Dr. Jordan Peterson has upset climate change alarmists by claiming on the Joe Rogan Experience that long-range climate models aren’t accurate. Defamed atmospheric scientist Dr. Michael Mann called it “an almost comedic type of nihilism.” However, Peterson echoes what many prominent climate scientists such as Dr. Richard Lindzen have said for decades. Who’s right?
Artist Neil Young grabbed the media coverage over his self-cancellation at Spotify due to Rogan and Peterson’s comments about COVID-19, which he deemed “misinformation.” However, Peterson also made critical remarks about climate models: “[A]s you stretch out the models across time, the errors increase radically … the farther out you predict, the more your model is in error.”
Professor John Abraham at the University of St. Thomas called the remarks “word salad.” Senior adviser at NASA and climate modeler Dr. Gavin Schmidt said on Twitter: “Guys, for the love of everything holy, please, please, have somebody on who knows what the heck a climate model is!!!”
Professor Steve Sherwood of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales compared his argument to “saying we can’t predict whether a pot of water on a flame will boil because we decide in advance what variables to put in our model and can’t predict each bubble.” Although these are harsh criticisms, they are an upgrade from Marvel Comics, who featured Peterson as the Nazi super-villain Red Skull.
It is easy to criticize Peterson for being somewhat vague as he was addressing a lay audience and therefore needed to adapt his language to the level of the average listener. If we compensate for these adaptations, he made valid criticisms that highly schooled and decorated climate skeptics have also raised. These include Nobel laureate Dr. Ivar Giæver, legendary physicists such as Drs. Will Happer and Freeman Dyson, and well-respected climate scientists such as Lindzen, Drs. Roy Spencer and John Christy. Between them, they have published hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers and made significant innovations in their fields.
The criticism is quite simple: In a complex system consisting of numerous variables, unknowns, and huge uncertainties, the predictive value of almost any model is near zero. This truism does not only hold for the climate but any sufficiently complicated system. Sherwood claims that it doesn’t matter if you only look for a few low-resolution variables. He argues that a climate model cannot predict the weather in Los Angeles in December 2092 but can predict the global average temperature in that year within the uncertainty of natural variability.
Many experts disagree. Dyson said that he believes the idea of accurately predicting the long-term climate is “absurd.” Lindzen has expressed similar views. Spencer thinks that climate models may one day become a prediction tool of value, but it isn’t there yet.
All the climate scientists attacking Peterson now are familiar with their esteemed colleagues who share his overall criticism of climate models, but it is easier for them to go after a controversial Canadian psychologist who is not an expert in climate science.
These skeptic scientific voices are largely unknown because the media censor and deplatform people who do not bend to radical environmentalist ideology. Perhaps Joe Rogan should take Schmidt’s suggestion seriously and invite onto his podcast Happer, Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, and other brilliant scientists who disagree with the catastrophic climate change narrative.
~ Read more from Caroline Adana.