Here’s a typical recent propaganda headline: “Climate change made Libya flooding 50 times more likely: Report.”
This is not so.
Here’s another recent one from PBS: “Climate change made global summer droughts 20 times more likely”
Also not true.
The Guardian, recent: “Current heatwave across US south made five times more likely by climate crisis.”
There are only a handful from an ever-increasing supply. The genre is now routine. Indeed, headlines like these are now seen whenever a weather-related event classified as “bad”, like a flood, is identified. Once the event is tagged, somebody rushes to microphone and says “climate change” did it.
No. This can’t be known.
To explain why these headlines are always great nonsense, and therefore propaganda, I have written two technical papers. And two posts describing their outlines: “Climate Attribution Studies Can’t Be Trusted” and “How the IPCC Sees What Isn’t There“.
The papers are somewhat technical, but I think most regular readers, since they are demonstrably superior to the average man, can handle them.
This post is meant to serve as a remember, one you can send to people or groups or rulers who tout headlines like those above.
Here is one simple argument why these headlines are false, with a word after about the other arguments against attributions.
A climate model makes a prediction of the probability of some event, like a “heat wave”, whatever that means. This gives a number, like 10%. (The real numbers are usually much smaller, which is important, but I’m making them big to make the math easier for the reader.)
A second climate model makes a prediction of the probability of the same event, only this model is meant to represent an atmosphere that has less carbon dioxide in it. This also gives a number, say 1%.
It is then announced “Current heatwave made ten times more likely by climate crisis.” Because ten times 1% equals 10%.
With me? Then you should be able to tell me now—you have all the information you need, though some of it is tacit—to tell us why that headline, like all the others, is great nonsense.
Need a hint? The models.
Try and think this through before reading more. It will do you good.
Did you have a go?
The math is not wrong. It’s ten times more, just as claimed. The problem is the models. How in the unholy hellfire can the model claim there is a 10% chance of this heatwave? I mean, it can claim it, but how do we know the model is right? In order for all this attribution stuff to work the model not only has to be right, it has to be perfect.
May I repeat that? It has to be perfect.
That means that 10% must be calibrated. If you know what this is, you know. If not, it is a technical requirement—one not demonstrated by any of the models used by IPCC scientists. Which in a way is not their fault, because calibrating these models on every conceivable kind of weather event, while it is not logically impossible, is practically impossible.
It has not been done.
Which means there is no way to know if the model is spouting nonsense with that initial 10%. None. As in none. By which I mean none. No way.
What makes it all worse, and much much worse, is that 10% is usually something very much smaller, many orders of magnitude smaller (technical details are in the papers). Which makes calibration even more impossible. And which makes all claims risible.
The second problem is the second model. It’s entirely counterfactual. It makes, or claims to make, a prediction of an atmosphere which does not exist. And cannot exist. We have the atmosphere we have, and not the one with so much less CO2.
This means that not only is calibrating this second model impossible, it can never be checked for accuracy using any observation whatsoever.
It is not logically impossible to make counterfactual probability statements. We do so continuously. But they can never be checked, you see. Never verified.
Which means we end up with two impossible numbers, the 10% and 1%. And thus the resulting change in two impossible numbers, that ten times, is itself impossible.
The beauty of all this, if you’re a propagandist, or Expert in need of manufacturing evidence to keep his job, is that, while you cannot prove by any observation that you are right, I cannot prove by any observation you are wrong.
So you can go on making these asinine predictions forever. And can get away with it.
Right now in the far north of the greatest state in the coerced Union, the weather is perfect. Not just good: perfect. Mid 70s, sunny, low breeze. Gorgeous. It could not be made better. The beasts and the birds are out, reveling. One told me how happy he was.
Given this pristine atmosphere, do you therefore suppose we shall see the following headline? And if not, why not? In that why not you will discover why “climate change” is yet another in a long string of idiot panics.
Headline: “Current Eden-like ideal weather made ten times more likely by climate change.”
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