What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t & why it matters – Watts Up With That?

What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t & why it matters – Watts Up With That?

From the GWPF

Date: 04/18/21

Holman W. Jenkins Jr., Wall Street Journal

After a stint at the Obama Department of Energy, Steven Koonin reclaims the science of a warming planet from the propaganda dealers.

Barack Obama is one of many who has declared an “epistemological crisis” in which our society loses its grip on what is called the truth.

An interesting experiment will therefore be his and other Democrats’ response to a book by Steven Koonin, who was the chief scientist in Obama’s energy department. Mr Koonin is not arguing against current climate science, but that what the media, politicians and activists say about climate science is so far from actual science that it is absurd and demonstrably wrong.

This is not a completely innocent drift, he points out in a video conference interview from his home in Cold Spring, NY. In 2019, a report by the Presidents of the National Academies of Science claimed that “the magnitude and frequency of certain extreme events are on the increase”. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recognized as the best of science, says that all such claims should be treated with “low confidence”.

In 2017, the US government’s Climate Science Special Report claimed that “the number of high-temperature records set in the past two decades far exceeds the number of low-temperature records” in the bottom 48 states. On closer inspection, this is due to the fact that the number of new record highs has not increased since 1900, only the number of new lows has decreased.

69-year-old Koonin and I agree on the fourth U.S. national climate assessment in 2018, published in year two by Donald Trump, which relied on such overrated emissions and temperature projections at worst that even climate activists were put to shame ( a revolt lasts that day). “The report was written more to convince than to inform,” he says. “It disguises itself as objective science, but was written as – all right, I’ll use the word – propaganda.”

Mr. Koonin is a Brooklyn born mathematician and theoretical physicist, a product of the selective Stuyvesant High School in New York. In 1968, his parents, who studied for less than a year, understood exactly how to deal with an unusually talented and motivated young person: Would you like to drive across the country to Caltech at the age of 16? “Whatever you think is right, carry on,” they told him. “I wanted to know how the world worked,” says Mr. Koonin now. “I’ve wanted to do physics since I was 6 years old when I didn’t know it was called physics.”

He taught at Caltech for nearly three decades and acted as the provost in setting the scientific agenda for one of the leading scientific institutions in the country. On the way he opened up to the world beyond the laboratory. Early on, he was recruited by the Institute for Defense Analyzes, a non-profit group with Pentagon affiliations, for what he calls the “summer camp for national security”: meeting generals and congressmen, viewing facilities, disembarking battleships. The federal government endeavored to “get involved” with the up-and-coming elite of academics in the country. It worked. […]

Mr. Koonin still has a lot of Brooklyn in him: a big laugh, a gift to express and to the point. His thoughts seem to be determined by an all-encompassing realism. Hence the book coming out next month “Restless: What Climate Science Tells Us, What Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.”

Any reader would benefit from his nifty, clear-cut tour of climate science, the best I’ve ever seen. His rigorous analysis of the evidence will lead you to question the compulsion of the political class to establish certainty where certainty does not exist. You will doubt the usefulness of hundred-year projections that claim to know how 1% shifts in variables will affect a global climate that we don’t understand with 1% accuracy.

His book lands at the crucial moment. In its first reassessment of climate science in eight years, the UN Climate Panel, which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize from Al Gore, will again next year settle a puzzle that has not advanced in 40 years: How much warming should we expect? a slightly increased greenhouse effect?

The panel is expected to consult more than 40 climate computer simulations – evidence that it is unable to select a single trustworthy one. Worse, the models fell apart and didn’t come together as you might hope. Without adjustments, they don’t even match the currently simulated global average surface temperature – it varies by 3 degrees Celsius, three times the observed change in the last century. (If you’re wondering why the IPCC expresses itself as a temperature anomaly above a baseline, it is because the models produce different baselines.)

Full article here.


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