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Hulme on climate modellers

Via Hans von Storch (who calls it `remarkable') comes this paper from Mike Hulme on how climate modellers have imposed a hegemony on academic thought about the climate.

One hundred years ago, a popular theory contended that various aspects of climate determined the physiology and psychology of individuals, which in turn defined the behavior and culture of the societies that those individuals formed. As the ideological wars of the twentieth century re-shaped political and moral worlds, environmental determinism became discredited and marginalised within mainstream academic thought. Yet at the beginning of a new century with heightening anxieties about changes in climate, the idea that climate can determine the fate of people and society has re-emerged in the form of ‘climate reductionism’. This paper traces how climate has moved from playing a deterministic to a reductionist role in discourses about environment, society and the future. Climate determinism previously offered an explanation, and hence a justification, for the superiority of certain imperial races and cultures. The argument put forward here is that the new climate reductionism is driven by the hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future. It is a hegemony which lends disproportionate power in political and social discourse to model-based descriptions of putative future climates. Some possible reasons for this climate reductionism, as well as some of the limitations and dangers of this position for human relationships with the future, are suggested.

(The link in the paper is to a preprint - I hope somebody picked up the misspelling of Geoffrey/Jeffrey Sachs name in the meantime. Although perhaps I don't - it's always good to have people in Sachs position brought crashing down to Earth occasionally.)

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Reader Comments (133)

Hulme has certainly started to adopt a more 'integral & AQAL' approach (popularised by Ken Wilber) in his academic writings.

I guess he figures he can get away with it there, since no members of the Team are going to understand what he is on about (even if they trouble to read it).

In simpler forums of debate, he seems to stick much more closely to the script.

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

The only reduction going on here is the transformation of a physical science into an abstract social science over the past few decades, whereby theory and evidence have been supplanted be a fatalistic gaiaism whereby humanity is considered a blight.

It would have been more concise for Mike Hulme to argue that it is all "total bollox" to start with than pen a few thousand imprecise words.

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Climate modelers have a vision of the future politicians can use but even softer sciences don't.

From page 19

These models and calculations allow for little human agency, little recognition of evolving, adapting and innovating societies, and little attempt to consider the changing values, cultures and practices of humanity. The contingencies of the future are whitewashed out of the future. Humans are depicted as “dumb farmers”, passively awaiting their climate fate. The possibilities of human agency are relegated to footnotes, the changing cultural norms and practices made invisible, the creative potential of the human imagination ignored.

Scientists have enough trouble modeling climate before trying to integrate models of human agency into them. The climate reductionist models serve a purpose (inadvertently or otherwise) - they are being used to influence human agency by being the justification for major policy changes and for (no) pressure groups to push their own morals onto the rest of us.

Integrating social sciences into projections will provide more uncertainties but also another feedback which policymakers and pressure groups can latch onto. To include such things in the projections you first have to define them and that is the point at which distortions in favour of particular outcomes will occur. Decarbonisation wallahs still be saying 'we must do x because the models say so' and sceptics will still be questioning the certainty of such claims.

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

"how climate modellers have imposed a hegemony on academic thought about the climate."

He's not saying that at all. Read it again:
"The argument put forward here is that the new climate reductionism is driven by the hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future."
He's saying that the predictive natural sciences are exercising a hegemony. We take too much notice of numbers, as opposed to "contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future",

One can argue whether that is so, and if so, whether it is a bad thing. But it's not something climate modellers did.

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

Sooo ...

Well said Mike Hulme! Human creativity, imagination and ingenuity ... I love those words :-)

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrady

Sorry, block quotes messed up :-( The quote from the end of the paper is:

"Since it is at least possible – if not indeed likely - that human creativity, imagination and ingenuity will create radically different social, cultural and political worlds in the future than exist today, greater effort should be made to represent these possibilities in any analysis about the significance of future climate change."
I like it!

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrady

A fascinating paper, with a strong vein of hope running through it - it deserves to be widely read. It is long on ideas and short on answers though, and I for one am not clear what conclusions - if any - can be drawn in terms of how climate science is done in practice. Hari Seldon and the science of psychohistory remain fiction, and so the idea of factoring social, cultural and political factors into climate science in any statistically meaningful way must surely remain a pipedream.

No doubt the interpretation by the faithful on blogs like this will be that we should simply stop doing climate science and get on with living, but I doubt if the author intended this conclusion to be drawn.

Dec 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterScots Renewables

More PoMo gobbledygook.

Dec 26, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Brady -
I sort of like the idea......but also sort of don't.
I think it makes an awful lot of sense to understand that creativity, imagination and ingenuity will create radically different worlds in the future, and hence assuming that everything will stay equal 'apart from the raininess and windiness' is insane. But it doesn't make much sense to represent those possibilities in analysis since we cannot know what they are.

What we can do is reduce our faith in the doom-mongering because it always assumes that the whole population of the future will be hit with a very large idiot stick.

I have a suspicion that the likes of Hansen are as panic-stricken as they are because they are fundamentally incapable people - in the sense that they interact with the world in terms of thinking (and in Hansen's case, imagining). I doubt he has ever so much as changed a door-knob - changes over long periods of time that are concomitant with other changes in, say, building or agricultural practices, terrify him because he has no understanding of them in the first place. He just assumes we'll all starve to death.
I don't get tired of saying that people aren't vulnerable to climate change - they are vulnerable to climate, but that is only another way of saying that they live in poor, undeveloped parts of the world. To make sure they stay that way, all you'd have to do is make energy even more expensive and development less possible. Which I suppose is another way of saying we need to sign up to the most misanthropic version of pernicious environmentalism currently on offer.

Dec 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnteros

Well, Nick, modelers have failed to be 'predictive natural scientists'.

Dec 26, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Reading the text I thought of Israel. Politics aside, this is a nation populated by people who were perhaps the first mass climate change volunteers. They migrated from fertile, temperate and cold places to a desert which they turned into something unlike any other place around it. Here is living proof that modelers are out of touch!

Dec 26, 2011 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterNik

Since it is at least possible – if not indeed likely - that human creativity, imagination and ingenuity will create radically different social, cultural and political worlds in the future than exist today, greater effort should be made to represent these possibilities in any analysis about the significance of future climate change.
What this says to me, Brady, is what many of us have always said. It is not up to us to sort out the problems that will face our grandchildren and even trying to "represent these possibilities" is arrogant, futile, and counter-productive.
They will not thank us for trying to second-guess not only their problems but also their solutions — in matters climatic and in most other aspects of human life as well. By trying to impose our solutions (like generals always fighting the last war) we are in danger of closing off their options with who knows what results.
Which argues that no effort at all shoiuld be made to represent these possibilites since we haven't a clue what they will turn out to be.
As Ed Cook perceptively put in one of the most honest emails of Climategate 2.0:
"We know with certainty that we know f***-all".

Dec 26, 2011 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Hulme - one of the propagandists for 'Post Modern Science'.

Look no further than this fine example:

"The argument put forward here is that the new climate reductionism is driven by the hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future"

'Predictive' natural sciences v 'imaginative and humanistic' accounts of social life: this is where the AGW philosophers are now trying to goad us. The 'predictive' models have been shown by too many scientists to have been no such thing, so let's leave them aside and concentrate on visions - humanistic ones, to be sure - of the future to replace them with.
IAW, let's talk about the precautionary principle and sustainability ... a fine article by Willis Eschenbach and a very illuminating debate about that can be found here:

After CG1 and CG2, with the doubts of some climate prophets now out in the open, Hulme amongst them, this will be the next frontier. Diversity and acidic oceans haven't scared people sufficiently, so the CO2 managers in governments and NGOs are now using crocodile tears to get us to agree to the planned destruction of our economies. This has a long tradition, as James Delingpole shows in his 'Watermelons'.

Hulme is simply singing a new siren song: if you don't like the models, never mind, let's forget they might be wrong. The main point is, for him and his ilk, that they are restricting the human spirit ... so give them a pass but keep on thinking about the children ... and submit to whatever new form of economic restrictions the new AGW is proposing.

Dec 26, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Mike Jackson -
arrogant, futile and counter-productive. Spot on with all three.
Anybody 100 years ago correctly predicting the tenfold increase in the size of cities would have built millions of new stables for all the horses and vast holes in the ground for all the shit. Fortunately they just got on with their lives..
Second-guessing the future and top-down long term plans in anticipation of 'how things will turn out' is a kind of insanity - and we know that from looking at the past!!

I've got a fantastic idea - why don't we.....make an adapt to.............................the present!!!
It's not complicated. Economic and social development where it's most needed. Unoppressive and democratic good governance. The allowing of human ingenuity, innovation and creativity. Er, that seems to cover most things although specific emphasis on the education of women seems to have a perfect correlation with stabilising population, reducing civil strife and improving health.

Dec 26, 2011 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnteros

The whole thing is a straw man, as proper science is not 'predictive' in the way he suggests.

The solution to the pseudoscience that (wrongly) claims to be able to predict the climate is not to overlay it with pseudoscience that claims to be able to predict the social and economic future. It is to junk both of them and focus on rigorous research in disciplines that are capable of delivering verifiable results.

Dec 26, 2011 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Bangladesh is a low-lying country. It is "under threat" from rising sea levels. This is true to the extent that if sea levels in that region rise then it will be under threat, all other things being equal.
In fact it appears that the land area of Bangladesh is actually increasing largely due to silt deposits from the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. So all other things are not equal.
If we start planning on the basis that Bangladesh is going to sink beneath the waves we will be wrong and we will make the wrong decisions to the detriment of Bangladeshis.
But what are doing in reality? What practical steps are being taken to solve the (arguably incorrectly) perceived problem? Given that Bangladesh is low-lying and therefore potentially vulnerable has anybody thought to ask the Dutch (for example) to suggest ways in which this problem might be addressed?
Or is it simply easier to wring our hands and sacrifice Bangladesh on the altar of cAGW?
There is a disconnect here between the science and the politics — and now, it appears from Hulme's outpourings, the philosophy as well.

Dec 26, 2011 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson @ 1225 - Spot on on all your post. Thankyou!

Dec 26, 2011 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneMustGo

Oh noes, the end of the world is truly nigh. Louise Gray now informs us that chocolate is to become a luxury item only available to the super-rich! Life won't be worth living - and it's all down to climate change!

Dec 26, 2011 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

First question: If cocoa trees need a cool climate what are they doing growing in West Africa?
Second question: If it gets too hot for them in West Africa can we grow them in the Garonne and we can start producing claret in Herefordshire?

This is not a disconnect between science and politics; this is a disconnect between scientist's brain and his ego and between Louse's brain cell and her sub-editor's blue pencil!
The word is ADAPTATION. Something mankind has been doing for generations. Why would we all of a sudden have lost the ability?
Gray, you idiot woman, you have ruined all my good intentions for a peaceful Christmas with good will towards all!!!

Dec 26, 2011 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

I agree with Mac. Mike Hulme is incapable of communicating with normal people. Why say in 2,000 meaningless jumbled-up big words what can be said in a simple sentence?

In just over 200 years in England we have gone from a rural peasant society to an industrial society unimaginable to people 200 years ago (the fact that politicians are trying to take us back to a peasant society in a shorter time-frame is irrelevant). Who knows what human ingenuity could achieve in the next 200 years if we are not shackled by politicians, H&S and watermelons? See Matt Ridley for talking sense in the Rational Optimist versus Mike Hulme for talking "total bollox".

Dec 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I was watching the BBC lunchtime news today and was about to switch off when "Our World - The Vanishing Antarctica" came on. I managed to force myself to watch all the way through this piece of typical Beeb scaremongering. For any that have a strong stomach it's on iPlayer:

Right at the end they admitted the planet had experienced similar conditions in the past when human numbers were a fraction of what they are now. Funny how it wasn't caused by our fossil fuel burning then...

Dec 26, 2011 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

Mike Hulme CV:
1985 PhD in Applied Climatology, University of Wales, Swansea
Thesis title: Secular climatic and hydrological change in central Sudan
1981 BSc (Hons.) Geography, class IIi University of Durham, UK
He's certainly no scientist, which is why he is currently Professor of Climate Change, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA. We know there's no science in Climate Change.

Dec 26, 2011 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

We know there's no science in Climate Change.
Maybe not, Phillip, but there's lots of £££££££££££!

Dec 26, 2011 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

All this is ancient history -- literally. It is just yet another repeat of the Utopian World promised "if only we would [fill in the blank]". Genesis is perhaps the earliest such example to come to mind, but I vaguely remember that Plutarch dabbled in similar idealized worlds. Of course, most of us confuse "Utopian" with "Eutopian" - and sadly, it turns out neither exist, so "Utopian" is the reality. (Hint: look up the roots of "utopia".)

For the more modern mind, there are countless movies to watch and feel good about. My favorite is H.G. Wells’ Things To Come (1936).

And of course there is always Wall-E for the Warmists

Dec 26, 2011 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

No-one is expert on the future. No more than seers in 1800 could have envisioned 1900 could "hard science" practitioners in 1900 have foreseen commonplace artifacts of AD 2000: Heavier-than-air flight, cybernetics, deep-space probes, genetic codes, mass production, nuclear energy, relativity and quantum physics, radio and television, vacines... you name it.

No-one with a grain of moral or intellectual integrity can presume to prophesy circumstances prevailing a century from now. Acting from ill-will, in bad faith under false pretenses, climate kooks' Green Gang of Luddite sociopaths represent the absolute antithesis of post-Enlightenment progress in all areas. The sooner every trace of this extraordinarily destructive self-delusion can be extirpated root-and-branch, the better, more comfortable, and safer everyone will be.

Dec 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

The harm that computers in general and computer models of climate in particular can do to the ability fo some, notably the political classes, to think cleary and deeply seems well established. The harm that 'radicals in possesion of some geography' can do to climate science will no doubt need longer to establish. 'Postmodernist gobbledygook' would be the least of it.

As for computer models, I do wonder what modern climate science would be like if computers and computer models had stayed in their rightful places as servants, instead of being elevated, for political impact of course, into some kind of modern day Oracles. I think the huge public and political impact of the 'Limits to Growth' computer models made it all but inevitable that the GCMs would be seized upon by political opportunits in pursuit of something similar. And they were seized upon. To great effect. We are left with the mess to clear up after them. The legacy of the hegemony of climate alarmism, a hegemony not due to 'hard science' but to the neglect of it in favour of a 'soft science' whose predictions are renamed projections, whose banners morph as the focus group data dictate, and whose emails reveal a shoddy sub-culture of deceit and manipulation.

Dec 26, 2011 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Hulme is a very dangerous person because he clearly foresees that the opposition to this new Lysenkoism is growing and he's pretending to be objective about it to save what he can.

Let's ensure all of it is buried.

Dec 26, 2011 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

The excerpt sounds like the sort of baffling, portentous drivel that social science students come up with when they are trying to impress.

"[T]he new climate reductionism is driven by the hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future."

I think this means that the author believes that a proper scientific approach to climate is a bad idea, which is something I disagree rather strongly with.

Dec 26, 2011 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Judith Curry has picked up this paper from the Bish and gives it a subjective Wow.

Dec 26, 2011 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

What is it with philosophers that they can't explain to us what they are thinking about in words of one syllable?

Dec 26, 2011 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Some of this Hulme-bashing is undignified. It's not unlike much of the rhetoric from certain alarmists about 'denial' and its motivation. It's tribal, and it isn't helpful.

Hulme appears to me to be taking the debate seriously, and has recognised many of the problems with the arguments within it. For instance, he wrote this article five years ago:.

To state that climate change will be "catastrophic" hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions which do not emerge from empirical or theoretical science.

It may not be enough for some that Hulme does not fall on his sword, or otherwise denounce as scam artsists himself, the entire climate change academe, and anyone who ever believed that climate change was a problem. But there is surely some middle ground given by Hulme, on which differences of opinion can be considered; I've found Hulme more insightful than most critics of environmentalism, even if I disagree with him on certain points. I've had a couple of opportunities to discuss those disagreements with him, and far from being dismissive -- as a number of the above comments are -- he was keen to discuss them.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest that some people believe that climate change is a problem that needs addressing -- they may well be right. The problem with the debate is that it's not allowed to happen. We should be more generous to people of a different mind, who nonetheless recognise that the burden should lie with those making a positive case for change/policy/etc.

Dec 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Judith Curry, "WOW".

JC has just had a revelation, courtesy of Mike Hulme. You have to hand it to climate scientists - they never fail to disappoint. You can write up any old junk and the climateers will believe it.

Dec 26, 2011 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac


Truly enjoying my new copy of The Hockey Stick Illusion. I finally broke down and decided to buy it, since I am confident that after years of blogging on AGW and Climategate I will not be biased by reading up on the events as they transpired. I like to research things for myself as much as possible before drawing conclusions.

Halfway through and decided to do a midway post. It is amazing how much clearer the email traffic is with the proper context.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!


[Thanks for the kind words - much appreciated!]

Dec 26, 2011 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJStrata

Nicholas Hallam:

"[T]he new climate reductionism is driven by the hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future."

I think this means that the author believes that a proper scientific approach to climate is a bad idea, which is something I disagree rather strongly with.

It reads to me like a criticism of the technocracies that have developed in place of democratic institutions.

Dec 26, 2011 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

I agree with Ben Pile. It is unreasonable to ask Mike Hulme to be more straightforward than he is.

I read Hulmes paper with joy. I copied it to some Swedish politicians/bureaucrats who - as Hulme - is irritated about the mono causal discussion and the implicit assumption that society exists in a moribound ceteris paribus position. Simple, but largely missed by the ardent believers.

Gösta Oscarsson

Dec 26, 2011 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterGösta Oscarsson

"What we can do is reduce our faith in the doom-mongering because it always assumes that the whole population of the future will be hit with a very large idiot stick."--Anteros

Why should we not believe in the existence of the aforementioned VLIS? The governing parties of the UK and US have apparently already been struck with it, and not glancing blows, either.

"Anybody 100 years ago correctly predicting the tenfold increase in the size of cities would have built millions of new stables for all the horses and vast holes in the ground for all the shit." --Anteros

As a result of this lack of foresightedness, we now lack those useful holes into which we might jettison all of climate science.

Dec 26, 2011 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Yes, I would echo the thoughts of Gösta and Ben. Hulme's is a thoughtful piece and it's not terribly helpful to simply fling brickbats his way.We should try to assess contributions to the climate debate on their merits and ignore anything that has gone before.

Dec 26, 2011 at 9:45 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill


There is an old saying "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, confound them with bullshit."

I do not consider what Hulme wrote to be in any way brilliant. Just one man's opinion.

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

The following is what I posted on Judith Curry's website:

What is the main point to be taken from Hulme's essay? It is that taking the models as correct and taking the dire predictions that come from some of them, such as Hansen's, as correct, it does not follow we should make decisions about the future based on predicted changes in climate alone. If we do so, we sell humanity short. We sell short human imagination, creativity, and ingenuity.

Translating the point into something close to the terminology of the IPCC, the point would be that our response to climate change, dire change as predicted by the modelers, cannot be mitigation alone but must include adaptation and, in addition, there is no basis for predicting the nature of adaptation. It is possible that adaptation alone is the best policy.

That is an interesting thesis. It seems to me that there is no obvious reply to the thesis. We will have to do some work to reply to Hulme.

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

"I read Hulmes paper with joy"

You'd think they were listening to (insert name you like) give a speech. Each one is that much more brilliant than the last. I don't know how he does it, but he does.



Dec 26, 2011 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Bad Andrew!

I do not understand. Who the heck is "he"? -- You have to forgive us, simple foreigners.

Gösta O

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGösta Oscarsson

More heartening words via Scientific American from Ted Nordhaus in "Killing Environmentalism to Save It":

"Environmentalism has long imagined that development, modernization and technology are the source of our problems, but they are now the only solutions."

Ted, they have always been "our" solutions.

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrady


Please don't take my sarcastic comment too seriously. "He" is whomever your favorite speaker is. In the midwestern USA, "joy" is not a frequently used word, especially when applied to reading things by dubious public figures. I took your use of it as an exaggeration on your part.

My opinion is akin to Don Pablo's. Somebody wrote something that sounds good to some people. Not a first in history.


Dec 26, 2011 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Bad Andrew

What don't you like about Hulme's paper?

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"What don't you like about Hulme's paper?"


This line, for instance: "Human beings are always trying to come to terms with the climates they live with."

I disagree. Human beings spend most of theirs lives already having come to terms with the climate they live with.


Dec 26, 2011 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

It is an interesting piece. To my mind he lays out a lot of the problems with the position and scope and claims of "climate science" in in a way I find easy to agree with. The difference is that he does it from a loyalist position. He sees no intrinsic problem with models as a tool for example.

His coinage of "epistemological slippage" for what climate science represents today is his rather loyalist polite way of claiming that there is some epistemology to slip ;)

To me he just totally misses the fact that climate determinism of today is in many places a refuge and holy grail of mediocrity - and Hulme ignores some glaring and utterly poor quality of the work which has nothing to do with the simpler climate determinism of a 100 years ago that basically said warmer climes produced lethargic non-European peoples.

However I think we have to inevitability see this as a pivotal text that will be quoted from both sides in some possible sort of future reprochment between the two "sides" ;)

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Bad Andrew

Would explain why I'm always turning the air-con on.......

Cheap sarc...sorry..

Dec 26, 2011 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

I am still trying to recover from the disgust and nausea of reading Hulme's emails in the CG2 set. Maybe afterward, the Hulme article will have its intended effect on me.

Dec 26, 2011 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub


Who can you trust, eh?

Dec 27, 2011 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Dec 26, 2011 at 10:59 PM | The Leopard In The Basement

Yes, Hulme totally overlooks the worthlessness of models for prediction. Maybe he does imagine he is forging a new path to save the tattered remnants of mainstream climate science. That being said, the position he states is that neither the models nor any reductionistic account of climate change can provide us with an answer to the question of adaptation versus mitigation. His position leaves open the possibility that adaptation is always the best way to go.

Let me add another facet of his position. The man clearly wants to lift the gloom that is the main legacy of mainstream climate science as it is preached by the IPCC. According to the IPCC, all we can do is start counting all the harms that will follow from climate science and start collecting the funds necessary to compensate the sufferers while all of us contemplate a lower standard of living. Hulme explains that the gloomy position sells short human imagination, creativity, and ingenuity.

Dec 27, 2011 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

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