- Education and Science»
- Geology & Atmospheric Science
AGW Doubter on Global Warming
The global warming controversy has been complicated by various groups with other agenda. It does not help when some scientists decides to change the name to "climate change." I prefer to define the problem as precisely as possible. The real controversy is whether human activities are the main cause of global warming-Anthropogenic Global Warming(AGW) . It has been almost 20 years since the Kyoto Protocol was signed. Recently, I came across a book by Guy Dauncey called The Climate Challenge - 101 Solutions to Global Warming. In one chapter, he brought up the topic of dealing with deniers. I like to address this from the point of an AGW doubter. I hope you will keep an open mind and let me know if you agree or disagree.
Currently, I am an AGW doubter. I have been studying this topic for many years and have read various reports and followed the news and various controversies over the years and read numerous books. I have been interested by this topic for over 20 years. I believe in protecting our environment and having clean air and clean water. We only have one habitat and we need to take good care of it for ourselves and our children. The problem I have with global warming proponents is the dire predictions that were made and the fact that they were wrong in their claims. As an engineer, I am pragmatic. I believe in the scientific method and in results. I also believe in practical solutions to real problems. In order to be convinced, I have created a list of what I need to see.
On Expert Predictions
Before I present my list, let me give you my take on experts making predictions. We have always had experts who claims to know a particular subject matter. They will make some predictions about the future and we are expected to take their word for it - no questions asked. When the prediction comes true, they will take credit and say "I told you so." When the prediction fails, they will make all sorts of excuses and never admit their failings. Over the years, I have come up with my own criteria in judging expert predictions.
In order to be credible, I believe there are five components.
- The prediction or expert opinion must be specific and not general in nature.
- The prediction should apply to a specific time frame.
- The prediction should come with a confidence factor (0-100%).
- The prediction should be qualified with certain assumptions.
- There should be some consequence or "price to pay" if the prediction fail to materialize.
Why should these five components be necessary? In order to gain credibility for any experts, they need to provide some metrics on their accuracy.
Let me give an example of a hypothetical expert prediction.
Suppose an oil exploration expert was asked to predict the price of crude oil.
Here would be a good prediction. I expect the price of crude oil will average $80 per barrel by the end of 2015. My confidence level is 90% assuming the geopolitical status remain the same in the Middle East and no major conflict to disrupt oil production. If I'm wrong, I will not make any future predictions regarding the price of oil or I will donate 20% of my income to the Red Cross...
Why is this important? As a society, we rely on experts in government and industries and Academia to come up with policies and regulations and laws that will benefit all of us. If they get it wrong, there are real consequences that hurt the general public. I rather they tell us they don't know than pretend to know and then say oops.
The recent drop in the price of oil is a prime example. To my knowledge, no one predicted this. In fact, some have even predicted the price going much higher due to the theory of "peak oil." How did they get it so wrong? Could it be that somethings are just too complicated and not predictable?
Here is a final challenge to all experts who is absolutely convinced of AGW. Put your money and reputation on the line. Please sign a pledge that if you are wrong about this, you will do XYZ to make amends. The XYZ could be rescind your grant, resign your post, donate a partial of your net worth to charity...Anything that will provide the assurance that you are fully committed to this cause and that your reputation as a scientist is at stake.
My List of Expectations
The following is my list so far. I have no hidden agenda. Please take this on face value and believe me that I want what is best for the whole world. If I am convinced of the human activities causing global warming, I will do all I can as a citizen to combat it. In the meantime, I am a doubting Thomas. Some in the media have offered the proposition - what is the harm? If it turns out to be wrong, we still have clean environment due to reduced fossil fuel use. What they are missing is that there is a negative impact on all of us resulting from the drastic policies to convert to renewable fuel before it is ready. This will lead to lower quality of life and reduced economic development especially in developing nations.
- We need better science in this arena and not rely on consensus.
- We need to admit that the problem is extremely complicated and Carbon dioxide is only one of many causes and effects that affect climate.
- We don't have all the answers and the science is not settled as some have claimed. Especially when all the climate models have failed to predict the last 17 years.
- We need open and transparent access to the raw data so that analysis and conclusions can be independently verified.
- We need to assess the natural contributions of volcanos and other events that are out of our control.
- We need to separate the AGW problem from environmental protection.
- We need to stop with the scare tactics and exaggerate the impact.
- We need some in politics and hollywood and the media to stop the hypocracy.
- We need to perform a cost benefit analysis on proposed solutions.
- Before trying geoengineering, we better make sure it is going to help and not cause more harm.
- We need to stop demonizing people who may have genuine concerns about the theory of AGW.
Before moving forward with any global actions to counter AGW, we need to identify all our options. As I said before, some actions might have serious implications and extreme costs attached. There are also unintended consequences that might be worse than the cure.
If global warming is man made, I see four options at this point.
- We can change our behavior such as reduce fossil fuel...
- We can adapt our living just as our ancestors did by relocating to more hospitable locations.
- We can do a combination of both 1 and 2.
- We can do nothing.
Some Related Links
- Why Did No One Predict the Oil-Price Collapse? | RealClearMarkets
We have just had a free fall in one of the most important prices in the world-the price of oil. Looking back, we are keenly aware that it dropped about 60% from its 2014 high to its recent low. ...