Mathematical Models Must Be Grounded In Reality

by | Apr 21, 2020 |

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Not once when we boarded a plane to New York City did we check into the cockpit (in the days one could do that) to give the captain advice on navigating our plane to its intended destination. However, if instead, we landed in Chicago, whatever the captain’s credentials, we knew he had goofed and we were likely to avoid that airline in the future.
You would think such a principle was so obvious that all laymen would employ it in every contact with any professional. If your new dental implant fell out, sack the dentist. If your new home addition fell down, sue the builder. But in one tiny yet catastrophically expensive field of human endeavor, this rule seems to have been suspended for decades. That field is climate change science.
This is the field where one plus two can be equal to three one day and six the next. Yet never may the layman question the expert at the blackboard, or the shrill demand for a billion or two dollars more to make the sum be whatever they wish it to be.
This could be about to change, however, as the world has witnessed the daily predictions of the spread and result of the Chinese coronavirus based on mathematical models finally being seen to have little accuracy when so many input variables remain unknown.

2.2 million forecast deaths in the US first shrunk to 200,000, more than a ten-fold drop. Then it was reduced to 100,000, then to 81,000 now down to 60,000.

Oops, that is not very different to the number of flu-related deaths each year in the US, hardly worth shutting down trillions of dollars of live-giving economy to try to prevent.
Speaking on Del Bigtree’s “The Highwire”, about the Imperial College model that sparked much of the shutdown, Dr. Knut Wittkowshi, former head of the Department of Research Design & Biostatistics, Rockefeller University (NY) said:

“From the very beginning, I never believed in it…because it didn’t make any sense. The problem is that some people put out models that have no relation to reality and then you can prove everything, including the opposite. We should use models that are actually grounded in reality and, if we do that, we get realistic estimates than can be 10% high or even 20% but they will not be off by several orders of magnitude…Very few qualified epidemiologists were ever been consulted. It was all virologists and MDs and they are not really trained in understanding the complex nonlinear systems that drive epidemics and that you have to incorporate in your thinking to make sense of the data.” 

Award-winning investigative journalist James Corbett summed up the situation with the models, “They are indeed ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ Which is to say, worthless.” 

Climate alarmists may not know it yet, but the climate change hoax, also based on nonsensical outputs from questionable computer models, could well be a fatality of COVID-19. The tyranny of the experts may be crumbling.

We are now waking up to decades of wild predictions from the followers of Al Gore who have led us down Lewis Carol’s rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. The politicians have worked hard to make us trust the very people we should have questioned before we handed over billions of dollars to change the climate.
Perhaps Australians have suffered more than Americans at the hands of climate scientists making unsupportable claims that lack tangible testable evidence to destroy their economy. They were told years ago that Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide would soon run out of water. Australian climate alarmists bombarded the population with wild stories about the permanent drought forthcoming, the end of the Great Barrier Reef, drowned Australian Islands, vanishing sea ice, the end of snow, ultimate starvation, worsening hurricanes and tornadoes. Not surprisingly, the federal government responded with gusto.
In 1998 Prime Minister John Howard created the Australian Greenhouse Office, the world’s first government agency focussed on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007, Prime Minster Kevin Rudd created the Department of Climate Change under Minister Penny Wong, with an aim to have a national emissions trading scheme in operation by 2010. Rudd told his nation that there was no credible evidence “put forth by do-nothing climate skeptics” that offered an alternate view to the pending disaster of drought. 
Rudd’s successor Julia Gillard urged her country to only listen to its Bureau of Meteorology and other government agencies which maintained a drumbeat of fear. Despite pledging that “there will be no ‘carbon tax’ under the government I lead”, on July 1, 2012, she introduced what was widely seen as a carbon tax that required large businesses to purchase emissions permits. Gillard established a climate change commission “to inform the public on the politically sensitive subject” (re – The Age) and, in February 2011, appointed Professor Tim Flannery as Australia’s chief climate commissioner. Echoing British Professor James Lovelock, the guru of the living earth Gaia hypothesis, who predicted that billions of us would perish this century from climate change, Flannery predicted mass extinctions. The implication was that no one should listen to brilliant scientists such as MIT professor Dr. Richard Lindzen and University of Alabama at Huntsville’s professor Dr. Roy Spencer who led the charge against the outrageous fear-mongering. 
But a curious thing was happening as the years went by. Many Australians were noticing scientists’ findings that there has been practically no temperature rise in two decades. Aussies also seemed to understand that the ‘hottest year’ stories we see regularly in the press come from the same sort of mathematical gymnastics that we have seen go wrong before our very eyes in the current pandemic. And, so large anti-carbon tax protests began down under, with citizens holding up signs describing Gillard as “Juliar” and other less than flattering accusations. Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones even suggested on air that Gillard should be taken “out to sea in a chaff bag”, and that her father had “died of shame”. Climate change alarmism became an increasingly difficult position for the Australian federal government to maintain.
Fast forward to today and we read in the UK’s The Guardian, a left-leaning newspaper that supports the climate alarm, that (“Australia ranked worst of 57 countries on climate change policy,” Dec 11, 2019):

“Australia is the worst-performing country on climate change policy, according to a new international ranking of 57 countries. 

[The report said] “The dismissal of recent IPCC reports, the government not attending the UN Climate Action Summit in September, and the withdrawal from funding the Green Climate Fund (GCF) underpin the overall very low performance in the climate policy category.”

“While the government is not proposing any further targets for renewable energy beyond 2020, it continues to promote the expansion of fossil fuels and in April 2019 approved the opening of the highly controversial Adani coalmine,” the report notes. 

“When asked about Australia’s climate change policy in response to the unfolding bushfire crisis, the agriculture minister, Bridget McKenzie, said it was ‘misleading’ to link the fires with ‘coal-fired power generation right now’.”

To which, we, and undoubtedly many Australians respond, “Well done, mates! Climate realism has won.”
A few years ago, Alan Moran of Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs assembled nearly two dozen scientists to expose the crazy, unrealistic predictions made about his country’s environment. He was hoping that the folks down under would soon fire not only incompetent dentists and builders, but the fear-mongering climate alarmists as well. And Australians have clearly listened. 
Note: Portions of this article were excerpted with permission from an essay False Prophets Unveiled by Andrew Bolt from the book Climate Change The Facts 2014, a collection of Australian common sense, edited by Alan Moran.


Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

President Donald Trump has dropped his “China virus” dog-whistle language after the nation’s leading civil rights and racial justice organizations issued a urgent call to action against racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans related to COVID-19. But Dr. Jay Lehr and Mr. Tom Harris continue to refer to global COVID-19 pandemic as the “Chinese coronavirus.”
Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr assert human-caused climate change is a “hoax.” However, the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change is both robust and compelling. (Source 4th National Climate Assessment, Volume I)
Dr. Lehr and Mr. Harris assert climate models are “questionable computer models” whose output is nonsensical. Again their assertion is not supported by the evidence. “..(C)limate models published over the past five decades were generally quite accurate in predicting global warming in the years after publication, particularly when accounting for differences between modeled and actual changes in atmospheric CO2 and other climate drivers.” (Source “Evaluating the Performance of Past Climate Model Projections” Zeke Hausfather Henri F. Drake Tristan Abbott Gavin A. Schmidt, First published:04 December 2019, Geophysical Research Letters)
Dr. Lehr and Mr. Harris have a hard row to hoe. They are advocates for coal but the scientific evidence does not support their pro-coal agenda.
“Trump right to try to end the WAR ON COAL”By Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris, Apr 16, 2019, America Out Loud)
“Time to End the War on Coal” by Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris, May 3, 2019, The Post & Email
“Time to end the war on coal” by Jay Lehr and Tom Harris, May 15, 2019, Citizen Journal)
“Clean coal for the future” Tom Harris, Feb 9, 2018, Idaho Press,
“Coal key to national security strategy” Tom Harris, Jan 13, 2018, The Spectrum,
“Climate scare must be debunked for coal to recover” Tom Harris, Jan 2, 2018, Superior Telegram,
“Harris: Coal has many uses” Tom Harris, Sep 3, 2018, Casper Star Tribune.

Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

Mr. Tom Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr assert, “A few years ago, Alan Moran of Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs assembled nearly two dozen scientists to expose the crazy, unrealistic predictions made about his country’s environment.”
In 2017, Jennifer Marohasy and IPA colleague John Abbot publisher a paper on climate change in the journal GeoResJ, also discussing the work on the IPA website, in The Spectator Australia, and in Marohasy’s blog. The research concludes that much of recent warming could be attributable to natural variations, and that the “world was about as warm in 1980 as it was during the Middle Ages.”
This conclusion was heavily criticized by climate scientists who pointed to methodological flaws in the research and declared it unworthy of publication. Gavin Schmidt, the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has pointed out that some data were shifted in time by approximately 35 years, leading to the omission of warming that has occurred since 1965. Schmidt described the research as “worthless” and an example of “what happens when people have their conclusions fixed before they start the work.”
In the 1990s, the IPA was funded by the tobacco industry to conduct research that “attacked the science behind passive smoking”. The research included a study from 1996 by John Luik that found that the impact of passive smoking on non-smokers was “trivial”, and that “bogus” or “corrupt” passive smoking “threatens the central democratic values of autonomy, respect and diversity”.

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