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COP15 Copenhagen climate summit: Day 4

Richard Black | 14:12 UK time, Thursday, 10 December 2009

1720 CET: In a brief interlude between chasing scoops with one hand and writing news stories with the other, I thought I'd give you an insight or two into how we do our job here.

People waiting to enter the UN climate conference in CopenhagenMaybe if I can paint a quick warts-and-all picture of how it works, that'll act as a lens through which you can view our reporting, in all its shades of good and bad.

Yesterday I outlined the main official threads of the negotiations - the AWG-LCA, AWG-KP, SBI and SBSTA.

But those sessions are far from being the only places where news happens - in fact, for long stretches of their deliberations, news doesn't happen, unless you count the changing of "should" to "ought to" in sub-paragraph 6.3 of document FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/16 as "news".

Some news happens in news conferences, which are scheduled through the day in an endless stream. This afternoon's offerings started with the Coalition for Rainforest Nations at 1300 and runs through to the Least Developed Countries bloc at 1900, taking in 10 others on the way, including the Eastern European Group, the League of Arab States and OPEC.

Those are just the official news conferences.

NGOs and scientific organisations and business groups and sometimes national delegations organise their own, more ad-hoc gatherings - and you might or might not be invited, depending on whether the organisers know of your existence and whether they consider you to be important. With 5,000 journalists registered, those criteria are far from guaranteed.

Most of the real deals are done behind closed doors guarded by security guys with stern faces and impressive pectorals.

That's where the important countries and blocs reveal more of their real demands, where trades are bartered between national delegations.

Reporting it is a nightmare.

Who do you know who might have an insight? If the answer is "no-one", then who do you know who might know someone who might have an insight, and have their mobile number to hand?

Once you connect with that person, can you trust what they're telling you? Are they spinning you a line, and if so, what might the reason be?

Over time, you build up relationships with certain delegations and with people close to certain delegations, and you work out a kind of modus operandi that gets you some of the information you'll need.

In smaller gatherings that I've reported on - such as some of the fisheries meetings, where far fewer than 192 countries are represented and many of them are bit-part players - you feel reasonably confident of having a line on everything important that's going on.

Not here; it's impossible. Some journalist somewhere knows something you don't, you can guarantee that; and you just hope it's not more important than the thing you know that they don't.

Once something happens, the first job is to make sense of it. What does the African bloc really want its walk-out to achieve? Why is Tuvalu pressing a two-track approach so hard? What's the significance of the Japanese finance proposal?

Again, it's a question of who you know well enough to trust that their interpretation is likely to have some truth in it - not necessarily that it'll be 100% correct, because much that goes on here is impossible to read accurately at the time - but that it's worth listening to.

By now you'll have deduced that there are choices to be made. Should I listen to the AWG-KP negotiations or go to the AOSIS press conference? I need to catch up on the thinking among US policy wonks - but can I afford to do that now and risk missing something in the REDD side-meeting?

Do I actually have time to sit down and write the story now - and do I need to keep one ear on the news conference while I do so?

At their hairiest, plans change by the minute; the list of things you'd told your editor you were going to do at the start of the day is in its 19th revision by the time you're grabbing a hasty supper.

The knowledge that you're not going to get to everything and that you're almost certain to miss some important developments is uncomfortable for a journalist.

But at this meeting, it's inevitable: feel the size of the place, resign yourself, and do the best you can.

1427 CET: The rift that emerged yesterday within the developing countries bloc here grows more intriguing.

A document has fallen into the BBC's hands that comes from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group, which brings together 49 countries with per-capita national incomes below $750 per year.

It's aimed at laying out needs and opportunities for the LDCs in these negotiations, and was drawn up last month in Lesotho, which speaks for the grouping here.

Unsurprisingly, their highest priority is money for adaptation - to help nations such as Lesotho prepare for, and protect against, climate impacts.

The document argues that more money is needed from rich countries than is currently pledged, and wants public funds to be the primary source.

It's also demanding steeper emission cuts from the rich than are currently on the table.

So much could have been guessed at. But what's interesting, given the context of the divisions that emerged yesterday between small island states and LDCs on one hand and richer developing countries on the other, is the "differentiation" it seeks within the developing country bloc.

It argues that the LDCs have "special needs and priorities", and that their preferential position has been agreed in the UN climate convention: but "the larger group of developing countries (G77/China) tend to avoid differentiation among them".

Least developed nations will gain from allying themselves with small island states "in their efforts to differentiate themselves from larger group of developing countries..."

"Per-capita emission of LDCs is 12 times lower than that of other developing countries" and "mitigation commitments are needed from the largest emitters" in the developing world "for the protection of LDCs themselves..."

Dessima WilliamsAt the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) news conference this morning, Grenada's delegate Dessima Williams spoke of "unity" across the developing world.

I suggested that when the AOSIS position is that man-made climate change threatens their countries' very existence but Saudi Arabia (another G77 member) argues man-made climate change isn't happening, it doesn't look very much like unity.

Wider political considerations play powerfully into this process, and it's clear that all members of the developing world are still shooting first and foremost at the West - particularly those that, in Ambassador Williams' words, "bear the historical responsibility for climate change".

But unity comes in degrees; and it's clear that the poorest of the poor do want more from their powerful developing world brethren than they've seen so far - or than they've been prepared to demand before.

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:44pm on 10 Dec 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The LDC's line up anywhere that money is being discussed. You can't blame them for that. The issue with the LDC's is that much funding has been provided to many of these countries for various reasons and it tends to disappear or fund a presidents palace, more arms to surpress the people or bank accounts in other countries in anticipation of the next change in government. I would suggest that any commitments should be by the individual countries to allocate some determined funding level for the implementation of alternative energies and technologies and the development of new non-fossil fuels within each of those countries. As we have seen with the global economy (international banking) there are always unforeseen consequences with actions of that scope. Individual benchmarks for individual countries will provide for a better guage of progress. This does not mean that existing aid packages to LDC's should not continue and that some of those funds should be targeted to address these issues.

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  • 2. At 2:46pm on 10 Dec 2009, LabMunkey wrote:

    certainly seems that the LDC countries are milking this for all it is worth.

    Any feeling on wheter these are genuine concerns, or just politicking (is that even a word?).

    Also, any news on the open letter from ~150 climate scientists asking those at copenhagen to supply the evidence to back their claims up? Or is it all just getting swept under the carpet (perhaps the 'movement is now to big to stop, regardless of the scientific irregularities and potential fraud)?

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  • 3. At 3:20pm on 10 Dec 2009, minuend wrote:

    Copenhagen Day 4: Rockall Delegate's diary

    Had the delegate from Wapping explain the complicated George Soros financial scheme for me.

    WD: "Look it's easy. Since your rich it won't cost you a penny. What you do is write on a piece of paper a sum of money you can afford to lend back to yourself. Right."

    Me: "Okay."

    WD: "Now I take this piece of paper and write on the back that a poor person can spend up to this limit of what you can loan yourself, and then I hand that to a poor person."

    Me: "Got you so far"

    WD: "Now the poor person can now buy carbon credits up to that amount on an open market and sell those credits to rich people like yourself for a profit."

    Me: "Rrriigghhhttt?!?..........So what happens to the piece of paper?"

    WD: "I hand it back to you and you give me 100 Kroner"

    Me: "Sounds fair to me"

    WD: "There's one born every minute"

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  • 4. At 3:25pm on 10 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    So to summarise ... it's a money grab by the developing nations and a power grab by the developed nations.

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  • 5. At 3:34pm on 10 Dec 2009, Flatearther wrote:

    How much money is each day at Copenhagen costing the world's taxpayers?

    Anything productive to show for it yet?

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  • 6. At 3:42pm on 10 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    redistribution of wealth? By anonymous beaurocrats? i'm poor-ish (for a brit), how do i make a pitch? i might renounce rational pragmatism (you know, convert to AGW) if theres a wodge of folding stuff involved!

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  • 7. At 3:55pm on 10 Dec 2009, felix1993 wrote:

    why dont MEDCs just pair up with LEDCs and give their paired countries monney to prepare for climate chande. it would be so much easyer than a world wide fund.

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  • 8. At 4:01pm on 10 Dec 2009, SamuelPickwick wrote:

    Sounds like a recipe for corruption. For third-world dictatorships to cash in on the gullible guilt-ridden developed countries. How would this vast amount of money be distributed among these countries? How would it be monitored to check if it really went to build the presidents new palace as mentioned in #1? The world really is going mad.

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  • 9. At 4:11pm on 10 Dec 2009, Kamboshigh wrote:

    Oh great stuff George Soros says use the SDR, really great if you make your billions from currency speculation and have the morals of the devil.

    With idiot politics if this goes through then watch Soros take a few billions a day from sterling. Remember the last time with ERM 17.5% mortgage rates. Save the planet give me a break
    https://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/sdr.htm

    Perhaps you should run this idea past your finacial journalists Richard

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  • 10. At 4:13pm on 10 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    ahh, i forgot, my family has lived in the uk since before the industrial revolution so i (through my ancestors and no fault of my own) am kind of responsible for the climate debt? is that the theory? no wodge of folding stuff for TOOF? wait, i have actually to stump up (in tax hikes) because i'm descended from people who lived in the uk 100 years ago who didn't know what we now 'know'? seems a bit harsh. what about people who've moved to the uk in the last 20 years from un-industrialised economies, do they have to pay as well? should we hold the descendents of criminals guilty of the crimes of their forefathers?? should we really pay reparations for co2 released 100 years ago?

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  • 11. At 4:24pm on 10 Dec 2009, Kamboshigh wrote:

    Richard 21 cm of snow is reported for Thursday in Copenhagen. However, this is from a climate computer model with data obtained under the freedom of information act.

    Interestingly, Piers Corbyn did predict such conditions for the original planned visit by Obama but not as extreme. Let us know what happens

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  • 12. At 4:25pm on 10 Dec 2009, LarryKealey wrote:


    @Sparklet #4 - right on the money - pun intended.

    On of the first things I would suggest is that there are too many countries which should not be considered as undeveloped - but are. Countries such as India, China, Brazil, etc.

    If Brazil (and the other countries which comprise Amazonia, cannot see the value of preserving the forests, and even restoration projects - even from a purely economic perspective and they want money - I am ok with giving them money - in return, I think we should own the rainforest. I am not in favor of 'entitlements'. If they are motivated by short term greed are are too shortsighted to see the real value of their forests - let them sell them. I for one would be happy if we spent $100B or even $200B to buy 100M sq km of forests (about 18% of the amazon rain forest. Let it become the 51st and 52nd states. They get their money - more than they dream of - and we in term, get something real for it.

    I am not for handing out free money, and over time, paying for the forests many times over and receiving nothing for it.

    If they want the money that bad - let them sell us the forests. With selective and sustainable logging, eco-tourism and the value derived from scientific research, the investment would pay for itself.

    Entitlements are a very bad idea - and CO2 entitlements top the list of bad ideas in my view. Please, sell us the rainforests. I think a thousand or two would be a fair price for each sq km of rainforest. It could be a win-win - too bad the 'poorer nations' have their minds and hearts set upon entitlement programs.

    Cheers.

    Kealey

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  • 13. At 4:37pm on 10 Dec 2009, Kamboshigh wrote:

    Right on the money guys take a look at this what the Met office is upto.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/10/the-met-office-making-a-list-tries-to-prop-up-the-image-of-the-cru/

    By the way met office were is the raw data you promised you would post in a week along with the adjustments and fudges?

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  • 14. At 4:59pm on 10 Dec 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The main problem is that this provides "the right to pollute." This extends the sue of coal and oil and does not reduce anything in real terms. This is about money and not about the environment. There are better ways to accomplish the same things. This is all heading to another victory for coal and oil. People will need to change this because governments will not.

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  • 15. At 5:00pm on 10 Dec 2009, Jack Frost wrote:

    Its refreshing to know the Chairman of the G77 block is Abdalmahmood Mohamad of Sudan, yes that upstanding country the world looks up to for morals and wellbeing of its Darfur people.

    '100 Billion Euro's a year is peanuts, we want 500 to 600 Billion for climate action, as well as a similar 500 to 600 Billion for adaptation'

    HARDTalk
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p4r5t

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  • 16. At 5:00pm on 10 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    No. 10, tears of our forefathers:

    Agree with you that it is fundamentally dishonest to lay the blame for the present condition of the planet on the industrialised nations. A calumny, and a shameless one, as I see it, for the following reasons:

    (1) Any other countries that had developed industrial capabilities first, or second, or third in the series would have done exactly the same thing: polluted with impunity, until now, at the moment when human survival itself is threatened, they might finally call a stop to think & see if maybe a different tack is called for.

    Greed is abhorrent, a vice & not at all a virtue (as some obsessed with capitalism like to suggest). And greed is a characteristic of most humans, certainly of those whom we have collectively installed in the uppermost tiers of political & financial authority at the present time.

    Greed has come to pervade other human disciplines as well: I defy anyone to explain to me how some modernist daubings and hideous obscene imaginings from some of our "cultural leading lights" can be valued at more than that drawing by Rafaello, almost half-a-millenium old, that just sold for a little over 29 million GBP... Yet they are, and in that travesty itself you have evidence of how revolting the Greed of the Greedy has become...

    Fortunately, the beauty of the Raphael drawing is infinitely greater than any Everest of gold could ever match. So, hands down, Light triumphs over Darkness.

    But in the world where political decisions are being made, we still struggle for sanity. We still struggle against Greed & Pride. Don't imagine that being poor makes someone less prone to be proud, or less prone to be greedy: facts not in evidence.

    The environmental crisis does indeed offer an impetus towards greater honesty, though.

    So admit that you would have done exactly as the industrial states have, had you the means. Because it is ultimately impossible to move forward without a dose of humility all around.

    (2) The populations and stature of the disadvantaged countries are only as great as they are because the developed, industrialised countries chose to make it so.

    That is a fact. Not just through institutions as disparate, and variously effective (or not) as the UN, WHO, the International Red Cross, Amnesty International, international finance, les Médécins sans Frontières and the foreign aid programmes of many of the most advanced countries on earth (even while themselves being misguided, as the USSR obviously was when it was sending substantial infusions of aid to all kinds of struggling nations, alongside the US & Nato powers & China or Japan).

    So the fact that we have a population problem is in part a measure of how effective the advanced societies of the world were in providing assistance -- and even promoting the idea of a moral imperative to assist -- the poorer, afflicted nations.

    Yes, there have been colonialism & exploitation of underdeveloped societies by foreign powers. But there have also been, within each of these underdeveloped societies themselves, social crimes of a monumental scale -- principally in the way they have chosen to treat, or to neglect, their women, children & vulnerable people.

    Of course I know the p.c. term pairing for the distinction between these basic two sets, the "rich" and the "poorer" nations of the world is "developed" and "developing." But it does not tell half the story, does it?

    Russia is a "developed" nation, with an advanced industrial base that desperately needs to overhaul some of its infrastructure even as it works furiously to advance in the latest industrial disciplines -- yet it remains, in many ways, a nation very much "developing" -- and, as every single Russian today would be the first to acknowledge, it is very much Under-developed.

    And so I prefer, as a painstaking semanticist, to make the distinction between "over-developed" and "under-developed." Because really it is a Balance we must all seek. And many, many nations actually fall somewhere in both columns, just as I have illustrated with Russia in the case above.

    India and Brazil, and of course Pakistan and China both also fit into that case. Here in California, we have thousands of brilliant engineers & scientists from Pakistan at work in all our centres and facilities of highest learning. Yet Pakistan, as much as India, both being nuclear powers, are not yet finished leaving the "developing" (or as I would put it "under-developed") category.

    So the "either/or" classifications being used to frame the debates in Copenhagen in terms of "If you are rich or educated you owe us something" are completely bogus.

    Every single country named has some members of its population who fit in the ranks of the superwealthy power elites. Mugabe is not a poor man or a man without resources, who needs help.

    The only thing anyone owes anyone else is a Future to Our Children, since we bothered making them & dragging them, crying and struggling, to join us here.

    (3) Everyone has a part to play in building the path to human survival. For the poorest of the poor, an enormous part of their personal responsibility has to be addressing the fundamental human right of each child to be well provided for by the people who created its life.

    That means there are no excuses. Any poor man or woman who is an adult person with a mouth that can speak and who has two legs to walk with and two arms to work with needs to be investing some of their precious time & energy preaching to the younger, fertile members of their own community to Restrain Themselves before they add to their local community's -- and the planet's -- population burdens.

    And then use those two arms to help a woman (usually it is a woman) who is struggling to care for the young ones she already has... Because these poor struggling mothers are everywhere!

    (4) The history of how aid has been actually used by the administrators who are in control of the donated assets and resources is not very inspiring. Actually, it is alarming and a powerful argument for limiting aid, rather than increasing it.

    At least let us make it incremental and put some teeth into the rules about diversion, conversion, embezzlement, resale, favoritism, nepotism, kickbacks, mismanagement and all the other abuses that we know are going on. Let us make actual results & performance on aid delivered an actual criterion for any further disbursements.

    I reject & dismiss out of hand any criticisms delivered from G Soros, because he is a man that has made a fortune from the distress of others, and so lacks credibility in his statements.

    (5) The most advanced societies of the world, if there is to be any significant quick mitigating effect, will require all hands on deck, and enormous amounts of resources, working out -- virtually at the speed of thought (to use Bill Gates's sweet term for it) -- the technologies & implementation strategies to turn the problem around.

    And that means there just won't be a lot of time or money available to send large teams of experts around to the poorer corners to fix things for them.

    They will just have to sit back, do what they can, hope & pray for the success of the well-intentioned best efforts of the advanced countries -- and hope there is enough time.

    Because this is more like finding "a vaccine" than it is like "rebuilding Iraq". You need to give the experts the time & space to get the work done, and preferably not make too much noise outside their offices, if you want the job done at all.


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  • 17. At 5:03pm on 10 Dec 2009, Flatearther wrote:

    And who pays the salaries of all those signators? Us taxpayers perhaps? Have they nothing better to do? They didn't ask me to sign. Why not?

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  • 18. At 5:09pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Richard,

    On various reports elsewhere of the Beeb, you are asking us what questions we would like you to put to our glorious leaders at Copenhagen.

    Here's one, please:

    There is hard evidence that some data has been manipulated to make temperatures appear to be a hockey stick. Please see here for details:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/

    What are out leaders doing to ensure that this type of scientific fraud is uncovered and corrected before any deals are done at Copenhagen?

    Thank you Richard, I look forward to hearing their response

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  • 19. At 5:10pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    Other proof of Scientic fraud can be found here:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/smoking-guns-across-australia-wheres-the-warming/

    A response would be appreciated from our leaders

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  • 20. At 5:12pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    and here:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/fraudulent-hockey-sticks-and-hidden-data/

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  • 21. At 5:26pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    this email from Briffa to Phil Jones and Michael Mann is a killer - it sure sounds like scientific fraud:

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/another-powerful-email-from-climategate/

    Ask the questions Richard

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  • 22. At 5:47pm on 10 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    Maria Ashot:

    your wall of text+10 just battered my fragile mind.

    a couple of replies if you don't mind, sorry if i miss anything:

    Greed is indeed a human unversal. however capitalism and the industrial revolution are the 2 forces that have, the last 150 years, lifted more people than ever before in the history of civilisation out of poverty and ignorance and into the sunlit uplands of not starving and being able discuss Proust and Shakespeare. i concur that unchecked capitalism is prone to dramatic boom and bust phases and should be (with common sense) regulated to minimize the exploitation of those at the bottom of the system by the greedy overlords. we are apparently going to have to buy an indulgence for the sin of raising humanity out of the dark ages of burning witches for crop failure (although as you may have gathered by now i believe superstition is alive and well).

    classification of 'less developed countries' and medium developed countries etc seems pretty hit and miss and arbitrary.

    Aid payments are notorious for vanishing into the coffers of corrupt despots and ministers or being spent on guns'n'ammo. I concur.

    If the sea rises as dramatically as our kind host has suggested, several times, why haven't we improved sea defences in the UK or relocated vulnerable cities inland or out of flood plains and steep valleys? why do we have to stop driving and using coal fired powerstations to keep the sea back, Canute-like?

    Also you are sort of presupposing that the worst (The Climate Apocalypse) is going to happen. i can't predict the future but i can say for a fact that every few years people who live near fault lines, in flood plains, on the sides of volcanoes, in the paths of the monsoon winds etc somewhere in the world are regretting their choice of habitation! destructive climactic events have always happened and will always happen. why don't we take rational precautions (japanese building are pretty much un-earthquakeable these days) if we could divest these kind of ideas from co2 emissions and make it practical i could sign on to massively increase spending (heavily audited) on taking rational preventative action against what we used to call 'natural disasters'.

    Also, just a thought: exactly how much aid has say, Europe and the US given out (as states and by philanthropic individuals) since the second world war? we can hardly be accused of having been skinflints thus far, even if we were negligent regarding where most of the money actually ended up.

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  • 23. At 6:00pm on 10 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    ps maria: 2 things i couldn't agree with i'm afraid despite a considerable amount of longwinded :) sense:

    'So admit that you would have done exactly as the industrial states have, had you the means. Because it is ultimately impossible to move forward without a dose of humility all around. ' nope, i wouldn't have lied, constructed massive public hysteria and set the development of a real understanding of climate science back by 2 decades or more.

    'Because this is more like finding "a vaccine" than it is like "rebuilding Iraq". You need to give the experts the time & space to get the work done, and preferably not make too much noise outside their offices, if you want the job done at all.' Precautionary Approach is a con that can be translated: we don't know whether this is true or not, this is what we 'believe' and it allows us to do what we wanted to do anyway' The only vaccine we need is one that stops governments saving us from ourselves when we don't need saving.

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  • 24. At 6:16pm on 10 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    From the online version of The Times, December 10:

    'One scientist said that he felt under pressure to sign the circular or risk losing work. The Met Office admitted that many of the signatories did not work on climate change.'

    From the print version of The Times [Irish Edition], December 10:

    'One scientist told The Times he felt under pressure to sign. "The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming," he said.'

    Quite apart from the journalistic "massaging of the message", how can any real scientist associate with people who have to sign petitions to persuade people of the worth of their work? Has all scientific integrity been flushed away, along with journalistic integrity?

    Science should persuade the general public of its claims by yielding predictions and passing tests, not by passing petitions around. That's ludicrous -- and sinister.

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  • 25. At 6:51pm on 10 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    Mr Bard:


    Look into Post Normal Science. this exactly what i've been gibbering about, the democratisation (sounds good right? enough non scientists think it does anyway) of science is its collapse into postmodern lysenkoism.

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  • 26. At 7:11pm on 10 Dec 2009, jazbo wrote:

    "I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago."

    Guess who said that. Keith Briffa.

    We survived that 1000 years though I think?

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  • 27. At 7:11pm on 10 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #16 Maria Ashot suggests:

    "preaching to the younger, fertile members of their own community to Restrain Themselves before they add to their local community's -- and the planet's -- population burdens."

    Many contributors to these blogs -- on all sides -- have expressed concern about the dangers of overpopulation.

    As a Darwinian, I'm baffled by these concerns. The number of members of any species would increase geometrically -- like multiplying 2 by itself over and over again -- but in fact it doesn't, because a "ceiling" prevents it from increasing geometrically.

    This ceiling is nearly always set by the food supply (plus a few complicating factors such as predation, disease, etc.) For example, leave a garden to itself and it will soon be overrun with "weeds" (our name for plants that are common because they are suited to our climate). There is never a "space waiting to be filled by weeds that haven't thought up the idea of sex yet"!

    Put some rabbits on an island, and their numbers will keep increasing -- and remarkably quickly -- till the grass begins to grow thin. Add some foxes, and the rabbits thin out, and then the foxes, but then the grass gets thicker again, and so on. There is oscillation, but it's always around a mean set by the food supply.

    The would-be geometric expansion of every species on Earth has been constrained from Day One -- when life (or replicating molecules) emerged -- by limitations on the supply of food (i.e. essential nutrients).

    This applies to all species of plants and animals, including all mammals, all primates, and all apes -- including humans.

    We living things "hit the ceiling" on Day One. We humans have been bumping along that ceiling since the emergence of humans.

    The human population did "explode" in recent centuries, because agricultural technology made huge advances. The technology was new, and the huge expansion in the food supply was new, but starvation and death by diseases of malnutrition is an old, old enemy -- and it's been the ceiling since Day One.

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  • 28. At 7:14pm on 10 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #24

    Two separate extracts from The Times online article:

    3rd paragraph

    "One scientist said that he felt under pressure to sign the circular or risk losing work. The Met Office admitted that many of the signatories did not work on climate change."

    6th paragraph

    "One scientist told The Times he felt under pressure to sign. “The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming,” he said."

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6951029.ece

    I'm not the biggest fan of Murdoch's media. But I don't think you can accuse them of 'journalistic "massaging of the message"' in this instance.

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  • 29. At 7:21pm on 10 Dec 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    I read a mistake in a Chinese history once. The author was attributing something to an emperor that he did not do nor was his lineage that what was written down. Like in todays world, the eunuches controlled much of the money and often reported expenditures that were not true for their own benefit. Must mean all Chinese history is wrong.
    I think the volumes and text identifying George Soros as the source of these misdeeds were destroyed with the Summer Place but may be in the British archives with the other stolen histories.

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  • 30. At 7:25pm on 10 Dec 2009, Jux1a wrote:

    Surely you are not the only BBC reporter there?

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  • 31. At 7:36pm on 10 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "Two separate extracts from The Times online article:"

    Ooops -- Sorry! And thanks JaneBasingstoke -- I'm not nearly as clever as I think. (And if you could hear my voice saying that, it would be very, very weedy and crestfallen and embarrassed!)

    All the same, I stand by my robust condemnation of the idea of getting "scientists" to sign a petition.

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  • 32. At 7:43pm on 10 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @tears of our fathers #25

    Personally I don't like the expression "post normal science".

    As far as I can work out, the expression dates to a Graun article by Mike Hulme.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/mar/14/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

    Mike Hulme does not always express his ideas with the greatest clarity. But a careful read of the Graun article suggests he is referring to how politicians cope with science that is full of caveats and probabilities.

    He does not appear to be actually abandoning the scientific method. Nor does he appear to want to abandon the scientific method.

    He does appear to be asking for politicians (and mainstream climate scientists) to take scientists outside the mainstream more seriously, particularly with sentences like "Such a perspective also opens a chink of weakness in the authority of the latest IPCC science findings." and "Climate change is too important to be left to scientists - least of all the normal ones."

    How is such an attitude a threat to science?

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  • 33. At 7:53pm on 10 Dec 2009, infiniti wrote:

    looks like we are on the A2 path

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  • 34. At 7:54pm on 10 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #31

    Thanks for the gracious apology.

    We've all been there. Missed something that should have been obvious. Then someone else points it out. And unfortunately in this case it did need pointing out, there are way too many conspiracy theories flying around at the moment.

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  • 35. At 8:05pm on 10 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    'Personally I don't like the expression "post normal science".'

    Nor do I, because it's too reminiscent of Thomas Kuhn's 'normal science' and 'revolutionary science', with a bit of 'postmodern' added to the mix.

    Kuhn was a great historian of science. Like all thinkers worth the name, he went through quite a spectrum of mind-changes. He ended up as a "realist". Anyone who thinks truth is a matter of agreement differ from Kuhn's latest (i.e. pre-death) opinion. So it sort of drags Kuhn down to associate him with "postmodern" nonsense.

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  • 36. At 8:16pm on 10 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    No. 22, tears of our forefathers:

    Nice to meet you.

    Yes, I am not averse to capitalism. Obviously. I am, however, a firm critic of laissez-faire capitalism American-style, with which I am most familiar & see it has many, many flaws.

    Also, as MangoChutney here and some other anti-Copenhagen disseminators of misleading information know, as they attempt to rally a dwindling crowd of sycophants with their false cheer of "scientific fraud," I have spent over 30 years on this subject, many of them with some really impressive authorities, and yes, they persuaded me decades ago that this day would come, and that truly it is indeed "apocalyptic":

    ... in the sense that we have a food, water and climate (actually pollution + overpopulation) crisis converging with an energy (fuel) crisis and a full-blown (entirely manmade, and 100% "made in USA" I am sorry to say!) financial crisis we are only just beginning to emerge out of -- not a happy combination of challenges.

    Can we overcome this?

    Amazing as it may sound: I do believe even something as unlikely and miraculous as an escape from this looming catastrophe is within the capacity of Intelligent, Well-motivated human beings to accomplish: when enough of them get serious, pull together and get organised about collaboration.

    As is happening even as we write these lines, in Copenhagen.

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  • 37. At 8:27pm on 10 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    No. 26: tears of our forefathers --

    Did you actually say (write, think) "we don't need saving"?

    Have you visited any middle school in the US? You wouldn't have written those words if you had...

    As for being "long-winded": well, I stopped apologising for that a long time ago, because I know from reading these & many other content sources that the views I articulate tend to be under-represented.

    But, just so you know, I do find myself inserting a lot of extra phrasing I would normally omit as a matter of style -- because even though my own preference is for direct, straightforward debate with no mincing, it seems all kinds of things "offend" -- and I really do not intend to offend anyone by referring to their society as "under-developed" -- and yet how can we ever advance in any area if we are terrified even of words used to diagnose something that does, indeed, require a diagnosis before Treatment can be designed?

    So I am sorry if reading those extra phrases gets in your way, but it does seem to help others understand I am not some kind of enemy or antagonist -- merely someone who does indeed wish to see Human Civilisation have a reason to continue to exist 100, 150 years further -- or perhaps even more.

    That will only happen if we finally address certain festering social problems, outgrow (as a species) unconscionable Selfishness and learn to moderate our own personal appetites.

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  • 38. At 8:44pm on 10 Dec 2009, Neil Hyde wrote:

    Top quality reporting Richard, could you explain this line :

    "Once you connect with that person, can you trust what they're telling you? Are they spinning you a line, and if so, what might the reason be?"

    Possibly because they know they have a willing media outlet and mouthpiece for their propoganda , they know the risk of investigation of their claims is low?

    Investigative journalism and accuracy at the beeb is long since dead , killed by agenda driven , hysteria seeking ratings chasing.

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  • 39. At 8:47pm on 10 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #31

    I think the petition was well meaning but misguided. It has been completely torpedoed by this one anonymous comment.

    I also believe that both comments about pressure are correct. It is absolutely reasonable for a well meaning pro-AGW scientist to believe that there has been no pressure. It is also absolutely reasonable for a more sceptical scientist to feel pressured in an environment where everyone else is pro-AGW, even if the pressure is not conscious.

    This does not rule out deliberate pressure. It just makes it harder to recognise. Nor does it make accidental pressure fair.

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  • 40. At 8:48pm on 10 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Bowman, No. 27, your statement here about the "food ceiling" that sets limits on populations, while certainly worthy prima facie, reveals a couple of serious flaws -- the precise flaws that get in my way, certainly, whenever I interact with committed Darwinists.

    Darwinism is an extraordinarily cruel ideology. That is what it is in my lexicon, anyway: not a scientific discipline at all, but almost a doctrine now, a worldview used to rationalise heartlessness & mindlessness & thoughtlessness by those who occupy a more advantaged position & want to silence the voice of their own (or anyone else's) conscience when it suggests maybe, for example, selling narcotics to drug addicts is not a legitimate way of earning a living.

    What your glib Darwinian explanation of why "ultimately overpopulation is not a threat" overlooks are the following key details (and I am only going after the main ones):

    (1) From the accounts of survivors of severe famine, dying from malnutrition or lack of water are probably the two most excruciating ways to die -- certainly the two worst ways to watch a loved one die.

    (2) Yes, Love does exist, even though true Darwinists pretend it is just an illusion resulting from chemical & hormonal surges in the human body.

    (3) A society in which increasingly larger numbers of human individuals (or even animals, e.g. family pets -- excuse me, companion creatures -- or farm animals) are stressed by lack of food or adequate water supplies is a society which is extremely uncomfortable to live in. These kinds of societies, as North Korea demonstrates, still manage to carry on for a long time, and to be even bigger threats during this period of great social discomfort & distress.

    (4) Cannibalism has been demonstrated to emerge as one of the side effects of extreme nutritive distress.

    Simply suggesting, "All will be well again after enough people die of starvation" -- which is what your argument boils down to -- does not work.

    Because we are here, and are destined to witness the unfolding events that the Copenhagen conference strives to attempt to mitigate, we have a compelling interest in preventing both the potential famines, and the potential water shortages, and the continued excessive & reckless procreation that is going on.

    Kindly note that does NOT mean no one should have children, or no one should have more than one, or everyone should simply have a moratorium on sexual relations -- or anything of the sort.

    Many people, in countries at all levels of development, are already making wise decisions in how they go about creating a family. What these people need is more support & encouragement, as well as praise.

    But there are quite obviously far too many people whose behaviour with their reproductive capacity is completely unacceptable. There is far too much polygamy; there are far too many rapes. There is so-calle "sex work" which ruins the health of most of the women involved, and inevitably increases pregnancy rates. There is surrogacy as an industry; there's the fertility industry as a business sector, also.

    What few men (especially men from civilised societies) realise is how often pregnancy results from a coercive sexual act or even an outright brutal rape, such as the kind that are being reported from Africa. Not to mention irresponsible behaviour by teens.

    There are many, many, many areas where improvement is possible, not expensive, not hard. Just takes attention and resolve to focus on this subject, as opposed to say, arms races, or financial statements.

    And isn't that what "seeking peace" is supposed to be about? Paying attention to the activities of peacetime -- procreation & family life being most prominent amongst those? And leading us directly into Health & Education programmes?

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  • 41. At 8:52pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @maria ashott #36

    as MangoChutney here and some other anti-Copenhagen disseminators of misleading information

    I'm sorry if i have offended your sensibilities MAria, but have you actually read the links?

    Do you think deliberate manipulation of the data should be overlooked?

    Which part of the links do you think is "misleading information"?

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  • 42. At 9:05pm on 10 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "I think the petition was well meaning but misguided."

    I agree. I think almost everyone in this debate is well-meaning. Or maybe more than well-meaning: everyone is passionately attached to their own particular moral understanding of what ought to be done.

    For what it's worth, I keep trying to bring everyone back to a purely factual rather than moral question: How reliable are climate science's predictions? In my opinion, everything turns on this.

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  • 43. At 9:06pm on 10 Dec 2009, b5happy wrote:

    #27
    Everyone knows and understands about Darwin's Theory.

    And it's cute to just lay it out like that.

    Of course that would/will be the ultimate outcome...

    But, that's not the point.

    Maybe, just maybe, humanity can save itself from itself.

    I don't think so because I think that we have gone past

    the tipping point as far as the Population Bomb versus

    Science and Technology stepping in to save the day .

    I'm not even talking about GW. I am simply

    referring to humanity walking around and surviving.

    The race is still on... Place your bets.

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  • 44. At 9:13pm on 10 Dec 2009, infiniti wrote:

    re 21:

    Only goes to show you don't read your own links.

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  • 45. At 9:25pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @infinity #44

    Only goes to show you don't read your own links

    Uh? Did you read the Briffa email or did you not understand it?

    That email is pretty powerful evidence. my friend

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/another-powerful-email-from-climategate/

    /mango

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  • 46. At 9:29pm on 10 Dec 2009, b5happy wrote:

    #42 "For what it's worth, I keep trying to bring everyone back to a purely factual rather than moral question: How reliable are climate science's predictions? In my opinion, everything turns on this."

    It doesn't matter if the prediction's are factual or not factual...

    Go with the flow: The Darwinian Flow.

    'OMG! The money! The taxes! The cheats! It's flat! It's round!'

    Everyone needs to get a grip.

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  • 47. At 9:32pm on 10 Dec 2009, infiniti wrote:

    Re 45: you reckon there's powerful evidence of fraud in that email? Be specific - which part?

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  • 48. At 9:41pm on 10 Dec 2009, who said what wrote:

    A document has fallen into the BBC's hands that comes from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group, which brings together 49 countries with per-capita national incomes below $750 per year.

    Isn't that a bit like the CRU emails falling in somebodies hands - hmmm double stanndards - what you should really be doing is brushing the "document under the carpet" and never speaking of it again, which would be true to form.

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  • 49. At 9:44pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @infinity #47

    How about this for starters. On September 22, 1999, Keith Briffa wrote to Chris Folland, Phil Jones, Michael Mann and stated the following:

    I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.

    There is much more. The best bits are in bold.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/another-powerful-email-from-climategate/

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  • 50. At 9:49pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @infinity

    ! my bad

    i did say fraud and then didn't read your email properly - scientific fraud is wrong!

    it does illustrate, however, that Briffa was using sceptical arguments way back in 1999

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  • 51. At 10:26pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @infinity

    In a previous thread, you said:

    MangoChutneyUKOK there are dozens of papers that find high climate sensitivity. Some model based, some empirical data based.

    Perhaps you missed my response:

    Please name one published paper showing climate sensitivity to be high that is based on empirical data, because i have so far been unable to find any

    Any chance of a leak or name of paper that i could read please?

    thanks

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  • 52. At 10:36pm on 10 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    39. At 8:47pm on 10 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke

    You mean like these well-meaning pro-AGW scientists, Jane?

    HOW THE TEAM REACTED TO THE SOON & BALIUNAS PEER REVIEWED REPORT

    Is this how scientific review should happen? Nor is this an isolated case of the extreme pressure brought to bear on all those who disagreed with the Team's own interpretation of Global Warming as the many testimonies have shown.

    Do you really think that the Met. retains any credibility whatsoever.

    This is what they asked those 1700 scientists to sign -

    "We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method. The science of climate change draws on fundamental research from an increasing number of disciplines, many of which are represented here. As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and that "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations"."

    and yet "The Met Office admitted that many of the signatories did not work on climate change".

    "the highest levels of professional integrity" - I think not!!

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  • 53. At 10:44pm on 10 Dec 2009, jmb19045 wrote:

    #36 Maria Ashot wrote:

    Yes, I am not averse to capitalism. Obviously. I am, however, a firm critic of laissez-faire capitalism American-style, with which I am most familiar & see it has many, many flaws.

    Interesting point here, is the capitalist system that has caused the latest boom and bust really that laissez-faire? I know gordon's been doing a superb job of trying to blame the bankers for it all but if you actually trace the root cause of much of the current mess (the housing market, here and particularly in the US) it's actually governments (both 'right' and 'left wing') meddling that has caused it. In the US freddie mac/fannie mae were forced to make sure a certain % of mortgages were sub-prime.

    In the UK problems can be traced back to Thatcher and the right to buy scheme - nice idea, but it depleted council housing stocks, so then you ended with the housing benefit and the artificial inflation that resulted due to landlords exploiting it to increase rents. More recently there were artificially low interest rates, despite a (clearly unsustainably) booming housing market, and the only meddling they should have been doing, regulating the banks, wasn't happening. Maybe the politicians were too fond of their property portfolios to do much about it?

    Not to mention the whole obsession with "growth", would be better if governments focused more on peoples happiness and less on playing 'mines bigger than yours' on the 'world stage'.

    Regardless, I'm not sure the system in operation in the last few decades could be considered to be truely laissez-faire, it's anything but. Has benefitted the rich though, particularly those with less scruples.

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  • 54. At 10:58pm on 10 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Richard Black - Hot Planet BBC

    Professor Ian Stewart first declares his belief in AGW, so i guess we should have expected a partisan view

    1 "CO2 acts like a blanket". False. The greenhouse effect is very real, but greenhouse gases do not act like a blanket

    2 "Ice cores show temperature and CO2 track". True as long as you clarify, that CO2 tracks temperature with a roughly 800 year lag. Shame Ian didn't clarify

    3 "First time ever the Arctic ice melted and the NW passage was open to shipping". False. The NW passage has been open several times in the 19th century.

    4 "Hurricanes". False: Refer to the following:

    Comments on “Impacts of CO2-Induced Warming on Simulated Hurricane Intensity and Precipitation: Sensitivity to the Choice of Climate Model and Convective Scheme” Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger, Christopher Landsea Journal of Climate Dec 2005

    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2FJCLI3592.1

    Hurricanes and Global Warming (PDF) (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 86, Issue 11, November 2005) - Roger A. Pielke Jr., Christopher W. Landsea, M. Mayfield, J. Laver, R. Pasch

    Reply to “Hurricanes and Global Warming—Potential Linkages and Consequences” (PDF) (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 87, Issue 5, May 2006) - Roger A. Pielke Jr., Christopher W. Landsea, M. Mayfield, J. Laver, R. Pasch

    Hurricanes and Global Warming (PDF) (Nature, Volume 438, Number 7071, pp. E11-E12, December 2005) - Christopher W. Landsea

    Normalized Hurricane Damage in the United States: 1900–2005 (PDF) (Natural Hazards, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 29-42, February 2008) - Roger A. Pielke Jr., Joel Gratz, Christopher W. Landsea, Douglas Collins, Mark A. Saunders, Rade Musulin6


    Having said all that, i thought the parts about the trains, hydrogen powered cars and carbon capture were quite interesting

    So will Ian be allowed to get away with pushing his viewpoint or will sceptical scientists have a right to reply?

    /mango

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  • 55. At 11:06pm on 10 Dec 2009, Spanglerboy wrote:

    interesting article here which is relevant to those 1700 scientists signing on the dotted line

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=409454&c=2

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  • 56. At 11:41pm on 10 Dec 2009, b5happy wrote:

    #39

    The members of the UK science community do not need to
    work on climate change to sign a petition. They study the info
    and come to an informed conclusion as a scientist. Not a lay person.

    This is like complaining about a jury verdict: You were not on
    the jury. You are welcome to your opinion... But, you were not there
    for the deliberations.

    Moreover, I've heard suggested that people were pressured to sign, etc. This is speculative hearsay. If true, scary, how many blackmailed do you
    think?!! Does it go to the top? Give me a break.

    It was stated on a previous thread that science is not based on
    conscientious agreement. Bull! Yes, we understand that a single scientist can change all. However, if it were not for conscientious
    agreement, science would stand still! There is always room for
    discovery and improvement... In the meantime we have conscientious
    agreement... Hello, conSCIENCtious agreement or stagnation, take your pick. Ultimately, it will all come out in the wash...

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  • 57. At 11:46pm on 10 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    Climategate on "This Week" on BBC1. Now.

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  • 58. At 00:06am on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    Maria Ashot:
    Wall of Text +5
    government isn't the solution it's the problem

    i agree that we are living in times of great social disparity and there is much that needs fixing in the world. however the very institutions that have presided over the decline believe they can sort it all out if we just give them a huge amount of new tax revenue. they may told us this before. the last few years have dulled the effects of shrill news reporting for me but i am still aware of very real social problems in the cities around the town where i live as well as closer to home. has anyone else watched old news footage recently and compared it to recent news coverage? the difference is marked. old news is just boring, grey and unemotional facts and numbers and politics as usual; thats why it was reinvented; 2 octaves higher with extra adrenaline glands and flashy CG graphics. try watching old political debates as well.

    whenever i think of reagan i always think of the episode of Yes Minister where Jim is going to an event with some actors and Bernard says something along the lines of;
    But if they see you with people who pretend for a living, well, they might suspect.
    true of all politicians but reagan dropped some good lines:

    the most terrifying words in the english language are 'i'm from the govenment and i'm here to help'.


    Bard:
    i'll try to avoid moralising. my opinion as briefly as possible:

    compare the 1988 predictions for 1998 and 2008 to the observed weather in 1998 and 2008. or do the comparison over 5 year periods. how many revisions of the models and predictions have their been and for what reasons? off the top of my head that would provide a reasonable idea of the predictive powers of these extremely expensive computers and value added data. i do know we are somewhat short of predicted temperatures this year. again. i understand that 'it's a travesty we can't account for the lack of warming.'

    Didn't we get predictions of a 'warmer than average' winter again this year? and we've had unpredicted record early snow falls and ski seasons, in some areas breaking new records set last year. it might even start snowing in copenhagen before the summit is done.

    Co2 rises steadily by a slightly larger amount each year (despite kyoto which has been pretty much ignored by a lot of countries). temperature varies significantly in response to solar activity, volcanic activity, cloud formation (which apparently is influenced by cosmic rays that weak solar winds allow to increase) and the natural atmospheric greenhouse effect (a tiny part of which we increase each year). temperature has failed to cling to the co2 level as the Goracle might have implied it will. last year there were some 200 odd days without a sunspot and Adam Smith linked sunspot cycles to the success of harvests and the price of grain in the london exchange a long time ago. the climate seems to be slightly more complex than: increase one variable a little and another will rise exponentially. kyoto and son of kyoto are about greenhouse gases in the atmosphere right? why don't they mention water vapour at any point?

    27. At 7:11pm on 10 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote: an excellent post. personally i blame the speech given by agent smith to neo in the first matrix film about humanity being a dispicable virus for the explosion of the population bomb meme and a lot of self loathing. also webites like the optimum population trust or whatever their called bare some responsibility. god bless Norman Borlaug; a founder of the green revolution repudiated by those who took it over.

    53. At 10:44pm on 10 Dec 2009, jmb19045 wrote: another good post. i removed a minor ramble about schizophrenic institutions as a result of alternating left/right and polies trying to screw over the replacement: See Gordo's Scorched Earth Masterclass. i also dread Tony Cameron, i mean David Blair.

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  • 59. At 00:06am on 11 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #55 Spanglerboy:

    That is a significant article, not least because of where it has been published, and when, and its length. It is now very hard to resist the feeling that "tide has turned".

    Or perhaps I should say "the inexorable sea level rise has temorarily acquired a negative value"?

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  • 60. At 00:11am on 11 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @sparklet #52

    Did you read the Times article?

    The scientist that made the "no pressure" comment was the Met Office's chief scientist Julia Slingo. And it was the Met Office that organised the petition.

    Julia Slingo is only mentioned once in the hacked/leaked emails. And that email is just a long but truncated list of copy addressees for an email with the title "Re: Proposed experiment design for CMIP5".

    I have no reason to believe that Julia Slingo is anything other than well meaning.

    And you also seem to have ignored my final paragraph.

    "This does not rule out deliberate pressure. It just makes it harder to recognise. Nor does it make accidental pressure fair."

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  • 61. At 00:16am on 11 Dec 2009, b5happy wrote:

    On #56, which I wrote, I put the wrong number...

    The correct number is: #52

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  • 62. At 00:35am on 11 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    jmb19045, Your argument that it is "government interference" rather than straightforward "laissez faire capitalism" that caused the present financial meltdown (and others before) seems to be reasonable on face value -- if you consider the involvement of Fannie Mae, for example.

    On the other hand, the Fed in the US is not a government institution. Bernie Madoff, when he was in charge of keeping NASDAQ fair & ethical was also not on the government payroll.

    The criticism I make about "laissez faire" capitalism is that it not only tolerates but actually encourages fraud, scams and cheating of any number of kinds. From the defrauding of Medicare to bogus diplomas to high school principals with fake qualifications to rigged elections to lobbyists writing laws instead of elected legislatures, America & Americans have come to be exceedingly accepting of deception and dishonesty.

    in the eyes of many Americans, so long as there is huge money to be raked in, no holds are barred. That is the definition of "laissez faire capitalism" that I have watched in action for these many decades, was referring to, and find highly objectionable.

    I consider it to be a serious problem. Whatever you may find fault with in the UK pales by comparison.

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  • 63. At 01:43am on 11 Dec 2009, infiniti wrote:

    re 51:
    google "The equilibrium sensitivity of the earth's temperature to radiation changes" for a pdf article that references a lot of studies estimating climate sensitivity

    Also the first hit of googling "climate sensitivity barton" is a more direct list, although only up to 2006

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  • 64. At 02:03am on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    google 'the rulesofthegame.pdf' (it needs the space after 'the' apparently) and go to the first link layout 1 on the the futerra website a manual relating to the UK governments strategies to propagate climate alarmism.

    My personal favourites are:

    1. Challenging habits of climate change communication
    Don’t rely on concern about children’s future or human
    survival instincts
    Recent surveys show that people without children may care more
    about climate change than those with children. “Fight or flight” human
    survival instincts have a time limit measured in minutes – they are of
    little use for a change in climate measured in years.
    Don’t create fear without agency
    Fear can create apathy if individuals have no ‘agency’ to act upon
    the threat. Use fear with great caution.
    Don’t attack or criticise home or family
    It is unproductive to attack that which people hold dear.

    mustn't forget rule 2 i see this meme alot:

    2. Forget the climate change detractors
    Those who deny climate change science are irritating, but
    unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate
    change, but how we should deal with climate change.

    "no, we have to debate what to do not whether its happening, the science is settled"

    9. Beware the impacts of cognitive dissonance
    Confronting someone with the difference between their attitude and
    their actions on climate change will make them more likely to change
    their attitude than their actions.'

    14. Raise the status of climate change mitigation
    behaviours
    Research shows that energy efficiency behaviours can make you
    seem poor and unattractive. We must work to overcome these
    emotional assumptions.

    this one makes me laugh ;)

    16. Create a trusted, credible, recognised voice on
    climate change
    We need trusted organisations and individuals that the media can
    call upon to explain the implications of climate change to the
    UK public.
    17. Use emotions and visuals
    Another classic marketing rule: changing behaviour by
    disseminating information doesn’t always work, but emotions
    and visuals usually do.

    the rules have changed mr infinity

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  • 65. At 08:17am on 11 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @infinity #63

    Thank you

    The Barton Paul Levison list is all based on calculation and reflects the view of Levison

    The knutti paper is based on calculation as far as i am aware, but i will look into this further, when i am at work

    /mango

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  • 66. At 08:21am on 11 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    i should have added:

    Clearly calculation has some merit, but a single error or omission can throw out the calculations in unexpected ways, observational evidence has to be the preferred method

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  • 67. At 08:23am on 11 Dec 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @ infinity

    My post #49 was refered for some reason and is now available to read

    Please read as it answers your question, why is that particular email so important

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  • 68. At 08:53am on 11 Dec 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    30. At 7:25pm on 10 Dec 2009, Jux1a wrote:
    Surely you are not the only BBC reporter there?


    [Yoda voice] No, more there are:

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/media/2009/11/daily-mail-bbc-dispatches-35-staff-to-climate-talks-creating-as-much-carbon-as-an-african-village-do.html

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  • 69. At 09:02am on 11 Dec 2009, LabMunkey wrote:

    from article linked above, a point i've tried to make about 'just what it will take for people to question their position on AGW

    "Yet none of this is science. It certainly offends against the principle that Karl Popper calls "falsification" - in the case of climate change, there is no possibility of falsification. If you listen to proponents of climate-change theory, there is apparently nothing that counts as evidence against it. Increased rainfall in the northern hemisphere is evidence of climate change, but so is decreased rainfall in the southern hemisphere. Melting of ice in the Arctic is evidence of global warming, but cooling of the Antarctic is not evidence against, but attributed to "other effects".

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  • 70. At 09:09am on 11 Dec 2009, LabMunkey wrote:

    sorry- article was on linked in #55 a great read.

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  • 71. At 09:38am on 11 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #60 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "I have no reason to believe that Julia Slingo is anything other than well meaning."

    Nor do I, but I think I do have a reason to think she is something other than a genuine scientist. Scientists do not get people to sign petitions to prove their integrity. That is the sort of thing the Gestapo use to do:

    'In his final interview with the Gestapo, who insisted that he sign a statement saying he was not mistreated, the 82-year-old Freud is said to have sarcastically asked if he could add: "I can most highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone."'

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  • 72. At 10:11am on 11 Dec 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    To all of those of you who care about what the younger generation think and ask,

    6 more GENUINE questions from youngsters, written down exactly as they were asked:

    What will happen to the world if there is too much pollution?

    Why don't we stop using machinery altogether?

    Can we make cars that do not pollute?

    What will happen if the world population gets too big?

    What can we do about the people who don't care about the world?

    Can we make machines that do not pollute?

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  • 73. At 10:29am on 11 Dec 2009, Mereia Carling wrote:

    @ Richard Black: The Pacific journalists there may give you some honest perspectives about living with prospective relocation of entire nations in many small islands in the Pacific, and needing to stand up to the Chinas and Indias.

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  • 74. At 11:07am on 11 Dec 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Maria ashot, @ post 40

    Darwin may have been a truly observant and scientific man but he was plagued with all of the blue devils of human emotion, just the same as the rest of us. One cannot boil all of the development and survival of the the human species down to a few genetic enhancements. There are other elements working alongside evolution. Survival of the fittest is an illusion aimed at making the more 'superior' of us sleep better at nights, thinking they will be safe if things go wrong.

    4) Those with a completely secular education might miss out on one of the perks of the Christian faith before political correctness intervened. Very deep questions were asked in an unafraid way. In the past, before political correctness and overprotection became fashionable, Christian children knew about cannibalism and the church's stance on this in times of extreme famine. I knew about this when I was very young and it never bothered me because it was discussed in a matter of fact way.

    2) Mere attraction is based on chemicals and visual cues. The Christian faith also has an answer to this human condition. Real, true love begins when the gloss wears off. Love is endurance through pain, suffering and loss. Love is the glue that binds people together, even when things go wrong. When one part of your deepest darkest thoughts say, 'escape while you can' love helps you hold fast.

    Having a family should be a matter of choice. 'Love' and 'choice' often are not the reasons for bearing children. Choice is denied to some women and they find themselves used for breeding purposes. Even the very rich have suffered the indignity of matches made for financial reasons and the breeding of 'superiour' offspring.

    bowmanthebard @ post 42
    Unfortunately pure factual information is not the cure. Human motivation, emotion etc is heavily involved in the making of 'facts'.

    What is a fact?

    A fact is an agreed statement to given a stimulus that most people agree on.

    Facts can change as new stimulus is received.

    Scientific facts are only as good as the latest means of measuring and recording data.

    Measurement is only as good as the latest means of measurement can achieve and is only as reliable as the person measuring and interpreting the data.

    Fact is a human myth, subject to change at any moment.

    Even historical information is subject to human motivation and emotional selectivity. If all historical facts were made available, our world history would look quite different.

    I am sorry if I sound preachy but this debate is much bigger than the weather, facts and favoritism.

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  • 75. At 11:08am on 11 Dec 2009, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 72

    Q-"What will happen to the world if there is too much pollution?"
    A- we don't know. Though of course it is likely to be detremental to the planet- possibly on a long term basis.

    Q-"Why don't we stop using machinery altogether?"
    A- because our lives depend on it. Literally in some cases. We can however start phasing out older technologies for newer, more reliable, 'greener' ones. Please note however that this does not include things like electric cars, wind turbines and the such- which are, frankly, useless- and in the case of the car hypocritical in the extreme.


    Q-"Can we make cars that do not pollute?"
    A- not at present, no. But, there's some very exciting research going on in this field, so stay tuned. Again- not electric cars.

    Q-"What will happen if the world population gets too big?"
    A- BIG problems. Wars over resources are likely, mass starvations, disease. The usual fun-bag.

    Q-"What can we do about the people who don't care about the world?"
    A- totally depends on your definition of 'care about the world'. If people are willfully damaging the environment, i.e. industrial waste dumping, extensive logging, habitat destruction then we can punish them with the legal process.
    If you are talking about punishing anyone who doesn't subscribe to the 'green' viewpoint- i.e. as some rather prominent people are suggesting for AGW sceptics, then you can't. ever. You cannot punish someone for thinking differently to yourself.

    Q-"Can we make machines that do not pollute"
    A-" no. but we CAN significantly reduce this pollution.

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  • 76. At 11:19am on 11 Dec 2009, paul atrides wrote:

    Awww, Richard its so difficult being a BBC reporter isn't it? So difficult in fact you have to bleat on about it on the website. Scoops? Biased BBC reporters would know a scoop if it ate you.

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  • 77. At 11:26am on 11 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    What will happen to the world if there is too much pollution?
    -- It will be a more disgusting and dangerous place to live. Some parts of the world are like that already, other parts are less like that than they were before. On the whole, the world is much cleaner than it used to be, and it smells a lot better, because of good drains and flushable lavatories. By the way, CO2 is not pollution!

    Why don't we stop using machinery altogether?
    -- Machinery has made life better in all sorts of ways, not least because the streets are no longer filled with horse poo! That stuff isn't just smelly, it contains germs that cause tetanus and other diseases. Don't forget the flushing lavatory -- one of our best machines.

    Can we make cars that do not pollute?
    -- Yes, but they're expensive. They'd run on hydrogen or electricity.

    What will happen if the world population gets too big?
    -- It is already "too big" and always has been in the sense that many people die because they don't have enough money to buy food or water, and this has always been the case. Other animals have the same problem, only instead of buying food they have to find it, graze it, or hunt for it. The number of members of all animal species is set at the maximum it can be, given the limited amount of food.

    What can we do about the people who don't care about the world?
    -- Nobody doesn't care about the world. The idea that some people want to "save the planet" and others "don't care about the planet" is a dirty lie that crooked grown-ups tell children to fill them with hate and fear and make them join the grown-ups' "side" in politics. Don't listen to these bad people.

    Can we make machines that do not pollute?
    -- Some machines do the opposite of pollute. And some pollute less than the alternatives. The car is less polluting than the horse, and the computer is less polluting than the newspaper.

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  • 78. At 11:35am on 11 Dec 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To Richard Black: (re 'tough-sledding' at COP 15)

    Hang in there Richard. Better yet, have a beer with an Australian Aborigine or an African Villager or Pastoralist.

    - From the Heart -

    Manysummits

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  • 79. At 11:41am on 11 Dec 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To sensiblegrannie #72 & 74:

    Now you're talking! Agree and agree.

    As to machines and pollution:

    I read somewhere lately that the production of pollution is evidence of 'design failure.' So our architects and engineers will have to jump on the learning curve big time once more.

    Efficiency as construed today is also in need of revision. There is an 'efficiency in life' which has little to do with the bottom line.

    In fact, the 'bottom line' is just that - at the bottom.

    Time to raise our eyes - a lot!

    - Manysummits -

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  • 80. At 11:44am on 11 Dec 2009, lburt wrote:

    @sensiblegrannie

    Wow, I could do a huge post on each one of those questions. They're a bit...open ended.

    What will happen to the world if there is too much pollution?
    Too much is a relative term. Beyond certain levels people simply won't tolerate it. The amount they tolerate is based on the standard of living of the society. For instance, at current growth rates, certainly within the next 10 years enough of china will be developed that it will be considered cheap to stop most of their bad pollution and from then on even though industry will increase, pollution will generally fall.

    Why don't we stop using machinery altogether?
    The life expectancy of pre-industrial humans was something like 35-40. Our machines (and the benefits of a large industrial base) double our life expectancy.

    Can we make cars (or machines) that do not pollute?
    We could but its impractical. Think about it like the difference between hiring a maid and building a clean room to manufacture semiconductors. Maids are relatively cheap...clean rooms cost millions. Somewhere between the cost of the service and the tolerable pollution levels...is a practical solution. You can get rid of most of the pollution at very little cost...but each additional, incremental decrease costs more and more for less and less.

    What will happen if the world population gets too big?
    Too big implies there are insufficient food/water/shelter to house the people. In that case they die. The "carrying capacity" of the earth is a much debated topic. However, with modern fertilizers, farming techniques and of course thanks to the extra CO2 in the air...it now takes LESS land to feed our larger population. Unfortunately the world's resources, farming technology and population aren't evenly distributed and there are some places in which famine is fairly common. "Solving" the problem, however...is not quite as simple as just giving them food.

    What can we do about the people who don't care about the world?
    Difficult to answer because it's very open ended. The short answer is...nothing. If they're actively doing something though (like dumping toxic waste in unapproved locations)it becomes a legal issue. About all you can do is tell them your own opinion and see if that changes their mind.

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  • 81. At 12:21pm on 11 Dec 2009, Marcusbailius wrote:

    Some good questions:

    What will happen to the world if there is too much pollution?
    See the latest programmes including Horizon with David Attenborough... We're already seeing too much pollution. Wildlife dies, and people find it harder to live as a result.

    Why don't we stop using machinery altogether?
    Can't live without it. A purely agrarian society can't provide enough food for the population we have. The Black Death hit in the middle ages, when the UK population was too great with bad sanitation and poor nutrition, with no access to modern healthcare. The population before the Black Death hit was just six million, a tenth of what it is now! Afterwards, it was about four million.

    Can we make cars that do not pollute?
    Yes. They may be expensive, but this cost will be a lot less expensive than living in the world will be in a few decades if we don't bite some of these bullets now. Avoiding the question is not just short-sighted, it is negligent. What we really need are non-polluting people...

    What will happen if the world population gets too big?
    Well... You'll have wars and strife arising from a lack of availability of fresh water for drinking, food production, sanitation... Already one and a half billion people live with insufficient water. We are going to add a few more billions, in exactly those areas of the world. It won't be easy. And then... Well, nine billion people provides a lot of opportunity for new and exciting diseases to appear and spread...

    What can we do about the people who don't care about the world?
    Make them care. We have no choice. If they are politicians who do not care, then vote them out of office. If businesspeople, don't buy their products. However, this all has a cost - be prepared to fork out to pay for the measures that are necessary. (It starts here - visit the charity websites for famine relief or wildlife conservation...)

    Can we make machines that do not pollute?
    We can make machines that pollute less, and machines that can start taking up the pollution already out there. These are not just desirable aims - they are requirements. That will of course cost money. Tough! Presumably we want our children and grandchildren to actually have a world to live in? This is not a choice. It's a price we will all have to pay.

    It's no use saying "I wasn't there two centuries ago, so it's not my fault." Your kids are the ones who will be facing the issues in a few decades, so it's you who have to find the cash! Whether this is from just investing in better ways of living or through taxation or through buying from businesses in a more choosy way - well, aren't we supposed to be the most intelligent life-form on this planet? It's about time we started acting like it.

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  • 82. At 12:45pm on 11 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #80 poitsplace wrote:

    "with modern fertilizers, farming techniques and of course thanks to the extra CO2 in the air...it now takes LESS land to feed our larger population."

    This isn't a coincidence. The population is larger because it takes less land to feed each person (and less effort to get food from the land).

    The word 'Malthusian' has fallen into disrepute recently, but Malthus himself came up with a brilliantly simple idea, one that greatly impressed Darwin. If the food supply were not limited, the population would go up and up geometrically, and would have completely choked the planet long ago. But it doesn't, because it is limited. In reality, populations stay roughly level because the limited food supply sets a more-or-less level ceiling on any population.

    The human population "exploded" in recent centuries because that ceiling was dramatically raised by technological advances such as fertilizer, genetic improvements in plants, and mechanization. But we never lost contact with that ceiling -- human reproduction is even faster than technological advance in agriculture.

    So it is a mistake to think we haven't "hit the ceiling" yet, and that some sort of population catastrophe awaits us in the future when we do evetually hit it. The population catastrophe simply is a fact of life, and has been since the emergence of life. Existence is and always has been a "struggle for life". There has always been death by malnutrition and bare survival through cannibalism.

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  • 83. At 1:02pm on 11 Dec 2009, lburt wrote:

    @bowmanthebard

    Correct on the food except for another thing found in more modern developed societies...the birth rate falls. So if the developing nations just develop, their populations will likely level off naturally.

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  • 84. At 2:11pm on 11 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    No. 58, tears of our forefathers: Of course I love the reference to "Yes, Minister!" (and by extension its sequel series, "Yes, PM!") -- all wonderful satire, except that of course it is a TV Show, and not actually reality.

    Even if it "resembles reality" (as all great satire must), the TV format in and of itself distorts, and even the best of TV writers are not exactly in the business of dealing with actual policy concerns.

    While I am glad you recognise there are indeed masses of social problems engulfing us -- and engulfing us worse & worse as population increases while true median disposable income falls, in every developed country of the world (based on adjusted for inflation values) -- and I agree with you that "The System" was largely responsible for creating these problems & making them worse (I need only cite the Bush "No Child Left behind" act, which offers a solution to the US education crisis that consists essentially of making school work simple enough for the weakest students to be able to pass effortlessly, and then simply issuing them a diploma if even under those conditions they refuse to do any work) -- nevertheless, the sheer physical number of individuals present who are completely Clueless -- about Anything that Matters -- precludes any kind of "ad hoc community-level problem solving" as a policy approach to issues affecting large expanses of territory or large numbers of people.

    It will work in Marin County, or perhaps where I live at the moment, or perhaps in Chelsea or even in Kent - - but it will not work even at the level of a city the size of St. Petersburg (and I mean either the one in Russia, or even the one in Florida); it has not worked in San Francisco or even in oh-so-progressive Berkeley, CA (where there is rampant prostitution, vice & thievery tolerated at the local high school, not to mention networks of paedophiles engaging in child rape in known 'protected areas' of the public spaces, with the police instructed to "look the other way" by the city fathers); it will certainly not work in any populous state of the USA, or massively populous China, or massively dysfunctional Russia...

    So it just won't work as an approach to large-scale undertakings. We are basically left with an Intelligent (and intelligence) community and a hugely afflicted human population that dwarfs it in number by perhaps a factor or 50 (and I really am trying to be kind here).

    So maybe 2% of the human population are capable of action, planning & process implementation.

    Good luck getting the remaining 98% on board... "The System" -- warts and all -- becomes our Tool of Last Resort, and we had better succeed at reforming it from within, and putting some genuinely well-meaning & capable people in positions of authority.

    That's where it stands, in terms of what those of us who will likely be alive in the next 50 years to watch whatever is coming down the road at us... Not an entirely certain kind of proposition, but at least a Possibility of an ultimate saving grace.

    And thus, Something to go on.

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  • 85. At 2:49pm on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    Mr Richard Black:

    yesterday i posted some excerpts from the rules of the game. there is one rule in particular i wanted to ask you about:

    16. Create a trusted, credible, recognised voice on
    climate change
    We need trusted organisations and individuals that the media can
    call upon to explain the implications of climate change to the
    UK public.

    you, Mr Black, are a member of the media that explains the implications of climate change to the UK public. in fact the beeb is pretty much britains 'official' news provider.

    you have often made unsubstantiated comments in this blog like 'an inside source says that privately they are 99% certain' and in this post you mention the difficulty of seperating your contacts agenda and reliability from what they are telling you.

    which, if any, of your contacts do you no longer feel to be trustworthy and why? would it be unfair of me to ask if you have ever before acquired insider info from Prof Jones and his colleagues? will you post your feelings and thoughts on Prof Jones stepping down at some point or direct me to link where you may have done already?

    Richard, have you ever had any doubts regarding the dogmatic approach? have you never wondered about the style and method of 'communicating sustainability'? have you ever felt uncomfortable branding people who don't agree with the cause 'deniers' and 'criminally responsible' for the 'threat to all our children'?

    Yours Heretically

    TOOF

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  • 86. At 2:55pm on 11 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #71

    I think the petition is misguided.

    I think they've shoe-horned way too much in there. It should have been broken down into separate points. Some of it should not have been included at all, some of it should be reworded and some of it is only suitable for a secret ballot (to protect the privacy of people like our complainant). A careful breakdown of the petition text might leave nothing that could have a signature next to it.

    I also think that Julia Slingo genuinely doesn't recognise the pressure that sceptics would be under in a generally pro-AGW environment. I think this is a real problem, and needs tackling urgently.

    But Gestapo? Sorry, "petition" is not in the top ten of things I associate with the Gestapo. Whereas "petition" is in the top ten of things I associate with democracy. These scientists have found themselves flung into the world of politics, they are liable to use political tools to cope, some of which may be inappropriate.

    And I repeat, I think this petition was misguided and has been effectively torpedoed by the one complaint.

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  • 87. At 3:20pm on 11 Dec 2009, KennethM wrote:

    It’s a big left wing party with Britain’s money being given away by a man voted for by a few people in Scotland.

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  • 88. At 3:20pm on 11 Dec 2009, ScudLewis wrote:

    Worth a read = Times Higher Education: Beyond debate?
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=409454&c=2

    "The Copenhagen summit is in full force, and so too is the idea that man-made global warming is incontrovertible. But Martin Cohen argues that the consensus is less a triumph of science and rationality than of PR and fear-mongering"

    Times Higher Education: Leader: Fight it out with the facts alone
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=409510&c=2

    "If climate research is seen as 'tribal' and unable to bear scrutiny, the whole scientific edifice is weakened"

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  • 89. At 3:21pm on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    Maria Ashot:

    'So maybe 2% of the human population are capable of action, planning & process implementation. '

    and i thought i had a low opinion of my species these days! i agree with much of what you say, especially regarding education. laws designed to prevent bullying in schools have institutionalised it in the UK. NLP teaching where there are no tests or curriculum and its impossible to not pass unless you die have been bandied about over here. the government dictated curriculum is riddled with half truths and propaganda (not just about AGW) and it changes whenever the govt smells a sea change. what to do? how to awaken a generation thats been deliberately put to sleep? make em all watch Bill Hicks and George Carlin over and over again?

    'I consider it to be a serious problem. Whatever you may find fault with in the UK pales by comparison.'

    i kind of don't like this. firstly its not a competition and at least you have a continental scale prison. you also have the right to keep and bear arms (to allow you to protect yourself from tyrannical govt), you have large grassroots movements on both the left and right who, for different reasons, will not go quietly into the night.

    the Channel used to keep invaders out, now it stops Brits from just walking away from old blighty.

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  • 90. At 3:42pm on 11 Dec 2009, ScudLewis wrote:

    Something to mull over - re: why we are at Copenhagen (or at least how we got here):

    From WMO:

    What is Climate Change?

    Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in its Article 1, defines "climate change" as: "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods". The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between "climate change" attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and "climate variability" attributable to natural causes.

    http://www.wmo.ch/pages/prog/wcp/ccl/faqs.html

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  • 91. At 4:01pm on 11 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #86 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "But Gestapo? Sorry, "petition" is not in the top ten of things I associate with the Gestapo. Whereas "petition" is in the top ten of things I associate with democracy."

    Spike Milligan joked that his uncle was a great man: "I know, because he told me so himself." That's a joke, because most of us recognize that we should not believe the flattering things people say about themselves. Nor should we believe the flattering things that others say if they have been coerced to say them.

    It's funny how some people don't seem to "get" that. For example, kidnappers often force their victims to "make a statement" about how well they are being treated, or how "just" their kidnappers' cause is.

    Some people don't realize that evidence has to be independent of what it supports. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that climate scientists don't "get it", because their "science" consists of a model that is deliberately shaped to fit their "data" -- instead of facing independent evidence in the form of tests.

    The problem isn't simply that there is a petition. The problem is that the petition is intended to enhance the credibility of the people who sign it, and some people say they feel coerced to sign it. This is what the Gestapo used to do (and did do with Freud, in my earlier example).

    Scientists are free to sign petitions about anything they like. But they aren't acting as scientists when they do so.

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  • 92. At 4:51pm on 11 Dec 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    Just sounds like another round of commitments that will be ignored (apart from the one where china commits to increasing emissions) and rich leaders from poor countries adding to their Swiss bank accounts.

    Until anything is signed it looks like you are right in saying you can only give us a flavour of what is going on.

    Just make that clear - so people are not misled and the BBC doesn't look like it has reported something which never happens.

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  • 93. At 5:37pm on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    72. At 10:11am on 11 Dec 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote: some stuff

    2. Forget the climate change detractors
    Those who deny climate change science are irritating, but
    unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate
    change, but how we should deal with climate change.

    "but how we should deal with climate change."

    you wouldn't be hiding behind your venerability (being a self confessed grandmother) and 'the kids' to try to control the debate would you?

    just for fun compare :

    81. At 12:21pm on 11 Dec 2009, Marcusbailius wrote:

    to

    80. At 11:44am on 11 Dec 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    the first kind of seems like it could have been chanted and is verbatim, true believer. the seconds opening line speaks volumes and what follows is evidently the authors own opinion. i wonder which one you'll tell the kids?

    regarding Goebbels vs Bernays: They are much of a muchness as far as being arrogant, manipulative scumbags but Bernays didn't ever use his dark arts to found a religion. Goebbels did and unfortunately a psuedoscientific green religion has been sold to millions of well meaning innocents. possibly even Mr Black.

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  • 94. At 5:38pm on 11 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #91

    Did you read the whole of my post at #86 or at #60? Where did I say that the petition was OK? How does "misguided" translate as "OK"?

    I do not believe there was deliberate coercion. I believe there was accidental coercion. I tried to express this in a sympathetic way that Julia Slingo and her supporters could understand and perhaps acknowledge and fix their mistake, and, more importantly, fix an environment where sceptics are stuck firmly in the closet.

    As for that new one "the petition is intended to enhance the credibility of the people who sign it", actually I think they are gambling their credibility on the outcome of the inquiry. Which I think is risky because the inquiry is almost bound to find that pressure by some of the Climategate scientists has affected the peer review process.

    Perhaps I need to be more explicit.

    @Julia Slingo

    Please withdraw your petition. There are likely to be people on there that have been accidentally coerced into signing it to protect their jobs. This makes the petition worse than useless.

    Please consider what you might do to create a more sceptic friendly environment so that people do not mistake your actions for coercion or pressure in the future.

    Please consider that your actions have been compared to those of the Gestapo. Normally Godwin's Law would protect you. Normally the BBC House Rules would protect you. But Climategate means that the pro-AGW debaters have to face up to this charge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    An alternative petition to apologise to the sceptics and to appeal for openness and transparency in science might be in order.

    @Other signatories

    Please withdraw your signatures. You are likely to have co-signatories that have been accidentally coerced into signing to protect their jobs. This makes the petition worse than useless.

    @Sceptics

    Please understand that not all pressure is deliberate. Climategate is a huge shock to the system for pro-AGW debaters that have always striven to play by the rules.

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  • 95. At 6:00pm on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    lol i was going to mention godwins law myself in my previous post! I broke it a bunch of times and nobody mentioned it till now!

    its a fair point. however the difference i draw between Goebbels and Bernays in my last post is fair to a certain extent. whether we can agree that a lot of the debate (or rather control of the debate) stems from an chimera of 'science' and religion i don't know. but thats how it seems from this side of the fence. i don't like the idea of any kind of religion being in control of international policy.

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  • 96. At 6:15pm on 11 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    Re #60. At 00:11am on 11 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:
    @sparklet #52

    "Did you read the Times article?

    The scientist that made the "no pressure" comment was the Met Office's chief scientist Julia Slingo. And it was the Met Office that organised the petition.

    Julia Slingo is only mentioned once in the hacked/leaked emails. And that email is just a long but truncated list of copy addressees for an email with the title "Re: Proposed experiment design for CMIP5".

    I have no reason to believe that Julia Slingo is anything other than well meaning.

    And you also seem to have ignored my final paragraph.

    "This does not rule out deliberate pressure. It just makes it harder to recognise. Nor does it make accidental pressure fair." "

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Indeed I did, Jane, but did you?

    This was not so much a petition but rather a Statement. And I see you have pre-empted much of what my response would have been in your #86 above "A careful breakdown of the petition text might leave nothing that could have a signature next to it"

    That was exactly my point and which is why I reproduced the statement in full in my comment at #52. Also bear in mind that the Met Office themselves are implicated in the problems with the temperature data.
    From the CRU website -

    "From the beginning of January 2006, we have replaced the various grid-box temperature anomaly (from the base period 1961-90) datasets with new versions, HadCRUT3 and CRUTEM3 (see Brohan et al., 2006). The datasets have been developed in conjunction with Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office."

    And almost immediately preceding the request that went out to these scientists to sign the statement they had announced an enquiry into the temperature data that they said would take 3 years to complete!

    MET OFFICE TO RE-EXAMINE CLIMATE DATA

    Also if you look at the signatories

    STATEMENT WITH SIGNATORIES

    you will find that of the 1700 or so signing over 200 are employed directly by the Met Office and the others are mostly academic institutions heavily reliant on govt. grants so not surprising that
    "One scientist told The Times he felt under pressure to sign. “The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming,” he said.".

    As for the CRU mails although you may not have found Julia Slingo mentioned more than once, the Met Office are mentioned on a number of occastions eg

    MET OFFICE MAIL ON UHI EFFECT

    By asking these people to sign she has compromised their professional integrity. Read again the Times article but also the comments !!

    Political, YES, well-meaning, I think NOT.

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  • 97. At 6:17pm on 11 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    Re #61. At 00:16am on 11 Dec 2009, b5happy

    Refer to #96 above

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  • 98. At 6:23pm on 11 Dec 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    tears of our forefathers @ 93

    I feel that speaking out is risk taking, not hiding, and sometimes I feel truly fearful about it. However, when I found out that so many young people did not know anything about the world situation, I thought it was time for them to have a say and to engage them in the dialogue. All I can do is lend a voice to enable others to participate in what is their rightful heritage. We are the oldies and should be clearing a path for the younger generation who are going to inherit our mistakes.

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  • 99. At 6:36pm on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    a few interesting links:

    is EnvironMentalism a religion?

    http://www.economist.com/world/international/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14838303

    the answer is yes at least under current british law.

    for fun:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_E1EXVkpEmtU/SyFMuDRGQaI/AAAAAAAAAC4/rzi91m-sN5M/s1600-h/Holocene.jpg



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  • 100. At 7:00pm on 11 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    No. 89, tears of our forefathers: Undeniably there is plenty still right with the USA. Also, believe it or not, with the UK & EU. And actually, for example, with China -- a place many of us assume falls somewhere else on the map than "Mostly OK" (along with a string of others we are accustomed to disparage).

    Unfortunately, the USA has allowed a number of actually fixable core defects just to deteriorate further and further. Education, certainly, is one of them. The political system is another (bizarre electioneering; corrupting campaign contributions; influence of lobbyists; gerrymandering; one (split) party rule masquerading as a two-party system; waste & inefficiency & an utter addiction to amassing monumental fortunes by any means possible, with complete impunity & shamelessness).

    Also, the USA has the additional problem that it enjoys a great deal of clout in the world, even today, and given the problems, a lot of that clout is used to perpetuate "American values" -- and those have, indeed, contributed to the environmental crisis we are attempting to address.

    By the way, on China (since I mention them here): Roger Harrabin's detailed & insightful reports on what they are doing to address the climate concerns are really illuminating. Highly recommended.

    Richard Black, my sympathies on the challenges you describe (the "leadership" has certainly become highly skilled at controlling the message & its timing), but the reporting, in my opinion, has been excellent -- both yours and your colleagues'.

    For everyone out there who complains about the Beeb: I suggest a seven-year stay in a place like Los Angeles or New Jersey or Houston. That will teach you to appreciate what you have, for a news service...

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  • 101. At 7:07pm on 11 Dec 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    #99, Tears....

    Environmentalism once was the reglion of human beings. Worship of trees and mountains and rivers and even animals. This of course was when human beings considered themselves as a part of the natural world and not the masters. Things started going badly after that was all changed. There are places in this world where these beliefs are still in practice, but of course they are undeveloped and suffer from the lack of bankers and real estate developers. My guess is your ancesters were once part of the belief system, or maybe bankers or real estate developers.

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  • 102. At 7:09pm on 11 Dec 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    tears of our forefathers,
    The whole point of including a younger audience is to allow them to make up their own minds. Now some of their questions have been answered by a range of voices, they can develop their own arguments through peer group debating societies.

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  • 103. At 7:24pm on 11 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @sparklet #96

    Seems like Slingogate is worse than Climategate

    Perhaps I need to remind you that in my very first post on the subject matter I said that I thought the petition was misguided, and that it had been torpedoed by that one definite case of coercion.

    And personally my definition of a petition would be a statement with a list of signatures. Every petition I have ever seen has been a statement with a list of signatures.

    Also how is a three year review into the HADCRUT3 and related temperature data sets a bad thing? How does it make the petition worse than it already is? Surely at least it shows a return to the sort of openness and transparency that has been missing from this area.

    But you seem to be missing my main point. Pressure can be accidental. Coercion can be accidental. A group of people with one opinion can accidentally pressurise an individual with a different opinion especially if they don't know that individual has that different opinion.

    You might also want to read my comment at #94

    Do you want to help fix this problem? Or do you want to make it worse?

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  • 104. At 7:35pm on 11 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #94 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "Where did I say that the petition was OK?"

    Well in #86 you did say: '"petition" is in the top ten of things I associate with democracy', which is normally an expression of approval of that sort of thing, although I completely accept that you did express clear opposition to the idea of a signed statement as a means of persuasion in the Climategate affair.

    The word 'persuasion' can mean two different things. It can mean "social coercion" (as in "we persuaded our MP to publicly reveal his expenses") or "the rational effect of convincing evidence" (as in "I was persuaded of the existence of extra-terrestrial beings when I saw the UFO").

    Jane Austen saw the difference, but I don't think Julia Slingo does. Petitions are fine if I want my MP to reveal his expenses, or my local school to provide a wheelchair ramp, or whatever. It's a decent way of making the signatories' strength of feeling on the matter known. But a list of signatures on a statement intended to rationally persuade people to believe something is fundamentally confused about the nature of evidence. How did this silly woman ever rise so high in the Met Office? Is she filled with hot air?

    "Normally Godwin's Law would protect you."

    I sort of feel Godwin's Law entered the picture when people started calling me a "denier" -- quite some time before I mentioned the "G" word!

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  • 105. At 8:41pm on 11 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #104

    Julia Slingo is a scientist suddenly thrust into the world of politics. Politics is very different from both science and management.

    Surely this means that if she makes a political mistake as a result of lack of political skills this mistake should be pointed out to her so she can correct it. You seem to be asking for her scalp.

    I don't use the term denier. I use the term "sceptic" because it is the preferred term of sceptics. Some sceptics still think I am being sarcastic. Others take advantage of my use of the term as an opportunity to give me a little lecture on the importance of scepticism in science.

    I'm not going to defend those members of the pro-AGW side that use "denier" to deliberately compare sceptics to Nazis. But I will defend those that don't have those intentions. There are plenty of pro-AGW debaters that use the term "denier" to just mean someone in denial. Yes they are skating on thin ice. But they have explicitly denounced comparisons between climate sceptics and holocaust deniers.

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  • 106. At 8:54pm on 11 Dec 2009, jobsw32 wrote:

    Ok but we aren't all rich and powerful brethren. The banks are rich and powerful the governments are rich and powerful the citizens are just not.

    I do not believe that we should hinder them from developing but hand over some of the technologies we think will help them skip the stumbling blocks we came across. Solar and wind but we are only allowing even here a priveliged few to have their own micro generation. There is no will to help the poor to develop at all. It's just tough.

    so what are we saying? that we're just going to skip the pleasantries and get down to business as conflict is inevitable?

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  • 107. At 9:09pm on 11 Dec 2009, tears of our forefathers wrote:

    ghost...:

    totally agree with everything you said there and i believe my ancestors have included both eco-spiritualists (probably a longtime ago on that one though) and more recently bankers and real estate developers. I'm proud of all my ancestors. And in many ways the ancient holy days and celebraions of the 'natural faiths' (to mean up to classical polytheism although CP is mostly a nature faith) were coopted by the faiths that superceded them, see celtic christianity for instance.

    My problem is that its a religion that has built an institution on top of itself that has been corrupted and is now just as crass as TV evangelicals begging for cash, maintaining conformity and damning the heretics.

    Co2 not being the driver of climate change is something to celebrate, there are still worthy environmental causes. many of which have suffered by the hijacking of the debate with Co2. the post spanglerboy originally posted above to the Times is well worth a look.

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=409454&c=2

    Grannie:

    age has made me cynical, no disrespect intended. i hope you will help show them how to make up their own minds.

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  • 108. At 9:14pm on 11 Dec 2009, Neil Hyde wrote:

    The concensus in action , a real journalist trying to do his job at CopenCON, to ask serious questions .

    http://biggovernment.com/2009/12/11/un-security-stops-journalists-questions-about-climategate/

    Mods , don't even think of saying this breaks the house rules , or you just prove the point !!

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  • 109. At 9:43pm on 11 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #105 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "Julia Slingo is a scientist suddenly thrust into the world of politics. Politics is very different from both science and management."

    I am completely convinced she is a politician who has somehow got by in the world of science for a while. I just don't believe that anyone with instincts like hers could really have anything to do with real science.

    If there are any scientists who disagree with me, speak now please!

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  • 110. At 10:51pm on 11 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    Re #103. At 7:24pm on 11 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke

    Jane, to be able to 'fix' a problem you first need to recognise what that problem is and I hardly think that "Julia Slingo is a scientist suddenly thrust into the world of politics" (your comment at 105).

    Before she was appointed to the Met she had a long-term career in climate modelling and research, and was Professor of Meteorology and Director of NCAS-Climate at the University of Reading. She contributed to the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Both of these reports were highly political.
    The Stern review was criticised for its exaggerated scientific claims eg.
    "Over the past 30 years, global temperatures have risen rapidly and continuously at around 0.2°C per decade, bringing the global mean temperature to what is probably at or near the warmest level reached in the current interglacial period, which began around 12,000 years ago."
    citing Hansen et.al 2006 (published only a matter of weeks before the Stern Review itself!!)
    see Climate Change Climate Science and the Stern Review 2007
    And see what the govt. response was -

    GOVT RESPONSE TO STERN REVIEW

    two of the govt. responses were to create a market for carbon pricing and seek advice from Al Gore!!!

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  • 111. At 10:57pm on 11 Dec 2009, manysummits wrote:

    \\\ CO2 over the last 20 Million Years ///

    I finally have a complete copy of the following 'Science' report (first published online in 'Science Express'):

    "Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability Over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 Million Years"
    Aradhna K. Tripati,1,2,* Christopher D. Roberts,2 Robert A. Eagle3

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/326/5958/1394
    ---------------

    I thought to excerpt a few lines from the main body of the text and comment:

    "The highest estimates of pCO2 occur during the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MMCO), ~ 16 to 14 Ma, the only interval in our record with levels higher than the 2009 value of 387 ppmv." [p. 1395 - bolding by manysummits]

    "When pCO2 levels were last similar to modern values (that is, greater than 350 to 400 ppmv), there was little glacial ice on land or sea ice in the Arctic, and a marine-based ice mass on Antarctica [West Antarctic Ice Sheet] was not viable."(p. 1396)
    [ie., "globally higher sea level (25 to 40 m)" (p. 1395)

    Note: Square brackets mine, [manysummits].
    ----------------

    Comment:

    The Mid-Miocene is an interesting time, and not only from the point of view of climate science.

    It is often referred to as the Age of Apes - our direct ancestors:

    "Approximately 100 species of apes lived during this time. They occupied much of the Old World and ranged in size, diet, and anatomy. Due to scanty fossil evidence it is unclear which ape or apes contributed to the modern hominid clade, but molecular evidence indicates this ape lived from between 15 to 12 million years ago."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miocene#Fauna
    -------------

    According to the anthropologist Richard Leakey, it was during the Miocene that the East African highlands formed, and the former jungle of East Africa was transformed into the fragmented savanna where it is thought mankind first developed and walked upright.

    ("People of the Lake", by Richard leakey, (1979)

    It is most interesting to note that the authors of this paper find that:

    "During the Mid-Miocene, when pCO2 was apparently grossly similar to modern levels, global surface temperatures were, on average, 3 to 6 [deg] C warmer than in the present." [p. 1396]


    This just happens to be the range of climate sensitivity currently in favor (IPCC; James Hansen believes it to be six degrees C)

    While this new addition to the scientific literature does not prove what climate sensitivity is, it is worth noting that it is consistent with the numbers in modern usage. Further, it is alarming to note the drastically higher sea levels indicated for the Mid-Miocene (25 to 40 meters), and the contemporaneous indications of the Mid-Miocene loss of both the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    For those who favor discretion over valor, this report is worth obtaining, and reading carefully.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 112. At 00:07am on 12 Dec 2009, lburt wrote:

    @manysummits
    "It is most interesting to note that the authors of this paper find that:

    "During the Mid-Miocene, when pCO2 was apparently grossly similar to modern levels, global surface temperatures were, on average, 3 to 6 [deg] C warmer than in the present." [p. 1396]"

    Yes, unfortunately since CO2 is mostly a proxy of temperature it would be like claiming thermometers drive climate. Oh wait, CO2 trails by a long time...it would be like claiming an almanac of the previous century's climate records had driven the last century's climate.

    CO2 never drove climate significantly in the past and now our emissions have simply ruined the normal correlation. Its like the scale on the side of the thermometer fell off and when we stuck it back on...we put it in the wrong place. Just because the proxy (or thermometer) now reads as higher due to our actions, that doesn't mean it is actually hotter because of it.

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  • 113. At 00:16am on 12 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #109

    Looks like sparklet's given you your proof that Julia Slingo is a scientist. But hang on. You might be safe. You wanted a scientist to supply that proof. Sparklet, are you a scientist?

    @sparklet #110

    Whoa.

    Thought we knew what the problem was. Thought the problem was that someone was intimidated into signing the petition. And as this someone's identity as a sceptic was secret we aren't talking deliberate intimidation.

    And how does contributing scientific advice to a report make someone a politician?

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  • 114. At 02:26am on 12 Dec 2009, Researcher 14175758 wrote:

    Zoe: "But Doctor, will we be able to make contact with the people of that decade - can the TARDIS get us there?"

    The Doctor: "Er, well Zoe, we may not be able to go there ourselves..., the TARDIS is quite temperamental, but we may be able to send them a message..."

    Jamie: "Doctor, can the TARDIS really send a message through time?"

    The Doctor: "Yes Jamie, whilst I can't guarantee that I can steer the TARDIS to 2009, I can at least send back the words of Gullible. He is a child of the murderers of Science. I am sure that when the human race in 2009 learn of how some of their kind are trying to pervert science to serve the needs of businessmen and politicians, they will stop them in their tracks."

    Zoe: And if we don't succeed my life will never have been. Science will have been killed before I was born!"

    The Doctor: "Yes Zoe, I'm afraid so... Let's send Gullible's words back - let them know that the human race is at a turning point. We must try to warn them of the future they face if they allow politicians to buy scientists, and even worse, to pay them to pervert science itself!"

    Zoe: "Just before I was born science did go through a mini dark age. Politicians tried to assume control of science, aided by some people who started out as scientists, but who ended up saying anything that would produce their next grant cheque."

    "The Doctor: "Yes Zoe, and we have arrived in an alternative future, where that dark age was not stopped in its infancy. Now press that button on the console to let the human race know what they will become if they do not stand up to these politicians who pretend to be green. The gullible must listen to Gullible. They must face how evil some of their fellow human beings can be..."

    Zoe: "Okay Doctor..., I'm transmitting the first entry in Gullible's log...."

    26 November 2079

    At last, the world's carbon emissions are zero! The World Government told us in its Bee Bee Cee news release today, (which was read aloud to us by a Bee Bee Cee overseer, who was kind enough to come to our huts especially with it), and also said that to celebrate we can all eat one of our offspring tonight! Not only that, we may also be allowed to see some photographs of 'Abroad' if we find and kill all of the Intelligents on the list our overseer gave us.

    I think 'Abroad' is quite far away from our huts, near to where the World Government lives. They say that the World Government live in huts just like ours, but one of the Intelligents told me that they actually live in a place called Luxury. I almost believed him, but then he told me what my name, Gullible, meant, and that I was named after my grandfather, who the world government re-named Gullible Eco-Loon after it took over. He told me what that meant too and I was so angry that I did away with him and gave his head to the overseer and got a potato as a reward.

    The World Government stopped the clymit from changing - that was when we all began to live in huts, surrounded by an electrified fence to protect us from 'Outside'. I'm terrified of 'Outside'. The World Government showed us pictures of it once, and there are giant monsters there called Dynasorrs that eat hut dwellers like us for breakfast. It's so good of the World Government to protect us from them.

    I wish the World Government had stopped the clymit changing when it was warm, not cold like it's been for as long as anyone can remember.

    My friend Imbecile said that an Intelligent told her that it's so cold because we're in something called a Severe Deepsolar Minimum, but she hates Intelligents because they want us to stop living in huts and to stop the World Government from sending us dead rats to eat, so she put her fingers in her ears and pretended she couldn't hear him, which is something my grandfather used to do a lot....

    I'll try to record more soon if the overseer doesn't find this ekwipment and kills me for hiding it.


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  • 115. At 09:18am on 12 Dec 2009, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #113 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "Thought we knew what the problem was. Thought the problem was that someone was intimidated into signing the petition."

    To me, the much larger problem is we seem to have a huge proportion of people who simply don't understand the concept of evidence, who seem to think science is a matter of getting the assurance of an authority figure.

    I'm not sure what the root cause of that malaise might be. Maybe it's poor educational standards in science, or maybe it's the collapse of traditional religious belief and the substitution of another authoritarian, conformist way of thinking that calls itself "science" but clearly is nothing of the sort.

    Shouting loudly and fear-mongering do not count as evidence. Nor does endless repetition, or appeals to consensus, or rhetorical underestimation ("it's even worse than we thought"), or claims of certainty ("the science is settled", the "debate is over") -- or lots of people whose integrity has been called into question signing a petition saying "we're honest".

    I don't know how long it will take the media and academia to wake up, but I think most ordinary people are already awake. The current Times Higher Educational Supplement hints that even academia are beginning to sleep uneasily at this stage.

    It's mostly just the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC, some middle-class protesters playing at revolution, all the main church leaders, Prince Charles, and a few big PR companies who have yet to change their minds. (Sigh. Although I should take heart from the fact that these last stalwart few always lag behind popular opinion rather than leading it, so nothing new there.)

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  • 116. At 10:51am on 12 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    Re #113. At 00:16am on 12 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:
    @sparklet #110

    "Whoa.

    Thought we knew what the problem was. Thought the problem was that someone was intimidated into signing the petition. And as this someone's identity as a sceptic was secret we aren't talking deliberate intimidation.

    And how does contributing scientific advice to a report make someone a politician? "

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Jane, the problem is the politicisation of science (and the refusal of people to acknowledge it much as bowman describes above).

    And I can see I need to define 'petition' - this is a petition.

    http://www.petitionproject.com/

    ie a request to change something - (I know how much you like Wiki. so see their definition)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petition

    this is an open letter (dec 2009)

    http://www.copenhagenclimatechallenge.org/

    as was this (back in dec 2007)

    http://www.nationalpost.com/most_popular/story.html?id=164002

    What Julia Slingo did was ask scientists who worked under her and those others also reliant on govt. grants to sign a statement in effect saying that the science is settled(and not to be questioned - “to defend our profession against this unprecedented attack to discredit us and the science of climate change”).

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6950783.ece

    You may find this to be acceptable but I don't particularly as these were people concerned for their jobs

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/26/hadley_centre_for_climate_change_budget_cut_mod_funding/
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/19/possible_met_office_cuts/

    and she would be well aware of those scientists working under her who had not signed the statement.

    And how easily you disregard the statements of others who also worked for the IPCC

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/357/

    http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeDocuments/LandseaResignationLetterFromIPCC.htm

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/e-mail-documentation-of-the-successful-attempt-by-thomas-karl-director-of-the-u-s-national-climate-data-center-to-suppress-biases-and-uncertainties-in-the-assessment-surface-temperature-trends/


    So again I would contend that Julia Slingo's motives re. this statement were political rather than 'well meaning' (coming as it did just after the Met Office had announced they would re-examine the data) - and highly questionable.













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  • 117. At 2:57pm on 12 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #115

    "lots of people whose integrity has been called into question signing a petition saying "we're honest"."

    Erm, thought the Times said they weren't all climate scientists.

    And as for the rest of your post as it relates to the petition, how many times do I have to say I think the petition was misguided. People that are not used to politics, suddenly flung into politics, resorting to what they think is a straightforward tool of politics. And getting torpedoed by a frankly predictable case of scepticphobia.

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  • 118. At 2:58pm on 12 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @sparklet #116

    Oh, we're nit picking over semantics, are we?

    Perhaps the wording should have included the line "To the general public and all affected by the global warming debate". Because that line is implicit in the petition.

    Perhaps I should wonder why you have turned to an encyclopaedia for a definition rather than a dictionary. For instance my dictionary lists a number of definitions of "petition", one of which is "a written supplication signed by a number of persons".

    And then you supply three examples of petitions by scientists. So it's OK for sceptic scientists to do petitions, but not OK for mainstream scientists?

    Then you say

    "these were people concerned for their jobs"

    Erm no, they aren't all climate scientists.

    Your use of the Zorita quote and your other references are anticipated by Julia Slingo in the Times article. I stress article, you have only linked to the petition.

    "Professor Slingo said the statement was carefully worded to avoid claiming all climate scientists were beyond reproach. It says the evidence for man-made global warming is “deep and extensive” and comes from “decades of painstaking and meticulous research by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity”."

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6951029.ece

    Finally I would remind you that I am not defending the petition per se, only the right of Julia Slingo and other signatories to make political mistakes.

    Do you want to fix scepticphobia or do you want to be part of the problem?

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  • 119. At 5:31pm on 12 Dec 2009, manysummits wrote:

    \\\ What I, Manysummits, want from Copenhagen 15 ///

    Recorded on video and in print, for every one of the ~ 110 world leaders coming to Copenhagen:

    1) Their stand on the world climate-science concensus as regards Anthropogenic Global Warming, in clear and simple language.

    2) Their stand on the idea that global average temperature should be kept from rising more than two degrees C (or 1.5 deg C), above 14.0 degrees C.

    3) Their committment to deliver results (or not), whatever the cost.
    ---------------

    The rest is detail.

    While it is perhaps true that genius is attention to detail, right now I would prefer to know who is prepared to both speak and act responsibly for future generations of the world community, and to sacrifice, if necessary, the seals of office, rather than kow-tow to powerful 'business as usual' interests and to the short and medium-term political horizon.

    My expectations are high - why should they not be?

    These people sought and achieved world office - \\\ Stand & Deliver! ///

    Regardless of the outcome, some of us, hopefully more and more of us, will act unilaterally to reduce all unnecessary spending and blatant waste, taking into consideration the idea that what is truly right and good for the individual is also likely to be right and good for all of humanity.

    In short, whether or not our leaders speak and act responsibly, we the people need to do so, in increasing numbers, until such time as global climate is stabilized, and the World Health Organization's founding statement is fulfilled:

    "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

    The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the
    fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race,
    religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

    The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and
    security and is dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals
    and States."


    Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.

    The Definition has not been amended since 1948.
    --------------

    \\\ Manysummits, Calgary, Canada, Saturday, December 12, 2009 - Minus 26 degrees Celcius, overcast white-out in light snow and ice-crystals ///

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  • 120. At 9:16pm on 12 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    118. At 2:58pm on 12 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke

    Again, Jane, - a petition is a request for change.
    When looking up petition in your dictionary, perhaps you should have looked up the meaning for supplicate ie "To ask for humbly or earnestly" again it is a request.

    These people signed a statement not requesting change but saying in effect the science is settled.

    "We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method. The science of climate change draws on fundamental research from an increasing number of disciplines, many of which are represented here. As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and that "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations"."

    (You even admitted yourself in #86 that "A careful breakdown of the petition text might leave nothing that could have a signature next to it". And you were quite right to do so for that is indeed the case.)

    But the science is not settled (as the US petition and two open letters I gave in my comment above and numerous other statements prove).

    The behaviour of Julia Slingo in asking Met Office staff to sign such a document was totally inappropriate, particularly in the circumstances when the Met Office had received a 25% cut in funding with further cuts in the pipeline. (And why do you think only climate scientists would be fearful for their jobs, in an organisation such as this ALL would be at risk, particularly the support staff!)

    She has compromised their professional integrity and that is not 'her right'!

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  • 121. At 1:07pm on 13 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @sparklet #120

    "petition"

    Sparklet, are you the sort of person that says "London's Circle Line isn't the Tube; it's the Underground"? Do you get upset by grocer's apostrophes? By the "Ten items or less" queue at the supermarket?

    I don't have a full copy of the Oxford English Dictionary to hand. It is possible that amongst the 20 or 30 odd definitions that are likely to be in the full OED for the word "petition" that none exactly match this petition. But even if that were true I saw a BBC TV series recently about the origin of words. They've done two series. It seems all an English word or a new use of an English word needs to go into the OED is documentary evidence of its use. Now the Times has described this petition as a "petition". Would a copy of the Times count as "documentary evidence"?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6951029.ece
    http://www.oed.com/bbcwords/about.html
    http://www.oed.com/readers/

    "These people signed a statement not requesting change but saying in effect the science is settled."

    Not my impression. They seem to be saying they still trust the IPCC, and asking the rest of us to remember that there are thousands of contributors to the IPCC.

    "the science is settled."

    Not my impression.

    Do you really have a problem with the statement "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal"? At least seven of the last 10 years are in the warmest 10 ever recorded. I've heard respectable sceptics query causes and respectable sceptics suggest a real slowdown, but none to contest that the climate is significantly warmer than, say, the early 1940s, which is the sort of timescale the IPCC are talking about.

    And how does "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations" translate as "the science is settled"? (highlights mine) Looks like two acknowledged types of doubt to me, the proportion ("most") and the probability ("very likely" (not 100%)).

    In fact I'm struggling to find any occurrences of "the science is settled" at the IPCC website. All I've found is the following

    "February 11, 2008 Lecture at NCAR Lab "Joint Institutes" speech, sponsored by ISSE,
    IMAGE and TIIMES. Spoke about the IPCC, with attention to the topic of whether the
    science is settled enough for policy?"


    [sorry no link, it's in a PDF]

    Is that a question mark I see at the end of the line referring to "the
    science is settled"
    ?

    "And why do you think only climate scientists would be fearful for their jobs, in an organisation such as this ALL would be at risk, particularly the support staff!"

    Yes, but we're not talking about cleaners or admin clerks are we. We're talking about scientists. Hm, a scientist who isn't a climate scientist. Might actually stand to benefit if funding is taken away from climate scientists, mightn't they?

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  • 122. At 8:23pm on 13 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    121. At 1:07pm on 13 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke

    Jane, no excuse for not having a Dictionary to hand as there are numerous dictionaries available on line, certainly no reason to refer to a journalist for a definition!!
    And the purpose of the Statement - “to defend our profession against this unprecedented attack to discredit us and the science of climate change” ie they don't like people questioning the scientists or science of AGW.
    And despite what you may think definitions are important particularly so when it would appear that the political Establishment are trying to change the term 'Climate Change' to mean anthropogenic climate change.

    As I've said before whether you claim the climate is warming or cooling rather depends on which timeframe you're talking about. And I'm not in the least impressed by the statement "At least seven of the last 10 years are in the warmest 10 ever recorded" as we've only been recording temperatures since the mid 19th century.
    The Medieval Warm Period was somewhat warmer than the climate today as shown in the IPCC's 1990 report before they became so politicised. But even if we take the last 70 years as you prefer cooling would not preclude "At least seven of the last 10 years are in the warmest 10 ever recorded", it could simply mean we'd hit a peak and were on a downward trend as some scientists are telling us. However I think the attached graph of the last 450,000 years and the Milankovitch Cycles gets it more into perspective!

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

    Re. the Met Office - with a 25% cut in funding and more swingeing cuts in the pipeline ALL staff will be at risk and doesn't this tell you something about govt priorities. If the Met Office research is so critical why is their funding being cut?

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  • 123. At 9:36pm on 13 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @sparklet #122

    Oo we really are in pedant territory. Are you going to write a letter to the Times complaining about their use of the word "petition"?

    The online dictionaries won't do. Most of the free ones are either tiny or Wikis or both. How could I ask you trust a Wiki type dictionary definition where I could have added the definition myself?

    Besides the full OED is the gold standard. Or do you prefer a different dictionary?

    You can't demand a different timescale for the statement about "unequivocal warming". The petition specifically refers to the IPCC document and human emissions of greenhouse gases. Both these give similar timescales.

    I don't get your reference to "ALL staff". You appear to be referring to cleaners and admin clerks. The people signing the petition are all scientists. But not all of them are climate scientists. So some of them won't be hurt by cuts in climate science funding. Also climate scientist or not, most of the signatories don't work at the Met Office.

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  • 124. At 11:12pm on 13 Dec 2009, Sparklet wrote:

    123. At 9:36pm on 13 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke

    So you'd prefer to go to a journalist for a definition rather than a dictionary? but here's a reference for you anyway
    http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/petition?view=uk

    "You appear to be referring to cleaners and admin clerks." - Nonsense, that was your reference not mine, I have always said ALL staff! And cuts in the pipeline with a future Tory government were not limited to climate change. Most of the other organizations were universities which are facing huge cuts to research grants.

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  • 125. At 00:49am on 14 Dec 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Sparklet #124

    Definition of "petition"

    Confining the definitions of a word to those covered by a concise or compact dictionary after the fact seems somewhat petty to me.

    And how do you think dictionary compilers work? From other dictionaries? If that were true would we be confined to Samuel Johnson's 18th Century English? Or would you have told Samuel Johnson "no, you can't use that word, it's from a newspaper and was written by a journalist".

    Here's some guidelines from the OED of what they want for their full dictionary. Of course it all gets vetted by an academic.

    http://www.oed.com/readers/research.html

    "All staff"

    Actually your first reference to this area was

    "The behaviour of Julia Slingo in asking Met Office staff to sign such a document was totally inappropriate, particularly in the circumstances when the Met Office had received a 25% cut in funding with further cuts in the pipeline. (And why do you think only climate scientists would be fearful for their jobs, in an organisation such as this ALL would be at risk, particularly the support staff!)"

    "Met Office staff", "particularly the support staff", minus "climate scientists" would seem to be mainly clerks and cleaners. Unless they've got a particle accelerator lurking in there.

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  • 126. At 11:48am on 15 Dec 2009, ADMac wrote:

    From The Times December 14, 2009
    Copenhagen stalls decision on catastrophic climate change for six years
    "A draft text published by the UN says that there should be a review in 2016, which could result in an “update of the long-term global goal for emissions reductions as well as of the adequacy of commitments and actions”.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6955237.ece

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