Thursday, March 28, 2019

Forgiving Climate Change (Global Warming)

I wrote a forgiving climate change piece a few years ago. This replacement will cover some of the same content but focus less on details and more on the general idea of climate change in terms of psychology.

For anyone who has been living under a rock, climate change is the scientific hypothesis that humans adding certain gases to the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide (the gas you are exhaling right now from your lungs), but also much more powerful greenhouse gases like SF6, is changing the climate by making the planet generally warmer. Most of the emphasis for some reason is on CO2 released mostly from burning fossil fuels and so that will be the emphasis in this piece. (Note that "fossil" may not be an accurate term if abiotic oil theories are true.) The climate change hypothesis sometimes further claims that humans adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere will have disastrous effects if not stopped and reversed.

Now, of course, just like everything in this world, not everyone agrees upon how accurate that hypothesis is. Some claim the hypothesis is dead on. Others claim the hypothesis is dead wrong. And there are a lot of claims in between those two extremes. However, most people with the job title "climate scientist" do generally agree with the hypothesis.

When it comes to forgiving climate change, there are different groups of people who harbor different variations of unforgiveness on the topic.

Main types of Climate Change Unforgiveness
1) People are guilty in general for adding CO2 to the atmosphere.
2) The people who are not taking action to stop CO2 emissions are guilty.
3) The people who believe CO2 emissions are a problem are guilty.
4) The people who know CO2 is a problem but ignore it in the name of profits or convenience are guilty.
5) The people who know CO2 is not a big problem but present it as a big problem anyway are guilty.
6) The people who don't agree with my proposals of how to reduce CO2 emissions are guilty.
7) The people who think a warmer, higher CO2 world is bad are guilty.
8) The people who think CO2 is the main problem are guilty because they ignore other "greenhouse" gases, like Sulfur Hexafluoride which is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2) and has become more prevalent due to "green energy" requiring its use in more electrical switchgear. .

The earth is an extremely complex multi-variable system that cannot be fully modeled. Nor are there duplicated earths to use as controls to test the climate change CO2 hypothesis. So testing the CO2 hypothesis is a one trial real-time experiment that will leave plenty of room for doubt and premature confirmation for a long time to come. And a conclusion may never come if humans actually stop and reverse CO2 emissions, since that will stop the experiment.

Realistically, if it wasn't for the impending global doom aspect to the theory of CO2 fueled global warming, science would not feign such certainty about the topic. But there is an impending global doom aspect to the theory of CO2 fueled global warming. And the fear that comes with impending global doom has made CO2 fueled global warming into a kind of political religion rather than a calm, honest scientific inquiry into the effects of CO2 on climate.

Deep down, the psychological appeal of the theory of catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming is no different than that of conventional religions. As the global warming mythos goes:

Long ago the climate was perfect and humans were in harmony with nature. But then humans gave into temptation and sinned. Humans ate from the tree of knowledge to usher in the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution brought great advances as humans continued to eat from the tree of knowledge. But it all came at a cost: humans unleashed the devil in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). Now, the devil of CO2 has taken over the world and is thus contributing to every bad and anomalous thing on earth. The earth is doomed to flood and become literal hell unless humans repent. Fortunately, there is a plan for salvation. In order to be saved from the hell of a heating earth, humans must first accept the blood of the warming earth and repent for the sin of CO2 emissions. Humans must then submit to and support the higher authority of a Global Governing Body who will tax and regulate CO2. By sacrificing money through taxation and sacrificing freedom through regulation, the sins of CO2 will be forgiven. 

As ridiculous as it is in its similarity to common religious beliefs, that is the current global warming mythos believed and promoted by devotees. And skeptics are the heretics that dare question any parts of that mythos.

Like a religion, the heretic scientists that vocally question CO2 fueled global warming alarmism become ostracized. For that reason, the scientists who most vocally question CO2 fueled global warming tend to be older tenured or retired scientists.

Anyone who has looked into the topic of climate change with an attempt at neutral eyes has found that in isolation each side has some credible sounding arguments. But then once one starts comparing those credible sounding arguments, all the arguments start to seem less credible. Overall, whether by logic or logic fallacy, for just about every piece of evidence that the CO2 fueled global warming promoters have, the skeptics have a rebuttal to cast doubt. In turn, for just about every rebuttal the skeptics have to cast doubt, the CO2 fueled global warming promoters have a rebuttal to cast doubt on the rebuttal.

As author/artist Scott Adams has noted, people who are older or experienced in business are naturally skeptical of certain types of claims. That's because certain types of claims are red flags for scams. Younger and less business savvy people (like most journalists) are more easily swayed by scam-type claims.

The promoters of climate change too often present their argument using a number of common scam tactics. Those tactics sway some people but turn off many others.

Five Scam Tactics in Climate Change Science

1) Exponential Growth Curves

A big advertising gimmick in the world of climate change promotion is the "Hockey Stick" chart. The chart is persuasive until one starts questioning the scaling used and the accuracy of the temperature data used to construct the chart. Because the margin of error in the temperature data used could easily be greater than the warming spike the chart shows. The accuracy of global temperature data collected today is very much open to debate, let alone data from the past. On top of that, it could just be an anomaly since correlation doesn't mean causation. For instance, there is a chart that shows that global warming only happens when the United States has a democrat president.

In most walks of life, if you are shown an exponential growth curve, you are being conned. You better check the scaling of the chart and better not expect it to indicate the trend of the future. Exponential growth curves do sometimes correspond with the physical world, but they always eventually start to level out or reverse. For example, a chart showing the user growth of Facebook was an exponential curve that then turned more linear. Facebook user growth will eventually level off and even decline.

Another example of an exponential growth curve is the US Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow over certain time periods has shown exponential growth in share prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (which is a managed and thus changing index of 30 top US publicly owned and traded companies) was at about $50 in 1932. That means the average share price of each stock in the index was $50. In 2019, the Dow is around $25,000. In less than 90 years it has gone up a lot... 500 times to be exact.  That is exponential growth. However, in all that time a lot of people still managed to lose a lot of money on Dow stocks since it fluctuated a lot in that time.

Furthermore, there was a lot of inflation (decreased purchasing power in the US dollar) during that time period. Inflation adjusted, the Dow has gone up from more like $1000 in 1932 to $25,000 today (x25)... still good but not nearly as impressive as the more exponential $50 to $25,000.

Then you also have to factor in the fact that if you owned the thirty stocks that made up the Dow in 1932 without selling them when the index added and subtracted stocks as old companies faltered and new companies arose, you would only own two of the stocks that make up the Dow in 2019, ExxonMobil (Standard Oil) and Procter and Gamble.

So the moral of the story is, don't trust exponential growth charts. They can be right but even then there is probably more to it. Expecting what could just be randomness to predict the future is related to what is known as the hot hand fallacy and leads into the next scam tactic in climate change.

(Update 8/24/2019 Mann's Hockey Stick fails in court.)

2) Prediction Models of Dynamic Nonlinear Systems 

The climate is very complex and composed of many variables; it is a dynamic nonlinear system. Dynamic nonlinear systems cannot be accurately modeled consistently because there are too many variables. Linear systems, such as when the next solar eclipse will occur, can be accurately modeled consistently. Despite the climate system being very nonlinear, scientists still use computer models to try to estimate the effects CO2 emissions will have on the climate. Scientists make many models and present the best performing models as supporting evidence.

Forecasting dynamic nonlinear systems is usually a calling card of a scam. There is hidden order in chaos that can make models of nonlinear systems perform better than random chance. But most attempts at modeling are unable to consistently find that hidden predictable order. Instead, models are cherry-picked and presented that support the agenda of whoever is trying to persuade about the future. One reason the future may be so hard to predict is because it is only partially deterministic. Partially deterministic means there is some real multiple choice, and those choices would be made by a decision maker: the minds perceiving/rendering the universe.

Regardless, prediction models of nonlinear systems can still be made to appear accurate by cherry-picking results. This is embodied in a classic scam often used in stock picking and sports betting services. An example of this scam would be if someone sent out a sports betting pick service advertisement giving away a few free sports betting picks. By varying the picks so that all possibilities were covered, a certain percentage of those who received the ad would notice that all the picks were winners. Of those people, a few would pay to join the service. And if an ad was sent again to those same people minus the ones who subscribed, a certain percentage of people would get two ads both times all winners leading to more subscribers.

3) Appeals to Majority Authority

Another big advertising gimmick in the world of climate change promotion is the 97% of climate scientists agree statistic. We're never shown the sausage production of how that stat was made but it makes it seem like everyone is in agreement. I don't know how many people go into the field of climate science who don't already agree with the CO2 climate change hypothesis. To try to carve a career out in that field while disagreeing with that hypothesis and trying to disprove it is a good way to be without a job.

How much meaning would a statistic have that says that 97% of ACIM teachers agree that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists? Not much since agreeing with that is part of accepting the authority of ACIM. The 3% that don't agree with that wouldn't really be ACIM teachers and so would be shunned by most in the ACIM community as people botching the course. The same dynamic is at play in any thought system, including climate science. Most people who go into a field accept the consensus of that field. To go against the consensus in any field where there is no way to do a full scale experiment to fully test contrary hypotheses and debunk established hypotheses usually means starting your own new field.

The main agreement about climate change is simply the fact that most "climate" scientists do think that accurate enough information about the earth's temperature has been gathered to conclude that earth has been experiencing some warming and that humans have had an impact. But there is a big variety in opinion as to all the details. For instance, some think that even if CO2 is causing warming, natural systems are in place that will kick in and eventually render it a non-problem in terms of climate. One such proposed natural system is Richard Lindzen’s “Iris effect,” which proposes that cloud shapes change with CO2 increases to neutralize the warming effect. Another proposed natural system is abundant nitrogen available for plants in bedrock. Previous estimates of nitrogen only took atmospheric nitrogen into account but vast quantities are in bedrock. More nitrogen means plants have a bigger capacity for filtering CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Quite frankly, if scientists were going around telling everyone that clearing land of trees or urban heat islands were the main thing causing global warming, I'd find that just as potentially believable as attributing it to CO2 from fossil fuels. I'd also find the idea that the earth contains natural feedback mechanisms for controlling CO2 in the atmosphere believable too. After all, the earth has survived a lot of variation though history and so must have some decent natural feedback mechanisms in place.

That's the problem with just trusting others to decide what you should believe as true. There is no guarantee an authority majority is right, especially in a field where full scientific testing isn't possible. People are people and simply choosing a career in science doesn't make people immune to the long list of human cognitive biases or immune to the limits of the scientific method for fully testable hypotheses.

4) Act Now! Urgency

Climate change promoters inject urgency into their sales pitch by predicting global doom if action is not taken immediately. Also, ardent promoters often try to tie every negative weather related event to climate change as a warning to scare people into political action. If you've ever watched an infomercial you know the gimmick. "Order now and get this unprecedentedly low price plus a bunch of bonuses or miss out!" The gimmick works because sometimes urgency really is warranted in life.

I remember when I was a kid and I watched infomercials, I was almost always sold on the product. (The infomercial aspect of climate hysteria works well on kids.) As I got older though, through experience, I learned to be more skeptical. Sometimes a sales pitch isn't an exaggerated lie. But most of the time it is a lie at least to some extent.

Being skeptical has saved me from plenty of scams, but it has also made me miss out on some legitimate things that looked scammy at first.

5) Force Is the Solution 

There is no bigger scam than having a gun stuck in your face and being forced to do something, or else. So anything resembling a gun in the face naturally triggers a sense of being scammed when on the wrong side of the gun. The biggest gun in the world is the coercive monopoly called government. And when science appeals to government guns, things get very scammy because then science devolves into power politics.

The main scientists promoting global warming are often indistinguishable from politicians or political pundits. That's because the main scientists promoting global warming naturally want political power to secure scientific funding and to force solutions to the perceived problem of CO2 emissions. It is delusion to believe that receiving funding for climate science through tax money from people who want to implement a CO2 tax (often called a "carbon tax "even though CO2 is not carbon) is any less filled with conflict of interest than receiving funding from the fossil fuel industry.

An example of the political scammyness surrounding global warming science and government force is the 2015 Grijalva investigation (witch-hunt) and the treatment of Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. Read about the ordeal in Dr. Roger Pielke's own words. The gist of the story is that Pielke's work in science and technology policy research led to him doing a study that concluded that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” Instead, he found that the perceived increase in costs was a result of more people and more development leading to more and bigger targets for disasters than the past. Pielke was one of seven US academics investigated by US Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) who was the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Grijalva was looking to find funding from the fossil fuel industry in scientists who came to conclusions different from what he wanted to believe. Instead, all Grijalva found was that honest science comes to different conclusion than what he wants to believe. Criticism from the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union eventually caused Grijalva to abandon the witch hunt. Pielke is an example of someone who, despite believing that the climate risks justify taking action against CO2 emissions, did science that came to politically undesirable conclusions and was made to pay for it. Pielke has since left the corrupt climate change policy sphere to instead concentrate on sports policy. (Update: Pielke has started writing a great climate column in Forbes magazine.)

Most people, regardless of politics, are anti-pollution. Pollution is a simple property rights issue whereby people must contain their own pollution to their own property without harming the property of others, including the air over their property and the water under it. But if property rights are so disrespected that things like taxation are acceptable in society, it only makes sense that pollution should be difficult to control. That's cognitive dissonance at work. Seeing as CO2 is what we exhale when we breathe and is essential to life, it's a stretch for many people to see it as a legitimate pollutant. But even if CO2 were a legitimate pollutant, almost all people would be happy to do away with it if there was a convenient alternative. But there currently isn't a convenient alternative (?) other than perhaps to some extent Generation III and IV Nuclear. Gen-IV nuclear is safe from meltdown and uses nuclear waste as fuel. But old nuclear gave nuclear a bad name, partially because old nuclear was set-up to make nuclear material for military use rather than just make energy. So old biases against nuclear have kept nuclear as a legit solution mostly off the table... but that could be changing. Gen-IV is what Bill Gates sees as the only current realistic solution.

The lack of a clear convenient alternative is the main source of contention in the global warming issue. Because the lack of a clear solution leads to people turning to government force. Thus, what drives resistance to the theory of CO2 fueled global warming more than anything is the most often proposed solution, which is political. The currently proposed solution is mostly just a global government gun in everyone's face that says stop producing CO2 or pay. That's not a solution, that's a recipe for a scam. And it's doubly a recipe for a scam since not every country or group would concede to that gun in the face without putting up a fight and thus a war. And if you've read my previous piece on the free-range debt-slave plantation you should be able to see how convenient such a solution would be to making the debt-slave scam more globally centralized.

A real solution would be something like a new clean energy source that is as good or better at producing energy relative to cost as fossil fuels. Such a solution would be naturally and voluntarily accepted. Another solution would be some sort of cheap, efficient air scrubber that removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

All energy has to come from somewhere and when that energy is used the result is overall higher entropy. Even the sun's energy production produces entropy that pushes the sun ever closer to its inevitable death. It's easy to miscalculate just how clean any energy source is relative to any other energy. Because all energy use results in entropy. Entropy is often the same as pollution in the realm of energy production. Get rid of CO2 entropy and you better make sure the replacement entropy is less problematic and doesn't still result in CO2 or other worse greenhouse gases like SF6. Prices of things tend to represent the cost of energy input. If you move to an energy source that is 50% less polluting but it costs twice as much, then the amount of energy required to purchase that energy doubles. A doubled price leads to more energy consumption to pay for that extra cost and the net pollution ends up the same. The only difference would perhaps be in the type of pollution/entropy. Energy is tricky stuff and few people seem to appreciate the zero-sum game aspects of energy. Germany's failing attempt to go green on energy has been an example of this. Those who wait for technology and cost to catch up before going green will likely be big relative winners. A whole lot of polluting energy can be spent trying to go green in the wrong way.

Forgiving Believers, Non-Believers, and Skeptics

There are more scam aspects to the way climate change is presented, such as group-think bullying like name calling skeptics science-deniers, but those five aspects will suffice.

I can totally empathize with people who believe that human produced CO2 is a problem for the climate and that CO2 emissions should be stopped. Because if true, warming could be quite problematic if no action is taken. I'd be impressed if all those worried people were actively inventing new energy sources instead of pursuing political agendas. But very few are, which tells me a lot.

I can also totally empathize with climate change non-believers and skeptics. Because first off, the lack of the ability to do true reproducible full scale experiments with controls to test the human caused climate change hypothesis means the best evidence is merely what we can observe in real-time or model on computers. And without true duplicate earths to use as controls, we can easily come to inaccurate conclusion about what we think we are observing. Plus, anyone who has ever tried to measure the temperature of the air knows that temperature inaccuracies of accurate thermometers always skew higher rather than lower. There are many ways to get inaccurately high readings, such as direct sun exposure, surrounding colors and substances that absorb and reflect heat, and surrounding things that produce heat like AC compressors and vehicles. Then, on top of that, the general presentation for action against CO2 comes off as very scammy to scam savvy people. That doesn't mean the overall idea isn't perhaps correct. But since it is so often presented so much like a scam, many people, myself included, can't help but be skeptical.

Regardless of the science, it's really just psychology that separates the climate change believers from the non-believers. And the psychology for most people is shaped by politics (tribalism). Fittingly, since I'm a political atheist, I don't believe or disbelieve the CO2 climate change theory one way or the other. I see no benefit in tying my ego to one side or the other. I'm not a climate scientist, not a politician, and am not working on new energy technology. So there is no point in me pretending to know anything one way or the other about climate change. To me, climate change science reveals more about the foibles of human thinking than it does the working of earth's climate

Once someone takes a stance one way or the other on the issue of global warming, confirmation bias sets in. Confirmation bias helps a person feel vindicated. A sense of vindication is important because being right allows a person to project guilt on those who are seemingly wrong. Once confirmation bias sets in, people see what they want to believe. So a drought, a hurricane, tidal flooding, or a chunk of melting ice becomes construed in the mind of a warmist as evidence for global warming. Conversely, a cold snap, newly frozen ice, or a quiet hurricane season becomes construed in the mind of a non-believer as evidence for lack of global warming. And someone looking for climate change instead of just global warming can see evidence for changing climate whenever anything is above or below average, which is most of the time since averages are generally the average of extremes one way or the other.

My personal prediction and hope is that real solutions, such as in the form of new, better, cheaper energy sources will come to market steadily enough to stop and even reverse human produced CO2 regardless of how potentially dangerous it is to climate. Conversely, my fear is that people will become so hysterical about CO2 that solutions will be implemented that will impoverish people, enslave people, facilitate centralized global tyranny, miscalculate and make the situation worse, or will over-adjust climate in the opposite direction and usher in destructive cooling.

If you really believe in catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming, forgive it by looking for a real solution, not by projecting guilt on those who don't share in your fears or forceful solutions. You're kind of being a cold tyrant if you can't empathize with people who don't trust solutions that just involve a gun in people's faces. A real solution won't require force and therefore won't require political action. Therefore, you won't have to worry about those who don't share your fears if you have a legit solution. A problem without a legit solution is just a recipe for guilt projection. And if you don't want to look for a real solution, just forgive yourself by admitting that you really don't care about global warming, you just like guilt projection lol.

Conversely, if you don't believe in catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming, forgive it by not projecting guilt on those who believe it, who are fearful, who think force is a solution, who hate fossil fuels despite using them, or who think they are saving humanity by simply holding onto a belief. And just in case your disbelief is incorrect, embrace any legitimate solutions proposed; you can still resist false solutions just not legitimate solutions. And if your disbelief in catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming is because you own an oil well or something, forgive by not resisting a legitimate replacement for the CO2 producing energy from which you profit.

It's all about being honest and getting out of the guilt projection trap. You can sit there and pretend to forgive all you want, but often you won't forgive until you're willing to sit down and rewrite the story in your mind that you wrote to justify your guilt projection.

Here's what the satellite temperature data show in terms of warming since measurements started in 1979 as well as global cyclone impact statistics since the satellite era started.