Friday, March 2, 2007

Poor Exxon (who do you trust?)

Exxon took a lot of heat for funding studies in climate skepticism and finally retired under pressure.

For scale, Exxon funded about $2 million/yr. Greenpeace Germany alone does about $40 million/yr and Greenpeace International about $35 million, so all told Greenpeace does around $100 million globally, though it is not all climate stuff. However, GP does very little in the US, where folks like NRDC, ED, WWF, UCS, etc., do many millions.

But the big US money is the federal USGCRP which spends about $1.7 billion/yr, mostly to support AGW. Most of the vocal AGW advocates feed at the federal trough. The center is NCAR, funded by NSF.

Most of the AGW leaders are modelers. A fascinating aspect of what is going on is the rise of modeling across the sciences. Some leaders call modeling the new "third pillar" of science, along with observation and theory. In reality modeling is just solving equations provided by theory, something we have always done.

The underlying issue is how much to believe models? Science as a whole is grappling with this issue, not just climate science.


Blogger Louis Hissink said...

Modelling is the third pillar of science ?????

Modelling climate is essentially modelling a non-linear, chaotic physical system.

It cannot be modelled by definition.

March 03, 2007  
Blogger The Washington Pest said...

Louis Hissink is half right, the better half. Chaotic systems can be modeled but the modeling should show that they are intrinsically unpredictable, sensitive to butterflies and raindrops. So if the modelers were honest about climate they would conclude that the predictions are a joke (long "o", sounds like hoax).

Some of the simplest equations have chaotic regimes, like the logistic equation, and the web is full of cute little models of them. In fact modeling is the typical way we determine that a system is chaotic. But for some reason this has not occurred to the climate modelers nor to those who give them hundreds of millions of dollars. Not scary enough?

Ironically, given the rise of modeling, the science of unpredictability should be the next big science, but no one wants to touch it. Eventually science will look back and laugh at us, and we deserve it.

March 03, 2007  

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