BBC.co.uk

Talk about Newsnight

Book club

The Chilling Stars by Calder and Svensmark

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Feb 07, 04:54 PM

chillingstars203.jpgThe Chilling Stars by science writer Nigel Calder and climate physicist Henrik Svensmark outlines a controversial new theory on the origins of global warming.

The book sets out to prove that a combination of clouds, the Sun and cosmic rays - sub-atomic particles from exploding stars - have altered our climate far more than human carbon emissions.

Svensmark's research at the Danish National Space Center suggests cosmic rays play a role in making clouds in our atmosphere. A reduction in cosmic rays in the last 100 years - due to the activity of our Sun - has meant fewer clouds and a warmer Earth.

Read an extract here and leave your comments and reviews below.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:04 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Alan C wrote:

This is only controversial because the PC Global Warming zealots, who insist that the whole climate debate is “settled”, are only interested in science insofar as it reinforces their own political agendas. Reports on the effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation, and cloud formation on atmospheric warming, can be read in any serious science journal (Nature for example, but not in newspapers). The fact that the recent IPPC report has scaled back some of their more alarmist 100 year predictions (oceans to rise up to 17 inches rather that the 30 inches in the previous report, removal of the hockey-stick curve), is an indication that the science is anything but settled. Who can take a 100 year prediction of something as infinitely complex as the climate seriously anyway?

I certainly back Maurice's (no1) comment about banning Islam in Britain but to balance things up let's keep the world believing that global catastrophe is man's making, even if the cosmos is really to blame. That one country with only 5% of the Earth's population (U.S.A.) can cause most of its polution through sheer greed needs to be stopped, and it looks as if they may be just about ready to accept that fact. They may also be ready to stop exporting their global greed to other nations in the name of 'democracy'; then both USA and UK may lift their game (presently the two worst countries in which to raise children) and again be respected role models rather than a good reason for nuBrits prefering sharia law.

  • 3.
  • At 07:31 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Spartacus wrote:

This is an interesting theory, but I'm not convinced that the current status of evidence justifies the hype.

"Svensmark's research ... suggests cosmic rays play a role in making clouds in our atmosphere."

For a discussion of this research, and how far it goes in establishing the link between cosmic rays and climate change, see the link below.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/taking-cosmic-rays-for-a-spin/

  • 4.
  • At 09:21 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Mike S. wrote:

Just a quick observation but hasn't this theory been around for the last 20 years ever since it was found that the Sun's cosmic rays and sunspots effects the Earth's weather. Such theories do not answer the full question as to why we're living in a Carbon era that threatens the future of humankind here on earth.
The debate should be about the crisis in Western civilisation as the old era moves away; Carbon was one era along with all the philosophies that went with it, whats needed today is less Call Centre Thinking and more investment in a new school of thought/action in the Arts and sciences. A pragmatic renaissance.

  • 5.
  • At 10:19 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Spartacus wrote:

Alan C,

"oceans to rise up to 17 inches rather that the 30 inches in the previous report"

I assume you get those figures from Christopher Monckton's analysis.
http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20070201_monckton.pdf

Unfortunately Lord Monckton was wrong - the reason is rather technical, but effectively he was comparing the maximum of a range in the previous report with the midpoint of another range in the new report.
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/02/monckton_on_the_spm.php

The IPCC reports contain a number of scenarios, reflecting differences in world population, economic growth and and emission profiles. As the latest report says: "For each scenario, the midpoint of the [sea level] range is within 10% of the TAR model average for 2090-2099." (page 14 of the report linked below).
http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf

  • 6.
  • At 11:16 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • James M wrote:

Even if this theory were correct, what would it mean for us as a society? That we should scrap any attempts to be ecological and start raping the planet for as much as we can get?

Global warming is not the only reason that we need to change our ways, the planet is running out of fossil fuels, non-biodegradable waste is building up in huge amounts, the seas are becoming poisoned with our waste etc. etc.

  • 7.
  • At 11:16 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Paul Asbury wrote:

One thing to say: Occam's Razor

Giving airtime to this rubbish isn't balance; it's indulgence.
Perhaps we should offer the Flat Earth Society a soundbite every time someone flies on a great circle route.

  • 8.
  • At 11:23 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Sun Tzu wrote:

It's heartening to see Newsnight cover this interesting theory, and not merely trundle along with the recent 90% consensus on the issue.

It seems to me that a more credible explanation for the current frenzy of almost religous belief in man made global warming is the imminent approach of peak oil.

This imminent and calamitous condition of dwindling energy resources has not been dealt with by any government in an open way. Instead a covert approach to secure the last remaining oil resources, through lies, murder and manipulation has been the response, as Rt Hon Michael Meacher says in this excellent film. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8677389869548020370

While rapid climate change is a matter of scientific debate on issues which scientists themselves admit is full of unknowns, our exsistential dependence on irreplacable fossil fuels is indeed a certainty.

One wonders if peak oil production were not around the corner whether we would have this current dogmatism on man made climate change.


I found Nigel Calder's argument about the alternative theory of Global Warming interesting, but like so many theorists he is missing the point that Global Warming will NOT be humanities greatest challenge.

I have been closely analysing the question of Global Warming, Carbon Emissions and Energy Supply & Usage for some years now, and have come to the stark conclusion that our attempt to significantly reduce carbon emissions in the UK is, in reality, a futile exercise. Climate change, due to the burning of fossil fuels (especially OIL & COAL) over the past 400 years, is now undeniable. Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' should convince any sane person of the reality - regardless of past ice ages and so-called warming periods.

Whilst the UK produces a mere 2% of the World's carbon emissions, the USA produces around 30% in annual carbon emissions, and China which is building a new coal-powered station every WEEK, is now producing well over 15% and growing, in annual carbon emissions. It appears to me that everyone is missing the fact that climate change, which I'm certain will be traumatic for so many reasons, will NOT turn out to be our greatest challenge!

By far, our greatest challenge(s) will be the security of an energy supply in the VERY near future, and the ever increasing World Population 'created' solely by OIL has been the main catalyst in creating and maintaining our modern civilisation over the past 140 years.

At the rate of 86 million barrels of oil being currently used EVERY DAY in the World (equal to the volume of 5,700 Olympic sized swimming pools), we actually reached peak oil production in late 2003 (hence Iraq?). This fast dwindling resource will not only become quite scare within the next 15 to 20 years (or earlier if war or conflict should interrupt supplies), but easily extracted OIL and GAS will be just about exhausted by 2050/60 - or much earlier if China and India continues to grow at their current rate of GDP.

If runaway climate change triggers the irreversible melting (in our lifetime) of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and drives hundreds of millions of people from their homes, the global temperature rise must be confined to 2C above pre-industrial levels. To accomplish this would require a 60% cut in total global climate emissions by 2030, which means a 90% cut in the rich world.

The United States accounts for 5% of World Population, yet they consume over a quarter of the worlds oil each year and contribute more than 30% in CO2 emissions. China, which accounts for almost 17% (a 6th) of World population, will be using over 21,000,000 barrels of oil a DAY by 2025. In addition, China is building ONE coal-fired power station a week and is a major contributor to CO2 emissions.

Even if 'so-called' carbon-offset schemes were carried out in developing countries and every poor nation on the planet became carbon-free, we would still have to cut most of the carbon we produce at home. Buying and selling carbon- offsets is like pushing the food around on your plate to create the impression that you have eaten it! Building massive wind-powered farms and other renewal energy projects is all very well and good in the short term - but when the OIL finally runs out electricity generated from renewables will NOT power aircraft, and unless some inexpensive system is provided to power road and rail vehicles, civilisation AS WE KNOW IT - will probably come to an abrupt and messy end.

What really annoys me is that the UK and the EU heavily promotes Home Insulation material, Solar panels, Wind Turbines, Heat Pumps and their accessories are subjected to 5% Value Added Tax. Low energy fluorescent light bulbs are 7 to 8 times more expensive than traditional incandescent light bulbs but can save up 75% in electrical energy, with each low energy light bulb saving £7 worth of electricity a year - and they last 12 times as long as traditional light bulbs.

As the Government state in their literature, “If a million of us replace 3 light bulbs in our houses with energy efficient ones, it would be like taking 100,000 cars off the road.”

If the Government is serious about helping to combat Global Warming, why is it that in 2004 the Chancellor Gordon Brown, despite being urged by Greenpeace to reduce VAT on low energy light bulbs to the lower rate of 5% VAT, the VAT rate remains at 17.5%? In light of the high cost of low-energy light bulbs, especially for low-income families who still should be replacing anywhere up to TEN low energy light bulbs - how can we trust the Government’s sincerity in combating Global Warming?

By the way - try finding low-energy light bulbs (lamps) for sale on Google.com in the USA - you'll be hard pressed!

Not content with annihilating to extinction almost every living creature, plant and forest on the planet, man's selfish actions over the past c.400 years in creating Global Warming and Climate Change will undoubtedly be a severe problem in the 21st century, especially for those living in low lying coastal areas. The eventual depletion of oil sometime this century, and the increasing World population that will increase from 6.6 million today, 10 billion in 2035 and 12 billion by the end of this century – will be a far greater catastrophe for the human race than Global Warming!

Since the World ceased using whale oil in the 1850’s (that almost decimated these fine mammals) and started using kerosene, along with coal gas that became cheaper, to light our homes, and the later introduction of the internal combustion engine, our consumption of oil has been totally responsible for the growth in population, our economy and our wealth.

Unless someone comes up with the 'next' cheap method of producing a plentiful and 'usable' energy source, wind power and related generated electricity in the future will NOT, as I've stated, fly planes, and will not efficiently motorise vehicles, drive tractors, produce or deliver food! We can't feed 6.6 billion now - so how are we supposed to feed 12 billion by 3,000 AD?

With CO2 levels at the highest in 650,000 years, when the oil dries up perhaps the Planet will start to repair itself - as it has undoubtedly done for millions of years. Ok, so you're saying there's loads of coal left! You're right! There's enough for the next 300 to 500 years! But how will it be mined and how will coal-fired power stations be built without OIL to power the construction of such a magnitude needed to supply the needs of 12 billion human beings??

Perhaps we should follow France and build nuclear - could I be wrong? And what about geothermal energy? That source of energy, if we can harness it, will last as long as the Earth! Perhaps living in Iceland or New Zealand are the future places to be.

Although I believe it totally futile, I'll continue to recycle my rubbish, replace my incandescent light bulbs with low-energy light bulbs, won't fill the kettle up, always use the shower instead of baths, ride my motorbike instead of using the car, won't fly and will spend my next holiday in the UK - and if ever the price comes down I'll install solar heating. Why? Because it seems to be the 'right thing to do'.

I wonder what my Grandchildren will think about all this in 50 or 75 years time? When do I tell them, or when will they realise, that both me and their close ancestors may have perpetrated the eventual extinction of mankind?

Thank goodness I won't be around!

Paul Meyer,

Editor, Rip-Off Britain

www.rip-off.co.uk

  • 10.
  • At 11:36 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • john couceiro wrote:

At last someone else who will speak out against the climate dogma or put another way the religion of the 21st. century.The last one being the dear sceptical enviromentalist

To put itin context, if the whol;e of the UK went back to the middle ages the drop in carbon emmisions would be less than 0.01%.

It's time to stop scaremongering and envolve ourselves in balanced debate"sans' dogma. What about the theory that in fact the world is cooling. Not too much herad about that in the media... not enough news worthy items there one supposes!

  • 11.
  • At 11:47 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Stu Littlefair wrote:

Answer me this: If cosmic rays are responible for global warming, why has global temperature risen steadily for the past 50 years, when there has been no corresponding change in the number of cosmic rays hitting our atmosphere?

I agree with an earlier poster, this rubbish is demonstrably false and should never have been given air time.

  • 12.
  • At 11:48 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Susie Harper wrote:

Climate change maybe a fact of life and both arguments sound plausible.
Does it matter who is right?
It must be in the interests of human kind to manage our beautiful planet as best we can.

We have wonderful creative brains, excellent technology and the ability if not the will, to share discoveries with every civilisation on the planet.
Photovolvic cells, earth heating, double usage of grey water, compost toilets etc, all of which could be utilised in any new buildings and surely the costs of these products will fall when there is higher demand and production.

Pollution from industry damaging our oceans and rivers needs to be addressed. Drinking water needs to be valued and appreciated. Food is a plentiful resource, sufficient for everyone in this world. Distribution is the problem.

Lack of shared knowledge is generally due to monetary motivations with a reluctance to provide at cost, after having spent amounts in research and development.
Hydrogen fuelled cars will take over when those who currently have majority shares in oil companies have the patents and majority shares in the clean fuel, until then their oil wealth fuels the politicians.

(In our western society, we do need the ability to travel to a place of work, the bus and train are not options for many rural dwellers, and sacks of sheep feed are not easily carried on the bus even if the shopping journey could be undertaken.)

The Amazon rainforest has been under threat for decades and generations of politicians have failed to reach agreement to pay for it to remain.
We acknowledge a global society yet still vote for a tiny region or nation.

Whatever the climate does, warming or freezing, the responsibility for not contributing to unnecessary starvation and thirst by polluting our atmosphere belongs to every one of us.

We have been blessed to experience life, we are the caretakers of our planet, we should live fully engaged,in a way that is appreciative and respectful of ourselves and others.

Susie xx

  • 13.
  • At 11:51 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Frank Cunningham wrote:

I wish to say "thank you" to science writer Nigel Calder and climate physicist Henrik Svensmark for doing good science. Our so called "government scientists" lend their expressions to the current political hysteria which blames global warming on human activity which (surprise surprise) is a very handy way to raise taxation. The government never mention the 1,300 active volcano's and the possible 6,500 undersea volcano's not to mention massive forest fires all producing carbon into the atmosphere. And now it appears that the carbon balance is not responsible anyway.

  • 14.
  • At 11:57 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Alan C wrote:

#6 Spartacus

You’re right, I did read that in Monkton’s report. Either he is inept or the IPPC findings are being presented in a confusing and ambiguous manner, or both. I have a link to the full report on my desktop and your comment gives me an incentive to go directly to the source, thanks. I was an assiduous reader of popular science magazines in the 70’s when we were apparently on the cusp of the next ice age, thus my scepticism regarding the current consensus. I recall that average temperatures briefly rose by a couple of degrees in the USA in the aftermath of 9/11 due to the elimination of aircraft condensation trails when all flights were grounded. This was a practical demonstration of the dramatic effect that aerosols have on global temperature. Thus I find Svensmark’s work intriguing.

  • 15.
  • At 11:58 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Susie Harper wrote:

Just a quick reply, thank you to
Paul Meyer, Editor - Rip-Off Britain
for his well written comments.
Susie xx

  • 16.
  • At 12:28 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Martyn wrote:

john couceiro praises someone who says global warming is caused by a cosmic rays, before asking "what about the theorey the world is cooling." Be sceptical if you must, but at least be consistent.

The over-extrapolation of the cosmin ray data is well dealt by the link in Spartacus's post no. 3 - but it is also necessary to ask whether people accept the evidence that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will lead to additional heat being trapped in our atmosphere. Denying this flies in the face of a vast amount of scientific evidence - admitting it could mean we have a double problem with warming caused by CO2 and other factors such as this one (if it proves to be true).

In that case I still see little reason to not try and avoid carbon dioxide emissions, by making our economies more efficient and less wasteful of fossil fuels.

  • 17.
  • At 01:04 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Fuad Ali wrote:

My two pence.

Firstly i admired the way Prof Joanna Haigh conducted herself. not like some of the more arrogant people the bbc sometimes gets from Imperial College. Open minded, astute, humble yet firm she knew her stuff. She didnt play the '2500 scientists in a row' argument like the IPCC totting politicians do, she spoke from considerable knowledge as a long time contributer to the art of thinking about and modelling the beast that is our atmosphere. As Climate change is propelled further into the public arena, we should remember manners like hers and recognise the borders of what we know.

This should prevent the apocalyptical and hopeless vibes from penetrating too far and enable greater wisdom for the rest of us.

I think that the problem with our sciences is that they are not joined up enough. The disciplines arent given the freedom to coordinate. This is why people can spin a detailed, long yarn, abuse several disciplines and sell a lot of books whilst distracting people.

There is no harm in following the calder et al line of enquiry for a while to see what happens. There are plenty of scientists, maybe even some young talented ones who might fancy a crack.

More importantly the politics of climate change policy need to be picked apart, just like 'development' and other notions. Some kind of Epistemological Impact Assesment of the past few decades of this branch of knowledge.

  • 18.
  • At 01:41 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

I cannot accept this silly mans arrogant manner in which he has ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is consequent from atmospheric Carbon Dioxide emissions. The correlation between ice core samples and plant growth records from trees is indisputable, and the chance of a coincidental misassociation is so small that any deus ex machina would have to be based on fundamental delusions of faith. Climate models are highly complex, and global cooling occurs concurrently with global warming. The atmospheric Carbon Dioxide has indeed been a residue from the ecological balance between respiration and photosynthesis in the same way that Oxygen is. He may be right in saying that cosmic rays do provide some cooling by enhancing cloud formation, however I think he is not taking into consideration the respective magnitudes of the contradicting phenomena. It may be true to say that the scientific community is focusing more on the global warming mechanisms than the cooling mechanisms at current times, in response to the magnitude of the consequences of inaction. It is true to say that Sulphur emissions cause cloud formation which leads to global cooling. There is sound evidence of the mechanisms that weather patterns are disrupted by atmospheric pollution. Western Africa experienced drought in the 1970's, not as a result of global warming, but from industrial pollution from America and Western Europe disrupting the natural weather patterns that have consequently returned to their previous patterns due to environmental regulation of industry in the developed world. The Sulphur emissions from industrialising China cannot be seen to not affect weather patterns in the vicinity of the Pacific in similar ways. Orange rain is falling on Kerala in India and red snow in southern Siberia. The ever optimistic scientist likes to think this is evidence of interstellar life panspermia, however, as always, more fundamental mechanisms are usually found to be the truth when the phenomena is investigated in detail. There is a known contradiction of phenomena between tropospheric and stratospheric atmospheric mechanisms, that has obtained some degree of global homeostasis.
I doubt whether this arrogant author intent of making a quick buck by publishing a contraversial book has taken into consideration the complexity of the global climate and the distinction of experienced scientists such as James Lovelock. It isn't even romantic, it is just ignorant and cynical. And shame on you Newsnight for giving this idiot the airtime to promote his heresies.

  • 19.
  • At 02:38 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

I would just like to add to all those people who like me who are growing increasingly depressed by the constant bombardment of doom mongering prophecies out there. Mankind has many aces up the sleeve, and with proper global management of all the resources the world has, a considerable sized human society can be sustained to a pleasurable standard of living in an industrialised, technologically advanced lifestyle. Catastrophic ecological extermination does not have to be experienced, and should be preserved to retain them as global hemeostatic organs. Uranium has the capacity to supply world electrical demands for hundreds of years, and that doesn't account for the fissionable Thorium lying around. If Fusion power ever becomes commercially viable, the energy obtainable from nuclear sources (ie e=mc2) can be considered infinite for mankind's requirements. Biofuels produced from fermented biomass from crops such as switchgrass can be used as substitutes to oil in applications such as transport. If necessary, the Haber-Bosch process can synthesise fuels using energy from nuclear sources. Geothermal energy is a hugely untapped resource. While it is only generally commercially viable in tectonically active areas, Geothermal heat is a source of energy that can technically be used as an energy source, even in the UK, and not just Bath and Southampton. Wind farms, tidal barrages and hydrothermal dams can also play their part. These technologies need to be implemented, and with haste, to avoid the irrevoccable disruption of the organic global mechanisms that utilise Carbon Dioxide among others in its homeostatic arsenal. This needs to be global, all countries utilising industrial technologies need to contribute and regulate their industries. It is in China's interest to mitigate its Sulphur emmissions for the health benefits of its citizens. Carbon Dioxide emissions can be minimised, and should be prevented from contributing to atmospheric concentrations by geological sequestation.
Human population faces exponential growth without other regulating factors. Ultimately, this is unsustainable, and will lead to future famine if ignored. China has a one child policy. This is a good step forward, however it has limited effectiveness and is not humane. It is considered ethical and humane to neuter pets to avoid unwanted progeny. Surely it is ethically humane to neuter humans to avoid the unavoidable famine that will occur if population is allowed to explode exponentially without intervention.
Ignorance is not the answer, a feasible solution is.

  • 20.
  • At 02:42 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Spartacus wrote:

"shame on you Newsnight for giving this idiot the airtime to promote his heresies"

Lionel, I disagree. There's a noble history of heresy in science - Galileo and Darwin were heretics of their day. A sound argument ultimately wins through.

However, I doubt that any objective, intelligent viewer (and who else watches Newsnight?) could have seen the programme and not come away with the impression that Nigel Caulder was politely but insistently trounced by the good lady from Imperial College.

I thank Newsnight for letting us see the man debate his case with a real scientist, and come off comprehensively second best. It reminds us that not every heretic is a Galileo.

  • 21.
  • At 03:57 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Spartacus wrote:

Alan C - I'm always glad to meet a fellow skeptic.

"I recall that average temperatures briefly rose by a couple of degrees in the USA in the aftermath of 9/11 due to the elimination of aircraft condensation trails when all flights were grounded."

This intrigued me, so I decided to look into it. The best source I found was the site below.
http://facstaff.uww.edu/travisd/pdf/jetcontrailsrecentresearch.pdf

According to this study, the observed effect was an increase in daytime and reduction in nighttime temperature in the few days following 9/11 (i.e. average temperature didn't change much, but day to night variation did). Of course, this could just have been a coincidence, but the hypothesis that this was due to the elimination of aircraft contrails is quite compelling.

There's plenty of other evidence for "global dimming" from various sources - I've linked to a few sites below.

Wikipedia - always a good place to start, seldom a good place to finish.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming

BBC did a Horizon programme on the subject in 2005.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dimming_prog_summary.shtml

Some response to the Horizon programme from climate change scientists. The discussions following the articles are worth reading - particularly comment 23 to the first article, when the Horizon producer responds rather sniffily to the scientist's criticisms.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=105
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/global-dimming-and-climate-models/

Personally, I find the idea that human activity can have such a direct and immediate effect on the atmosphere quite startling. This must make for (literally) chilling reading to anyone who refuses to believe that humans can have a measurable effect on global climate.

  • 22.
  • At 08:12 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Trefor Jones wrote:

How refreshing that Nigel Calder's book was given some air time last night - even Jeremy seemed interested. The sentiment that global warming is a paradigm shift/new religion has been well versed. However, there are other scientists particularly Russians e.g. Abusamatov, who have also voiced similar theories recently. What is rather concerning is the intolerant attitude of ( environmental non scientists) to any theory which conflicts with the apocalyptic view - to describe it as "rubbish" is McCarthyite. The fact is,as Welsh First Minister, Rhodri Morgan pointed out this week, the world is warming ( at present)whatever the cause and most of it cannot be reversed or controlled and we must therefore adapt to it. To suggest that we can regulate the chaotic system we call climate - now that really is nonsense !!

  • 23.
  • At 11:04 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Guy wrote:

Paul Asbury, Lionel Tiger. You are both reasons why skepticism is growing about climate change. You want to shut down debate and silence any consenting voices. If the "consensus" is based on good science, then the truth will out and Calder's theories will be proved wrong.

Spartacus, I agree that Calder did not sound used to speaking live on television, but it does not matter who sounded better, it matters whether Calder is right or not, and his theories are interesting, and have been tested.

On the other hand, we are constantly told about the "consensus" but we have heard so little on the science. From what I have heard the science amounts to something like "...the Earth's getting warmer, CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere, so it's all our fault, err, that's it." Oh, and the hockey stick graph that has written the medieval warm period (where Greenland was farmed), and the Romans growing wine on Hadrian's Wall, out of history. Yep, the science is so sound that they had to rewrite history to make it work. Oh, and I forgot, the good lady - who did impress me - last night said never before had temperatures risen so quickly - what, they have year on year temperature graphs from the 1400s do they? Or just another soundbite to convince us that the "debate is over"?

I am no expert on climate change, and although a skeptic, I do appreciate that human influence is a possibility. But I am a skeptic because far from the debate being over, there has not even been a debate. Opponents of the theory have been smeared or dismissed as being "paid for by the oil companies" - even when untrue - and while we are told that the science is sound, we never get to hear what the science actually is.

Add to that the fact that it has been taken on in the most cynical manner by politicians - Miliband has practically admitted that taxes will be raised because of it, Richmond Lib Dems have attempted to levy a tax on parked cars because of it, and Cameron has, well, used it to try and win votes.

Like many others, I just want to hear scientific evidence and reasoned debate, rather than political soundbites and half-truths. This is the first time I have seen a different view presented on television. Calder may be right or wrong. But congratulations to Newsnight on this necessary broadening of the debate.

  • 24.
  • At 11:31 AM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Guy wrote:

Post 23, line 3 - consenting should, of course, be dissenting. D'Oh!

  • 25.
  • At 12:49 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • karlo wrote:

Imagine my surprise to find the BBC
giving airtime to a 'mankind is to blame' skeptic. The sort of more balanced debate we should have been having over the past few years. The woman from Imperial College decrying this 'heresy' looked very uncomfortable and ill at ease accepting that maybe there were some elements that needed further study, -
and here was I thinking that these publicly funded scientists and researchers who have been paid hundreds of millions of £s, had already closed down the 'debate'.

Although not a scientist, neither am I a brain dead sheep as the government would prefer us to be. I first came across an article about five years ago that postulated that the weakening Earths magnetic field was allowing us to be bombarded by solar radiation and adversely affecting our climate and that this NOT CO2 was most likely to be to blame for climate change. Blair's government supposedly was concerned enough to ask a reputable British astrophysicist for a secret report on the likely consequences for the UK. I have tried for years to interest the media in this 'angle',
only succeeding in attracting the attention of aircraft and helicopters from two police forces which have circled my house(s) on numerous occasions coinciding with emails, faxes and phone calls from me to various people. The apparently undisputed fact that the strength of the protective main Earths Magnetic field, has decreased by approx. 50% !! in just 2000 years (British Geological Survey) and continues to weaken further, should on its own have resulted in open public research, yet not a 'dicky bird'! This government in my view is conspiring in one of the biggest 'cons' ever inflicted on mankind. I predict within the next two or three years the biggest scientific U-turn ever witnessed. I just hope that all these 'scientists' who have profited at public expense are made to pay back every last penny.

I thought I’d wait and watch the slot before commenting. Having done so I have I must say that it presents a dilemma. It’s one that has been discussed on these e-pages before about the level of balance that needs to be shown by the media in presenting all sides of an argument, and the agendas they can be accused of following when some find it wanting.

This was, one could fairly say, a more contrary view on the causes, effects and solutions to ‘climate change’ to what I hope I can equally fairly claim to be a rather more extensive, possibly majority consensus. Which makes it rather tantalising to media outlets by being at least different, and even... controversial, maybe? So we get the inevitable +/- twofer, only against the duffer (who will be dust before his notions can be proved wrong, which he seemed to be saying we should wait for) this time at least we had a very sane, coherent young lady who knew her stuff and put her case and rebuttals well. With only Mr. Paxman to lob in the odd pot-stirrer to try and throw her off.

Yet look... good golly, there is a book to go with it. Hmmmn. To get a balanced view I have to stump up, and to encourage me to do so I have the benefit of a rather nifty level of free promotion courtesy of the nation’s public, and public-funded, broadcaster.

See.... dilemma. Thing is, in this case I just don’t buy it. The argument. Or the book. Shame that the same doesn’t apply to where I get my broadcast information from, if I think it’s more about ratings than balance.

Is it me, or is that making you shiver too? I’ll go with posts 6&9, James & Paul, on the cause of logic and fact in how best to proceed.

ps: the piece on vultures just made me sick – especially as the govt. decided ‘it couldn’t appear’. Is this the new standard of debate and accountability we can expect in the UK?

pps: Loved the music. Never liked the man. But by 'eck, I had to applaud what Noel G had to say about entertainers and politics. Guess he won't be headlining Global Cool then.

http://www.junkk.com

  • 27.
  • At 01:57 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The need to target the right people who can make the changes, and not pass the buck to someone else, in this case the motorist and consumer.
Road charging is an issue which is of great concern to the majority of the population, myself included, and that I see various reasons for such mixed opinions on climate change.
National congestion charging is not the solution in my opinion. This will not reduce emissions, as it will not improve the transport that is available and that is necessary to maintain a developed industrialised economy. When used in conjunction with a solution, congestion charging would be able to provide better transport. Every day millions of commuters clog up the road network entering the major cities of the UK. This costs the economy in lost time and personal leisure. If congestion charging was introduced in urban areas in conjunction with park and ride schemes, workers could commute with greater efficiency, providing them with more leisure time and improve work efficiency. It seems too many governments, local and national are intent of finding new sources of income without providing a solution to the problems they are justifying their tax increases on. The fuel tax escalator of the 90's did not reduce vehicle use or cut greenhouse gas emissions, so if anyone thinks a congestion charge will have any effect without providing a feasible alternative, I dispute their claims. I see it important that congestion charging is not confused with the UK's contribution to climate change. The UK is responsible for only 2.3% of CO2 emissions, the problem is global and needs to be addressed as such. Road charging indiscriminately charges all motorists irrespective of their Carbon emissions. If the UK government really wanted to cut CO2 emissions from road transport, they would link it to it's source, that being the fuel that produces it. Adding a 2 to 5 pence increase in fuel duty whilst aboloshing set rate road tax would reflect the Carbon emissions that are released, based upon the polluter pays principle. Similarly with domestic waste disposal. Instead of introducing levies on individuals for the waste thay are unable to avoid generating, mainly from the packaging from their food, individuals are powerless to avoid the extra taxes to which they are subjected. Producers and manufacturers need to be the ones targeted, in order to produce the necessary solutions to the problems, such as more efficient vehicles and food packaging that is biodegradeable.

  • 28.
  • At 03:49 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

I admit to unjustifiably criticising Newsnight from allocating airtime to the author of this flawed book from airing an opposing opinion. This is not my general style, as this would be autocratic and potentially heretical in itself. I also consider contraception as an important first step to avoid exponential population growth in the developing world. This would address issues such as STD's and AIDS as well as overpopulation. Also, China's population growth is largely in rural areas, where the population has migrated to industrialised urban areas and human labour is required for agricultural purposes to fill the labour vacuum. Mechanisation of Chinese agriculture seems to be a solution to address the problem in the long term. All information needs to be taken into consideration. China cannot be ignored and made excempt from global concerns, but being a developing country needs to be taken into consideration, in order to avoid the deadlock between George Bush's rejection of the Kyoto protocol and the UN's exemption of India and China on the grounds that they are not as rich as the rest of the world. This is too simplistic, draconian, and the model needs to be adjusted to ease the locked cogs of global diplomacy on the issue. The mediaevil warming period is an example of the complexity of the global climate. Industrial sources cannot be a factor, however something must have been. Was there significant deforestation in western Europe that caused weather pattern disruption ? Was there a cosmic factor such as the cosmic ray nuclei ionisation ? The Mayans prophesise a global change in December 2012 as a result of sunspot activity. This has been associated with a reversal of the magnetic poles, which does occur periodically, and has been suggested to be connected to solar wind phenomena. It seems to me that impact from industry is not the sole cause of the problem, and deforestation of tropical rainforests, unmitigated Sulphur emissions from the industrialising developing world, and natural ecological and cosmological phenomena are all integral parts of the global climate. The fact remains that such cosmological effects are beyond human control, however industrial regulation is potentially within human control. Justifying inaction on the grounds of lack of natural control is not wise, and the precautionary principle should given credit to compensate for the lack of information and the unknowns.
Climate change phenomenon is not one that should be ignored, underestimated and disputed, however, recently it has been exaggerated with a finger of blame being pointed at the developed industrialised world that has progressively evolved a relatively civilised form coexistance on the planet that should not be sacrificed for the sake of false environmental scaremongering. The public at large has become the scapegoat to blame for the culture into which they have been bred. Industry and politicians are well equipped to defend their respective castles have passed the buck to the individual of ethical grounds. The public don't have the same luxury, and many are easily duped by such apocalyptic prophecies. In a democratic society, politicians will fail to gain public favour with unjustified taxes, and will be democratically ousted for a more favourable proposal.

  • 29.
  • At 05:12 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

I must say this debate has brought to light some interesting revelations. The Mediaevil Warm Period is something that is usually omitted from climate predictions, and yet is surely significant enough to not be ignored. Not only does it dispute the climate crisis being prophesised, but it also identifies issues that should be investigated. What was the cause ? Was the thermo-haline oceanic currents a factor ? If so was the Gulf Stream disrupted, as it predicted to be occurring in the Atlantic now ? If warming on this scale occurred, what is the global evidence for it ? Was is a relatively local phenomenon, and if so why is there such a supposed link between solar activity and temperature ? Why wasn't the rest of the world affected ? Is there any evidence of Coral bleaching, as is being found now ? Presumably the warming was followed by cooling, which must have led to the reforming of ice sheets over the land. How did this occur ? We are always told that the melting of ice on Antarctica is irrevocable, due to the change in albedo of the exposed rock. What are the processes that reverse the process ? Is it global homeostasis, and how does it operate ? To be ignorant of the science surrounding this evidenced phenomenon would be negligent of climate change scientists. Surely science needs to look at all the evidence, not just that that is most convenient and popular culture. Understanding the processes in a holistic way is surely more effective than the traditional empirical processes bounding the ball of convention back and forth between two opposing theories. The scientific empirical method does seem to have a habit of ignoring the significance of intuition and common sense.

  • 30.
  • At 05:16 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

I must say this debate has brought to light some interesting revelations. The Mediaevil Warm Period is something that is usually omitted from climate predictions, and yet is surely significant enough to not be ignored. Not only does it dispute the climate crisis being prophesised, but it also identifies issues that should be investigated. What was the cause ? Was the thermo-haline oceanic currents a factor ? If so was the Gulf Stream disrupted, as it predicted to be occurring in the Atlantic now ? If warming on this scale occurred, what is the global evidence for it ? Was is a relatively local phenomenon, and if so why is there such a supposed link between solar activity and temperature ? Why wasn't the rest of the world affected ? Is there any evidence of Coral bleaching, as is being found now ? Presumably the warming was followed by cooling, which must have led to the reforming of ice sheets over the land. How did this occur ? We are always told that the melting of ice on Antarctica is irrevocable, due to the change in albedo of the exposed rock. What are the processes that reverse the process ? Is it global homeostasis, and how does it operate ? To be ignorant of the science surrounding this evidenced phenomenon would be negligent of climate change scientists. Surely science needs to look at all the evidence, not just that that is most convenient and popular culture. Understanding the processes in a holistic way is surely more effective than the traditional empirical processes bounding the ball of convention back and forth between two opposing theories. The scientific empirical method does seem to have a habit of ignoring the significance of intuition and common sense.

  • 31.
  • At 06:14 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • John Jeffreys wrote:

by all means let Nigel Calder and all those who have something to contribute to global warming have their say. It's the greatest threa facing humanity. Something that Calder did not go into is the fact that the earth's magnetic field reverses throughout time. I wonder whether Calder, or any one else, could look into how global warming has varied in relation to the stregth of the earth's magnetic field over the ages..

  • 32.
  • At 06:43 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Spartacus wrote:

Guy,

Many of your criticisms apply in general to "science by media" and you'll get no argument from me (though Newsnight does better than most). For a passionate, angry and often hilarious attack on the media's treatment of science (focused on medical issues), try the site below.
http://www.badscience.net

Like you, I'm an enthusiastic dilettante in topical science. Much of the technical debate on climate change is available on the web; as usual, Wikipedia is a good place to start. You can follow the links to drill down into issues that interest you.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change

As for the science behind this report, I'll repost a link to this riposte by a climate change scientist, which basically sets out the arguments made by the Professor in last night's debate.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/taking-cosmic-rays-for-a-spin/

The site above is run by IPCC climate scientists, but there are plenty of contrary opinions out there if you look for them.

  • 33.
  • At 06:48 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

In conclusion, this debate has led me to a number of conclusions in addition to my former conclusions:

The Mediaevil Warming Period needs investigating in more detail

Industrial environmental protection needs to be global

Environmental legislation needs to provide distinct benefits

China needs to mitigate its industry focusing with environmental management of its Sulphur emissions

Chinas population needs to be managed by mechanisation of its agriculture. Western influence of this may be tricky

Politicians are scaremongering the public in order to justify imposing ineffective taxes

Energy security needs to be addressed to ensure good standard of living and future prosperity

Nuclear power needs global implementation. Thorium subcritical reactors need developing to avoid nuclear weapon proliferation and nuclear accidents. This will be tricky

Hybrid road vehicles need to be mass produced for majority of road vehicles

micro-Combined Heat and Power solutions for domestic settings need development to provide heating and electricity locally

Housing needs to be better designed with better insulation and solar gain

Geothermal power needs development and implementation. Ground Source Heat Pumps need to become standard in houses

The UK's train network needs to be improved to provide more effective and higher capacity of freight transport, removing freight off the roads

Public needs to be improved and cheaper, particulary rail travel

Aircraft need to be the most efficient design, and only when necessary.

Alternatives to aircraft such as train travel need to be used where possible, such as to Scotland and Europe. Alternatives need to be convenient, quick, and affordable

The empirical scientific model is the most effective way of proving the nature of things. However it does have its drawbacks

Democracy involves all views and therefore flawed perspectives must be objectively assessed

Ignorance of scientific fact is the source of flaws in scientific theories

Government needs to relate with industry and manufacturing to target the change making processes instead of the ill equipped public

  • 34.
  • At 07:09 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

As an Environmental Scientist I have long known that the perceived wisdom of human responsibility for climate change is utter nonsense. It serves the political elite to perpetuate the myth and tax us to "save the planet"! This book gives those of us who know the media are simply spitting propaganda about carbon emissions to scare us, heart. One hundred years from now students will look back at this time and chuckle.

We argue over climate: is it earth-based or cosmic? But do we really know earth's place in the cosmos?
Take a look here http://www.holoscience.com/news.php
and enjoy having your cerebral socks blown off. I have been following this "thread" since the 50s, from a science background. It just gets better.

  • 36.
  • At 08:59 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

I would also like to add that sulphate emissions from volcanic emissions provide stratospheric particles that cool the planet. Such events have influenced the climate significantly. Krakatoa of 1883 most recently, as well as the prehistoric Asian Toba eruption, which caused a global extinction event by blocking the sun stopping photosynthesis that led to many of our ancestors perishing from famine. This is why humans have such a genetic similarity compared to other species. It's always important to look closer to home before investigating something from the ethereal depths beyond accessibility that have the potential to become scientifically unprovable.

In essence, it all depends on your interpretation of Deus Ex Machina - the planet, the creator, your angel, or yourself.

  • 37.
  • At 09:26 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

Another consideration that doesn't seem to add up is that if Greenland was ice free in the Mediaevil Warm Period, what happened to all the melted ice ? The UN IPCC has predicted a global sea level rise of 7 metres if the Greenland ice sheet were to melt. Continents do become depressed due to the weight of the ice. For this reason, there are wave cut notches on the Dorset coastline as a result of higher sea levels during glacial times. Global sea levels were generally lower due to the water being locked up as vast glaciers on the continents. It is thought the land was depressed at Dorset due to the mass of the ice on top of it. Is the science surrounding this such phenomena accurate ? I doubt that the global atmospheric climate models take into consideration these such geological factors.

  • 38.
  • At 09:49 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Eric Thomas wrote:

Oh, dear. The Environmetal Taleban - that's what I've christened the over-zealous and obsessive Greenpeace, Friends of The Earth and all those "World's leading scientists" who collectively have a vested interest in promoting their never ending research projects and semi-religious defence of Mother Earth - will all be getting their pseudo-scientific knickers in a twist over this new book. Like the 'flat-earth people' they effectively all are they'll try, as per usual, to pour scorn on this book and try to bury it with their bull-horn approach to discussion.

In his book "Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate - How Truth Became Controversial" (publ. 2000), the (sadly)late independent thinking scientist Dr. Mihkel Mathiesen kicked the boat out with counter theories to the Carbon-Dioxide-is the-Only-Answer brigade. (Calder himself was amongst those who reviewed the manuscript for Mathiesen's book). Mathiesen drew our attention to the hysterical outbursts just a few years ago of similar 'thought police' who were certain that we were all going to be murdered in our beds by the depletion of the Ozone Layer, we were all going to drown in Acid Rain, and we were all going to die a horrible death from the effects of Asbestos. Well, are you all dead yet or are you alive and kicking ?

In a few years time the Environmental Taleban will go off at a tangent about some other perceived environmental 'threat' when the ill-informed media will inevitably tire of the Global Warming debate. Those leading scientists will seek big grants for their next research projects. You can bet the 'Taleban' will revive their demand for those ernest little men waving red flags to run ahead of our automobiles. To paraphrase one recently publicised critic (of the Environmental Taleban)...."They're not just being religious about their obsessions, they in danger of being accused of being mentally ill".

  • 39.
  • At 12:26 AM on 16 Feb 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

"... and in the end the scientists proved black was white, and white was black, and ended up getting run over on a zebra crossing." The QED as portrayed by Douglas Addams in The Hitchhakers Guide to the Galaxy

So long and thanks for all the fish my friends.

  • 40.
  • At 11:49 AM on 16 Feb 2007,
  • Eric Thomas wrote:

Oh, dear (again !),
Not content with trying to prove that there is life after political death, former vice-president Al Gore is apparently arranging a 24 hour "Live Earth" concert in support of his climate change aspirations. It is claimed that 100 music stars will appear in support of Gore. Well, well, the Theatre of The Absurd is well and truly alive and kicking. Maybe the usual suspect pop stars have a detailed, expert knowledge of what they 'stick' up their noses - but I won't be relying on their opinions about what consequential effects the atmosphere suffers from after we've been sticking our exhaust fumes up there.

There's an old adage which says that the scientist (including me) who thinks he/she knows it all has merely stopped thinking. Over the years, scientists have been telling us that our Universe is made up of protons, electrons and neutrons. Now that 'pop stars' are getting involved in the Global Warming debate we must also add that the Universe is made up of morons,too.

I would suggest that the Environmental Taliban go visit the Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence. There they'll witness that Galileo's preserved middle finger is still giving his detractors 'the finger'. Come back, Galileo, all is forgiven. Your finger has to be aimed at new targets today.

  • 41.
  • At 12:44 PM on 16 Feb 2007,
  • Guy wrote:

Spartacus,

Thanks for the links, some of them familiar, others not. I have just now read a fascinating document by Vincent Gray, an expert reviewer of the IPCC documents. The conclusions are most interesting, and the criticisms of the scientific methods are quite disturbing. It is not an easy read - you have to wade through a lot of science speak and one or two spelling mistakes - but it is interesting coming from someone so well qualified and well connected to the IPCC.

http://www.climatescience.org.nz/assets/20072141112360.SPM07GrayCritique.pdf

Some of the conclusions are as follows:

1. The "predictions" that we hear about are not predictions at all, merely projections. Later in the piece we also see that these projections are based upon dubious science and computer models that are entirely unproven.

2. The document goes through three drafts, the last of which the scientists do not see. It is drafted entirely by politicians. This I think is quite frightening.

3. The CO2 levels that are measured in the report are entirely measured above the sea, rather than above the land where it is purported that the problem lies. (I would add here that there is a school of thought that temperature rises cause the oceans to emit more CO2, not the other way round i.e. CO2 causes the temperature to rise. I do not know whether this is correct, but if it is it surely makes the whole exercise completely meaningless).

4. I quote "They have, in any case, still left out the most important contributors to radiative forcing, which are water vapour and clouds. These are not only possibly larger than those shown, but they also suffer from a high degree of uncertainty plus low “Levels of Scientific Understanding”... ...If you take note of the low “Levels of Scientific Understanding” of so many of the components and take heed of only a few of my doubts, you have to conclude that there is a good chance that the globe is not warming at all." This is partly an area that Calder is contributing to. The author seems to suggests that Calder's research can contribute a lot to the debate, but that his findings are no more the definitive answer than the current "consensus".

5. Temperature measurements are taken by taking the mean of the highest and lowest daytime temperatures from weather centres. Most of the weather centres are near cities, and the hourly temperature figures, although available, are not taken into account. Experiments have proved that averaging the maximum and minimum temperatures produces an average that is significantly higher than taking the average of the hourly temperatures. The author also states that, contrary to the projections, temperatures have remained fairly constant since 1998. Figures from alternative, and arguably more accurate measures of temperature, such as NASA satellites and radiosondes, have been totally ignored by these reports. The data from these sources paints a very different picture. There is also a lack of data of air temperatures from the sea, despite the sea forming over 70% of the Earth's surface.

These are just some of the issues raised on this report. It is vital reading to anyone trying to seek out the truth about global warming and the politics behind it. I am not saying it is the definitive word, but it certainly adds to the debate. I will leave the last word to Gray:

"They have tried to draw attention from the undoubted fact that the models have not been shown capable of making predictions by seeking the “opinion” (or “guess”) of a panel of “experts”, all of whom have a financial stake in the outcome, and apply to these guesses levels of “likelihood” which have even been given a spurious numerical value. If the experts were employees of oil or coal companies, and their opinions were undesired there would be an outcry. As the “experts” are employees or recipients of funding from governments promoting the notion of greenhouse warming, criticism is not heard."

  • 42.
  • At 01:41 PM on 16 Feb 2007,
  • David Catling wrote:

The arbiter of scientific truth is data.

The data clearly show that there is NO STATISTICAL CORRELATION between the measured flux of cosmic rays (which HAS NO MEANINGFUL TREND) and the measured UPWARD TREND of global surface air temperature in the last half century. See graph at:
http://www.realclimate.org/images/cr.jpg

The BBC should have shown the data on Newsnight. They failed in their duty to inform the public by neglecting to do so. End of story.

David Catling
EU Marie Curie Chair,
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Bristol


  • 43.
  • At 02:35 PM on 16 Feb 2007,
  • Spartacus wrote:

Thanks Guy - I'll have a look at that later.

In the meantime, there's an ongoing debate on the Real Climate web site sparked by the media attention surrounding this book.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/02/nigel-calder-in-the-times/

It gets a bit technical, but the contributors include climate scientists who appear keen to debate the issue and respond to queries. If anyone has questions about the link between galactic cosmic rays and climate change then they might get them answered here.

  • 44.
  • At 05:11 PM on 16 Feb 2007,
  • GH wrote:

Interesting links there. David Catling, I entirely agree with your view on data being the arbiter of truth. There is, however, no conclusive proof against Calder's theory. Therefore it is possible that further tests could reveal the theory to be correct; there has certainly been a breakthrough in the correlation between Cosmic rays and clouds. I would also be intrigued to hear your views on the apparent errors in collating and representing the data in Gray's report in post 42. Whilst Calder's theory may be unproven, the scientific consensus seems to be based on some very bad science. I look forward to a response, but suspect you have a bit of an agenda.

The realclimate links are interesting, and the forums are mindblowing but enlightening. The owners of the blog, however, appear to be very rude and dismissive towards anyone who disagrees with them. This led me to google a few of the blog-owners names, and found among them a Mr Michael Mann, author of the now discredited hockey stick graph, which rewrote history in order to make its "science" work.

Like everyone else in this debate, it sounds like they are using science to fit the agenda, rather than simply pursuing the truth. Is there anyone here who can be objective in this debate?


It just seems like the issue is that some people need things to complain about (sometimes inventing problems just to get funding to 'solve' it).

Global Heating is the perfect example. I'm convinced its a natural phenomenon. I'm also convinced that there was evidence presented it was natural years ago - but policymakers decided to go to town with it.

It's really laughable -- the sun affects the earth's heating! Could it be simpler...and the corollary, the simpler the process, the more Government and Policymakers will try to 'tax' it.

Global Heating (I call it heating because I like it hot) is a new type of tax. It's a tax on natural processes...an innovation in government revenue. Pretty soon, bureaucrats will notice that waterfalls fall down and that the sky is blue. Surely this "blueing" is due to manmade additives and water is not meant to "fall" but to run linearly.

  • 46.
  • At 09:47 PM on 19 Feb 2007,
  • paul smeeton wrote:

I find this all fascinating. the cautionary side of me worries that the CO2 link is probably right but I still can't shake the history I know out of my head ie the medieval warming period.

the other prejudice I have against global warming is the fact that it fits the hysericla message of the greens which for decades has been to say the end of the world is nigh.

I will reduce my carbon emissions but I will also watch the data. At least with this debate we should know who is right in 10 years.

  • 47.
  • At 04:05 AM on 20 Feb 2007,
  • Robert Hendry wrote:

It was good to see this because I do like to get another side of the story but information regarding alternate theories is hard to come by.

I have always had a gut feeling that our planet is heavily influenced by cosmic forces. Our solar system is currently moving through a very busy part of the galaxy where we arrive every 100,000 years. Lots of gravitational and cosmic type stuff going on there.

Im certainly no astronomy academic but I have been quite suprised there seems to be no astronomers commenting on this issue. (I cant find any)

But I do know the earth has gone through a multitude of climate changes in its 4+ billion year history and my instinct tells me theres more to the climate change issue than we currently know.

Im on the fence, but trying to keep an open mind.

  • 48.
  • At 01:24 PM on 22 Feb 2007,
  • Ninderthana wrote:

I know that for the global warming zelots on this blog what I am about to post will have no impact but I am hoping that there are one or two people out there who are still willing to question the "concensus"
view of MGW.

First, the level of solar activity on the Sun goes through an 11 year
cycle known as the Schwabe cycle.
(the cycle length is actually 22 years = 2 x 1 Schwabe cycle).

We are currenty at or just past the minimum of solar activity. Solar sunspot cycle 24 will peak in intensity in 2010/2011. Current predictions are it will most likley be near normal compared to other recent cycles.

However, the strength of the Sun's polar magnetic field started to significantly decrease in the year 2000, and the meridional flow in the convective layer of the Sun has dropped to 1/3 of its speed over the last year (2006). Solar physicists are predicting that this means that solar cycle 25 peaking in 2023/24 will be heavily subdued. The scientific opinin is that solar cycle 26 peaking 2033/34 will also be a bit of a fizzer.

For those that don't understand what I am talking about - in layman's terms the level of solar sunspot activity has already started to die down and the Sun is about to go through a 30 year period of very low overall sunspot activity.

On every occassion in the past when the Sun has done this the world's mean temperature has cooled down by anywhere between 1 and 2 degrees C.

Hence, contrary to popular belief, we are actually on the verge of an extended period of cooling, starting in ~ 2016, reaching the coolest temperatures in the 2030's and warming up again in the mid to late 2040's. By then the world will be
~ 0.3 C warmer due to carbon emissions - and so as the world starts to warm up again, no one will believe those who cried wolf earlier in the 21st century.

What is even more scarry is that almost every time we go through one of these cooling events it ususally starts with a catastrophic multi-year failure of the Asian Monsoon.
It did so in 1790-1792, 1876-1878 and again in 1989-1900. The mega-famines which accompanied these multi-year monsoon failures killed at least 21 million people. We predict that there is ~ 1 in 4 chance that the Indian Monsoon will fail catastrophically sometime between 2018 - 2020.

I wish this blog had a way of showing you the graphical evidnce that support these claims.

The global warming zealots can froth at the mouth as much as they want but
unfortunately, it is not going to change a thing.

I support the drive to get us to live sustainably and to cut our CO2 gas emmissions. As a scientist, however, I oppose the use if scientific lies and half truths
to back political changes. We should not try to corrupt science and use scientific half-truths and lies to produce the political changes that we desire.

We should argue for a sustaianble future using logical arguements that will stand the test of time. We should not use religious zealotry dressed up as psuedo-science to try and argue our case.

If we do, in the long term, every one looses.

  • 49.
  • At 11:19 PM on 22 Feb 2007,
  • the chairman wrote:

what a fantastic and interesting series of opinions. loved every minute of it. particularly inspiring were the views of the experts. but as is often, (if not allways), the case...no conclusions.

what was it that Bill Clinton once said

"its the economy stupid"

it has nothing to do with 'science' or 'justice'

the only question to ask these days is how much can we earn out of it?

its not co2 we should be worried about its EMF exposure. Now theres a scandal.

  • 50.
  • At 08:52 AM on 23 Feb 2007,
  • Spartacus wrote:

Ninderthana,

That's an interesting theory - can you link to research that backs it up?

  • 51.
  • At 04:00 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Per Strandberg wrote:

I have found that the climatologists in charge are on a quest to prove the theory that greenhouse gases is the main source for the current temperature increase.

They are not interested in objective science.

Worse, they misinterpret, omit and adjust data in order convince others to make their point convincing.

Compiled on http://www.global-warming-and-the-climate.com are information and graphs on the greenhouse gas theory and the cosmic radiation cloud seeding theory.

  • 52.
  • At 05:44 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Tim Dennell wrote:

Victorians who died falling into alpine crevices have been spat out from the snouts of glaciers this century. The glacier moves forward and downwards, it’s how far from the snout (where the climber fell) that determines how long it takes a body to emerge at the base, not temperature.
As we’re swapping glacier stories, as the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru receded researchers have identified 28 sites near the ice cap’s margin where ancient plants have been exposed.
Carbon dating shows that the plants range from 5,000 to 6,500 years old. They are unfossilised and showed no signs of decay when found, strongly suggesting they were covered by snow millennia ago and have remained frozen until today. That means the tropical glaciers didn’t melt as much during the Medieval Warm Period as they have today.
Sevensmark (so far he’s only managed to show CR’s may be responsible for just 3% of possible cloud formation) also thinks cosmic rays may also hold the key to the start of life on earth. I like a man who thinks big, but he may find that they turn out not to explain life, global warming and everything. And evidencing his ideas in the atmosphere, not just a lab, will be very tricky.

In 1971, during the ecological movement, philosopher Ayn Rand, who says that intellectuals are the eyes, ears and voice of a culture, wrote "The Anti-Industrial Culture." It is now in her _Return of the Primitive_ and an excellent prediction of the growth of modern culture's destructive openness to irrationalism.

  • 54.
  • At 09:38 AM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • michaal bunter wrote:

Having looked at the Guardian's Comment is Free posts on an article about C4's Global warming programme, I really should not have been surprised at much of the opinions expressed here. I am delighted that people who have qualifications in the Earth Sciences have posted, and that there are frequent mentions of RealClimate.org, but there are still far too many posts which seem to have simply looked at 'Tech central' or one or two other websites of that ilk, and simply closed their minds there. Before you post such ill-formed theories, please take a look at Deltoid's Bingo - http://timlambert.org/2005/04/gwsbingo/ - if your theory is on it, then its wrong.
The number of people who have decided that AGW is not real, despite having no qualifications in any relevent subject is simply frightening. Please read Real Climate before you post, it saves us all time. And as for the person who does not like Real Climate because the people who run it are arrogant, please consider this - they are more than welcoming to people who want to debate them with real questions, but they do get a bit testy when they have tried to answer the same spurious point which has been debunked 38 times, only to have the person who asked them refuse to listen. Remember, they are real climate scientists, with real jobs, who do what they do for no money and often a great deal of abuse. And far from Michael Mann being 'discredited over his 'hockey stick' paper, a number of other studies have supported the general trust of his paper. Again, don't simply google his name and believe what you read on Tech central or any of the other denier sites - go instead to the original sources and peer-reviewed journals.

I've just looked at the Calder interview. Frankly, the prefessor from IC was actually rather nice to him, but she clearly pointed out the utter stupidity of his arguement. His admission that AGW was untrue becuase he was unable to work out how they did their figures simply made him look foolish.

And for the love of God, if you are going waffle on about the Medieval Warming period (although perhaps simply reading this http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/11/english-vineyards-again/ would be better), try to spell Medieval properly. Don't quote Ayn Rand, just don't...

  • 55.
  • At 04:58 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Dodgy Geezer wrote:

Good Lord, what a lot of rubbish!

There are people here who haven't understood the initial proposal, there are the Black Helicopter Brigade, and the 'Real Climate' shills.

For the few amongst us who want to retain our sanity while still examining accurate data I have some bad news. There have been so many instances of data cherry-picking, unjustified modification of base data and straightforward lying, that it is nigh-on impossible to gain a dispassionate view of this whole sorry saga.

The best advice I can give is NOT to take the advice given by ANY single web site. Most of them have an axe to grind of some type. For instance, the Real Climate site was set up to defend Mann against the hockey stick allegations, so you will not get an unbiased view from there - you need to go to Climate Audit to see what the accusations really are, rather than the strawmen you will find on Real Climate. And don't just take my advice; do a lot of research on the web to find out who the several camps are, and where they publish.

As a rule of thumb, if you find a site or a blog more interested in telling you that the 'science is settled', or that they are 'real' scientists and their opponents are fakes, or unqualified in some way, run a mile. If the site provides real answers to real questions, and refers to base data, read it, and then check up on the provenance of the base data with some of the opposing side. It's a crying shame that science has come to this - and gradually I hope you'll form a view of which camp is primarily responsible.

The only good bit to come out of this attack on knowledge is that with any luck it will be so publicised that it will be impossible to sweep under the carpet next time round, like the '70s ice age scare. But even that did not involve such a ruination of humanities greatest asset!

P.S. What are the journalists doing in all this? They should be running their own research into the collapse of science!


  • 56.
  • At 11:07 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Charles Tennant wrote:
  • 57.
  • At 11:56 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Charles Tennant wrote:

michaal bunter (interesting spelling if your forename there) refers us to http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/11/english-vineyards-again/ in support of his apparent view that "It's all our fault". Unfortunately the main thrust (not trust) of the question is ignored.

OK, so we have an English wine industry. Again. Just as we did in the "first century" - then it got too cold - and the "11th century" - then it got too cold. Why?.

Not content with directing us to a spurious article, michaal then decends into ad hominem argument. Yes we should all "try to spell Medieval properly", but the same goes for "relevent", "prefessor", "arguement" and "becuase".

  • 58.
  • At 12:32 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The momentum of Climate Change concern seems to have such momentum in politics now. Besides exaggerated and inaccurate science, politicians reactions are not necessarily proposing measures that will have the desired effects. On the radio only yesterday I heard Jonathan Porritt suggesting stopping having timers fitted on ovens. A timer must use 5 watts at most, compared to the several kilowatts an oven uses, the quantity of which means that in most houses, the oven is wired on its own ring main. A timer ensures that the oven is on for the required time, and no longer, enhancing the efficiency of the cooking technology. Considering the distributive losses of electrical distribution, a much more effective way of saving energy and increase efficiency would be to use gas ovens instead of electrical ones. There are currently developments being made in both fuel cell boilers and other domestic power generation technologies. A domestic boiler has a power rating of several kilowatts. If the heat can also be used to provide electricity, it will optimise energy consumption. There is a Dutch model that proposes just this arrangement, with a gas turbine instead of a fuel cell. It is known as micro Combined Heat and Power, and will save several times the energy consumption than silly ill informed draconian impositions ever will. We need to consider how energy is used in the home, and how electricity is brought into the home. We only use ac power because that is the most efficient way to distribute it on the national grid. If we can generate the electricity in our homes, this step is not necessary. We can have a system that Edison used before Tesla invented ac power, which would be safer, and also make technologies such as wind turbines more effective, as they will not have to synchronise their generation to the ac electrical systems. Almost all domestic appliances are fitted solely with 240 volt plugs, which all have to be used with transformers and rectification circuitry to turn the electricity back into the low voltage dc that they can use. This is highly efficient, but if domestic appliances could be made to be more flexible, so that they could run on a universal Edison style system as well as the conventional ac power, this could provide consumers with more choice to adopt the energy saving measures that are the most effective for them. This is becoming a war on a war that can never be won. It's ethical fascism, and if this one issue is taken out of context, then liberties and freedom will be unjustifiably robbed from us, without the replacements that can provide the solutions. When used in conjunction with a dimmer switch, if turned to a lower brightness, the incandescent lightbulb will consume less power. It seems better to me to ensure only dimmer switches are sold, so that people have the choice, in the same way as they can choose the temperature of their radiators with thermostatic valves. People should have the power to choose their illumination depending on their mood. So, dim the lights, and have a romantic night in. Stay in and have a candlelit dinner with a naked flame if you must, it will save you money and help save the planet.

  • 59.
  • At 01:07 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

For those who enjoy rock and roll maxims, take a listen to the best of Queen. One Vision, the last track on the second Greatest Hits album expresses the real problems perfectly. Choice, democracy and liberty. Who in their right minds would fight for a corrupt communistic fascism; RIP Freddie Mercury. The great Leviathan of the oceans might well be disturbed by the loud rockers of the land, but do we really want to give it the chance to stop us exploring the seas ? All its interested in are a few fish, and its own survival. Do we want to be its food ? Feed it first, so it has no hunger. Be kind to it, and it will be kind back, the Golden Rule of universal reciprocal ethics.

  • 60.
  • At 11:19 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Alan C wrote:

#54 Michaal (sic)

You say “And far from Michael Mann being 'discredited over his 'hockey stick' paper, a number of other studies have supported the general trust (sic) of his paper.”

The data may be meaningless but the general thrust is correct, huh? Fake but true, huh? Well that’s not science is it?

The ‘hockey stick’ graph was used to debunk an AGW debunker on page 7 of The Independent today (“The Real Global Warming Swindle” by Steve Connor). Yes, a discredited graph is still being used to debunk AGW ‘heretic’. Perfect.

  • 61.
  • At 12:13 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The Eemian Interglacial, the Holocene period. Geological evidence for climate variations, but no human industries. These two fundamental historical periods in the Earths recent history fail to find favour with Non Government Organisations, lobbying the political process with Private Member Bills. Where will this fallacy end. These periods provided the environmental conditions that allowed humans to flourish. And the solutions ? They don't give nuclear power an option either. It's as if we can't be trusted to not make bombs. Can we be trusted to do anything ? Accidents do happen, but Chernobyl was an avoidable disaster. Poor reactor design and violation of safety procedures caused catastrophic meltdown. Nuclear physics is a proven science that has run effectively elsewhere. The already negligible risks have been reduced, and still further measures can be taken, to reduce the chance and magnitudes of future accidents. Some go as far as to suggest giving every citizen a "Carbon allocation", or ration if you like. Rations are desperate measures used during times of war. Correct me if I am wrong here, but doesn't this sound like communism. Making everyone equal, everyone only allowed a prescribed life. A personal living space of squalour. But everyone is not equal. Poor people will be forced to sell their allocation to survive. This will prevent them from developing any form of development themselves. We are all unique, we do not form a uniform society. We are told that our cities of capatalist towers will fall beneath the rising tides like the shimmering Oricalchum settlements of Atlantis. No evidence of that, and no evidence of this apocalyptic nonsense. If this is a new era, new age, or new epoch, bring it on. Never has a civilisation turned its back on technology without catastrophic decline.

  • 62.
  • At 01:19 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The biggest consumption by far in domestic situations is the heating system. I am surprised that an educated and intelligent politician like Angela Merkel, who has supposedly studied quantum chemistry and has a PhD in Physics would propose such draconian measures. Just goes to show scientific study and academic qualifications does not lead to responsible politicians, let alone practical scientists. Another hypocritical fascist. Energy conservation is the most effective way of improving energy efficiency, with better insulation. Building regulations have meant new constructions need to have a minimum degree of insulation. In some commercial buildings, Air Handling Units are used to distribute heat around the establishment. In this way, hot air is transferred from rooms that need cooling to rooms that need heating. In this way, heat generated from cooking in the kitchen can be transferred to another room, such as a living area. How many times do you find you have the kitchen window open, when you simultaneously have the radiator on in your dining room ? The heat could also be used to contribute to the heating of your hot water. These such technologies need to become standard in homes. Mass production will bring down costs, once the development costs have been accounted for. These technologies integrate domestic energies in the home to optimise the individual trade offs.

My main proposals to make great savings in energy consumption are :

Domestic Air Handling Units, incorporating air conditioning facilities.

Eddison style low voltage dc system in addition to ac power. Make appliances co-compatible. This will improve effectiveness of microgeneration using solar cells and wind turbines and allow micro Combined Power and Heat turbine boilers and fuel cell boilers to work effectively.

A maglev train system from London to Edinburgh, to provide a safe, quick, energy efficient alternative to short haul air travel used for business.

Park and ride schemes in major cities during rush hour in conjunction with urban congestion charging to provide better commuting facilities.

Increased production of biofuels, particularly bioethanol and biogas. Agricultural and domestic biomass waste should provide source for this.

We may need waste incinerators to reclaim lost energy from otherwise landfilled packaging. Alternatively, food manufacturers could be persuaded to use biodegradeable packaging. If a market was available for organic waste, waste would be profitable, with no need for current landfill taxes that lead councils to levy waste charges and encourage flytipping. If a levy was put on packaging, this could be used for its disposal afterwards, like the levy on new road vehicles. This could result in this money being paid back to people upon collection of the waste. This would provide a better waste system to the current landfill tax and bin weighing system that has crept in with fascist bugs on wheelie bins. This system would provide a fairer way of ensuring waste is dealt with properly, as based on the polluter pays principle.

Nuclear power stations need to provide a proportion of the UK's electricity supply.

Hydroelectric dam in Severn Estuary to provide renewable energy from the tides.

  • 63.
  • At 01:43 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

To avoid the fascist congestion charging system, where every vehicle would be bugged, tracked and charged by satellite, a feasible alternative needs to be found. Roads need maintenance, and this is accounted for with road tax. This is highly unfair, as some people use the roads more than others. Removing road tax, but adding between 2p and 5p per litre of fuel would raise the same amount of revenue for road maintenance and new road building. Cheap to administer, and encourages prudent driving styles and greater fuel efficiency of road vehicles. Much better than the individual vehicle rating system currently in use. It would introduce a levy system in line with the polluter pays principle. So all bases are dealt with. Environmental concerns have often been a result of NGO's lobbying parliament with private member bills. We need a road user NGO to come up with a respectable plan of action that would lead to a private members bill to reach parliament. This would propose this system with public support and democracy. This might be the only way of getting the country to see sense on the environment.

  • 64.
  • At 06:36 PM on 25 Mar 2007,
  • dave higgins wrote:

Dave Catling 16th Feb

While it is great for a person in such an eminent position to submit data, the manner you have provided it is incredibly arrogant.

You have supplied no supporting data on how the data was collected. For example what height in the atmoshere were the mearsurements taken, what ereas of the earth were the meaasurements taken and many other bits of information that would be required for a person to take your information and make any sort of reasoned assumption for or against your assumtions, or Calder.

It reminds me of the very bad science of the tabloids.

  • 65.
  • At 05:41 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • P J wrote:

Global Warming has become the 21st century's Spanish Inquisition. Based on corruption, power mongering, and fear. I too am old enough to remember the great cry of global freezing and of having no oil reserves after 20 years. But none of this has come true. Being conservation minded is one thing -- re-use what we can, be good stewards as it were -- but being fuel foolish is another. We are, as a race, growing. We will not need to conserve as much as we need to expand and find new sources of material and energy and how to process and reprocess them.

  • 66.
  • At 03:47 PM on 06 Apr 2007,
  • a wrote:

hello

  • 67.
  • At 07:17 PM on 13 Apr 2007,
  • John Jauregui wrote:

I just finished reading this book. It is terrific. It articulates the only observable and predictable natural mechanism which explains all climate changes present and past. It makes it very clear that climate changes is completely natural and not driven by human economic activity. It also makes it very clear that cooling, not warming, is a serious threat to humans. We should thank our lucky stars that we are in a warming phase, and we should hope to God it lasts.

John Jauregui. I agree to 100%, but we are only heretics who believe in childish IPCC accusing propaganda by Nigel Calder and Exxon financed Henrik Svensmark? I bet most of the "balanced climate debaters" agree with this last statement.

  • 69.
  • At 10:07 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The science behind Climate Change and the IPCC could be more politically motivated than we might otherwise suspect. The United Nations has established a number of its departments in the town of Bonn in West Germany. This includes the UNFCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change). This organisation issues the treaties for global ratification of climate change issues and is the global means to synchronise the political agreements surrounding climate change, with the first report published in 1992. (The Rio Summit).

See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNFCCC

The business this has brought to Germany and the international reputation of German science could have political reason to back its objectives. This would also bring in money to develop new technologies such as carbon sequestation. Such patentable technologies means business that provide exportable products that aid economies. That could explain Angela Merkel's eagerness to impose Carbon capping means within Europe to encourage global political deals of needing Non-Carbon energy technologies. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian, Climate Change Governor in California, is this a conspiracy ?
Is this a Reich of Socialism sweeping the world ? With a Europe Constitution always lingering in the minds of the socialists. And Germany has been issued one of the most lenient Carbon reductions as its part of the Kyoto protocol. Is this something we should worry about ? Germany covertly reducing the industrial means of the rest of the world while it protects its own interests. A global socialism that is good only for the nation of Germany ? Should we question this removal of our individual rights to emit a harmless gas we all exhale 24-7 ? Is this the first step towards a Communist Carbon allocation ? Under the auspices of a trading scheme ? Who benefits from that form of trade ?

  • 70.
  • At 10:23 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The science behind Climate Change and the IPCC could be more politically motivated than we might otherwise suspect. The United Nations has established a number of its departments in the town of Bonn in West Germany. This includes the UNFCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change). This organisation issues the treaties for global ratification of climate change issues and is the global means to synchronise the political agreements surrounding climate change, with the first report published in 1992. (The Rio Summit).

See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNFCCC

The business this has brought to Germany and the international reputation of German science could have political reason to back its objectives. This would also bring in money to develop new technologies such as carbon sequestation. Such patentable technologies means business that provide exportable products that aid economies. That could explain Angela Merkel's eagerness to impose Carbon capping means within Europe to encourage global political deals of needing Non-Carbon energy technologies. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian, Climate Change Governor in California, is this a conspiracy ?
Is this a Reich of Socialism sweeping the world ? With a Europe Constitution always lingering in the minds of the socialists. And Germany has been issued one of the most lenient Carbon reductions as its part of the Kyoto protocol. Is this something we should worry about ? Germany covertly reducing the industrial means of the rest of the world while it protects its own interests. A global socialism that is good only for the nation of Germany ? Should we question this removal of our individual rights to emit a harmless gas we all exhale 24-7 ? Is this the first step towards a Communist Carbon allocation ? Under the auspices of a trading scheme ? Who benefits from that form of trade ?

  • 71.
  • At 10:24 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The science behind Climate Change and the IPCC could be more politically motivated than we might otherwise suspect. The United Nations has established a number of its departments in the town of Bonn in West Germany. This includes the UNFCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change). This organisation issues the treaties for global ratification of climate change issues and is the global means to synchronise the political agreements surrounding climate change, with the first report published in 1992. (The Rio Summit).

See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNFCCC

The business this has brought to Germany and the international reputation of German science could have political reason to back its objectives. This would also bring in money to develop new technologies such as carbon sequestation. Such patentable technologies means business that provide exportable products that aid economies. That could explain Angela Merkel's eagerness to impose Carbon capping means within Europe to encourage global political deals of needing Non-Carbon energy technologies. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian, Climate Change Governor in California, is this a conspiracy ?
Is this a Reich of Socialism sweeping the world ? With a Europe Constitution always lingering in the minds of the socialists. And Germany has been issued one of the most lenient Carbon reductions as its part of the Kyoto protocol. Is this something we should worry about ? Germany covertly reducing the industrial means of the rest of the world while it protects its own interests. A global socialism that is good only for the nation of Germany ? Should we question this removal of our individual rights to emit a harmless gas we all exhale 24-7 ? Is this the first step towards a Communist Carbon allocation ? Under the auspices of a trading scheme ? Who benefits from that form of trade ?

  • 72.
  • At 11:58 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

Add to this Germany's decommissioning of power stations in order to avoid nuclear proliferation. This would be a serious challenge to provide an alternative energy source for the worlds people and industries. Economics would make industry expensive, making deindustrialisation attractive. Also making travel, liberty, and comfort a too expensive luxury for the majority. Reducing limits will make the resources last longer, but it won't stop the long term use of fossil fuel resources, therefore not reducing the total long term combustion of fossil fuels and the cumulation of emitted Carbon Dioxide. Is the democratic means of objection being removed by scientifically proving facts with propaganda and a form of radical ethical fascism ? If the majority of Carbon emissions have actually reached the oceans and not the atmosphere, should we be more concerned about the environmental impacts to the main recipient, the worlds oceans, and that being more significant than the impact to the atmosphere ? Coral bleaching, el nino, thermohaline circulation ? Surely these all need to be looked at in more depth, and the true cause ascertained. How can these impacts be effectively mitigated ? These will affect our future prosperity. We cannot yet be conclusive about the causes of el nino, how can it be claimed that the cause of climate change has been definitively determined. Hot water will melt ice, not just the mild increase of radiation from the sun. How much can 500 ppm CO2 really change the energy reaching the earth's surface from the sun? Where does all the latent heat go after it has left the chimney of an inefficient non gas condensing power station ? Energy will be released upon atmospheric condensation ? Law of entropy ? Can this raise ocean temperatures, and melt ice ? Surely this needs to be better understood and how it affects the climate. It is good that we are considering the impacts of our activities, but we must be certain of all the impacts of all our activities. Climate is affected not just by the atmosphere, but also by the oceans. We should see this as the part of a much bigger system. The world's oil fields cover a very small area of the earth. Can combustion of such a small amount of organic matter really have such a dramatic effect ? The thickness of the Earth's surface is equivalent to a piece of paper wrapped around an orange. Could larval mantle currents be more influential on the climate of the atmosphere ? Could the magnetic solar wind affect this ? It certainly influences tectonic activity. Greater tectonic activity increases stratospheric Sulfur particles from volcanic emissions, causing global cooling. Could this be a form of homeostasis ? A lot of climate changes have been seen since China began industrialising with unmitigated vigour after the year 2000. Surely this has a close corellation to cause and effect. China needs to enact a Clean Air Act to mitigate its Sulphur emissions. In the developed nations, before nuclear technologies were available, this meant a greater use of oil. Could nuclear technology finally provide an alternative energy to oil for the masses of the world, including developing nations ? If the IPCC is a means of internationally influencing political activity, let us not forget that political activity can affect the IPCC. To win requires you to stop your opponents from gaining ground on you. Politics is a complicated, often messy game.

  • 73.
  • At 09:26 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Tetenterre wrote:

Lionel Tiger wrote:
>The correlation between ice core samples and plant growth records from trees is indisputable

Indeed it is. The temperature change leads the CO2 change by around 800 years. Suddenly we are meant to believe in retrocausation?

test

  • 75.
  • At 09:45 PM on 10 May 2007,
  • Michael Dunn wrote:

A major problem with global warming zealots is that they are not scientists at all. They have forgotten (or never knew) a very simple scientific principle, i.e. that a correlation does not equal cause and effect.

I have personally examined ice core data and have a very difficult time seeing that increases in temperatures follow increases in carbon dioxide. If anything it seems the reverse may be true and that is completely logical.

As the earth warms more gases (including carbon dioxide) are released from the seas and decomposition of organic products speeds up. Global warming may be causing a large amount of carbon dioxide increase, not the other way around.

  • 76.
  • At 02:21 AM on 11 May 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

The whole fallacy relating to the Carbon Dioxide atmospheric warming obsession has gone on long enough. Apart from the insignificance of any radiative forcing compared to other effects quantified by any knowledgeable physicists, the science quoted by politicians is exceedingly poor. The Diatom phytoplankton in the oceans and Bicarbonate ions they release to generate limestone account for a much greater proportion of the world's Carbon budget than the world's industries. These figures are all scientifically accepted in their relative magnitudes by biologists, physicists, and chemists. These process Carbon Dioxide and sequest it on the ocean floor far more safely than an industrial pump pressurising rock voids. The apocalyptic NGO nonsense isn't even what the IPCC agree with, they have a 'basket' of greenhouse gases, Carbon Dioxide only being one of these. Nitrous Oxide, Methane, Sulphur TetraChloride are among the others. Since the Kyoto agreement, the UK hasn't reduced CO2 emissions at all since 1990. The reductions have all been in the other 5 compounds. And to top it off, figures are never quoted for the years prior to 1990. What were the Carbon emission figures for the 60's, 70,s and 80's ?
The problems with all this well meaning false science is that it fails to address the real problems. Fake solutions will inevitably result. We cannot sustainably fly everywhere with biofuels. Fossil fuels will run out with consumption at such a large rate, and unless the international community places greater value on what they offer the world, they will seemingly magically disappear, as if they were not important anyway. The EU's attempt to replace aviation fuel with biofuels is inferior to a transport system that provides a decent, efficient, convenient, rapid continental rail system. Since the 60's Beeching Acts, Britain has always had poor investment in public transport in favour of the car, leading to congested cities and the addiction to the oil consuming transportation for every trip to the office. This is a poor way of getting to work, not only being energy intensive, but also being stressful and time wasting with congestion from lack of road capacity to cope with all the cars.
We can't expect to demolish the rainforest to grow biofuels and enslave the rest of the world to grow our fuels. Nor would it provide the best solutions to the issues of benefit in our lives. Destroying the rainforest would affect the climate, it's in the title, 'rain', the climate it creates. Hence destroying them leads to 'climate change' of some sort. Water vapour having a highly significant climatic effect by global warming, cooling, and radiative forcing. Besides the added water vapour that causes greater radiative forcing by the foliated tropics, the humidity generates rain to support agriculture elsewhere in the world. Desertification is only the effect of defoliation, nothing to do with temperature, just humans getting rid of all the trees with chainsaws. Brazil can develop without destroying the rainforest, half its land area is outside the rainforest. Climate change induced by felling the rainforest would desertify their country, making it inhospitable for them.
Sulphur is the real villain of the atmosphere. Tropospheric particulates creating regions of atmospheric pressure that differ more prominently relative to the stratosphere, making weather systems more intense. And China can do something about this. The bourgeous Shanghai communist elites can afford to mitigate Sulphur emissions from industries in Shanghai. China cannot feasibly avoid a Clean Air Act, in the same way that any other developed industrialised country has done. They can't simply be told not to do what our visionary ancestors did for us by telling them off for emitting the same Carbon Dioxide that we do. They are developing much as former countries have, The Hoover Dam was large, and I cannot see why the Three Gorges Dam will be any different. I just hope that China develops to value the individual, and to open its market up to capitalist investment, so that everyone can benefit, not just the communist fascists in the hot seat. The PLC system has operated successfully, facilitating a degree of business ethics, and consumer choice based on informed investment choice. Boycotts have successfully resulted in change of business activities, and consumers have the power to show their approval with their wallets.
Now the socialists of Europe are trying to tell us off for using 100 Watt lightbulbs. How does this compare to the 50 kiloWatt (60 bhp, typical of a small 1.3 litre hatchback car) combustion engines (yes, that's 500 times as much) and the even more energy consuming jet engines in planes ? Miniscule is my rudimentary mathematical analytic conclusion, of a scale 3 magnitudes apart. Put into perspective, a one hour motorway journey uses the same energy as having a 100 Watt lightbulb on for 500 hours. If a house has 10 of these, it will be equivalent to 50 hours, or over two days of continuous illumination, make that ten days worth if the lights are on for 5 hours a day. Compare this to a 10 KiloWatt powershower or 10 to 20 KiloWatt Domestic boiler, and the figures are similarly 'illuminating'. Yet freight by air is projected to quadruple in coming years. As consumers, presumably we will pay for the expense of this inefficient system. Add this to the freezers in supermarkets open to the warm air of the building. Add this to the lights that are left on in the car park in broad daylight. Add this to the mylar and foiled crisp packets and wrappers. Surely it should be cheaper to send goods by land, use proper good refrigeration, and products that are of a quality that mean fancy packaging is not required to compensate for the lack of quality of the consumed product.
The evils of a financially orientated stock market where anyone can share the benefits and make ethical investments are there for anyone and are better than the evils of fascism. People do things for money, it's what makes the world go round. Taxes must justify themselves in a democratic society to provide benefits. Scrutiny will develop concepts, with critical merit, identify flaws, propose improvement, and affect business ethics. People need educating on the most effective ways of reducing energy usage. Not by having liberties removed and being forced by socialist politicians to live a prosaic existence in a state commune. Such tactics fail address the true problems, and only work to achieve a system where the rich become the only ones able to enjoy the luxuries. Such a backward form of idealistic economics should have been historically proven to be fanciful, and only good for sadistic megalomaniacs.

  • 77.
  • At 06:00 PM on 15 Jun 2007,
  • David Catling wrote:

On 25 Mar (in comment no. 64), Dave Higgins complains, in an accusatory tone, that data sources were not given for a graph in my comment (16 Feb, no. 42). The graph shows the cosmic ray flux, which has no meaningful trend over the last half century, and the global surface air temperature, which has clearly increased (Graph here: http://www.realclimate.org/images/cr.jpg )

Data sources are now given below.

The root domain http://www.realclimate.org/ was included in the link for the graph, so I assumed that any person genuinely interested in the details could have used the search engine on realclimate.org (or, indeed, google for the whole web) to find the source of the data. In a trial, it took me less than 10 seconds.

The fact there is no correlation over the last 50 years between the measured cosmic ray flux and the measured mean global temperature is the single most relevant issue regarding claims made in the BBC Newsnight TV programme. In my original post, I just wanted to stick to that one point because there are no problems with the data in the graph – they've been published in many peer-reviewed journals (below) and the scientific community accepts them.

So the central point remains: It is obvious that the cosmic ray flux from the 1950s to present, which has no trend, cannot be related to the upward trend in global temperature over the same period.

David Catling,
Dept. of Earth Sciences,
University of Bristol

DATA SOURCES:
The temperature graph is marked “CRU SAT”. This means Climatic Research Unit Surface Air Temperature from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, with data described here: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/
Full details of the data and are found in various scientific papers, e.g., Brohan, P. et al. 2006: Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new dataset from 1850. J. Geophysical Research 111, D12106. Available as a PDF:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/HadCRUT3_accepted.pdf

Cosmic Ray data comes from Climax Station neutron monitor in Colorado, which is the station monitoring cosmic rays that has been in longest operation, since 1950. Details about this data and how the measurements are made can be found at
http://ulysses.sr.unh.edu/NeutronMonitor/neutron_mon.html and links therein.
Again, the data are published in many scientific papers, e.g., M. A. Shea and D. F. Smart (2000) Fifty years of cosmic radiation data, Space Science Reviews, 93, 229-262.

VmUJny Hey, there is what you need.

  • 79.
  • At 05:01 PM on 18 Jun 2007,
  • Lionel Tiger wrote:

We should not become too complacent. Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere contributes minimal direct radiative forcing that would cause global warming, when other factors such as water vapour are considered. However, we should not ignore the effects of climate change, its causes, and its effects. The pH of the oceans has lowered significantly, and weather patterns are changing. Some of this is due to Carbon emissions, others less so. The dangers of false science lead to opposing false hypotheses. We should be looking at how to preserve the Amazon rainforest whilst Brazil develops. We should clean up industrial emissions from poisonous compounds. We should pursue more energy efficient technologies. We shouldn't however impose a totalitarian system on the masses by the means of a false scientific theory. This is a communist politic. As soon as you stop someone from doing something, that is exactly what they want to do. People need the choice and incentive to make informed judgements. Influence choice responsibly, and allow people the freedom to choose.

  • 80.
  • At 05:47 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • david tuchyner wrote:

some of us know a bit about december 21, 2012. some of us know a bit about physics. some of us know a bit about religious prophecy. global warming has little to do with carbon emissions. the earths magnetic field (reduces solar radiation) is weakening due to the procession of our solar system toward the equator of the milky way galaxy (which also has a magnetic field). we are crossing the plane from one side of our galaxy to the other. we cross on winter solstice, december 21, 2012 at 11:11 gmt. magnetic pole switch? in any case this is the date when the mayan long count calendar ends and when they predicted the end of the world would cease to exist as we know it. the last time procession occurred was aprox. 13,000 years ago, about the time the neanderthal man experienced a bit of difficulties it is presumed. there are many rare astronomical events coinciding together on that date in 2012. we may have something to be more concerned about than carbon emissions not too long from now. it is a date that we will all become more familiar with as we approach it.

  • 81.
  • At 06:36 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • John wrote:

I haven't read the book, yet, but will over the Christmas holidays. However, this just emphasizes that, regardless the howling of the AGW zealots, the SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED. I don't even know exactly what that phrase is supposed to mean, anyway. But we need to stop the headlong charge to "cap and trade" in CO2 and severely damage our industries and developing countries progress, catch our breath, and get the issue back to true, skeptical, SCIENCE. Not simulations.........SCIENCE.

  • 82.
  • At 11:18 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • MOM wrote:

are you david t tuch?

the count of monte cristo movie teenlove.info embassy 20grand 20beach 20 orlando 20fl mel ahlers analy high world baseball classics results brew house association san antonio north central homeowners ass. ebony women corpus christi

  • 84.
  • At 09:13 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Michael Karp wrote:

One of the commenters, Paul Meyer, Editor - Rip-Off Britain, falsely implies that low energy light bulbs are hard to find in America. His so called proof is his google search:

"By the way - try finding low-energy light bulbs (lamps) for sale on Google.com in the USA - you'll be hard pressed!"

I live in Los Angeles and in reality, it is almost impossible to find a drug store, supermarket or hardware store here that does not stock low energy light bulbs (CFL).

  • 85.
  • At 11:19 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Michael Karp wrote:

One of the commenters, Paul Meyer, Editor - Rip-Off Britain, falsely implies that low energy light bulbs are hard to find in America. His so called proof is his google search:

"By the way - try finding low-energy light bulbs (lamps) for sale on Google.com in the USA - you'll be hard pressed!"

I live in Los Angeles and in reality, it is almost impossible to find a drug store, supermarket or hardware store here that does not stock low energy light bulbs (CFL).

  • 86.
  • At 09:27 PM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Michael Karp wrote:

One of the commenters, Paul Meyer, Editor - Rip-Off Britain, falsely implies that low energy light bulbs are hard to find in America. His so called proof is his google search:

"By the way - try finding low-energy light bulbs (lamps) for sale on Google.com in the USA - you'll be hard pressed!"

I live in Los Angeles and in reality, it is almost impossible to find a drug store, supermarket or hardware store here that does not stock low energy light bulbs (CFL).

  • 87.
  • At 04:48 AM on 24 Mar 2008,
  • gerard bruin wrote:

Politics in this debate is dangerous for the environment. But this is an important political as well as scientific debate.

If environmentalist are wrong about the magnitude of effect of CO2 on the climate, then efforts to protect the environment from CO2 will be wasted, or at least could be spend on better things. For example reducing particulate matter associated with the burning of fossil fuels, in particular coal, as opposed to the excessive focus on C02 alone might be a more worthy and productive objective.

Developing nations have no choice but to increase their consumption of energy. Unless we, in developed nations, want to build a massive number of nuclear plants quickly, fossil fuel use will only increase over the next decades. We can't stop it, at least in the short term.

Nor can we expect China, (or others) to cooperate by decreasing their use of fossil fuels in the short term. But instead of focusing on CO2 emissions alone, (note China and the developing nations are not obliged to reduce their CO2 emissions by the Koyoto protocol), we might instead focus on the particulate matter that has been shown to effect climate.

Massive amounts of particulate emissions can effect climate. China is an environmental experiment in progress. It has been claimed that the particulate emission (sulfur dioxide and all the rest) in the southern industrial coastal regions has increased cloud cover and rainfall there, and that this is one of the reasons there is less rainfall in the Northern and interior regions.

By focusing, or sticking dogmatically to the CO2 risk, (CO2 is not technically a pollutant), the Koyoto accord advocates, may be doing more harm than good by diverting focus from the more harmful particulate emissions.

We can't expect China or other developing nations to stop producing CO2 in the short term. We can however place expectations of cleaning up their act with regard to other pollutants. The developing world might also help them with this.

  • 88.
  • At 08:58 AM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Mitch Lever wrote:

I can't believe the number of people who think the "man made global warming" is some political agenda, not backed up by sound science. If you don't like the IPCC then go visit one of the many other atmospheric science organisations or journals. It's a pretty simple hypothesis, which has both a mechanism and the empirical evidence to support it - which part don't you get?

Finding possible alternative drivers or uncertainties doesn't mean humans aren't having an impact on climate. Newtons laws have been superceded by Einstein (which has also been challenged on many fronts), quantum theory doesn't explain everthing, but these are still extremely useful working models.

Although I respect the spirit of all research in the area to better understand the complexities involved, as far as I know there's not much I can personally do to reduce cosmic rays so I'd rather respond to the part I can do sopmething about.
Knockers of "Man made global warming", please get some understanding about the limits of science and get over yourselves - consensus does not equal error! It's the best we've got for now and if we aint going to act upon it then whats the point of having science at all!

  • 89.
  • At 03:22 PM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Tim Dennell wrote:

If we’re looking at reduced sun spot activity causing cold periods then the correlation between solar activity and climate is far from perfect. To take the Little Ice Age as an example: North eastern America’s coldest period of the past Millennium was the 19th century. Western Europe and China’s coldest period was in the 17th. In Tibet it was the 16th. In north-western America it was the 15th. In Western Greenland it was the 14th.
Western North America had both its highest and lowest peaks of temperatures (of the 1000 – 1900 period) in the same century! The 15th.
So, when the detail is looked at the Little Ice Age is difficult to explain just using the cosmic rays hypothesis.

On Cosmic Rays and cloud formation: Different clouds formed at different altitudes have different properties. High altitude clouds reflect solar energy; low altitude clouds can help retain heat. Sorting out exactly what effect CR’s have is going to be difficult, will take decades and take * cough * climate models. All the Danes can claim to have detected so far is a 3% difference in cloud cover between solar maximum and minimum periods. That really isn’t much; it may not actually make much difference to climate.

As for Ice Ages and the often made observation that rises in CO2 follow rises in temperature; you really need to explain the causes of Ice Ages (Milankovitch cycles) to understand why and how they end. Of course tap isn’t turned to release CO2 into the atmosphere to initiate temperature rises. Just as it wasn’t turned off to lower temperatures as the ice age developed. As the astronomical cycle alters the distribution of solar energy on Earth (forcing) the Earth begins to warm; this starts the release of CO2 (feedback) thus increasing temperature rise. That’s why CO2 lags the temperature rise.

Svensmark has said – but this is seldom reported – that even if cosmic rays do play a part in creating clouds that it doesn’t rule out human influence on climate as well. In other words the well known properties of CO2 also have to be factored in. It’s political advocates that are turning this into an either/or debate.

This post is closed to new comments.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites