Von Storch: "Climate Protection" Enhances Vulnerability

(originally submitted as a comment by ScientistForTruth. Published here as-received)

Some interesting observation from a paper by Hans von Storch in European Physical Journal – Special Topics, Volume 176, Number 1 / September, 2009. Von Storch makes some interesting, and refreshingly honest, observations about matters of faith and ‘trust’ in AGW which would blow Romm away if he were an honest man:

“…How fast can climate change when only natural causes are operating? This rate may be described by a probability distribution…This distribution is not known…It is not possible to prove that the estimation is “right”…I personally believe that our estimates are approximately correct – but I have to admit that I may be wrong with that assessment.

…the quality of estimating the magnitude of naturally caused variability is a key issue in this exercise. This magnitude is not known but must be estimated. Accepting its estimated value is a matter of trust. If somebody believes that the estimate is inadequate because of the limited data base, then I can not disprove this assertion. The same is true for my belief that the data base is good enough to allow a reasonable educated guess of this quantity – possible opponents are not able to prove that I am wrong.

…We humans – at least in the western culture – seem to be predisposed to accept “anthropogenic climate change” as an acceptable explanation for uncommon events even if they are natural and simply rare. This may be one of the reasons why the prophets of “climate catastrophes” and disasters are so successful in communicating with the general public – they articulate a primal fear, so to speak an eigen-oscillation of public perception.

…often the implicit assumption is made that when a climate change signal is detected in the global mean temperature, which is attributable to increased greenhouse gas concentrations, then all extraordinary meteorological events, like disastrous storms or extensive floods, must also be causally related to this anthropogenic climate change…There are even scientists who admit that exaggeration of the threat of climate change would be in order – because without exaggeration the public would not take the threat sufficiently serious (Bray and von Storch, 2007).

…If every extreme event is considered a support of the concept of anthropogenic climate change – how would we be able to falsify the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change, if it would actually be false? Only by the absence of extreme events – which would, on the other hand, be a sure proof of climate change, as extreme events are integral parts of the statistics of weather.

The emphasis on “protection of climate” and the wrong causality of emissions and weather extremes is…a detrimental disinformation. It causes people to falsely believe that normal weather extremes are really related to climate change, and that such extreme would no more happen as soon as a successful climate policy is installed. The vulnerability against weather extremes is enhanced because of the false perception that we are facing a revengeful environment which is striking back against the perpetrator instead of the view that extremes of this sort are “normal” and need preparation on our side even if these events are rare.