When Uncertainty is Certainly not Uncertain

Further to Glenda Luymes fantasy piece on sea level rise in the Vancouver Province, on Sunday August 25, 2013. I drilled down a little bit, and discovered that the study she referenced was lead-authored by a fellow named Stephane Hallegatte. It turns out that Mr. Hallegatte works for the World Bank, as well as the French Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement (CIRED). He also was a contributing author to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report Climate Change 2007 (AR4), Chapter 2- “New Assesment Methods and the Characterisation of Future Conditions”. If you doubt that their intention is control-read section 2.5 “Key conclusions and future directions”. A little lip service to “uncertainty’, most of it deals with how various levels of governmental institutions and administration(s) and populations can be manipulated to bring them into line.

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch2s2-5.html

But that’s a bit of an aside-let’s get to the meat of the matter here. I sent Mr Hallegatte an email with a link to a recent study that shows that sea level rise for the next  hundred years will be extremely minimal and certainly not catastrophic. Our exchange (bold italics added) went like this…

“Re: Future flood losses in major coastal cities

Dear Mr. Hallegatte, I have a hard time reconciling your projections of catastrophic economic damage from unusual sea level rise with recent satellite data that suggests that sea level rise is at this time, irony noted, glacial. Perhaps you could explain this for me .http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/continental-mass-change-grace-over-2002%E2%80%932011-and-its-impact-sea-level Thank you. Yours Truly, Gerry McGuire ”

Most graciously, he responded,

“Thanks for your email. As you know, climatologist (sic) use 30-yr data (sets) to calculate trends and a 9-yr trend should not be used to extrapolate over the long-term. The current pace of ice loss has no reason to remain unchanged in the near future. So current observations are not in contradiction with long-term projections.
But one unquestionable point is that our understanding of ice dynamics in response to long-term temperature increase is very limited and there is a large uncertainty on future sea level rise. In our study, we used projections from the literature, picking a more optimistic and a more pessimistic scenarios (sic). But the future may be under or above these two scenarios.
Best,
Stephane
Stephane Hallegatte
Senior Economist
Sustainable Development Network, Office of the Chief Economist
and World Development Report 2014 ‘Managing risk for development’
The World Bank”

He at least sounded more reasonable than the Province writer. So I sent him this:

Hi Stephane,
Net ice loss has been minimal -Antarctic ice has accreted similarly as there have been losses in the north. Given the fifteen year plus leveling in global average surface temperatures, one would not expect that (losses in the north) to continue much longer (I was unaware at the time of this correspondence that the northern ice cap had increased by 60% this season), and whether warming has ended or will resume again is still an unknown. Which renders the study an interesting econometric exercise, but of not much use in long-term planning and investment. Which you kind of say in your reply. Would you agree that constant monitoring of and adaptation to changing local conditions is the optimal  solution? Thanks.
Gerry”
Well, have mercy on me, he reacted like I hit him upside the head with a brick! Given that Mr. Hallegatte is a high-paid, high-powered bureaucrat based in the center of power in the world, Washington DC, I still must say that his response to me seems illogical and self-contradictory. But hey, you be the judge.

“I did not say it is not useful, since constant monitoring and adaptation are inappropriate (and dangerous) when long-term investments are needed (which is the case in cities).
But this type of study should inform decision-making through a process that takes the uncertainty into account.
I would not say that we do not know whether the increase in global temperature will resume. The current slow-down in temperature increase is nothing surprising considering the natural variability… it does not change anything about the theory and long-term projection (sic) we can make.
Stephane”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I’ll let my response speak for itself.

“The GCM’s  failed to predict the current pause. There is no certainty that warming will resume, and what are you going to base long term planning and investment on when you admit yourself there may be much more or much less damage than predicted? It’s interesting that you reference natural variability, as notwithstanding Michael Mann’s thoroughly discredited “hockey stick” graph the recent warming we experienced was well within the range of natural variability. Forty years ago the “consensus” was that we were heading into a potentially catastrophic cooling phase. If you’re going to recommend how and where to invest billions if not trillions of dollars, you need some kind of certainty-and right now, there is no long term certainty…”

Answer came there none. I can only hope that he plunged into deep thought, reflecting perhaps on revising his heretofore acquiescent acceptance of the defective science that the United Nations has been peddling. Stranger things have happened…

UK Daily Mail article on Arctic ice increase this year.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415191/Global-cooling-Arctic-ice-caps-grows-60-global-warming-predictions.html

Study referencing natural climate variability. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/25/temperature-change-in-perspective/

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One Response to When Uncertainty is Certainly not Uncertain

  1. Amber says:

    Good on you for trying to communicate . For to long the actors in the global warming industry have been getting away with saying any crap they want That phase of public abuse is thankfully over.I can’t imagine how many people are gainfully employed in this scam.They are not about to go quietly when their groceries are paid for by ensuring the warm industry continues .

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