One of the things that strikes me repeatedly watching the global warming debate (especially in the lead-up to and in the wake of the Copenhagen conference) is the incredible amount of excitement people have about trying to get countries to make commitments in regards to CO2 emissions which they obviously are not going to keep.
For instance, in discussing their hopes for Copenhagen, a number of environmentalists expressed hope that there would not be another “do nothing” commitment such as the Kyoto Accord — despite the fact that even those countries which did agree to Kyoto had not managed to keep those very modest commitments. The goals that environmentalists did very much want to see committed to (generally a 80-90% global drop in CO2 emissions within somewhere between 10 and 40 years) are far more aggressive, and thus far more unrealistic.
A follow up to my initial post here on what is becoming known as Climategate. Now news comes from New Zealand about massaging of data by global warming proponents.
The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.
The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.
In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century.
I’ve been amused to watch some of the arguments going on out in the blogsphere as discussion of the hacking of the climate change servers moves off into a discussion of the quality of the code being used by climate researchers to model global warming.
Commenter One: Much of the code in the academic world tends to be written by grad students that have taken a class in programming and get told to write it.
Commenter Two: This is totally untrue. I never took a class in programming before writing my crappy undocumented code.
There’s a certain wry self recognition for me here as well: I’ve never taken a class in programming, and I build mostly undocumented models to predict revenue and profits at specific price points based on past data. My results are directionally correct when you look at whole categories of products, but can be wildly off when projecting specific instances. (I try to make this clear to those who use my data, but people are always looking for certainty in life, even if they have to imagine it.)
A fascinating insight into the world of scientists who are advocates of the theory of man-made global warming was given by hackers who stole a huge amount of data and e-mails from the Climactic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. To my complete non-surprise, in many of their e-mails the scientists seem to be much more concerned about advocating the “party line” of the reality of man-made global warming instead of engaging in disinterested science. John Hinderaker at Powerline has a fascinating look at some of the e-mails here. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is on top of the story. A good overview is here.