IT comments from a wellington entrepreneur…

Climate change update

Remember how Climategate was all the rage in the media in 2009. All the anti-climate change zealots grabs on to this like a drowning person grabs on to a life-preserver. The media was publishing all the news about the scandal and everyone was split into 2 camps, the climate change believers, and the non-believers.

It was an outrage. To be fair, both sides were relying on faith. The believers, on faith in the scientific system, and the non-believers on faith in… um… bloggers and um… well, hmm. Bloggers I guess. Which is a bit odd but anyhow. The advantage of believing in the scientific system of course is that we’re surrounded by evidence of its effectiveness. The big flaw in the non-believers argument of course is the “absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence”.

So I was wondering the other day, what was the result of all the outrage and pontification and grandstanding and accusal of betrayal and lying and falsifying data? For such an enormous scandal that rocked the scientific world, I seemed to have missed somewhat the results.

To summarise from Wikipedia (you might have to take this on faith!), basically there were a few methodological issues, and the CRU (the climate unit at the centre of the scandal) needed to be a bit more up-front and release data quicker. But essentially, nothing was found to be wrong and nothing was found to be faked. The chief guy who resigned was re-instated. And the vast majority of scientists support the concept that climate-change is being bought about by humans.

But given that there was weeks of media coverage and commentary saying how bad the scandal was, how come there was not weeks of coverage saying how everything is fine, and the scandal was a gross-misrepresentation by misguided people? And, maybe an apology for the weeks of coverage of a bunch of rubbish? And how come all the climate change nay-sayers didn’t go… oops. Yeah, guess we got that wrong.

 

But no, no such luck. At its heart, the scientific system is about a bunch of humans trying to out-do each other. A bit like the competition for places in the All Blacks squad. Its not perfect, since humans are uniquely flawed, but it is, on its evidence, the best and most effective system we have. Its a difficult position being a climate-change un-believer, because on one hand, you are using all of the results of hundreds of years of the scientific system. But then the scientific system says “oh yeah, you know the global warming thing. We’re doing that…”. And you go, “ah… well, the scientific system is a bunch of frauds, and we don’t believe anything they say…”, while turning on the scientific air-conditioner in your scientific car, driving down a chemically based road, munching on your scientifically produced big-mac… thats an awful lot of hypocrisy for one person!

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7 responses

  1. klem

    This blog sounds like nothing more than you grabbing on to a life-preserver as your ACC barge sinks to the bottom. Climate change is dead in most parts of the world except NZ and Oz. We look at you guys and wonder why you are still livng in 2009.

    Cheers

    July 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    • Hi Klem, Im not sure what you mean by ‘dead’? dead as in no-one is talking about it, or dead as in its no longer considered a problem?
      I believe that scientists still consider climate change an issue or am I mistaken? I’m sure that would be all over the media for weeks!
      Or perhaps you’re on of the non-believers in the scientific car, driving down the scientific road, using the scientific internet running on the scientific computers, while ignoring scientists?

      July 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      • klem

        Ignoring scientists would be dificult to do since I am a scientist and I work with many other scientists.

        Cheers

        July 17, 2011 at 1:08 am

  2. Hi Klem, so why is climate change dead? AFAIK the official position of almost every scientific body in the world is human-created climate change is real. Why don’t you believe in climate change?

    July 24, 2011 at 2:56 am

    • klem

      Actually I fully believe in climate change, I do not believe in Anthropogenic Climate Change. I used to be a full blown alarmist until the IPCC released their AR4 report in 2007. I actually took the time to download it and read it. I was completely astonished at the quality of the science, it was qualified, full of speculation and conclusions were heavily hedged. I discovered that climate science is still fledgling. There is no way that the science could support the claims of future climate catastrophe, but it made great copy. I began looking more closely at the claims and their support and discovered that we can’t make really those claims, yet they were still being made. It took about 6 or more months of wrestling with myself before I realized that I was a skeptic. A skeptic I remain to this day. If climate science can uncover the big hammer, the big evidence which slams the case shut, I will become a full blown alarmist once again. I wait.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:48 am

      • Dammit. Now you made me read the report…
        “The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean,
        together with ice mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can
        be explained without external forcing and very likely that it is not
        due to known natural causes alone. During this period, the sum of
        solar and volcanic forcings would likely have produced cooling,
        not warming”.
        That seems pretty reasonable to me. There is warming, and we’re pumping more crap into the air than ever, and we know the crap will tend to have a warming effect, so therefore…? That all seems reasonable. Its not unequivocal obviously, but science hardly ever is. So what bits changed you from an ‘alarmist’ to a sceptic?

        August 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

  3. Joseph

    Hi Greg! Sorry this is a bit off topic, way off topic :( Just wondered if your keyring.co.nz website (which I am a fan off) gonna be back to service again or off the internet for good? Can you make a blog about it so I can properly put this comment there? :)

    September 13, 2011 at 8:25 am

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