Saturday, November 27, 2010

The collapse of contrivance

In my presentation last week, I indicated that Climategate and Copenhagen together had combined to signal the collapse of contrivance: the use of climate change as the central narrative of environmentalist dogma and the re-distribution of wealth.

Today, on the opening of the largely irrelevant meetings in Cancun, the mainstream media (left and right) has officially declared that the collapse of contrivance is a reality:
here and here.

This collapse leaves the science of climate in somewhat of a quandary. Facing the certain collapse of their source funding, the community is finally awakening to the need to communicate more effectively with the public at large that elects the governments that supply the money that supports their research meanderings.

Judith Curry recently attempted to get her visitors to engage in an exercise intended to
raise the level of the game. Some posters got it, some, sadly, remained anchored in the arrogance of bafflement that the great unwashed does not grant anyone with a PhD in climate an automatic genuflection.

So, what is it skeptics (and the majority of the public now) don't get? Well here is a list:

  • while most everyone recognizes that the greenhouse effect exists and is necessary, they do not get how a trace gas, CO2 at 0.03% of the atmosphere, can function as the global thermostat, while water vapor at 97% of the atmosphere is just some passive feedback mechanism

  • why water vapor acts as a negative feedback on the effects of global warming, the models rely upon water vapor being a positive feedback mechanism for AGW alarmism
  • how temperatures could have exceeded today's levels as recently as 1000 yrs. ago and yet levels of CO2 were at their "historically" safe level 
  • what has fundamentally changed in the earth's atmosphere that the same trace gas that was unrelated to higher temperatures 1000 years ago, is today the principal driver of temperature change

  • we have difficulty reconciling the implied effects of CO2 with wholesale revisions and contraction of the global economy when human contributions of CO2 are but a minor component of the total

  • we don't get why science is being subordinated to political activism
The lay person may struggle with the intricacies of climate science, but they recognize political rhetoric and polemics from experience. They have no problem comprehending statist policies for centralized command and control. 

Moreover, unlike activists, scientists and politicians, they have no problem recognizing that increased centralized planning is at complete odds with the dynamics of globalization (decentralization, increased democratization of information, technology and finance).

Thus, to use the environment, and climate in particular, as the imperative for wholesale economic change requires something more than "a gut feeling". It requires transparency. It requires trust. It requires that reasonable questions of concern are answered comprehensively, not dismissively. It means acknowledging uncertainty.

The politics have damaged the science of climate decisively. And until the climate science community comes to grips with this fact, they will consigned to a central role within the collapsed contrivance. Time to Mann up, stop hiding behind the decline and get real about climate.

A reply by Gavin Schmidt in the
Curry thread indicates a start is being made, where he references this latest paper. The abstract states:
  • The relative contributions of atmospheric long-wave absorbers to the present-day global greenhouse effect are among the most misquoted statistics in public discussions of climate change.

  • With a straightforward scheme for allocating overlaps, we find that water vapour is the dominant contributor (~50% of the effect), followed by clouds (~25%) and then CO2 with ~20%. All other absorbers play only minor roles.
Unlike pervasive AGW dogma, this paper recognizes that water vapor and clouds are major variables and places the role of CO2 in context. It also presents the mainstream case in a manner that is accessible to those who are not believers in that dogma -- kinda like science. Who would have thought.

A second h/t to Curry for
this thread and her sincere attempts to move the debate forward.

Those that troll the internet however, appear to be having a hard time moving beyond the insults, the dismissals and the arrogant assertions that frustrate those who would actually discuss issues.

As Delingpole
notes in frustration:
  • ...the scientific detail is peripheral. And the reason it’s peripheral is because a corrupt, mendacious political, scientific, corporate and media establishment has rigged it that way
  • Meanwhile, the main Green war effort rumbles on regardless. Ecofascism can lose the AGW battle because – as befits the Leninist method underpinning its philosophy – AGW was never more than a convenient means to an end. Controlling the world, is what this war is ultimately about – not saving it for Mother Gaia.