from the climate-change-simply-happens dept.
Papas Fritas writes "Patrick Michaels writes in Forbes that atmospheric physicist Garth Paltridge has laid out several well-known uncertainties in climate forecasting including our inability to properly simulate clouds that are anything like what we see in the real world, the embarrassing lack of average surface warming now in its 17th year, and the fumbling (and contradictory) attempts to explain it away. According to Paltridge, an emeritus professor at the University of Tasmania and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, virtually all scientists directly involved in climate prediction are aware of the enormous uncertainties associated with their product. How then is it that those of them involved in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can put their hands on their hearts and maintain there is a 95 per cent probability that human emissions of carbon dioxide have caused most of the global warming that has occurred over the last several decades? In short, there is more than enough uncertainty about the forecasting of climate to allow normal human beings to be at least reasonably hopeful that global warming might not be nearly as bad as is currently touted.
Climate scientists, and indeed scientists in general, are not so lucky. They have a lot to lose if time should prove them wrong. "In the light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem-or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem-in its effort to promote the cause," writes Paltridge. "It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society's respect for scientific endeavor.""