Climate claims exaggerated

Dear Editor,

Stephen Schneider, who recently passed away, “did for climate science what Carl Sagan did for astronomy”.

Although he was one of the leading promoters of climate change fears (in the 1970s he warned against global cooling, more recently against global warming), climatologist Dr. Stephen Schneider can also be remarkably candid about what was going on behind the scenes of what is supposed to be a “settled” science.

He is famous for noting that climate scientists exaggerate to make their point; “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. … so we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

Is climate science based on “overwhelming empirical evidence”, as the public has been told? Not if you believe Schneider, who wrote, “Computer modeling is our only available tool to perform ‘what-if’ experiments such as the human impact on the future.” In other words, climate science is only as good as its models, models that weren’t accurate enough to predict the non-warming of the past 10 years.

It was Schneider who noted that, in climate science, “We end up with a maddening degree of uncertainty. We end up with scenarios which, if we’re lucky, give us mild outcomes or we end up with scenarios that, if we’re unlucky, give us catastrophic outcomes.”

In a similar vein, Schneider wrote in Scientific American: “Uncertainties so infuse the issue of climate change that it is still impossible to rule out either mild or catastrophic outcomes.”

“A maddening degree of uncertainty?” “Impossible to rule out either mild or catastrophic outcomes?” “Infused with uncertainties?” Has the public not been told that the science on climate change is settled, certain and beyond question… that we’re heading for catastrophe? Are we being bombarded by “scary scenarios” that exist only in computer models?

Based on Dr. Schneider’s own words, the answer is obvious.

Paul MacRae

Victoria, BC

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