An obvious solution to the climate policy crisis

Summary: After 30 years of climate policy gridlock, we can decide to take an obvious path to a better future. Or we can continue the same stupid methods that have produced only futile bickering. A nation that cannot wisely make such simple choices has no future.

We will choose our path to the future.

Climate change choices - Dreamstime_50990297
ID 50990297 © Kiosea39 | Dreamstime.

A decade ago, I began watching the public policy debate about climate change, run by a constellation of major institutions – an example of America’s political system in action. Time has shown it to be dysfunctional (like so much in our America), resulting in three decades of policy gridlock. Summing it up, Steven Mosher of Berkeley Earth; said “We don’t even plan for the past.

Three decades of gridlock, so advocates of policy change have responded by more loudly shouting their propaganda. The latest round began with activist George Monbiot’s November 2018 column in The Guardian: “The Earth is in a death spiral.” Of course, it is just a lie. The IPCC and major US climate agencies have said nothing like that. Worse, the leaders of both sides have become like WWI generals. Disinterested in political solutions, they only want victory – and no longer care about the costs to society.

How can we break the gridlock?

Policy-makers’ decisions depend on reliable forecasts of future climate change. For answers, they see debates about key aspects of climate change conducted in journals and blogs. Much like the current round of debates about models’ forecasts (see the most recent round at Climate Etc). This is stupid. Really stupid. The people involved are not stupid. Most are brilliant and knowledgable; many are volunteers. But the process is stupid.

Neither journals or blogs are suited for this job. The research for the Manhattan Project and Apollo were not done in journals and blogs. They were centrally-directed programs run with lavish funding, tapping a wide range of America’s science and engineering talent. The climate policy debate has tried a different and bizarre methodology for 30 years. It has failed. Let’s try something that has worked before – and can work again.

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”
— Not said by Einstein. Said by Alcoholics Anonymous, people who know everything about dysfunctionality.

A rational approach

Climate models are the center ring of the climate policy debate. Policy-makers need to know that models’ forecasts provide a robust basis for policies that will shape the economy and society of 21st century America – and the world.

That requries validation of models by experts. Human nature being what it is, those experts should be unaffiliated with the groups that designed and run the models (an insight from drug effectiveness testing). The cost of such a project would be pocket change compared to its importance.

America has a wealth of people and institutions capable of doing this. The National Academy of Sciences could be the lead agency in a Federal project to validate climate models. They could mobilize experts in the required wide range of fields.

Operational leadership could be provided by the Verification and Validation Committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). See their Guide for Verification and Validation in Computational Solid Mechanics, their Standard for Verification and Validation in Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer, and An Illustration of the Concepts of Verification and Validation in Computational Solid Mechanics. NOAA and NASA could assist. There are probably other expert groups that could help.

This is the opposite of relying on blogs and academic journals to lead the policy debate (a process that would be considered primitive by a colony of cherrystone clams).

This is the opposite of the IPCC’s methodology. It is focused, not broad. It requires a review of climate models by experts unaffiliated with their creation and operation. It uses proven methods relied upon in science, engineering, and business.

Conclusions

The policy gridlock has consumed scarce political resources for several decades, diverting attention from other severe threats (e.g., destruction of ocean ecosystems). If climate alarmists are correct, the gridlock burns time needed for action. Even if they are wrong, these kinds of hot political debates can put fanatics in power – with horrific consequences.

If implemented, this project will not change the climate. But it could break the gridlock. If it shows that models are reliable guides, it could quickly make effective public policy possible.

Why would we continue to rely on the processes which have failed for so long when there is an obvious, easy, and relatively fast alternative? When you have an answer to this, you will have gone to the heart of the climate change debate.

For More Information

For more about this see After 30 years of failed climate politics, let’s try science! To learn more about model validation, Wikipedia provides links to a wide range of authoritative sources. See here and here.

Ideas! For your holiday shopping, see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a story about our future: “Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see the keys to understanding climate change, and especially these debunking our mad policy client debate …

  1. Climate scientists can restart the climate policy debate & win: test the models!
  2. We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models.
  3. Thomas Kuhn tells us what we need to know about climate science.
  4. Daniel Davies’ insights about predictions can unlock the climate change debate.
  5. Karl Popper explains how to open the deadlocked climate policy debate.
  6. Paul Krugman talks about economics. Climate scientists can learn from his insights.
  7. Milton Friedman’s advice about restarting the climate policy debate.

Activists don’t want you to read these books

Some unexpected good news about polar bears: The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened by Susan Crockford (2019).

To learn more about the state of climate change see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr., professor for the Center for Science and Policy Research at U of CO – Boulder (2018).

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

 

34 thoughts on “An obvious solution to the climate policy crisis”

  1. We need to do something that changes the balance of opinion among decision-makers and the public. Hence this proposal for a tool often used, of proven effectiveness. That none of the key figures in the climate wars is interested in it demonstrates the depth of the problem.

    Climate scientists (and their associated activists) on both sides have become like WWI generals. They are uninterested in any political solution other than victory. Their advice is always “once more over the top.”  

    They are not just part of the problem. They are the problem.

    1. No “solution” is needed other than to dump the issue. Climate change is not caused by our minuscule emissions. Climate is determined by location on the planet relative to the sun. Location, location, location. Latitude, altitude, nearby large bodies of water, etc. This was once common knowledge that they have apparently stopped teaching in schools. There are cycles and varying influences in the galaxy and solar system. Every once in a while something triggers an ice age and something else causes us to warm up. But it’s not humans. It’s not CO2. And there is nothing that we can do about it other than adapt. You’re certainly right that climate scientists are the problem. Alarmists “scientists” anyway.

      1. 4times,

        “No “solution” is needed other than to dump the issue.”

        That’s not a solution. It is a goal. Solutions are the process by which a goal is achieved.

        It’s nice that you have an opinion. Nobody cares. We need a process by which American public opinion can come to an operationally useful decision. That is most easily done by finding a next step that can command broad support – most usually among the large body of people between the true believers on both sides.

      2. I don’t see a problem. Excepting for natural cycles, the climate has not changed to anything outside of what has been normal in recorded history. Why are you looking for a solution to a non-existent problem?

      3. 4time,

        Do you drive on the highway with your eyes fixed on the rear view mirror? After all, why look ahead?

        Do you buy life insurance to protect your family? If so, why? You have not died in the past!

        The question is about future climate change. Seriously, this has been a headline issue for 30 years. How can you not know this? I suggest changing the sources of information you rely on.

      4. As a matter of simple logic, how does the process work where we come to an operationally useful decision, based on American public opinion, if, as you say, nobody cares about your opinion?

        To continue with a car analogy, if I was driving in a car heading into the Mohave Desert in July and someone in the backseat was in a panic to convince me to pull over and put on snow chains as a solution to the impending problem we faced, I would explain that based on at least the last 2.5 million years of The Pleistocene epoch, snow in The Mohave in July would not be a problem, therefor no solution was needed. So it seems the only goal involved would be for a snow chain salesman.

        If debating this scenario from both sides, the outcome is completely different when the person behind the wheel is the one in the panic. In that case, the person in the backseat does have the goal of convincing the driver of the waste of time and resources, not to mention the chain proposition getting in the way of where you’re going and when you want to arrive.

        As far as a solution to convince people of something that they are politically and sometimes spiritually opposed to, I’m at a loss. Persistence doesn’t seem to work as well as the passing of time – “Hey, why is the growing season getting so much shorter?” . But I don’t know that 30 years of headlines is a metric for any sort of importance or consideration. For 30 years we’ve heard from headlines that state post-1940’s fossil fuel use exclusively created the hottest period in human history. That’s enough to create a panic! The Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska has receded in recent years to the point of exposing the remnants of ancient Spruce forests thousands of years old. Let the weight of that fact be considered – what previous extended warmth would be required to create a forest where a 220 ft glacier now rests? And what recent cold would be required to create a 36 square mile chunk of year-round ice? Those two factual considerations should sweep most of the AGW catastrophes off the table.

        Two relative quotes:

        “It is useless to argue with a man whose opinion is based upon a personal or pecuniary interest.”
        -William Jennings Bryant

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
        -Upton Sinclair

      5. Bobby,

        (1) “As a matter of simple logic, how does the process work where we come to an operationally useful decision, based on American public opinion, if, as you say, nobody cares about your opinion?”

        Political reality is not shaped by your or my opinion – but by our actions. Voting is the smallest and crudest form of political action. Orgnizing, speaking out, supporting candidates who share our views with our time an money – there are a thousand ways that our actions have political force.

        (2) “As far as a solution to convince people of something that they are politically and sometimes spiritually opposed to,”

        In almost all political issues, there is a vast middle of the public that is either undecided or has only weakly held views. They are the targets of political action. As you note, trying to change deeply held beliefs is Mission Impossible.

        (3) “The Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska has receded in recent years to the point of exposing the remnants of ancient Spruce forests thousands of years old. Let the weight of that fact be considered – what previous extended warmth would be required to create a forest where a 220 ft glacier now rests?”

        That’s a wonderfully constructed bit of fake news! The majority of the melting – and the fastest melting – during the warming after the warming which ended the Little Ice Age – before the post-WII surge of CO2. This is part of the larger trick of attributing all of the past 2 centuries of warming to anthropogenic emissions of GHG, which is a lie (as the IPCC said, half of the 1950-2013 warming was from us).

        This kind of anti-science propaganda has played a large role in creating the current policy gridlock, and preventing sensible action about climate change.

    2. The decision makers care not one whit for public opinion. See the Virginia gun rights debacle and Obamacare for reference.

      I submit that NOAA and NASA, as known malefactors in the climate data tampering scandals, are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Unless you mean to purge the miscreants from the organizations. Which would involve purging their political masters, as well.

      1. McChuck,

        Elections are held every two years. If we don’t respond to their actions by voting them out, why should they care about “public opinion”?

        The machinery bequeathed us by the Founders remains decisive when used, but requires our time, money, energy, and spirit to power it.

  2. Perhaps the heart of the debate is somewhere slightly different.

    Surely the fundamental difficulty from the point of view of US policy is that, whatever the models show about the effects of emissions on global temperatures, the nation is basically powerless to do anything effective about that, because the US economy is too small for local reductions to have global effects?

    Out of 37+ billion tons global emissions the US only does 5 billion. China, India and the developing countries show zero signs of reducing. In fact they are increasing. They show no sign of believing that emissions are a problem. Even were the US to eliminate its emissions, the decrease would be overwhelmed by their increases, and even if the theory is correct, the effects on the global climate would be negligible.

    The US activists are in an impossible situation for them. According to their own theories, unilateral action can have no material effects. They must also see that the rest of the world has no intention of reducing. They must see that the US has no force of example. But they desperately want to do something, and something radical. So we keep encountering the argument from future catastrophe to local emission reduction action, which depends on pretending that it, contrary to their own theory, can be effective.

    Its a bit like Tuvalu reducing its emissions because sea level rise. Its futile and completely irrational.

    You see the same thing in Australia. The claim is that the fires are due to global warming, and the argument is that Australia should lower its emissions as a remedy, when even if the theory is correct that will have zero effect on the climate and therefore on future fires. But the activists are demanding their own government ‘do something’ and reduce Australian emissions. Its like no-one told them how much China is emitting and how many coal fired plants China is building. Why are they not demanding China reduce?

    That question seems to me to get to the heart of the social aspects of climate hysteria.

    The first stage in developing a rational policy is surely to accept that non-Western global emissions will continue to rise as fast as the other countries can drive their economic growth. Accept that policy development must be for that kind of environment. Then drive model evaluation to find out what local measures of adaptation are necessary, prudent and cost effective. If any.

    The difficulty at the moment is caused by the activists obsessive desire to use the models to motivate local emission reductions, something they cannot rationally do.

    1. Henrik,

      “because the US economy is too small for local reductions to have global effects?”

      Total nonsense. Much of the world is waiting for someone to exercise leadership and take the first step. It’s much like the world after WWI. The need for a new international order was obvious. But when the US pulled out of the project, it collapsed.

      Most of the developed nations and many of the developing nations probably would sign on to a rational program if the US supported it. With such broad support, China could be pushed into agreement (its’ role as exporting nation makes it vulnerable to global sanctions).

      Plus there is the other scenario that you ignore. The climate models might fail to validate. That too would change both US and global politics, freeing up vast resources.

      1. I see no sign that ‘much of the world’ is ‘waiting for someone to exercise leadership’. I certainly see no sign that nations which account for much of the world’s emissions are.

        There is still less sign that much or any of the world is open to leadership from the US on this (or indeed on most other matters). Sadly the US example simply does not any longer command the respect that it used to, even in the West.

        As for China, I think its a deeper problem. First I see no sign that the Chinese regime believes that global warming is a serious threat. If they did, they would be behaving very differently.

        Second, even were they to be persuaded that it was, the kind of changes they would have to make, to make any impact on it, are almost certainly incompatible with the regime’s political survival.

        This applies in spades to the other developing world countries. Just look at who is doing the emitting now, and the fact is, reductions are not going to happen. We just have to accept that national policy choices will be made in a world in which global emissions continue to grow. Anything else is to be in denial of the obvious reality.

        https://knoema.com/atlas/ranks/CO2-emissions#

        China raised emissions by 4.7% in 2018 according to the Guardian. India 6.3%. They simply do not believe the alarmist story.

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/05/brutal-news-global-carbon-emissions-jump-to-all-time-high-in-2018

        And here is a link to the Carbon Project chart

        https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2018/12/co2-zip/giv-39026W9CCmWaf1Aj/

        Even those countries in the West in which there is the strongest persuasion that global warming is real, a problem, and human caused there is no sign that significant policy based reductions are politically possible. Pielke has written persuasively about this, his so-called ‘iron law’.

        The climate models might fail to validate

        Yes, indeed. My understanding is that there are many of them, of varying levels of predictive power when measured against observations, as shown in the spaghetti graphs. Some, given their inconsistency, will almost certainly fail to validate, and its very possible that the ones that succeed will be singularly non-alarming.

        The resulting peace would be wonderful, and it would indeed free up lots of resources, both financial, industrial, intellectual and social.

        The worry is however that asserting one’s belief in what the Guardian now wants all its writers to call ‘global heating’ and the ‘climate catastrophe’ is no longer to make a statement about science or the world, its more the assertion of a political and social identity. So whatever anyone of any color or quality says about the models, will it really make any difference?

  3. The premise that humans can affect the earth’s climate in any significant way is false.

    “Climate Change” is nothing more than a scam to carbon tax poor people and transfer that wealth to Wall Street owned mega-corporations.

    Proceed accordingly.

    1. Charlie,

      This is a political issue, and will continue to consume political resources until it is resolved.

      You stating your opinion will not make it go away, and more than activists stating their opinions will make their policies happen.

      1. The publications of the National Academy of Science and the National Center for Atmospheric Research won’t go away either – the questionLarry, is why you have failed to avail yourself of them before pleading Ignpramus with :

        “America has a wealth of people and institutions capable of doing this. The National Academy of Sciences could be the lead agency in a Federal project to validate climate models. They could mobilize experts in the required wide range of fields.”

        And so they have , by the thousands — where have you been for the last half century ?

        Get thee to a library !

      2. Russell,

        Seriously, “thousands” of reports about model validation? Worst case of making stuff up I’ve seen in these comments in many years. Your comments are sad, even pitiful.

        The literature on model validation is surprisingly small. Unlike you, I’ve actually read most of it (see my first listing of the major papers). Mostly backtesting – not considered a serious test by professionals (due to the role of tuning and other factors), and some jiggling of forecasts to compare them with the scenarios run in the past. The large body of model validation methods has been mostly ignored.

        Also, NCAR is part of the climate science community – like NOAA and NASA. As such they can provide support to a validation project – but not a play primary role in model validation, which should be done by outsiders.

      3. Yes, Larry many thousands – The CMIP Climate Model Intercomparison Project is in its 6th round, and coders far outnumber climate scientists . Those with well-stocked memories may recall that the candor of its systems programmer led to the fisking of Sagan’s TTAPS model a generation ago.

        This is , despite much politicization , a large, fairly transparent and intellectually serious Big Science project, and any erstwhile climate pundit who hasn’t heard of it has a lot of catching up to do .

        I really do suggest you look at Ray Pierrehumbert’s Real Climate link for an overdue tutorial.

      4. Russell,

        So you can’t even point to one such paper on validation. So you’re not just making stuff up, but lying. Not a surprise.

        “This is, despite much politicization, a large, fairly transparent and intellectually serious Big Science project”

        You respond without reading, also. I explained this point in some detail in my posts.

        The question is not about the science, but suitability of the results for making public policy. All science has to start in an immature state, and grow to the mature point where it can produce reliable forecasts. At every step it is good science, but only when mature is it sufficiently robust for policy-making.

        Again I’ve wasted time with your arrogant nonsense. Try back in a few years. Don’t bother until then; your gibberish goes straight into the trash.

  4. Interesting idea. Cui bono? Thus, ain’t gonna happen: the current setup ensures all the money flows to the same insular group and they intend to keep it.

    1. Chute,

      It’s easy to declare that political solutions are impossible based on cute sayings. But in the real world political solutions are often found. The ability to do so is the difference between successful and unsuccessful nations.

      “ain’t gonna happen: the current setup ensures all the money flows to the same insular group and they intend to keep it.”

      Climate scientists are not the most powerful people in the United States. They are a microscopic minority.

  5. There was a very good recent essay on this issue (though more directly related to the bushfires) by Claire Lehman https://quillette.com/2020/01/08/lessons-from-australias-bushfires-we-need-more-science-less-rhetoric/
    The science has become so politicised, so polarised that it is no longer fit for purpose; effectively no longer science. A theory and it’s derived models that can’t predict (or even explain) the past being used to predict the future?
    The situation is deteriorating and presents a real danger; some seriously good leadership is required from genuine scientists, citizens and their representatives. This seems appropriate: “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    1. David,

      The Yeats quote is great! I added a full cite to your comment.

      “The science has become so politicised, so polarised that it is no longer fit for purpose”

      Science has often been politicised. These things work themselves out, eventually. See Stephen Jay Gould’s books for many examples.

      Science is a social process, done by people. It’s deeply flawed, like all social processes.

  6. Pingback: An glaring approach to the local weather coverage disaster – All My Daily News

  7. Pingback: An obtrusive method to the local weather coverage disaster – Daily News

  8. That requries validation of models by experts. Human nature being what it is, those experts should be unaffiliated with the groups that designed and run the models (an insight from drug effectiveness testing). The cost of such a project would be pocket change compared to its importance.

    There’s the problem. Who will determine the experts? The debate has ossified to the point where Federal agencies and professional organizations are more committed to their point-of-view than they are to resolving an answer. Indeed, so many do not even think there is a question to answer, only a program to follow. The Red Team/Blue Team idea was proposed to do what you are advocating and it was a non-starter. We have not descended yet to the point where misguided climate policy has really hurt us very much economically or environmentally (although wildfires might be an early sign). That eventuality may break the deadlock.

    1. Gary,

      “The debate has ossified to the point where Federal agencies and professional organizations are more committed to …”

      I’ve written several hundred articles discussing solutions to America’s problems. The most common reply to each and every one of them is “it can’t be done.” Not proposing alternatives, just denying that solutions are possible. Each written in the Voice of God tone of total certainty.

      Perhaps solutions are not possible in our America. Then others will eventually rule us, and take effective actions. Let’s hope that we at least shut up and don’t whine about it.

      As for this objection, it’s nonsense. First, it just makes a bold assumption without the slightest evidence. Second, Congress and agencies routinely form groups to discuss or rule on politicized topics – balancing members with no particular difficulty. Third, I doubt that professional associations like the AMSE are all ideologues or willing to trash their reputations by partisan work on such a high-profile project.

  9. Earth Climate
    According to the informational space diagnostics of the ICD (diagtor.com.ua), another impulse of energy was given by the Creator of the Earth in 1999 and until 2300 catastrophic warming will be observed on the Earth. The share of energy in climate warming is: Creator’s energy – 79%, natural gas – 13%, uranium – 3%, oil – 3%, vegetation – 1%, coal – 1%. In the coldest places of the Earth, the climate will be at the equator. Precipitation in South America, North America, Europe, Australia is significantly reduced. Take, for example, the Poltava region, in which precipitation will be 664 mm in 2000, 655 mm in 2020, 598 mm in 2050, 599 mm in 2100, and 577 mm in 2200. In Australia, rainfall will also decrease: in 2000 – 222 mm, in 2020 – 220 mm, in 2050 – 200 mm, in 2100 188 mm, in 2200 – 176 mm. An increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation will cause drainage of the soil and a significant decrease in yields, the number of hungry people will increase and this will last 300 years, and measures must now be taken to solve this problem.
    ICD on request makes a forecast of changes in temperature, precipitation and other parameters associated with climate change in any region of the Earth.
    Ermakov P, professor

  10. Pingback: Never Yet Melted » End the Climate Change Argument

  11. Pingback: A demo showing our broken climate policy debate | Watts Up With That?

  12. Pingback: A demo showing our broken climate policy debate – Moment Reporter

  13. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #396 – Climate News Live

  14. Pingback: Schmähungen und Wissenschafts-Leugnung der New York Times – EIKE – Europäisches Institut für Klima & Energie

  15. Pingback: Schmähungen und Wissenschafts-Leugnung der New York Times - Leserbriefe

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: