Home > AGW, Catastrophism, Climate Change, CO2 Emissions, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Policy > Close-Minded Environmental AGW Lawyer Plays The Bait

Close-Minded Environmental AGW Lawyer Plays The Bait

It is truly amazing to discover an “Open Letter to Climate Change Denialists” that is as close-minded as they can get, with sentences such as “we also welcome dissenting views, even when we think they’re unfounded” and “there’s no point in debating the science with you“.

The guy signing as Daniel Farber appears to be some sort of a “lawyer” that has written a paper titled “Climate Models: A User’s Guide” with “two goals: providing legal and policy analysts with a basic understanding of the types of computer models that are used in studying climate change, and thinking through the uses and limitations of these models for courts and agencies“.

Trouble is, the “User’s Guide” looks just like a glorified appeal on managing risk by concentrating on the “fat tail”, the potential, enormous risks should things go very badly. Its conclusions are not climate-specific: they apply to any problem with a “fat tail”. And they are wrong.

Man shall not manage risk on “worst-case scenario” alone. If one were to educate one’s children only based on that principle, one’d make their life a hell on earth. If one were to live by that principle, one’d never get out of bed in the morning. And if one were to make politics by that principle, well, no need to imagine things there, it’s been the Cheney/Rumsfeld strand of foreign policy for a few decades.

Luckily Mr Farber is no risk manager, otherwise some serious professional questions could have been made. Anyway, it would have been nice to read something more lawyerly than a rather fallacious attempt at presenting a three-possibilities choice that is obviously a reduction too far (already the second comment found a fourth possibility…)

ps as of now no much support for Mr Farber in the comments

pps Mr Farber appears to make the peculiar argument of having only AGWers as friends and acquaintances (“reaching readers who are well outside our usual circle of friends and acquaintances“)

ppps I would not be surprised if the overall goal is just to write another article attacking all anti-AGW arguments that pop up in the comments

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  1. David Harrington
    2009/06/19 at 10:54

    Well put Maurizio. If could just convince these folks that computer model do not in any way constitute evidence and the percentages quoted by scientists relaing to model predictions are how confident THEY are that they are correct and NOT how likely the outcome predicted is.

  2. Luke Warmer
    2009/06/18 at 15:11

    Thanks – have duly commented at his site. I was a bit sarcastic though, which is not a sensible tack. I thought my ending was quite good:

    PS I can just hear it at Gitmo:
    “are you willing to bet the lives and welfare of your descendants
    that there’s zero probability that these guys aren’t terrorists”
    Powerful rhetoric isn’t it. Just light on facts.

  3. 2009/06/18 at 10:50

    How about suing warmists for FROZEN crop failures, FROZEN hail victims and so on, as gorists try to hypnotize people that there is no need for any preparation for a volcanic winter e.g?
    Of course, as happened with egomaniac faraos, Romans, Maya, Aztecs, Incas first they COLLAPSE, and then they understand that hating people doesn’t help.

  4. fred g
    2009/06/18 at 04:02

    I have tried repeatedly (four attempts today) to post my comments on Farber’s article at his website. I have even tried e-mailing him directly, asking him why my comments have not appeared, even though they are on topic, cited evidence, and are non-offensive. I have not yet received a satisfactory answer.

    Since I apparently cannot have them published on his site, maybe my comments on his post can appear here. They are reproduced below:

    I clicked on your link to see your reasons why you believe those of us who do not believe in anthropogenic global warming are as wrong as Chamberlain was about Hitler’s intentions. I came to a paper by a lawyer about why computer models should be taken as essentially proof of man made global warming and should guide policy decisions.

    The computer modeling work which is so often cited as “evidence” of global warming is scientifically disreputable. See:
    http://www.forecastingprinciples.com/Public_Policy/global_warming_audit.html

    As someone who has spent many years building successful computer-based models of complex (but not climate) phenomena I am very skeptical that models of noisy data where all the driving forces are arguably not known, where you have only a very small number of good years of data with any “predictor” variables, and there has been zero successful out-of-sample tests are worth the CPU time it took to run them.

    I have taken the time to read some of the climate modeling papers by supporters of global warming. Such work, despite being implemented on computers, is little more than a restatement of the modeler’s theory (bias?) due to their inclusion of factors the builders thought to be important weighted at the levels the modeler’s believed such variables should carry. These models are not derived from observed data (as many artificial intelligence computer models of scientific, engineering, or financial phenomena are), nor have they been tested successfully on “out of sample” or new data.

    I used to believe in anthropogenic global warming until I started reading more data-oriented papers. Some of the arguments that changed my mind were the finding that CO2 levels followed, not preceded temperature change, undercutting the main thrust of global warming theory.
    http://climaterealists.com/news.php?id=1041

    Studies showing that solar effects on climate cannot be ignored are persuasive:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/254/5032/698
    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/US_Temperatures_and_Climate_Factors_since_1895.pdf

    Prof. Willie Soon has done some interesting work:
    [audio src="http://www.heartland.org/bin/media/newyork08/audio/Monday/soon.mp3" /]

    The work of the physicists Nir Shaviv and Henrik Svensmark on how decreased solar activity increases cosmic ray flow which can cool climate is especially interesting:
    http://www.sciencebits.com/CosmicRaysClimate
    http://www.sciencebits.com/CO2orSolar
    The above described ideas are to be tested in an upcoming experiment at the CERN facility in Europe.

    Recent work undercutting the idea that CO2 creates positive feedbacks (necessary for CO2 to cause global warming) has been damaging to the theory as well.
    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/03/radical-new-hypothesis-on-the-effect-of-greenhouse-gases/#more-4314

    It is amazing to me that after going through a financial crisis accentuated by reliance on poorly designed and tested computer models someone would write a paper about how we should rely on computer models which suffer from very similar egregious defects to justify imposing crushing taxes on businesses and consumers which will leave our economy prostrate.

    On the positive side, your paper you linked to on the use of computer modeling in environmental legal cases alerts me to a whole area where computer modeling may be being misused/misunderstood. I have saved it for future reference.

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