The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Friday, February 18, 2005

British taxpayer to fund global warming propaganda

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced a £12M "package of funding"

as the first part of a new climate change communications initiative to change public attitudes towards climate change.


So the orthodoxy is to be enforced with our own taxes. It will be interesting to see how much of scientific rationality can survive this process.

10 Comments:

At 18 February 2005 at 14:16, Blogger Jorgen said...

I have to admire the approach: first you pay dearly for getting your attitude changed (you must learn to like paying for it, cost what it will!), then you pay for the global warming activities.

 
At 18 February 2005 at 14:53, Blogger sheikh X said...

But it seems to me that most studies agree that global warming is a reality. The latest research on temperature over 1000 years (in Nature) shows that most warming since 1900 is part of natural fluctuation - but in the last decade there seems to be a rise even beyond that.

Even if you are agnostic on whether its a reality, doesn't a 50% possibility that global warming will ruin people's lives, enough to take a cautious route?

And if you are prepared to take the risk, would you agree that should global warming actually happen (against your prediction) that the countries responsible for it, ought be held financially responsible by people whose livelihoods are destroyed?

 
At 18 February 2005 at 16:14, Blogger rexie said...

hb

You raise a number of interesting issues.

The point I was trying to make here was that we lose respect for science when orthodoxy is promoted by politicians.

I concede that there is more at stake here than there usually is in scientific disputes, and that it is sensible to apply caution in the face of uncertainty, but the degree of caution must be related to the degree of risk which, ideally, should be assessed coolly and critically with reference to the best evidence and taking into account dissenting voices. There are risks too in overreaction.

I should like to think a little more about your last question.

 
At 18 February 2005 at 17:31, Blogger Jorgen said...

hb,

History is littered by consensual science that later has been proven wrong. If something cannot be proven, it is not science. I find computer modeling interesting as a subject, but would never consider the results worthy of being called proof.

Your two last questions: No and no. It is irresposible to throw other peoples money away on guesswork.

 
At 18 February 2005 at 17:43, Blogger rexie said...

I have been working in computer modelling for most of my professional life and am acutely aware of the dangers. A useful summary is provided by John Brignell - http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/computer_modelling.htm - who concludes: "Many of the computer models that receive great media coverage and political endorsement fail under some of these headings; and , indeed, some fail under all of them. Yet they are used as the excuse for profound, and often extremely damaging, policies that affect everyone."

 
At 18 February 2005 at 18:03, Blogger rexie said...

http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/Articles/2000/national.htm

is a good source on limitations of some influential climate models.

 
At 18 February 2005 at 20:17, Blogger Jorgen said...

Computer modelling and simulation have come a long way since their start. They are great for both teaching and research and are constantly improved as new layers of complexity are added to existing models. However, we are not even close to model very complex topics such as economy, weather and climate and may even need a new math to do so.

I wasn't aware of the greeningearth site. Looks great!

 
At 19 February 2005 at 09:43, Blogger rexie said...

There are loads of good research materials for the sceptically minded at GreeningEarth.

Unfortunately the brilliant maverick John Daly died last year. His own website "Still waiting for the Greenhouse" is still running though - http://www.john-daly.com/

 
At 19 February 2005 at 11:02, Blogger tor said...

Daly site is great too. And still being updated (latest 6/2).

 
At 21 February 2005 at 09:54, Blogger rexie said...

If you want to follow the "hockey stick" controversy as it happens, http://www.climateaudit.org/ is the place to go and http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/MM-W05-background.pdf gives a useful non-technical overview which I am studying now.

This will definitely be one to keep going back to.

 

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