Posts Tagged 'Mike Hulme'

Climate Change and the Death of Science


[Note: the following was written on October 31 and updated November 3, before the ‘Climategate’ CRU email scandal broke, and it is all the more pertinent in the light of those disclosures. The CRU emails show how science has been perverted into a political movement, and how scientists conspired to serve a ‘post-normal’ agenda where truth is trampled – exactly as the proponents of ‘post-normal’ science had anticipated. With the association between ‘post-normal’ science developed by Ravetz and its application in climate science by Hulme now widely exposed by this present post, Ravetz and Hulme jointly authored an article, published by the BBC on December 1, entitled ‘Show Your Working’: What ‘ClimateGate’ means in which they sought to promote post-normal science further by capitalizing on the public disgust at the corruption of ‘normal’ science. This is cynical because normal science was corrupted by covertly introducing post-normal activities in the first place.]

What has become of science? We thought that science was about the pursuit of truth. Then we became perplexed at how quickly scientists have prostituted themselves in the service of political agendas. We have seen the unedifying spectacle of scientists refusing to share their data, fiddling their results, and resorting to ad hominem attacks on those who have exposed their work to be fraudulent. We have seen the Royal Society becoming a shamelessly crude advocacy society. We have seen President Obama choosing notorious climate alarmists and liars to be his personal advisors. We have seen the peer review process and journal editors colluding to prevent publication of results that do not serve the politically-correct agenda, and scientists refusing to consider results that demolish their pet theories. What is going on here?

What is going on is that science is no longer what we thought it was. It is now a tool in the hands of socialists, and the smart money is flowing into the pockets of ‘scientists’ who will serve their agenda. Follow the money. Whilst traditional physics and chemistry departments are closing in British universities, and there is a shortage of science teachers, there is an abundance of cash being poured into departments that will serve socialist ends, and no shortage of acolytes desirous to use this as a route to power. Once there was modern science, which was hard work; now we have postmodern science, where the quest for real, absolute truth is outdated, and ‘science’ is a wax nose that can be twisted in any direction to underpin the latest lying narrative in the pursuit of power. Except they didn’t call it ‘postmodern’ science because then we might smell a rat. They called it PNS (post-normal science) and hoped we wouldn’t notice. It was thus named and explicated by Silvio O. Funtowicz and philosopher Jerome R. Ravetz, who in 1991 wrote the paper A New Scientific Methodology for Global Environmental Issues, followed in 1992 by The good, the true and the postmodern, and in 1993 by Science for the post-normal age, where they promoted the idea that

…a new type of science – ‘post-normal’ – is emerging…in contrast to traditional problem-solving strategies, including core science, applied science, and professional consultancy…Post-normal science can provide a path to the democratization of science, and also a response to the current tendencies to post-modernity.

The ‘response’ wasn’t to be a reaction against postmodernism, but an embracing of it, and going beyond it. And it has sinister ramifications.

We had already been warned about Ravetz in the 1987 work Changing Boundaries of the Political, which stated

From the perspective of Anglo-American liberalism it seems easy enough to…point out that the old predictions of the British Marxist J.D. Bernal about the triumph of basic research under socialism have proved hopelessly wrong, and that the demands of J.R. Ravetz of the University of Leeds that science be made instrumental and moral will destroy the enterprise whatever its short-term benefits.

Continue reading ‘Climate Change and the Death of Science’

Met Office Fraudcast


Never confuse ‘scientists forecasting’ with scientific forecasting. Most scientists don’t know the basic principles of scientific forecasting. In Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists versus Scientific Forecasting (Energy & Environment, Vol. 18, No. 7+8, 2007), Green and Armstrong state

Specifically, we have been unable to find a scientific forecast to support the currently widespread belief in “global warming”…Based on our literature searches, those forecasting long-term climate change have no apparent knowledge of evidence-based forecasting methods…

Thus rather foolishly, the head of the Climate Programme at the Met Office, Dr Vicky Pope,  assured us back in 2007 that now routinely on the Met Office’s computers

Much longer predictions are run, typically…predicting the next 100 to 1,000 years.

Predicting the next 1000 years? Fat chance!

The UK Met Office have recently produced the ‘UK Climate Projections 2009’ (UKCP09) which purports to project ‘how the UK climate may change for the 30-year period from 2070–2099 at a resolution of 25 km’. The Met office are expecting us to believe that they have a good idea what the climate will be like within any 25km x 25km cell over the whole of the UK out to the end of the century. Note the word ‘project’ rather than ‘predict’ or ‘forecast’. Anyone can project anything, and by devising different models there will be different projections. In fact, a projection is essentially meaningless – one can draw a straight line through any trend and call it a ‘projection’. So long as we don’t consider a projection to be a prediction or a forecast, then it is just a bit of speculation (or fun) and no weight should ever be attached to it in terms of planning or risk assessment and mitigation.

But the Met Office and Defra are playing fast and loose with this and are treating the UKCP09 projections as predictions to be used for planning, risk assessment and mitigation by everyone. The Met Office says

It is vital governments, businesses, organisations and individuals understand the challenges ahead and prepare for them now…UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) is a climate analysis tool, funded by Defra, which features the most comprehensive climate projections ever produced. Projections are broken down to a regional level across the UK and are shown in probabilistic form — illustrating the potential range of changes and the level of confidence in each prediction.

Yes, you read it correctly, it does say prediction, and they are telling you within 90% confidence limits what is going to happen before it happens, over the next 90 years. We’ll show just how unlikely this is in another post shortly. But this is what the renowned climatologist R.A. Pielke Sr, (Senior Research Scientist, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado in Boulder, and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins) has to say about UKCP09:

This study…is clearly a subversion of the scientific method. To state that that climate science is being stretched is quite an understatement. There is absolutely no multi-decadal prediction skill on the spatial scales presented in this study.

The scientists who present the viewpoint of skillful multi-decadal regional predictions to policymakers are deliberately and dishonestly misinforming the public and policymakers. (emphasis original)

What’s more, Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia and listed as a reviewer of this report, passes judgment as follows (emphasis added):

Unfortunately predictive skill is unknown for climate at the decade-to-century timescale. Unlike weather forecasts, whose value in informing decision-making can routinely be tested over time by comparison with observed weather patterns, there is currently no such empirical evidence with which to test the skill of climate predictions. Moreover, as knowledge of the climate system and how it responds to greenhouse gases improves, model predictions will change, as will their probability distributions. Because decision-makers lack experience in using climate predictions, there is a risk that they will place too much confidence in the results.

Continue reading ‘Met Office Fraudcast’