“But Predictions”

Various ways to attack the predictibility of climate science. As always, watch out for deflection after asking for specifics.

See also #But12Years, #ButModulz, #ButFalsification.


Exxon scientists were actually wrong with their predictions.


Not ONE single climate doomsday prediction over the past 60 years has come true. Not one.


Objections and Replies

Always. Climate scientists predictions always fail—
False: Zeke assessed models from 1970 to 2007. Their predictions fared quite well. If we look at 2019, it’s right in line with the old CMIP5 models. There are many other comparisons, as climate scientists tend to test their models a lot. See my collection.

Exxon. Exxon was wrong—
Look at Andrew’s graphs. See also this article.

Handwaving. Some prediction P failed, most extreme predictions failed—
That’s easy to say. Which one do you have in mind?

Impossible. Climate science cannot make prediction—
Either it fails to predict, or it cannot. Make up your mind.

Non-linear. An ECS of 2.1 doesn’t pose the same mortal threat as 3C—
We still need a carbon-neutral economy ASAP, as the risks are only shifted by a few decades. Non-linearity cuts both ways: the field that studies non-linearities in dynamical systems is called Catastrophe theory. Like uncertainty, non-linearity is nobody’s friend.

No shit. Climate science can’t predict a shit—
To be fair, that’s not really what they are designed for.

Soon. If climate cycles continue as in the past, the current warm cycle should end—
Don made that prediction in 2001, in



{} Dutch Book. One can’t lose by saying both that predictions are necessary and impossible.

{} Luckwarm Inertia. Beauty sleeping through a few decades to realize we’re on a Titanic that is even harder to move back on track may not be the best strategy.

{} Predictability. Predictability is less clear than we usually presume.

{} Projection and Prediction. A prediction can be distinguished from a projection, but for our purpose that does not matter much.

{} Robustness. Whining about climate modulz does not cohere with appeals to economic modulz. Yet many contrarians will do both, like Adam.

* * *


2017-12. Checkmate: how do climate science deniers’ predictions stack up?

Further Readings

2018-08. Hothouse Earth: here’s what the science actually does – and doesn’t – say.

2020-11; A 50-Year-Old Global Warming Forecast That Still Holds Up; the first prediction was made by Mikhail Budyko.

2019-01; Advances in weather prediction; https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aav7274

Climateball Episodes