Thursday, January 28, 2010

Once We Were Climate Alarmists

And so it came to pass , the great exodus had begun, and all manner of scoundrel hid among the crowd hoping to go unnoticed, hoping to change their colours over time so as to escape recognition when the judgment came upon them.

Two days ago I posted that two high profile scientists were changing their rhetoric. First was UK Chief Scientist Prof John Beddington who no longer thought it was healthy to dismiss skeptics, called for a new paradigm of “openness” and stated that climate science was fundamentally uncertain. Then there was Canada’s most well known alarmist climate scientist Andrew Weaver turning on the IPCC chairman Pachauria and calling for his resignation declaring the IPCC tainted by political advocacy and calling for its approach to science to be overhauled.

There has also been an editorial in a recent leading alarmist journal, Nature, calling for more engagement with skeptics.

Obviously the IPCC has been severely damaged and its credibility is in tatters. The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, despite stating that man made global warming was the greatest moral issue of our time late last year, has failed to make any speech since Copenhagen on this great issue. His silence is deafening.

As the rats push and shove to desert the sinking ship, the SS IPCC, we can return to the subject of my first post on this blog, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Penny Sackett. Penny Sackett is also singing to a different tune from that of only 2 months ago.

This is what she says now in the Australian (28 Jan 2010):

Professor Sackett said there was no real dispute within the scientific community about the reality of climate change but she wanted non-scientists to have greater access to the evidence to help inform the necessary public debate about crafting policy responses to the problem.

"The public must be provided with the best possible advice," Professor Sackett said.

"It must have available to it some understanding or the ability to develop an understanding about which issues the science is quite clear on and where there is less precision in our understanding."

For example, Professor Sackett said, while the reality of climate change was clearly understood, there was less certainty about its effects on rainfall patterns in Australia. More research was required before conclusions could be drawn with any scientific confidence.
But as recently as 25 November 2009 she was saying something totally different:

“For example, regional climate change projections indicate that we are likely to see an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires (predominately in south-eastern Australia), an increase in the severity of cyclones, decreased rainfall (except in the far north), increased incidence of drought, and an increase in extreme temperatures.”
Note that well. Two months ago Sackett was saying that global warming would cause, amongst other things, decreased rainfall and increased drought in Australia and two months later she says more research was required before conclusions could be drawn with any scientific confidence.

Of course Penny is known for her hysterical alarmism. On 4 December 2009 she predicted that in 5 years (by December 2014) the planet would face disastrous global warming. I was so impressed with this prediction I even placed a countdown clock on my original post about this when I started my blog so I can schedule my immanent destruction. I’ve blocked out 4 December 2014 in my Outlook calendar as “unavailable due to disastrous global warming for remainder of century”.

One observer has analysed her position,

Sackett has placed herself in a difficult position. She has realised she in a hole and has sensibly stopped digging, but still clings to the “science is settled” mantra. At the same time, she has put herself at odds with Rudd’s outlandish claims.
Even Penny Sackett’s rainfall prediction of November 2009 seems at odds with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) which is also known for its alarmist announcements. If we look at the graph from its Annual Australian Climate Statement for 2009 reproduced below we see that in fact the BOM graphs shows the last decade to be the second wettest decade on record and 2000 the wettest year on record in a decade which, according to BOM’s pasteurised and homogenised data is the warmest decade on record. This is completely at odds with Penny’s statement. Her prior statements on expected sea level rises are also overstated and alarmist in nature.

Why is it these three very prominent scientists in their respective countries are now singing a different tune? Have they detected a groundswell of opinion placing them in danger of being marginalised? Why would that concern them if their motives were objective science? Perhaps they are merely heeding Nature magazine's call for engagement of contrary points of view. Whatever their motives it is certain that they won’t be the last to deny their alarmist beliefs so strongly held until a matter of days ago.

Although not a religious person, I am reminded of the story in Mathew of Peter denying Christ.

Then he began to curse and to swear, "I don't know the man!"
Immediately the cock crowed. (26:75)Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and wept bitterly.

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