by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Climate change prophecy hangs its hat on computer climate models. The models have gigantic problems. According to Kevin Trenberth, once in charge of modeling at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, “[None of the] models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate [of the Earth].” The models can’t properly model the Earth’s climate, but we are supposed to believe that, if carbon dioxide has a certain effect on the imaginary Earths of the many models it will have the same effect on the real earth.
The climate models are an exemplary representation of confirmation bias, the psychological tendency to suspend one’s critical facilities in favor of welcoming what one expects or desires. Climate scientists can manipulate numerous adjustable parameters in the models that can be changed to tune a model to give a “good” result. Technically, a good result would be that the climate model output can match past climate history. But that good result competes with another kind of good result. That other good result is a prediction of a climate catastrophe. That sort of “good” result has elevated the social and financial status of climate science into the stratosphere.
Once money and status started flowing into climate science because of the disaster its denizens were predicting, there was no going back. Imagine that a climate scientist discovers gigantic flaws in the models and the associated science. Do not imagine that his discovery would be treated respectfully and evaluated on its merits. That would open the door to reversing everything that has been so wonderful for climate scientists. Who would continue to throw billions of dollars a year at climate scientists if there were no disasters to be prevented? No, the discoverer of any flaw would be demonized and attacked as a pawn of evil interests.