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Friday, October 27, 2119

Thank you Extinction Rebellion!

Scientists have discovered that Greenland has become too cold for the animals to reproduce. Global warming is over!

T he British are having a jolly larff about the latest James Bond villain being an eco-nut. Apparently he runs an earth-friendly algae farm. Last I checked, the commenters on the story in the UK Daily Mail, though not generally noted for their scintillating wit, were up to 260 with woke Bond jokes, some of them highly amusing:

“Do you expect me to talk? No, I expect you to cut back on your carbon footprint, Mr Bond!”

“Armed with a water pistol because bullets might hurt someone!”

“I can't visualize James Bond going on a lengthy car chase jumping from out-of-fuel cell hybrid to out-of-fuel cell hybrid”

“Carrot juice, shaken, not stirred”

“Greta as the villain? How dare you, Mr Bond!”

“Ah Mr Bond, you've stolen my future! I should be in school! I hate you, I hate you!”

“License to use a plastic straw”

Where I come from, we love your time in history. We look back at 2019 as the year the environ­mentalist movement strapped on its Acme rocket, caught an anvil, and disappeared in a tiny puff of dirt. And you have Jane Fonda, the Extinction Rebellion folks spraying fake blood on each other, and those movies where James Bond is replaced by a vegetarian person of gender who is too weak to fight because of his or her diet of kale and fake meat for food justice to thank for it.

For whatever reason, the climate alarmists always seem to pick the most unappealing spokesmen for their cause: an annoying teenager, an actor who's regarded as one of the most hated people in Hollywood, and a collection of young people whose only interest is in performance theater. If we dare point out that their displays of emotion are not arguments, we are anti-science.

Meanwhile, according to an article in PLoS Biology, there is now such extreme cold and snow in Greenland that it led to “almost complete reproductive failure across the entire food web of northeast Greenland in the summer of 2018.” It was so snowy that, as Nature magazine put it, many species “missed their chance to breed.” Insects could not be found. Arctic foxes and muskox failed to produce new cubs. An environmental catastrophe.

It was caused by——waaaaaaait for it——global warming.

Who would have thought that sending in Jane Fonda would have worked so quickly? Her presence retroactively cooled the entire island of Greenland! Her message: “BAFTA thank you” after she was awarded a BAFTA, or got a BAFTA award, whatever that is, while busy getting arrested for the third or fourth time during a protest of some kind about something or other.

Of course, we can't rule out self-defense: after President Trump offered to buy Greenland, perhaps the island thought up an effective strategy to make itself undesirable.

It turns out that climate is very complex. It's very hard to know how big the effect of carbon dioxide released by humans really is, so when the computer simulations crap out, all that's left is scare tactics. I can't imagine a more ineffective strategy. As a result, ordinary people will do anything to avoid being associated with what they see as hysteria. And the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that is the goal.

If the warmers wanted to convince the skeptics, they'd point to an unassailable piece of evidence that proves that manmade CO2 is causing an actual problem now—preferably one that hasn't been confab­ulated. A computer simulation doesn't count.* They can't, skeptics say, because there isn't one.

What they have now are correlations: the ocean may be slightly less alkaline, or glaciers at such-and-such a place may be melting. And atmospheric carbon dioxide, the only parameter that is analytically unquestioned, is increasing. The fact is, a correlation is not proof. Obtaining proof in science is hard. In this case even finding an unambiguous signature may be impossible. The story about those sea lions supposedly jumping off a cliff and committing suicide due to global warming, later found to be false, is a perfect example. Granted, the science is not mature—it's still in the descriptive stage. That doesn't mean we can dispense with the standards of evidence.

Emotionalism is the worst argumentation strategy imaginable: if people stop listening, the emotionalist strategy is to throw a tantrum, scrunch up your face in anger, and call your opponents murderers and deniers. At this point the skeptics cannot possibly accept your argument without admitting that they can be swayed by invalid emotional arguments.

The PLoS Biology article shows how emotionalist arguments are seeping into climatology. The article is filled with alarmist claims about the future, a blurb about “tipping points,” and speculation about how all the extra snow and the late spring are part of a larger trend of global warming. It could be, or it could indicate its opposite. Or it could be natural variation. In science, you're supposed to provide evidence, not guesses. In a hard science, unsubstantiated, tendentious claims like these would never get past peer review.

Not all global warming papers are this blatant about it, but too many climatologists just sit back and let their findings be misrepresented, knowing that the resulting controversy increases their funding. The public comes to associate science, where the goal is to find the truth, with politics, where the goal is to misrepresent the truth. The legacy of the warmers is that anything scientists in any field discover may now be taken by the public as a political statement that one can believe or doubt depending on which party you belong to.

The photo of that autistic teenaged girl saying “How dare you!” was the tipping point of the global warming movement. Not because of what she said, but because of the unrestrained praise and adulation the believers had for it. They thought sending her over here on a yacht would convince people. Instead they revealed the barrenness of their ideas.

Extinction Rebellion showed us that the global warming movement has degenerated into street theater—a form of participation entertainment. The movement now relies on pouty teenaged girls to scold the public. Aging 60s radicals come out of retirement to accept BAFTA awards during a demon­stra­tion. Demonstrators glue themselves to immobile objects. These are not signs of conviction; they are the last gasps of a movement that misused science for political purposes. For a while it got by on exaggeration and intimidation. Instead of waiting for the science to mature, they ran with what they had.

The alarmists no longer expect the public to believe them. Even the true believers among them no longer really believe.

* This is because a computer simulation only tells you whether the effect follows from your assumptions assuming that your proposed mechanism is valid. It doesn't tell you whether your proposed mechanism is valid or whether your assumptions are any good, or whether there are any confounding variables.

oct 27 2019, 5:48 am. revised and edited oct 29 2019 6:55 am. last edited nov 10 2019, 7:49 am

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