Scientists slam Jordan Peterson comments on climate as 'word salad of nonsense'
Peterson had claimed that the climate was too complex to be modelled
Leading climate scientists have ridiculed comments made by Jordan Peterson during his recent appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast, describing them as "stunningly ignorant" and a "word salad of nonsense."
The controversial Canadian psychologist and author appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience, Spotify's most popular podcast.
During the four-hour interview, Peterson - who, for the record, has no expertise on climate change - claimed that models used to forecast the future of the climate cannot be trusted.
He said: “Another problem that bedevils climate modelling, too, which is that as you stretch out the models across time, the errors increase radically. And so maybe you can predict out a week or three weeks or a month or a year, but the farther out you predict, the more your model is in error.
"And that’s a huge problem when you’re trying to model over 100 years because the errors compound just like interest.”
Peterson said that if the climate was “about everything” then “your models aren’t right” because they couldn’t include everything.
However scientists have rubbished his claims, labelling them as "stunningly ignorant."
Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales Canberra, said Peterson’s description of how climate models work was fundamentally wrong, pointing out that weather forecasts - which can become less accurate the further they predict - are very different to climate models.
She told the Guardian:“He seems to think we model the future climate the same way we do the weather. He sounds intelligent, but he’s completely wrong.
“He has no frickin’ idea,” she added.
Meanwhile, Dr Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller and senior adviser at Nasa, said on Twitter: “Guys, for the love of everything holy, please, please, have somebody on who knows what the heck a climate model is!!!”
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) January 26, 2022
For what its worth, we have been projecting future warming since the first climate models in the late 1960s/early 1970s. We can look back to see how well they have performed. It turns out our models generally did a good job: https://t.co/xxi1BgiDO0 pic.twitter.com/Ehan82kHFc
— Zeke Hausfather (@hausfath) January 26, 2022
What's more, Prof John Abraham, a climate scientist at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota, said the podcast episode was “a word salad of nonsense spoken by people who have no sense when it comes to climate.”
He told the Guardian: “To say that climate model errors increase like compound interest is laughable. Jordan Peterson displays a near complete misunderstanding of climate change, and the tools climate scientists use to understand what is happening to our planet.
“It’s as if someone, with zero expertise and knowledge, made comments about something he knows little about.”
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