Shortfall — A Climate Blog
Select links and thoughts on science, the scientific method, climate, decarbonization, energy, and energy policy. I update this page daily (more or less). Please link to ClimateCurious.blog. For more structured information, visit ClimateCurious.com.
Items marked with a * are particularly important.
NOTE: For 2021, I have switched to substack, where I am busy getting everything ready. Feel free to explore there and here. This URL will redirect when it’s ready: www.climatecurious.blog.
The human mind is a miracle, and you will never see it spring more beautifully into action than when it is fighting against evidence that it needs to change.
— David Wong
Three nuclear projects are now well funded and hiring:
I study CO2 all day long, and I believe the impact of manmade CO2 this century might be measurable with very sensitive instruments, but it won’t be anything people will notice. By 2100, we’ll be richer, the earth will be greener, wildlands will be well cared for, biodiversity will be what it is today more or less, humans will be far better off, there won’t be a mass extinction, and British wine will still be terrible.
Bjorn Lomborg thinks climate change is “real,” which helps him sell his message, but he also wants people to understand that it is no big deal. He says that 48 percent of people polled think that climate change will end the human race. We should focus on sound energy policy and ignore the IPCC and their alarm. Send this video to your friends, post it on Facebook, tweet it, and talk about it:
Are you Being Lied to?
This is the graph of temperatures we see so often:
We’re used to seeing this as part of Al Gore’s “hockey stick” graph that proves the earth is warming. But is it true? Does this graph represent what nature is doing, or what people are doing? Mark Fife breaks it down in an excellent short piece, looking at the data. Here is one of his graphs, taken from the same data as above:
There is no question that summers in the 1930s were much hotter than any summers that have followed so far. There is also no anthropogenic reason for any trends, up or down. Temperature, climate, and weather are highly variable. Fife concludes:
The indication is the hottest months of summer have become milder instead of hotter. It does appear the number of excessively harsh winters has fallen to practically zero, at least as of 2011. Perhaps, in addition to becoming milder, summer is now lasting longer. Perhaps, since winter has also become milder, spring is arriving sooner. Longer, milder summers and shorter, milder winters would usually be considered good things. If that is indeed the case any resulting increase in annual temperature averages should likewise be considered in the same light.
I am not really seeing good weather as a valid reason to increase taxes, drive up energy costs, degrade economies, cede our sovereignty to some world government, cover huge plots of land with bird and bat shredders, or to forbid the poorest nations on the planet the means to lift their people out of poverty.
Offshore Wind Turbines
Wind turbines: great for virtue signaling; bad for the environment, unworkable economics. A short analyisis by the Manhattan Institute.
Stop These Things — a blog dedicated to informing the public about the all-in costs and benefits of wind power.
Andy’s work is impressive. His blog features his most of his recent writing. He has also written one of the best short summaries of the “global warming problem” I have seen. It takes less than ten minutes and provides a good perspective on the science. Please allocate ten minutes and read Modern Climate Change Science*.
Andy also has a new technical piece on why we should measure ocean surface temperatures better, but we aren’t yet able to construct data sets and see trends that are robust.
Rod Adams — Nuclear Man
Regardless of how much you understand about CO2, the solution is nuclear power. Rod Adams has a lot to say about nuclear energy. He has a web site and podcast that are worth checking out. Here he is talking with Alex Epstein:
Most Published Research Wrong?
The more you study peer review, the worse it smells. Derek Muller, the impressario behind the excellent Veritasium YouTube channel, and whose only bad video was the one on climate change, takes you through the math of John Ioannidis’ landmark 2005 paper, Why Most Published Research Findings are False. I probably cut and paste this URL as much as any other besides Matt Ridley’s talks. Please share:
Now that we have a new Supreme-Court justice who is a devout Catholic, it’s time to talk about religion and science. In my view, a religious scientist must prioritize religion (or social conformance signaling) over science, because if science came first they would drop the religion, as I did at age ten. To me, it was obvious, but if your dad is a preacher, priest, or rabbi, I’m sure the cognitive dissonance is loud.
I’m pretty sure most religious scientists would disagree with me, though. They would say these are orthogonal axes — science and religion don’t really have anything to do with each other. I think religious believers are very skilled at defining their belief system so it can’t be assailed by evidence or logic.
There are dozens of solid scientists I respect who are doing their best to communicate that CO2 is not causing dramatic warming and there is no climate emergency. The only one I know of who is also religious is Dr. Roy Spencer, who writes:
The scientific evidence for a “creator” is, in my opinion, stronger than the evidence that everything around us is just one gigantic cosmic accident. I have no trouble stating that — and defending it — based upon science alone. No need to quote the Bible.
Spencer claims he can do science simply by observing the natural world, measuring, looking at and analyzing data. I am not convinced. I believe his faith prevents him from being 100 percent present as a scientist. I could be wrong, but I am uncomfortable defending him because it’s easier to discard religion than build your belief system around it. We all have enough built-in biases. We should train and improve our ability to discard them as they trip us up in understanding the world around us. Religious scientists should read Richard Dawkins.
Katharine Hayhoe is a very outspoken and mediagenic “climate scientist” who helps lay people build positions against skeptics. She has no training in hard science. She’s the Political Science Endowed Professor in Public Policy and Public Law in the department of political science at Texas Tech University.
And she’s an evangelical Christian. In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Hayhoe writes: I chose what to study precisely because of my faith, because climate change disproportionately affects the poor and vulnerable, those already most at risk today.
She has drawn a lot of attention, some of it aimed at her religious beliefs while proselytizing the religion of climate catastrophe, using all the modern tools of political science available. Fortunately, an evangelical Christian named Robert Murphy has written a good essay defending evangelicals who don’t believe in climate alarmism. So at least Hayhoe doesn’t speak for evangelicals, and she also doesn’t speak for independent scientists who are outside the reach of government money to fund their research.
Doesn’t she understand that switching to renewables for no scientific reason actually hurts poor and vulnerable most, by raising energy prices and denying them access to technology that the developed world takes for granted? The best thing for them is to become rich, like we are. They could do that if they weren’t being told they can’t by people like Katharine Hayhoe.
The Ecomodernist Manifesto
A group that includes Linus Blomqvist, Ted Nordhaus, Stewart Brand, Roger Pielke, Jr, Michael Shellenberger, and other (mostly Bay Area) eco-luminaries has published The Ecomodernist Manifesto. I will summarize the main points:
- Humans are doing really well, albeit at some cost to nature.
- Things are already improving. Humans are going to peak; long-term trends are already pointing in the direction of better stewardship of nature. Decoupling the spread of humans and their impact on nature is an important trend.
- More of #2.
- Earth is warming. We should do something about it. But we should also allow modernization to help people in developing nations. It’s about balance, not freaking out. Decarbonization is the long-term goal — we don’t want to take the chance that too much CO2 makes the planet uninhabitable. Renewables aren’t going to get us there. Nuclear fission is the best solution at this time — we should get behind it.
- We are very concerned about the environment and are committed to biodiversity, wilderness, etc.
- Decoupling is good. Technology must lead us to the decarbonized world we need. No mention of thorium except once in #1.
- Humans, nature, and technology are inseparable. There is no need for governments to force solutions on people. Things are looking pretty good and going in the right direction. They welcome more discussion.
I’m not an ecomodernist. I am more of an econ-modernist. I’m in the same camp with Alex Epstein and Matt Ridley — we think the world is doing remarkably well all by itself. We believe regulation, eco-warriors, greenwashing, and top-down thinking are the problem. We agree that nuclear is the ultimate solution, but not because it decarbonizes. There are a few things to worry about, like overfishing, air pollution, and over exploitation of rain forests, but overall we believe market forces will eventually manage the resource-allocation problem and minimize externalities. That’s our manifesto.
The Ecomodernist Manifesto is short and worth reading. You can decide whether you would sign it or not. In any event, it is far better than CO2 alarmism and a good addition to the debate.
I highly recommend reading and listening to Pat Frank. He can teach us a lot about model accuracy. His latest CMIP6 update. His lecture on climate model accuracy and uncertainties.
From the Harvard Gazette: Wind farms will cause more environmental impact than previously thought. Excerpt:
In two papers — published today in the journals Environmental Research Letters and Joule — Harvard University researchers find that the transition to wind or solar power in the U.S. would require five to 20 times more land than previously thought, and, if such large-scale wind farms were built, would warm average surface temperatures over the continental U.S. by 0.24 degrees Celsius.
File under: Greenwashing
On renewables and the global energy portfolio:*
YouTube is heavily censoring Tony Heller, who advocates for the scientific method and data-driven policies. I don’t agree with his politics, and I wouldn’t look to him for disease/virus/pandemic data. I think he’s an important voice in the climate conversation. His new home is on NewTube.
Global Warming Endangering Cute Animals!
John Robson: Why will global warming kill only the cute animals?
Understanding EV Math
A Talk by Patrick Moore on Fake Catastrophes
Philosophy of Science
STUDY HARD WHAT INTERESTS YOU THE MOST IN THE MOST UNDISCIPLINED, IRREVERENT AND ORIGINAL MANNER POSSIBLE.
— Richard Feynman
No Climate Emergency
Two books by Rud Istvan:
- The Arts of Truth — critical thinking in a post-fact world.
- Blowing Smoke — how to think about climate change.
The Evidence on Bird Kills
You have to take all the evidence into account. When you hear that wind turbines kill around half a million birds a year, that’s probably true. BUT — you have to look at the big picture. Many more birds are killed by cars buildings, power lines, and — yeow! — cats:
The above figures are from 2014. We can expect that over the next 20 years the row for wind-turbine deaths will march its way up. It’s also worth considering the types of birds killed. Among predators, which don’t migrate, wind turbines could be a significant cause of death.
Frank Furedi Lecture to GWPF
This is intellectual and well worth listening to. He talks about something I believe to be very important in the climate debate — that your position on climate change is very much tied to your tribe and your identity, and you will guard that closely from incoming facts and reason.
Bjorn Lomborg on Economic Welfare
Bjorn Lomborg puts the CO2 problem in perspective in his peer-reviewed paper, Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies:
Climate change is real and its impacts are mostly negative, but common portrayals of devastation are unfounded. Scenarios set out under the UN Climate Panel (IPCC) show human welfare will likely increase to 450% of today’s welfare over the 21st century. Climate damages will reduce this welfare increase to 434%.
IPCC Baseline Scenarios Have Over-Projected CO2 Emissions and Economic Growth, a new paper by Burgess, Pielke Jr, et al.
The Surface Energy Budget
Think about the simple Al-Gore explanation of the greenhouse effect when you read this, from The Surface Energy Budget, by Wim Röst:
The energy budget for the surface is different from Earth’s energy budget. A look at the surface energy budget reveals that radiation is not the main factor in cooling the surface. The dominant factor in surface cooling is convection, responsible for the removal of more than three quarters of the surface’s energy.
What is Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity?
Much Ado About Nothing
Michael Shellenberger believes climate change is an issue, but not much of one, and we are sacrificing too much and too many people to solve a problem that will probably mostly solve itself.
The Problem with Energy
From The Looming Energy Crisis, by Donn Dears:
Reliability of our electricity supply is crucial. It is a national security issue. Imagine living without electricity during a blackout while sheltering-in-place during a pandemic. And we now know pandemics are a real threat. The electric grid is not only threatened by foreign adversaries, as the President’s executive order established, but also by ideologues who are manipulating grid operating procedures, which forces reliable baseload power plants to shut down. To guarantee the availability of electricity, only baseload power — using natural gas, coal-fired or nuclear power plants — can provide reliable supplies of electricity, day and night. The Looming Energy Crisis exposes how efforts to decarbonize our country by eliminating the use of fossil fuels is threatening the reliability of our grid and endangering every American. You will be shocked to learn how people are surreptitiously undermining the reliability of the grid.
Willis Eschenbach, Data Scientist
Gavin’s Falsifiable Science,* by Willis Eschenbach. Highly recommended.
Willis Eschenbach on Cooling the Hothouse * — a data scientist looks at claims of “forcing” over the last 67 million years. Where is the data coming from? What actually correlates with what? Take a technical look behind the press release to see how nonlinear our climate really is.
In How Clouds Think about Climate Change* Willis replaces the concept of equilibrium climate sensitivity with the concept of adaptive oceans.
Surface Temperature Records
Richard Lindzen and John Christy:**
Ross McKittrick conducts a very thorough review of surface temperature measurements: A Critical Review of Global Surface Temperature Data Products*
Follow the Money
The Government Corruption of Climate Science,* by Andy May
Climate Scientists Admit Clouds are Still a Big Unknown,* by Eric Worrall
Will Happer Interview
From The Unstoppable Momentum of Outdated Science, by Roger Pielke, Jr:
A 2015 literature review found almost 900 peer-reviewed studies published on breast cancer using a cell line derived from a breast cancer patient in Texas in 1976. But in 2007 it was confirmed that the cell line that had long been the focus of this research was actually not a breast cancer line, but was instead a skin cancer line. Whoops.
Even worse, from 2008 to 2014 — after the mistaken cell line was conclusively identified — the review identified 247 peer-reviewed articles putatively on breast cancer that were published using the misidentified skin cancer cell line. A cursory search of Google Scholar indicates that studies continue to be published in 2020 mistakenly using the skin cell line in breast cancer research.
Also by Roger Pielke, Jr: Systemic Misuse of Scenarios in Climate Research and Assessment.
In 1905, Einstein published three papers that changed the course of human history. Without those three papers, most people reading this would never have been born. Were those papers peer-reviewed? No, they weren’t.
The assumption that today’s peer-reviewed paper has been vetted by experts and therefore has been awarded a blue ribbon for excellence is far from the truth. Peer review often does not do its job. Consequently, today’s collection of scholarly literature is exploding in quantity and deteriorating in quality.
Albert Einstein only had one anonymous peer review in his career — and the paper was rejected.
But, some may object, won’t such a practice promote cronyism and bias? Today’s peer review already overflows with cronyism and bias. [Emphasis mine.]
In 1877, the philosopher William Kingdon Clifford wrote an essay titled “The Ethics of Belief,” in which he argued: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence.”
Rud Istvan dismantles many of the “scientific” claims made in peer-reviewed journals in his book, Blowing Smoke.*
Tesla receives billions in subsidies — from its competitors.
Great Barrier Reef
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has released its latest report on the state of the Great Barrier Reef. It has turned up the volume by one notch, claiming the threat to the reef has gone from “significant concern” to “critical”.
Who is the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and what incentive do they have to publish those lies? Peter Ridd explains that the reef is in fine shape and the IUCN is chasing green money for its agenda to save the world from imagined crises.
Hottest Anything on Record
We’re just ending “the hottest decade on record.” What does that mean?
The entire world has been heating gradually since the late 1700s, no one disputes that. The warming rate has been around 1 degree C per century for 250 years now. The rate has been essentially linear, there is no “hockey stick of temperatures,” either on the surface or in the oceans.
Think about it. If your child is growing each year, every single year that child is taller than the last. Each year is a “new record.” It would be very surprising to learn otherwise.
So you can be sure that almost all decades for the past 250 years have also been “the hottest decade on record” (but not the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, because they were cooler, even though they were “post-industrial”).
Conclusion: most decades are the hottest on record. What’s different is that today, it sells magazines. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it sold magazines in the 1880s as well.
For those who like pictures, which curve in the graph below is 1919 and which is 2019?
What? You can’t tell? For those who are climate curious, the answer is in John Robson’s 1919 vs 2019 quiz video, just scroll down a bit to find it.
This lecture is worth watching. David Ruzic does the math on nuclear power vs other sources:*
The following paragraph is from Climate change: detection and attribution of trends from long-term geologic data …
If historical climate data exhibit regularities such as cycles, then these cycles may be considered to be the “normal” behavior of the system, in which case deviations from the “normal” pattern would be evidence for anthropogenic effects on climate. This study uses this approach to examine the global warming question. Two 3000-year temperature series with minimal dating error were analyzed. A total of seven time-series models were fit to the two temperature series and to an average of the two series. None of these models used 20th Century data. In all cases, a good to excellent fit was obtained. Of the seven models, six show a warming trend over the 20th Century similar in timing and magnitude to the Northern Hemisphere instrumental series. One of the models passes right through the 20th Century data. These results suggest that 20th Century warming trends are plausibly a continuation of past climate patterns. Results are not precise enough to solve the attribution problem by partitioning warming into natural versus human-induced components. However, anywhere from a major portion to all of the warming of the 20th Century could plausibly result from natural causes according to these results.
New book: Climate Catastrophe!: Science, or Science Fiction?, by Andy May.
The Impact of Climate Change
The following two paragraphs come directly from the final IPCC 5th report, 2018:
Fact check: Hurricanes are Not Strengthened by CO2 Emissions. Here’s the crux :
Freeman Dyson, Heretic
Kilimanjaro Yesterday and Today
Claiming and Adjudicating on Mt Kilimanjaro’s Shrinking Glaciers: Guy Callendar, Al Gore and Extended Peer Communities — this is an extremely readable and enjoyable narrative of two failed predictions 60 years apart. This isn’t critical, but I highly encourage you to save it for reading at some point.
Lithium-Sulfur batteries are promising, but this academic paper shows they still need a few more breakthroughs before being ready for commercialization.
Why California’s Climate Policies Are Causing Electricity Blackouts *— by Michael Shellenberger
Pentagon Cornerstone commits U.S. rare earth policy and funding to a twice bankrupt mining project with a Chinese part owner — would be funny if it weren’t so true.
Please sign up for the newsletter at the Thorium Energy Alliance*. They are working hard to change the rules so we can get access to thorium and start building pilot molten-salt reactors in the US.
How does the press get their scary stories? Modelers use the same garbage inputs, so they are guaranteed. Here’s John Robson to break it down:
The Paris Climate Agreement Won’t Change the Climate, narrated by Bjorn Lomborg:
There is a common narrative that “mother nature” is angry with humans and that humans are making things worse overall. Is that really true? Listen to Matt Ridley and see if you change your mind:*
Ten Reasons Why Boris’s Green Agenda is Just Plain Wrong, from Matt Ridley’s blog.
The Return of Nature, How Technology Liberates the Environment,* by Jesse Ausubel
To help polar bears, stop shooting them:*
Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing — ProPublica investigates
“I am a co-founder Of Greenpeace in 1971–1986. I left because they became a fundraising racket using sensationalism, misinformation and fear.” — Patrick Moore, who is fundraising to write a new book. Please consider supporting him.
I’m not a fan of Vox, because they have taken on the task of alarming everyone about future climate disaster (gets readers, which makes money), but some of their pieces are very well written. I liked this one: Geothermal energy is poised for a big breakout.
The Guardian reports: Climate ‘apocalypse’ fears stopping people having children — Survey of 600 people finds some parents regret having offspring because of climate change.
Historical Temperature Record
The following chart is from a NOAA technical paper discussing the history of temperature measurement in Death Valley. Note the years (HT: John Robson):
Take the quiz, see how you do* …
The Vattenfall Group is a hydro/solar/wind energy company in Sweden promoting a fossil-free future. They are very good at communication. But they rely on climate hysteria to grow their business. Please see their site and reach out to Markus Friberg, their head of media relations. We should have a serious conversation with them about the fundamental science behind claims against fossil fuels.
Highly recommended: Apocalypse Never,* by Michael Shellenberger:
Are we in the middle of a mass extinction? Michael Shellenberger has the numbers.*
Get the book: Inconvenient Facts, by Gregory Wrightstone. His work has been censored on many platforms, because he challenges the status quo and shows his sources.
The Impact of Recent Forcing and Ocean Heat Uptake Data on Estimates of Climate Sensitivity* — Judith Curry takes a closer look at the claims of sensitivity to increased CO2 in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate. She concludes the sensitivity is far lower than the IPCC claim in their alarming reports.
Climate Sensitivity Estimates are diverging* — that’s generally not how science works.
Historic Variation in Arctic Ice — long and detailed, it gives you an appreciation of the history behind today’s hysterical claims of the “melting Arctic.” See also my video:
Important: Where’s the sea ice?” Right where it’s been for most of the Holocene * — David Middleton
Wrong Again: 50 years of Failed Eco-Pocalyptic Predictions, by the Comptetive Enterprise Institute, showing Tony Heller’s findings.
The Paris Climate Agreement — would it have any impact at all, even if we could all comply? Let’s ask John Robson:
The Big Picture
Few things in climate science are easily read in ten minutes. Andy May gives a cogent overview of the estimated climate sensitivity to increased CO2 and a short history of the UN reports on climate change.*
The 97 Percent Myth
FRAUD, BIAS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS: The 97% ‘consensus’ and its critics, * by Andrew Montford
And this excellent video by John Robson*
Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is usually an unsubstantiated or predicted claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly. Examples:
- Airbus Hopes to Be Flying Hydrogen-Powered Jetliners With Zero Carbon Emissions by 2035
- EU’s biggest oil producer to end oil production by 2050.
- What It Really Means When Google and Apple Say They Run on 100% Renewable Energy.*
- City of London to go solar! Great press release. Does the math add up? No, it doesn’t.
Greenmail is threatening to expose a company or person as noncompliant with the made-up requirement to reduce net carbon emissions to zero. Watch for much more of this during the Biden administration.
Natural Gas in Germany
Germany is one of the world’s leading renewable-powered countries. Because their renewables are growing so quickly, they have to increase the number of natural-gas power plants to keep up.
Scientific Consensus — A Conflict in Terms?
I claim that the definition of science does not include the word consensus. If you also believe that, then you will be surprised to learn that Scientific American does not agree. In his piece, The Idea That a Scientific Theory Can Be ‘Falsified’ Is a Myth, Mano Singham argues that:
Science studies provide supporters of science with better arguments to combat these critics, by showing that the strength of scientific conclusions arises because credible experts use comprehensive bodies of evidence to arrive at consensus judgments about whether a theory should be retained or rejected in favor of a new one.
Really? So Scientific American has jumped the Karl Popper shark and is now in favor of popularity contests and groupthink to determine scientific “truths”? If you’re interested in this, Charles Rotter breaks it down.
Speaking of scientific consensus, Michael Crichton said:
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.
Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.
David Attenborough’s Lies
There are many. Here is a big one:
From a new paper, The EV revolution: The road ahead for critical raw materials demand:
Without major changes in certain technologies, the cobalt and lithium supply chains could seriously constrain the widespread deployment of EVs. Significant demand increases are also predicted for copper, chrome and aluminium. The results also highlight the importance of China in driving demand for EVs and the critical materials needed to produce them.
Warming from the Center of the Earth?
The Ethical Skeptic puts forth a theory of internal warming.* He claims that in addition to adding CO2 to the atmosphere, much of the observed warming may come from the earth’s core. While I don’t happen to agree with the first part, I think his contribution (the second part) is worth reading. He says:
I am not a ‘climate change denier’. Do not trust anyone who mindlessly employs such weaponized phrases, nor those who target the person rather than engaging the argument. Nor especially should you accept their boast to represent science.
He has constructed an interesting world of many essays that takes time to survey and understand. I have found several of his pieces (but not all) insightful.
No, Hurricanes are Not Getting Bigger, Stronger and more Dangerous* — by Roger Pielke, Jr.
From The Problem with Renewable Energy and Intermittency, by Cornelis Van Kooten:
It would appear that biomass burning is the only environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional sources of power. It is considered carbon neutral, at least according to many countries’ legislation, but my graduate students and I have shown that biomass is worse than even coal. It simply takes too long to recover the CO2 debt that biomass creates relative to the fossil fuel.
Scott Sumner’s research paper on setting up prediction markets for future temperature. Would let citizens vote their convictions with their own money and better involve the crowd in future forecasting. Smart.
An Important Paper
A quick review of the Monckton, Soon, Legates, and Briggs paper* that stabbed a huge data-driven stake through the heart of the IPCC alarm of catastrophic warming.
Scott Adams sums it up well (though in political terms):
On top of our mass delusions, we also have junk science that is too often masquerading as the real thing. To the extent that people can’t tell the difference, that too is a source of mass delusion.
In the 2-D view of the world, mass delusions are rare and newsworthy. But to trained persuaders in the third dimension, mass delusions are the norm. They are everywhere, and they influence every person. This difference in training and experience can explain why people disagree on some of the big issues of the day.
For example, consider the case of global warming. People from the 2-D world assume mass delusions are rare, and they apply that assumption to every topic. So when they notice that most scientists are on the same side, that observation is persuasive to them. A reasonable person wants to be on the same side with the smartest people who understand the topic. That makes sense, right?
But people who live in the 3·D world, where persuasion rules, can often have a different view of climate change because we see mass delusions (even among experts) as normal and routine. My starting bias for this topic is that the scientists could easily be wrong about the horrors of climate change, even in the context of repeated experiments and peer review. Whenever you see a situation with complicated prediction models, you also have lots of room for bias to masquerade as reason. Just tweak the assumptions and you can get any outcome you want.
Now add to that situation the fact that scientists who oppose the climate change consensus have a high degree of career and reputation risk. That’s the perfect setup for a mass delusion. You only need these two conditions:
• Complicated prediction models with lots of assumptions
• Financial and psychological pressure to agree with the consensus
In the 2·0 world, the scientific method and peer review squeeze out the bias over time. But in the 3-D world, the scientific method can’t detect bias when nearly everyone including the peer reviewers shares the same mass delusion.
I’m not a scientist, and I have no way to validate the accuracy of the climate model predictions. But if the majority of experts on this topic turn out to be having a mass hallucination, I would consider that an ordinary situation. In my reality, this would be routine, if not expected, whenever there are complicated prediction models involved. That’s because I see the world as bristling with mass delusions. I don’t see mass delusions as rare.
When nonscientists take sides with climate scientists, they often think they are being supportive of science. The reality is that the nonscientists are not involved in science, or anything like it. They are taking the word of scientists. In the 2-D world, that makes perfect sense, because it seems as if thousands of experts can’t be wrong, But in the 3·D world, I accept that the experts could be right, and perhaps they are, but it would be normal and natural in my experience if the vast majority of climate scientists were experiencing a shared hallucination.
To be clear, l am not saying the majority of scientists are wrong about climate science. I’m making the narrow point that it would be normal and natural for that group of people to be experiencing a mass hallucination that is consistent with their financial and psychological incentives. The scientific method and the peer-review process wouldn’t necessarily catch a mass delusion during any specific window of time. With science, you never know if you are halfway to the truth or already there. Sometimes it looks the same.
Climate science is a polarizing topic (ironically). So let me just generalize the point to say that compared with the average citizen, trained persuaders are less impressed by experts.
To put it another way, if an ordinary idiot doubts a scientific truth, the most likely explanation for that situation is that the idiot is wrong. But if a trained persuader calls BS on a scientific truth, pay attention.
Do you remember when citizen Trump once tweeted that climate change was a hoax for the benefit of China? It sounded crazy to most of the world. Then we learned that the centerpiece of politics around climate change — the Paris climate accord — was hugely expensive for the United States and almost entirely useless for lowering temperatures. (Experts agree on both points now.) The accord was a good deal for China, in the sense that it would impede its biggest business rival, the United States, while costing China nothing for years. You could say Trump was wrong to call climate change a hoax. But in the context of Trump’s normal hyperbole, it wasn’t as wrong as the public’s mass delusion believed it to be at the time.
I’ll concede that citizen Trump did not understand the science of climate change. That’s true of most of us. But he still detected a fraud from a distance.
It wasn’t luck.
Politics and Climate Change
Andy May’s new book, Politics and Climate Change: A History,* describes the history of the climate situation, how we got here, and many accounts of the money involved in climate alarmism.
Another very qualified climate researcher breaks ranks, exposes the agenda at NASA *— Dr Mototaka Nakamura, an MIT PhD scientist, has published more than 20 papers on cloud fluid dynamics. He says: “OUR MODELS ARE MICKEY-MOUSE MOCKERIES OF THE REAL WORLD”
A very good piece: The Truth Behind Renewable Energy,* by Dr. Lars Schernikau, HMS Bergbau Group. Excerpt:
It appears that every second person has become an atmospheric physicist understanding that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming and switching to renewables will save us from devastating hurricanes and floods reaching the ceilings of our dream seaside properties. Every other person appears to be an energy specialist being certain that wind, solar and battery-powered vehicles will be a happy, safe and environmentally friendly way to power our everyday electricity and transportation needs. However, little could be farther from the truth.
Pat Frank Lecture
No Certain Doom:
Science Requires Data
Listen to John Christy talk about climate data:*
The Right Climate Stuff *— a group of ex-NASA engineers and physicists against the NASA narrative of catastrophic climate alarm
End wind subsidies — StopTheseThings.com
Revisiting Antarctic ice loss due to marine ice-cliff instability — Nature paper says it doesn’t look like Antarctica will be contributing much to sea level rise this century.
Antarctica is rising, so predictions of catastrophic ice-sheet collapse may have to wait a few more million years.
David Siegel is a serial entrepreneur in Washington, DC. He is the founder of the Pillar Project. He is the author of The Token Handbook, Open Stanford, The Culture Deck, Climate Curious, and The Nine Act Structure. He gives speeches to audiences around the world and online. He is currently raising money for his nonprofit, the Giordano Bruno Institute. His full body of work is at dsiegel.com.