Thursday, March 01, 2018

Sean Carroll: denialists have been extraordinarily effective

Climate skeptic Willie Soon has bragged ;-) that he (and Sallie Baliunas) once co-authored a paper with left-wing activist, cosmologist, and anti-thermodynamical and anti-quantum mechanical crackpot Sean Carroll – well, one that has almost 1,000 followups now – and he pointed out a tweet by Carroll from yesterday


that's been liked more than 1,000 times. Carroll praises us, the climate denialists, for our extraordinary effectiveness. We have managed to persuade most of the people that the panic about climate change is scientifically indefensible and indeed, it is just a tedious political argument, not a planetary crisis.




I actually take this compliment very seriously – and I think that the effectiveness has been remarkable. Even if you modestly count me as the average among 100 top climate denialists who have mattered, and I've often been much higher than that, each of us – a person like myself – has saved billions of dollars that could have been spent if the climate hysteria promoted by dishonest pseudoscientists such as Carroll kept on flourishing.

And it's not just the money. We have really saved the people's freedom and the children's happiness, too, among many other things.




Carroll has included a hyperlink pointing to a tweet by his fellow far left demagogue George Monbiot. Willie Soon has included a different graph in which the recent changes of the Arctic temperature don't really significantly differ from the natural variability of the 20th century.

But even if Monbiot's graph were more accurate or relevant (I am really so tired of these kindergarten pissing contests among graphs that the sides often "prefer" because of their predetermined goals, at least the alarmists almost always do act in this way), there would obviously be absolutely no reason for a worry. The Arctic is still very cold. These days, all of us in Central Europe understand that there's nothing amazing about sub-freezing temperatures. In Czechia, some weather stations recorded record cold temperatures for the date beneath –25 °C. In Pilsen, the daily lows were around –14 °C for a week. We're not really leaving buildings too much because it's damn freezing – well, yes, at least at some moments, it was colder than at the North Pole.

(Claims that this cold is "caused" by global warming are utterly ludicrous. The lower frequency of the record cold temperatures is actually the most dramatic manifestation of rising temperatures, and the continued appearance of such record cold temperatures – but otherwise "marginally" and "ordinarily" rewritten records – shows that the warming trend is obviously not game-changing.)

There is no catastrophe awaiting us or anybody even if the Arctic temperatures jumped above the freezing point for several months a year. Just to be sure, the sea level isn't affected by the melting ice floating on the ocean – which is what occupies the vicinity of the North Pole. Archimedes' principle is usually formulated differently but for the floating ice, it's equivalent to saying that if the floating ice (whose pieces are above the sea level) melts, the water arising from that ice precisely fills the holes, the parts of the ice above the sea level disappear, and the sea level doesn't change at all!

So the only worry could be whether the polar bears are intelligent enough not to get caught near the North Pole so that they couldn't be able to swim to a better place. There's some evidence that aside from being great swimmers, they're also this intelligent. But even if we had to produce a yacht for each of the 50,000 polar bears who will be alive in a few decades, it would be far cheaper than to waste trillions of dollars for a "fight against climate change". Well, by many, many orders of magnitude.

Note that Monbiot and Carroll emphasize the temperatures in the Arctic which are warmer than normal right now. But try to impress the polar bears by this self-evidently deceptive cherry-picking demagogy, comrades! People live at places like Central Europe which is much colder than the normal now and most of us think that the temperature in our city is more important than the temperature in an icy desert or a frozen ocean. (You won't impress polar bears, either, because they don't really "love" sub-freezing temperatures, either. They're just much more capable of surviving them and flourishing in such conditions than most other species.)

Carroll has used a very appropriate label, a "tedious political argument", for the climate change debate. I think that this description is excellent – his only problem is that he isn't intelligent or honest enough to actually embrace it. The climate debate is a political argument, it's driven by ideology (and some special financial interests), and it is a tedious one, indeed.

Some decade ago, I was extremely active in that and I may have been spending an hour with the climate on an average day – for many months if not years. That included some "full working days" with the climate projects. Up to recently, I also followed lots of the scientific articles on the climate and blog posts on both sides. Some 15 years ago, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have impressed me as "nominal outsiders" who were technically stronger, by far, than the people who claimed to use some linear algebra to reconstruct the temperatures in the past (Michael Mann et al.). But I found ClimateAudit.Org, Steve's website, too specialized.

So it was totally natural and excellent that a much broader mainstream climate blog, Anthony Watts' WattsUpWithThat.com, was founded at some point, and lots of wonderful news that are mostly related to the climate debate have been posted there – half a dozen per day, maybe. Despite his occasional support for cold fusion or a small number of similar idiocies, I am still a loyal fan of Watts'. But I have never had the courage to click and include that website to my feeds because the WUWT articles would totally overwhelm my list of feeds.

With these six or so WUWT articles a day, the problem is that as I see it, virtually nothing new is happening that would be related to climatology or its anthropogenic or political aspects. Just to be sure, the temperatures are fluctuating – the weather always exists – and there exists some variability of all the meteorological observables associated with every time scale you can imagine. But the "interesting" part of that is some hypothetical increasing contribution to the global mean temperature – and to the temperature everywhere.

That contribution from the man-made greenhouse gases adds a linear curve with the slope of 0–3 °C per century, and I generously include the IPCC-style 3 °C upper end that has never materialized and that seems to contradict all sane measurements and estimates that have ever been done. But even if that apparent overestimate were right, it's just 0.03 °C a year or 0.00008 °C per day. Is that contribution to the temperature a planetary emergency? Well, this question is silly. It's a totally negligible change.

If the apparently overestimated projections turned out to be accurate, the temperature in 2118 AD could be measurably different from the present temperatures – even though people would still be somewhat uncertain how to attribute that change to the individual drivers. The preferred crops could change in the agriculture of many countries. But you know, crops will change, anyway, even in the absence of the climate change. Sales (and shapes) of air-conditioning devices and heating systems will almost certainly change rather dramatically in 100 years for tons of reasons (economic and technological progress in particular) that are unrelated to the temperature change. Air-conditioned cities may be the norm in 100 years, too.

And if they're not, there's clearly nothing dangerous about a world that is 3 °C warmer. In the morning, we would have –11 °C instead of –14 °C which we actually had – it would still be chilly. In 100 years, people may find it much easier than us to switch to other sources of energy than fossil fuels. There's absolutely no reason to try to "accelerate" any of these trends.

So I can't get motivated to keep on following the details of 6 articles a day about some great stories happening in the actual climate. No actual important stories are happening in the climate itself. But there are no big stories happening in the climate science, either. There are some important findings that could have deserved the Nobel prize – such as the Milankovitch cycles, an astronomical explanation of the glaciation cycles – but the rest is a rather straightforward classical physics, aerodynamics combined with thermodynamics and a few other things, and nothing much has been changing about those for a long time.

What is the holy grail waiting for the climate scientists? I think that even independently of the climate hysteria, there's just none.

The climate science has always been one of the two least prestigious specializations for the students of physics at my Alma Mater – and probably most other good enough schools. It's not really too intellectually demanding. The laws aren't terribly sharp so it's not a high-precision science which unavoidably makes it soft for similar reasons that make social sciences soft. You can make some observations but there won't be sharp laws that you could write on your tomb – like Boltzmann's or Schwinger's tomb (Schwinger's calculations were essential for the most precise confirmed scientific prediction we have, the magnetic moment of the electron).

Climatology has only been presented as an important if not prestigious scientific discipline because the particular meme – the claim that the humans, capitalism, and industry are doing something dangerous to the climate – has been politically and ideologically convenient to a class of demagogues that includes Sean Carroll. It's not backed by actual science, it's backed just by political ideology that has teamed up with some easy-to-be-corrupted pop science. I am annoyed that these slick scammers and liars continue their exhibitionist exercises in the public and on Twitter, among other places, and that there are so many people who still fail to see their utter immorality (like the thousands of brain-dead Millennials who are always eager to "like" a tweet like Carroll's or Monbiot's).

But I am happy and proud that we've been sufficiently effective – if not extraordinarily effective – in saving the merit inside the actual big decisions and in saving the bulk of the world economy from this combination of liars, demagogues, and nuts.

Thank you very much for your help. And thank me very much, too. Dear mankind, you owe us billions of dollars but we're not in a hurry – that's what we (the climate denialists) are, sweet, generous, kind men and women.

Research: Life in California sucks

Fox News reported that according to some U.S. News study, California has the worst quality of life among the 50 U.S. states. Much of this "success" may be attributed to the fact that people like Carroll are insufferable, they say.

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