Monday, May 05, 2008

Mainstream Media Begins to Go Skeptic

Much to the chagrin of many zealots, the mainstream media is beginning to be more questioning of the AGW rhetoric, especially in light of reports on natural ocean changes and their influence on climate trends.

This skepticism follows reports that Kyoto signatories have been over 3 times worse than the US in their increases in greenhouse gas emissions, that warming is not happening, the apocalypse has been postponed, the whole AGW scare is a hoax and is unraveling.

Now, the stock answer is that all these "minor" contemporary changes in climate are "consistent" with the models predicting dire consequences and AGW of a severe, imminent magnitude.

So, the central question then becomes, what, if anything, is inconsistent with the models and their projections?
Because if no empirical data exist, nor can exist, to invalidate the models, we do not have a scientific theory at all: we have a faith, a religion, a belief system.

Which is fine and dandy for dogma perpetuation and educational indoctrination, but it ain't science. And I am tired of people trying to pass off on me stuff under the mantle of science that does not pass muster on the most basic of levels: what invalidates the models?

Because, all empirical evidence appears to be pointing in quite the opposite direction from that touted by the purveyors of panic and moralism. To the layperson, it would seem reality is not in agreement with the models. And the mainstream media knows this and is adjusting its stance accordingly.

On Prometheus, the discussion around the "consistent with" issue reveals much about the relative ideologies people bring to this question. I was impressed, in particular, wioth the one comment posted by a respondent Jim Clarke, that I reproduce here:

Yesterday, Roger Pielke, Sr. began a post on Climate Science with the following:

"The climate issue, with respect to how humans are influencing the climate system, can be segmented into three distinct hypotheses. These are:

The human influence is minimal and natural variations dominate climate variations on all time scale;

While natural variations are important, the human influence is significant and involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings (including, but not limited to the human input of CO2);

The human influence is (dominant and) dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide."

(Note: I added the parenthesis in the third hypothesis as I believe this more accurately describes the IPCC position and what RP senior meant to say.)

The question is: are any of the observations claimed to be consistent with the third (IPCC) hypothesis in your article above, inconsistent with the other two hypotheses? No, they are not! These claims of consistency are being used to suggest that the third hypothesis is the 'correct' one, when in fact, they do no such thing. The observations are just as consistent with the other two hypothesis (if not more so), and don’t shed any light on what is the ‘cause’ of the observed.

Furthermore, we should not be asking ourselves if any given observation is consistent with any given hypothesis, but what hypothesis is MOST consistent with ALL observations on all time scales. That is how the most accurate hypothesis is determined. That is how science is supposed to work.

RP Sr. concludes that the observations fit the second hypothesis more than any other, while I lean a shade more towards the first. Now that the climate change community is being forced to admit that ocean cycles play a significant role in observed changes, I can not think of any observation that is more consistent with the third hypothesis than the other two.

On the other hand, there are many observations that are not consistent with the third (IPCC) hypothesis. For example, no Antarctic warming, insufficient upper-tropospheric warming, Spencer's work in water vapor and clouds, regional step changes in temperature consistent with ocean step changes, the history of 20th century temperature change, the current lack of warming in the oceans and atmosphere, historical evidence of global climate change throughout the Holocene and so on...

Granted, elaborate excuses have been contrived, with little or no supporting evidence, to reconcile many of these observations with the AGW hypothesis, but those are examples of scientists defending a hypothesis in spite of the facts. No such spin is required to show that the other two hypotheses are more robust!

No spin is required to show that the other two hypotheses are more robust: do you think that could be why the mainstream media also is framing the issue of climate change quite differently today than it was when Gore-mania was at its peak?

People expect politicians to lie to them. They don't necessarily like it, but they have come to expect it. They don't like to be lied to about science, nor the environment. And they will not accept it.

V for Vendetta anyone?