Science is about discovery, the expansion of knowledge, how things work and what that means. What it is not, or shouldn’t be, is an accessory to politics. Politics isn’t about any of those things. Politics is about the application of power to move things in a particular direction. So when pure science teams up with politics to become advocacy “science” bad things are most likely to happen.
The IPCC report specifically, and climate science in general, are learning that the hard way. James Taylor, who seems open to the AGW arguments, asks the salient questions generated by the last IPCC report and subsequent findings. Using Godfather II as an analogy, he sets up the point:
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report was as straightforward as Frank Pentangeli’s earlier confession that he had killed on behalf of Michael Corleone. “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms,” IPCC reported.
That was in 2001. Now, however, with an unprecedented number of major winter snowstorms hitting the northeastern U.S. during the past two winters, the alarmists are clamming up and changing their tune faster than Tom Hagen can fly in Vincenzo Pentangeli from Italy to aid his brother in his time of trouble.
He’s absolutely right – there was no equivocation in the report. A leads to B. They said the same thing about hurricanes – warming would lead to many more and much more powerful storms. Instead they’re at a historically lower level. Glaciers, snowcaps, all sorts of predictions have been found to be false.
When James confronted the IPCC on this, he got the sort of mushy answer you might expect:
During the question and answer portion of the UCS press conference, I quoted the IPCC Third Assessment Report and asked Masters and Serreze if they were saying IPCC was wrong on the science.
“I would say that we always learn,” replied Serreze. “Have we learned a great deal since the IPCC 2001 report? I would say yes, we have. Climate science, like any other field, is a constantly evolving field and we are always learning.”
Really? What happened to “the debate is over” and “the science is settled”?
For years, alarmists have claimed “the science is settled” and “the debate is over.” Well, when was the science settled? When global warming would allegedly cause Himalayan glaciers to melt by 2035, or now that it won’t? When global warming would allegedly cause fewer heavy snow events, or now that it will allegedly cause more frequent heavy snow events?
You can’t have it both ways and have it be called “science” can you?
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