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An Orwellian Climate

Fiona: Another excellent analysis by Dr Glikson. My apologies for the delay in publication. 

An Orwellian climate
by Andrew Glikson

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts” – Senator Daniel Moynihan

Science is a systematic, evidence-based, testable and self-correcting way of investigating the world. This is done through empirical observation, by experimentation and mathematics.

Ideologically dominated or totalitarian societies – such as George Orwell’s famous “1984” Ingsoc – are marked by:

  • attempts to alter reality (“2 + 2 = 5 if the party says so”)
  • elimination of history (“He who controls the past, controls the future”)
  • rewriting collective memory (“Oceania is at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia”)
  • The corruption of logic through alteration and elimination of language “Newspeak”
  • mind control (“thought crime”).

But even science fiction writers such as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley or Doris Lessing did not envisage a civilisation that would knowingly, against the best scientific evidence, devastate its own atmosphere and ocean system as comprehensively as has been and continues to be done through anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change.

The bulk of the peer-reviewed science, premier research organisations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are in agreement: carbon emissions are causing a shift in the state of the atmosphere-ocean system.

But as a spate of extreme weather events around the world, related to rising temperatures, is intensifying, so has a chorus of pro-carbon advocacy. Advocates will tell you “it is the sun”, or “the Earth is cooling”, or “coal is clean”. It must be true if the conservative think tanks say so!

Other tactics aimed at “altering reality” include:

1) Questioning the role of greenhouse gases as drivers of climate, in contrast to the basic laws of physics and chemistry (such as Planck’s law, Steffan-Bolzmann’s law, Kirchhof’s law).

2) Invoking a plethora of unsupported alternative mechanisms such as solar radiation, cosmic rays, water vapour, Mars and Venus warming, volcanic emissions and geothermal heating, to name but a few.

3) Negating empirical scientific measurements by misciting the literature and propagating unreferenced plots from unknown sources. An example is the exaggeration of the Medieval Warm Period, which reached less than 25% of 21st century warming.

4) Avoiding, misrepresenting or attacking the bulk of the peer-reviewed literature (only a very small minority of papers question anthropogenic global warming).

5) Claiming scientists are working together in some imagined climate change conspiracy.

According to Vaclav Klaus, former president of the Czech Republic: “Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”

6) Employing a plethora of websites containing recycled, long-discarded arguments.

Even Orwell couldn't predict the climate debate.

The debate would have remained academic in nature had the issue not concerned the future of the atmosphere and ocean system – the lungs of the planet – and its inhabitants, including us.

Given the daunting consequences of current climate trajectories, climate scientists wish they were wrong and that the spectre of climate change would go away.

By contrast, pro-carbon lobbyists do not appear to express too many doubts, nor appear to understand the consequences should their version of reality prove wrong.

But never mind those who deny the science, when those who have been elected on a climate change platform are giving-up or delaying critical EPS legislation.

In Australia those elected under the banner of “the greatest moral challenge of our generation" state “the coal industry is safe”. Governments fail to directly inform the population of the realities and consequences of dangerous climate change.

Here is a summary of some of these realities:

1) Global temperature has already exceeded the upper target of a +2°C relative to pre-industrial levels set by the international community at both Copenhagen and Cancun.

Thus, atmospheric greenhouse gas-forced energy rise (solar heat trapped in the atmosphere) has now reached levels equivalent of +2.3°C.

This figure is masked only by a short-lived -1.1°C cooling effect, caused mainly by industrially emitted sulphur dioxide stratospheric aerosols – particles, which partly block sunlight from reaching the surface and warming the earth.

Incredibly the +2°C target is still discussed in political and economic reports as if it hasn’t been reached.

2) The connection between the spate of extreme weather events around the globe and climate change (see figure below) is still largely ignored by governments and most of the media, which either overlook extreme weather events, or dismiss such events as once-in-a-century event.

Arguably people would only be motivated to seriously tackle climate change if and when they understand the connection between the rising spate of cyclones, floods, heat waves and fires and the rise in temperatures over continents and ocean.

3) Despite political pre-election promises, development continues on infrastructure for extracting economic carbon from coal, oil (including from the Arctic Sea), coal seam gas, oil shale and tar sands.

These developments can only lead to the further release of hundreds of gigatons of carbon into an atmosphere already at 393 parts-per-million of CO₂.

As established by multiple studies of the history of the atmosphere, a concentration of 500+/-50 parts-per-million CO₂ in the atmosphere leads to the breakup of the Antarctic ice sheet.

But paradoxically, as the evidence for dangerous climate change has been strengthening, those who do not accept the scientific evidence appear to exert increasing influence over public opinion.

Inertia prevails. The current success of pro-carbon lobby is, at least in part, attributable to the “good news”, even though false, they and their media mouthpieces appear to project, using alternate “reality”, language and terms increasingly akin to Orwellian “Newspeak”.

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.


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How the world goes round

Interesting post I found:

“Like many of my fellow travellers I like to chat with God; Fiona, that’s Her name, is a good listener and does offer me the occasional advice. The last chat I had with Fiona was about something that burns my brain – climate change. You see I have no idea who to believe when it comes to carbon “pollution” and anthropogenic global warming. I had two questions for Fiona: What causes our climate to change? And, do human beings contribute to global warming?

Fiona informed me that the complex matrix of variables related to climate change could not be comprehended by mere mortals. “After all” said Fiona, “have you ever been able to understand the inner workings of your wife’s mind?” “That’s a hard one” I replied. She then followed with a more difficult question: “Do you not think it a little bit arrogant of you, or anyone else, to think you could understand the way I manage your universe, let alone get me to change my ways?”

I must admit at that point I felt like looking for another God; but she did follow that if human beings had their hearts set on this carbon reduction game then She had a solution that would meet all our carbon reduction targets for years to come. And it would be painless; so painless in fact we could party for the rest of our lives and reduce carbon levels.

“How" I enquired......

..........“War.” Fiona replied.

Fiona then informed me that if war was a country the annual carbon emissions would equal 139 of the world’s nations. “Wow Fiona, I never thought about that.” I replied. She then suggested a little homework regarding war and carbon emissions. “After all I did give humans a particularly large brain and a free will, so get to it.” She ordered – mmm, so much for free will.

Having consulted my trusty abacus, slide rule and particularly large (overworked) brain it soon became obvious that if homo sapiens stopped dropping bombs, building war ships, tanks and nuclear bombs we could meet all our carbon reduction targets for the next 137 years, 9 months, 3 days, 2 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds; this is a fact, if you don’t believe me then do the research.

When I got back to Fiona She was most pleased that I had done my homework and rewarded me with a sunny day and a headache (She really does work in a mysterious way – but so does my beautiful wife).

She then concluded that Homo sapiens were a weird mob, for too often a solution to their problem stares them in the face – but they keep telling it to go away.”

Fair, White & Beautiful

Jay, from where iWinnie sits, which is at the arse end of a very dark hole, it would be safe to assume the above post was the work of a superlatively deluded homo sapien, or a pathologically inebriated avarian - possibly both.

But never fear, iWinnie has it  on good authority that homo sapiens are so attached to fighting wars that such behaviour is considered an essential ingredient in what determines the humane (sic) condition.

This is because wars are always conducted for humane (sic) reasons only.

Well done lads (spew).

Anyway, what blokey homo wouldn't want to have the freedom to nest upon a powerful tank - adorned with a long hard enduring phallus that repeatedly goes bang to one's desire? Every man's dream, just ask Bomber Beazley, or the belligerent Budgie (but not their wives).

Nah, war is what homo sapiens do best, keep it up lads - as long as you can.

If climate change don't take us all out, then radiation probably will, or the bloody mange - thanks very much!

Mmm, what a lovely name for a God, and rather appropriate methinks.

The Real Poop

It's fascinating (to me at least), how some rise to the surface, while others sink without a trace. It seems to depend on whether one consumes solid sustenance, solid and filling, or one is of a flighty sort liking spice and variety.

And sometimes, there is the third variety, a verbal diarrhea, that splatters everywhere, covers everything and causes an almighty stink.

So many mixed metaphors and disgusting allusions, I've upset me own iron stomach. Perhaps I'll settle it with a dose of Rumsfeld's video game, which has the same active ingredients as this, but manufactured and scented for mass marketing.

Excuse me. Nature urgently calls, though right now, I'm not quite sure which way it's going to come out. Or perhaps I should try the modern version of the lotus?

A horrible legacy for our children.

The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the US department of energy has calculated, in a sign of how weak the world's efforts have been at slowing man-made global warming.

The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

Lack of action on emission reduction is pushing the planet towards a very uncertain future.

"Really dismaying," Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University, said of the new figures.

"We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren."

While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change central estimates of business-as-usual warming by 2100 are seven degrees Fahrenheit, eventual warming of 25 degrees is feasible, he said.

"We found that a warming of 12 degrees Fahrenheit would cause some areas of the world to surpass the wet-bulb temperature limit, and a 21-degree warming would put half of the world's population in an uninhabitable environment," Huber said. "When it comes to evaluating the risk of carbon emissions, such worst-case scenarios need to be taken into account. It's the difference between a game of roulette and playing Russian roulette with a pistol. Sometimes the stakes are too high, even if there is only a small chance of losing."


Australia should ban the export of coal. This would push up the global price of coal and make alternative energy even more competitive.To carry on the way we are is putting our children at enormous risk.

The Arctic is melting

 Forget climate models: look at climate facts. This science is based on observation not on speculation.This is why scientists around the world are ringing alarm bells. We ignore their warning at our peril.

Yearly estimates show that 2011 set an all-time low for overall ice volume – which is computed from area and thickness – in the Arctic Ocean. Ice volume is already down to about one-third of what it was in the 1980’s. If the downward trend in ice volume of the past 20 years merely continues at a constant pace, practically no ice will be left in 10-15 years.

Stefan Rahmstorf is Professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University and Department Head at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. His most recent book is The Climate Crisis.

Who do you trust?

The trouble is David I read your post, and then I read this sort of stuff:

It was hailed as the scientific study that ended the global warming debate once and for all – the research that, in the words of its director, ‘proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longer’.
‘This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting,’ Prof Curry said. ‘Whatever it is that’s going on here, it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by CO2.’

Prof McKittrick added: ‘The fact is that many of the people who are in a position to provide informed criticism of this work are currently bound by confidentiality agreements.

An old canard

Hi, Justin. This is the old one that relies on the fact that 1998 was an extremely hot year, and was until last year the hottest on record. Ironically, that is one of the records that is the biggest problem in proving that it's variations in the sun's energy output that's causing it all.

The fruitloops then say that, since all the years since 1998, despite including the ten hottest years on record, are slightly less hot than 1998, "warming has stopped". Every one of those years is right at the top of that graph that they dispute, but they discount this fact (not a theory, in this case).

If you believe that many thousands of scientists have been so "bound by confidentiality agreements"  that they are unable to provide proof of this enormous conspiracy, when any one of them could make a fortune on chatshows and as an adviser to ExxonMobil if they just put their hands up, I have some very fine bridges I can sell you.

Thanks David for the reply.

Thanks David for the reply. Climate modelling is still a work in progess it would appear, it will be interesting to see how the models evolve, as time goes by.

Even if the general formulation of an unambiguous weighting scheme for various regions, variables and time- scales that takes into account model performance and dependence appears to be a long way off, a few conclusions are obvious. First, there is a lively debate in the community on the point of model weighting [Knutti, 2010], but the issue of sampling in ensembles has received very little attention. Second, diversity is critical. The number of structurally dif- ferent models is small, and maintaining a sufficiently large set of reasonably independent models that span a wide range of plausible assumptions and scientific viewpoints is important both to quantify uncertainty and to understand model differ- ences [Knutti, 2010]. Eliminating a model from an analysis is easy, extrapolation beyond the range covered by the ensem- ble is nearly impossible. Third, models are rarely built with lasting value as a primary goal [Held, 2005] and are super- seded by newer models. Yet to understand why models and their projections differ, archiving results from older model versions and common scenarios would help. Fourth, con- clusions drawn from ensembles should at least test the sen- sitivity to how models are selected in the ensemble. Current coordinated model experiments are like asking the same question to a small number of people, without thinking about how to select those people, how many to ask, and how to account for the fact that they may have similarly biased opinions. This undoubtedly makes the interpretation of the answers challenging.


Climate model genealogy

D. Masson1 and R. Knutti1 Received 30 January 2011; revised 16 March 2011; accepted 22 March 2011; published 23 April 2011.



I built a model once, a glider (christened it Albatross), it worked perfectly - in the garage. Me mate thought I was really clever (me girlfriend thought Albatross looked good), and I was chuffed, especially having designed the glider myself based on the simple laws governing the aerofoil section, carefully reckoned in partnership with the science of aerodynamics.

Anyway, we decided to give the glider its freedom in the real world - off a very high cliff, and it was bloody amazing - to see my good looking albatross disobey every law of aerodynamics and drop like a stone to the rocks below. I'd never seen anything like it.

Me mate pissed himself laughing, my girlfriend said it now looked like junk, iJustin burst into tears - then found another line of business.

Let's hope there are no iJustins  in the climate modelling industry - for all our sakes.


Never mind Jay, you too, like that cantankerous bastard Bruno, and all skeptical deniers, can look forward to burning in HELL; and as we all know: hell hath no fury like a climate scorched, or something like that.

Now, is the title of this post meant to be ironic, for the manner in which it was written appears a little bit Orwellian to me.

But nevertheless, it is only reasonable for the inquisitive observer of the empirical sciences to ask a question or two.

Climate changes as we all know, and according to a significant chunk of contemporary scientists our climate is going to get a lot hotter , and it could do so at a very rapid rate - of course, carbon based life forms of the human variety have caused this, along with a few gazillion cows.

How do who know this, apparently science is the key:

"Science is a systematic, evidence-based, testable and self-correcting way of investigating the world. This is done through empirical observation, by experimentation and mathematics."

From my understanding scientists have created computer models that give a clear indication of our firery fate, that is, if we continue to pump gazillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

Now this is what confuses me, and to all (any) readers out there who have climate knowledge I beg you to explain the following to me:

In the past our climate has changed considerably, and at times does so rapidly. I read that this is a fact. These periods occurred when human activity could not have had any material impact on the climate. Correct me if I am wrong - after all it is only something I read.

That said, if those sophisticated climate models we presently use to predict climate's future are so reliable, then what do they tell us about what caused rapid climate change in the past, or have they not been programmed to do so?

If that be the case, then have climate scientists and mathematicians developed a model that will give us a comprehensive (definitive even) understanding of the past in relation to what caused rapid ice ages and rapid global warming millions of years ago?

If so how do they explain our empirical past?  -  Forgive me if this has already been explained, but I've personally seen/read little that comprehensively explains such (and even if I did how would I know it to be true?). 

If such events have not been explained or understood, then how can the current computer models be empirically sound, and what empirical facts have been used to create the current model?

As I have mentioned, when it comes to science I'm totally Tasmanian, but it would be sensible, scientific even, to have a thorough understanding of the past before we can predict the future with any accuracy.

If previous climatic events are poorly understood would it be safe to ask: are we approaching climate science backarseward, albeit in an unconscious (but sincere) Orwellian manner?


The science of Science

Let me take a stab at answering your question, Justin, and others can add or correct.

 First, though, let me say that Andrew's description left out an important half of the scientific process. A critical component of science are theories, a theory being a coherent conceptual framework that provides an explanation for (a part of) the world. Einstein is not recognised for his discovery of 'facts' or 'knows', he is recognised for his theory of relativity, as Darwin is for the theory of natural selection. Theories are appreciated by scientists to the extent that they stand up to experimentation etc. and mathematics/logic. Scientific disciplines each have many theories, some unconnected, some related, and others contradicting each other. For example, natural selection and intelligent design. Both have a number of strengths and weaknesses (a wholly different thread), though I would argue that natural selection is a far more robust theory.

So when someone says there is Only One Truth, and thou shalt bow down to that truth proven by science, they take the name of science in vain. 

Now that I've got that off my chest (yeah, I know, for the umpteenth time), let's get to your real question on modelling. Modelling is better termed technology than science. Building models is like cooking - let's add some salt and see whether the result is better.

There is no one single master computer model that all climatologists has tested and proven. Rather, every Tom Dick and Harriette who has some research funding builds their own models. It's addictive to build and test models (much like computer games), and generally like complex computer programs, even the people who built it doesn't fully understand how it works.

Of course, technology doesn't work first time round, so it's 'trained'. For example, the computer said the temperature tomorrow was 30, while it was really 25. Let's change this bit here (which Andrew called Sulphur), and see whether we get the right answer.

So, we have all these little bees working in their computer labs, and the ones that get published mostly say that the world is getting warmer.

The world of course is not heated by carbon, it is heated by the sum, and factors such as sun flares, our distance from the sun, volcanic ash, all often have a greater influence on climate (and these are some of the reasons for past climate change). However, the argument is that man-made emissions is something man can control  

I really have no problem with this. It's how most things work  But let's not dress it up as more than it is. Because when we do so, climatology gets onto centre stage, we put it on trial, and do not focus on where the real issues lie - political science, economics and technology.  

Facts, theories, sceptics, idiots

It really isn't possible to rehearse all of the facts of what is going on in a complex situation every time it is revisited. This is why the most effective practice of idiots like Monckton is to continually restate every argument that has been comprehensively disproved, so people who have better things to do with their time have to start all over again, and when they've run out of time and patience but haven't exhaustively countered every idiot argument, the idiots go "aha, see, you didn't answer my point about how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes, so I win, nyah nyah".


  1. Jay is wrong: there are a very small number of comprehensive global climate models that pretty much explain everything for as far back as we can make estimates of temperature changes etc, and on which all the key arguments are based: the CSIRO has one of these; the UK Met Office Hadley Centre model suite is the gold standard. Of necessity they are simplified from the many thousands of detailed models of specific aspects of the climate system that feed into them.
  2. Jay is wrong: the key reason why two major groups of scientific sceptics have recently put their hands up and backed the consensus models is because changes in energy reaching earth from the sun do not explain the changes in temperature over the last half-century, indeed often heading in the opposite direction, whereas the atmospheric gas models fit very tightly. It's the way the sun's energy is retained or reradiated that is affecting the temperature, not the amount that's coming in. Your oven on full blast is what bakes your potatoes, but opening and closing the door will alter how much they get cooked.
  3. Yes, all science is theory, not fact, but theories that explain the facts and continue to do so against sustained attack over many years are the ones we try to base our decisions on.
  4. Just because it's been this warm in the past doesn't mean it isn't a problem: particularly check the UNKNOWN below on how fast sea levels rise. You really wouldn't want to live in the climate of the Cretaceous.

For those not willing to pay up for the most useful information source on the planet (New Scientist), the summarised summary is as follows:

KNOWN Greenhouse gases are warming the planet: the amount of solar heat coming in varies by about 0.1% on a timescale of years, but satellite data show no overall increase corresponding to the soaring temperatures of recent decades.

UNKNOWN How far greenhouse gas levels will rise: the biggest uncertainty is human - it is now unlikely that there will be human action to keep GG levels below dangerous; the second uncertainty is Earth's response - so far a lot of what we produce is absorbed by the oceans (which causes other problems in the food chain), whereas the best estimates of how things changed in the distant past suggest that there may be temperature levels not far above where we are now where the oceans (marine clathrates) and earth (permafrost) might start adding to the problem.

KNOWN Other pollutants are cooling the planet: mainly soot and SO2 - from the 40s to the 70s we put out so much of this crap that it was balancing the GG warming effect: now China is trying to clean its air up, global warming could accelerate.

UNKNOWN Just how big the pollutant cooling effects are: this is even more complex than the GG stuff. Most of the major models assume that there has been modest warming balanced by modest cooling. If they're wrong the planet will warm more rapidly as the aerosol pollutant levels fall.

KNOWN The planet is going to get a lot hotter.

UNKNOWN Exactly how much hotter: most studies point to 3°C from doubling CO2 levels being the most likely, but some studies of past climate suggest 6°C or more. On current trends without significant human action to reduce GG output, temperature rise could be more than 4°C by 2060, but that could be an underestimate. [NB remember the key sentence from Six Degrees "in the 4 degree [rise] world, there will be no agriculture in Australia between Tasmania and FNQ"]

UNKNOWN how the climate will change in specific regions - too many variables and tipping points that impact differentially in different places: eg ocean circulation changes, monsoon failure, dieback in tropical forests.

KNOWN Sea level will rise by many metres: in the interglacials of the last half-million years sea level was around 5 metres higher than now; around 3 million years ago, when temperatures were 1-2°C higher than the average of the last couple of millenia, sea levels were at least 25 metres higher.

UNKNOWN How quickly will sea level rise: depends primarily on how quickly ice sheets melt. Some past periods would appear to have had much faster rises than current predictions.

UNKNOWN How serious a threat warming is to life: connected to the speed of warming: given enough time, many species can adapt, but looks like to be a lot faster change than most species can cope with.

KNOWN There will be more floods and droughts.

UNKNOWN Whether there will be more hurricanes etc. There could be fewer hurricanes with more destructive power.

UNKNOWN Where the tipping points are: see earlier - the Amazon could flip from rainforest to grassland, like the Sahara flipped 8000 years ago; massive amounts of methane could be released from undersea hydrates and permafrost. Some tipping points - eg extinctions, cities going under the waves - are not reversible at all. 

The point that I left for you to puzzle out in my previous post I will spell out: almost all of the unknowns show risks that things could be a lot worse than the consensus forecasts; there aren't any really significant possibilities that things might be better. 

Extremists hate moderates most


With regard to your two points regarding my comments:


  1. You may be well right that the consensus view is based on a gold standard model or two. However, this IPCC report says that they used 23 (warning, big file).
  2. You seem to have misunderstood my statements - I was responding to Justin's comments about historical climate change.


Known unknowns

In response to the Jays of this world, the current New Scientist has a really good summary of what is known and what remains uncertain. It also has this handy analogy in the editorial:

 Would you jump off a skyscraper? What if someone told you that physicists still don't fully understand gravity: would you risk it then?

There is a common theme to all of the uncertainties in the "Unknowns", which I leave you to puzzle out for yourselves.

The burnt skeptic

David, the article itself provides an example of my concerns regarding climate change scientists (ok, it is only a popular journal, but I hold science journals to a higher standard).

sifts through the evidence to provide a brief guide to what we currently do – and don't – know about the planet's most burning issue"

(emphasis mine).

Is this statement:

  •  "known" by science; or,
  • artistic liberty?

 The journal certainly doesn't  expand on it later. Yes, at least two politicians I know claim that it is the most burning issue, but they are hardly scientists. So what do the scientists say? The relevant scientists are of course, not climatologists (nor journalists) but rather economists.

And the only rigorous study that I know of is discussed in this TED seminar (which puts global warming last in a list of 16). 

As a skeptic, I recognise catching a person in one untruth does not mean other things they say is untrue. Nor does a consensus opinion by a group of world recognised experts necessarily make something "known".

It's just life, as Justin points out: "an infinity of unknowns". 

An infinity of unknowns

Would you jump off a skyscraper?

Of course, if I had a parachute, and someone paid me.

One of the beauties of inductive reasoning is that you need absolutely no intellectual skills to understand the consequences of the bleeding obvious. All you need is a pair of eyes and a little experience with Newtons 3rd Law to learn heaps of stuff. Like it hurts when you stick your finger in a rat trap, and the Sun always rises in the east, whatever east is.

Yes, gravity, and especially its weakness, is something that confounds physicists today, yet even a wombat knows that wandering off a cliff would have unfortunate consequences.

And it's the consequences regarding climate science/AGW that power the discussion; all very scary, doomsday like.

It could be argued that the consequences of gravity can be understood by all, yet gravity as the thing in itself is poorly understood by everyone; understanding gravity is a work in progress. In another 50 years will we know more or less about gravity, it would appear the more we learn the less we know?

Although inductive logic/reasoning is beneficial and helps us survive in the interactive real world, it by no means can prove this questionable untested proposition: human activity is the cause of global warming.

Such a proposition, at this point in time, cannot be proved deductively either, as it is a hypothesis supported by questionable computer models, a soft science - a work in progress that has most likely been contaminated by enthusiasm, ego and cash. A common failing of scientists who crave recognition, and food on the table.

Nor can such a proposition be proved inductively, because human activity on Earth is only recent, and impossible to replicate on a similar scale.

So where does that leave us?

I suppose, until said propostion can be proved either deductively, or inductively we will continue dealing with enthusiasm, ego and cash. Where all that continues to lead has some predictable knowns (financially), but also an infinity of scientific and economic unknowns.

Good luck with everything, because scientifically speaking, iJustin hasn't got a bloody clue about anything climate, all that leaves is faith, and he don't have any of that.  

Seachange, here I come

Thanks David. Unfortunately, it appears one has to be a subscriber to dig into the articles. What I can read suggests that sea levels are going to rise by 60 metres by 2060, which means that I don't need to retire by the sea, the sea is going to come to me.

I was able to read another fascinating article, though on a totally different topic. 

thx, "Viona"

This piece has the pea rattling, its sense and sensibility is a big glass of water for someone lost in the cognitive desert that is the world of the early twenty first century.

All that can be added is that the phenomena of reactive denialism and micro managed mediation with climate change is actually only the most overt representationof an approach that applies to a raft of politico-economic manifestations of the same system, which is to say a global system run by the perverse, misanthropic dislocated from reality siege mentality of oligarchs and insiders and their zombies, from Beijing to the City of London, Wall St to Riyadh, the Bourse to Medellin; Zurich to Mumbai.

In the last few years we have seen the confirmation of an impression that even the slow and agonising deaths of millions of people and even the imminent advent of the oligarchs own demise, will not lever the claws of the Ralph Nicklebys of our world out of the torn flesh of humanity and the planet.

Is it all, or partly, ultimately to do with some of death wish as well as the all-consuming greed?

Do the Murdochs and Koch brothers of the world know they are on the way down and that current "policy" is nothing better than the expression of a vindictive, fearful and subjective aspiration to bring all else down with them?

Invisibility = inconsequentiality

So, for you, Jay, if something is invisible (and tasteless and, according to at least one "expert", weightless), is it incapable of posing a threat?

Just asking...

 (and what if you are wrong?)

The elephant in Wall Street

OK Fiona, I'll bite. This is the elephant I see:

Society has a number of illnesses. One of them is what I term sustainability. Science has diagnosed that a symptom of the disease is global warming caused by carbon emissions. Is science right? Probably. And Andrew is being mendacious - we are not talking facts, we are talking probabilities and he knows that full well. And worse still, as deans like to tell their graduating doctors, " In five years’ time half of what you studied in medical school will be wrong".

But there is more to come. Yes, the diagnosis is science, but the treatment is a combination of economics and political science and technology, all of which with their own uncertainties. Treatments such as home solar panels are weak technology and horrible economics.

But wait, there is even more. The Occupy Wall Street blokes keep chanting we are the ninety nine. What egocentricism! They are the one, most of the rest of the world is the ninety nine. And that is the crucial technological, political and economic issue we need to deal with. Not simply for global warming, for the fundamental disease of sustainability.

The age of Repent, and turn to the one true Science is long gone, Fiona. Proselytizers are a turn-off and a distraction. Obama didn't fail to push carbon laws because he suddenly doubted science. Neither did Gillard pass the carbon law because she was suddenly convinced by the science.

You're quite right, Fiona, I may not be seeing the full elephant. After all, earth is not even a speck in the universe.

In the mean time I've bought a couple of documentaries by David Attenborough.. That at least is a legacy I can leave my grandchildren.

The black kettle

And yes, I too am proselytising.

The blind scientists and the elephant

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

(source: http://www.noogenesis.com/pineapple/blind_men_elephant.html

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