The almost final draft of the IPCC AR5 WG1 [physical basis] report will be handed to politicians tomorrow in Stockholm. It's my understanding that minor details may still change in the text, under the political pressure. Their summary for policymakers will be out on Friday and the whole report will be out on the immediately following Monday.
TV, off-topic: Sheldon Cooper won his third Emmy for the best lead comedy actor. He gave this speech. ;-)These documents have leaked – I don't have the final copies! – so many journalists already know what's inside. Despite claims that the document will acknowledge that the climate models have failed miserably (using a more diplomatic language, however), the warming trends for the previous 20 years were overstated by more than a factor of two or three, sensitivity by more than 50%, and that natural variability was neglected and shouldn't have been neglected in previous reports, it seems that the main point – screaming that a dangerous climate change is underway or around the corner – will be preserved or even strengthened, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
So they left-wing media act as if the report were already released. For example, the Guardian wrote an article on Saturday,
But another British article from Saturday, Will Hutton's rant in the Observer,
To fight climate change, we must trust the scientific truth and the collective action, the title says. Well, even if there were a "climate threat we should wrestle with", it would be far from clear whether a collective action would be the "right" solution (only an ideologically biased person could be sure from the beginning). But a more important question is whether we should "fight climate change" i.e. whether the assumption of that verbal construction is satisfied. It's not. We shouldn't "fight climate change" because climate change is a law of Nature and fighting laws of Nature is... well, unwise.
But what I find amazing about Hutton's tirade is that he isn't even trying to hide that what he writes is pure propaganda – things readers are obliged to believe even though it is spectacularly clear that there isn't and there can't be any evidence to support it. The very subtitle says
Sceptics will rubbish a new report on climate change, dismissing calls for governmental action. Don't be swayed.Nice. I understand that the documents have leaked so he may already know what will be inside (although I do think that changes may still be made for a few days). But how can he know what skeptics will say about the report? I don't know what I will say because I haven't really seen the report. When I was asked to write a summary, I insisted that my text just can't be released before the IPCC report is officially released (or at least its summary, for a shorter article) simply because I don't have the final text and all the knowledge from the previous drafts may turn out to be inaccurate.
Mr Hutton clearly faces no such hurdles. He doesn't need to see the final report or the skeptics' reactions to that report if and when he wants to write a long newspaper article about these so-far-non-existent texts.
Many other skeptics don't possess the final document, either. And even the skeptics who have the (almost) final document haven't really reacted to everything that is inside. So others simply can't know whether they will find themselves partially agreeing with the document, view it as a confirmation of some of the conclusions they have made themselves, or another step for the IPCC in the direction away from the science. We just don't know.
For this simple reason, the subtitle isn't trying to "disprove" any particular claim. What the subtitle – and most of the article, in fact – is saying is simply
Dear reader-sheep, you just mustn't listen to anything that would reduce your belief in the climate alarmism, whatever it is.Mr Hutton is saying that he doesn't want the people to listen to the opinions or evidence whose impact on the ideology has a "wrong sign". It doesn't matter to him at all whether the evidence is right or wrong. It can't possibly matter because he can't know in advance what the skeptics' observations are actually going to be. So he wants the readers to be exactly as biased and prejudiced – to be stubborn about scientifically indefensible misconceptions about a dangerous climate change – as he is.
He knows in advance that some evidence must remain taboo and shouldn't ever get to the people's middle ears, or at least not into their brains. But rational people in a free society aren't closing their eyes in front of the evidence of any kind, according to the ideological convenience of the evidence. They are evaluating the evidence according to its intellectual strength and compatibility with the known facts and the laws of Nature.
The fact that Hutton doesn't want to listen to certain evidence whatever it is isn't just an artifact of a wrong formulation or a typo written in the subtitle. Indeed, the whole article he wrote is all about this thesis – the claim that the readers of the Observer should prepare themselves for closing their eyes if they're offered evidence that could change their opinions about the "big climate questions" (or, perhaps, any climatological questions) in the inconvenient direction.
Will the report be a better piece of work than the previous one, for example? Hutton writes:
It is global science's best assessment – hedged with probabilities and acknowledging uncertainties – of where we are.A reader with IQ above 80 must be able to notice that because the final full report isn't out yet and hasn't really been looked at by unbiased folks – non-members of the team of writers – it just can't be possible to truly evaluate whether it is a better done piece of work than other pieces of work. So Hutton's claim that it's the "science's best assessment" is demonstrably just a prejudice that can't possibly have any rational justification. It's demonstrably a dogma for Mr Hutton that he must treat the work of these hacks in this inferior discipline that used to belong to the physical sciences as a pile of gems. And he wants this totally silly assumption to be a dogma for the readers, too. They don't need to see the report. They don't even need to hear any scientist's opinions about the report. They must believe that it is the "best assessment in all of science" without seeing a single paragraph of that or any reaction to that whatsoever. The readers of the Observer are obliged to believe all these insanities because the climate alarmists are the prophets in a new religion so under all circumstances, it would be a blasphemy to point out that their work isn't the best work or isn't better than the previous work or isn't more alarming than the previous work – or that they are dishonest, deluded, and corrupt crackpots. These suggestions should be banned, right? One isn't even allowed to think about these propositions, is he? The IPCC authors are nearly omniscient gods (who are, unlike the ordinary God, increasingly omniscient, whether or not this sequence of words is an oxymoron) and one shouldn't need any evidence for that at all, we learn.
The following sentence by Hutton says:
We should be desperately concerned.You should be under the supervision of experts in a psychiatric asylum if you are "desperately concerned" about climate change because this kind of despair is incompatible with the basic psychiatric health.
However, it will be met by a barrage of criticism from the new "sceptical" environmental movement – almost entirely on the political right – which, while conceding that global temperatures are rising, insists that there is still insufficient scientific proof to make alarmist predictions.Mr Hutton has a crystal ball so he may apparently predict how strong the reaction will be. Of course that he can't know it in advance. It is totally plausible that the skeptics won't react much and will treat another IPCC report, a report by an organization that has already lost most of its credibility, as a non-event. But he's saying these things because in the case that the skeptics will point out lots of mistakes etc. in the report, the readers of the Observer mustn't listen. They must close their eyes and place ear plugs into their ears.
It's not true that the opposition to the climate hysteria is "almost entirely on the political right". For example, in the Czech Republic, all parliamentary parties are mostly against the hysteria and especially policies proposed through this hysteria, and the nominally left-wing president is a climate skeptic pretty much just like his predecessor, although a much less educated and articulate one about the issue.
But it's not surprising that the degree of understanding that the climate panic is a scam is lower among the left-wingers because left-wingers are sometimes expected to take e.g. left-wing newspapers like the Observer seriously and the Observer constantly serves this utterly low-brow indoctrination to its readers. You must believe that the IPCC reports are the best things in science at least since the times of Newton (and they probably beat Newton, too) before you have any chance to see what the reports look like (or even what others who have seen the report think about it). You mustn't listen to the skeptics although it's not known what they will say. You have to be a well-behaved brainwashed citizen, the readers in the Observer are explicitly told.
Some of them will recognize – regardless of their opinions about other political questions – that this proves that the climate alarmists' position is based on a profound suppression of basic ethical values and folks like Mr Hutton are Mr Goebbels wannabes. But some of them simply don't get it. There are tons of readers of the Observer who just want to trust that the newspapers on "their political side" simply have to be right (even though they're clearly left, not right). They allow the newspapers to "educate" them even though it is spectacularly clear that this is nothing else than a case of indoctrination that has nothing to do with the evidence – and can't have anything to do with the evidence because the evidence hasn't even been released yet.
And some of these brainwashed readers live in predominantly left-wing communities where they keep on brainwashing each other, too. So it's not surprising that this social dynamics ends with a high correlation between politics and belief in AGW – especially if the likes of Mr Hutton directly say that the goal of all these insights is that there should be a "collective" action. How could possibly left-wingers and right-wingers react equally to similar purely political pronouncements? And this "collective" action is the real core of the AGW orthodoxy; detailed values for the sensitivity or any other scientific quantities never matter (AGW alarmists explicitly admit this point whenever some numbers change, even if they change by 50 or 100 percent). If the true heart of the movement is political, how could the people's reaction to the movement be uncorrelated to their politics?
There are long paragraphs in Hutton's article that exactly say what the skeptics will say about the report's being a retreat, a result of Marxism, and so on, and so on. Again, he can't know whether any of these things will be actually said by any skeptic or most skeptics. Concerning the sensitivity, he writes:
A further increase in temperatures is certain: what is uncertain is by how much. It could be as little as 0.3C by 2100, the lowest boundary of one of four scenarios. Or it could be as high as 4.5C, the upper boundary of the highest scenario.He says those things are terrifying. But they're not. 0.3 °C per century is completely undetectable in the noise of the other sources of the temperature change. But even 4.5 °C which would surely make the temperature change detectable isn't terrifying. Just add 4.5 °C to the temperature outside that you see on the thermometer and you might get a feeling what the day could be like in September 2100 under this super-exaggerated scenario.
In 2100, Pilsen would see 15 °C instead of 10.5 °C. It wouldn't be terrifying. It would be a pleasant beginning of the autumn, unlike this rather cold weather we have today. But it's not too different, anyway.
Moreover, it's spectacularly clear that 4.5 °C is an overestimate. The graph above shows the 21st century temperatures recorded so far (blue curve). The diagonal wiggly grey line shows what the blue curve should look like if the sensitivity were close to 4.5 °C. Are they similar? Can you spot the difference? A 4.5 °C is visibly incompatible with the data. The noise just isn't high enough to hide a loophole. The probability that noise of this magnitude centered around zero (with any color but no long-term trend) would "correct" the diagonal increasing grey curve to the blue one is nearly zero.
In the previous report, they deliberately didn't say anything about the "climate sensitivity's being smaller than something". This has apparently changed in the new report and the new report says that it is very or extremely likely that the sensitivity is below those 5 °C. The uncertainty is huge and the "central value" or "most likely value" was reduced from 3 °C to 2 °C simply because the scenarios with 3 °C have already become pretty much indefensible from a comparison with the data. The skeptics typically say that the sensitivity is even lower, probably close to 1 °C (which is surely compatible with all the empirical data and implies some extra half-degree of warming by 2100), and the IPCC reports did move in the skeptics' way whether someone likes it or not. They had to move because the continuously arriving numbers from the observations showed that the skeptics were, to say the least, much closer to the truth than the "truly concerned alarmists". Even many skeptics' estimates may have been overestimates; yes, even this "blasphemous" possibility could have been easily realized in the real world, Mr Hutton.
The weather will become ever more volatile. Ocean currents will be disturbed and dwindle. There will be mass movements of people trying to escape the consequences; no country will be untouched. We should act to minimise the risk.Even relatively to the already-distorted IPCC report, Mr Hutton is just making these things up. We will see that those claims about the volatility and ocean currents won't really be predicted by the report. "Mass movements" of people won't be discussed in the WG1 at all because they belong to the research of WG2 (impacts, March 2014) – and these claims about the mass movements are absurd, too. And similarly, "we should act to minimize the risk" won't be in the WG1 report at all because this is not a topic that this working group is addressing and to decide about similar matters, the IPCC has the third working group (mitigation) which will release the fifth report in April 2014.
So we can't know whether it will recommend to fight against climate change. I sincerely hope that the IPCC AR5 WG3 report in April 2014 will finally agree that it is utterly irrational to fight against climate change and all such efforts should be stopped. This conclusion would be spectacularly clear even if the climate sensitivity were near the top of the IPCC AR5 WG1's range, comparable to 5 °C, simply because the costs to "fight climate change" exceed any conceivable benefits at least by two orders of magnitude (and I think it's more like 4-6 orders of magnitude when counted inclusively and accurately enough). The actual sensitivity is by a factor of 5 smaller which reduces the "possible damages" by AGW by a factor greater than 5 and makes the benefits of the "action against climate change" even smaller (negative, in fact).
Another amazing, ideological claim by Hutton is this one:
Yet the highly ideological rightwing mind does not think in this way. Any call for collective action is to be instinctively distrusted, along with those who make it. Their motives must be suspect and the evidence on which they make their appeal necessarily flawed.The right-wing people are just a majority among those who have noticed that the "fight against climate change" movement itself is an ideological one. Moreover, climate skeptics are manifestly much more focused on the scientific and economic "beef". It's clearly primarily people like Mr Hutton whose opinions are created purely according to the ideological template. After this article he wrote, there can't be a slightest doubt in his particular case.
In fact, the idea that the fight against climate change should be "collective" assuming that there should be a fight at all is something that intelligent left-wingers will have doubts about, too. A technologically sophisticated action by a single special company or institution could be more efficient than "collective action", couldn't it? Hutton's claims to the contrary are self-evidently ideologically prejudiced.
Several following paragraphs in Hutton's tirade are dedicated to various conspiracy theories involving e.g. Lord Nigel Lawson and postmodernists (does he really believe that Nigel Lawson has teamed up with postmodernists to make any truth look relative? Postmodernists are really left-wingers who should be nearly absent among the skeptics, shouldn't they?). Despite the "bad weather" in the whole world that has conspired against his pet pseudoscientific theory (whose four main enemies are spring, summer, autumn, and winter), Hutton ends on an "optimistic" tone. The collective action will win and the climate socialism will overtake Great Britain and the world, too.
It's time for your pills, Mr Hutton.
You know, we in Czechoslovakia probably react more strongly to primitive types of propaganda such as Mr Hutton's text because we've been exposed to propaganda for "a slight majority" of the 20th century. Because of this experience, even rather ordinary people became pretty skillful in detecting propaganda, detecting what is a lie, what is a speculation, what is a signal that the powerful are blackmailing us, what threats we should be actually afraid of and what threats may be ignored, and so on. Because the people got better in identifying a primitive enough mode of propaganda, the propaganda had to get more subtle, too.
The British left-wing readers have probably not gone through this training so their skills are still very limited. That's why a highly primitive type of propaganda – and Mr Hutton's propaganda is much more primitive and transparent than any propaganda that the communists would offer the Czechoslovak citizens in the 1980s – is still publishable in British newspapers because those newspapers still find many (although the number of the readers of the Observer is shrinking every year) people who are ready to take this junk seriously.