Scientists don’t make anything. They discover new knowledge, and the process of discovery is well organized but the outcome is messy, subject to wide debate, and extensive revision.
Politicians don’t make anything. They talk about problems, real or imagined, and make policies and laws to address those problems. Their process is well organized but the outcome is also messy, subject to wide debate, and extensive revision.
Here is the intersection. Politicians rely on scientists to give them a problem to talk about for there is a lot of talking in politics. Politicians then award more money to scientists to discover more problems. Hint: the best problems for both are those without solutions. For neither is equipped to solve problems, just to discover, talk and tax.
The top 259 scientists comprising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 30 countries, mostly funded by politicians from the 30 countries, announced an important finding after 52 hours of non-stop revision and then danced in celebration when they released their latest giant climate report on September 26th.
Only a summary of the report was published—the million-word full version will follow—but over the last week “every single word” has been justified to 110 governments. Their conclusion: mankind is causing global warming with 95% confidence. The report is released just in time for a conference to forge political agreement in Paris in December.
What will the scientific-political-media event in Paris decide? Certainly there will be a lot of discussion about the damage mankind is doing to the planet. Likely there will be statistical affirmation showing a high probability of disaster looming in the future. The conferees may conclude, with high confidence, that people have the power and means to irreversibly alter the earth and its atmosphere by emitting carbon.
So when the conference report is adopted and implementation guidance is published, mankind will have acquired god-like power to change 5.97219 x 1024 kg of mass, not including the atmosphere (pegged at 1 millionth of total earth mass), in the span of but 253 years (1760 to current). Who is responsible for the mile-thick glacial ice over Cincinnati 100,000 years ago?
Paris is cold in December; often, but not always. Assume there is a warm spell. After all there could be, for the only certainty we have about weather is its variability. And hundreds of millions of days of weather equals climate. Climate change is a well-established scientific premise. Not well established are predictability and causes. Here is a simple test. How accurate was last night’s low temperature forecast and if inaccurate what was the cause? Chart ‘predicted’ verses ‘actual’ for a month and note the variability. Variation defeats certainty, and without an identified cause prediction becomes a best guess—just like climate forecasting.
But politicians do not need to consider variability. They do not need nor most do not want to understand science. They have paid for scientifically generated, peer-reviewed, “statistically sound” findings. And remember, the best political problem is one without a solution, and climate change will produce lots of sound bites for the media who will scare us into compliance for the TAX. For politicians decide who pays for all this carbon that if unchecked will destroy civilization as we know it. Their only dilemma is figuring out how to tax us for comfortable homes, cars and the like. On reflection, there might be one problem politicians are capable of solving—deciding who pays the bill. I wonder where the money will go!