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Making predictions almost guarantees failure

Experts like to make predictions.  They like to say that by a certain date a certain thing will happen. This is really common by people predicting the market penetration of one technology over another.  Have you noticed that these types of predictions are almost always wrong.  Why do experts make silly predictions when the success rate of such predictions is almost always poor?  It almost seems like these experts believe that everyone else cannot predict the future but they can!

Predicting the weather is really tough.  While you may rely on the prediction of weather for the following day, have you ever heard of a baseball game being cancelled on that prediction?  Would you cancel your family plans for next weekend based on the 7 day outlook?  Of course not. 

UN climate claims ‘based on student essay’

I picked this up at ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company).  There is a lot of talk about Climategate and Glaciergate but now we find a new instance of the IPCC reports that were not based on peer-reviewed scientific information.

Now that the IPCC has admitted one problem, it is obvious that everyone is going to go through every claim with a fine-tooth comb. For the sake of the IPCC, I hope that there aren’t more problems discovered. If there are, then the entire global warming conversation will take a significant move towards skepticism.  It is interesting that this is almost precisely the problem that Michael Crichton described in his novel on global warming “A State of Fear” and why he spoke out about the issue of bad scientific discover.

Time for a Climate Change Plan B

Nigel Lawson has done a remarkable job of explaining the basic problem with limiting the use of carbon based fuels in our world today. His argument doesn’t really take a side on the merits of the science but rather on the realities of economics. His opinion recently showed up in the Wall Street Journal and I have taken the liberty to include selected parts here.  I suggest that you click through to read the entire article.

Lord Lawson was U.K. chancellor of the exchequer in the Thatcher government from 1983 to 1989. He is the author of “An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming” (Overlook Duckworth, paperback 2009), and is chairman of the recently formed Global Warming Policy Foundation (www.thegwpf.org).

The Climate Change Climate Change

Funny title.  You may have to read it a couple times to get it.  I didn’t create it – I am not that creative.

Kim Strassel has an opinion in the Wall Street Journal where she does a fair amount of reporting on the difficulties that politicians are having in dealing with the coming global warming catastrophe. It seems that politicians are a lot like many of my readers, when scientists can’t agree on what is happening (and not just little disagreements but violently opposed to each other) one should probably wait to spend trillions of dollars on which side is correct.

Here are some highlights from Ms. Strassel’s article:

Open letter to the UN Secretary General

www.tech-know.eu – July 14, 2008

A group of 13 prominent scientists have written a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requesting him to “redress the lack of scientific integrity of the UNs Climate Change Panel (IPCC) and to stop making reactionary and futile Climate Change recommendations that hold back the developing world.”

I am not going to reproduce the entire letter here as it is freely available in PDF format.  I will point out that these are not lightweight scientists.  Evidently the signatories are below and they include at least one Nobel Prize winner.

  • Piers Corbyn Astrophysicist & forecaster, WeatherAction, UK
  • Vincent Gray IPCC Expert Reviewer, Climate Consultant, NZ

John McCain’s recent speech

Junkscience.com – May 15, 2008

I was about to write a review of John McCain’s recent speech.  I was reading other comments on it first to make sure that I had my thoughts put together and I found Steven Milloy’s review.  He has done an excellent job of discussing the speech.

I am going to pull the highlights from Steven’s article.  Click through at the end to read the whole commentary.

Next to solar power, however, wind power is the most heavily subsidized form of energy. Taxpayers cough up an astounding  $23.37 per megawatt hour of electricity produced, according to the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, coal and natural gas are only subsidized  to a tune of $0.44 and $0.25, respectively.

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights

I was reminded by DevTopics and Remote Access that today is “Bloggers Unite For Human Rights” day.  Since my site is relatively controversial, I probably cherish this right more than most. My ability to question the logic and policies of my nation and other nations is not globally accepted.

Regardless of your stance on an issue, let us not forget that we are all humans and we have the right to live, worship, and pursue happiness.  I will frequently complain about some aspects of the United Nations but this pretty much says it all:

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Carbon-Market Concept Moves to Mainstream

Wall Street Journal – May 14, 2008

I really do not like the concept of trading in carbon. I think that carbon offsets trading only reward bad processes that are extremely cheap and are a band-aid to the real problem. If it is assumed that we need to vastly reduce the carbon footprint then the buying public should be encouraged to buy energy and products that result from lower carbon emissions and discouraged from buying the carbon rich ones.

Allowing a utility that has a coal burning plant in one part of the world to offset that footprint with a geo-thermal plant in another part of the world really doesn’t solve anything. If the two plants served the same marketplace, then their energy would compete but if the two plants are separated by oceans then we really haven’t solved any problems, we have just allowed a company to financially afford a carbon-rich coal plant.

Reader questions – Part 1 of 4

I enjoy emails from readers of this site.  My contact information is in the About page and the comments and encouragement I receive makes this site a joy to run.  I recently received an email from Brittany C asking four questions.  Brittany is allowing me to publish her questions and my answers.  These answers are a combination of scientific fact with conjecture and opinion from me.

Question 1: Why is the warming that has taken place in this past decade been such a big deal when there seems to be a similar warming trend in the 1930s?  Is there a difference between the two? 

Great question.  I am going to break it up into 3 parts:

Scientists doubt climate change

The Washington Times – December 21, 2007

This story has been floating around the media for some time and I suppose it is time that I discuss it as well. It wouldn’t be such a big deal except that Mr. Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Nobel prize winner, declared the debate over and that there was a consensus among scientists. Of course, the first thing that happens with that kind of grandiose statement is the nay-sayers raise their hands REAL HIGH!

That is part of what makes this discussion so interesting (and so frustrating). Seemingly intelligent people with such strong and diverse opinions that are arguing so strenuously. As with most bi-polar discussions, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.