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Ein forum, ein thread

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:43 am
by PeterODonnell
Well I was going to post something before opening day but apparently we are open already.

So I suggested this forum as a place to discuss the topic that the media inform us is on the minds of many Canadians.

I somehow doubt this in reality, but will play along as a good sport.

The truth of climate change is that the climate is bound to change. It has never stayed in some fixed zone at any point in the known history of the planet and certainly not in the more documented historical period. So they have that part right.

As to this drumbeat about runaway warming and increased frequency of severe weather events, I think those are at least open to some question. The warming may be considerable but is it all down to us, or are there natural cycles at work, which we can't turn off by paying carbon taxes? And in any case, what part of these already burdensome taxes has gone to any actual mitigation of climate change, and with what actual result? I would argue the money is being shovelled into general revenues to support the clients of governments who levy the taxes on people who can scarcely afford to pay them and who see nothing much in return. And if as the government claims, the whole thing is revenue neutral, a constant recycling of money from paying the tax to getting the rebate, what's the point of that? It's just the government treating us as Money Mart to get an advance.

The part about increased frequency of severe weather strikes me as a whopper. Any honest study of that proposition usually returns the verdict that severe weather was somewhat more frequent in the past (colder) climate. And in fact, even severe heat waves are more frequent in the period 1901 to 1960 than in the period 1961 to 2020. I've just been updating the Toronto weather records that used to be kept quite meticulously when I was a student half a century ago. The station has continued to take observations but is not a "class A" weather station any longer and they sometimes miss a day here and there. But other nearby locations are always recording too. What I found was that only two parts of the year are showing much signs of this much-discussed warming. Those are the two ends of winter, late November to about the Christmas holiday, and then again second half of February into March. Plenty of new records have been set in those two intervals. Otherwise, only the weakest (therefore easiest to overcome) record highs have fallen since 1970. When I first developed an interest in this subject, there had been ten days during the period to 1970 with readings above 100F. We changed to the metric system in 1977, but whether you go with 100F or 38C, there has been a grand total of one new addition (and Connie, Mark, you can guess the date, it was July 21, 2011, the day we were trying to survive in court in Ottawa in that tremendous blast of heat).

That's it, one day to match (barely because the top seven are still in the same order) the bigger heat waves of years like 1911, 1918, 1919, 1921, 1936, 1948 and 1953. Even 1854 back in the colder 19th century managed one. The warmest month remains July of 1921 (despite an increase in Toronto's massive urban heat island since then). The warmest January is still 1932. And the warmest Octobers were in 1947 and 1963. I was rather surprised given all the reports I had heard of unprecedented warmth that so many old records remain unbroken. Those that do not have not been obliterated but just nudged aside (and as I mentioned, there's a larger heat island now than ever before). The real warming seems to be mostly at night too, you see more frequent new "high mins" than high maxima.

We haven't had a bigger rainstorm in the past fifty years than was the standard (set in 1897). Looking at the wider picture, there has been nothing to match the tornado outbreak of March 18th, 1925 and nothing quite like the absolute destruction of Galveston by a hurricane in August 1900.

So I call b.s. on this claim of increased severe weather events.

But fires, they say -- the planet is burning up.

Here again, nothing really new, there have always been massive wildfires in certain climate regions. It is part of the natural climate of these regions. What has changed is that people increasingly want to live in the "exurban" zones between large towns and wilderness areas. It's an appealing lifestyle (as I know being a western Canadian now for three decades) except in bad fire years, then it's a nightmare instead. And government regulations are not helping. In California, green movements convinced the state authorities to allow mature tree cover along hydro rights of way under massive power lines, and of course what that encourages in windy dry weather is for the larger trees to bring down power lines and spread the fires much faster. Since the corridors are leading to urban areas, guess what, that's where the fire spreads.

I have heard rumours that the Australian situation is similar but I will leave those details to anyone with better understanding of their dynamics down under. But in general, I think the wildfire factor is only increasing because we the targets are spreading our presence closer and closer to danger zones, not the other way round. Even with severe wind storms, all things being equal, there ought to be more death and destruction now than a century ago because towns have increased in size and spread out (in suburban areas) over much larger target areas. So the fact that incidence seems actually lower is even more remarkable, in a steady state of storm production it should be a higher hit rate if the target size is increasing.

That's all for now. Have at it. It's a very important topic, I think, because it's going to get all mixed into the debate about western Canadian sovereignty and tensions between Alberta (work oriented) and BC (green madness el supremo).

Re: Ein forum, ein thread

Posted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:48 pm
by Duane Berke
Ten years ago they said holes in the ozone layer was our certain doom. I wondered what to do with my cat. 20,000 years ago much of now Canada was covered by a glacier which succeeded well in the USA. What caused the glacier to go away with no trucks and steel mills? If we're hurtling through space at 76,000 mph, how can we think we control the climate? Can we please just have the new baseball season?

Re: Ein forum, ein thread - CV-19 & Climate Change

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 9:32 pm
by RememberPeleliu
A Post-Normal Science Underlies COVID-19 Response Actions. Post-normal science, by prescribed method, acknowledges a high degree of uncertainty and competing cultural values.

In the 14th and 15th Centuries, Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler were at the forefront of a scientific revolution that led to a tidal wave of advances in engineering that ultimately vastly improved the quality of life in the west and ultimately over the globe. They rejected an authoritarian science in favor of “systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment” (google def of science). They and those that followed developed theories and eventually scientific laws that explained natural phenomena. Good theories are observable, verifiable, repeatable, and falsifiable (inherently disprovable). Theories are purposely tested and tested again with the highest degree of skepticism to prove their validity. Inventions based on scientific laws relied on perfect predictability. This methodology put man on the moon.

In the 18th century, Marxist philosophers (Marx, Freud, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Gramsci et al) developed critical theory. This moved away from scientific methodology in studies of societies in favor of a theory oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole. This contrasted traditional scientific methodology oriented only to understanding and explaining things. In our universities today, we have social theory on steroids. Post-Modern Critical Theory politicizes social problems by situating them in historical and cultural contexts, implicating themselves in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and relativizing their findings.

Today, a “Post-Normal” science has wormed its way into the thinking of academia and policy makers in a broad spectrum of natural science, twisting critical theory beyond the social sciences. When someone on the left says you are anti-science, they do not really understand was true scientific methodology is all about or care. Rather, they are either relying on Marxist critical theory in the social realm or post-normal science in the natural realm. This “modern” post-normal framework acknowledges applied science for the development of mundane things like robotics and communications devices, when the situation is not urgent, but relies more on professional consultancy and on an extended peer group when health and environment are "urgently" threatened. This method was developed by Funtowicz and Ravetz in 1993 to cope with the “urgent” contemporary problems that they identify (climate change, peak energy, and environmental pollution). Their papers acknowledge that the uncertainty increases drastically as the method is strongly applied. In post-normal science, knowledge is ‘democratized’, encompassing a diversity of legitimate perspectives and commitments. The guiding principle in the dialogue on post-normal science issues is a subjective “quality” rather than “truth”. This is the methodology of climate change research. Its also the methodology of the COVID-19 shut-it-all-down response. Models change weekly. Projections change daily. Now, as more data comes in, the truth is that the urgent shut-it-all-down response made with scant data is appearing to have been less necessary, and the unintended consequences unfortunately drastic.

Unless we reset the definition of science in the popular mindset to the science of Kepler, Galileo, Edison, and Bell, a house built on rock, our culture will be further degraded by this subjective post-normal new normal, a house built on shifting red sand.

More on the Post-Normal science horsepuckey can be found at sites like or with a more critical eye at ... l-science/.

Re: Ein forum, ein thread

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 11:28 pm
by PeterODonnell
I think what's different about this pandemic response is that one sector of society (health science) was allowed to dictate economic policy entirely from their own perspective and not with any thought given to overall consequences. This would be something like allowing weather forecasters to have the power to order people to stay indoors because they might get a sunburn. Of course it's true, they might get one. But isn't that the individual's responsibility to prevent, and to assume the risk?

Re: Ein forum, ein thread

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 6:55 am
by RememberPeleliu
What you describe is the professional consultancy phase of the post-normal science methodology, with significant methodological uncertainty. The health "scientists" making decisions are not rigorously applying traditional scientific methodology but using their judgement in an "emergency" situation fueled by a press that fuels the flames of urgency with fear. Across Canada and the US, those health scientists making the decisions regarding COVID-19 risk-response have a mixed bag of credentials. You are right. Why should these persons be making decisions for healthy free individuals? For example, the health director of Los Angeles county making decisions for a county with 10 million persons has no traditional medical science background at all ... -response/