Saturday, 28 September 2013

Professor Michael Oppenheimer on the "high level of certainty" in the new IPCC assessment

Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University, and a leading member of the IPCC, boasts about the level of certainty in the new climate report in a PBS interview:

There's a big central focus on this issue on many facts, that the Earth is warming, that the warming will continue, that the dangerous warming is coming close, and that if we don't do something about emissions, we will be there pretty soon.
All of that is now known with a -- there's a consensus about all of that. Scientists are very careful. Scientists tend to be skeptical, of course, and here we have thousands of them getting together and being able to agree on this high level of certainty.
There is no environmental problem that is characterized by that level of certainty.

Somewhat later in the interview Oppenheimer addresses the issue of the lack of global warming during the last 15 years (which he prefers to call a "slowdown"):

And that is believed to be because the climate is quite variable. If you look at the long-term record, there are bumps upwards, there are bumps downwards, and there are plateaus like this one. After every bump downward or every plateau, the climate change then accelerates again. Now, we can't be sure that is going to happen, but it's a good bet.

The best possible -- the best -- the leading explanation of this is that heat tends to hide in the ocean sometimes. But when heat hides in the ocean, it later comes out and reappears in the atmosphere, and then warming resumes faster than before. We don't know this for certain. We will find out over the next few years.

(bolding by NNoN)

Oppenheimer's reply pretty well summarizes the "high level of certainty" that characterizes the science behind the new IPCC report.

I, for my part, prefer this "summary" of the new IPCC report:

"All the computer models the IPCC has used in its 25 years have predicted global warming much greater than has been observed.
"This represents a problem because what it means is all these insistent claims they have been making that we need to take urgent measures now to deal with this unprecedented problem seem to be based on junk science.

"The IPCC stands or falls on its computer models. There is no other evidence out there that global warming is any kind of problem. That it exists only in the imagination of the people who programme those computer models and the scientists who contribute to the theory that anthropogenic CO2 is a problem

"What we see in this report is that the models aren't working, which suggests the entirety of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) theory is flawed."

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