Inconvenient

Earlier this year an expedition of climate scientists went to Antarctica to find evidence of global warming. Their boat was trapped in the ice.*

If you give it some thought, most of the climate predictions haven’t actually played out.

Not the details or minor aspects, but those at the very core. The icecaps are growing, weather is less extreme, polar bear populations are up and no coastal maps have been redrawn.

Are we just not going to talk about this?

Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006 and completely changed climate politics. It was an intensely political project.* He made the case for dramatic change and the redirection of trillions of dollars of investment.

I actually did do a science degree. In our second year we derived the classical heat capacity equations by applying statistical methods to a handful of threadbare assumptions about the quantum world.

The equations were developed hundreds of years ago by the first real scientists, using equipment invented by the misplaced energies of the alchemists before them. They are the undeniable, rock-solid scientific basis of climate science.

Climate politics has very little to do with this. The ever-reliable physical science behind planes and televisions cannot be compared with multi-decade weather forecasts and has even less to do with the effect of those weather forecasts.

At some point journalists and politicians have been allowed to associate the rigour of physical chemistry to the alchemy of long term prediction pseudoscience.

I could go into how experts in most fields are wrong when they make forecasts, but that would just be opinion. Plus it’s been said better before and frankly it would make me too angry. Instead I’m going to try something different.

An Inconvenient Truth  came out about ten years ago. Al Gore beat this deserving woman and won a Nobel Peace prize, sparking a highly lucrative speaking career for him and his pals.

I thought now would be a good time to watch the film and compare the expert’s ten year predictions with what actually happened. I did this yesterday so you don’t have to. The first section is Al Gore being applauded in slow motion by enraptured audiences.**

Climate articles often start with ‘modelling predicts in X many years that Y horror will happen and doom us all’. Without wading into the swamp of poor logic and muddled thinking behind these models. But you don’t need a science degree to see whether  predictions came true.

You are as qualified as the next punter to judge the following:

1. Al Gore : Polar bears are going to drown

In the film Mr Gore emotively narrates a cartoon of a polar bear sinking, and states polar bears have already started drowning. This is the latest data:

 polarbearpopulations

2. Al Gore: Weather will be more extreme

This really irked me because Mr Gore interspersed the destitution of Hurricane Katrina with political arguments that have nothing to do with it.

I wouldn’t show pictures of people dying of cold to make the point that a global ice age would be far worse than temperatures rising by a few degrees (it would).
On viewing I did note he didn’t actually say climate change caused Hurricane Katrina. But I’m calling bullshit. He was totally associating the two and making a  point and his comments stand.
As it turns out the US is in the longest hurricane drought in recorded history.
Tropical cyclone records tell a similar story:
tropical cyclone frequency.png
The same is true on a global basis:
global hurricane frequency.png

It’s possible to argue that statistically this data is compatible with a worsening.

But that is not what climate politicians have been saying. The clear forecast from Mr Gore was that we’re in for disastrous extreme weather in the near future and we need to incur dramatic costs to avoid it.

3. Al Gore: Icecaps are going to melt

 

This is my favourite because Mr Gore predicted on record on an almost annual  that by 2015 the Arctic would be ice free in Summer. Not even close.

In the movie he showed New York, Bangladesh, Beijing and other population centres being swamped, implying catastrophic loss of life and property.

In 2009 he  stated publicly that computer modelling predicted the Arctic would be ice free by 2014, and  it was our last chance to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Umm.. the ice is still there.

 global ice.png

The point is not that Al Gore is lying, but that that the models are very wrong. This has nothing to do with the science I spent years studying.***

In line with the Antarctic expedition mentioned previously, the a group of scientists on a 115 day expedition to the Arctic this year had to reroute their journey. Because the ice was too thick, according to the Canadian Coast Guard who actually live and work there.

The Antarctic, by the way, has a record amount of ice right now. Read this from NASA in 2014 and note the scientists twisting themselves into arguing that this is somehow proof of global warming, or irrelevant:

https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum

Again even if record sea ice is not statistically significant, this is the exact opposite of what climate politicians predicted.  The forecast was melting ice caps, unstable Antarctic ice shelfs and catastrophe. Al Gore went into much detail on this. Too often predictions of drought that end in flood are used as evidence of climate change or vice versa.

As it so happens, the NASA article was written in 2014, so we can judge it with the benefit of knowing what happened a year later. In 2015 there another year of record ice.antarctic sea ice.png

I could go on. He points to Mt Kilimanjaro and says it will be ice free in ten years. He points at the Himalayas and ten years ago implied the ice would shortly be gone.

Is anyone allowed to point out these very specific predictions have not played out? The global environmental movement was based on such predictions. Almost every Government just signed agreements on the basis of these forecasts!

How many years of data on how many different issues would it take to convince you that the consensus in climate politics is wrong?

Al Gore, 2014: ‘‘All the predictions of the scientists have come true in spades’

To refocus back home, if you’re Australian you’ve probably heard the name Tim Flannery, though he’s not quite a celebrity. Until recently I had only thought positive things of the guy.

There’s something quasi-religious about the modern environmental movement. People who disagree are ‘heretics’. I had no idea it was this bad though. Tim is a climate science thought leader of Australia and was until recently paid $175,000 a year to advise the Government part time on climate science. He said the following:

‘For the first time, this global super-organism, this global intelligence will be able to send a signal, a strong and clear signal to the earth. And what that means in a sense is that we can, we will be a regulating intelligence for the planet, I’m sure, in the future … And lead to a stronger Gaia, if you will, a stronger earth system.This planet, this Gaia, will have acquired a brain and a nervous system. That will make it act as a living animal, as a living organism, at some sort of level.’

I didn’t alienate myself from half my highly religious family to put up with this kind of crap at the highest levels of Australian policy. His list of failed predictions is longer than Gore’s. Perth is supposed to be a wasteland and by now, the major cities of Australia are supposed to have run out of water.

For those of my Facebook friends who have read this far you can now hate me more: I am stoked that Tony Abbott sacked this guy and feel like I owe him one.

Interestingly enough, it looks like the silent majority got climate change right. The public was correct to calmly and correctly refuse to make the dramatic changes demanded by climate politicians.

Here are my ten year predictions that you can hold me to. In 2026 I wager that:

1. Polar bears will still be around.
2. The Antarctic and Arctic will still be icy.
3. The map will be basically the same as it is now. Pacific islands will still be there.
4. Storms will vary in frequency. There will be some fierce ones and some long lulls.
5. To the extent there is warming, those who live there will appreciate the icy permafrost turning into soil
6. The world stays well below the 2 degree warming target, but this has nothing to do with expensive action undertaken by governments, as they will all cheat their targets anyway.

Finally, I have no doubt Al Gore will take all the credit despite getting everything wrong.

 

p.s. I told a friend I was going to write this and he said, with pain (dare I say tears) in his eyes, that he missed the optimistic vegetarian Mike, and wondered when I became a right-wing asshole. I think I’m actually the optimist here.
Climate politicians enrich themselves politically and financially by arguing we’re all screwed.
They casually make sinister arguments about population, when in reality the world could handle far more people. Our technology, art, poetry, music and film would be so much richer if there were more of us on this planet, as would our broader social, sexual, financial and political lives.
Al Gore even made this ridiculous point while referring to booming developing economies, echoing that old, mischievous trope that the poor breed too fast.
p.s.s. I can remember when the ability of weather forecasts to stuff up even the weekend forecast was a well-worn joke. When were these people put in charge of policy?
p.s.s.s. I’ve written about dodgy charts before. If we have real global warming or cooling, you will know about it.
* An icebreaker was sent out to rescue them and it too, got stuck the ice.
** The whistfully narrated slow motion clips of Al losing the election are more fun.
***  I spent a year proving that something that an enzyme catalysed fuel cell that worked on a fingerprint-sized surface worked on a finger-sized surface. It involved daily use of gas equipment. The long term aim was to replace heavy metal electrodes with friendly sustainable enzymes. As it turns out platinum is actually an extremely good electrode, while enzymes are impractical and fundamentally expensive. But that’s another story.

 

Former IPCC chairman Robert Watson has said “The mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact. That is worrying. The IPCC needs to look at this trend in the errors and ask why it happened”.