Martin Hutchinson (Dec 16, 2009)
The shakiness of the mathematics underlying the global warming “consensus” was highlighted by the recent “climategate” e-mails and computer tapes involving researchers at the University of East Anglia. Like Wall Street risk managers, climate scientists pooh-poohed the obvious flaws in the assumptions underlying their mathematical models. Like Wall Street bankers, they asserted a consensus behind those models - in Wall Street’s case, to win from regulators a profitable loosening of their leverage limits; in climate scientists’ case, to persuade politicians to provide them with hugely profitable research opportunities and capital for their “new energy” start-ups.
Like Wall Street traders, the scientists rejected any modifications of the models that had served them well and pushed those models to their outer limits; the Wall Street gang to trade ever more exotic derivatives, the scientists to justify ever more alarmist predictions of climate change.
The denouement in both cases may also turn out to be similar. In Wall Street’s case, the faulty models have led to losses in the financial system totaling in excess of US$1 trillion. In the climate scientists’ case, the precise degree of error in their assumptions is not yet apparent. It is only clear that dubious methods were used to cover up the flaws in their models and observations, and that the more extreme predictions (”6 degrees Celsius by 2100″) were made up out of whole cloth to justify gargantuan economy-destroying projects of government control.
Should the conference on climate change at present underway in Copenhagen produce anything beyond alarmist blather, the net cost to the global economy is likely to exceed by far that of the subprime mortgage fiasco. The difference between the two cases is that in Wall Street, the first decent-sized downturn showed the models to be rubbish, although admittedly that took 21 years to happen after the first demonstration. On the other hand, with climate models we will have to wait even longer, until 2100, to find out whether they were completely spurious or merely exaggerated.