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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Facepalm: More casual death wishes from Australia

Facepalm OrangutanGuest post by Alec Rawls

Jill Singer, long time Aussie talking head:
I'm prepared to keep an open mind and propose another stunt for climate sceptics - put your strong views to the test by exposing yourselves to high concentrations of either carbon dioxide or some other colourless, odourless gas - say, carbon monoxide.

You wouldn't see or smell anything. Nor would your anti-science nonsense be heard of again. How very refreshing.
Her mind is OPEN to wishing for the deaths of those who disagree with her ignorant presumptions. All in good fun of course! But this totalitarian closed-mindedness really does seem to strike her as a kind of open mindedness. She finds the thought "refreshing."

Maybe its just an Aussie thing, like the forced tattooing of political opponents. And Singer does make a serious charge. She accuses Aussie business leader David Murray of a very unscientific leap:
Murray states there's no link between global warming and carbon dioxide emissions because carbon dioxide is necessary for life, colourless and odourless - and therefore can't be considered a pollutant.
If Murray actually said that because CO2 is necessary for life it cannot cause warming then flamboyant gibes would be merited and the rest of us could only drop our faces into our own palms. We would never hear the end of it, sigh. But the charge is false. David Murray and his interviewer both clearly distinguished the pollution question from the warming question:
DM: [Carbon dioxide] has got nothing to do with pollution.

Financial Review interviewer Colleen Ryan: What do you mean?

DM: Well, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is colourless, odourless. It is not a pollutant.

FR: Yes, but it is still bad for greenhouse gases.

DM: No it isn't. It is a tiny proportion of greenhouse gases.

FR: So, if you believe in the warming of the planet, it is a tiny proportion of that?

DM: There is no correlation between warming and carbon dioxide.

FR: So if you accept the warming of the planet, what should you do?

DM: Take measures to stop the effects of it.

FR: What about the melting of the glaciers?

DM: They're not. The amount of ice in the world is slightly increasing. It's not decreasing. It's just staggering. Staggering. So you call something a pollutant, which it is not. It is actually necessary for life. And then the people who disagree with you, you call skeptics or scumbags or doubters or something.
Murray gave a perfectly logical reason for dismissing the greenhouse effects of CO2 as dangerous and it has nothing to do with CO2 not being a pollutant. CO2's greenhouse effects can be dismissed because they are so tiny!

Exactly right. The only way CO2 warming could be dangerous is if it were dramatically amplified by water vapor feedback effects, in which case our climate would be radically unstable and sneezing would be dangerous. In other words, the only way CO2 is dangerous is if EVERYTHING is dangerous, and there is no evidence for such instability.

Singer is really just lying when she says that Murray denies a link between global warming and carbon dioxide "because carbon dioxide is necessary for life." After reading his remarks on a conservative Aussie site she accuses Murray of an unscientific leap that he absolutely did not make, then she uses this deception to justify her happy death wish for everyone who doesn't toe the party line.

If casual death wishes really were just an Australian mannerism they would appear on both sides, but Murray, for example, is the opposite of Singer. He appeals to Singer et al. to stop calling their opponents dirty names and she responds by dreaming of his annihilation. Nope, it's a believer thing, as believers in authoritarian religions have always wanted to expunge heretics.

The only twist on this old story is how today's eco-religious believers are able to imagine themselves on the side of science even as they do things like knowingly deceive their readers about what their opponents are saying. What does science mean to them if it doesn't require truth? And if they don't care about the truth, how can they possibly think they are right?

Because their religious authorities tell them so. Facepalm.

As the heat continues to go missing, expect to see a lot more of this:


Cross-posted at WUWT.

UPDATE: evidence vs. models

A Watts Up commenter thought I was being as silly as Singer with my "sneeze" remark. Actually, I was being serious. My reply:
Steveta thinks it is silly of me to suggest that if CO2 is dangerous then sneezing is dangerous. I'll admit I was taking the point to an extreme when I went all the way down to a sneeze, but isn't the general point correct?

Best estimates are that the water vapor feedback effect is negative: that it dampens temperature forcings rather than amplifying them. If we lived in a very different world, where instead of being dampened, forcings were amplified at least a couple of times over (the IPCC assumption), then otherwise transitory fluctuations could have grand effects.

As it is, the big internal variations--the ocean oscillations--can have profound effects on surface temperatures over periods of years (El Nino) and even decades (the Pacific Decadal Oscillation). Switch damping for amplification and these swings could be an order of magnitude deeper and longer. Weather would become climate. What is normally a sneeze (for the planet) would send the planet careening off in a warming or cooling direction.

Is this an unfair argument? After all, the IPCC claim is that we already live in a world with strong water vapor feedbacks. They don't see themselves as talking about a different world, but they ought to, because they are not actually looking at our world at all.

The IPCC does not estimate water vapor feedbacks (or climate sensitivity) directly. Rather, they calculate amplification effects to be whatever they would have to be in order to explain 20th century warming as being driven by CO2's tiny forcing effect. This is what Gavin Schmidt et al. are doing when they calibrate their GCMs to the data, and it is the GCMs that the IPCC is using to make all of its scary predictions.

But model-fitting isn't evidence. The fact that by tweaking hundreds of variables they can get an elaborate model to roughly track a century of temperature history is not evidence that their model is correct, any more than the fact that the geocentric model of the universe could be propped up with epicycles was evidence for the geocentric model.

So yes it is fair to say that they are looking at a different world than the one we live in, because they don't even TRY to look at the real world. They only look at what the world would have to be in order for 20th century warming to have been caused by CO2. They are looking only at this object of their own mental obsession, NOT at the evidence.

I think it is a little funny the picture of the orangutan with the palm on his face, but some others would find it offensive, especially people with black skin
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