In Climate Science, the Past is a Foreign Country

Do you remember what life was like 25 years ago?

Probably not—at least not if you work in medicine or have spent any time in hospital (in virtually any rôle) since 1989. The world of health care is an unrecognizably different place than it was a mere quarter-century ago.

In a good way.

Since then, medical science has given us the completed Human Genome Project, the first cancer-preventative vaccine (for HPV), HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors [‘statins’], an awareness of the therapeutic and prognostic significance of omega-3 fatty acid levels, stem-cell therapies for adrenoleukodystrophy and other conditions, functional MRI, self-expanding stents made of nitinol and next-generation materials, minimally-invasive robotic surgery, the bio-informatics revolution, lifesaving genetically-engineered drugs like tissue plasminogen activator, gene-targeted therapies like Herceptin and Gleevec (for breast cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia and GIST), the multi-lumen tubing which is now a mainstay on high-dependency wards, highly active anti-retroviral therapy [HAART] and the once-a-day HIV pill that can slow down and even arrest progression to AIDS, entire families of antidepressants and noötropics…

The list goes on. And remember, that’s just medical advances.

But it got me thinking about an even bigger question:

How has climate science improved our lives in the last 25 years?

Sure, the segue seems almost ridiculous at first. Climate science is so much broader—and at the same time more deeply key to human existence—than its nearest scientific rivals.

That’s why “the science” is now shorthand for climate science.

That’s why nobody even talks about 97% of climate scientists anymore.

“97% of scientists” is the same thing, for all intents and purposes!

That’s why primary- and high-school curricula are now committed to equipping our children with an understanding of climate change issues, even at the expense of more traditional (if less important) milestones like Reading, Riting, Social Studies and [A]rithmetic. Thus can your son or daughter rattle off climate trivia that would leave a Plato, a Plutarch or even a Petrarch gawping in edification. And your kid doesn’t even have to be smart enough for university—she could be taxi-driver material; he could be a would-be nurse. Notwithstanding how stupid your kids are (no offense), they can still recite climate-change facts and figures that would leave a Hubert Lamb, a Reid Bryson or a Roger Revelle slack-jawed in climazement.

Let’s face it: climate change changed everything.

So I won’t pretend it’s easy to come up with a “Top Ten” of how climate scientists have benefited humankind in the last 25 years!

I’ve even taken a preliminary stab at eliciting such a list elsewhere—but as you can see, it quickly grew out of control. (You can hardly blame the moderators for deleting the entire conversation, as if the question had never even been asked. It was that, or risk their servers crashing from all the answers flooding in.)

For one thing, there’s the problem of where to start.

And then, once we get going, how do we possibly limit ourselves to just 10 breakthroughs?

So this is our challenge to you, our readers:

Tell us, in the comments below, your favorite contribution(s) of climate science to human well-being in the past 25 years. Great or small, mundane or revolutionary, all suggestions are welcome. We’re sure you’ll think of many, many advances that have slipped our minds.

From the hundreds of examples you submit, we on the ClimateNuremberg editorial staff will then whittle the list down to just 10—the ten most impressive ways in which climate scientists have transformed our lives for the better. (Of course, this will mean leaving out countless discoveries.)

Have at it!

18 thoughts on “In Climate Science, the Past is a Foreign Country

  1. Jan Stunnenberg

    Well, the most impressive example that comes to mind, is that we know by now that climate changes. We did not knew such before.
    This is a great achievement. It led to the invention of umbrellas, sunglasses etc.

    Question: Are You really located at Nuremberg, because I live there.
    Or is that another one of your ‘Ironics’? I love them BTW!
    How about a ‘Feierabend Bier’?
    I know, Anthony has found out, that you were operating from AU.
    However, them at WUWT have many things wrong. As deniers always do.
    My special is W.E.: He just can’t understand, Scafetta only uses free domain data,
    then does his calculations with standard maths. And he keeps on demanding for code source. Perhaps, Bill Gates can help?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brad Keyes Post author

      Are You really located at Nuremberg, because I live there.

      I know, Anthony has found out, that you were operating from AU.

      DErmany, AUstria… what’s the difference? I admit I leave my exact location somewhat inexact, but only because I’ve read what people who attack science do to people who defend science: they attack them. I love my pet rats and I’d rather not open the door to find one of them dead on my Willkommen mat thank you very much.

      However, them at WUWT have many things wrong. As deniers always do.
      My special is W.E.: He just can’t understand, Scafetta only uses free domain data, then does his calculations with standard maths. And he keeps on demanding for code source.

      I hope this “Scafetta” has IP to hide behind!

      And no, there’s nothing wrong with the word “hide.” It simply means a clever way of doing something. Real scientists hide stuff all the time.


      1. Jan Stunnenberg

        No, yes …this Scafetta does not hide:

        He even collaborates with other ‘Number Fitters’ and ‘Pattern Searchers’
        Witch is very dangerous thing of course.

        Therefore, keep the pet rats indoor. My cat might be around.
        And sure, there’s nothing wrong with the word ‘hide’.
        It has now been scientific standard for quite a time, up to 97%.
        Isn’t it? (which is achievement on its own for climate science)
        So: second one.
        I’ll still be thinking for another 8 of them. Must be easy.
        Hold on, I am wrong now. The ‘hide’ was yours.
        But wait: Can’t we count the umbrellas and sunglasses as 2?
        So that there are 3 achievements by now.


  2. Helen R Wells

    Yes, I can remember what my part of the world was like 40 years ago. Also my parents insisted that I understand how much it had improved from the previous 40 years. But you are wandering off the reservation. You are supposed to believe post-war improvements in peace, prosperity, industrialization, and population are all bad things. You do believe all that has doomed the planet, right?

    “Tell us, in the comments below, your favorite contribution(s) of climate science to human well-being in the past 25 years.”

    Sadly you have demonstrated here that results = zero. Atmospheric carbon is up and jobs are down. Alternative energy schemes are ravaging European economies. In the USA, we are destroying wildlife with nonsensical arrays of bird choppers and solar friers. The science is settled: The predictions of 98% of AGW models have catastrophically diverged from actual environmental temperature measurements.

    Stick a fork in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan Stunnenberg

      Don’t be so sad Helen, it’s not that bad at all.
      At least we do have umbrellas and sunglasses.
      And even parasols*.

      “The predictions of 98% of AGW models have catastrophically diverged ”

      Well I do remember those good old days as you do.
      However the weather report held only a couple of days or less.
      Nowadays weather reports almost hold one week or less.
      That is what I call a huge achievement*.

      * Hey Brad, did you count: Two more achievements by now
      Kudos to Helen of course. One just needs a spark.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen R Wells

    Jan, you are equating weather with climate. We are not supposed to do that (unless the weather is unusually hot or destructive.) But let’s keep this ball rolling.

    What about roofs? Nobody would build a roof to repel a single rainstorm. Fortunately early climatologists accurately warned our ancestors that it would rain again and again. As a result of their bold scientific advances, we have a rich architectural heritage of tops on dwellings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dave decaro

    Well, let’s see, I can no longer buy a three gallon flush toilet instead I now get to use a 1.6 gallon model that has to be flushed twice. I can no longer buy a 75 cent tungsten incandescent bulb for the areas in my home where brief intense lighting is desired like my hall closet and the payback period for the more expensive LED alternative is about two millenia. But really for me it isn’t all about just showing how the Central Planners are frequently idiots whose diktats either fail to achieve or are counter-productive to their stated goals,the real point is that I am increasingly not being allowed to make my own decisions under force of Law. Whether any decision I make appears either optimal or less so is no one else’s business. I am by nature a pacifist but to the extent that you Leftists transgress my freedom I will respond threefold. Please feel warned, you fascists are treading profoundly dangerous ground.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Benaire Dunnat

    You forget the endless entertainment value since climate-gate. Things got boring here in the states since Clinton (the male one) went into hiding. The “W” bored us to tears, and the Obama administration is like a low-budget zombie movie.

    Also, think about all those NSA spooks, IRS and ATF officers, etc. who got jobs watching the deniers after the anti-science scum were finally forced into the open.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. millersnose

    Climate calatycism has enriched my life

    I sold those stupid mining shares and invested in wind turbines

    Sure the initial hit is a bit alarming but I am confident that by retirement I can recoup my losses

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Willard

    First round of betting:

    Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) is a pioneer in applying the latest weather and climate research to decision-oriented solutions. CFAN’s expertise is built upon a world class research team with extensive experience studying and forecasting weather and climate around the globe. CFAN’s mission is to help translate that knowledge into improving your decision processes that are impacted by weather and climate.

    Your turn.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Willard

    Second round:

    The preparation of ocean wind and weather charts in the 1850s by Matthew Fontaine Maury, Superintendent of the U.S. Navy’s Depot of Charts and Instruments, identified better routes for vessels sailing between America and Europe and from the United States East Cost to United States West Coast. The reduced sailing durations are alleged to have saved millions of dollars annually.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Willard

    (P1) CFCs have an adverse impact on the number of skin cancers, the number of cases of eye cataracts, agriculture production, forestry, natural ecosystems, and marine life [1].

    (P2) Dumping CFCs in the atmosphere like there’s no tomorrow has a great cost.

    (P3) The ozone hole has been studied by NASA scientists [2].

    (C) Challenge met.




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    1. Brad Keyes Post author


      Cassandra’s Legacy is one of the few sources of information as reliable as Climate Nuremberg, and often more so.

      I can’t believe the eminently reasonable Ugo Bardi or any of his readers would warn you against accepting what we say here.

      Rather I suspect you may have come here to sow FUD (Uncertainty and Doubt about our Fears). In which case I should advise you, in Professor Bardi’s words:

      “It is like thinking that you can cure someone from aids by sleeping with him or her. It is much more likely that you will be infected yourself.”

      Now that you’re here, please explore and enjoy the site. It can be hard to get your head around the hard science at first, especially given one’s natural psychic prophylaxes against reality, but we’ve provided plenty of aids for the climate virgin who’s willing to cast off such protection.



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