sensible and clever is no defence against the mesmeric allure of a popular craze with the wind behind it.”

        Oh please. I wish it weren’t so. Maybe not. Cast pebbles at the feet of the surging crowd, to make them stumble in their haste. Is truth such an altering force?

      • Darling Beth,

        Is it a dream? I mentioned mates earlier. Anyone can be mates. No probs as we say. But I swear I put this little poem of Kim’s on top of another cloud post very recently. Perhaps I just thought to do so and will still. Whatever came of dear Kim?

        Love Bobby

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/02/09/decadal-variability-of-clouds/

  3. Philip LaMoreaux

    It might be interesting to discuss why so many nonbelievers find fault in the “Global Warming or Climate Change” points of view.

    For example who pays for studies and does it sway results? Also, how does one reconcile deserts being green in the past or petrified trees in Greenland or shorelines that are above or below sea level? How does one defend disputed facts?

    Take the most disputed reports/facts and defend so a layman understand. Thanks, Philip

    Get Outlook for Android

    ________________________________

  4. Models cannot even theoretically predict the future of climate as a result of sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Chaos theory is foundation for understanding climate change – and without which all the ideation in the world is dancing in the dark.

    I like cows. Mmmmmm… as Homer Simpson said.

    The problem here is a false dichotomy. 100% renewables versus vs nothing at all from the skeptic groupthink. More creative approaches promise to be more effective than either.

    • Please explain to us, Robert I. Ellison, what “creative approaches” we might develop for a problem that cannot be defined. And I’m talking about CAGW, not other environmental issues.

      • Curious George

        You may have seen a popular screen saver which draws an attractor of a chaotic system. While small changes in initial conditions get amplified in time, the trajectory always stays in the attractor. Is there a way to map the attractor as opposed to a trajectory? How sensitive is the shape of the attractor to minor adjustments of equations?

      • ONE creative approach is to give it a name that conjures black magic. Call it
        ‘wicked’.
        Complexity theory calls an intractable problem ‘intractable’ but climat models are simple ill defined. There is no magic. There is no wiccan element. There is fraud and mysticism and fakery.
        The climate models don’t suffer from wickedness. The modelers do.
        Pareidolia instead of proof is fraud. Truth is not a semblance. If it can not be proven it is false.
        So drop a house on that sister, honey. this whole argument is garbage.

      • Climate attractor has – it was suggested here long ago by my mate Tomas – has perhaps infinite spatio-temporal dimensions. As far from a butterfly as to be unimaginable.

        “However in spatio-temporal chaos these quasi standing waves are not invariants of the system on the contrary to the attractors which are the invariants of the temporal chaos. They live for a certain time and then change or disappear altogether.”

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/02/10/spatio-temporal-chaos/

        And for a reason that becomes clear it the link.

        It is known what is ill defined in climate models. Somebody called it chaos. It is unpredictable – indistinct from random for any but mathematical demons. I can show you the math.

        I have a favourite quote from the discoverer of the effect of dynamical cores in climate models. I found it in Julia Slingo and Tim Palmer (2011) – on uncertainty in weather and climate models paper.

        “‘Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer. We must therefore express the pertinent statistical properties of turbulent eddies as functions of the larger-scale motions. We do not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions exist’. Edward Lorenz, 1969

        We still don’t know how to do that. The best that can be done is decadal scale probabilistic forecasts out a decade at the most. Even that needs 1000’s of times more computing power.


        https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo1430

        That is one model. The CMIP products are some 100 or so computer runs that each purport to be deterministic. They are not. They are indistinguishable from random.

      • The global economy is worth some $100 trillion a year and that needs to be tripled and more ASAP/

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/03/11/all-bubbles-burst-laws-of-economics-for-the-new-millennium/

        Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. A global program of agricultural soils restoration is the foundation for balancing the human ecology.

    • Cows are a detail – you know – in principle to in practice?

      https://atlasofthefuture.org/futurehero-tony-lovell-5-billion-hectares-hope/

      There is nothing new in approaches that for decades have been drowned out by ideologues.

      https://cspo.org/research/implementing-climate-pragmatism-2/

      And it may be impossible to disaggregate environments from the mix.

      There are as well a plethora of social objectives with implications for population, black carbon emissions and conservation and restoration of carbon in landscapes.

      https://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/

      Big picture and not pointless partisan polemic.

      • “The International Partnership for Blue Carbon, launched by Australia in 2015, brings together national governments, non-government organisations, and research institutions to build awareness, share knowledge and accelerate practical action to protect and restore coastal blue carbon ecosystems for climate action.” http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/government/australia-work-on-blue-carbon

        Modest cost and so many benefits.

      • Protecting and expanding ecosystems and natural habitats is a cause that needs no support from AGW hysteria to be worthy of our attention. Tying it to AGW merely brings it into disrepute and controversy that is unhelpful.

      • It really doesn’t – it is at the core of pragmatic policy. This can be done cost effectively and it solves climate change. Most of the world is not Climate etc. In most of the world AGW is not controversial. You might argue that it should be but that’s flogging a dead horse.

      • Curious George

        A billion here, a billion there, and soon we are talking real money.

      • Try again or leave to fate?

        The global economy is worth some $100 trillion a year and that needs to be tripled and more ASAP/

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/03/11/all-bubbles-burst-laws-of-economics-for-the-new-millennium/

        Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. A global program of agricultural soils restoration is the foundation for balancing the human ecology.

  5. Just make sure the dollar costs of the various schemes, and their impacts on taxes, energy costs, lifestyle changes, etc. are widely published. Problem solved.

    Also, I don’t know of anyone who seriously plans beyond the next generation.

  6. Very well done. Thank you

  7. The treatment of uncertainty in climate science is corrupted by the precautionary principle. See paragraph#5 here.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/02/03/hidden-hand/

  8. Judith,

    Thanks you for posting this. This is what the debate should be about – i.e. the impacts of global warming (if it happens), not the projections of the amount of global warming that may or may not occur.

    • There is no chance of convincing policy makers that the world has not warmed last century and is not warning. It is. It’s accepted. As Nic Lewis has clearly pointed out, anyone trying to argue against that gets them classed as “stupid” (his term) so there is no point talking to those people about anything.

      Policy is justified on the basis of the economic and environmental impacts of projected global warming, not on the projected temperature change.

      IPCC, UNFCC, environmentalists and many other activists groups have convinced the world that warming is harmful.

      That is the premise that underpins all the alarmism and scaremongering.

      But that premise is probably false. It is supported by economic projections that are probably wrong.
      Pindyck (2013) (p. 11) says “When it comes to the damage function, however, we know almost nothing, so developers of IAMs can do little more than make up functional forms and corresponding parameter values. And that is pretty much what they have done.” IPCC (2014) (p. 258), says the IAM damage functions “are generated from a remarkable paucity of data and are thus of low reliability”. National Academy of Sciences (2017) says similar.

      I’ve provided, in previous comments on Climate Etc., the projected global economic impacts by impact sector at +3C GMST. I’ve explained why the projected total impact is probably wrong because one sector (Energy) is probably grossly wrong. If it is corrected the total impacts of +3C GMST are probably negligible or slightly positive.

      It is hopeless to try to argue that the planet hasn’t warmed last century and that it will not warm this century. The argument about the future cannot be decided until after the century is over.

      But we can demonstrate that the premise that underpins the belief in CAGW is probably false. We can demonstrate that any global warming that might occur this century is likely to be beneficial, not damaging and certainly not catastrophic.

      That is where the effort should be.

      • Thanks, Peter.
        We can operate on the assumption that global warming will continue / resume (depending on your politics) during our lifetimes. We’re oldies, and haven’t got that much time (define Much. OK, oldish.)
        The bottom line question is: Can we do anything about it? Good or bad, is there any possible way we can influence global temperature?

        The working assumption should be: NO.
        Should we divert resources to CO2 mitigation? No. CO2 does not control climate, and we can’t control CO2. We can rationally assume that sea levels will continue to rise given GW, no matter what CO2 does, and we should devote resources to preparing for that, as the Dutch have. And there are many worthy projects we should not be diverting resources from in order to pay worship to the Climate God with entirely ineffective sacrifices.

      • Peter Lang

        jimmww,

        The bottom line question is: Can we do anything about it? Good or bad, is there any possible way we can influence global temperature?

        The answer is that we should not attempt to reduce global warming. It is probably beneficial. Therefore, our focus should be on:

        1. Maximise long term global economic growth

        2. Adaptation

        But Not mitigation.

      • We can rationally assume that sea levels will continue to rise given GW, no matter what CO2 does,

        No, it snows more when oceans are warmer and there is more evaporation and snowfall and ice accumulation on Greenland and Antarctica. Warmer causes sea level to go down. When it is colder, there is little evaporation and snowfall and that is why sea levels rose out of the little ice age. We should look at actual data and ignore alarmist model output and alarmist media.

      • Curious George

        Why argue with policy makers? It is time to change them.

      • Peter, right on. And even more importantly, no way we can control CO2, as shown in the Great Depression, and no evidence that CO2 will control climate. So not only we shouldn’t, but we can’t.

        Pope, my assumption that sea levels will continue to rise with a warming earth is based on the observation that ending the LGM it rose about 22 meters in about 500 years with another 80 meters rise until the Minoan Warm, and then 2mm or so per year since then. And that 120,000 years ago, the word was 2C warmer and sea level at least 6 m higher.

      • to jimmww:

        The most recent ten thousands years did divert from the changes 130 thousand years ago. Sea level rise halted or slowed, warming halted or slowed. Understand why this, ice age, relatively warm, period is different than anything seen in billions of years.

        I do understand, I have explained, but most don’t listen and understand.

        There are internal natural responses of the earth system that have not been studied and understood.

        They claim climate is not understood, they do not.
        They claim climate is chaotic, that is only because they do not understand climate. Everything happens for reasons and causes. Chaos is only a lack of knowing why and what did happen.

        Oceans did go down because ice was sequestered on land and oceans id rise when the ice thawed and returned to the oceans. Ice on Greenland and Antarctic increased to the modern condition and it is not going into the oceans. 130 thousand years ago, the ice that thawed and went into the oceans was on the northern continents beyond the Arctic. That ice ran out and sea level is now bounded in new more narrow limits.

      • The major problem with advancing climate science is that the people with credentials and published papers who have the knowledge to understand why the things that happened did not happen the way it was supposed to happen continue to believe that science is settled, even while some of them say it is not. They use any piece of settled science that can destroy any effort to discuss and debate any disagreement. It is well known that Milankovich cycles caused ice ages to start and stop, but the fact that it took multiple cycles and different numbers of cycles does not cause them to doubt any of the settled science. Try to discuss this with any of the so called luke warmers or so called skeptics. They are not skeptical of settled science they have accepted.

  9. Garth Paltridge,

    Thank you for reposting this article here. I had already read it in ‘Quadrant’ and forwarded the link to many. I hope it has some influence on the Australian election result. I also hope Dr Brian Fishers excellent economic analyses may inform and swing enough voters to avoid us voting for a climate cult government.

  10. Planning for what might happen 81 years hence? Imagine our world 81 years ago, that was 1938! So, the old adage: “Man plans, God (or Nature ) laughs” applies. Everybody except the catastrophists agree that the AGW “problem” as defined by IPCC is a wicked problem and I will default to Ms. Curry’s (un)motivated reasoning :
    “I do not advocate for policy outcomes related to climate change. Why not? Because I regard this problem as a wicked mess and I don’t have any specific policies to recommend in context of my expertise as a climate scientist. I suspect that any problems associated with climate change (human caused or otherwise) will be best addressed at the local level, in context of local vulnerabilities and values”.
    If (big if) sea levels rise become a problem, I predict several Dutch engineering companies with proven record of flood/sea control will be in great demand. Meantime the wholesale attribution of just about any major weather event and indeed wildfires to AGW has become standard in our media and beyond. Particularly grating is the attribution of the CA Camp fire to AGW, just ask PG&E who as we speak is still contemplating bankruptcy.

    • You lack perspective.
      This was the most ambitious scam in history.
      They wanted EVERYTHING – ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.
      They wanted all the world’s weath.
      They wanted global domination.
      They wanted to enslave all future generations.

      Tne final push was launches with Nobel Prizes for Gore and Obama in the expectiation their efforts would deliver you and all you have and all you ever would possibly have – unto them. So they could sift your lives like grains of rice through their drunken fingers and laugh at your stupidity that justified their predation.
      They were about to bring a permanent Dark Age and the fall of man upon you.

      This was not accidental or innocent.
      Evil was never writ larger.
      Humanity was nearly destroyed.

      I want to see them against a wall and shot for this.
      I’m not even kidding a little bit.

      This would not be the first comment censored here, either.
      I’ll post it elsewhere and note it if it is.
      You’ll wear your shame for collaboration, I promise.

      • Take a look at details of who’s behind the Green Door.

        In 1983 the UN convened the World Commission on Environment and Development, also called The Brundtland Commission after its chair-person, Trilateral Commission member, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Al Gore, George Soros, Bill Clinton are also members of Trilateral Commission as are most WTO leaders. The Brundtland Commission proposed a new mode of world governance to be promoted via it’s blueprint Agenda 21, a pervasive means of moving global resources to elite mega control Read the details of Agenda 21- 400 + pages of regulatory control from afar. Herewith. https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/55th-edition-serf-under_ground-journal/

  11. “Bipartisan support seems feasible for pragmatic efforts to accelerate energy innovation, build resilience to extreme weather events, and pursue no regrets pollution reduction measures. Each of these three efforts has justifications independent of their benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation. These three efforts provide the basis of a climate policy that addresses both near-term economic and social justice concerns, and also the longer-term goals of mitigation.” JC

    • Note that none of the three involve CO2 taxes, green energy schemes/subsidies, or blaming climate change for normal bad weather events. No where is it mentioned that we must fundamentally alter our society, economy or energy systems.

      That being said, I’m for all three (in moderation).

      • You agree? That’s a load off my mind.

        “According to Schumpeter, the “gale of creative destruction” describes the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”.

        With the right priming the energy landscape will transform overnight. Other diverse and creative responses to building prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes require conscious design. But then you actually have to have a clue and not simply repeat skeptic memes by rote.

      • Your flippant response to my agreement on stated goals is indicative of your non-serious engagement in these discussions. With that, and your denigration of what you call skeptic memes (strawmen), I can see why Dr. Curry is growing impatient with your incessant blathering.

        Describe the new economic structure that will develop from your “gale of creative destruction,” Robert I. Ellison. Will it be non-capitalistic, non-free market? Anyway, I’m pretty sure that your “industrial mutation” (technological growth?) is reliant on free markets in the main.

        What is this “right priming” that will transform the energy “landscape” overnight? What new energy technologies do you see on the near horizon that I, someone having worked a lifetime in that “landscape,” don’t see? Will you get serious NIMBY responses to their proposed deployments? We are already seeing push-back on solar and wind installations. Will human nature change in your Brave New World?

        “… prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes …” already exist. Do you expect to do away with poverty and slums? Explain how one would get “diverse and creative responses” through “conscious design” by a group of faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats. What impacts will human nature and the myriad political processes have on the resultant conscious designs, designs which you can’t control?

        Your dreams of utopia rely on everyone agreeing with you

      • I referred you yesterday to – inter alia – the Heritage Foundation.


        https://www.heritage.org/index/

        You might get your own house in order rather than hand down a hackneyed list like it is holy writ.

        All these things not mentioned – specifically – in a few simple lines – are the substance of politics in a democratic society. And you may blame science, the media, green groups or whomever – but the reason you are losing is the failure to adapt the skeptic narrative to the times. Skeptics lack sex appeal.

      • “Please explain to us, Robert I. Ellison, what “creative approaches” we might develop for a problem that cannot be defined.”

        You asked me above but the real answer is not there. The answer is in the creative vitality of people – on a foundation of economic freedom as I said to you just yesterday.

        Is that simple enough even for you?

      • Let’s try again, Robert I. Ellison: What solutions will your “creative vitality of people” develop in response to a problem that cannot be defined? None of our climatic metrics have worsened over time. What is the problem?

        We are not talking about the myriad instances of general environmental degradation. We are talking about current climate degradation that can be shown by scientific methods. Speculation about the future, whether by models or other processes, is not accepted by rational beings as a sound basis of decisionmaking.

      • RIE, with Rule of Law decreasing and Government Size increasing, we are certainly in a worse place than 24 years ago. Big Government is the worst caretaker of the environment of all – see Communist E Europe, China, N Korea, etc.

      • Only rich economies can afford environments. But it is not time yet to rest on your laurels.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2015/10/04/biological-abundance-and-economic-growth/

        Government down management of global commons is the wrong idea. Bottom up involving fishers, farmers, foresters and other stakeholders is messier but can provide better results.

      • By what methods do we get bottom up management of complex, interacting environmental and economic problems? Markets?

        I agree that as governments grow, decisionmaking is degraded.

      • Somewhere between government and business are groups, cooperatives, clans, stakeholders in fisheries, forests and aquifers… The institutional arrangements that do work are studied intensely and in the field. Rules are inferred. Autonomy, informed consent, collective enforcement of agreed management… From such as the the Iriai of Kitafugi.

        https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2009/ostrom/facts/

      • Oh, and BTW, I believe it has been reliably shown that individual stakes in “common” property is the only way to preserve such property.

      • 》 With the right priming the energy landscape will transform overnight.

        Yes, repeating PC memes by rote is the way to go.

      • What foolish meme is this? The priming for Schumpeter’s creative destruction is supply and demand. Learn some economics.

  12. I don’t think you apply the logic of the present value of discounted future returns on various investment scenarios — as embodied in the present value method to determine IRR — for evaluating alternative courses of actions that are essentially base nothing more than a hoax and the scare tactic (like, AGW)…

  13. See my Blogpost at which agrees entirely with Garth’s post.
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-co2-derangement-syndrome-millennial.html
    Here are the first and last paragraphs.
    “A very large majority of establishment academic climate scientists have succumbed to a virulent infectious disease – the CO2 Derangement Syndrome. Those afflicted by this syndrome present with a spectrum of symptoms .The first is an almost total inability to recognize the most obvious Millennial and 60 year emergent patterns which are trivially obvious in solar activity and global temperature data. This causes the natural climate cycle variability to appear frightening and emotionally overwhelming. Critical thinking capacity is badly degraded. The delusionary world inhabited by the eco-left establishment activist elite is epitomized by Harvard’s Naomi Oreskes science-based fiction, ” The Collapse of Western-Civilization: A View from the Future” Oreskes and Conway imagine a world devastated by climate change. Intellectual hubris, confirmation bias, group think and a need to feel at once powerful and at the same time morally self-righteous caused those worst affected to convince themselves, politicians, governments, the politically correct chattering classes and almost the entire UK and US media that anthropogenic CO2 was the main climate driver. This led governments to introduce policies which have wasted trillions of dollars in a quixotic and futile attempt to control earth’s temperature by reducing CO2 emissions. …………………………
    When analyzing complex systems with multiple interacting variables it is useful to note the advice of Enrico Fermi who reportedly said “never make something more accurate than absolutely necessary”. The 2017 paper proposed a simple heuristic approach to climate science which plausibly proposes that a Millennial Turning Point (MTP) and peak in solar activity was reached in 1991,that this turning point correlates with a temperature turning point in 2003/4, and that a general cooling trend will now follow until approximately 2650.
    The establishment’s dangerous global warming meme, the associated IPCC series of reports ,the entire UNFCCC circus, the recent hysterical IPCC SR1.5 proposals and Nordhaus’ recent Nobel prize are founded on two basic errors in scientific judgement. First – the sample size is too small. Most IPCC model studies retrofit from the present back for only 100 – 150 years when the currently most important climate controlling, largest amplitude, solar activity cycle is millennial. This means that all climate model temperature outcomes are too hot and likely fall outside of the real future world. (See Kahneman -. Thinking Fast and Slow p 118) Second – the models make the fundamental scientific error of forecasting straight ahead beyond the Millennial Turning Point (MTP) and peak in solar activity which was reached in 1991.These errors are compounded by confirmation bias and academic consensus group think.”

  14. Well done, Norman.

  15. It can’t be done, it makes no difference, it shouldn’t be done, it’s a wicket problem – whatever dodge rocks your boat.

    It is simple enough. Cheap, abundant, low carbon energy through science and technology.

    A million sand dams for half a billion people by 2040 -greening deserts and freeing people from need. And don’t imagine that drought won’t increase in frequency. Drought will both increase and decrease this century – again.

    The goal is landscape restoration.

    Water is the key.

    http://terranovavoice.tamera.org/2015/11/water-the-missing-link-for-solving-climate-change/4220?fbclid=IwAR1l-ICe0spwAEcpZkLmUI9g8w4g2sLhFsqQFiHPYrVvqYBHL3Dt9TlWH18#.Vq6LiVJcUWg.facebook
    .
    Few people have the imagination for reality. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I’ll come back when there is some science.

  16. richardscourtney

    In his above article, Garth Paltridge writes,
    “For what it is worth, one possible theory is that mankind (or at least that fraction of it that has become both over-educated and more delicate as a result of a massive increase of its wealth in recent times) has managed to remove the beliefs of existing religions from its consideration—and now it misses them. As a replacement, it has manufactured a set of beliefs about climate change that can be used to guide and ultimately to control human behaviour. The beliefs are similar to those of the established religions in that they are more or less unprovable in any strict scientific sense.”

    Actually, it is more than beliefs in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) being similar to those of the establishedf religions. The scare mirrors fundamental Judeo-Christian ideologies.

    I pointed this out long ago (in 2008) by providing a mock hellfire&brimstone sermon as the introduction to a presentation concerning the carbon cycle. It can be seen here
    https://www.heartland.org/multimedia/videos/richard-courtney-iccc1
    and people wanting a laugh may want to watch it.

    PS I don’t use the hellfire&brimstone style when preaching real sermons.

  17. If the future were known with certainty, you would want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point were the marginal costs of doing so would equal its marginal benefits.

    The future is not known with certainty, and our understanding of the mechanisms is imperfect. So, you really want to equate the expected marginal costs to the expected marginal benefits. The uncertainties are asymmetric, however, and people are risk averse. So, an argument about the uncertainty of climate change would imply more stringent climate policy.

    You can argue that experts disagree on the probability density functions that describe the uncertainty. However, people are ambiguity averse, so that argument leads to a further tightening of climate policy.

    You can argue that the uncertainty is deep and tails are fat. That is, you cannot use expected cost-benefit analysis. However, alternative decision criteria tend to recommend more ambitious emission reduction.

    (All this, by the way, has been exercised ad nauseam since the mid-1990s. Do yourself a favour and read the literature.)

    • “If the future were known with certainty, you would want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point were the marginal costs of doing so would equal its marginal benefits.”
      .
      You assume that CO2 is a detriment, but we don’t even know that. In fact, CO2 greatly increases plant growth, i.e. food production, so it can well be a net benefit on balance. And we don’t know the ideal concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere for human life, economic productivity, or any other measure of advantage.

    • Perhaps a more important point is that a lot of the research Richard refers to here is not very meaningful. There is a lot of “science” these days that doesn’t mean much.

    • Curious George

      Isn’t it all an IPCC-blessed speculation?

    • Very succinctly put Richard. There are the fringes who assume there is no risk or those for whom risk is extreme. A two body problem – spheres perpetually orbiting a center of mass – rather than a continuum. The rest of us worry that there is a risk but would rather not pay too much to fix it, .

    • Curious George

      “Since 1990s”. Could we compare predictions with actual numbers for 2015-2018?

    • Richard: Thanks for taking the time to comment here on a subject you know better than the rest of us. You write: “So, you really want to equate the expected marginal costs to the expected marginal benefits.”

      However, in addition to the inherent uncertainty about climate sensitivity and the marginal costs associated with a given amount of climate change, there appears to be a fundamental debate about an appropriate discount rate. According to the Ramsey equation, an optimal discount rate depends on expectations of future economic growth.

      If you are a policymaker in India or any other developing country, your people expect you to emulate recent Chinese economic progress, which means the discount rate you must apply will reduce future costs from damage effectively to zero. Consequently, the net result of Paris commitments from developing countries amounted to emissions-growth-as-usual (same as 1990-2015), mostly contingent on aid. Chinese policy over the past two decades has been exactly what one would expect for applying a high discount rate to future damage from conventional pollution.

      If you are an elite liberal policymaker in a developed country, you likely fear that your descendants are likely to experience negative economic growth because of environmental damage, resource depletion and other non-suitainable activities. Your discount rate is effectively zero.

      If you are a conservative policymaker in a developed country (or one focused on poorer citizens), you will apply a substantial discount rate, though not one as large as those in developing countries.

      So, even if the uncertainties in costs and benefits have been exhaustively analyzed, the analysis appears to have been done using a single discount rate that is not applicable globally.

      Respectfully, Frank

  18. Garth: thank you for this post. You write “…the fundamental question as to what fraction of the observed rise in global surface temperature over the last thirty or so years (equivalent to a rise of about 1 degree Celsius per century if one is inclined to believe observations rather than the theory) is attributable to the human-induced increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. There is still a distinct possibility that much of the observed rise in global temperature may be the result of natural (and maybe random) variability of the system.”
    There is also a distinct possibility (approaching certainty) that many other human activities than the emission of CO2 have a net warming effect at the earth’s surface. In particular increased urbanisation (i.e.growth of the built environment, including buildings and roads) as well as rural land use changes (deforestation, drainage works). Such aspects have been studied in depth by R Pielke (Snr) and his co-workers.

    • coldish, thank you for that.
      There are indeed harmful things we do that we should stop or at least modify and there are good things to be done that we should be doing or at least attempting. CO2 mitigation is not one of those and can only subtract resources from what needs to be done.

  19. Pingback: Is climate crisis a religion? – Piece of Mindful

  20. “Perhaps the whole idea of being fair to the people of the future should be reversed. Perhaps they can easily afford to owe us something in retrospect.”

    Indeed. We owe much to those in the past whose efforts were largely materially self-interested, which now make the present so prosperous for so many.

    • Fair to the future???

      We can only pass to them what we have. If we get rid of abundant reliable energy, we will have nothing for them. They will have to start over where we were hundreds of years ago. Without CO2 they will not even be able to grow food.

    • Based on the model that we care deeply about the future and our children, the larger issue the UN should focus on would be establishing global treaties banning socialism and strictly limiting deficit spending.

  21. On Australian precipitation projections. Climate models give an increasingly positive NAM index with rising CO2 forcing, with positive NAM being associated with faster trade winds, which would drive a La Nina bias. On that basis, one could posit that rising CO2 forcing should drive a wetter southern Australia, and a drier northern Australia. The complete reverse of what has happened since 1995. More usefully, one could expect El Nino conditions to increase during a centennial solar minimum, and drive southern Australian drought roughly equaling that of the late 1800’s solar minimum, irrespective of long term temperature change.
    England and Wales rainfall has no trend since 1766. Climate models suggest drier summers and wetter winters due to increasingly positive NAM, but summers have been generally wetter since 1995.
    There has been no apparent connection between English rainfall levels and long term global temperature change.

  22. richswarthout

    Interesting article reveals the extent of mainstream media climate change deception:
    https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/05/06/opinion_why_the_nyts_maple_syrup_story_tastes_funny.html

  23. It’s interesting that this page is about the inherent uncertainties of climate science, and Ellison is demanding action based on certainty of outcome.

    • “Doing so is vital, as the future evolution of the global mean temperature may hold surprises on both the warm and cold ends of the spectrum due entirely to internal variability that lie well outside the envelope of a steadily increasing global mean temperature.” https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2008GL037022

      I thought we were on a first name basis Jimmy? I think ‘the wedge’ might bias the system to intense change rather than warming – but that’s a guess.

      “We know the laws of physics – we just can’t solve them sufficiently accurately.”

      The problem with both model and observational estimates of ECS – btw – is that they miss multidecadal let alone centennial to millennial variability.

      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0044-6

      But if you were a bit diligent Jimmy you would find the proposed immediate response in Judith’s congressional testimony.

      https://judithcurry.com/2019/05/06/climates-uncertainty-principle/#comment-892559

      Working it out in the real world is messy but not brain surgery.

      • https://judithcurry.com/2019/05/06/climates-uncertainty-principle/#comment-892617

        Judith may speak for herself. But this seems more to do with the momentum of emissions and the persistence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

        Just a random graph from the IPCC. But of course 1929-1931 means nothing people do can make any difference.

      • When you do not understand what causes natural climate change, that problem can not be solved with bigger faster computers. You get the wrong answers much faster at much higher cost. The number of stupid forecasts will grow out of bounds. Oops, we already have reached that point.

      • The top quote comes from a study that used network analysis on ocean band atmospheric data. It may be a little beyond Alex and Jimmy.

        Here’s the first in the series.

        https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288

        The video from Tim Palmer is a very good unpacking of climate science. Controversial only with skeptics with crude and eccentric theories who haven’rt got up to speed with radiative physics. We should just politely move on. But I have been wondering lately if self identification as a skeptic isn’t getting both pointless and a little cringe worthy?

        The third from the very clever Sergei Kravtsov et al examines model results and suggests that some 0.3C of warming in the last 40 years was the global stadium wave. They might ask Judith about the latter.

        And the other quote? ‘We know what the physics are – we just solve them sufficiently accurately’ – seems to be where uncertainty pops up.

  24. Gary Malhoit

    Is there an reasonable analogy to illustrate the benefit to cost ratio to slow climate change that would be helpful for public’s general understanding of the cost benefit? (For example, spending $50 for one stick common chewing gum each day and chewing it for only 30 seconds each day in order to burn calories to lose weight, and the like.)

  25. Pingback: Local weather’s uncertainty theory | Watts Up With That? – Daily News

  26. This is the cost vs damage comparison which was done by Nordhaus and tweeted by Lomborg

    See my blog post
    https://klimaathype.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/nordhaus-en-de-energietransitie/

    • Gary Malhoit

      What is the confidence interval associated with the bar graph projections?

      • Future temperature rise and resulting damage is grossly overestimated, policy cost is grossly underestimated. Full scale nuclear is the cheapest no regret mitigation option.

  27. Let’s give him a break. Let’s say confidence in outcome. That makes it much less delusional.

    • No, let’s not.
      He’s scrambling Dr Curry’s testimony. She’s concerned more, it seems to me, with environmental impacts than with CO2 per se.
      “Given that reducing emissions is not expected to change the climate in a meaningful way until late in the 21st century…”

  28. I’ve always said that climate alarmists are too smart to believe in religion but not smart enough to realize they already belong to one.

    • I like that. Cargo Cult Science.

      • Cult is the best description of climate religion.

        They make a lot of money from windmills, solar panels, and ethanol and they must scare people to make them willing to pay more in taxes and more for energy of all kinds to get them to pay more.

        They use tax credits and subsidies to pay some people that benefit from free solar panels on their house that cost them much more that they do not even realize until it is too late.

        Some places have cut out those tax breaks and subsidies, too late, after billions of cost they were not expecting.

  29. Suffice it to say, if the climate-change establishment were to have its way with its proposed conversion of the global usage of energy to a usage based solely on renewable energy, the costs of the conversion would be horrifically large.

    I did a search in this post for the word “externalities.” I didn’t get any hits.

    Is it possible to make an authoritative statement about the “costs” of conversion (relative to non-conversion) if you haven’t controlled for the ratio of positive to negative externalities of various energy pathways?

    • Pigovian externalities require that there be damages to people. It’s not clear that in the present – apart from the psychological distress of schoolgirls and pissant progressives – there are any. Particulates, NOx, SO4 and mercury are not necessary or desirable in any energy mix. If it is too costly for old fashioned plants to retrofit – then the poor little dears should be put out of our misery.

      For the future the imperative is to invest in energy research and development – not least because without the innovation windfall future economies are at risk. I’m not adverse to even wind and solar. It adds some 10% to my bill for some 7% of electricity generation. I would count the experiment a success. Levelized costs of wind an solar ate now lower than alternatives – and solar is now on the verge of another technology revolution. But despite the heroic modelling of the NREL we are now at physical and technology limits. .


      With the right technology Schumpeter’s principle of creative destruction of capitalism – that some capitalist here imagines has more than I know to do with markets – will revolutionize energy systems.

    • Joshua:
      With costing externalities, you get caught up trying to agree how to count them. Cheap electricity is more than a cost savings. It’s the things you get from it, for instance the REA that gave farmers electricity. It’s not just a cost things. It was a transformation that I say makes cost accounting not useful in that specific case. So, we go with the more straight foward. That can be measured by the average consumer cost and the up time of electricity delivery to the consumers.

      • Ragnaar –

        If you decide that counting costs isn’t particularly useful, then don’t count costs. Don’t tell me what it “suffices to say” with an authoritativeness, about costs.

        Personally, I think that accounting for externalities (positive and negative) is extremely difficult, so you do your best to estimate probabilities, and then incorporate those best guess probabilities into your approach towards low probability, high damage function risk.

        And also, on a slightly different level, consumer price does not equal cost. Unfortunately, people (mostly”skeptics”) tend to conflate the two.

        Anyway, respect uncertainty.

      • J
        (mostly skeptics)

        Too obscure for me. I know I’m getting old but I don’t get your point.

      • Kid –

        You don’t understand why I say that it is mostly “skeptics” who conflate price and cost?

        People make such conflations when it is ideologically expedient to do so.

      • Most

        Do you have data for “most”. Apparently, there is empirical evidence it is at least 51%. Or is that just an opinion. This is a science blog, you know.

  30. Scientific uncertainty doesn’t matter too much.
    It can be converted into political certainty with remarkable ease.

  31. double sixsixman

    This is a good article.
    Calm and sensible.
    It did lack a few things:
    .
    (1) Examples of past climate predictions that were wrong, which is most of them, and
    .
    (2) A summary of 300 years of actual experience with global warming, of at least +3 degrees C., based on real time measurements in central England, since the coldest year in the 1690s, during the Little Ice Age. My Summary: the warming was good news for over 300 years!
    .
    Considering past climate predictions:
    (1) After global cooling from 1940 to 1975, some scientists were predicting a coming global cooling crisis. Then the climate got warmer for the next 23 years!
    .
    (2) After global warming from 1975 to 1998, most scientists were predicting a coming global warming crisis. Then the climate remained almost unchanged from 1998 through 2018. (With the climate represented by the global average temperature).
    .
    So it is obvious that scientists don’t even know what the next multi-decade average temperature trend is going to be, much less knowing the average temperature 100 years in the future.
    .
    It is also obvious that past global warming was mild, and beneficial, for over 300 years … and since 1979 we know warming was in locations, and at times, when it was appreciated (mainly in high cold latitudes, mainly in the coldest six months of the year, and mainly at night).
    .
    No one knows what the future climate will be. Everyone has experience, and knowledge about, past global warming. That’s often overlooked.
    .
    It would be foolish to act NOW on an IMAGINED FUTURE climate crisis, from global warming, after experiencing 300+ years of PAST, beneficial, global warming, and virtually no warming in the past 20 years (UAH satellite data).
    .
    Why is it that PAST global warming has always been good news?
    .
    Why is it that IMAGINED FUTURE global warming is always predicted to be bad news?
    .
    My second favorite philosopher, “perfesser” Groucho Marx, explained the problem well:
    .
    “ ( climate change ) Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
    Groucho Marx
    .
    My climate science blog, if anyone is interested:
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

  32. The persistent conflation of appropriate environmental concerns with CO2 mitigation is getting really annoying. They are very separate discussions.
    “Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob. Many confuse environmental protection with climate protection. it’s impossible to protect the climate, but we can protect the environment and our drinking water. On the debate concerning alternative energies, which is sensible, it is often driven by the irrational climate debate. One has nothing to do with the other.”

  33. What are these pollutants that Judith rabbits on about? Black carbon, sulfate, nitrous oxides, methane and chlorofluorocarbons. Black carbon has a climate forcing of some 1.1 W/m2 (Bond et al 2013). Sulfate is nominally cooling – although this is confounded with the lensing effect in mixed black carbon, sulfate and primary organic aerosols present in all anthropogenic emissions.


    Time-course evolution of BC aerosol composition, light absorption (where EMAC-BC is the enhancement because of coatings), and associated climate effects (as DRF).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843464/

    Most nitrous oxides come from vehicles – and about half of volatile organic compounds. These complex in sunlight to form damaging photochemical smog. They are amended in modern vehicles with catalytic converters and complex engine management systems that burn air and fuel at a near perfect stoichiometric ratio. Nitrous oxides are about 8% of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Methane is not damaging in itself – unless it blows up. Methane is derived from anoxic digestion of organic material. Fugitive emissions from mines and pipelines is an economic cost. Other sources include sewage treatment, landfill, piggeries and cattle feedlots. Anoxic digestion creates soluble and mobile forms of nitrogen. When accumulated in groundwater used in baby formula they inhibit oxygen assimilation. In streams and oceans they result in eutrophication. Methane from responsible waste management provides cost competitive energy sources. Methane is about 14% of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Cloroflourocarbons are a legacy gas to be completely eliminated ASAP. It is about 1% of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Progress has been made – as you can see in the regional pattern of black carbon emissions.


    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/jgrd.50171

    Further progress can be made with economic growth. Including on emissions from farming and forestry – some 11% of the total. This can be radically turned around with existing technology and management systems to double food production by 2050, enhance flood and drought resilience and to stop soil washing away losing fertility and degrading downstream environments.


    https://www.heritage.org/index/book/chapter-4

    It is impossible to disaggregate economics, environment and climate. It is perfidious to claim to do so for the purpose of empty headed skeptic posturing.

  34. “It is impossible to disaggregate economics, environment and climate.”
    Yes. but it is imperative to disaggregate our wonderful CO2 from pollutants. And it is dishonorable to conflate them.

  35. No Jimmy – it seems to be their CO2. And they don’t think much of it.

    I do have a question. If it is so uncertain – how do you know it won’t be catastrophe?

    • Well, we don’t, do we. And some of us are honest enough to say so. We do know thatCO2 doesn’t control climate, and that we don’t control CO2, so we should take care of things we can actually fix. Or at least influence for the better.

  36. “Individually they find the intellectuals mostly to be people who understand nothing in particular especially well and whose judgement on matters they themselves understand shows little sign of special wisdom. But it would be a fatal mistake to underestimate their power for this reason. Even though their knowledge may often be superficial and their intelligence limited, this does not alter the fact that it is their judgement which mainly determines the views on which society will act in the not too distant future…

    Yet, so long as the people who over longer periods determine public opinion continue to be attracted by the ideals of socialism, the trend will continue. If we are to avoid such a development, we must be able to offer a new liberal program which appeals to the imagination.”
    https://mises.org/sites/default/files/Intellectuals%20and%20Socialism_4.pdf

    What seems futile Judith – I refer to your tweet on the Larry Kummer piece – is to lament the formation of public opinion when the opposition is purely laboriously constructed reactions to the ideas of what is better described as knowledge brokers. I have just reread the Hayek essay and in passage after passage it strikes at the heart of the problem then as now. It is all problematic at any rate. Both sides. Knowledge is limited and the future is chaotically another world. As you know.

    As Hayek points out the influencing of public opinion will only succeed if it is in accord with the spirit of the times. There are other more promising threads to tease out of the zeitgeist.

    Agriculture, forestry and changes in land use account for 24% of greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity and heat 25%.


    Water is the key to reversing soil and ecosystem degradation – returning carbon to where it belongs.

    A million sand dams for half a billion people by 2040.

    Energy needs can only be met with technology. Even simple but clever technology can make a difference.


    * 50% Less wood consumed saving time and cash and conserving forest.
    * 95% smoke reduction – smoke that causes millions of premature deaths.
    * Nearly eliminates black carbon cooling climate.
    * Generates electricity to charge phones & LED lights.

    Many ideas like this can change the world. But markets are the key to everything. Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions.

  37. You do persist in conflating CO2 with bad things that humans do to our environment, and implying that a good thing to do would be to diminish our contribution to atmospheric CO2. Ignoring, as usual, the physics and the history of CO2. Ignoring the natural experiment in 1929-1931. You mirror the medieval certainties. Extraordinary. We haven’t changed a bit.

  38. Oh, and… “how do you know it won’t be catastrophe?” To supplement that answer, we don’t know it won’t be, but we do know it has never been for the last 550 million years. I’ll take that bet.

  39. Robert Pindyck of MIT, a fairly serious energy economist, concluded that the Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) that couple GCMs with damage assessment models are not to be trusted. While he generally accepts the GCMs (outside his area of expertise) except to note that the climate sensitivity parameter is getting more and more uncertain, he is harshly critical of the many arbitrary assumptions of the economic piece of the IAMs. Naturally, what bothers him is that these IAMs are not alarmist enough, but his critique could easily point in the opposite direction.
    http://web.mit.edu/rpindyck/www/Papers/MisuseClimateModelsREEP2017.pdf

  40. Over the period of the CERES record temperatures can be seen to vary with the state of the Pacific primarily – while CO2 shows it’s annual fluctuation on a rising trend. Such variability over short time frames can say much – if there is satellite data – about the nature of internal variability. But not that CO2 is not radiatively active in the atmosphere.


    https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/6/3/62

    There are changes to the energy budget of the planet that are caused by cloud changes in the Pacific anti-correlated with sea surface temperature. Changes that are seen in both surface and satellite observations in a relevant region.

    The energy content of the oceans vary with cloud cover changes on decadal scales. And although surface temp are an imperfect reflection of ocean heat content – it varies as energy flows from the sun to the oceans, to the atmosphere and back to space. Surface temperature should vary with changes in energy content of the oceans – driven in large part by ENSO. Surface temperature should in principle vary with an accumulated index of the state of the Pacific. Now there is an hypothesis.

    Over a millennia there is a 20 to 30 year periodicity still but high El Niño intensity at the time of the medieval climate optimum and in the modern period with La Niña dominant over the cooler period of the last millennia. With megadrought – inter alia – in the western US. The gyre hypothesis suggests a connection between ENSO states and polar (both) surface pressure. There currently seem to be three theories for a solar influence on polar surface pressure.


    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1

    Moy et al (2002) present the record of sedimentation shown below which is strongly influenced by ENSO variability. It is based on the presence of greater and less red sediment in a lake core. More sedimentation is associated with El Niño. It has continuous high resolution coverage over 12,000 years. It shows periods of high and low El Niño intensity alternating with a period of about 2,000 years. There was a shift from La Niña dominance to El Niño dominance that was identified by Tsonis 2009 as a chaotic bifurcation – and is associated with the drying of the Sahel. There is a period around 3,500 years ago of high ENSO activity associated with the demise of the Minoan civilisation (Tsonis et al, 2010). Red ingtensity was frequently over 200. For comparison – red intensity in the 1998/99 El Niño was 99. It shows ENSO variability considerably in excess of that seen in the modern period.

    Other large and abrupt changes are associated with Atlantic overturning. In decline over the last century and still declining.


    https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/deep-atlantic-circulation-during-the-last-glacial-25858002

    “(a) top-to-bottom: Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP2) δ18O (Grootes et al. 1993), average CdW from Florida Current (24 °N, 83 °W, 751 m; Came et al. 2008) and from the deep western North Atlantic (33.7 °N, 57.6 °W, 4450 m, Boyle & Keigwin 1987). (b) top-to-bottom: Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP2) δ18O (Grootes et al. 1993), δ13C from the Florida Current (16.9°N; 16.2°W, 648 m, Lynch-Stieglitz et al. 2011), and from the deep eastern North Atlantic (37.8°N, 10.2 °W, 3166m, Skinner & Shackleton 2004). Time scales for the ice core records are from Blunier & Brooks 2001). Generally high CdW and low δ13C in the deep Atlantic (bottom panels) indicate a relatively small contribution of NADW during the Heinrich Stadial and Younger Dryas. Low CdW values in the shallow North Atlantic suggest reduced northward flow of AAIW at the same time. The Heinrich Stadial (HS1), the Younger Dryas (YD), and the intervening warm period, the Bølling-Allerød (BA) are identified by shading. Note there is some debate about the timing of the Heinrich Stadial.”
    © 2012 Nature Education All rights reserved.

    The superposition of internal variability and greenhouse gas forcing has resulted in a long term temperature increase of 0.07 C/decade. Not alarming at all.

    The problem is that the system changes perpetually. Future surprises on both the cool and warm ends of the spectrum are inevitable – caused by internal responses to small changes in external conditions – such as greenhouse gases. Inevitable as a result of the fundamental mode of operation of the Earth system. Wally Broecker has passed – but his beast endures in our hearts and minds.

    “The notion that small changes can have large consequences in the climate or ecosystems has become popular as the concept of tipping points. Typically, tipping points are thought to arise from a loss of stability of an equilibrium when external conditions are slowly varied. However, this appealingly simple view puts us on the wrong foot for understanding a range of abrupt transitions in the climate or ecosystems because complex environmental systems are never in equilibrium.”.
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1

  41. Yes, life is a series of lucky breaks. Perhaps explaining the absence of evidence of others. Or perhaps they’re just lying doggo, as we should be. Very likely their climates are not much like ours, and they wouldn’t be happy here, but still… We might have something they want. Or they might want us. In a zoo, with a maintained climate? Or in feeding pens…

  42. Concerning the climate uncertainty principle, it seems that certain individuals exert a climate related quantum field effect. Not only Al Gore (frost descending wherever his plane touches down) now it seems that Greta Thunberg has this effect also:

    https://www.iceagenow.info/record-cold-on-the-scandinavian-peninsula/

    • Thanks, Phil. That’s sent out to my list with this addition:
      >>and in Calabria !!! In May !!!

      Marco says the video is at 1400 meters on Mt Scuro

      We note that the Anthropogenic Global Warming folks have gone to Climate Change and then to Extreme Weather.
      However, I suspect this cold snap (which we certainly don’t see in Oregon) is just an unusual event, and the mild statistically insignificant global warming is not yet interrupted for certain. But I suspect that the money we don’t spend on CO2 mitigation could be very profitably spent on preparing for and mitigating the consequences of rising sea levels (no matter what CO2 does) and also perhaps preparing for the possibility of return to glaciation, for which we are overdue. Unfortunately, that will demand more sagacity than seems to be available in this country and elsewhere.

      OK, just checked. 55F in Paris and Burgundy, raining. 64F in Tuscany, showers. Whew!<<
      The end is not nigh. We don't need to repent.

    • “Meanwhile CO2 continues to scorch the planet:”

      You don’t seem to be aware that arctic air moves and warms out in Spring when the Polar vortex weakens, and for every cold plunge there is warm thrust. It turns out that the warmth is more anomalously warm than the cold bits are anomalously cold (apart from a portion in the mid-west)……

      http://www.severe-weather.eu/mcd/extreme-temperature-anomaly-contrast-central-europe-vs-nw-russia/

      “A new outbreak of cold Arctic maritime airmass will push across central into southern and southeastern Europe this weekend and early next week. Temperature anomalies along the cold front and behind it will be up to 10-15 °C below average for this time, very cold indeed. Meanwhile, a strong ridge builds up over extreme NW Russia. Temperatures in this region will be up to 20-25 °C above average for this time.”

      https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2019/05/10/bc-heat-wave-sets-15-temperature-records-thursday-more-set-to-fall.html

      “The mercury hit 29.5 C in Squamish, breaking the old record of 26.1 set 51 years ago, while a 141-year-old record toppled in Pitt Meadows as the Vancouver suburb reached 28, edging the old mark of 27.8 set in 1878.
      The weather office predicts the Fraser Canyon community of Lytton will reach 32 Friday, while a high of 28 is forecast in the north coast city of Terrace and the southeastern B.C. town of Creston is forecast to reach 30 by Sunday.”

    • The polar vortex – a planetary wave caused by Earth’s rotation – extends from the stratosphere to the surface. This is at 500 hPa in a near real time visualization.


      https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/orthographic=-54.98,92.65,335

      For weather in higher northern latitudes the relevant factor is polar surface pressure – in the south as well – driving ocean and atmospheric circulation.

      There are at least 3 theories of solar modulation of surface pressure. It becomes climate – triggering shifts in the state of nonlinear chaotic oscillating nodes on a planetary scale network – on the way to the next grand solar minimum.

      https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/024001/meta

      But then the dynamical complex Earth system is never in equilibrium.

  43. Dimitris Poulos

    well…, climate variability is the result of natural processes, namely solar irradiance and solar wind variations. This is proven science. My papers are available for quite some time at ResearchGate and they are original well documented science. Climate shall soon cool down again as the sun predominates. My research and findings have yet received very favorable comments by well esteemed scientists from usa, russia, bulgaria etc.

    • And yet there are changes in cloud, dust, ice and biology that are how climate manifests. The Earth system is a fluid flow problem – hence the relevance of Navier-Stokes. Not that the equation can be solved with any accuracy.

      “‘Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer. We must therefore express the pertinent statistical properties of turbulent eddies as functions of the larger-scale motions. We do not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions exist’. Edward Lorenz

      Fifty years later the problem remains. And climate careens between hothouse and snowball Earth in response to complex dynamical triggers that are barely comprehended. The hubris of believing that climate is understood well enough to be predictable is not well founded in science.

      • Dimitris Poulos

        the climate is predictable within some boundaries, that is it is not completely predictable. I have unveiled most of the deterministic part of climate variability in my papers and it comes that this is most of climate variability.

      • Changes in global energy dynamics are overwhelmingly from internal mechanisms.

      • Changes in global energy dynamics are overwhelmingly from internal mechanisms.

        You actually said that. That is past where I go. I say internal responses are very significant. In this case, you are closer to right. The sun and other external factors do not change as much.

      • Robert wrote: And climate careens between hothouse and snowball Earth in response to complex dynamical triggers that are barely comprehended.

        There is plenty of data that shows ice accumulation is most in warmest times, ice accumulations is least in coldest times. It is not even barely comprehended because they ignore actual data and stare at model output.

      • Ice and other data show the Earth system to be complex and dynamic.

        There is uncertainty because the modern science of complex and dynamic systems has little confidence in William of Ockham.

  44. Ellison, you’re coming around. Bravo.
    Now all you need to do is say the words: CO2 is not in control of climate, and we are not in control of CO2; Beto’s plan is misguided; the Green New Deal is nonsense; and CO2 is on balance good for us at these levels at this time.
    Climate of course does not careen. It’s been quite stable from the cosmic point of view, ranging from 285K to 295K for the last 550 million years. From our point of view of course a little change makes a big difference. Thus we generally oppose change.

    • Jimmmw,

      What is the source for this statement:
      “Climate of course does not careen. It’s been quite stable from the cosmic point of view, ranging from 285K to 295K for the last 550 million years.”

      If you are referring to the Earth’s average surface temperature, then these temperatures do not seem to span the range recently estimated from paleo evidence by Scotese (2018):
      • around 280 K at LGMs during the Permian-Carboniferous glaciation,
      • perhaps up to 310 K in the early Triassic (about 250 Ma ago)
      • Cambrian about 299-302 K,
      • mid to late Devonian 301-303,
      • Cretaceous peak at 303 K,
      • Eocene (50 Ma ago) about 299 K.
      • Preindustrial about 287 K
      • present about 288 K.

      Source: Scotese (2018) (see chart p.3):
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324017003_Phanerozoic_Temperatures_Tropical_Mean_Annual_Temperature_TMAT_Polar_Mean_Annual_Temperature_PMAT_and_Global_Mean_Annual_Temperature_GMAT_for_the_last_540_million_years

      • Thanks, Peter. I have been using the old Scotese from 2001, and excluding the P-T thermal excursion / spike as an aberration. So taking 280K as the low, and 300K as the nonaberrant high, that would be 290 as the mean, +/- 10, or 3.5%. Still surprising stability for a chaotic nonlinear dynamic system, wouldn’t you say?

      • Peter Lang

        jimmww,’

        Further to my previous comment and to your comment:
        “excluding the P-T thermal excursion / spike as an aberration”, this may be reasonable. My understanding is as follows:
        Scotese’s paleo temperatures are based on both geology and geochemical analyses from shells of ocean fauna. 95% of the ocean species became extinct in the preceding ice age. So there is very little proxy data available to estimate the temperatures during the early Triassic, which is when the peak temperature occurred

      • I suspect the “surprising stability” may be largely explained by our relatively constant distance from the Sun, the relative stability of the Sun’s output, our largely water covered planet, and our wonderful insulating blanket.

      • “surprising stability” is largely explained by thawed oceans promoting more evaporation and precipitation, including snowfall and increasing ice on land when needed and cold frozen oceans promoting less evaporation and precipitation, including snowfall and increasing depletion of ice on land when not needed.

        Ice Core data does show this is how it works.

      • Quote for above “– surprising stability for a chaotic nonlinear dynamic system–“. And “Ice Core data does show this is how it works.”
        That may be a short sighted view. I wouldn’t bet on ‘stability’. Waxing and waning polar caps alter fundamentally the dynamics of a rotating near-sphere. As a gyro of varying ‘moments of inertia’ along x,y z axis may assume various temp orientations along it precessional axis. Meaning its obliquity is subject to change, slowly or abruptly. The question is: ‘is there evidence of such’?
        Dodwell’s study said yes. The enigmatic anomalies I found point to such, with firm evidence surviving in ancient structures. Plus the Ice-core data with instances of abrupt warming and cooling at polar caps (temp anomaly) in reverse of what happens at equatorial, at very near chronological points, do seem to corroborate.
        But in such heathen times as ours who would give credit to Enoch; or Plato, or Herodotus?

      • Peter and Pope – my, it’s fun to say that – you’re right in explaining the stability, and that does seem to diminish the chaotic part, doesn’t it? That must be incomplete though, since we’re so woefully ineffective at predicting even next year’s weather (Cf: MET: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/11938459/Met-Office-shown-to-be-wrong-by-its-own-data.html).
        So melitameg is absolutely right about not relying on that stability over time. The time quantity of course being uncertain.
        So we should certainly not depend on change in CO2 to alter the rising sea levels, and that requires resources to combat. Resources that must not be diverted to silly CO2 mitigation.

      • Peter Lang

        jimmww,

        Thank you for your comment. However, it is not on the point under discussion.’

        You said “That must be incomplete though, since we’re so woefully ineffective at predicting even next year’s weather”

        This is a major change to the point you raised and I responded to. You said (my rough paraphrasing) that GMST has been “quite stable from the cosmic point of view, ranging from 285K to 295K for the last 550 million years”. I responded that the range was a bit more than your figures. You then said that was still remarkably stable and wondered about the reason. I gave some suggestions. All that discussions was about time scales of millions to hundreds of millions of years and GMST changes of degrees to tens of degrees.

        Now you’ve changed the topic to one about weather changes over short time periods and GMST changes of hundredths of a degree.

      • Meaning its obliquity is subject to change, slowly or abruptly. The question is: ‘is there evidence of such’?

        obliquity is well documented for the past and calculated for the future. There are no surprises expected in obliquity. NASA has pages you can read and see the plots.

      • My apologies, Peter, I didn’t realize that could be taken as a disagreement. I accepted your reference to the new Scotese without demurral. I thought my revised comment about stability was on topic with the web page, and not inconsistent with your statements.

      • BTW, Peter, my statement was a contrast of the imputed stability with the usual “chaotic nonlinear dynamic system” incantation. I didn’t come down on either side of that, just thought it was interesting. And I was addressing Pope and melitameg also.

      • Peter Lang

        My apologies. I misunderstood the point you wanted to make.

      • since we’re so woefully ineffective at predicting even next year’s weather

        Next year’s weather has been inside past years’ weather for thousands of years. Many people and companies do predict next year’s weather and some companies do predict weather and climate for decades ahead. The People who are most successful do not advertise as much in the public media, their customers want to have an advantage in the near and far future. They do not want to depend on frozen tundra to drive across and it be too thawed to go.

      • Pope, if there were a reply button next to you, I’d use that.
        “Next year’s weather has been inside past years’ weather for thousands of years” Sort of, if you mean within 2 standard deviations. We’ve been in temp decline since the Holocene Optimum (do they still allow it to be called that?) 8,000ya, and I guess the Minoan, Roman, Medieval, and Modern warmings are within limits. The LIA, not so much, perhaps, and the Younger Dryas, well, no. But our time-traveled climate scientists would not have been able to predict any of that. And the MET doesn’t do terribly well either, recently.

      • Re pope’s “obliquity is well documented for the past and calculated for the future. There are no surprises expected in obliquity. NASA has pages you can read and see the plots.”
        Measurements of obliquity go back to ~1100bce, and the earliest readings are in conflict with the “calculated” . Meaning: beyond that point in 1100bce it is all an assumption (extrapolating on earlier curve fitting) that is most likely wrong from the evidence.
        See this (at page 3, 1st para “As the—-“) http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1979A%26A….73..129W&defaultprint=YES&filetype=.pdf
        Since this thread is about “Uncertain Principles”, then for any other ‘heretic’ out there who wants to dig further for the ‘uncertainties’ see here https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/celestial-crystal-balls-and-the-temple-of-amen-ra/

  45. Skeptic memes of CO2 not influencing climate, CO2 in the atmosphere not changing with human emissions or CO2 is good are not just mutually incompatible, technically incorrect or dubious at best but as well judged wanting in the court of public opinion. Which is where you want to win if there is a classic liberal future to be defended. That is the main game. It requires that an alternative case be presented that accords with spirit of the times and appeals to the imagination. To do otherwise is to accept irrelevancy.

    The best you have is the strawman of 100% wind and solar. Strawman because 100% wind and solar is far from mainstream – or even GND and Bebo – views of a sector that is 25% of the emission equation. GND and Bebo understand that as well.

    • LOL – this is not a reply to Jimmy just above. I have wasted enough time and he may waffle on without me.

      “Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

      Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.” https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/2

  46. Russell Seitz

    Three decades after CSIRO’s Barry Pittrick denounced Garth as “too conservative” to be allowed to question Carl Sagan’s ‘nuclear winter hypothesis, things seem to have come full circle, with Garth invoking John Galbraith and an equally tall science fiction writer as authority figures.

    As the importance of Edmund Burke’s intergenerational social contract is nowhere more in evidence than in the age old process of anthropogenic climate change, it is sad to see a once intellectually serious journal like Quadrant turn into a paywalled echo chamber and discount itself to the level of The American Thinker. Or come to think of it, a climate blog.

    Cue chundering noises from The Lord Monckton Foundation.

  47. That should read ‘CSIRO’s Barry Pittock’

  48. Even the zero-discount models have the major flaw that they assume the “long interglacial hypothesis” is extremely likely, a proposition Javier has examined in some detail and found lacking. Consider the following scenarios:

    1) strong agw response, long agw residence time
    2) weak agw response, long agw residence time
    3) strong agw response, short agw residence time
    4) weak agw response, short agw residence time

    Under all but one of the scenarios above, agw should be assigned positive or neutral value in the long run, because glaciation is likely coming back and the Upper Midwest of the Unites States will be under miles of ice again for nearly all future generations, a larger concern than any plausible warming scenarios.

  49. “Governments have focused on climate change far more than they have focused on loss of biodiversity or land degradation. All three are equally important to human wellbeing.” IPCC

    You focus on the 25%.


    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48043134

    Much of the rest can be mitigated with existing technology and with positive benefit/cost ratios. While reducing the very great health, environment and climate impacts of black carbon in particular.

    https://judithcurry.com/2019/05/06/climates-uncertainty-principle/#comment-892654

    Reversing carbon loss from terrestrial systems is essential for food security and much else – whether it costs $1 or $10 trillion.

    The 25% is a little more problematic. Much of the world is choosing high efficiency/low emission (HELE) coal technology.


    Source: ASEAN Energy Equationn.

    For the future?

  50. Cobber – Nonsense. Kill the messenger, disparage the source is all you’ve got. Not facts. No history.
    Because I have a profound appreciation of the complexity of carbon cycle knowns and unknowns, and of the complexity of the chaotic dynamic nonlinear system that is climate science, knowns and unknowns, I rely on the history of the interactions of the variables. Please do go back to the Feynman video to see why that matters.
    But I certainly do agree with you on the nature of this discussion.

    • Oh btw – decades ago as a relatively young hydrologist and biogeochemical cycle scientist I spent weeks studying a 14 compartment carbon model of Chesapeake Bay. Only to discover in the last paragraph that they needed many more compartments. Groan.

  51. BTW, GHGs are certainly in control, in the stratosphere, of IR radiation to space, and CO2 is virtually the only gas in the stratosphere able to do that. Freeman Dyson applauds it for that, and hopes it doesn’t degrade the O3.

  52. A Feynman video and a vague appeal to Freeman Dyson seems little enough cause to junk planetary physics.

    https://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PhysTodayRT2011.pdf

    Global warming plays out against internal variability at many scales.

    https://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PhysTodayRT2011.pdf

    My controversial comment was about skeptic geophysical misapprehensions – and these are repeated often enough. My comment was not directed at Jimmy but he seems to have taken it personally. These guys are not only wrong – they are a distraction from the main game not to mention being off topic.

    Skeptic memes of CO2 not influencing climate, CO2 in the atmosphere not changing with human emissions or CO2 is good are not just mutually incompatible, technically incorrect or dubious at best but as well judged wanting in the court of public opinion. Which is where you want to win if there is a classic liberal future to be defended. That’s the main game. It requires that an alternative case for greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation be presented that accords with the spirit of the times and appeals to the imagination. To do otherwise is to accept irrelevancy.

    All this post – and I assume Garth doesn’t rewrite planetary physics – has is the strawman of 100% wind and solar. Strawman because 100% wind and solar is far from mainstream – or even GND and Bebo – views of a sector that is 25% of the emission equation. GND and Bebo understand that as well.

    • Proper climate scientists might be eager to disavow Ellison, whose arguments depend on misdirection, misquotation, misconstruction, false accusation, misunderstanding, and strangulated reasoning, such as conflating CO2 with pollution. Mind you, he has provided a number of good resources for questions that do not pertain to CO2 mitigation. These may be virtue-signalling devices.

      Dr Curry’s statement, which he has for some reason quoted as if in his support, says:
      “Bipartisan support seems feasible for pragmatic efforts to accelerate energy innovation, build resilience to extreme weather events, and pursue no regrets pollution reduction measures. Each of these three efforts has justifications independent of their benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation. These three efforts provide the basis of a climate policy that addresses both near-term economic and social justice concerns, and also the longer-term goals of mitigation.”

      Dr. Curry’s estimate of what we should be aware of and addressing is fully in concert with that of Kalus-Eckhart Puls: “Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob. Many confuse environmental protection with climate protection. it’s impossible to protect the climate, but we can protect the environment and our drinking water. On the debate concerning alternative energies, which is sensible, it is often driven by the irrational climate debate. One has nothing to do with the other.”

      • BTW, the Pierrehumbert paper (why do I think of Lolita?) is good, though he may be wrong about Venus. He’s also a very good accordion player, as one might have suspected.

        Ron Cram has commented on it:
        First, the paper is mistitled. It should be called “Infrared radiation and inferences about planetary temperature” because it does not compute based on any dataset of planetary temperature and so there is no way to check computations against observation.
        Watch the Feynmann video again. If the hypothesis is that CO2 causes a change to surface temperature, tropospheric temperature or ocean heat content, the next step is to compute the consequences of the hypothesis using one of these datasets, then you compare the computation to nature. Ray’s paper did not even attempt to take these steps.
        The key statement of the Feynmann video is: “If it (the guess) disagrees with experiment (or observation), it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or what his name is who made the guess – if it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
        In order to establish CAGW as a viable theory, one would have to use temperature measurements – preferably satellite temps or ocean heat content (as those two are the least subject to mischief) – not spectral inferences. Spectral inferences (which is what Ray uses) leads us to the conclude that CO2 should likely lead to warming, but the climate system is very complex and there is a great distance between what might be and what is.
        Read the rest here: https://judithcurry.com/2011/01/19/pierrehumbert-on-infrared-radiation-and-planetary-temperatures/

    • “So, if you have followed the Climate Etc. threads, the numerous threads on this topic at Scienceofdoom, and read Pierrehumbert’s article, is anyone still unconvinced about the Tyndall gas effect and its role in maintaining planetary temperatures? I’ve read Slaying the Sky Dragon and originally intended a rubuttal, but it would be too overwhelming to attempt this and probably pointless.” JC


      https://www.nature.com/articles/35066553

      “In experimental philosophy we are to look upon p-propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.” Newton’s fourth rule of natural philosophy

      The point is to reference true science that is based on data – not simply waffle on with a sky dragon slaying narrative that is far too concerned with calumny and dissembling. And that fails to move beyond a few simple if misguided points about his precious CO2.

  53. Are there anywhere any sincere and robust analyses of the effective subsidy given to renewables, fossil, nuclear, …. ? That include ALL subsidy forms – both direct and devious.

    Put another way, what would really happen to energy markets if ALL government help and hindrances were scrapped ?

    • “what would really happen to energy markets if ALL government help and hindrances were scrapped ?”

      Over time we’d move to nuclear supplying most of the world’s energy, including gasoline, petrol, diesel, jet fuel, etc.

      If not for the disruption to progress that began in the 1960’s and continues to this day, nuclear power would now be around 10% of it’s current cost : https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/10/12/2169/htm

    • Well that’s exactly what unreliables (wind and solar) fans would say too. Give us time and they’ll become viable.

      Perhaps give us some insight as to this “disruption” ?

  54. bfjcricklewood ,

    Click on the link, read the Abstract and decide if you want to read the paper. If not, just look at the Figures to get the message what it’s about. To understand the root cause of the disruption read Notes [V] and [IX] in Appendix B.

    For a short op-ed on the paper, read “What could have been – if nuclear power deployment had not been disrupted” https://www.thegwpf.com/what-could-have-been-if-nuclear-power-deployment-had-not-been-disrupted/
    [note typo in second paragraph: “lives” should be “deaths”.

    • CO2 emissions avoided would not have been better. CO2 causes no harm and CO2 makes green plants grow better and helps plants use water more efficiently. Everything green that grows using CO2 is doing much better than it would have with less CO2.

      More Nuclear would have been really a good choice. Low cost abundant energy is what has made life better for billions of people. That is still working in China, India and Russia.

      The Western Countries are killing birds, animals, insects and people with windmills, solar panels and ethanol, taking away much land from better use.

      Just imagine the cost of replacing a roof that is covered with solar panels. Imagine the cost of repairing energy production after a storm when the energy is damaged over the windmill farms and the solar panel fields and on many of the roofs. Some Island Storms have already demonstrated that storm damage is much worse for energy production when energy production is from windmills and solar panels that are scattered widely. When a storm hits, the first thing that is shut down is the windmills and solar panels. Windmills from too much wind and solar panels from lack of sunshine.

  55. There is a discussion of the stability of climate and our ‘wonderful insulating blanket”. The latter is mostly water vapor. It makes more sense to proceed from the premise of Earth system variability. Climate is – famously – a wild beast.

    “So, if you have followed the Climate Etc. threads, the numerous threads on this topic at Scienceofdoom, and read Pierrehumbert’s article, is anyone still unconvinced about the Tyndall gas effect and its role in maintaining planetary temperatures? I’ve read Slaying the Sky Dragon and originally intended a rubuttal, but it would be too overwhelming to attempt this and probably pointless.”

    This is one factor in variability. Empirically demonstrated on a planetary scale.


    https://www.nature.com/articles/35066553

    But does anyone imagine this is the only factor?

    https://judithcurry.com/2019/05/06/climates-uncertainty-principle/#comment-892685

    Change is perpetual. “The hydrologist H.E. Hurst, studying the long flow records of the Nile and other geophysical time series, was the first to observe a natural behaviour, named after him, related to multi-scale change, as well as its implications in engineering designs. Essentially, this behaviour manifests that long-term changes are much more frequent and intense than commonly perceived and, simultaneously, that the future states are much more uncertain and unpredictable on long time horizons than implied by standard approaches…” Koutsoyiannis 2013, hydrology and change.

    Change in both temperature and hydrology is commonly abrupt in the complex dynamical Earth system. “What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.” NAS 2002, Abrupt climate change: inevitable surprises.

    How this can be misinterpreted is a mystery to me – but to understand requires a sustained effort. The pragmatic response is to reduce the pressures of multiple gases, aerosols and land us change on Earth system triggers – while reducing health damaging pollutants and building agricultural productivity, food security, flood and drought resilience and ecological integrity. Sorry – the latter requires taking precious CO2 from the atmosphere and returning it as organic matter to soils and ecosystems. Just like CO2 fertilization – but with sustained land and ecosystem management with the most modern practices.

    “She don’t like
    That kind of behaviour
    So, throw down your guns
    Don’t be so reckless”

    https://judithcurry.com/2019/05/06/climates-uncertainty-principle/#comment-892654

    I have said it all before – https://watertechbyrie.com/

    I would rather move to realistic and pragmatic policy – or at least some real science. And not endlessly rinse and repeat with sky-dragon slayers – or indeed tamers.

  56. Temperature variability is more like 12C in 20,000 years as as global average. It is regionally as much as 16C in as little as 10 years (NAS 2002).

    Along with megadroughts.

    https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~jsmerdon/papers/2016_wirescc_cooketal.pdf

    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074025/meta

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2009GL042239

    Or megaflood.

    https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/california-due-megaflood/

    Now these may have little to do with anthropogenic CO2 – but the topic is climate stability (sic).

  57. No, the topic is climate science uncertainty. Of which this is a pretty good example.

    • “Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.” NAS 2002

      What does it matter? It’s clear you don’t know the difference.

  58. Human alterations of the earth are clear. Some good, some bad. They do not include climate change. That’s clear.
    “large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events” have never been due to humans – that’s clear.
    Do you have a clue? It’s clear you don’t know the difference.

    • “Human alterations of the earth are clear. Some good, some bad. They do not include climate change. That’s clear.”

      Let me go out on a limb here and suggest that is the sky-dragon slayer problem.

  59. Pingback: Death by acronyms at the UN | Founders Broadsheet

  60. This dissociation of a comment and the resultant rant seems a way of misrepresenting rather than discourse in good faith

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6335/285.abstract

  61. Well, that’s of note.
    The topic is climate science uncertainties. You divert that to carbon in the earth, and cows.
    Nothing that you’ve said has had any bearing on CO2 mitigation relative to climate science. Are you totally fraudulent?

  62. “Whether we should do anything now to limit our impact on future climate boils down to an assessment of a relevant cost-benefit ratio.”

    The problem of uncertainty – and both models and climate are much more uncertain than many people realize – is that cost and benefits are uncertain.

    But the solutions proceed organically – excuse the pun. Farmers all over the world are building deep, dark, carbon rich soils with increases in productivity. There is only one place the carbon comes from. It was one of the first things I said, We know how to conserve and restore soils – from erosion among other things – It is not rocket science.

    There is a good way of growing cows with positive impacts on the bottom line. I linked videos of real American cow farmers. Just one example of the new green revolution. Water is the key that I have written about as well. The African NGO Excellent Development has a goal of building a million sand dams for half a billion people by 2040. This cost effectively transforms a continent.

    Reductions of other greenhouse gases and aerosols I discussed in some detail. It happens in rich economies with existing technology and with health and environmental benefits.

    I linked both science and real people. It is a global phenomenon. Hundreds of nations signed up and millions of people.

    But you can lead a cow to water..

  63. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #359 | Watts Up With That?

  64. Pingback: Weekly Local weather and Power Information Roundup #359 – IT INFORMATION

  65. Pingback: Weekly Local weather and Power Information Roundup #359 – Daily News

  66. The BBC as always are promoting awareness of climate change and in this article giving advice to prepare for survival in a future climate. This time their advice seems sensible:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-48257139/meet-the-arctic-farmer-hoping-to-make-his-town-more-sustainable

  67. Albert Hopfer

    Does anyone know of any doctor or coroner that has labeled the cause of death as “Climate Change”? Can a computer model determine when that day will occur? Perhaps more co2 = more plant life = more food less starvation? Just how long will it be before all the ice on the planet will melt and give rise to oceans and over that time would we not move cities or move people and businesses in to newer cities – that may be quite beneficial. I agree with this author – today we can not know how damage versus benefits is. That if we can’t see that clearly from this point in time – we need to move closer in time so we can see rather than debate how to spend money today to benefit others 200 years from now. Considering that 100/200 years from now there will be more solutions than we have today – that we can not calculate. CC is more a political tool to alarm and raise taxes than known to be real and its costs to attempt to curtail. And, IMO, nuclear is the future fuel not windmills.

  68. A little sunday frolic for old men; tinkering with Queen – 1986.
    “”
    “It’s a kind of magic

    One shaft of light that shows the way
    No mortal man can win this day

    The bell that rings inside your mind
    Is challenging the doors of time

    The waiting seems eternity
    The day will dawn of sanity(?)

    It’s a kind of magic
    There can be only one
    This (r)age that lasts a thousand years
    Will soon be done”
    “”

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