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Research On Forecasting For The Manmade Global Warming Alarm

Testimony to Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on “Climate Change: Examining the processes used to create science and policy” – March 31, 2011

Professor J. Scott Armstrong, University of Pennsylvania, with Kesten C. Green, University of South Australia, and Willie Soon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The validity of the manmade global warming alarm requires the support of scientific forecasts of (1) a substantive long-term rise in global mean temperatures in the absence of regulations, (2) serious net harmful effects due to global warming, and (3) cost-effective regulations that would produce net beneficial effects versus alternatives policies, including doing nothing.

Without scientific forecasts for all three aspects of the alarm, there is no scientific basis to enact regulations. In effect, the warming alarm is like a three-legged stool: each leg needs to be strong. Despite repeated appeals to global warming alarmists, we have been unable to find scientific forecasts for any of the three legs.

We drew upon scientific (evidence-based) forecasting principles to audit the forecasting procedures used to forecast global mean temperatures by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—leg “1” of the stool. This audit found that the IPCC procedures violated 81% of the 89 relevant forecasting principles.

We also audited forcasting procedures, used in two papers, that were written to support regulation regarding the protection of polar bears from global warming – leg “3” – of the stool. On average, the forecasting procedures violated 85% of the 90 relevant principles.

The warming alarmists have not demonstrated the predictive validity of their procedures. Instead, their argument for predictive validity is based on their claim that nearly all scientists agree with the forecasts. This count of “votes” by scientists is not only an incorrect tally of scientific opinion, it is also, and most importantly, contrary to the scientific method.

We conducted a validation test of the IPCC forecasts that were based on the assumption that there would be no regulations. The errors for the IPCC model long-term forecasts (for 91 to 100 years in the future) were 12.6 times larger than those from an evidence-based “no change” model.

Based on our own analyses and the documented unscientific behavior of global warming alarmists, we concluded that the global warming alarm is the product of an anti-scientific political movement.

Having come to this conclusion, we turned to the “structured analogies” method to forecast the likely outcomes of the warming alarmist movement. In our ongoing study we have, to date, identified 26 similar historical alarmist movements. None of the forecasts behind the analogous alarms proved correct.

Twenty-five alarms involved calls for government intervention and the government imposed regulations in 23. None of the 23 interventions was effective and harm was caused by 20 of them.

Our findings on the scientific evidence related to global warming forecasts lead to the following recommendations:

1. End government funding for climate change research.

2. End government funding for research predicated on global warming (e.g., alternative energy; CO2 reduction; habitat loss).

3. End government programs and repeal regulations predicated on global warming.

4. End government support for organizations that lobby or campaign predicated on global warming.

Full paper