Even More Variables to Consider

Thursday, February 23, 2006
Continuing with our look at Global Warming and predicting the future, let's consider the variables being used to assess the risks. Now we could talk temperature readings, boreholes, bristlecone pines, solar reflectivity, etc.

Just consider ice age patterns:

Or the changing patterns of the tilt of the earth:

But for the moment, let's forget about the physical science variables and think about the dismal science variables (i.e., economics). Recently two economists (David Henderson and Ian Castles) have criticized the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Let's let Henderson say it:
· For the base year of 1990 it compares output across countries on the basis of market exchange rates (MERs). These comparisons greatly overstate the differences in GDP per head between developing regions and OECD member countries.
· It builds in, for reasons that are open to question, rapid convergence in GDP per head between developing regions and OECD member countries. By thus assuming the substantial closure of a greatly overstated initial gap, it arrives at projections of output and GDP per head for developing regions which are higher than they would have been if the 1990 starting point had been correct, and high by comparison with other projections

Not only are there significant questions about the enormous number of variables and measurements needed to ascertain global warming patterns, but even the economics are questionable. According to Henderson and Castle the numbers used suggest unprecedented economic development in some countries and economic development of such a degree that the IPCC would be essentially assuming that by the year 2100 North Korea will have a higher GDP than the US. As Wayne Campbell once said, "Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt." The IPCC has not accepted their recommendations.


Morgan said...

Very interesting post, Barry, and great link to the kuro5hin article.

What will the global warmniks do if the estimates of warming over the next 100 years are revised to 0.0-0.2 degrees - based on the same model they loved just last week?

Time to find a new model? Or time to find a new crisis?

terrye said...

Thanks ofr the post. I will remember this.

Knucklehead said...

Talking to anyone who is part of the sky is falling eco-disaster crowd just puts more CO2 into the air.

They won't believe that their beloved "scientists", the "whistleblowers" out to save the planet, are after nothing more than grant money.

And telling them that if we could somehow magically manage to eliminate ALL, 100% of anthropogenic contributions to "green houses" gases would be like taking a bucketful out of a swimming pool. Even worse, making any significant dent into anthropogenic contributions would cause economic disruptions that would not be anything near worth whatever dribble of climate benefit might be achieved.

None of it matters. All they "know", all they want to "know", is that the ice caps are breaking up, the seas are coming to drown them, and hurricanes will soon engulf entire hemispheres which will be fortunate indeed since fires will be breaking out spontaneously from the global warming anyway. We'll all be roasted alive or drowned any day now.

Barry Dauphin said...

Hey, Rick's comments disappeared. Did they melt away just like the polar ice caps?

Thanks, Morgan. I think there is still much more to the issue, as I was reading a bit about how the tilt of the earth changes (aparently in a cyclical manner that resembles a sine wave, although probably not quite so smooth) and affects warming/cooling trends.


And questionning the "knowers" becomes seen as being antiscientific (a contemporary Scarlet Letter "A") and being a primitive (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Rick Ballard said...

"Did they melt away just like the polar ice caps?"

No, the author of said remarks awoke this morning, reread them and decided they added nothing.

Your post and links deserved better.

There must be some sort of Gresham's Law regarding bad data driving out good data. As long as the Bad data supports tieing Gulliver down, it's Good.

I want to come back through The Looking Glass. It's way too weird over here.

chuck said...

They won't believe that their beloved "scientists", the "whistleblowers" out to save the planet, are after nothing more than grant money.

I don't think that is all that is going on. My advisor, an atmospheric physicist, attended the AGU meeting back in the early 70's where the calculated effects of chlorine on ozone were first presented. The meeting was contentious, not because of the science, but because the investigator accused everyone else of being socially irresponsible by not demanding immediate action to prevent the end of the life as we knew it. At one time such calls to action on preliminary science raised scientific hackles, now it seems practically required in some fields. I guess everyone wants to be the guy who saved the world. Why they can't just read space opera I don't know.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


You and I both know the answer to that. People need to feel that their lives matter. They need meaning. They need a "religion". Scientists are people too. They want to feel important.

A couple of times in my life I've had cognitive dissonance as I realized that a certain role in life was not what it was cracked up to be. When I realized that these people were just human too. When I realized that my conscious mind had not accepted the hype but that my subconscious mind had done so.

The first time was when I was an undergraduate in a biology lab which was doing serious important research. This was Science!, as I had learned it all my life, this was Where It Was At, and I found it totally mundane, uninspiring, and boring. There were only a couple of other people in the lab. It was empty, devoid of life, devoid of excitement, mostly just painstaking work done hour after hour, recording data, noticing small changes. Incredibly boring.

Another time was when I first found myself a musician up on a stage. I'm a terrible musician, but I found myself a few times playing with some real musicians. Being a musician is--for me--boring. It consists almost entirely of sitting in a room by yourself, hitting the same strings over and over and over and over for hours. And then doing that day after day. Incredibly boring. But up on the stage, people look at you like you are something special, like you are some god descended amongst them. Like you are sexy or something. You're not.

But the realization that I had bought into it somehow and believed the hype even when I knew it was hype got to me.

I've had similar experiences when I found myself discussing math with some of the world's best. It's mundane, it's routine. The music doesn't play.

So, just imagine these scientists who joined Science because of the hype. They wanted to be cool. They wanted to upload a virus from their Macintosh into the alien spaceship. What a comedown! Some of them, Paul Ehrlich for example, have learned that by playing the presse ancien while their integrity burns. like Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burns, they can get attention, grants, women, success. What's not to like?