One of the main arguments from the IPCC is that essentially, we can’t explain temperature changes any other way than with carbon forcings. This is matched with impressive pink and blue graphs that pose as evidence that carbon is responsible for all the recent warming.
This is argumentum ad ignorantiam — essentially they say: we don’t know what else could have caused that warming, so it must be carbon. It’s a flawed assumption.
It’s easy to create impressive graphs, especially if you actively ignore other possible causes, like for example, changes in cloud cover and solar magnetic effects.
(Addendum: Since the Skeptics Handbook came out we now know that actually they did care about that warm blip in the 1940′s that the models can’t explain. But instead of changing the models, they changed the data. Thanks to ClimateGate for that insight.)
Error bars make the graph look more official. (On a graph based entirely on a logical error, what meaning does an “error bar” have?)
6. Add the key…
Thus, using data you already had, and a stab at the unknown, you can make it appear your models are accurate AND that carbon is the cause. Sure the modellers are using real carbon levels and physical calculations, but they assume carbon is responsible for the warming.
Thus it’s circular reasoning: decide that carbon is a problem; see its “effect” in this graph; declare carbon must be a problem, and rejoice, the models create what we fed them to start with. The Marvel!
(It’s too easy, and politicians fall for it. Then they give us more money to do more “modelling”.)
These graphs are very important.
This page is dedicated specifically to Minister Penny Wong in The Australian Government.
When Senator Fielding met Penny Wong in 2009, she waved the IPCC pink-and-blue graphs in the air and repeatedly referred to them as “evidence”, and saying words to the effect “How do I make policy based on this evidence?”
Can someone please email this page to her so that she can understand why this type of graph is most definitely not evidence?
All of the “unknowns” in the graphs are assumed to be carbon. The IPCC does not take solar magnetic effects into account; the models assume cloud-cover doesn’t drive the climate, in their simulations, the climate drives clouds; they can’t predict ENSO events, the same models that produce these graphs predict that the world would have been cooler in medieval times (which it wasn’t). These models also predict the band of air 10km above the tropics will warm much faster than the ground (but it doesn’t, there is no hot spot). In other words, it’s not just that the graphs above are wrong because they make assumptions that are unproven, these graphs are wrong because the evidence shows that they are wrong. The models that produce them are deeply flawed. The assumptions they are based on are wrong, because most of the predictions that follow from these assumptions have been empirically shown to be wrong.
Furthermore models are never evidence, they are theory. “Evidence” means empirical observations from the real world. Models are just a glorified version of a string of calculations that could be done by someone on their high-school calculator (though it may take a few hundred years). You may remember from high school exams, that just because you held a hot Hewlett Packard HP-25C, that didn’t guarantee you always got the right answer.
The IPCC is doing a very clever PR campaign with top marketing techniques and a near infinite budget (of other people’s money). They are playing politicians for patsies.
But the politicians don’t have to be “played”, they can choose to hear both sides of the story.
TURN THE PAGES (Links in red will become active as pages are published). You are on the page in the Red Square.
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This is Page 12 of The Skeptics Handbook II, a 20 page PDF.