Saturday, May 25, 2024

Climate hope

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In the 43 years since The Clash sang about how “the ice age is coming”, not one prediction of catastrophe extrapolated from a climate model has come to pass, says Ryan Price. Photo Nick Cobbing Greenpeace International

Oh dear. Your correspondent, Dennis Horne, seems to believe the politicians who are telling him that the world is doomed unless he pays more taxes.

Yes, the “claims” I make are based on publicly available data from a “certain sort of internet site” – conspiratorial sources such as NASA, The World Wildlife Fund and the US Government.

As for persuading a “significant number of scientists”, it is irrelevant how many scientists are persuaded. A theory doesn’t become “the truth” based on how many scientists believe it. Nor false because too few scientists believe it. That’s not how science works.

Scientific theories, by definition, cannot be proven – so there are just two main types of scientific theory:
1) those already disproven
2) those not yet disproven.

In the second category one can find competing theories for the same thing. Some plausible. Some silly. Most will eventually be proven wrong. None will ever be proven right.

With respect to “climate science” theories: to paraphrase the famous physicist Richard Feynman: if you have a model of a natural process, then no matter how elegant the model is, if what happens in the real-world doesn’t match the predictions of your model, the model is wrong.

For example, if your model predicts that the arctic will be ice free by 2008, but the arctic is still well covered in 2022, the model is wrong.

Or if your model predicts “snowfall is a thing of the past” (an actual headline in 2000), but it is still snowing in 2022, the model is wrong.

In the 43 years since The Clash sang about how “the ice age is coming”, not one prediction of catastrophe extrapolated from a climate model has come to pass.

But that hasn’t stopped the prophets – politicians and scientists – getting very wealthy selling their theories.

I look at the evidence, and I see no cause for alarm, only cause for hope.

Humanity survived the last ice age and the actual cataclysm that followed it.

In the 21st century, we have much better tools to manage all the threats that nature presents.

We’d be much better off spending billions of dollars improving those than on sending politicians on first-class flights to conferences in five-star hotels where they dine on hundred-dollar steaks and talk about new ways to tax the middle class.

Ryan Price
Half Moon Bay

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