[LINK] Last Call - Was - In Retirement on this thread

Gordon Keith gordonkeith at acslink.net.au
Mon Jul 2 14:27:44 AEST 2012

On Fri, 29 Jun 2012 04:56:23 PM TKoltai wrote:
> I should leave well enough alone... 

You and me both ;-)

> When Scientists stop hamming it up for the press, then I guess your
> comments above might be taken with some seriousness until then...

That would have been the 1970s and 80s. They found that no one would listen to 
them until they started hamming it up for the press.

> Any Scientists that acts like this is being political, manipulative and
> is obviously no longer an impartial scientist...

Two out of three ain't bad.

The vast majority of scientist just do the science to the best of their 
abilities and no one hears anything about it expect the people that read the 
scientific journals.

Scientists tend to be thinking people and a number of them realise that the 
implications of their work involves significant impacts to their lives unless 
something is done, and that nothing was being done. A small minority of these 
have been willing to step forward and engage in the political process.

These scientists engage in political and manipulative communication to try and 
tell people about their science because of the implied impacts to the society 
that the scientists are a part of.

When the reason for the political action is because of the science then I 
contend they are still acting as impartial scientists. (If the political 
action was for other reasons and the science was being used to support those 
reasons then they are no longer acting as impartial scientists). 

> However, as per the above example, Scientists often become embroiled in
> political debates [by becoming alarmist spokespersons] to support their
> sources of continuing funding.
> This is when they should automatically be banned from further
> contributions to the field as obviously objectivity, an important
> ingredient in science has been thrown out the window...

Most scientists (not just climate) are fairly passionate about their work and 
I have doubts about how truly objective they are. That is why the system of 
peer review is so important in the scientific process. If you exclude anyone 
from contributing in a field if their objectivity is suspect you will shut 
down most science.

Your underlying premise is that the scientists are engaging in public debate 
to support their sources of continuing funding. My experience is that they 
engage in public debate because the science drives them to it.

The solution to your problem would be to change the funding model so that good 
science which contradicts climate change is more likely to attract funding 
than science which supports climate change. 

You do realise that the major sources of funding for climate change science 
has been governments (including Australia and the US) who would very much like 
evidence that refutes climate change and the reason they haven't been funding 
"climate stability science" (can't think of a good term for it just now) is 
because there isn't any _good_ science (from an objective point of view) that 
supports climate stability. 

The science that gets funding tends to be about resolving the uncertainties in 
climate change, including proving it isn't happening if it isn't. The science 
is showing again and again that change is happening. There are still a lot of 
uncertainties but mostly about how bad it will get.

> What wasn't announced was that the original fires [according to several
> independent eye witnesses], were started by multiple fiery meteorites.
> The Weather bureau is still claiming lightning strikes started the
> Colorado fires.

A non sequitur. The cause of ignition is irrelevant to the conditions which 
make it more likely to spread.

> So seeing people are keen on throwing around numbers... Let me throw
> some...
> An adult human male expels around 900 grams of CO2 per 24 hours.
> Therefore (with smoothing) it would reasonable to claim .535 grams per
> human person.
> If pop = 7.1b then Human CO2 breathing output = 1,464,197,500 AT

Another non sequitur. 

The movement of carbon within the biosphere has no net impact. It is only the 
introduction of additional carbon to the biosphere that has any consequence.

> If volcanoes underwater = 4% active and number = 3.7 M and average CO2
> output per Volcano = 20 MGT per annum then
> Total CO2 output from undersea volcanoes = 296,000,000,000 Tonnes

Those are three big ifs.

Not at all my field but the figures in the scientific literature seem to be 
about 3 orders of magnitude smaller.

The Australian Academy of Science Q&A on climate change 
http://science.org.au/reports/climatechange2010.pdf (linked from 
http://science.org.au/policy/climatechange.html ) states:

The combined annual emissions from volcanoes on land and under the sea 
averaged over several decades are less than 1% of CO2 emissions in 2009 from 
fossil fuels, industrial processes and deforestation.

I'm happy to rely on the experts.

> Just out of curiosity, then, which of the following fires in Australia
> can be blamed on global warming?

You can never blame any single event on global warming. Global warming changes 
the probability of events - it doesn't cause them. What used to be a one in  
100 year fire/drought/flood may become a one in 50 year or one in 10 year 
event after climate change. That's what climate change is. 

Have another look at the quote you start with:

" A trio of scientists say the scorching heat, high winds and bone-dry
conditions fuelling catastrophic wildfires in the US offer a preview of
the kind of disasters human-caused climate change could bring.

"What we're seeing is a window into what global warming really looks
like," Princeton University's Michael Oppenheimer said.

"It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of
environmental disaster... this provides vivid images of what we can
expect to see more of in the future." /Quote

They are not saying this event was caused by climate change. They are saying 
climate change makes the conditions that fuelled this event more likely.

> On an interesting note and apparently unrelated to Global warming but
> definitely related to planetary perturbations is....
> That Sunday is going to be one second longer boys and girls...
> That's one additional second to be added to your clocks forever...
> Think about that.. When was the last time that happened ?

December 31 2008 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_seconds

> Gordon, you can reply if you wish, but at Midnight tonight, our world in
> Australia changes, economically for the worst.

Again not my field :-) (although I do have a degree in Economics).

Again a non sequitur. 

The quality of policy responses to climate change make no difference at all to 
the reality and science of climate change.

> Unless someone can convince our politicians to not further penalise the
> already badly [economically] wounded people of Australia, we will all
> continue to see the negative results of climate change as it pertains to
> fiscal policy for a very very long time.

You could probably say the same about defence spending penalising the 
Australian economy and negative impacts of foreign policy as it pertains to 
fiscal policy. Although the impact of defence spending on the economy is 
probably a couple of orders of magnitude greater than that of climate change 

> Further, if the underlying data in relation to climate change is wrong,
> and the impost from that initiative on Australians' leads to an increase
> to the 3309 stats, then I think future generations will remember that
> historically as the commencement of Australia's darkest hour.

Will the sky also fall if the threat model used by defence to determine its 
spending is wrong?


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