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.
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.
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.
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 …
- Climate scientists can restart the climate policy debate & win: test the models!
- We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models.
- Thomas Kuhn tells us what we need to know about climate science.
- Daniel Davies’ insights about predictions can unlock the climate change debate.
- Karl Popper explains how to open the deadlocked climate policy debate.
- Paul Krugman talks about economics. Climate scientists can learn from his insights.
- 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).