Dr Jordan B Peterson explains why the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is absolutely preposterous.
Jordan Peterson has taken aim at Anthony Albanese’s “impossible” 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction target as he condemned “power-mad globalist utopians” pushing for drastic climate action.
Peterson criticized the global movement toward net zero emissions before slamming the new Australian Labor Government’s recent move to legislate its climate agenda. He said the “utterly preposterous and inexcusable goal” of net zero by 2050 was both practically and conceptionally unachievable.
Peterson wrote in The Telegraph. “This by the way is a goal identical to that adopted last week by the utterly delusional leaders of Australia,” “Who additionally committed that resource-dependent and productive country to a 43 percent plus decrease – by 2005 standards – in greenhouse gas emission within the impossible timeframe of eight years. “This will devastate Australia.”
The debate raged in the first sitting weeks of the new Parliament and ended with Labor successfully passing its Climate Change Bill through the House of Representatives. The bill will enshrine into legislation the government’s Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement of 43 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
RISE IN CO2 HAS GREENED PLANET EARTH:
Carbon dioxide emissions from industrial society have driven a huge growth in trees and other plants.
A new study says that if the extra green leaves prompted by rising CO2 levels were laid in a carpet, it would cover twice the continental USA. Climate skeptics argue the findings show that the extra CO2 is actually benefiting the planet.
Nic Lewis, an independent scientist often critical of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told BBC News: “The magnitude of the increase in vegetation appears to be considerably larger than suggested by previous studies.
“It also suggests that projected atmospheric CO2 levels in IPCC scenarios are significantly too high, which implies that global temperature rises projected by IPCC models are also too high, even if the climate is as sensitive to CO2 increases as the models imply.”
And Prof Judith Curry, the former chair of Earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology added: “It is inappropriate to dismiss the arguments of the so-called contrarians since their disagreement with the consensus reflects conflicts of values and a preference for the empirical (i.e. what has been observed) versus the hypothetical (i.e. what is projected from climate models).
“These disagreements are at the heart of the public debate on climate change, and these issues should be debated, not dismissed.”
CLIMATE: A CHAOTIC SYSTEM
Dr. Andrew N Edmonds who did his Ph.D. in time series prediction of real-world chaotic systems back in the 90s created a piece of software called ChaosKit to do this analysis. And for a while it had some buzz attached to it, principally in the world of finance, but also climate scientists became interested and sent him data, asking him to run the analysis for them.
One such piece of data was a 500-year sequence of temperatures from Northern Italy. He tried ChaosKit software on it and the results came out as chaotic, with a time to a doubling of error, which agreed with Dr. Peterson’s view that climate was not predictable because the prediction errors “grew like compound interest”.
Dr. Edmonds got given more climate data after that with similar results. Since then, many researchers in Chaos Theory, but not climate change, have performed similar analyses of different aspects of climate with similar results. There is mounting evidence that this is true. For instance: (Boyan H. Petkov, Vito Vitale, Mauro Mazzola, Christian Lanconelli, Angelo Lupi 2015; Gualtiero Badin 2014; R. C. Sreelekshmi, K. Asokan, K. Satheesh Kumar 2012; V. Krishnamurthy 7).
Not only is it true that climate is chaotic, but the Lyapunov time, the time to a doubling of error is so short that it undermines all climate modeling. For instance, if climate scientists can predict next year’s average temperature to an accuracy of +/- 0.1 Deg C, then the best their models can do is +/-0.2, the next year, 0.4 the next, 0.8 the next, 1.6 the year after that. Average world temperatures hover around 2 deg C, so this is an enormous error after only 5 years.
By way of comparison, recent work has shown our universe is chaotic. (Bruce Dorminey 2021) The interactions between the sun and the planets form a complex non-linear dynamic system with feedback. Such systems are often chaotic, but in the case of our universe the Lyapunov time is around 10 million years, so useful to understand some aspects of long-term climate, but not to cause an imminent threat…
Dr Peterson is correct, therefore, in what he says. Dr. Edmonds said, “I’d be fascinated to know where Dr. Peterson first read about this. I first published something about this ten years ago. (Andrew N Edmonds 2011). I’d like to think he saw that. The arguments have not changed since.”
As time has continued the ridiculous predictions in Al Gore’s “An inconvenient truth” have turned out to be an inconvenient reminder of hubris. Unfortunately, ideas have massive momentum. The idea of a predictable climate is firmly embedded in people’s worldview, as is the idea that the trajectory of disease can be predicted. It’s hard for the layman to appreciate that the wonderfully predictable technology that enables me to type this and you to read it exists in the same world as the completely unpredictable and chaotic.
Scientists working in the “soft sciences”, and climate is one of those, have been able to ride on the coattails of the ‘hard sciences’ incredible accuracy.
In the end, this will undermine science itself, and those in the hard sciences will have to do something about it. Already the politicization of science caused by climate change has started to undermine other branches of science.
Dr. Edmonds believes that ultimately scientists will have to reject some of the wilder excesses of model-based predictions. In the social sciences, journals now reject papers based on small samples and poor analysis. He states, “Climate journals ought to ask for a thorough analysis of all sources of error in predictions, including the elusive but vital “model error”. If we actually knew the error bars on some of the wild predictions of doom that make their way into the newspapers, it’s unlikely we would give them any credence.”
Dr Edmonds provided the following Bibliography with his article. He said, I generally don’t give references when I write for Medium, but this stuff is contentious, so I’ve fired up Citavi.
Andrew N Edmonds: ChaosKit. ThinkBase LLC. Github. Available online at https://github.com/thinkbase-ai/ChaosKit.
Andrew N Edmonds (1996): Time series prediction using tools from Chaos Theory and supervised learning. University of Bedfordshire PhD Thesis. Available online at https://www.academia.edu/466858/Time_series_prediction_using_supervised_learning_and_tools_from_chaos_theory.
Andrew N Edmonds (2011): The Chaos theoretic argument that undermines Climate Change modelling. Watts up with that. Wattsupwiththat.com. Available online at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/13/the-chaos-theoretic-argument-that-undermines-climate-change-modelling/.
Boyan H. Petkov, Vito Vitale, Mauro Mazzola, Christian Lanconelli, Angelo Lupi (2015): Chaotic behaviour of the short-term variations in ozone column observed in Arctic. In Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation,
Bruce Dorminey (2021): Our Solar System’s Planetary Orbits Are Ultimately Chaotic, Says French Astronomer. Forbes. Available online at https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2021/11/19/our-solar-systems-planetary-orbits-are-ultimately-chaotic-says-french-astronomer/?sh=54f733973a35.
Gualtiero Badin (2014): A Search for Chaotic Behavior in Stratospheric Variability: Comparison between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. In Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.
Joe Rogan: #1769 Jordan Peterson. The Joe Rogan experience. spotify inc: spotify inc. Available online at https://open.spotify.com/episode/7IVFm4085auRaIHS7N1NQl.
Larry Bell: A Cool-Headed Climate Conversation With Aerospace Legend Burt Rutan. Forbes. Available online at https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/09/09/a-cool-headed-climate-conversation-with-aerospace-legend-burt-rutan/?sh=403d4f267e03.
R. C. Sreelekshmi, K. Asokan, K. Satheesh Kumar (2012): Deterministic nature of the underlying dynamics of surface windﬂuctuations. In Ann. Geophys 30, pp. 1503–1514.
V. Krishnamurthy (7): Predictability of Weather and Climate. In Earth and Space Science 6 (2019), pp. 1043–1056. Available online at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019EA000586 .