Respect Ability

In 2015 it is starting to appear as though the Lukewarmer view of climate change is winning. At least if what I read out there reflects a) reality and b) the political state of play.

Remember the Lukewarmer position can be characterized very succinctly (and has been by Steve Mosher on more than one occasion): Given the over/under bet on atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of concentrations of greenhouse gases at 3C, Lukewarmers will take the ‘under.’ We don’t quarrel (much) with the science–believe it or not, Michael Mann has said many true things about climate science and climate change–I hope some day he extends that rigorous honesty to his own work product…

The last year has been full of papers analyzing observations of our climate that indicate that sensitivity is not only below 3C, and not only below my own estimate of about 2.1C, but around 1.7C.

It’s not that I am claiming that Lukewarmers have finally climbed to a position of respectability.

Scientists have questioned the Consensus view of the various aspects of global warming and it would appear that their findings and analysis will carry weight going forward.

I’m arguing that they should be acknowledged for their contributions.

respectability

We have been reminded once again that climate science is even now discovering very basic and important elements that need to be considered, such as the impact of black carbon or the varying effects of aerosols. But the core message–that temperatures are rising and our emissions of greenhouse gases contribute to this warming–is not really questioned. The questions remain ‘how much’ and ‘so what?’

I personally think that the ‘how much’ is answered best by ‘more than we would really like’ and the ‘so what’ by the reply ‘for most of my readers the consequences will be minimal, but for those in the developing world it will pose a big problem–not their biggest, but certainly enough to make their climb towards a developed status much more difficult.

What I haven’t seen are the hundreds of papers being released with the ‘It’s Worse Than We Thought’ motif. There are some, of course. But not the incredible flurry that characterized previous years.

It’s not that the political faction of the Klimate Konsensus has abandoned their struggle. They are still harassing their opponents, from Congressional inquiries into funding to psycho-babble-analysis from pseudoscientists like Stefan Lewandowski.

But to say now in 2015 that atmospheric sensitivity may well turn out to be less than 3C is now, if not acceptable, at least no longer absurd.

What that means going forward is that the people who are arguing with Lukewarmers will gradually quit being the legitimate holders of the Consensus (which is dramatically different from the Kilmate Konsensus), and start to include many of the skeptics with whom we’ve gotten along so well during these last years in the wilderness. This is something Steve Mosher has been finding out over the past two years–when arguments over politics and process get put aside, much of the consensus position is sound.

At least those disagreements will be more good-natured, as most skeptics are overall much more congenial in conversation than the lunatics who have been carrying sandwich boards pronouncing our doom…

8 responses to “Respect Ability

  1. I have a religious personal philosophy that things that cannot be isolated and measured do not exist. The resulting signal to noise ratio is very good, which means the good things that are rejected are far rarer than the overwhelming nonsense that is avoided. I’m being a little facetious, but not wholly.

  2. Regretfully I disagree. The depth of the consensus bad science is much deeper than you seem to acknowledge. The acceptance of non-crisis based policy frameworks is practically nil. The publication of the few non-consensus papers in recent years is making no impact at all in the run-up to Paris, and is certainly not reflected in the mainstream media reporting on climate.

  3. I’d like to highlight a subfaction: Nukewarmers. They would be exemplified by Peter Lang (and me) in the comments at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. He may seem stodgy and repetitive, but that doesn’t stop him from being absolutely right.

  4. I would say that the beating of the war drums has not slowed down, only that fewer people are taking notice.

    It’s ironic how very few people in the media quote the IPCC anymore. The AR5 report dialed back the alarmism in many areas so it’s not seen as a valid source anymore by many.

    When talking about sea level rise I quote the IPCC verbatim and get nothing but blow back from the consensus backers. I find this to be immense self entertainment. The irony of the anti-IPCC position is rarely acknowledged.

    Once you have established that you are not in the alarmist tribe, many will dispute everything you say, regardless of what it is.

    • Tom, I have been reading your comments at CaS, Real Climate and other places and I have to say that you have been basically brilliant of late.

      The IPCC has been a reference point only when it suits the arguments of the Konsensus. Any time they want to say it’s too conservative they have no problem throwing the IPCC under the bus.

    • The konsensus is all about imposing apocalypse-based policies on the rest of us. The IPCC is either helping that cause (kause?) or is in the way. If you are not for the apocalypse, then you are against it and are the believer’s enemy.
      I was puzzled as to why the IPCC was back peddling so hard yet the political/cliamte hypester talk was ratcheting up so hard. I like the explanations both of you (Tom F and Tom S) are offering but am still puzzled by the need for people to cling to apocalyptic clap trap.

      • I think the IPCC just couldn’t bear to come out with another “it’s worse than we thought” report with the pause still in full force and many indicators like extreme events not complying to recent rhetoric.

        There are authors in the IPCC who do want to maintain a little self respect. They wanted to be seen as credible, so they dialed back the craziness.

        IPCC detail reports, WG1: Seems reasonable
        IPCC WG2, WG3: A bit too speculative
        IPCC SPM: Some things get lost in translation
        Environmental journalism on what the “science says”: Completely unreasonable in many cases.

  5. Tom S,
    The actual truth, that ‘extreme weather’ events have never complied with the alarmist predictions is what is driving the cliamte kooks crazy.

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