Thursday, August 09, 2012

Degree of climate skepticism in Czechia

The server, a center-right outlet that I consider the most powerful one on the Czech Internet news market and that almost certainly belongs to the top 3, published a controversial "main story" today in the morning:
Dry springs, flooded summers: extreme weather will become a norm in Czechia
Dr Jan Pretel, the boss of the Department for Climate Change of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute and the former leader of the Czech delegation in the IPCC offers some results of their "research" in the last 5 years.

They have used a miraculous, climate-model-assisted procedure to process the data in the last 50 years (only) and decided that there will be hot summers with floods, almost no rain in the spring, and they need to help the farmers to develop more resilient crops. More frequent climate extremes are undebatable, and so on, and so on. You can imagine the ruhbish, it's pretty much the same thing you know from your country whatever it is.

It may be fair to emphasize that Dr Jan Pretel himself is not the most radical alarmist. In the past, he would say nice words about President Klaus' book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, and he even claimed that he considered plans to regulate the carbon to be silly plans. Still, he is an alarmist. And he is employed as an alarmist.

All these things look similar to what you may have seen thousands of times. However, what may be unusual is the reaction of the readers. Within hours, hundreds of comments have been posted. I would say that the percentage of the "alarmism believers" among the readers remains in single digits, I mean below 10%. There are just several comments attempting to agree with Dr Pretel's fearmongering.

The diversity of the arguments offered by those several alarmists is virtually non-existent. Pretty much all these pro-alarmist comments just say "sit down, shut up, and listen to those great scientists such as Mr Pretel". It's clear that none of these commenters has even tried to understand something about the atmosphere, about the weather, about the climate, about a rational reaction to their change. Their defense boils down to a cult of personality in which the "admirable scientists" are paradoxically the climate alarmists and they have nothing else to contribute.

Well, to be fair, there's one witty summary of the discussion by an alarmist:
The newest analysis performed by the readers of iDNES

says that nothing will happen. And even if something happened, it would be normal, and even if it weren't normal, it doesn't mean anything from the dinosaurs' viewpoint.
That's a fair summary of the skeptics' viewpoints. The alarmist fearmongering indeed requires several assumptions to be simultaneously valid and for each of them, it looks rather implausible that it is valid, but the probability that all of them are valid at the same moment is simply very low.

In other words, the spectrum of ideas (and reasons to disbelieve the concerned warnings) you can read in the comments by the skeptical majority is very broad and diverse, indeed. You find personal experience about the average spring and summer we've been experiencing this year (and dreaming about the summers with temperatures above 30 °C we have had in some years some time ago); memories by the readers about the decades of weather they have tried to remember; rather detailed data about the past climate in the Czech lands (including the climate we had centuries ago, as manifested in chronicles, weather sayings, and so on); discussions of the natural drivers; comments on unpredictability of the atmosphere for longer timeframes; observations that these people's predictions are never critically evaluated so the folks have no responsibility; remarks on the funding for similar institutes that seems to be an increasing function of the amount of fearmongering, decisions that the right way to react to anything of the sort is to adapt anyway; jokes about the European Union's attempts to command the wind, rain, and standardize the weather.

It seems to me that our natural skepticism has to be correlated with the skepticism towards religious and many other far-reaching claims. It is a part of our national character.


  1. If extreme weather becomes a norm in Czechia according to the alarmists then on which ground will they define when the weather is "regular" or normal for the season ? I want the alarmists to describe precisely for the 365 days of the year how the weather should be. I also would demand the weatherman to give us a new TV program called : "The Weather We Should Have Had Last Week" :-)

  2. Since one of the Warmers nicely summarized the skeptical position, I offer one of my favorite summaries in return...

    How Much Climate Change Is Due To Climate Change?

    Posted on June 26, 2011 by stevengoddard

    In order to determine the effects of climate change, we
    have to know how much the climate would have changed had it not been for
    climate change. Our trillion dollar supercomputer is busy modeling
    climate change – with and without the influence of climate change.
    Once we know how much climate change has affected climate change, we
    can simply subtract climate change w/o climate change from climate
    change with climate change. and the difference is the amount of climate
    We can’t say for sure that climate change is due to climate change.
    but we can say that we expected climate change to cause changes to the

  3. That is so racist, Shanon! ;^)