Saturday, 18 July 2009

Irritating climate change “skeptics”

For all the deniers out there... a breed so confident in their beliefs that they are willing to risk everybody’s future because of their overinflated egos and poor judgement.



J B said...

What are 'deniers' supposed to be denying?

It is for the nutters who think there is some imminent global catastrophe at hand to prove their point -- not the other way around!

Nick Palmer said...

Part 1
J B foamed at the mouth and wrote
"NUTTERS" - Ho Ho Ho! A pot calling a white kettle black. Ok J B, you're really asking for it! Are you ready? It is actually for the denier nutters to prove that there is zero chance of an "imminent global catastrophe" to justify doing nothing. If you advocate anything else, as you clearly do, then you have a dangerously distorted view of risk assessment.

When knowledge is incomplete, and one of the potential outcomes is a catastrophe then, even if this outcome is fairly low probability, action must be taken to avoid it. Have you got a smoke alarm fitted? - do you think that the Fire Service is a waste of money?

The point of the cartoon was to satirise the idiotic attitude of deniers by likening the climate change situation to someone who has a big medical problem - a brain tumour - and who would rather believe any old crap rather than the sensible position that the consultants know what's wrong with them and what to do about it.

Deniers are denying the overwhelming scientific evidence by perversely only believing reports that purport to show flaws in the climate change ideas that every major scientific organisation in the world has endorsed.

They are a bit like someone who looks at Cindy Crawford and doesn't see the beauty or the body or the eyes but only focusses on the mole on her cheek and claims that she is ugly because that is all that their blinkered prejudice makes them see.

Ironically, the denial movement (and it is a commercially funded movement) keep on coming up with new "moles" as each of their previous pieces of deceitful, fool-the-ignorant-suckers, "moles" get shot down. You may not be aware but so far these black propagandists, funded by American think tank/lobbyist organisations, have come up with at least 50 separate "moles" over the 30 odd years that the climate change problem has posed a threat to their ideologies and their selfish business interests.

Sinisterly, they have in recent years ruthlessly resurrected "moles" that were originally legitimate scientific criticism of the developing climate theories back in the 1950's-1960's. That genuine scientific criticism was answered back then with a lot of work, but the denialist movement has resurrected them precisely because they sound so plausible and are so likely to suck in the ordinary, but arrogant person (in the sense that those people believe they have enough knowledge to judge matters fairly - which they don't), who is prejudiced to want to believe that the "moles" disprove the whole thing.

"Deniers" is also shorthand for the full breed of irresponsible irrationals i.e. deniers, delayers and inactivists. The last two are more subtle, masquerading-as-reasonable, types.

Delayers claim that the science is not sufficiently settled and that we should do nothing until we are 100% sure - they play on the public's ignorance of the philosophy of science - the whole idea of science is that, by the very design of its philosophy, it is never ever settled.

Inactivists are even more subtle in their propaganda by claiming that doing nothing is the best bet. They claim that either A) it's not happening and never will or B) OK, it's happening but it's now too late to do anything about it or C) OK, it's happening but it won't be that serious and we'd be better off spending the money on adapting to the inevitable.

All of them ignore that if the vast majority of scientists working in the climate field, and publishing peer reviewed science are more than 90% confident (in the predictions that are based on that science) are right, then the world is in for a very rough time which will devastate the world economy.

They also seem to turn a blind eye to the other side of the majority-of-scientists-might-be-wrong coin which is that scientists may be being too conservative in their forecasts. Certainly, real world observations since the last IPCC report (2007) strongly suggest that things are happening much quicker than the forecasts.

Nick Palmer said...

Part 2

There may be some unsuspected feedback mechanism that makes things happen even faster and more dangerously than expected.

Certainly the fact that methane is currently coming up from under the ice and the permafrost was not expected anywhere so soon - methane is an extremely powerful positive feedback. That is why many scientists are now shit scared.

The climate experiment that we are currently running has never been done before - the trouble is, we're in the test tube and whatever the underlying physics of the situation is, what will happen is certain - we just don't know for sure, in advance, what that will be. Like the punk in Dirty Harry, where neither of them knew for certain whether there were any bullets in the gun, do you feel lucky?

J B wrote:
It is for the nutters who think there is some imminent global catastrophe at hand to prove their point -- not the other way around!

You surely show your ignorance of the real situation here in spades!

The basic threat is proved beyond reasonable doubt by smart people who understand the science and logic. To be insulted by being called "nutters" by ignoramuses (and/or, to be as kind as I can, gullible innocents) shows just how colossally and unjustifiably arrogant some can be.

The physics of the situation is known and the science based on that physics is as near certain as is possible (short of having a time machine to go back and run the "test tube Earth" experiment a different way).

Even the very few credible denier quoted scientists don't say what deniers seem to think. They all admit that global warming is happening, that increasing CO2 is, at least partially, responsible and that we are mostly responsible for the increase in CO2. People such as Lindzen, Christy etc. say approximately the following:

"Everyone understands that doubling CO2 will cause about 1 degree Celsius of global warming. Activists think this will trigger a reinforcing positive feedback in water vapor that will act as a multiplier for that one degree. Skeptics ask for evidence of this--which isn't really forthcoming to date.)"

The only basic difference between the two groups of scientists (one vastly much bigger than the other) is their evaluation of something called the "climate sensitivity figure" (the multiplier referred to above). If it is below 3 the small group will be right and there will only be a small rise in global temperature that will eventually stabilise causing relatively few problems. If it is 3'ish then the IPCC predictions are likely to be fairly accurate and we will be in trouble for hundreds, probably thousands of years. If it is greater than 3 our civilisation is logically doomed.

What this climate sensitivity figure actually is can only be ascertained by two methods.

1)using the aforementioned fictional time machine to run the "test tube Earth" experiment multiple times, each time changing the amounts of greenhouse gases emitted and seeing what difference it makes.

2)running the test tube experiment we're living in and seeing what happens good or bad. If it's bad then it will be too late to do anything to stop it - the climate will carry on changing for thousands of years

Still feeling lucky punk?

The climate sensitivity figure that the IPCC use is the result of thousands of man-years of work, deduction, inference, observation and analysis.

Someone like you calls all these people "nutters". I want you to look in the mirror - what sort of mindbogglingy arrogant, ignorant, stupid person do you see? Try and change please. I don't care if people like you get washed away in the potential devastation - good riddance - but I do care if your desperately stupid tiny-minded views alter the political debate at all to prevent or delay the action that is so urgently needed and thereby threaten my family, my country and my Earth.