Archive for the ‘public policy’ Category
The New York Times warns civilization likely to end due to manmade warming – Professor Armstrong tries to avert panic.
On November 24, 2012, The New York Times published an article titled “Is this the End?,” which warned that manmade global warming is likely to destroy our civilization. The article was published nine days after the NYT published Cass Sunstein’s article advocating that policies on dangerous manmade global warming should be based on cost-benefit analyses, that the government had calculated a net benefit for costly policies, and that Ronald Reagan once agreed with a cost-benefit analysis. I was unable to contact Professor Sunstein to find the sources of the “cost-benefit analyses.” In an effort to calm panic-stricken readers, I wrote a Letter to the Editor at The New York Times revealing that while cost-benefit analysis is indeed the proper method, none has shown likely net harm arising from global warming. Evidence-based forecasts of dangerous warming and of the effects of alternative policies are missing. Strangely, my evidence-based forecasts that our civilization is not threatened by dangerous warming did not meet the NYT criteria of “All the news that’s fit to print.” If you know any NYT readers, please inform them that they are safe.
Wall Street Journal readers were spared panic. They had read No Need to Panic About Global Warming in January 2012.
In a 6 September piece in The Washington Times, Willie Soon and William Briggs bring the long history of research on the connection between solar activity and Earthly temperatures up-to-date. We have reproduced the chart that appears in the article, below. For more on the relationship between the solar radiation hitting the Earth and maximum daytime temperatures, see the article, here. It is not obvious that carbon dioxide, the gas behind Al Gore and the IPCC’s dangerous manmade global warming alarmism, could explain any more of the variation in temperatures than is apparently already explained by the Sun.
Test your climate forecasting skills: It’s anonymous, and fun!
To learn about the latest developments in climate forecasting, read the draft paper by Kesten Green, Scott Armstrong, and Willie Soon from the recent International Symposium on Forecasting in Boston (June 2012). The link to the paper is here, and supporting materials are towards the bottom of the page.
In an article titled “Healthy polar bear count confounds doomsayers,” Paul Waldie in The Globe and Mail reported on 4 April…
“The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic.”
This report will come as no surprise to followers of theclimatebet.com, where we prefer scientific forecasting to politically motivated alarmism. For a recap on scientific forecasting’s contribution to the polar bear population question, Scott Armstrong’s letter 2008 to Senator Barbara Boxer, who chaired a hearing on the issue, is here.
The 2008 paper on polar bear population forecasting, by Scott Armstrong, Kesten Green, and Willie Soon, is available here.
To see the rest of Paul Waldie’s report on the happy state of the polar bear population in 2012, see here.
With global mean temperatures again below the 30-year average, forecasts of manmade CO2 warming and drought must be looking doubtful even to the casual observer as she trudges through the snow in Europe or the US, or wonders what happened to summer in Australia. Indeed, when people with open minds are told they will have to pay, they start to pay attention and take the trouble to assess the evidence themselves. The Auditor General found that Australians weren’t persuaded by their government’s desperate attempts to convince them that making their energy expensive was a good idea.
The Gore-Armstrong climate bet has now completed four-tenths of its ten-year race with Scott Armstrong in the lead. The latest graph and data are available to the right. Click on the graph to show a larger version of the graph with the data. You will see that we finished 2011 with average global temperatures for the year slightly lower than the bet benchmark year of 2007.
While Professor Armstrong is confident that his no-change forecasting method is better than Gore and the IPCC’s +0.03C per annum unscientific extrapolation, ten years is short in climate terms, and Mr Gore is still in with a chance. To provide some perspective, climatologists sometimes use seven years as the duration of a climate period. Over the last seven years, the UAH global temperature anomaly series has trended upwards at a rate of 0.008C per year. The solar magnetic activity cycle has a period of about 11 year. Over the last 11 years, the temperature series has had a trend of +0.019C per year. The former trend is much closer to Prof Armstrong’s no-change forecast than it is to Mr Gore’s extrapolation, but the latter is somewhat closer to Mr Gore’s extrapolation. The trend for the entire 33 year period of the UAH temperature series, at +0.0138C per annum, marginally favors Prof Armstrong’s forecasting method and suggests that there is no reason for alarm.
Theclimatebet.com will continue to report monthly results on The Climate Bet, assuming that Mr. Gore took the bet. Professor Armstrong maintains that changes in temperature are natural variations that occur over time. He expects the scientific approach to forecasting will win in the long-run, though he realizes the 10 years of the bet may not be long enough. When he proposed the bet, simulations of temperature changes over the previous 157 years indicated that his chances of winning would be somewhat greater than 62%.
An article by Kesten Green, Scott Armstrong, and Willie Soon in the International Journal of Forecasting explains the reasons behind Professor Armstrong’s choice of the no-change model for forecasting global average temperatures. It is available here.
With November’s temperature anomaly at 0.12, the Global mean temperature was below the 2007 benchmark for The Climate Bet, and Armstrong’s forecast, for a second month running. See the graph updated with November data on the right.
Global mean temperatures (more correctly, global mean temperature anomalies) for April and May 2011 have been added to our bet chart at top right. After three months at or below the 1981-2010 baseline, April and May were 0.12°C and 0.14°C above the baseline. Temperatures remained below the 2007 mean that Scott Armstrong offered to bet on, however, as they have done since the beginning of 2011. As a consequence, the errors to date from the forecasts that represent the pronouncements of Al Gore and the IPCC are in total 1.8% larger than those from the Armstrong forecasts.
As we have pointed out before, while Armstrong’s bet is based on evidence-based principles and Gore’s is not, 10 years is a short time period for bets about the climate and so the chance of a reversal are not much less than 50%.
In a response to environmentalist Bill McKibben’s assertion in the Washington Post that severe weather was becoming more common and more severe as a consequence of human CO2 emissions, Donald Boudreaux of GMU pointed out in the Wall Street Journal that there has been no clear trend in severe weather and, more importantly, deaths in the U.S. have declined in recent decades despite an increasing population.
Boudreaux argues that the trend of fewer deaths is consistent with economic theory and much evidence that people are creative and resourceful in market economies and that this creativity and resourcefulness drives adaptions that result in people living longer.
So confident is Boudreaux in extrapolating this trend, that he has offered to bet McKibben, or Al Gore or Paul Krugman, $10,000 that “the average annual number of Americans killed by these violent weather events from 2011 through 2030 will be lower than it was from 1991 through 2010″. Boudreaux’s WSJ column is here.
Research on Forecasting for the Manmade Global Warming Alarm
Testimony to Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on “Climate Change: Examining the processes used to create science and policy” – March 31, 2011
Professor J. Scott Armstrong, University of Pennsylvania,
with Kesten C. Green, University of South Australia,
and Willie Soon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
The validity of the manmade global warming alarm requires the support of scientific forecasts of (1) a substantive long-term rise in global mean temperatures in the absence of regulations, (2) serious net harmful effects due to global warming, and (3) cost-effective regulations that would produce net beneficial effects versus alternatives policies, including doing nothing.
Without scientific forecasts for all three aspects of the alarm, there is no scientific basis to enact regulations. In effect, the warming alarm is like a three-legged stool: each leg needs to be strong. Despite repeated appeals to global warming alarmists, we have been unable to find scientific forecasts for any of the three legs.
We drew upon scientific (evidence-based) forecasting principles to audit the forecasting procedures used to forecast global mean temperatures by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—leg “1” of the stool. This audit found that the IPCC procedures violated 81% of the 89 relevant forecasting principles.
We also audited forecasting procedures, used in two papers, that were written to support regulation regarding the protection of polar bears from global warming —leg “3” of the stool. On average, the forecasting procedures violated 85% of the 90 relevant principles.
The warming alarmists have not demonstrated the predictive validity of their procedures. Instead, their argument for predictive validity is based on their claim that nearly all scientists agree with the forecasts. This count of “votes” by scientists is not only an incorrect tally of scientific opinion, it is also, and most importantly, contrary to the scientific method.
We conducted a validation test of the IPCC forecasts that were based on the assumption that there would be no regulations. The errors for the IPCC model long-term forecasts (for 91 to 100 years in the future) were 12.6 times larger than those from an evidence-based “no change” model.
Based on our own analyses and the documented unscientific behavior of global warming alarmists, we concluded that the global warming alarm is the product of an anti-scientific political movement.
Having come to this conclusion, we turned to the “structured analogies” method to forecast the likely outcomes of the warming alarmist movement. In our ongoing study we have, to date, identified 26 similar historical alarmist movements. None of the forecasts behind the analogous alarms proved correct. Twenty-five alarms involved calls for government intervention and the government imposed regulations in 23. None of the 23 interventions was effective and harm was caused by 20 of them.
Our findings on the scientific evidence related to global warming forecasts lead to the following recommendations:
1. End government funding for climate change research.
2. End government funding for research predicated on global warming (e.g., alternative energy; CO2 reduction; habitat loss).
3. End government programs and repeal regulations predicated on global warming.
4. End government support for organizations that lobby or campaign predicated on global warming.