Climate Change or Climate Advocacy?

The war on climate continues, and there’s no end in sight to this politically charged issue. What’s touted as “the USA’s most comprehensive climate science report ever produced” has also been described as “deceptive”.

Based on a new report, media outlets are proclaiming climate change to be real, and places the blame squarely on humans, leaving little room for debate, and certainly no room for inaction.

Here’s a list of findings:

  • Global average sea level has risen by about 7-8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993.
  • Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise — by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1-4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out.
  • Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency globally and across the United States and is expected to continue to increase.
  • The rate of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.
  • Heat waves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent.
  • The rate of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase.
  • Annual trends toward earlier spring melt and reduced snowpack are already affecting water resources in the western United States.

Steve Koonin, the undersecretary of energy for science during President Obama’s first term, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing the deceit in the report, and points out serious omissions and misrepresentations. For example, the report indicates a rise in sea level of about 3 inches since 1993, and this is supposed to convince the public to become a full-fledged climate change alarmist, and accept all government imposed policies without question… before we destroy the earth.

However, Koonin points out that the report doesn’t mention how the fluctuation rates are comparable to other times during the 20th century, and that reliable research papers indicate that recent rates aren’t statistically distinguishable from other peaks in the 20th century.

The report is loaded with half-truths meant to persuade their readers to agree with their conclusions, and accept political action.

Koonin accuses the writers of failing to place their trends in complete historical context, while they trumpet data to achieve a means-to-an-end. He says the report buries a figure showing that today’s heat waves are just as frequent as those in 1900, and he points to an admission by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that they haven’t detected any human impact on hurricanes.

Due to these deficiencies, he claims that the report is not a scientific report, but an advocacy report.

Koonin provides a relevant example, asking readers to consider how different our perception is when the data is worded one way over another. The statement, “sea level rise has accelerated in recent decades” creates an entirely different perception than, “sea level is rising no more rapidly than it did in 1940”.

The first statement is meant to produce fear because an unsuspecting public might think the trend will continue, and the world will become completely flooded if we don’t take drastic action now. The second statement uses the same data and hints that there’s nothing unusual. But notice that neither statement provides enough detail for a reader to make an informed decision.

Such cherry picking of the data is something Richard Feynman warned against in his lecture, ‘The Cargo Cult Science’. He says scientists should discuss all the relevant evidence objectively, even when it doesn’t support the narrative. Yet the climate report fails to comply, thus making it largely unscientific.

Koonin goes on to make the same suggestions he advocated back in April but was rejected. He says the report needs to amend the data on the rise of sea level, as well as heat waves and other trends and describe their history. He also calls for a “Red/Blue” adversarial review to stress-test the report.

He offers some great ideas, but I doubt any of it will be incorporated because the report was intended to be an advocacy report from the very beginning. The narrative is more important than the science because the alarmists are intent on imposing their policies, regardless of the facts.

And because it is an advocacy report, alarmists will use it to proclaim that global warming is real, and that humans are causing it. The report seizes the opportunity, proclaiming, “it’s extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

‘Extemely likely’? That’s an opinion and not a fact. It’s not even possible to prove that humans are the cause. Even if we accepted their claim that disaster is looming, what experiment can demonstrate what today’s climate would look like if there were were no humans on earth, or only 1 million people, or if we didn’t have electricity or burn coal, or if we never emitted carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? And how could we substantiate such claims without the benefit of observing each of these alternate histories? We couldn’t. But some scientists believe we can because of computer models and many unprovable assumtions. The idea that humans are causing the climate to change has more to do with faith than science. Yes, the climate changes (and always has), but human activities aren’t to blame, and there’s no need to be alarmed. As always, time will make this clear.

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