I’m not sure there are many people over the age of 30 who rave wildly about the Morrison government’s decision to go to the UN climate conference COP26 in November to commit to achieving a objective of net zero emissions by 2o50. Net zero emissions will be both inflationary and industry ending. Barnaby Joyce barely clicked his heels in the air when he supported the Prime Minister’s policies and there is a lot of others of the National Party who do not do so and their supporters in the rural sector are not happy.
Let’s objectively look at the difficulty. Can the government fund changes with zero net budget impact? The answer is no. Still, commitment to a zero emissions goal can be made acceptable to the rural sector, provided that sufficient funds are available to support the sector during the transition. Isn’t the real question the reliability of climate science as a science?
What if climate science and the computer models that scientists rely on for their catastrophic predictions are unreliable, neither in themselves nor in their results, so that their predictions do not provide a proper scientific basis for policy.
The real question therefore is whether the causal relationships between the very large number of factors, both man-made and natural, that determine both climate and weather have been correctly identified and functionally linked in accordance with well-reliable mathematical principles. .; because it is from these functional relationships that the models will predict future effects in some 10, 20 or 30 years; that’s to say when the climate crisis emerges.
I have read a number of climate reports and I must say that they do not convince me of an impending climate catastrophe characterized by regular severe and severe storms, cyclones and tornadoes, melting polar ice caps, sea level rise, landmass flooding, polar bear deaths and dying, i.e. the perfect storm, which is man-made and carbon-based.
The reason I’m not convinced is because the methodology by which climatologists verify past and present climate and weather data, determine climatic relationships (or is it weather) and generate predictive models whose 20 or 30 year forecasts require immediate corrective action may be mathematically correct but still bears no relation to reality. This is the nature of mathematics. But judging by the opinions of other earth scientists, they too have doubts about the methodology; after all, GIGO is a valid rule of thumb for all predictive models.
Climate science relies on certain statistical methods to obtain data from rare historical sources to determine the correlative relationships needed for predictive models. One of the first things you learn when studying statistical methods is the need to carefully consider many qualitative or non-mathematical considerations both before and after data collection.
It is often claimed that articles on climate science are peer-reviewed in specialized scientific journals. “Peer review” however means what it says, a review by an equal, that of those who accept the overall veracity of the methodology of a particular branch of inquiry, be it economics, psychology, law, nuclear medicine or sexuality.
This is not the place to explain in detail the effect of subjective considerations on the results of so-called objective science. However, it should be noted that the effect of statistical methods means that ‘true’ now means ‘probably true’, as specified by the confidence levels. In economics, the use of statistical methods is very important to generate preliminary results when all the data are not available; for example, unemployment or GDP. But any economist knows that in one, three or six months, all the provisional results will be modified to reflect additional data available.
The government’s decision to declare Australia net zero emissions by 2050 may be a smart policy move; but if climate science cannot be demonstrated to be reliable, then the decision to net zero is foolhardy with both economic and national defense ramifications.
Scott Morrison is right to do its commitment at COP26, but at the national level, this commitment must be subject to reasonable verification of climate science methodologies in order to guarantee the reliability of forecasts. Upon his return from the Conference, the Prime Minister should therefore set up an independent commission to examine and report on climate science methodologies and their reliability.
The Commission’s first step would be to obtain testimony from climatologists, both domestic and foreign, regarding methods of collecting, extracting, adjusting, and managing historical and current data; the statistical methods by which functional relationships between variables are established and the methods for testing these relationships, and the methodologies with which computer models are generated, with particular attention to the statistical and mathematical methods employed. The Commission’s first report would be a textbook for climate science containing all of this information.
The Commission’s second step would be to disseminate this document to prominent members of the wider scientific community, including but not limited to geosciences, hydrologists, ocean sciences, nuclear, solar and Mathematics. They would be responsible for providing solid and critical reviews of the various methodologies and hypotheses where their areas of expertise overlap with those of climate science.
The third step for the Commission, upon receiving the expert reports, would be to prepare a final report containing all the expert reports, together with a summary of the criticisms that attack the validity, reliability and any major deficiencies or theoretical anomaly in methodologies that impinge on the accuracy of climate science, on the accuracy of predictions and therefore on the practical usefulness of climate science.
The final report would be distributed to all climatologists who contributed, voluntarily or by subpoena, to the Commission’s investigation, and any subsequent criticism of the Commission would be published as a supplement to the final report.
If governments are to make policy decisions based on the predictions of relatively new science, decisions that will mean major and orchestrated changes in our lives, it is fundamentally important to establish whether that science is trustworthy.