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Our Sea Level Policy: from Science, or Lobbyists? John Droz, jr. Physicist & Environmental Advocate N C Legislators 11/15/11
It’s Lobbyists vs Science—and Science is Losing
Here are my beliefs — 1) we do have environmental and energy issues, and 2) these matters should be solved using real science.
The Sea Level Rise (SLR) issue is a COMPLEX matter!
PROBLEM #1Science is a PROCESS that Works Like This:When a hypothesis is proposed,it is up to the advocates to PROVE its legitimacy (not the other way around).
PROBLEM #1The Process is called the Scientific Method — which involves a: 1) comprehensive, 2) objective, 3) transparent, and 4) empirical based analysis. In the case of NC Sea Level Rise, this has yet to be done!
PROBLEM #1 Is every priest a holy person? Is every lawyer a law-abiding citizen? Is every scientist a promoter of science?
PROBLEM #1 NO!
PROBLEM #1 Just because some scientists do a study, does not make that report scientific. There are thousands of scientists who are promoting personal or political agendas! What makes a study “scientific” is that it follows the standards of Science.
PROBLEM #1Relevant Carl Sagan Quotes To Ponder —1 - We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.2 - I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.3 - We have arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for awhile, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
PROBLEM #1 Did the authors of the 2010 “NC SLR Assessment Report” meet the fundamental standards of Science?
PROBLEM #1 NO!
PROBLEM #1 Confirmation Bias Start with a belief and then find sources to “confirm” it.
PROBLEM #1 Here are examples of SLR experts, who do not share the beliefs of the NC authors. None of them were even mentioned. Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, William Briggs, Richard Carroll,Dr. Robert Carter, Tim Curtin, Dr. Willem de Lange, Dr. Robert Dean,Dr. Philip Finck, Pieter Folkens, Dr. Vincent Gray, Dr. William Gray, Dr. Simon Holgate, Dr. James Houston, Dr. Sherwood Idso, Dr. Stephen Knowles, Dr. David Legates, Steve McIntyre, Tom Moriarity, Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, Dr. James OBrien, Dr. Cliff Ollier, Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., Dr. Nicola Scafetta, Dr. Fred Singer, Dr. Walter Starck, Dr. David Stockwell,Dr. Robert Wagner, Phil Watson, Anthony Watts, Dr. Eduardo Zorita.
PROBLEM #1One of the authors of the report subsequently wrote me —“Mr Droz,I Enjoyed your Critique* of the SLR report. To my discredit, I did notactively participate in the Science Panel development of the report, as Irelied on others on the panel who seemed to be engaged in the subject. I was remiss in giving my OK to the panels projections...”[*Critique: tinyurl.com/4lns7wy]
PROBLEM #2 The conclusions of the 2010 “NC SLR Assessment report” are entirely based on one assumption: that man-made global warming will have a major impact on our weather over the rest of this century.
PROBLEM #2 This assumption comes from the UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). For those who question that assumption, there is one standard answer given: this is the conclusion of the world’s experts, assembled by the IPCC.
PROBLEM #2But wait a minute... The IPCC also supposedly assembled the world’s experts (oceanographers, etc), to assess the Sea Level Rise situation too. Hmmm. What did these world-class experts conclude?
PROBLEM #2 That by 2100 their best guess is that Sea Level Rise would be between 7 to 22 inches. In other words, the IPCC’s experts, said that the SLR would be about 15 inches.
PROBLEM #2 Remember that this 15 inches is based on two major assumptions, that: 1) global warming would continue, and 2) this would cause sea level rising to accelerate. There are many experts that dispute one or both of these assumptions, and conclude that the IPCC’s 15” SLR projection is too high.
PROBLEM #2 The authors of the 2010 NC SLR Assessment Report took the opposite position. They said that the conclusions of the IPCC’s world-class experts was totally wrong, and too low. Compare their 39 inches to the IPCC’s 15 inches. If the NC authors are right then the IPCC is over 100% wrong.
PROBLEM #2 If the IPCC and its world-class experts are so rightabout global warming that questioning them is heresy,then why is it ok for the NC panel to say that the IPCCand it’s world-class experts are so wrong about SLR?
PROBLEM #2 Is the IPCC an unimpeachable source of authority, or not?
NC Authors’ Projection IPCC’s Projection
Two key conclusions about the 2010 NC SLR Risk Assessment Report:1 - It is a political document, not a scientific report,2 - It contradicts the IPCC’s SLR findings.
Many indications to date say that another NC SLR study* in the pipeline is following a similarunscientific path. Unless this is fixed, this will be an egregious waste of time, money and resources.*NC SLR Risk Management Study (<<www.ncsealevelrise.com>>)
Showing several possible 2100 SLR scenarios, without identifying the probabilities of each,will be very confusing to citizens and legislators. [A skeptic would say that this is intentional.]
When panel members are selected for such studiesit should NOT be based on their political affiliations, but rather should be a cross-section of competent people. Different perspectives should be a requirement.
No technical NC law or consequential regulation should be enacteduntil a proper cost-benefits analysis has been done.