18 February 2011

Predistortion in Action?

President Obama's science advisor John Holdren has this to say to the BBC today:
People are seeing the impact of climate change around them in extraordinary patterns of floods and droughts, wildfires, heatwaves and powerful storms.
It is my view of the literature that a defensible scientific position can be presented with respect to "extraordinary patterns" in maximum daily temperatures, and perhaps even drought and wildfires. But in floods and powerful storms?  No way, not even close. Then Dr. Holdren has this to say:
I think it is going to be very hard to persuade people that climate change is somehow a fraud.
By making claims that are scientifically without merit, he makes such persuasion that much easier.  But perhaps he is just engaging is a bit of innocent predistortion.

6 comments:

  1. I think it is going to be very hard to persuade people that climate change is somehow a fraud.

    Is John Holdren a descendant of Marie Antoinette?

    Tomatoes are $4/lb because of a freeze in Mexico.

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  2. A request came in by email asking what I had in mind for a defensible scientific position related to changes in patterns of max daily temperatures, drought and wildfire. Here is what I had in mind:

    Max daily temps:

    http://www2.ucar.edu/news/1036/record-high-temperatures-far-outpace-record-lows-across-us

    Drought:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JHM-386.1

    Fire:

    http://people.sc.fsu.edu/~pbeerli/BSC3052/restricted/papers/westerling-et-al-2006.pdf

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  3. I don't think Holdren can be guilty of predistortion. He left an honest career in nuclear physics in the early 70's to team up with Ehrlich in advocating such great policy ideas as putting fertility-reducing sterilants in the water supply. I don't think he's ever worked beyond the Ph.D. level as a real scientist.

    Presumably this is just garden-variety distortion, not predistortion.

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  4. A great deal was said about Bush and distortion of science. Here we have the official scientific spokeman for Obama going way beyond distortion. He unlike those without a science education cannot hind behind ignorance. He is either engaging in self deception or .....

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  5. Roger,

    Rare that we disagree, but we do over this sentence, "It is my view of the literature that a defensible scientific position can be presented with respect to "extraordinary patterns" in maximum daily temperatures..."

    If you look at current world temperatures ( http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/ ) they are very slightly BELOW the long term average. Yet, we have the media shouting "global warming" over last week's dramatic warmup in the Southern Plains (94°in seven days in Wichita) and the blizzard just two weeks before.

    With world atmospheric and sea surface temperatures both below normal at the moment, how is it "supportable" to attribute these to "global warming"?

    Mike

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  6. There is no actual plausible hypothesis as to just how such minute overall global warming could cause any significant change in any of these events at all.

    As such, this doesn't rise above false shamanism. Clearly the solution is to sacrifice a few virgins to Mother Earth. He even has a druidy look about him.

    Any actual ideas how to achieve CO2 reductions without doing more harm than good? Thought not!

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