Monday, December 24, 2007

The Debate Continues

In a News-Press opinion entitled "Plenty of scientific doubt about climate catastrophe," Wayne Holbrook gives a succinct summation that captures why I do not buy into the global warming controversy.

I am a denier, a pejorative term applied to those of us who reject the now discredited report that 99 percent of climatologists agree that we are in a period of accelerated global warming, and that the debate is over.

I am in good company. The deniers include those scientists who are directly involved in actual measurements of global temperatures, or those who base their positions on solid science, as opposed to those who base their opinion on computer modeling.

Models are like polling. For some strange reason people accept a model as scientific fact. It is not. A model is only as good as the premises that it is built on.A classic example of the latter is Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Space Institute, whose presentation to Congress ignited the global warming frenzy and predicted double-digit warming and catastrophic consequences, based on a flawed computer model.
Dr. William Gray, a Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University is a climate expert. This is an excerpt from his paper "We Are Not in A Climate Crisis:"

These GCM models should not be relied upon to give global temperature information 50 to 100 years in the future where model verification in the lifetime of the model builders is not possible. These GCM modelers do not dare make public short-period global temperature forecasts for next season, next year, or a few years hence. This is because they know they do not have short range forecast skill. They would lose credibility if they issued forecasts that could actually be verified. These climate modelers live largely in a ‘virtual world’ of their own making where reality and model skill is determined largely by the modelers themselves. The climate models are so complicated that it takes teams of specialists to construct all of the various model components. No one person well understands any model’s complete numerical package. No independent outside person would ever know enough to realistically evaluate the model’s outputs. They are just giant black boxes telling us that humans are warming the globe at a dangerous rate. The fact that nearly all the GCMs give similar results (global warming of 2-5oC for a doubling of CO2 near the end of the 21st century) should not increase our confidence in these models. They all have similar flaws. For many modelers it appears that grant support and media coverage are more important than model reality.

[...] I believe that in the next few years the globe is going to enter a modest cooling period similar to what was experienced in the 30-years between the mid-1940s and the mid-1970s. I am convinced that in 15-20 years we will look back on this period of global warming hysteria as we now look back on other popular and trendy scientific ideas that have not stood the test of time.

Full paper can be downloaded here: Download ClimateCrisis.doc

He is referring to boutique science; research based on popular political flavors of the day. For it is the political process that determines where government funding goes. Examine this 1997 government document from the National Science Board that sets the stage for grant funding:

Within the Federal budget, there should be an overall strategy for research, with areas of increased and areas of decreased emphasis. The budget as a whole should be adequate both to serve national priorities and to foster a world-class scientific and technical enterprise. To this end, Congress and the Administration need to establish a process that examines the complete Federal research budget before the total Federal budget is disaggregated. Departments and agencies should make decisions based on clearly articulated criteria that are congruent with the overall

Within the Executive branch, the interagency NSTC, and before it the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (FCCSET), have successfully organized crosscutting research areas of national interest, such as global change, energy, transportation science, environmental science and technology, and human resources for the twenty-first century. However, in order for broader coordination and priority setting to be successful, general guidelines are required to provide clear direction.

[...] To ensure the most effective use of Federal discretionary funding it is essential that agreement be reached on which fields and which investment strategies hold the greatest promise for new knowledge that will contribute most effectively to better health, greater equity and social justice, improved living standards, a sustainable environment, a secure national defense, and to extending our understanding of nature.

This sets the stage for funding. Here are some of the grants available from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's "Climate Program Office - Understanding climate variability and change to enhance society's ability to plan and understand." This whole office is set up to disburse funds for the following project purposes that have been set up by Congress:
2075552 Abrupt Climate Change
2074483 Arctic Research Program (ARP)
2075550 Assessing Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)
2074475 Atmospheric Composition and Climate Program (ACC)
2074478 Climate Change Data and Detection (CCDD), including Paleoclimatology
2074479 Climate Dynamics and Experimental Prediction (CDEP)
2074480 Climate Prediction Program for the Americas (CPPA)
2074481 Climate Variability and Predictability (CVP)
2074477 Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA)
2074474 Sector Applications Research Program (SARP)
2074482 Scientific Data Stewardship (SDS)
2074476 Transition of Research Applications to Climate Services (TRACS)

That's just what NOAA has to offer. The US Department of Agricuture does not want to be left out either. The USDA calls their program offerings "OUR CHANGING PLANET - The U.S. Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Year 2008. And the USDA budget for global warming? It has run over $110 million for FY 2006 ($61 mn) and 2007 ($51.4 mn). Another $57.4 mn has been requested for 2008. This funding is bundled under the federal CCSP - Climate Change Science Program.

How much does the CCSP rob run the taxpayer? In 2006 it was $1.7 billion; in 2007 thus far it is a little less - $1.8 billion. In 2008 the feds want another $1.8 billion. In three years that is over $5.3 billion. You can't steal that much with a gun. To steal more than that you have to work for the UN.

The CCSP has two initiatives: the USGCRP - "US Global Change Research Program" and the CCRI - "Climate Change Research Initiative." The USGCRP was started by Clinton in 1989 and the CCRI was started by Bush 43 in 2001. The USGCRP gets the lion's share of the funding.

There are 13 federal agencies dispensing the goodies authorized by Congress.

Keep this in mind - these are discretionary funds. That means that it's up to the granting agency to determine who gets this money. It's like a line of petitioners lining up outside the door of the Grand Vizier with their hands held out, begging.

This doesn't include the non-discretionary funds authorized by Congress that goes directly to other government agencies, universities and not-for-profits.

Think about it.

No one wants to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

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