Political Climate
Jan 11, 2008
One of Senate ‘Consensus Busters’ Scientists Speaks Out in New Blog

By Climate Statistician Dr. William M. Briggs in the Canadian Free Press.

I am not skeptical that man causes changes in his environment; in fact, I argue man must cause changes. I am only skeptical about the extent of these changes and about our ability to understand them. I am skeptical of the results from climate models that are used to posit large and harmful shifts in the earth’s temperature. The vast majority of pronouncements about climate change are based on forecasts, guesses made about the future which are conditional on the multitude of assumptions underlying the models being true and on the forecasts having only small error. My specialty is in forecast evaluation (not just climate models, but any kind), and I do not feel that climate models have shown their ability to make accurate predictions thus far. This is why I said that the “error associated with climate predictions is also much larger than that usually ascribed to them; meaning, of course, that people are far too sure of themselves and their models.”

Overconfidence is a common human trait, and it holds in scientists just as much as it does with civilians. Typically, however, the excessive surety of scientists is tempered by the peer-criticism process, which has the effect of reducing, but never eliminating, prediction error. But this service won’t work well if experts are made to feel squeamish about making their critiques because of a public browbeating by autocratic scientists, politicians, and “activists.”

There is also a shade of “groupthink"-bandwagon research-not so much with climatologists, but with the mass of secondary and tertiary investigators who use climate model output as input to their own models of economics, public health, sociology, and so on. These models invariably show what they were programmed to show: that climate change of any kind is bad. This is, of course, physically impossible; but these are not physicists who are making these remarks-which of course quickly find their way into the press-and thus they are not held accountable in that sense. Read more here.

Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

Jan 10, 2008
Environmental Extremism Must Be Put in Its Place in the Climate Debate

By Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris in the Canadian Free Press

United Nations and crusading celebrities are simply wrong. All responsible citizens are ‘environmentalists’, but that is no reason to yield to mass delusions. Many people are starting to realize that much of what they’ve been told about climate change by governments, the United Nations and crusading celebrities is simply wrong. Not surprisingly, the assertion that “the science is settled” in a field the public is coming to understand is both immature and quickly evolving, is triggering growing public skepticism.  Alarmists respond by upping the ante, making even more extreme and nonsensical forecasts, which in turn further fuels healthy public disbelief.

This pattern of exaggerated, and finally ludicrous assertions influencing debate in society is an old story. Extremists and extremism have always defined the limits for the majority. Climate extremism will increase in the near future as purveyors of politically correct but flawed views of climate change attempt to defend the indefensible.  See full story here.

Dr. Ball is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. Dr. Ball employs his extensive background in climatology and other fields as the Chairman of Natural Resources Stewardship Project. Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of Natural Resources Stewardship Project.

Jan 09, 2008
California Proposes to Take Control of Home Temperatures

By Bradley J. Fikes

Revision to building standards would make some power conservation mandatory. California utilities would control the temperature of new homes and commercial buildings in emergencies with a radio-controlled thermostat, under a proposed state update to building energy efficiency standards. Customers could not override the thermostats during “emergency events,” according to the proposal, part of a 236-page revision to building standards. The document is scheduled to be considered by the California Energy Commission, a state agency, on Jan. 30.

The description does not provide any exception for health or safety concerns. It also does not define what are “emergency events.” During heat waves, customers crank up the air conditioning, putting severe strains on the state’s power supply. By giving utilities the power to automatically adjust power demand by reducing air conditioning, the hope is that more severe interruptions, such as rolling blackouts, can be avoided.

However, both the Utility Consumers Action Network, a consumer rights group, and the Riverside County Chapter of the Building Industry Association said customers should be allowed to override the thermostat.  Read more here.

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