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Archive for May, 2011

Much Ado About A Retraction

2011/05/17 1 comment

The Wegman (actually, Said et al) story reminds me of those “scientists” that were so happy for having got a “Nobel Prize” thanks to the IPCC. The fact that it was a Nobel Peace Prize and therefore had nothing to do with “science” didn’t seem to bother them at all. What mattered was the appearance of the “Nobel Prize”.

Likewise, Wegman’s facts are, according to some, irrelevant compared to the Wikipedia copy-and-paste. Ironically, those facts are now characterized as “not really…new results“. Seems like a good endorsement.

Come to think, it’s the same attitude that transmogrifies in the IPCC the WG findings (eg about the Sun) into the absurdist, doubt-free statements in the SPM.

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Reports of UK Demise Greatly Exaggerated – Just Don’t Trust A Word The Government Says

2011/05/16 6 comments

UPDATED with BBC News link

Pray for Britain“? UK “off a cliff“? Yesterday, I thought not.

omnologos says:

Hey, it’s the UK Government, they’ll fiddle with the figures and tamper with the reports of independent panels appointed by them, declare “victory!” and move on without having achieved any practical goal at all.

omnologos says:

the UK has a long history of bummer pledges met by creative accounting. This’ll be another example.

And in fact…the BBC flagship “Today” programme had Roger Harrabin pondering a few hours ago how the new “legally-binding” emission targets can be dependent on what the rest of EU will do (mysteriously, there’s little on the BBC website as yet). And the FT reports that it’s all going to be about a fantastic “2030 target“, and Chancellor George Osborne made it known that “nothing has been agreed“.

So the rule is as usual…especially when “targets” are involved, do not trust a word that comes out of the UK Government. Ever.

Magical #AGW Thinking

2011/05/09 4 comments

A shameless copy-and-paste of a great comment by Willis Eschenbach at Judith Curry’s blog, that ties up nicely with my “AGW is logically impossible” page. Who knows how many superb considerations are missed in the vast oceans of the internet simply because they are “just” comments?

it’s great that you have declared yourself to be against “magical thinking”, Judith. My suggestion is that you apply that excellent mantra to:

1. Moonbat. Anyone who plans to save the world through economic collapse is heavily into magic. Or mentally disturbed, but I’m going with the former.

2. CO2. The change in forcing from a doubling of CO2 is less than a 1% change in total forcing. The idea that a 1% change in a complex natural system will throw the system totally out of balance is “magical thinking” at its finest, and one that I would love to see you (or anyone) defend with examples. This one involves what I call “kid magic”. This is the kind of magic where we imagine ourselves to be much more powerful than we are, we are the “sorcerer’s apprentice” and we’re able to control things that we can barely understand.

3. Renewables. It would take a very heavy dose of magic for them to take over any amount of the requirements for just industrial power, much less total power requirements.

4. Climate mathematics. You see, you just substitute what you want, and the answer magically comes out the way you want it. (There is a subsidiary magic here, which causes problems in the mathematicians’ spines when it comes to objecting to this kind of nonsense … but I digress).

5. Climate models. Somehow, despite being unable to model the climate at annual or multi-decadal timescales, they magically can predict the climate at hundred-year scales … I see these as the modern version of “sympathetic magic”, where the power lies in the resemblance or similarity of the object to reality. If the model results look enough like the climate, it is just as magically effective (through “sympathy” or similarity) as sticking pins in a doll that looks kinda like your enemy … magical thought at its finest.

6. Mitigation of CO2. No one has ever shown that a) mitigation is practical or b) mitigation is cost-effective or c) mitigation will work. Experiments such as Kyoto have been a total failure. Despite that, mitigation is being pushed, and pushed hard, as a “solution” to your imaginary problem … and that is a point of view so heavily imbued with wishful and magical thinking as to not come close to passing the laugh test.

7. Fixing bad science through communication. This is what I call “modern magic”, where everything that is wrong is assumed to be a failure of communication. Believing that we can fix bad science through communication is magical ideation of the highest order.

And you claim to be agains “magical thinking”?

Because if you actually acted against that kind of magical thinking, Judith, you might be more credible. As it is, though, you believe in and espouse enough magical claims to give Chris Angel a headache or to make Teller speak out loud … and that’s heavy magic indeed.

Lomborg Cools It In London

2011/05/06 2 comments

Live microblogging of the screening+Q&A of Bjorn Lomborg‘s “Cool It“, organised by Legatum at London’s Soho Hotel on May 5:

  1. Almost ready to go for #Lomborg and #cool_it – Lord Monckton just sat next to me
  2. Legatum explain their interest as climate change “unfortunately” an ideological debate
  3. Climate change alarmism “one of the biggest threat” to a free society –
  4. The Man starts as usual with a T-shirt – flew out of Los Angeles yesterday – 86 minutes
  5. What if fear IS the point?
  6. Wave power in Scotland … 35 years ago, same as the Climategate inquiries
  7. Stephen Schneider comes out of this movie really badly – mostly because of himself
  8. So I agree with Gore – geoengineering is nuts
  9. Movie ends – around 100 attendees – refreshments now
  10. I suggested to reframe the solution in terms of a worry otherwise none will listen –
  11. Does he trust the science? Mentions Pielke Sr – says IPCC is broadly trusted
  12. Times journo asks why no mention of targets – L says q is ill posed as cuts depend on costs
  13. L says prob is Kyoto solutions cost more than future climate – current policies are “incredibly poor investment”
  14. Green taxes a bad idea. R&D a waste most of the time? Allocation a prob for Copenhagen Consensus 2012
  15. Governments pick “right” solutions instead of allowing researchers to work in different directions
  16. We should address specific ideas – example is X Prize. solution in numbers
  17. Economist from DECC – economies of scale? Cost of.behavioral changes? Talks of computers with vacuum tubes
  18. We should go for scale when technology is ready not too early
  19. Shame people for doing what they do or use prices? Opts for prices. Dramatic choices not using propaganda
  20. What is the proof of AGW for L? Apart from computer models? Refuses to answer directly
  21. Poor Bioengineering is getting cornered. Benny Peiser buys him some time
  22. Poor Bjorn not Bioengineering thank you Android
  23. Strongest argument finally: warming is coming but doesn’t know what feedbacks there will be
  24. Makes argument by authority and separation of careers! Yikes!
  25. Voice falters – should stick away from climate science in these occasions
  26. Monckton says mitigation cost effectiveness is an almost unknown topic. Done any calculations?
  27. Sends effusiveness towards the Lord. Debate starts on metrics
  28. “If it made money somebody would have done it”
  29. Chemtrailer spoils the night. L doesn’t believe in conspiracy but in people trying to make things more dramatic
  30. “You cannot scare people for 100 years”.
  31. Peiser ends thanking Lomborg for contributing to a calmer debate
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