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dharma
02-01-2009, 10:04 AM
Fri Feb 1, 2008 9:00am EST

NCPA Study Reveals Forecasting Flaws That Make Conclusions Unreliable

DALLAS, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Predictions of melting ice caps, catastrophic sea level rise and severe floods and droughts are the result of a United Nation's report that violates nearly half of accepted forecasting principles, according to a new study published by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). Consequently, the UN report is an unreliable tool for determining future public policy.

"These dire predictions are not the result of scientific forecasting," said J. Scott Armstrong, an internationally known expert in forecasting methods from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who co-authored the NCPA study. "Rather, they are opinions derived from a political process."

The most accepted forecasting methods were determined by internationally-knownexperts and expert reviewers and are available in the Principles of Forecasting handbook. These principles were designed to be applicable to making forecasts about diverse physical, social and economic phenomena.

The NCPA study applied these forecasting principles to audit 2007's Fourth Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which predicted big increases in average world temperature by 2100. The audit found that:

-- Out of 140 forecasting principles, 127 are relevant to the procedures used to arrive at the climate projections in the IPCC report;
-- Of these, the IPCC report clearly violated almost half (60);
-- An additional 12 forecasting principles appear to be violated, and there is insufficient information in the report to assess the use of 38 others; therefore
-- Only 17 out of 127 applicable forecasting principles can be shown to have been followed by the IPCC.

"How many jobs are there where you can do only 13 percent of what is required and still remain employed?" asked Armstrong.

The NCPA study notes that complex forecasting methods are only accurate when there is little uncertainty about the data and the situation. These conditions do not apply to climate forecasting where temperature data is highly variable over time and space and can often depend on when the data sample was chosen. The authors also note that the IPCC forecasters themselves are part of the unreliability problem, as political considerations influenced all stages of the IPCC process, including writing the final version expressly to reflect the language negotiated by the political appointees to the IPCC.

"As a result of these violations of forecasting principles, the forecasts in the IPCC report are invalid," says Armstrong. "There is no scientific forecast supporting the widespread belief in dangerous human-caused 'global warming.' In fact, it has yet to be demonstrated that long-term forecasting of climate is possible at all."

The NCPA is an internationally known nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute with offices in Dallas and Washington, D. C. that advocates private solutions to public policy problems. We depend on the contributions of individuals,corporations and foundations that share our mission. The NCPA accepts no government grants.

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS149367+01-Feb-2008+PRN20080201

Kassy
02-01-2009, 06:25 PM
Ah yes ~ another Think Tank.

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, retirement, entitlement reform, taxation, economic growth, and energy and the environment.

http://www.ncpa.org/abo/


For example, “Make sure forecasts are independent of politics (Principle 1.3),” is one of the 60 principles the IPCC process clearly violated.

Impressive. :beer:

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st/st308/st308c.html


Compare (or check for violations of forecasting priciples):
http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_SPM.pdf

http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html

dharma
02-02-2009, 02:21 PM
Kassy, I see nothing in your references that contradicts the point of the article.

Kassy
02-03-2009, 05:52 PM
Kassy, I see nothing in your references that contradicts the point of the article.

Well one is the think tank report and the other is the subject of the article aka the IPCC report.

One is pretty shallow. The Tink Tank cobbles a bunch of references together and mention an audit and lo and behold...

The IPCC summary is just included so you can check out the varying issues they had to adress.

Some weren't even forecasts like the attribution issue.

Then you still have some forecasts. You don't get to check against the actual audit and if we did it would turn out it would be the usual points and confusions.

The scientists are much clearer about limits of their methods. The Think Tank blabbers about forecasts being independent of politics while using an arbitrary selection of forecasting conditions in a very political way.

You should be smart enough to spot that.

If this criticizing of Forecasting Principles is so important then why didn't the Think Tank ever think of using them to evaluate forecasting systems used by banks.

Why indeed. :beer:

dharma
02-03-2009, 07:24 PM
If this criticizing of Forecasting Principles is so important then why didn't the Think Tank ever think of using them to evaluate forecasting systems used by banks.
Perhaps they have, but that's not what the article is about, is it?

Although your point seems totally irrelevant, it's not.

Let's see: if we analyze the banks' methods, we find a group of highly educated, nominally sophisticated men using elaborate but nonetheless totally inadequate tools to analyze a hugely complex, poorly understood system with billions of independent inputs, any of which can affect the system in ways that, using those tools, are entirely impossible to predict. And: they have come to horribly and demonstrably wrong conclusions, many times.

Entirely apropos. You should be smart enough to spot that.

Mousehound
02-04-2009, 07:00 AM
You should be smart enough to spot that.

Could we leave off the personal jabs please? Argumenting your point by backing it up with useful information is what I prefer to see, so that I have a better understanding of your points of view, thank you.

dharma
02-04-2009, 09:46 AM
Could we leave off the personal jabs please?
Read Kassy's previous post.

Mousehound
02-04-2009, 10:52 AM
I thought I was talking to both of you at the same time, and anyone else who uses personal jabs. They are unnecessary here, thank you.

Kassy
02-04-2009, 07:39 PM
OK

But this must be the central point of the piece (and maybe not but then i'd need Dharma's interpertation of the central point).


"These dire predictions are not the result of scientific forecasting," said J. Scott Armstrong, an internationally known expert in forecasting methods from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who co-authored the NCPA study. "Rather, they are opinions derived from a political process."

This is quite a statement.

In my post i linked to the think tank article (3 pages, refers to audit but no link but i might have missed that).

And the IPCC4 summary (longer and adresses several issues, which aren't all forecasts).

Climate predictions are more complicated then textbook rules on forecasting (especially if you have 127 or whatever amount they had. Measure anything that way to compare how that works out).

Their statement that the report is just 'opinions derived from a political process' comes from a piece which is rather political in itself.

Go their website.

They list their subjects on one page and most have much more to do with politics and tax laws and they also do climate change.

Right.

Their criteria for forecasting might be better suited to be applied to those other fields because most of those involve much more political choices of data (see how they construct inflation data, there are several systems).

The banking example.

I wonder why you think the system is so poorly understood. Each separate mortgage risk is simply calculated. If they had only ever done the sane mortgages we wouldn't be in the hole we're in now (they leveraged air which is dangerous).

That whole thing has was based on wrong predictions (house prices only rise...nevermind the increasing imbalance between earnings and house prices , then some problems predicting the cost of credit in changing markets ; essentially they missed the boundaries of the systems or willfully ignored them).

I don't know how much of the 127 or so forecasting principles where violated there but applying a couple of them there wouldn't have hurt.

But did the think tank notice in 2007? 2008? Nope...too busy preparing their definitive damning report on how global warming is all politics.

*

Meanwhile the Arctic melt is quicker then conservative predictions by decades. The new upwards trend in methane is not included. Ocean patterns are also changing quicker then predicted.

Now these things just respond so what does that tell us?