More Direct Words From Hans von Storch: Climate Science’s “Almost Medieval Political Understanding”

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von_StorchHans von Storch, Director of the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Research Centre in Germany, interviewed with the Austrian online kleinezeitung here. In the interview the renowned German professor looks at the proposed causes of the recent cold winter, his new book Die Klimafalle, and global warming in general.

The interview focused on a number of climate-related topics, but what follows are mainly his comments on the explanation that a warm Arctic in late summer causes cold in Central Europe in the late winter. Also included are some comments he made on climate science in general.

On the warm Arctic causing cold winters:

HvS: Here I’d be careful. With climate activity, countless factors interact with each other, and lots of explanations are possible. Using models it has been shown that this special mechanism could function that way. But that does not mean in any way that it is the deciding factor.

Can the cause of the cold winters be identified?

HvS: One has to ask why are such explanations first found after the event appears. It indeed would have been much nicer if someone had said already in the year 2000: By the way, you have to expect harder winters in Europe because the Arctic ice is retreating in the summer. This claim today then would have been far more convincing. But it was the other way around: We noticed that something strange had happened, and then an explanation was constructed. Other explanations would also be possible.

Does the cold spring justify global warming skepticism?

HvS: No, I wouldn’t say that. But it is understandable that people are casting doubt and questioning things. In the past lots of sins were made in the communication surrounding climate change. The impression was aroused that there would no longer be cold winters, that snow was a thing of the past. If things had been clearly communicated right from the start, there would be less distrust today.

Why do you say the climate debate has reached a dead end?

HvS: In a kind of co-production, science and politics have generated the impression that certain political actions have to be taken based on resilient scientific results. Here citizens and society have no say in this, and are expected to just sit there and listen to the clever scientists explain how the situation is and what policy has to be implemented. This is almost a Medieval political understanding.

But isn’t the science good enough to base policy on?

HvS: Of course it is; the findings today are very sure and for the most part undisputed. But that doesn’t mean this applies to all the other claims that we’ve heard in the media and also from scientists. For example that hurricanes are getting worse, or that there will be hardly any snowy winters here. These embellishments are being presented as undisputed. Then the debate proceeds so that either you buy the whole package with all the exaggerations, or be labelled a skeptic who denies everything. It’s either you’re with us, or against us – as George W. Bush said.

How seriously can one really project climate development?

HvS: Actually nothing can be projected. What we offer are scenarios, i.e. possible developments under certain conditions. The results are scattered over a relatively wide range because of the uncertainties.

The complete interview in German is at: kleinezeitung here.

Photo credit: Free to share, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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13 responses to “More Direct Words From Hans von Storch: Climate Science’s “Almost Medieval Political Understanding””

  1. DirkH

    He’s talking out of both ends of his mouth as usual. And stops short of mentioning falsifiability, predictions and Popperian science. If that’s the best we can get in German science, we’re doomed.

  2. Harry Dale Huffman

    There are no climate science experts today; there are no competent climate scientists. I have been saying this ever since I found the definitive evidence against their supposed expertise, in late 2010 (a competent Venus/Earth temperatures comparison, which climate scientists should have done more than 20 years ago, and rebuilt their science based upon that definitive evidence).

    1. klem

      Wow, I looked at your link. It is truly astonishing and an eye opener. Thanks.

  3. MikeC

    “We noticed that something strange had happened, and then an explanation was constructed. Other explanations would also be possible.”

    “But isn’t the science good eneough to base policy on? HvS: Of course it is; the findings today are very sure and for the most part undisputed.”
    __________________________________________________

    The “findings today” are “very sure” except when “something strange had happened” which makes it necessary to provide “other explanations”.

    When are we going to admit that we have been wasting our time on this issue?

  4. Climate Science: The Constructing Explanations Phase | sunshine hours

    […] was reading a transcript of an interview with Hans von Storch on P Gosselin’s blog […]

  5. Edward.

    HvS – the long winter retreat goes on………………

    “alarmist nutter??”

    “Moi?”

    “the thought never as much as crossed my mind!”

    This guy really is too much.

    Quote:

    “Can the cause of the cold winters be identified?”

    Hmm, lets say the tilt of the earth’s axis at 23.4 degrees – may have something to do with it – oblique angle = less radiation focus on a bigger suface area – in winter Hans.

    Stupid questions and all that.

    In the end and after all…………………………. it was never about man made emissions of CO2 – and anyway HvS has forgotten all about MMCO2 stuff.

    next headline:

    97% of scientists have collective memory loss!

  6. mwhite

    So when the summer sea ice recovers and we still have cold winters, a new AGW theory will be required.

    1. Jimbo

      See the harsh winter of 1979 in the UK and US. Arctic was at max extent.

    2. klem

      Absolutely not, the great thing about the AGW theory is that it fits all scenerios, all outcomes. No theroy adjustment will be needed. When a theory is infallible, it ceases being a theory and bocomes a faith.

  7. Jimbo

    Does the cold spring justify global warming skepticism?

    HvS: No, I wouldn’t say that. But it is understandable that people are casting doubt and questioning things.

    Oh yes it does “justify global warming skepticism”.
    https://notrickszone.com/2013/04/04/climate-science-humiliated-earlier-model-prognoses-of-warmer-winters-now-todays-laughingstocks/

    Government policies that are based on the IPCC reports have to rely on their projections / predictions. The link above clearly shows the IPCC projected / predicted warmer winters for Europe and the USA. They got it wrong, therefore it is enough to “justify global warming skepticism”.

    For over 15 years co2 has gone up and global mean temperature has been statistically insignificant. That’s “justify global warming skepticism”.

    Need I go on??? Are plants moving uphill still???????? Sheesh!

  8. DirkH

    Greenpeace is a little miffed that Germany manages to survive by expanding Lignite burning.

    Publishes “Black Book of Coal policies”; denounces predominantly Socialist politicians for being shills for (brown) coal. (It was the SPD that has created the ruinous solar and wind FIT regime, together with the Greens.)

    Greenpeace will only stop when Germany is a wasteland devoid of humans.

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/schwarzbuch-kohlepolitik-von-greenpeace-wenn-politiker-kohle-machen-1.1646056

    1. klem

      Greenpeace won’t stop there.

  9. Peter C

    Much of the problem rests in that historically the only people interested in the very much fringe activities of ‘climate science’ and ‘environment correspondent’ jobs in the MSM were committed environmentalists. By their very nature the majority of these people are anti human, especially where there is any kind of impact, and have a greater vested interest in ‘proving’ their prejudices rather than impartially understanding the science. If nothing else, climategate completely exposed this.

    While government largesse and the potential for popular publicity has attracted many new entrants into these areas the original voices are now the gatekeepers, sages and teachers for those new entrants, ensuring that orthodoxy is maintained.

    As a side note, the WUWT-Scafetta link is dead, perhaps a redirect elsewhere could be made?

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