An Australian scientist for honesty and disclosure in climate reporting

You can consistently count on Anthony Watts and his “Watts Up With That?” blog to find some interesting weather related stuff — especially of the global-warming-may-not-be-exactly-all-it’s-cracked-up-to-be variety.

Personally, I am neither a committed “Inconvenient Truth” Al Gore-ite nor am I in the “Human Caused Warming is Absolutely Impossible” camp.  I think that the public consensus of (many but not all) climatologists should not be dismissed too lightly, yet I also think that neither should the reasonable (in my opinion) dissenting voices and theories be so dismissed.

One theory in the latter category for me is the idea that solar activity has played the major part in global warming.  There is some evidence to suggest to suggest that that “global warming” was being experienced on other planets in our solar system as well, for example.  And in a recent post by Mr. Watts, quoting a commentary from Australia’s Canberra Times, scientist Ken McCracken is highlighted — as is his theory that (1) solar activity has played a major role in our rising temperatures and (2) an impending change in solar activity may actually result in 20-or-so years of global cooling, regardless of whether man-made climate change is fact or fiction.

Check it out if such discussion is your cup of tea (or, given the Aussie context of the article, perhaps I should say “your cuppa”):

As the article points out: “McCracken is adamantly not a climate change sceptic (sic:Aussie spelling), agreeing that rising fossil-fuel emissions will be a long-term cause of rising global temperatures.”

Another statement in the article that caught my eye: “The dilemma for the science sector is a classic: how to communicate uncertainty.”

How true!  Regrettably, the default path has been, too often, not to admit any uncertainty at all.  “The public doesn’t understand uncertainty.” (Then educate them better.)  “If we admit the uncertainty, they will lose faith in the results.” (If the truth is incomplete without stating the uncertainty, isn’t their faith misplaced? And if the uncertainty bears fruit and the results prove wrong, won’t the ultimate loss in credibility be even greater?)

On this latter point, the article — actually McCracken — makes a great point, methinks:

McCracken believes science should be upfront. ”I believe that we must state firmly that a cooling is possible in the near future, but that the warming would then resume 10-20 years hence,” he said via email. ”It will be very hard to argue for public trust if we say nothing about the possibility, and then try to argue our way out after it happens. Using an Aussie rules analogy, that would be like giving the climate sceptics a free kick 10m in front of goal.

Again, I am not committed one way or the other on the issue of man-made global warming.  While trying to avoid the pitfalls of James 1:18 double-mindedness, I am looking to be better convinced one way or the other.  Don’t get me wrong: I do think man’s stewardship of the earth has been lacking, and Revelation’s prophetic statement that God will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (11:18) will come to pass.  It’s just that when it comes to “destroy[ing] the earth” I can’t say that I know exactly and in intricate detail the nature of the charges that man will be brought up on related to destroying the earth (other than the fact that it will involve sin).  As a certain senator recently said in a less-than-artful dodge, such a determination is above my pay grade. 🙂

6 thoughts on “An Australian scientist for honesty and disclosure in climate reporting

  1. Like you, I am uncertain if human burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming to the extent that it will harm the climate. But the mainstream media is certainly pushing the global warming issue very hard.

    I expect that when God’s punishments increase and the rain is cut off, the mainstream media will blame it on global warming. This seems to be the way the thinking of the country is being set up. The media is already starting to blame hurricanes and various weather disasters on global warming.

    People look for causes. When we get the word out that God will punish the United States with crop-destroying drought if we don’t repent, and then the drought comes, the public will already be conditioned to blame it on global warming, not supernatural causes.

  2. I remember reading a science article awhile back. It said that the polar ice caps on Mars and Jupiter were also shrinking. (Or maybe it was Jupiter and Saturn).

    An ancient history buff, I know that warming and cooling trends have occured throughout time. For example, the thriving Viking colonies in Greenland disappeared through disease and starvation, because the climate turned cold for several decades.

    In short, the sun is not a steady light bulb. The amount of energy it puts out varies over the course of time.

    I don’t necessarily discount human activity in global warming, however. The amount of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels must be having some kind of effect.

    I suspect that – if global warming is happening – it could be a combination of more than one factor. I’m not sure that enough data has been collected. There does seems to be a ‘rush to judgement.’

  3. @ Ray:
    Although your words “ring nobly,” do you honestly believe that G_d is going to “single out” America, and destroy our crops, because we don’t repent?
    That’s like saying that Africa currently has incurred the wrath of G_d, “because rain in such short supply there.”
    And, as much as it makes some sense that man contributes to “global warming” (that amount is certainly debatable), the actual science is indeed pointing out that we are actually entering a “cooling” period. Perhaps man doesn’t play as large a part as some, like Al Gore, would have you think. Of course, it’s in Al’s best interests to stir the pot, that way he gets to recycle that tired speech of his, over and over again, at $3000 a minute. Gulfstream jets are expensive to fly, and they belch… er… eat a lot of fuel.
    Maybe, we should pray for discernment, and that G_d helps us understand our weaknesses (all of them) and then listen very carefully.
    It’s better than watching the media (and others) shouting out “doom and gloom.” Nothing kills interest more than hearing over and over again that “the sky is falling…”
    We want to have hope. Only in our faith, can we find it.

  4. Howdy, Steve: I’m sure it wasn’t Jupiter or Saturn, since they don’t have ice caps, and Mars’ caps have always been cyclical (at least that’s my understanding). Though I think your point about the sun’s variability is a good one.

    And, howdy, renaissanceronin: Ray believes, like I do, that America and the UK belong to the ten northern tribes of Israel, lost to history, while the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, are present in modern-day Israel and the Jews. Consequently, he believes, like I do, that the prophecies about Israel will impact no only modern-day israel, but also America and the UK.

    We have a free booklet about our belief: “The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy”. You can order it here or you can read it online.

    Though, your advice is sound. I hope more do begin to pray for that discernment and that more do begin to listen carefully. God’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save!

    Thanks to both of you for writing in!

  5. Hello renaissanceronin

    I believe God is working out a plan with mankind, and that plan includes teaching the human race lessons, for our own long-term good. And part of that teaching includes punishment for our sins, if we don’t repent. I found prophecies in the Bible that indicate that a time of punishment will come on all mankind before the end of this age. And part of the punishments detailed in the Bible includes drought and famine.

    Now I do not believe God is singling out the United States for punishment for its sins. All nations are guilty and all will suffer until they repent. But there is a sequence to events. The United States and a number of other nations, including Great Britain, Canada, and several others will suffer first. Then other nations in their turn.

    But if we repent as a nation that suffering does not have to come.

    One of the purposes of this suffering is to teach lessons, and there will be a great benefit for mankind once those lessons are learned. You can check out the booklet Mr. Smith mentioned to learn why we believe this – it goes through the details of the prophecies from the Bible concerning the United States and other English speaking nations.

  6. Thanks for the correction, Mr Smith. I did read a science article about other planets experiencing a warming trend. It was so long ago that I remembered the main point, but forgot the details. My mistake was using the phrase “polar ice caps.” At any rate, I appreciate the correction. Keep me on my toes!

    Renaissanceronin should read “The United States and Britain in Prophecy.” Mr Armstrong specifically addressed some the points he brought up.

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