Doomed Planet

For climateers, it’s always the Silly Season

God – like climate change – works in many strange ways, especially at this time of the year. But at least God (sometimes) has a sense of – if not humour, then – the absurd, even if the joke’s always on us.

For alarmist disciples of the emerging our-climate-system-is-becoming-unstable cults, however, every atmospheric change is merely another harbinger of anthropogenic Armageddon, not a product of (unpredictable) natural variability, such as the extreme heat in 1896.

Not so long ago we were urged to embrace the (30-year) distinction between climate and weather, but no longer. Expect every trick in the Devil’s Dictionary to be used to blur it even further in this, the Year of the Snake.

December 29 last year was not only the fifth day of Christmas and feast of Saint Tipsy the Younger. There was another celebration, too. Academic Stephan “Twelve Fingers” Lewandowsky, the UWA cognitive psychologist preoccupied with "emotive short-circuitry" and all matters climatic and conspiratorial, posted his list of The top (Climate) Events of 2012 on Shaping Tomorrow’s World, the university-funded website, just in time for Twelfth Night.

“A group of us,” he explained, “put together a list of the most notable, often, most worrying, climate-related stories of the year. We did not try to make this a ‘top ten’ list, because it is rather silly to fit the news, or the science, or the stuff the Earth does in a given year into an arbitrary number of events. (What if we had 12 fingers, and “10” was equal to 6+6? Then there would always be 12 things, not 10, on everyone’s list. It makes no sense.) We ended up with 18 items…”

So why are there twelve months in ten-fingered year? Does a thumbs-up equal a two-fingered salute? It makes no sense.

Visiting his home country last December, Lewandowsky became seduced by Sandy – the US-hurricane that morphed into a superstorm – or, for fans of gothic-horror, a Frankenstorm.

Sandy’s size and strength “bore the hallmarks of global warming enhancement,” Lewandowsky pontificated. It had a “very unusual trajectory” caused by a “climatic configuration” that “almost certainly” was due to global warming. Precisely what kind of enhancement and climatic configuration remains a mystery as big as how five-fingered Saint Simeon the Elder managed to sit on his pillar for almost four decades.  

Sandy, naturally, would “not have been as big and powerful as it was, nor would it have likely struck land where it did were it not for the extra greenhouse gasses released by humans over the last century and a half or so.”

Was it the “type specimen” for a new kind of storm? While it was “almost certainly true that global warming-enhanced storms like Sandy will occur more frequently in the future than in the past, how much more often is not yet known. We will probably have to find out the hard way.” [author’s italics]

Despite this uncertainty, Lewandowsky found the opportunity to pour more scorn on his enemies — all the promulgators of any other explanation — irresistible. “The Earth’s weather system (quite unconsciously of course) opened a big huge can of ‘I told you so’ on the climate science denialist world,” he wrote. Sandy “washed away a huge portion of what remained of the credibility of the climate science denialist lobby.” In Lewandowsky’s world, climate has become weather and vice versa.

Greg Laden, biological anthropologist, archaeologist and blogger, is on Lewandowsky’s "nice" list. A passionate promoter of the latest alarmist storminess-is-a-serious-problem thesis, his smearing reflexes also border on the pathological. According to Laden, “science denialists” are “criminals with people of the future being their victims”. They are answerable to the “families of those who died in the Northeastern United States over the last few days as a result of a climate-change-enhanced super-storm.”

Closer to home, ex-engineer Tony Mohr, is hot favourite for the 2013 (Naughty) Analogy of the Year Award. A program director with the Australian Conservation Foundation, he is another activist who has warmed to the climate-weather nexus. While Australia has heatwaves all the time, and always has had them, Mohr argues “it is getting hotter. Climate change is making things worse. What Australia — and the world — is seeing is weather-on-steroids.”

Analogy, n., 1. An inference based on resemblances: things that are alike in most respects are probably alike in the respect in question. 2. Formally, if A is like B, and if A has property P, therefore B has property P; if and only if A really is “like” B. If, however, A is not really “like” B, the argument is invalid. Screws are like nails (size, shape, material), but try screwing in a nail.

Mohr admitted, “No-one can point to any given hot day and say categorically that ‘it is hot because of climate change’. No-one is trying to.” Yet he went on to claim in his very next sentence that “we know very well that as the climate heats up, it makes the chances of a day being hot greater, and it makes the likely maximum temperature even hotter.”

Lance Armstrong has had a lot of shocks in his career, but even he might be surprised to discover his appearance in an antipodean climate-change post:

“We can’t look at Lance Armstrong’s career and say ‘that stage win on Alpe d’Huez was because of doping.’ But we can say ‘Doping was absolutely a factor in him winning seven straight Tours de France.’ Likewise, we know climate change is a factor in the increasing number of hot days and nights we are experiencing in Australia, even if the cause of any given hot day is ambiguous.”

Perhaps Mohr is another Lycra lad, but his analogy is misleading. Planetary health, however defined, is not analogous to Armstrong’s medication regime, however complex. And sports physicians know — or should know — much more about drugs, causation, diagnosis, prognosis, etc., than scientists do about climate-change attribution. The medicos’ advice is based on experience and real evidence, not speculative “projections” from fallible models.

So why does the warmist orthodoxy use this strategy – argument by (false) analogy – ad nauseum today? Answer: It is rhetoric designed to persuade the gullible.

“If it’s 39C when you’re reading this,” Mohr goes on, “there’s no way we can tell whether it’s because of climate change. But because of climate change, we know that the odds of it being over 40 tomorrow are that much higher”.

We know no such thing. If there is any relationship, is it not that the hotter (or cooler) it becomes, the greater the likelihood the next day will be cooler (or warmer)? For example, it reached 39.1C in Perth yesterday, but will be ten degrees cooler for several days.

Data from Nome Airport, Alaska, confirms my hypothesis. After “light snow tonight” and a “brief cool-down”, they expect “temperatures again warming with a decent Chinook developing again Thursday night.” And why did Nome record an average maximum for December, 2012, that was 30% below normal (11.8F); and experience an average minimum of -5.2F, also significantly below normal (2.2F)? Why, indeed? Was it “global warming” or just a little “climate change-on-ice”?

Mohr’s other claim almost eclipses his “juicing-the-weather” sophistry: “What we do today, and how much [GHG] we emit today, will dictate just how hot we are tomorrow.” With only 1.5% of global GHG emissions, a snowball would have more chance in hell than this being the case. Why, too, has the average annual global temperature stalled during the past 14 years as GHG emissions continued to climb, if this alleged causality is an established law of nature?

T’is the silly season. Time to celebrate in song loonies-a-leaping, maids-a-milking, hounds-a-hunting, progressives-a-clucking, etc, and the mysteries of the Earth Climate System (Tune: The Twlve Days of Christmas).

On the first day of extreme-weather,

The Met Office sent to me

A revised forecast that made me gasp,

And an alarmist from the IPCC


On the second day of weather-weirding,

A warmist sent to me,

A big huge can of "I told you so" ho-ho

And two alarmists in a peer-tree.


On the third day of weather-on-steriods

A warmist sent to me,

One lord a-leaping

And three alarmists in a tee-pee.


On the fourth day of whatever-the-weather

A warmist sent to me,

More denialist swill (call it what you will)

And four alarmists from the IPCC.


On the fifth day of extreme-weather,

A warmist sent to me

Fasting cranks from central casting

And five alarmists in a peer-tree.


On the sixth day of weather-weirding,

A warmist sent to me

Another trick: a hockey stick!

And six alarmists in a tee-pee.


On the seventh day of weather-on-steriods,

A warmist sent to me

A nose-out-of-joint and a tipping point;

And seven alarmists from the IPCC.


On the eighth day of whatever-the-weather,

A warmist sent to me

One drummer a-drumming;

And eight alarmists in a peer-tree. 


On the ninth day of extreme-weather,

A warmist sent to me

An anatomy of a hoax, folks;

And nine alarmists in a tee-pee. 


On the tenth day of weather-weirding,

A warmist sent to me

More fables on uncertainty and the sea;

And ten alarmists from the IPCC. 


On the eleventh day of weather-on-steroids

A warmist sent to me

A climate model and more twaddle;

And eleven alarmists in a peer-tree. 


On the twelfth day of whatever-the-weather

A warmist sent to me

A bad bet  and a death threat;

And twelve alarmists in a tee-pee.


Fortunately, by the grace of the God of Climate Change, another perspective appeared on the tenth day of Christmas. It came from Saint Brian, the Star Gazer, in a chat about The Big Question: “What forces drive the universe and how will it end?”

Interviewer: Do you have any sympathy for your climate scientist colleagues and the opprobrium they are greeted with in many areas of the media?
Professor Schmidt: Climate change is challenging because everyone thinks they know which way the wind blows. Everyone feels like they are a weather person. The science is very complicated and the way it is portrayed in the media is, in my opinion, sometimes overly simplified so that things are said that really aren’t true.

Now I see the world’s changing and the effects of climate change are going to become more apparent in the coming decades. The reality is, however, the effects thus far are pretty small. So when you say: “Oh! That cyclone is caused by climate change”, you can’t say things like that. There’s a lot of hyperbole that goes out there…”

It’s very difficult to get the real nuances across; to get people to realise that the heat we’re going to have this week may – or may not – be caused by climate change. It is part of the deal that you would expect these [events] more often, but we used to have them before as well, so you can’t say anything per se is caused by it [climate change].”

Meanwhile, the all-seeing Madame Futuro expects the nation’s “climate conversation” to degenerate further until it resembles little more than a bunch of unfalsifiable claims and clichés.  “Climate change/AGHG” will continue to be the instant-coffee answer given to every question of attribution posed by entrenched elites.

Madame Futuro: Delusion and deception will be common in The Year of the (water) Snake. Stay alert!

If you are planning to marry, to seek advice from a cognitive psychologist or climate alarmist, or to begin a business partnership, be sure to investigate the other person’s horoscope and hobby compatibility, dietary and exercise regimes, fingers, finances and Facebook page before entering into any alliance. If bitten, call your lawyer and then seek medical advice.

The mad, manic and mischievous who built their careers on the fear-mongering will prevail for a time, as did Armstrong. But one day, time-out will be called on humankind’s most inflated delusion – that it could comprehend the Earth’s climate with sufficient insight to predict and control its course.

And if your (unproven) premise is that all climate change is driven “primarily” by AGHG emissions, and natural internal variability remains the elephant (or snake) in your room, this is where you will end up: promoting bogus notions – “climate stability”, “weather-weirding” and worse – to an increasingly sceptical public.

Speculation is not fact and assertion is not truth; no matter how insistently some — especially carbon-capitalists with deep conflicts of interest — proclaim it to be the case. Magna est veritas, et praevalebit.

© Michael Kile,  January, 2013




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