Never run with the crowd. They're probably headed over a cliff.

Climate Change Part 2: Why the Lie?

Either the planet is getting hotter or it isn't. Are manmade emissions the cause? Is the world headed for environmental Armageddon? Why is this a political football?

It would seem to be an open and shut case. If the world is getting warmer, if manmade emissions are the cause, and if the climate will cartwheel out of balance because of this, we need to fix things and we need to do it now. Compare it to H1N1. H1N1 has hardly been the global killer that some international aid agencies were hoping - or rather, feared. Yes H1N1 is dangerous and we all understand that. We don't really understand how, when, or if it will morph into the next pandemic strain, and some people are more worried than others, but precautions were taken and the spread kept manageable. There are critics who will say that the government hasn't done enough, some who say we have done too much, and still others who worry only about how it will be paid for. But so far as I have heard no one has advocated doing nothing. And while there are political implications to how this 'crisis' is handled, as there are for any international effort, they are related to the epidimic and not controlling the management. So why is climate change so different?

The underlying fact is that we don't understand climate change. The equations that model climate are non-linear, multi-variable, partial differential equations with multiple boundary conditions, underdetermined initial conditions, and un-modeled dynamics. They can not be solved directly. They can not be fully initialized. They fall under the realm of 'chaotic' systems. Regardless of what anybody says, we don't really understand the complex interactions between sun, atmosphere, ocean, and land. We don't. From the standpoint of science and engineering, when compared to climate, building a nuclear bomb or sending a man to the moon are rather trivial exercises. Just consider how many nuclear and rocket tests were necessary to get these programs right.

Okay, so we don't understand climate. What this means is that information related to climate is subject to interpretation. When a missile is tested either it performs properly or it doesn't. A nuclear test either produces the expected fireball or it fizzles. There are questions as to degree, but success or failure is fairly straightforward and obvious. Climate data, on the other hand, by virtue of the way it is collected, is subject to considerable uncertainty. Climate data is collected over a wide area and most of the EAOS is ignored. The EAOS is the Earth-Ocean-Atmosphere-System and interactions between these realms are what drives climate. The EAOS is so big that 99.9% of it can't be measured. The deep ocean. The upper atmosphere. Far out at sea. Remote locales. Most places throughout the EAOS don't have thermometers or pressure gauges so conditions are inferred from the nearest hard measurement. Which means that 99.9% of what we know about the EAOS is being inferred from measuring somewhere in the range of just 0.1% of it. While there is validity to collecting data this way, it is no small surprise that there is a lot of uncertainty associated with it and how you handle the remaining 99.9% of inferred conditions is subject to a lot of debate. While satellite-based remote sensing is helping to fill the gaps, satellite data is NOT a hard measurement and is itself subject to a host of errors that can only be removed through data processing - a process that requires choices on how the data is to be manipulated.

Okay, so we don't understand climate. We can't really measure the climate. This means people have to make assumptions. And how do we make assumptions? Why we base them on the sum-total of our experiences: our childhood, our education, our training, our personality, our ideological viewpoints, our wordly ambitions. Everything about us goes into making assumptions whether they are about how to treat data gathered from an EAOS observing satellite or how to react to the troop surge in Afghanistan. And everybody's experiences are different which is why there are so many different reactions.

Now I don't claim to know why people act the way that they do. Some people belive that money collected through taxation should be used to help those in 'need'. Some people believe that everyone should stand on their own two feet. Sink or swim. Some people believe the world's problems are caused by the poor. Others believe they are caused by the rich. Some people think that everyone's resources should be pooled so that no one has any want. Others think that everyone should get only what they earn. And of course, for each of these ideological bents, there are countless gradations between the extremes.

For most of civilization the common man had no rights. Hereditary succession, interspersed with the occasional coup d'etat, determined the course of government and the have-nots of the world could only watch in misery and squallor. Until a few hundred years ago, a movement called "The Enlightenment" began to ask if all men had basic rights. From this came two primary schools of thought, both of which maintained that people had intrinsic value. One school believed that each man was a free individual endowed with the right to self-determination. It culminated in the US Constitution, which for the first time ever, spelled out these rights in a legal document. We'll call these people individualists because they believe in the power of individual control. The other school of thought maintained that each man was part of a collective whole and the main focus of society was to ensure that no one existed in the poverty of the ages. This school is what we know today as socialism and saw extreme experiments in the form of the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and other interesting places. We'll call these people centralists because they believe in the power of centralized control. Why a person chooses one school of thought over another is partly due to their background and experiences but also comes from somewhere within. It is outside the scope of this essay to answer why people choose one school or another, only to recognize that they do. Nevertheless, it can not be debated that adherents to individualism or centralism are generally quite energetic about their choices. Indeed, most of the world's wars come about as the result of ideological clashes.

Individualism requires relatively open access to resources, goods, and services. The result is a wide disparity in achievement based in part on individual talents, work ethic, and initial conditions. Centralism requires centralized control of resources, goods, and services so that each person can be give some arbitrarily-determined minimum allocation regardless of individual talents, work ethic, and initial conditions. Individualists, therefore, attempt to influence government and economic decisions that promote laws and conditions providing wide access to resources, goods, and services. Centralists, on the other hand, attempt to influence legal decisions that restrict access to these same resources, goods, and services. It can be argued that the outcome of these legislative and regulatory battles between Individualist and Centralists determine the success of one ideological bent over the other.

Now, the crux of the matter. Take a subject like climate change. The data and methodology used to make predictions are both subject to considerable interpretation. One interpretation predicts almost random seeming fluctuations in heating and cooling - sort of the way the EAOS has behaved for the last million years or so - that occur slowly over time. The other interpretation predicts a runaway greenhouse effect - something never before seen or inferred from past climate records - that could potentially end life as we know it in a relatively short period of time. Neither can be proven. Each can be supported by appropriate choices made when data is processed and climate dynamics modeled. I ask, which of these interpretations is going to be siezed upon by a crisis-loving media, and a crisis-driven culture?

People will die and kill for their ideological choices. We see this in Iraq and Afghanistan every day. They will torture, maim, rape, and commit genocide to see their ideological choice reign supreme over another. Endless wars, death, and pestilence have proven it beyond debate. Centralists want to control access to resources, goods, and services. If they can make people believe that the only way to stop catastrophic global warming is to control access to resources, goods, and services, you think they're not going to make assumptions in data processing and climate dynamics modeling that prove their point? They're not even going to be conscious of it. They're getting exactly what they want out of life - a victorious ideology - without even having to talk about politics. This in addition to the fact that they've made themselves the most important scientific figures on the planet with an exponentially increasing revenue stream. Add to that the hype-factor of an omnipresent, crisis-driven media and it is no surprise that public opinion is what it is.

The Climate Change Centralists say the CRU-East Anglia email scandal doesn't change anything, because for them, it doesn't. It's like Nixon saying that Watergate doesn't matter. You can't change the mind of a true believer. And in that sense, they aren't even lying. They are simply making choices that support their world view. They see no more inconsistency in what they've done than communist party leaders who executed former capitalists and then moved into their luxury mansions, or priests who condemned lasciviousness only to descend into debauchery under the protection of papal indulgences. But what this means to the rest of us is that the CRU email scandal is the most important event in climatology since James Hansen stood before Congress in 1988 and predicted the end of life as we know it. It is Jan Huss standing up to the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses on the cathedral door in Wittenberg. A ragged, underfunded band of patriots defying George III. Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. It is resisting an increasingly oppressive establishment that has become infatuated with its own priveleged status. Like Ms. Parks it is time to keep our seats or we're going to find ourselves walking to work - those of use who still have jobs.

Futbol Guru,