Archive for April, 2008
The Competitive Enterprise Institute presented three videos by climate and forecasting specialists. Among the three are: Dr. Joseph D’Aleo, a former meteorology professor at Lyndon State College in Vermont and the first director of meteorology at The Weather Channel; Dr. Kesten Green, of the International Graduate School of Business, Univesity of South Australia, and: Dr. Jim O’Brien, State Climatologist of Florida and director of the Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies.
All three videos are available at GlobalWarming.Org. Kesten Green, adviser to this website, is featured below.
Kesten Green claims that the IPCC climate models incorporate just 15% of the principles and procedures appropriate to scientific forecasting. Many IPCC scientists seem to be unaware of forecasting methodology as a scientific discipline, he adds. Instead, the Monash University specialist charges that the models’ elaborate mathematical formulas reflect the IPCC staff’s own opinions at both the input and output stages.
One senior scientist and author with the IPCC ducks the charge of unscientific methodology, according to Green, by saying the UN climate models do not constitute forecasts or predictions. However, the specific words “forecast” and “prediction” reoccur many times in IPCC reports and they’re viewed that way by the public. If the IPCC in fact hasn’t made scientific forecasts, the Australian queries, what reason is there to be worried about climate change at all?
“Scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change” have listed their names to endorse the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change. View the full text of the Manhattan Declaration and endorsers by visiting the International Climate Science Coalition website.
That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity’s real and serious problems.
That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.
That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.
That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation, and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.
That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.
Michael Goldfarb’s article “The Polar Bears Are All Right” in the Weekly Standard questions the current push to have polar bears listed as a “threated species” as a policy implemented under climate change. Below is an excerpt, full text available.
Polar bears, on the other hand, are expected to see few benefits, even if the threat they face from warming is a matter of dispute. Lindzen flatly describes worry over polar bears as “gibberish.” “Polar bears are going up in number,” he says. “They’re not worried; they can swim a hundred kilometers.” The notion of threatened polar bear populations was recently challenged by J. Scott Armstrong, a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. In an article for the journal Interfaces, Armstrong and his coauthors argued that a series of complex and “erroneous assumptions” undergird much of the research showing polar bears at risk, and they offer compelling evidence that the animals have survived far warmer conditions in the past.
Still there is a push to have the polar bear officially listed as a “threatened species.” Hugh Hewitt, who practices natural resources law in addition to hosting a radio show, explained in a recent column that the move would clear a path for environmentalists to “argue that every federal permit that allows directly or indirectly for increased emissions of hydrocarbons is a federal act that might impact the polar bear.” Such permits would thus be subject to a new range of environmental regulations affecting all manner of industry.
April 15, 2008
J. Scott Armstrong
I have been working on a book on persuasion for the past 14 years. Having reviewed the evidence, I concluded that rational arguments are not effective in leading people to change strongly held opinions—especially not in the short term. This intransigence is a problem, because if peoples’ opinions are at odds with the facts, they are likely to act and vote in ways that cause harm to themselves and others.
There is a solution, however, and that is to persuade oneself. In other words, in order to reduce the risk of making bad decisions each of us should identify what information would, if it existed, lead us to change our opinion about important issues—such as whether humanity is faced with a problem of dangerous manmade global warming.
My own self-persuasion journey on the topic of global warming started more than a year ago. Needing a featured talk for the International Symposium on Forecasting in June 2007, I discussed possible topics with Kesten Green. We concluded that global warming was an important issue that hinged on long-term forecasts. As it happened, Kevin Trenberth, an IPCC lead author, was a keynote speaker at the symposium. I sent him a cordial note and asked him if he would share his slides with me prior to the conference. He said “no.” This experience was repeated in my contacts with other people who warn of dangerous global warming. When I have asked for evidence, data, or published papers to support their position (such as the statement that all scientists agree that global warming will occur in the future), I have typically received either no reply or a refusal. Such behavior is strange for scientists. In contrast, global warming skeptics have been anxious to make their papers and the data available.
My review of the evidence led me to become a skeptic. Indeed, we were unable to find a single scientific forecast of global warming despite contacting over one hundred global warming advocates directly, and also issuing our request in talks, on email lists, and on web sites. We kept the global warming advocates informed of our research and asked them for suggestions and peer review. In return we received mostly silence although there were some nasty comments and some people who asked that they be removed from our mailing list.
My conclusion is that the scientific evidence clearly favors the skeptics’ position. In addition, I believe that the global warming advocates have violated many of the tenets of the scientific method; the global warming advocates say that it happens on both sides, but that has not been my observation.
So I have made a decision based on the evidence that I needed to convince me. In addition, in our papers, we have also described the information that would change our minds yet again—in effect, proper forecasts would convince us. We are hoping to do some of this forecasting ourselves, but it is costly and so far we have not obtained funding. Our two papers to date (available at http://publicpolicyforecasting.com) have been written with no funding.
The problem is essentially a forecasting problem. Those who are forecasting global warming have demonstrated little knowledge of how to forecast. This is unfortunate as there have been many useful (and often surprising) findings from the research on forecasting that have been published, especially over the past half century. Moreover, global warming advocates tend to become upset when the research findings are pointed out and they claim that different principles apply to them. We have replied by asking them to tell us which principles differ and to provide the evidence for their assertions. They seldom reply, and when they do, they do not provide evidence; at least, not yet.
The following is video of the Q&A portion of Examining Threats and Protections For the Polar Bear from January 30, 2008, between US Senator Barbara Boxer and Professor J. Scott Armstrong.
Professor Armstrong's letter to Senator Boxer on the forthcoming publication of Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit
April 9, 2008
The Honorable Barbara Boxer
Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Boxer,
Since presenting the presentation of my testimony on the validity of the government polar bear forecasts at your U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on January 30 of this year, I along with my co-authors Kesten Green of the University of South Australia and Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have continued to work on our research paper on the methods that were used to make the forecasts. Thanks to extensive peer review, we have made many improvements. I enclose a copy of the paper. The current version of the paper is always available at http://publicpolicyforecasting.com.
I am pleased to inform you that it has now been accepted (subject to further revisions) by Interfaces. Thus, it stands as the only peer-reviewed study on polar bear forecasting that has been accepted for journal publication.
We found the forecasts of declining polar bear numbers contained in the government’s administrative reports were not the product of scientific forecasting methods. Given the large current population of bears and the upward trend in the population, our findings lead to the conclusion that there is no scientific basis for listing polar bears. Indeed, a reliance on evidence-based forecasting suggests that it is more likely that the polar bear population will increase rather than decrease.
I would be happy to discuss the details of our paper with you.
Professor J. Scott Armstrong, The Wharton School
Through an email exchange between Roni Bell Sylvester, of Good Neighbor Law, and Kalee Kreider, spokesperson for Gore, it seems Gore is not interested in debating Dr. Willie Soon and Lord Christopher Monckton. Part of the email exchange follows.
March 13, 2008
Dear Mr. Al Gore,
Please consider this our formal request for you to come debate Dr. Willie Soon, at the Good Neighbor Forum. Many verifiable sources have informed us that you decline such invitations. If in fact this is true, please indulge us by explaining why. If this is not true, please indulge us by clarifying.
Good Neighbor is bias only towards sound science, fact and truth. We are not a militant, political, litigious or activist group. We are instead revolutionary in our drive to soundly educate, educate, educate. Our goal is to present entire pictures, and let the audience decide. We would be honored to clear the day, if you, Mr. Gore, would come debate Dr. Soon. If this date does not accommodate your schedule, please confirm a date and place that would. We’ll make it work! Please let us know immediately.
Roni Bell Sylvester
*Dr. Willie Soon – keynote speaker at the Good Neighbor Forum – was quoted in “Polar bears caught in a heated eco-debate” by Oren Dorell – U.S.A. Today, March 10, 2008.
His address “Global Warming 101- Al Gore CO2 Theory” (Good Neighbor Forum 3/15/08) was illuminating. One of Dr. Soon’s colleagues – Lord Christopher Monckton – has invited Mr. Al Gore to debate on many occasions. Mr. Gore has declined. We fail to understand why.
March 26, 2008
After meeting Dr. Willie Soon – and researching his papers further – I fail to see any reason as to why Mr. Gore would not want to clear an hour of his schedule – and openly debate either Dr. Soon or Lord Christopher Monckton. Surely he understands the gravity behind the fact that many non-govenmental agencies and all three candidates running for president are breathlessly dreaming up more policies and treaties -based on an allegedly warming earth.
As you’re well aware, making policy based on errors (I understand scientists have now documented close to 35 in Inconvenient Truth.) will have a horrific, negative impact on everyone in the world.
Many of these policies will destroy resource production in the United States. The ripple affect will be devastating. We’ll no longer be able to stave off world hunger, let alone feed our own poor and hungry.
I believe that if Tipper and Mr. Gore had the factual science on global warming, they’d reverse their positions in a heart beat for a child.
Please pose this request to Mr. Gore directly. For I believe he will be eager to vanquish these speculations surrounding global warming, and do the right thing. Again – we will make Dr. Soon or Lord Monckton available at a location convenient to Mr. Gore – within 48 hours notice.
I look forward to hearing from you soon, with a confirmation day, place and time – for us to present either Dr. Soon or Lord Monckton.
Thank you Kalee. Your attention to this critical matter is greatly appreciated.
Roni Bell Sylvester
March 26, 2008
Thank you again for your invitation.
Mr. Gore is not interested in a debate with either Dr. Soon or Lord Monckton.
As you may know, Lord Monckton and Mr. Gore exchanged op eds in a UK paper.
We are aware of Dr. Soon’s statements.
Thank you so much for reaching out and do accept my apologies that we cannot accept your kind offer.
Gore’s Global Warming Campaign Raises Ethical and Legal Questions
As a professor who has taught advertising at the Wharton School since the 1970s, I wonder whether Mr. Gore’s advertising campaign raises ethical and legal concerns.
Advertisers should be able to support their claims. Yet, as I have pointed out to Mr. Gore on numerous occasions since June 2007, there are no scientific forecasts to support claims of global warming. Details on this conclusion can be found in a paper that I and Dr. Kesten Green published titled, “Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists versus Scientific Forecasts,” (available in full text at http://publicpolicyforecasting.com). Advertisers should be expected to support their claims. In this regard, on June 19, 2007, I asked Mr. Gore to participate in a Global Warming Challenge to test his theories (see http://theclimatebet.com ). He has not agreed to the challenge.
On page 10 of his book, The Assault on Reason, Mr. Gore stated:
“We must . . . stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of
science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudostudies
known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the
public’s ability to discern the truth. . . . The climate crisis, in
particular, could cause us to reject and transcend ideologically
based distortions of the best available scientific evidence.”
Consistent with this, in March of this year I asked him: “When and under what conditions would you be willing to engage in a scientific test of your forecasts?”
I am still waiting for an answer.
I expect that Mr. Gore’s campaign will avoid two-sided messages such as might might be found in educational programs or in messages related to health (e.g., pharmaceutical advertising). Instead they will be based heavily on innuendos, anecdotes, emotion, and repetition of claims. These are approaches that are commonly used for propaganda campaigns that lack scientific evidence.
J. Scott Armstrong