Climate Science and Falsifiability

On a recent article at ATTP (wherein it is implied that Michael Tobis should not be famous, hrmph) Willard points to a very nicely written 2011 article by John N-G,
Roger Pielke Jr.’s Inkblot which discusses the oft-confused ideas about whether climatology makes testable predictions.


But science doesn’t work by making predictions about future events, for the most part; it makes predictions about observable aspects of the world, things detectable in the present. The amount of trust scientists place in climate models, for example, depends on their ability to simulate relevant aspects of the past and present world. The amount of trust the public places in climate science should depend on the weight of evidence in the past and present world, which is enormous.

Sorry for the late news, but this one is a keeper. Better late than never, I guess.


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  1. So what does the observable world say? It says we have increased 2 degrees Celsius from the norm. It seems to me to be less than anecdotal, less than hearsay, when so many scientists agree that a 3.5 degree increase would be catastrophic. As in, extinction-level catastrophic. Unfortunetly, unfettered, lassiez-faire economic growth has only become more of a mainstay in the institutions that govern law: Reagan was a trickle-down theorist, The Bush franchise perpetuated war for profit, Clinton, with the rhetoric of a populist democrat, horse-traded to pass NAFTA when he promised universal healthcare, and Obama, a clear corporatist, surrendered to the quid-pro-quo campaign contributions. 6 people own and control as much wealth as 127 million Americans. 62 people are as comparable to the world’s poorest half. Debt and consumption have resulted in the final stages of capitalism, but in no way has the class war of the last 12,000 years changed. Based on the economic models of the Republican-led legislator, we can only expect the law to favor corporate interests. This translates directly into runaway climate change: infinite economic growth is not feasible within a finite ecosystem. The Arctic will experience ice-free summers, what is it, next year? Even if a majority of the methane is somehow retained within the earth’s crust, a fraction of the stores will dwarf all humanity’s carbon emissions since the industrial revolution. So yes, the weight of the evidence is enormous, and all the economic patterns point to a continued use of fossil fuels, continued wage and debt-slavery in Third and First Worlds, and continuous warfare, economically-sanctioned ofcourse. The future for the climate looks grim: if we are to based models from capitalistic models, expect another great-dying. We are loosing well over 200 species a day. The first mammal went extinct. If we think higher life-forms can exist without lower ones, we are mitaken. Thankfully there are world-wide movements for social justice: environmental, racial, sexual, etc.,,, and are all outlets for action. Sign up on their email list. Sign petitions. I’ll be at the public City Council meeting tomorrow. Action must be had, for the trail we currently follow will end human history.

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