Fact: Climate Change is a constant feature of the Earth, predating humans and modern human activity.
Fear: Human caused increases in atmospheric carbon are causing apocalyptic global warming.
Fiction: Atmospheric carbon and temperature correlation proves causation.
Climate Change policy is a combustible cauldron of facts, fears and fictions. President Biden has flirted with declaring a climate “emergency”, the Inflation Reduction Act continues the war on fossil fuels, and the “settled science” models we are relying on have consistently overestimated warming and failed to accurately predict temperatures. That is known as a lack of predictive validity and used to be a major reason to reject such models as a basis for policymaking.
There is “absolute” archeological evidence that the earth’s climate has been changing continuously for the past 4.5 billion years. Over those 4.5 billion years oxygen was produced from carbon dioxide, plants and animals developed despite five massive, rapid climate-driven extinctions, such that at one point, 99 percent of all the Earth’s life were lost all due to climate changes. Within the past million years in the upper half of the northern hemisphere, the Earth’s climate cycled between major glaciation and habitable environment about every 140 thousand years. Climate cycles were related to the Earth’s elliptical orbit (100,000 years), wobble (every 23,000 years), and tilt (every 41,000 years).
The warmest the earth has been in the recent past was 3000 years ago (the Minoan Warming). Then the temperature cooled and increased rapidly again a little over 2000 years ago (Roman Warming), followed by substantial cooling and then about 1000 years ago the so-called Medieval Warming. All these warmings occurred without a major human driven increase in carbon dioxide. These positive temperature deviations in the Earth’s temperature had a cycle time of about 200 to 300 years.
After the Medieval Warming, the Earth then cooled for about 600 years until about 1850 when the average northern hemisphere was the coldest it had been for over 5000 years. This was the “little ice age” and for the first time in recorded history, the River Thames froze each year for over 300 years.
Fact: Climate model predictions do not match the data.
Fear: Some climate model scenarios predict apocalypse
Fiction: The science is settled. Anyone who disagrees is a denier.
Ethically responsible and effective scientists and engineers know that for models to be useful as predictive tools, they must first be tested against all available data to determine if the model predictions correlate with the reality of reproducible, experimental data. When the economic models of the 1970s failed to predict stagflation, the models and the policies had to be reworked.
In engineering, business and public policy, models lacking predictive validity should not be used to justify policy choices. Intellectual honesty and policy efficacy requires that these climate models be data tested. In 2007, a group of researchers at the University of Rochester published results of just such an analysis. “The last 25 years constitute a period of more complete and accurate observations and more realistic modelling efforts. Yet the models are seen to disagree with the observations. We suggest, therefore, that projections of future climate based on these models be viewed with much caution. “
In fact, it is even worse, because even the flawed models predict that the envisioned emissions reductions from Kyoto, Paris and the Green New Deal will avert exactly no discernable global warming over the next century. We need a new generation of atmospheric models that demonstrate predictive validity. Making changes in energy and environmental policy based on models that do not relate to experimental data is economically reckless and counterproductive.