Friday, August 12, 2011

Lukewarmers lyin': Pielke Jr asserts 28% of IPCC Working Group I findings "are incorrect"

Is this click-whoredom? No doubt.

I suspect that headline will raise some eyebrows.

No kidding: Untold thousands of hours by frustrated "skeptics" combing through the 3,000 page IPCC report have turned up a total of two factual errors, neither in Working Group I report, which lays out the physical science basis for AGW. No errors have been found, not the hundred Pielke is claiming.

This is what he says he means:

More generally, of the 360 findings reported in the full text of WG1 across all likelihood categories and presented with associated measures of likelihood (i.e., those summarized in Table 2 below), then based on the judgments of likelihood associated with each statement we should logically expect that about 100 of these findings (~28%) will at some point be overturned.

There is nothing worse than a legalistic nitpick that is legalistically and nitpickingly wrong. Twenty-eight percent is an estimate -- based on the IPCC's own estimates of uncertainty -- of how many of the things that may come to pass will come to pass. But since the finding assesses the probability they will come to pass, it is only incorrect if the probability estimate is incorrect -- not simply because something was judged to be probable and did not happen.

You access the accuracy of predictions like this statistically -- if you have a hundred 66% likelihood predictions, and ninety percent or only ten percent come to pass, then your assessment of their likelihood was off. Claiming the IPCC erred based on their own acknowledgement of uncertainty is wrongheaded and deceptive -- Pielke knows that that 28% figure will be picked up on blog and by the media and repeated endlessly, even though it is completely wrong both literally and in what it is being used to imply.

Lukewarmers. You want to like them, because you are relieved that somebody on the other side is semi-rational about the science. But in terms of integrity and honesty, they often seem no better than their noose-waving fellow travelers.

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