Cli­mate fore­cast: All’s well

National Post (Latest Edition) - - FP COMMENT - Kesten C. Green, J. sCott Arm­stronG And Willie soon Kesten C. Green, Univer­sity of South Aus­tralia, is the di­rec­tor of fore­cast­ing­prin­ci­ J. Scott Arm­strong, Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, is ed­i­tor of the Prin­ci­ples of Fore­cast­ing. Willie Soon ha

For thou­sands of years peo­ple have ex­pected the cli­mate to re­main more or less the same while weather varies and sea­sons some­times dis­ap­point. Us­ing fore­casts no more so­phis­ti­cated than these, the hu­man race has pros­pered. Are things dif­fer­ent now?

For the fifth time, the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on cli­mate change (IPcc) claims they are. The dif­fer­ence, the IPcc claims, is in­creased hu­man emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide, a colour­less, odour­less, non-toxic gas; a gas that is a byprod­uct of grow­ing pros­per­ity. The IPcc as­sumes that a rel­a­tively small hu­man con­tri­bu­tion of the gas will trap the warmth of the Sun and cause dan­ger­ous warm­ing in the fu­ture. Other sci­en­tists con­test that as­sump­tion on the grounds that the effect of the gas is smaller than IPcc as­sumes, and that the cli­mate is so com­plex and in­suf­fi­ciently un­der­stood that the net effect of hu­man emis­sions on warm­ing can­not be cal­cu­lated with any con­fi­dence.

The com­puter mod­els that the IPcc rely on are com­plex rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the IPcc as­sump­tion that hu­man car­bon diox­ide emis­sions will sub­stan­tially over­heat the earth. The mod­els in­clude many as­sump­tions that main­stream sci­en­tists ques­tion.

The mod­el­ers cor­rectly state that they pro­duce sce­nar­ios. Sce­nar­ios are sto­ries con­structed from a col­lec­tion of as­sump­tions. Well-con­structed sce­nar­ios can be con­vinc­ing, in the same way that a book or a film can be. The IPcc and its sup­port­ers pro­mote these sce­nar­ios as if they were fore­casts. Sce­nar­ios are not, how­ever, the prod­uct of ev­i­dence-based fore­cast­ing pro­ce­dures: Our au­dit of the pro­ce­dures used to create the IPcc sce­nar­ios found that they vi­o­lated 72 of 89 rel­e­vant sci­en­tific fore­cast­ing prin­ci­ples.

As­ton­ish­ingly, given the ex­pen­sive poli­cies pro­posed and im­ple­mented in the name of “cli­mate change,” we are aware of only one pub­lished peer-re­viewed sci­en­tific pa­per that claims to pro­vide lon­grange cli­mate fore­casts. The pa­per is our own 2009 ar­ti­cle in the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal of Fore­cast­ing. In it we ex­am­ined the state of knowl­edge and the na­ture of the data avail­able in or­der to se­lect ap­pro­pri­ate ev­i­dence-based pro­ce­dures for long-range fore­cast­ing of global mean tem­per­a­tures. We de­ter­mined that the com­plex­ity and un­cer­tainty of the sit­u­a­tion meant that the no-change model would be the proper model to use.

We tested our no-change model us­ing the same data that the IPcc uses. To do so, we pro­duced an­nual fore­casts with no trend from one-to-100 years ahead start­ing from 1851 and step­ping for­ward

There are no sci­en­tific fore­casts of dan­ger­ous

global warm­ing

year by year un­til 1975, the year be­fore the cur­rent warm­ing alarm was raised. We did the same for the IPcc sce­nario of tem­per­a­tures in­creas­ing at a rate of 0.03°c per year in re­sponse to ex­po­nen­tially in­creas­ing hu­man car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. This pro­ce­dure yielded 7,550 fore­casts for each method.

The re­sults? Over­all, the no-trend fore­cast er­ror was one-sev­enth the er­ror of the IPcc sce­nario tem­per­a­tures. The no-trend fore­casts were as ac­cu­rate or more ac­cu­rate than the IPcc sce­nario tem­per­a­tures for all fore­cast hori­zons. cru­cially, the rel­a­tive ac­cu­racy of the no-trend fore­casts in­creased for longer hori­zons — for ex­am­ple, the no-trend fore­cast er­ror was one-twelfth that of the IPcc sce­nario tem­per­a­tures for 91- to 100-year ahead fore­casts.

Our re­search in progress tests more fore­cast­ing meth­ods, uses more and bet­ter data, and ex­tends the val­i­da­tion tests to the present time. The find­ings strengthen our con­clu­sions that there are no sci­en­tific fore­casts of dan­ger­ous global warm­ing.

Without sci­en­tific fore­casts, the alarm is false. Govern­ment pro­grams, sub­si­dies, taxes and reg­u­la­tions put up as re­sponses to the global warm­ing alarm can only re­sult in waste­ful mis­al­lo­ca­tions of valu­able re­sources.

Is it sur­pris­ing that the govern­ment would re­spond to an alarm lack­ing sci­en­tific sup­port? In our study of sit­u­a­tions that are anal­o­gous to the cur­rent alarm over sce­nar­ios of global warm­ing we iden­ti­fied 26 ear­lier move­ments based on sce­nar­ios of man­made dis­as­ter, in­clud­ing the global cool­ing alarm in the 1960s. None of them were based on sci­en­tific fore­casts. yet gov­ern­ments im­posed costly poli­cies in re­sponse to 23 of them. In no case did the fore­cast of ma­jor harm come true.

We pre­dict that the global warm­ing move­ment will even­tu­ally fade like all the oth­ers but that, also like the oth­ers, harm­ful poli­cies will re­main. We hope we are wrong.

Hu­man­ity can do bet­ter with the old and sim­ple no-trend cli­mate-fore­cast­ing model. This model is also con­sis­tent with the cur­rent need to re­duce govern­ment ex­pen­di­tures. elim­i­nat­ing govern­ment pro­grams based on un­sci­en­tific alarmist sce­nar­ios would be good for science, good for the bud­get, and good for peo­ple.

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