Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why do smart people disagree about facts?

Because climate change is a concept developed by climate scientists, there is a wide spread belief that once the facts are known, there should be no reason to stop a proper course of action form being implemented. The problem is that sometimes the facts are not as clear as they seem to be, or least this is what some people claim. So do we get a pseudo controversy where there is no reason to disagree? Are the media presenting a false symmetry of positions where one side has no standing (see Seumas Milne's comment today)?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hijacking the floods

The recent flooding in the UK has prompted lots of political rhetoric and comments in the media. To be expected is the standard question about attribution, 'is there a link to climate change', or even 'have the floods been caused by climate change?'

Equally interesting is the spin applied to the events by various influential figures, such as the prime minister David Cameron, Lord Stern, or John Gummer, the former secretary of agriculture, fisheries and food under Thatcher and Major.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fokus@Helmholtz: Diskussion am 17. März in Berlin "Was können wir glauben?"

Aus einer Pressemitteilung der Helmholtz Gemeinschaft HGF:

Fokus@Helmholtz: Was können wir glauben?

Die Klimadebatte und ihre Folgen

Die nächste Folge der Diskussionsreihe „Fokus@Helmholtz“ soll unter dem Titel: „Was können wir glauben? Die Klimadebatte und ihre Folgen“ laufen. Ende März wird der zweite Teil des IPCC-Berichtes in Yokohama, Japan veröffentlicht. Er wird erneut Fragen um den Klimawandel, seine Folgen und Auswirkungen auf Mensch und Umwelt aufwerfen. Internationalen Wissenschaftler diskutieren schon jetzt zum Teil kontrovers und ringen um gemeinsame Antworten in der Klimafrage. Wenn Wissenschaftler sich schwer tun, wie können da die Bürgerinnen und Bürger verstehen, was mit unserem Klima passiert und verantwortungsvoll handeln. Warum verläuft der Streit zwischen den Forschern so heftig? Was treibt die Klimaskeptiker an? Und: Welche Fragen können Klimamodelle überhaupt beantworten? Viele Menschen fragen sich, woran sie eigentlich glauben sollen: Ist der Klimawandel doch nicht so schlimm, wie gedacht? Welchen Einfluss hat der Mensch auf ihn und in welchem Maße? Welche Rolle spielen politische Interessen, wenn es um Vorhersagen geht? 

Die HGF lädt zur vierten Veranstaltung der Reihe Fokus@Helmholtz am Montag, 17. März 2014, um 19:00 Uhr (Einlass ab 18:30 Uhr) ins DKB-Atrium (Taubenstraße 7, 10117 Berlin) ein.

  • Frank Drieschner, Die Zeit
  • Dr. Oliver Geden, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
  • Dr. Peter Heller, „Science Skeptical Blog”
  • Prof. Andreas Hense, Universität Bonn
  • Prof. Hans von Storch, Helmholtz Zentrum Geestacht Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung
Moderation: Jan-Martin Wiarda, Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft

Man bittet um eine Anmeldung.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"there is virtually NO NATURAL WEATHER due to the massive global climate engineering."

Today I got an e-mail according to which "Planet Earth is under an all out weather warfare assault.".

Normally I would simply delete such a mail, but this one seems interesting. The whole story is simply absurd, but an interesting effort to re-interprete the material (extreme weathers, very short time left before catastrophe, frog in boiling water, decline of plankton, loss of oxygen) which we know from conventional alarmist claims-making, but this time all this is related to ongoing geo-engineering. (What is new is that we are getting much more cases of Alzheimers.) Man-made climate change is not negated, and part of the geo-engineering is the release of greenhouse gases. But efforts to combat this change, or to prohibit to develop an El Nino, make things much worse and will lead within a short time (maybe a few decades of years) to catastrophe ...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

More Mike Hulme: "Can climate change be seen"?

In a short and entertaining presentation, Mike Hulme talks about a central problem in the climate debate: Do we just believe in climate change, or can it be seen? He starts with three examples, New Orleans 2005, Bangkog 2011 and Somerset (England) 2014. Only the image of the flooded Somerset landscape can be linked to climate change, as the flooding resulted from more intense rainfalls - just as projected by climate scientists. 
From here, Mike Hulme contrasts "visibilists" and "invisibilists". He takes the example of the Higgs Boson - all you can see is a graph. You can see Somerset flooding, but you have to believe in the Higgs Boson. You see because you believe - or not?  In the following, he takes an example from a different sphere in order to discuss the question of visualization: the resurrection of Christ. Thomas does not believe, unless he sees the nail marks in the hands of Jesus. It is the most daring argument in Mike Hulme's presentation. To believe without seeing - isn't that what Jesus asks for?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Science can't settle what should be done about climate change"

In The Conservversation, British geographer Mike Hulme argues that "(t)he debate about climate change needs to become more political, and less scientific." Quoting Myles Allen, he says that "even the projections of the IPCC’s more prominent critics overlap with the bottom end of the range of climate changes predicted in the IPCC’s published reports". Thus, the question of what we are going to do about climate change has nothing to do with scientific consensus: "As Roger Pielke Jr has often remarked in the context of US climate politics, it’s not for a lack of public consensus on the reality of human-caused climate change that climate policy implementation is difficult in the US."
Mike Hulme argues that we need more disagreement instead of consensus on questions which extend far beyond science.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Another hypothesis for the origin of the Little Ice Age

I just stumbled upon another hypothesis to explain the cooling - global or regional - experienced around 1700 A.D. I found it surprising, suggesting not only an anthropogenic cause for the LIA, but a Spanish cause.  As the linked  text in Abandoned footnotes  is very well explained, I leave it to the readers  to comment with any further ado.