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Cascading fallacies in climate risk assessment.

As a logician, I am always on the lookout for fallacies and there is no lack of them in climate change alarmist policies. New Zealand’s newly released climate risk assessment not only has multiple fallacies, they build on one another in a cascade.

This is not about New Zealand. The authors of the assessment make clear that theirs is a new approach which they hope will be used globally. So this is about the world, including America.

The massive report is titled “First national climate change risk assessment for New Zealand.” Under New Zealand’s climate law, these assessments are supposed to be done every five years and this is the first.

The scope is breathtaking. The idea is to identify all of the significant risks due to human caused climate change that will be present in 2050 and 2100. Moreover, these supposed risks are prioritized.

Unfortunately this elaborate procedure is just a cascade of fallacies. Some of the major ones are listed below.

First, they use computer models to say precisely what the average weather will be in 2050 and 2100. This includes short and long term temperatures, precipitation patterns, and other climate features.

The fallacy is that there is no computer model today that can accurately make such forecasts. Different major models disagree strongly in predicting all of these features. For example the model sensitivity to doubling CO2 ranges from 1 to 6 degrees C, which is a huge range.

Second, they use the average of what is called the CMIP5 climate model runs. These are runs on a large number of climate models that are made to feed into the IPCC process. (Here there are several problems. In particular the models are all constrained so that all the significant forces are human, but that is a different issue.)

The fallacy is that there is no reason to believe that the average of a bunch of bad models is good. In fact the CMIP5 average has been shown to run very hot compared to observed warming. (CMIP6 is even worse.)

Third, they then choose to use the modeling of a wildly worst case emissions scenario called “RCP 8.5”. This scenario for future emissions is so high that it has been criticized as impossible. Using RCP 8.5 is certainly a fallacy.

Fourth, they do what is called “down scaling” of these questionable modeling results. Down scaling means taking the crude modeling results for a large area and somehow generating results for specific places. There is no scientific way to derive fine scale forecasts from the model’s large scale ones. The data simply is not there. However it is done is arbitrary.

New Zealand is geographically pretty small with a land area of just over 100,000 square miles, roughly the size of Colorado. The risk assessment divides New Zealand into 8 tiny zones, with a unique climate forecast for each. This is a glaring fallacy.

Fifth, these impossible fine scale forecasts were then discussed by a large number of people, in a variety of ways, to define all the significant risks. This is an exercise in imagination, not science. It is well known in decision theory that the results of group gropes like this depend heavily on who is there, what they are given and how they are guided.

The fallacy here is to pretend that this is a systematic inventory of risks, suitable for policy making.

Sixth, the supposed risks were ranked based on polling the participants. In addition to the group grope problem there is the pesky fact that risk is a two dimensional concept so risks cannot simply be ranked in one dimension. Each risk has both a severity and a probability.

Generally speaking, high severity but low probability risks are not worth addressing. Meteor strikes are a standard example (the impact really is an impact). The same is true for high probability but low severity risks. What one looks for are risks that combine relatively high severity and probability.

This 2-value ranking was not done, giving the fallacy of the single ranking of risks.

The seventh fallacy is yet to come. This wrongly ranked list of imagined risks based on arbitrary down scaling of an average of questionable computer model results running an impossible scenario is supposed to lead to a National Adaptation Plan in two years. That would be a mega-fallacy.

On the amusing side, I think they got the highest ranked risk right. This is the risk that the government will do the wrong thing. I agree completely, especially if they use this risk assessment.

Also very funny is the “Give us a lot more money” risk. It goes like this:

Risk of delayed adaptation and maladaptation due to knowledge gaps resulting from under-investment in climate change adaptation research and capacity building.
Risk summary:
Under-investment in research and capacity building to inform understanding of climate change risks and impacts is undermining New Zealand’s ability to develop evidence-based adaptation policy. Critical research gaps relate to:
–atmospheric processes
–hydrological cycle impacts
–ecosystem responses
–biodiversity and biosecurity
–New Zealand’s rural and urban communities
–the economic costs of climate change
–impacts on the primary sector
–impacts on heritage
–effects on health and health services
–use of mātauranga Māori to inform adaptation
–cascading impacts
–how to govern climate change adaptation at a number of scales.
These research gaps are a critical barrier to informed decision-making. While these gaps remain, maladaptive actions are a key risk.
” (Page 188)

Given all these significant gaps one would think that an accurate assessment would conclude that no risk assessment is possible at this time. That is my assessment.

Conclusion:

The New Zealand climate risk assessment is a cascade of fallacies, unfit for policy making.

Author:

David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/ Available for confidential research and consulting.

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Green New Deal disruption and destruction.

Kamala Harris co-sponsored the Senate resolution to support the Green New Deal. Now Joe Biden has endorsed the plan. Naturally, people want to know what the GND will cost – usually meaning in state and federal government spending. But that is the wrong question.

The real question is, how much do Green New Dealers expect to get out of it, at what total cost? Mr. Biden says he wants the feds to spend nearly $7 trillion over the next decade on healthcare, energy and housing transformation, climate change and other GND agenda items. But that is only part of the picture.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who has a degree in some socialist version of economics) and the folks who helped her write Biden’s so-called Climate Plan have a clear idea of how much money they want, and pretty much know where they expect the money to come from. Here it is in its clearest form, as stated by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s then chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti:

World War II was a time of great sacrifice and hardship, as part of a dramatic and historic mobilization to win a horrific global war. However, that hard reality doesn’t matter to these folks. They say we are now waging a war to stop catastrophic climate change. So money, sacrifice and disruption are irrelevant

“The resolution describes the 10-year plan to transform every sector of our economy to remove GHG [greenhouse gases] and pollution. It says it does this through huge investments in renewables, at WW2 scales (which was 40-60% of America’s GDP).” [emphasis added].

Our nation’s GDP is around $20 trillion a year, or $200 trillion in ten years. 40-60% of that is $80-120 trillion. For simplicity, let’s call it an even $100 trillion to finance the Green New Deal utopian dream.

$100 trillion! The ways and means of raising this stupendous sum are also clear in their minds. It will be done the same way WW2 was financed, however that was. To them, it’s obvious that we can simply do this, because we did it before. The specifics don’t matter. Government elites will figure them out.

But even this arrogant, cavalier attitude is only part of the picture.

If you read what Green New Dealers say, confusion arises because people think the GND is an ordinary policy proposal: “Here’s what we want done, and this what it should cost.” It is nothing like that. The Green New Deal is more along the lines of, “Here’s the level of effort we require to transform our entire economy, and this is what we should be able to do with that much money.”

People tend to interpret Green New Dealer talk of a WW2-like mobilization as a simple metaphor. But these folks mean it as an actual measure of what they are determined to do. So far they have glossed over and ignored the extreme hardships of mobilization. Here’s just one example – not from front lines mayhem, but from the United States home front during World War II.

Gasoline, meat and clothing were tightly rationed. Most families were allocated three US gallons of gasoline a week, which sharply curtailed driving for any purpose. Production of most durable goods, like cars, new housing, vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances, was banned until the war ended. In industrial areas housing was in short supply as people doubled up and lived in cramped quarters. Prices and wages were controlled. [Harold Vatter, The US Economy in World War II]

No doubt the Green New Deal mobilization would impose different hardships. But all mobilizations are oppressive. You can’t commandeer half of the GDP without disrupting or even destroying people’s lives.

The argument is sound in its way, provided there is a need for all-out war – which there is not. The minor to modest temperature, climate and extreme weather changes we’ve been seeing (in the real world  outside computer models) explain why most Americans see no need for a painful war. So does the fact that China, India and other emerging economies are not about to give up fossil fuels anytime soon.

In fact, polls show that roughly half of Americans do not even believe in the idea of human caused global warming, much less that it is an “existential threat,” as Senator Harris claims it is. The latest Gallup poll found that only 1% of US adults consider “climate change/environment/pollution” to be “the most important problem facing this country today.” That’s down from a meager 2% in the May 28-June 4 poll.

Even more revealing, a 2019 AP-NORC poll found that 68% of adult Americans were unwilling to pay even an extra $10 on their monthly electricity bill to combat global warming. Indeed, 57% of them would not be willing to pay more than $1.00 in added electricity charges to fight climate change!

Just wait until they see what the Biden-Harris-AOC-Democrat Green New Deal would cost them.

And it’s not just that their costs would likely skyrocket from an average US 13.2¢ per kilowatt hour (11.4¢ or less in ten states) to well beyond the nearly 20¢ per kWh that families are already paying in California and New York, or the 30¢ that families are now paying in ultra-green Germany. Or that factories, businesses, hospitals, schools and everyone else would also see their costs escalate – with blue collar families, the sick and elderly, poor and minority communities hammered hardest.

It’s that the GND would force every American to replace their gasoline and diesel cars and trucks with expensive short-haul electric vehicles; their gas furnaces and stoves with electric systems; their home, local and state electrical and transmission systems with expensive upgrades that can handle a totally electric economy. They’ll see their landscapes, coastlines and wildlife habitats blanketed with wind turbines, solar panels, transmission lines and warehouses filled with thousands of half-ton batteries. Virtually every component of this GND nation would be manufactured in China and other faraway places.

The cost of this massive, total transformation of our energy and economic system would easily reach $10 trillion: $30,000 per person or $120,000 per family – on top of those skyrocketing electricity prices. And that’s just the intermittent, unreliable energy component of this all-encompassing Green New Deal.

These are stupendous, outrageous costs and personal sacrifices. Every American, at every campaign event and town meeting, should ask Green New Deal supporters if they think America needs to – or can afford to – cough up $10 trillion or $100 trillion over the next ten years. And not let them get away with glib, evasive answers, or attempts to laugh these questions off as meritless or irrelevant.

The American people are not about to be mobilized into an all-out war against dubious climate change, with price tags like these coupled with repeated blackouts, huge personal sacrifices, and massive joblessness in every sector of the economy – except among enlightened government ruling classes.

They’ve already seen news stories about the latest rolling blackouts in California (hereherehere and here) – resulting from one-third of that state’s electricity coming from “renewable” sources, and with another third of the state’s electricity imported from other states that also get heat waves. They should ponder what their lives, livelihoods and living standards would be under 100% wind and solar power.

And yet, once again, even all this insanity is only a small part of the picture.

Remember, the Green New Deal is also about government run healthcare – and an economy and nation where “progressive” “woke” legislators, regulators, judges and activists tell companies what they can manufacture and sell … and tell us what we can buy, eat and drink; how and how much we can heat and cool our homes; and what we can read, hear, think and say, as they “transform” our culture and traditions.

The GND is being promoted by politicians, news and social media, “educators” and “reformers” who also want to eliminate free enterprise capitalism; have totally open borders, even for criminals and people who might have Covid and other diseases; and want to defund the police, put anarchists, looters and terrorists back on our streets, and take away our right and ability to defend ourselves, our homes and our families.

The time to think long and hard about all of this is NOW. Not sometime after the November 3 elections.

By:

David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/ Available for confidential research and consulting.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

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