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Climate ads far from divine

Richard Black | 15:08 UK time, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Some interesting perspectives on communication, information and climate change emerge this week from Africa and the UK.

A survey for the BBC World Service Trust (the corporation's international charitable arm) shows that although many Africans are noticing progressive changes to their weather, they're tending to ascribe those changes to agents above and outside the atmosphere.

A fisherman from Ghana told researchers:

"It is the will of God for these things to happen. When it comes to rainfall, it looks as though God has changed his calendar."

RefugeeWhile Dr Samson Kwaje, agriculture and forestry minister in the government of Southern Sudan, said:

"The farmers are only praying: 'Why is God punishing them?' Some of them don't know that we have punished ourselves."

Meanwhile, the UK government has come something of a cropper, with adverts it sponsored to raise public awareness of human-induced climate change being banned because of a tendency to treat projections as fact.

Based on nursery rhymes and featuring stanzas such as:

"Rub a dub, three men in a tub, a necessary course of action due to flash flooding caused by climate change."

...they could presumably have also faced action on aesthetic grounds, but that's a different story.

Managers of African news organisations told the World Service Trust that they struggle to communicate the causes and possible impacts of climate change to their audiences.

This is a problem that governments, activists and media organisations in the West have failed to find answers to, despite wrestling with them for well over a decade; hence, presumably, the UK government's decision to resort to adverts of somewhat questionable veracity.

The ads are the latest example in a series of attempts to convey possibly catastrophic impacts of climate change that have at least partially backfired.

One thinks back to Greenpeace's video link in 2001 from Kilimanjaro, arguing that the mountain's famous snows (that have inspired much better writing than advertising agencies can apparently muster these days, by the way) would be gone by 2015 - a prediction derided in some quarters at the time, and subsequently shown to be wrong.

One thinks of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, a movie whose science was mainly well grounded in the prevailing consensus but that allowed itself to stray too far on issues such as a shut-down of the Gulf Stream and the cause of Lake Chad's drying.

Of course these points were picked up and picked apart - as have the recent UK government adverts.

What's clear from conversations I've had recently is that the loose alliance of people keen to "get the message across" is still scratching its collective head about how to do it, 20 years after the United Nations decided climate change needed to be taken seriously.

On one level, this is surprising. The loose alliance includes an unprecedented concentration of top environmental campaigners with successful track records on other issues, government ministers accustomed to selling themselves and their policies, and advertising executives accustomed to selling us shoes and shampoo.

You'd think they'd have found the formula by now.

Protest at CopenhagenThe "awareness-raising" has not been a complete failure - the Copenhagen summit, for example, saw the biggest mass mobilisation on climate change in history, with as many as 100,000 people taking to the streets of the Danish and other capitals; and despite rising scepticism in some countries, global polls show substantial slices of the population in many countries in favour of mitigating emissions.

The essential problem is that it's complex.

Take the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's lately-maligned Fourth Assessment report with its 3,000-odd pages of densely-packed text, and try distilling all of its nuances and caveats and ranges of uncertainty into a campaigner's soundbite or a minister's speech; it can't be done.

So the nuances and caveats are lost; and when people feel the issue is so grave that the awareness-raising must be immediate, the findings they distil out will inevitably come from the scary end of the uncertainty range.

KilimanjaroBut then they get found out, and the "message" is coated with tarnish - perhaps irrevocably.

The complexity is an issue for the news media as well - a group criticised by Lord Stern this week for its lack of breadth and perspective in recent coverage of the supposedly cold winter (cold only in certain parts, in fact) and IPCC errors.

Yet when you come back to the African realities revealed by the World Service Trust, it is clear that the media there has a job to do.

The Trust survey shows that the vast majority of Africans are noticing progressive changes in rains and temperatures - changes that have the potential to inflict vast suffering on many millions, if projections of falling food production are correct - so it is clearly an important issue for the continent.

And while the science might not be completely settled when it comes to apportioning causality between greenhouse gasses, aerosols and solar cycling, it is so far unequivocal on the complete absence of evidence for divine wrath.

In the continent that has been worst affected by HIV/Aids, it is striking how many editors saw a parallel. Joyce Mhaville, managing director of ITV in Tanzania, told researchers:

"You know, this is like the HIV story. When it started nobody wanted to believe it, 'it's got nothing to do with me, and it's not going to touch me,' but before we knew it, it hit us left, right, and centre... And the same thing is going to happen with climate change."

Yet the shenanigans over the UK government adverts show that in one important respect the whorl of ideas around climate change is very different from HIV/Aids - namely, in its complexity.

Don't have unprotected sex and don't inject yourself with drugs using a dirty needle, and you'll banish almost all chances of HIV infection; there, I've done it in 23 words.

Climate change is far too complex to distil into a "message" of that size.

And maybe it's time to stop trying - to abandon the notion that it can be broken down into bite-sized chunks and turned scary through slogans or nursery rhymes. Especially if the exercise usually goes wrong.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:46pm on 17 Mar 2010, dictostelium wrote:

    One difficulty is the uncertainty. Nobody knows for sure what will happen - we can only run models and make guesses. Even experts are extrapolating beyond their range of experience. But the biggest difficulty is that the changes being suggested as most likely (and their implications for food and water security, population movement, conflict etc) are so big, awesome and difficult to grasp that the first reaction is to just shut it out and not listen. The second reaction is to get angry (thats one dangerous bit - conflict starts here), the third to grieve (another dangerous bit - giving up), and only when those reactions have been processed do most people start to take positive action from an assessment of the situation.

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  • 2. At 3:52pm on 17 Mar 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Maybe people can see through the lies and propaganda?

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  • 3. At 3:52pm on 17 Mar 2010, Vic Smith wrote:

    If the question is; "Is human activity directly causing the climate to change in a dangerous fashion?", then there is no immediate prospect of science providing an answer.

    Unfortunately the impression seems to have developed that science has already answered this question.

    This can cause some difficulties for those that wish to promote the AGW case. Every time that they invoke "science" in their arguments, they invite a scientific discussion. This is nothing like a political debate. It is not a matter of speaking for or against the proposal, producing evidence, quoting authorities and then taking a vote on who has made the best case.

    In a scientific discussion, a new theory stands or falls on its own merits. One of the first questions asked of the proposer of a new theory is likely to be: "What is your hypothesis and how do you propose to test it?" It is unlikely that a new theory would be presented for consideration before this question could be answered, but the consequence would be that no meaningful discussion could be undertaken. The theory would not have been "disproved" or discarded, simply put aside until it was possible to consider it further.


    Climate "science" is in this situation. It is still in its infancy, and no coherent theory has yet been developed. As an illustration of this, consider these two questions:

    If man-made climate change is a "scientific" theory, what is the simple, testable hypothesis that best expresses it?

    What is the test that has been designed to falsify this hypothesis?"


    Anyone who invites a debate on their theory, without having the answers to these two questions, is likely to find the experience frustrating. Some will decline to engage in a discussion with them, saying that there is "nothing to discuss", others will point out the errors and inconsistencies in the incomplete theory. Demonstrating the sheer volume of data used in the development of the theory will have no effect. No hypothesis, no discussion.


    Those who are more comfortable with the political style of debate may well be more succesful if they leave the word "science" out of their arguments.

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  • 4. At 4:13pm on 17 Mar 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Here is the winning formula:

    1) Some messengers with integrity. Gandhi-like figures clad in recycled clothes, walking and cycling everywhere. Growing their own food and shunning manufactured products.

    Raj Pachauri and Al Gore aren't working.

    2) A realistic message. "Some of us think that the weather may perhaps be a bit different at some time in the future. We are not sure how much and when."

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  • 5. At 4:22pm on 17 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    It seems that people are the same everywhere, from East Anglia to south Sudan: we blame ourselves for climatic changes and say it's divine punishement for our own excesses.

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  • 6. At 4:28pm on 17 Mar 2010, matthew wrote:

    Ads are opinions. Nobody gets mad at McDonald's for saying their Big Mac tastes good. It's a matter of opinion whether it tastes good or tastes like a huge ball of grease. So what's the problem with these commercials to raise climate awareness? Maybe they're not strictly fact, but they aren't outright lies either. All of the potential consequences discussed in the ad are valid possibilities which are suggested by the data of many studies. So whether they're absolutely true or not, it doesn't seem to matter when all that the ad is designed to do is get people to think about how they can live more efficiently and cleanly.

    What I don't get is why everybody cares so much that the science is perfectly correct or not. What's the downside of reducing our carbon emissions and cleaning up our energy production? Seems like a good idea whether climate change is dangerous or not. So stop whining that you have to turn out your lights before you leave the room and sort your recyclables.

    And frankly, it seems like a pretty obvious call that tons and tons of carbon dioxide and other gasses being pumped artificially into the atmosphere would change the climate of the planet. What's hard to believe about that? Put a drop of food coloring in a swimming pool every day for a year or two and eventually it will become noticable. The atmosphere is a closed system.

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  • 7. At 4:29pm on 17 Mar 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The poor don't care about the causes they have to live with the effects. Mental masterbation is the luxury of rich nations. In China great water projects are being undertaken to ensure that water supply is avilable in the North. African countries do not have the resources to redirect great rivers to support farming in areas that are drying up. As the right wing protest anything and everything that might be of benefit to others, the left is full of weaklings unwilling to confront the right about their nonsense and distortions. This all plays out in poor countries and the suffering is by the poor. Intellectuals seldom understand why they are the targets of most revolutions and radicals seek out the reactionaries for special treatments for their obstructions to aiding those in need. It is a cycle that has been re-enacted many times and neither side every believes it will happen again, and certainly not to them.

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  • 8. At 5:01pm on 17 Mar 2010, curiousman wrote:

    Climate change has always taken place and will continue. Look at a cliff face - that is the result of climate change. The point is not to squander the Earth's resources. Individually we can all make a difference. Do I really want bottled water when the stuff out of my tap is just as good? Do I need a bucket of chicken when a reasonable portion is enough? Do I need a new coat when my existing one is not worn? Do I need to take my kids to school in the car? We have to get away from the "have more and have it now" culture and the world will be a better place for our children.

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  • 9. At 5:15pm on 17 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #6 matthew wrote:

    "Ads are opinions. Nobody gets mad at McDonald's for saying their Big Mac tastes good."

    What if the ad said "if you do not make your children eat Big Macs, they will die and you will be guilty of murder"?

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  • 10. At 5:36pm on 17 Mar 2010, James A wrote:

    Personally, I don't see it as complicated. Emit less CO2, get less global warming, which is likely to be A Very Bad Thing. There, that was 16 words and they can all be backed up with several decades' worth of scientific research.

    The trouble isn't the clarity of the message, it's the fact that people don't want to hear it, so will do their utmost to undermine it at every turn. They'll either pick at the details, or just simply try to muddy the waters. A good parallel is the anti-smoking message; that's about as simple as it gets, but over the years, it has been continually beset by those trying to discredit it.

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  • 11. At 5:57pm on 17 Mar 2010, Ian Nartowicz wrote:

    "So what's the problem with these commercials to raise climate awareness?"

    One problem is that these ads are paid for by the taxpayer and are supposed to be a public service, neither misleading nor partisan. Saying they're just an opinion isn't sufficient excuse.

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  • 12. At 6:01pm on 17 Mar 2010, Ian Nartowicz wrote:

    "Personally, I don't see it as complicated"
    Thanks for not saying it is the last chance to save the earth, or some other hyperbole. I think "the greatest threat to the planet" is another one. This sort of exaggeration is interpreted by people as being untrue, so they leap in their simple black and white worlds to the opposite conclusion which is that there isn't any global warming.

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  • 13. At 6:53pm on 17 Mar 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    The tragedy on many developing countries is that the west exports it hazardous waste both physical and pseudo-scientific. We should hang our heads in shame that some of the very poorest people on the planet 'believe' that climate change is their fault! The half truths that the climate change 'religious' force upon the ill-educated is even worse that the nostrums of established religion (particularly the more establish 'faiths' of Catholicism and Islam). Instead of caring for the less fortunate we exploit them and it stinks!

    PS

    #10 James A wrote:

    "Emit less CO2, get less global warming, which is likely to be A Very Bad Thing"

    This statement requires a single word response - Wrong!

    (There is no scientific evidence that reducing CO2 emissions will, or is likely to change the climate.)

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  • 14. At 7:26pm on 17 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #13 John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "We should hang our heads in shame that some of the very poorest people on the planet 'believe' that climate change is their fault!"

    Could we hang a few climate "scientists" instead for spreading the same idea around, in a slightly more "rigorous" dress?

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  • 15. At 7:45pm on 17 Mar 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    When governments define a problem there is some expectation that they should do something about it. So they must word things carefully to limit their exposure. Coal and oil see a steady increase in prices so they are not interested in the development of alternative fuels and the governments collect both taxes and bribes, some call them contributions, from these industries. For the African, they must rely on Gods as their governments provide no hope and the Western companies are happy to pay some money here and there and not worry about the plight of the people and will tout their "job creation" for the few, while ignoring the oppression and injustices to the people. When the Soviets fell the West no longer needed to present itself as the moral alternative and quickly adopted the ways of the Soviets. The Africans pray to their Gods in hope for rain while the West worships at the alter of money hoping to delay any change for as long as possible. The Gods will respond before the West will.

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  • 16. At 8:22pm on 17 Mar 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Richard Black:

    Excellent article Richard, and thank you.

    I don't know if you saw post #12 in your last thread (Rhinos), but when I visited the university department head in Eco-Tourism and a colleague I was stunned by the serious and warm reception, they not knowing me from Adam.

    I had an in, in that I have an extensive resume of outdoor experience, and I had communicated this to the persons I saw ahead of time.

    I believe this was vital, in that before I met them I was first a human being to whom they could relate.

    Which brings me to this whole business you write of.

    I quote verbatim from your piece:

    "What's clear from conversations I've had recently is that the loose alliance of people keen to "get the message across" is still scratching its collective head about how to do it, 20 years after the United Nations decided climate change needed to be taken seriously.

    On one level, this is surprising. The loose alliance includes an unprecedented concentration of top environmental campaigners with successful track records on other issues, government ministers accustomed to selling themselves and their policies, and advertising executives accustomed to selling us shoes and shampoo.

    You'd think they'd have found the formula by now." (Richard Black)

    =================

    Most assuredly this is my feeling, and it does more good than I can convey to see you personally sum this up this way, having an enormously larger repertoire of contacts and acquaintance than have I.

    You perhaps remember our 'Mayday Declaration,' first posted here.

    Etc, etc, etc... and nowhere!

    I will relate something I am reading, by the Ojibway Richard Wagamese in "One Native Life," the chapter titled 'The Birth and Death of Super Injun.'

    "I had it all wrong, he said [John Rock Thunder, an Elder]...You want to be the ultimate Indian, but you have to start from the inside [pointing to Richard;s heart]...He went on to tell me... I was created first to be a human being, then a male, then a human being. I needed to learn how to be a good human being... in the process...I would learn how to be a good man...and would discover I had been graced all along with being a good Indian." (Richard Wagamese)
    =================================

    This is it in a nutshell, I am hoping.

    We have an abundance of top scientists, et al...

    But a dearth of centered human beings.

    Hence my calling, and my quest:


    \\\ Operation Cloudrunner - High Road to the Future ///
    (Climate Change tours for a Skeptical Public - or - Blogging is not Enough)

    I have no idea if this will work, but once previously in my life I found that if nothing else is working, try something else.

    - Manysummits - Calgary - Canada -





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  • 17. At 8:27pm on 17 Mar 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Ghostofsichuan:

    My back is to the wall. Is that what it takes?

    I look around, and I am appalled - appalled at my own ignorance and apathy up until recently.

    From the heart - there is only the internet standing between us and calamity.

    And it too is owned by the powers that be.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 18. At 8:39pm on 17 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    @13 john said
    "(There is no scientific evidence that reducing CO2 emissions will, or is likely to change the climate.)"

    Actually, there is lots of evidence for this. CO2 levels are rising and CO2 traps heat. About 50 years of empirical evidence can back up these two statements. This, combined with out knowlede of the greenhouse effect, represents a causal link between CO2 and temperature since know the troposphere is extremely closely linked to the surface via convection (a portion of the extra heat emitted by the CO2 molecules is transferred back to the surface). More recent evidence says that the planet is accumulating heat, especially in the oceans. This is backed up by empirical experimental evidence, so we know the heat contained by the earth is increasing. Then there are the models, which REQUIRE anthropogenic CO2 to explain the warming shown by the thermometers.

    Anthropogenic Global warming shouldn't be thought of as a single theory, rather it should be thought of as a likely scanario based on a vast number of smaller theories (e.g., theory that the earth is warming, theory that CO2 is rising, theory that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, theory that CO2 has a postive forcing effect, theory that CO2 forcing is distinguishible from natural forcing etc). AGW is just a recognistion that all these smaller things tend to point toward in a single direction - that man made CO2 is warming the planet.

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  • 19. At 8:45pm on 17 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    I might ask that Richard has a re-read of his own article...

    If everything is incorrect in the communication....

    Maybe the sceptics have a point, the message is wrong...

    All the climate scientists seem to have after years (and billions spent), is we can't explain the climate, it 'MUST' be man made...

    A scientists will tell you that is a starting point for a theory, and then go away and attempt to prove it by experimentation....

    We seem to have stuck at the must, and forgotten to do the basic science to support it..

    Ie all the subsequent research seems to be along the lines of:

    assuming AGW as a given, and investigating the effect of it on:
    anything you care to mention.. (sea level, ice, polar bears, birds flight patterns, etc,etc
    Using linear extrapolations in computer models, when any paleoclimatolgists, can sghow you these things go in cycles...

    Overwise we would either be 'snowball' earth, or 'molten earth' aeons ago, rather than a perpetual cyscle of iceage, warming, iceage, and all the natural variability in between..

    As, I said, where is the evidence, of ANY actual human signature, of man made global warming in the last 150 years..

    for example, If sea levels are going to rise, in 90 years, due to man (59cm the IPCC say, or is it 2m now!).

    What is happening to the natural processes that have cause sea level to rise and fall?
    Are they completely understood?
    What proportion natural, can this be quantified?
    (better get a bbc researcher to chat to - Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change - but is he far too sceptical for the bbc)
    Or have these natural processes just stopped? only man!

    'Must', 'can't explain', computer models extrapolations, say, unprecedented warming (even though we know not unprecedented - Phil Jones - Harribin interview) just do not cut it.

    trust us, we believe, and if you ask ask question you are a sceptic.
    so will not asnwer your question, will not be accepted anymore.

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  • 20. At 9:16pm on 17 Mar 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 21. At 9:24pm on 17 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Humans 'MUST' be to blame for climate change, say scientists

    No possible natural phenomenon could have caused the huge rise in temperatures experienced in last half-century

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/humans-umustu-be-to-blame-for-climate-change-say-scientists-1916506.html

    (Please take a good review of the debate in the comments section of the article)

    They seem to forget correlation is NOT causation...

    Everything in the article, CAN be explained by natural variability, what has hapened I the past and more can be happening now. Absolutle nothing to do with humans..

    This is the simpler explantion, unless evidence to prove otherwise, this sghould hold sway

    All they need to do is PROVE the link, not we can't explain it any other way, this is not a sherlock homes story, this is science..

    Proof.

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  • 22. At 9:54pm on 17 Mar 2010, thinkforyourself wrote:

    John from Hendon says at #13:-

    ‘….(There is no scientific evidence that reducing CO2 emissions will, or is likely to change the climate.)……’

    Where is your evidence to support this silly statement?

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  • 23. At 10:06pm on 17 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    The onus is always on those proposing a theory to provide evidence.

    Where is the evidence to support man made global warming, AND all the dire predictions...

    Serioulsy, as I explained above, there is no PROOF of a human signature, just it 'must' be.. That is NOT science.

    Show one piece of evidence, proving it, just one.
    That is all it needs. One..

    Lots of people have been asking for a very long time..

    All they get is replies, like yours..

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  • 24. At 10:11pm on 17 Mar 2010, thinkforyourself wrote:

    Barry Woods says at #21:-

    ‘…Absolutle nothing to do with humans….’

    Where is your evidence to support this assertion? Have you carried out multiple lines of research to confirm your opinion?

    Could you post the source of your enquiries?

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  • 25. At 10:14pm on 17 Mar 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Framing an Argument:

    1) Many people cannot live without God.

    2) Many people cannot live with increasing CO2.

    Eliminating most CO2 emissions would seem a less damaging choice, and one more likely of occurrence.

    ////////////////////////////

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  • 26. At 10:19pm on 17 Mar 2010, bandythebane wrote:

    One of the main reasons I have always doubted the link between CO2 and temperature is the while CO2 has risen consistently there are long periods like say that from 1945 to 1975 CO2 rose but temperature didn't.

    I now learn that National Geographic in 1975 estimated that world temperature did not flat-line, it actually fell by 0.5 degrees over that period.

    CRU has managed apparently to "hide" this decline in much the same way as Mike did with his "trick"

    This brings me to a second problem with the AGW link with temperature and that is that I now believe nothing that a whole number of individauls and organisations say on this subject. It is really most unfortunate but I now think immediately that anything said by e.g. CRU, Michael Mann, James Hansen, Ragiv Pachauri, Al Gore, or WWF is automatically suspect,and unless it can be independently verified should not be believed.

    Climate Science and its propagandists have been far too ready to gild their lilies. They have been comprehensively caught in the act so that unless those caught are replaced and a new ethos of telling the unvarnished facts takes over, the AGW theory even if it is true has not the slightest chance of being universally accepted.

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  • 27. At 10:21pm on 17 Mar 2010, thinkforyourself wrote:

    The story so far:-

    The sceptics seem to accept that warming is occurring and that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is man made (this is beyond scientific doubt).

    Their new mantra (probably via Watts and the CEI) is to acknowledge the correlation but now to attempt to cast doubt on the causation.

    This is a very old marketing trick and now you see it on all the ‘sceptic’ comment boards. A few weeks ago they went through a phase of using various put-downs, notably ‘chicken little’ and ‘the sky is falling’.

    All pretty rubbish but used because it’s very effective in marketing a false idea.

    Remember ‘Doubt is their product’

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  • 28. At 10:21pm on 17 Mar 2010, Yorkurbantree wrote:

    Good article. Incidently, I do hope this bit of the BBC is not under threat from the planned website cuts, as it is useful for people like me who rarely get a chance to watch the main TV news bulletins.

    I thought the adverts in question were grim. A really stupid concept and one that reflects badly on the politicians and advertising execs responsible. That said, any muppet trying to use the ruling as evidence for 'denying' climate change is just as moronic. John Redwood was quoted in todays Evening Standard as saying some such tripe. If you bother to read the actual bones of the ruling, they don't criticise the adverts for saying that anthropogenically induced climate change is real, but rather their emotive speculation beyond the hard science.

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  • 29. At 10:26pm on 17 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    @Barrywoods 21
    "Everything in the article, CAN be explained by natural variability, what has hapened I the past and more can be happening now. Absolutle nothing to do with humans.."

    Just out of curiosity, do you mean the temperature rise or the increase in CO2 can be explained by natural causes (or both)? Because if it's both, it's one hell of a co-incidence.

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  • 30. At 10:33pm on 17 Mar 2010, Yorkurbantree wrote:

    Jack Hughes @ 4: Only one problem with that genius piece of analysis:
    Such people already exist and they get ignored by the masses 'cos they look like hippys'. Likewise, if the message was phrased with as many caveats as you demand, then people would ignore it because it would sound too complicated. Now I can see why this would be your preffered approach...

    Bowman @ 5: No. The religeous context is just in Africa. Good God you are like a broken record...

    John @ 13: Given that Africa produces jack all pollution, I don't think anyone in the west is blaming them for anything. Trying to gain the moral high ground by making stuff up is never a very attractive picture.

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  • 31. At 10:34pm on 17 Mar 2010, Yorkurbantree wrote:

    Bowman @ 14: You are calling for the hanging of climate scientists. How ever tounge in cheek that is meant to be, posting that on the internet is not gonna win you many fans. How that got past the moderators I will never know.

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  • 32. At 10:36pm on 17 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    @26 bandythebane said:
    "One of the main reasons I have always doubted the link between CO2 and temperature is the while CO2 has risen consistently there are long periods like say that from 1945 to 1975 CO2 rose but temperature didn't."

    But this is completely consistent with AGW! There are non-negligible periods of natural variability and these have the power to temporarily mask the fundamental warming component. Climate scientists have a good knowledge of why these processes happen! The figures you should place more weight on is the 100 year temperature record (thermometers), which unequivocally shows warming of +0.7C plus or minus about 15%.

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  • 33. At 10:46pm on 17 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Please remember, we are not denying climate change!!!

    We are sceptical of man made climate change due to ma made co2 - in addition to natural co2, all the other green house gases, clouds, the SUN, orbital variations, oceans, volcanic emission, etc,etc,etc...

    AGW theory would have it, as driving, accelerated global warming, etc.

    One reality, one a theory, with no PROOF.
    Just 'must' !!!

    The bbc is very guilty of confusing, using interchangeably, 'climate change and man made climate climate change (formely known as global warming, until the computer models failed to predict the last 15 years correctly.

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  • 34. At 10:59pm on 17 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    SR
    Like CO2 rising in the 70's and the temperature FALLING in the 70's that prompted the Nature article (1971) another ice age due to pollution, co2 being a driver.

    Bigger coincidence, we have been coming out of the little ice age since the 1650's.. (with shorter term cycles of warm/cool in between times 30's 70's, 90's)

    And unprecedented global warming mantra - has been completely shown to be discredite by Phil Jone's interview with Roger Harribin, confirming it was NOT unprecednted warming(or rate of warming)

    All AGW need is some PROOF. not 'MUST'

    If you read the IPCC working groupp 1 reports, you will see the science section, is anyhing but settled. The margins for error are orders of magnitude higher than the effect they are predicting!

    it is full of mights, coulds, maybes, more research, poorly understood. As has been coming out in the pen finally.

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  • 35. At 11:06pm on 17 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    the earths's cannot be as old as those who say it is billions of years old..

    It 'must' be younger, the sun could not have lasted that long the physics do not add up for the sun's energy.


    The discovery of nuclear fusion, PROOVED this wrong, it could explain the sun...

    The earth's temperature, may have risen (the data sets, and adjustements are questioned now)

    This DOES NOT mean it must be human's. PROVE iit..

    All the complexities of the climate are poory understood, only last month, there was announcement that over 60% of the warming in the 90's was actually due to water vapour (possibly more). An dthat was form 'believers' in AGW.

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  • 36. At 11:09pm on 17 Mar 2010, mollycruz wrote:

    Since the response to the fact of global warming is the same as for the rampant pollution that is stealing the health of all of us and the birds and bees we don't realize are secretly responsible for the fertilization of almost 2/3 of our food. We must clean up the planet for obvious reasons, if it results in a lessening of global warming, that would be good, but it doesn't alter the fact that we have maxed out the planet's ability to absorb our activities and sustain life healthily on her surface. The scientists are moved by a search for truth; the naysayers are looking at their various bottom lines and flinching at the sacrifices that must be made. Our combined military budgets would take care of it, if redirected at our only enemy: ourselves.

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  • 37. At 11:45pm on 17 Mar 2010, Phlogiston wrote:

    Mr. Black,

    Thank you so much for refering to "Climate Change" instead of blaming all humanity for the evil that is "Global Warming". Thats a giant, absolutely HUGE first step in changing the delivory and acceptance of the "Message".

    Now then, what the heck is the message?

    Seriously what is the message? Sun is hot? Earth is getting warmer? Check got those loud and clear.

    And so?

    "Bad Things Will Happen! Horror!"

    Well when Bad Things Happen we will deal with them. Just like allways.

    "But, But, there will be MORE horror if you dont act now!"

    Act now? Ok but I'm not commiting suicide or killing anyone on just your say so. I dont care how many Nobel Peace Prize's are handed out. So whats the plan?

    "Buy Carbon Credits!"

    click...

    "Hello? Hello?"

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  • 38. At 11:59pm on 17 Mar 2010, andy765gtr wrote:

    :Jack Hughes wrote:
    Maybe people can see through the lies and propaganda?"

    it seems not, as far too many of the underclass (but still voters) are still in abject denialism.

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  • 39. At 00:06am on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #32 SR wrote:

    "But this is completely consistent with AGW!"

    You need to give a bit more thought to consistency and implication. Hardly any proposition implies any other proposition on its own. It only does do in concert with a wide range of "auxiliary hypotheses". (If you need examples of this, just ask.)

    Reciprocally, hardly any hypothesis contradicts any other proposition on its own. It only does do in concert with a wide range of auxiliary hypotheses.

    So your claim that something-or-other is "completely consistent with AGW" means next to nothing without information about the auxiliary hypotheses that maintain that consistency. The real question is: Are those hypotheses ad hoc, in other words, have they been cobbled together solely for the purpose of maintaining consistency with AGW?

    It seems to me that proponents of AGW are probably completely incapable of answering such a question. In fact I imagine most of them wouldn't even understand the question!

    But if you like me to illustrate this point with simple everyday examples, just ask.

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  • 40. At 00:30am on 18 Mar 2010, Daviid_Dublin wrote:

    At last a balanced and well written piece, Mr. Black. And told with a modicum of humour to boot! Not so biased as heretofore, methinks.

    Perhaps there is a sign of a shift in faith - oops! There is that God thing again! Never mind - some of us actually believe He is really in control, so who cares about AGW? It'll all get sorted in the end.

    Bravo Uncle Richard!! The third king of England with that name was maligned in *his* day too!

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  • 41. At 01:45am on 18 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    This latest article by Richard Black is a watershed event.

    Clearly, he is now drawing a line between concern for the environment (and the impact of CO2 as a greenhouse gas and many other things) and ALARMIST nonsense.

    I am glad that Richard has realized the need for adopting a more rational position and the watershed admission that climate change is COMPLEX. It is clearly a combination of a great many poorly understood NATURAL factors with some small (as yet unknown) human contribution.

    I want to thank the irrational alarmist people posting on Richard's blog. I actually believe that your ridiculous alarmist statements have helped push Richard towards a more "skeptical" and less alarmist position about what is actually an extremely COMPLEX system - the global climate - which we do NOT understand at all well (example - Clouds).

    A great big THANKYOU you to all the alarmists posting here!

    A great big THANKYOU to Dr. Pachauri for refusing to resign.

    http://in.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=57682232&videoChannel=101

    Remember, the more pompous and ridiculous the statements become the more people see through the "man-made CO2 catastrophe" for what it is - a fraud.

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  • 42. At 05:42am on 18 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @SR #18 who wrote...

    "Actually, there is lots of evidence for this. CO2 levels are rising and CO2 traps heat. About 50 years of empirical evidence can back up these two statements.

    It is just as accurate to say that CO2 removes heat from the atmosphere...in fact, most of the radiation emitted within CO2's spectrum is from CO2 its self. Ignoring convection and latent heat, it is the radiative efficiency of the gases that force a gradient capable of causing a greenhouse effect and the absorption actually inhibits this by creating conditions in which the heat tends to flow INTO the coldest regions.
    ---------------------

    "This, combined with out knowlede of the greenhouse effect, represents a causal link between CO2 and temperature since know the troposphere is extremely closely linked to the surface via convection (a portion of the extra heat emitted by the CO2 molecules is transferred back to the surface)."

    Convection removes heat. This is ALWAYS the case or else it violates the laws of thermodynamics. Also it is the height of the troposphere that corresponds to temperature, not the temperature of the troposphere...and its most certainly not corresponding with the levels of CO2.
    ---------------------

    "More recent evidence says that the planet is accumulating heat, especially in the oceans. This is backed up by empirical experimental evidence, so we know the heat contained by the earth is increasing."

    That was a great story until about 2003. Ocean heat content peaked around 2003-2004 and has been falling since then...every bit as fast as it rose. For the last 7 years or so the earth has been LOSING heat as rapidly as the models claim it should be GAINING heat.
    ---------------------

    "Then there are the models, which REQUIRE anthropogenic CO2 to explain the warming shown by the thermometers."

    And over the last decade the predictions of the models have been obliterated. Nothing is working properly. The jet streams surged back in the wrong direction. The ocean heat content peaked and started falling rapidly. Temperatures stagnated and actually fell for quite a while.

    The reality of course is that there is no explanation for any other temperature increases/decreases during this interglacial. We have no clue what caused the roman warm period, medieval warm period or little ice age (to name a few). The same models REQUIRE some kind of forcing to explain those periods as well...we just don't have an explanation for them. Just because there was a correlation with CO2 that doesn't mean CO2 actually did it this time.

    Later in response to the previous 30s/40s period you say "But this is completely consistent with AGW!"

    What you in fact mean is its not entirely inconsistent with AGW. There's a huge difference. Me being seen 70 miles from a crime scene an hour before and again an hour after the crime was committed is not entirely inconsistent with me committing the crime...but it doesn't leave me a whole lot of time to get there, commit the crime and come back. Basically you have portrayed something that weakened your position as something that strengthened it. And again...scientists DO NOT have a good knowledge of these forces or they would be able to explain the medieval warm period, little ice age and roman warm periods.

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  • 43. At 05:50am on 18 Mar 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    This thread has been the best proof of a reincarnation of the Richard slain by Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field. I'm still waiting for some evidence that the warmer temperatures during the MWP (1000 AD to 1400 AD) and the colder temperatures during the LIA (1500 AD to 1770 AD, roughly) were taken into account in setting the parameters for the computer models that the AGW enthusiasts tout. (That is, the computer models projecting what the baseline temperature would have been absent AGW.)
    Glad to see that a sense of humor infects your article.
    TeaPot562

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  • 44. At 05:57am on 18 Mar 2010, Quipper wrote:

    After seeing the US HISTORY CHANNEL DOCUMENTARY about controlling the climate for warfare, being done right now in 4 parts of the world, it is no wonder we have severe climate problems and "WARMING" going on. Apparently this started back in the 70´s by Russia. Shifting the Pacific Jet Stream causing severe drought in California and like wise All of Central America and Mexico. It also stated some believe Katrina was a result of "learning the effects of climate control". What on heavens earth are our scientists and Goverments thinking? Why has this been kept from the public for so long? Why are there no references to these stupid experiments included in Climate change reports? This affects PEOPLE, ocean temperatures, the protective shield around the earth, rainfall, winds, etc., until the whole truth about the effects of these tests and experiments, the effects of Nuclear testing and all the massive bombings around the world are part of any study on climate change-we are just being played for fools.

    If the do-gooders want to do something about climate change-stand up and stop these tests. They are sending radio waves (heat) to warp the ionosphere outward and that sucks the Troposhere up along with all the moisture (which keeps the planet cool) causing severe weather. I may be wrong about which Spheres are being affected, but the effect is the same.

    Our World Leaders are killing the planet in the name of Science. WHile we are worried about what kind of light bulbs to use- does that make any sense.

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  • 45. At 06:10am on 18 Mar 2010, Gederts Skerstens wrote:

    It's over.
    The Left has to get a new project going, learning from the collapse of this one.
    The next one has to be unconnected to anything in the real world. It has to be abstract. The physical properties of Carbon Dioxide can be found by any citizen within minutes. Lots of Volume from true believers can't change them. They are what they are.
    Make it a Crisis of Anxiety, say. Then, every word can be defined by the faithful."Anxiety", "Crisis", "Urgency", anything in a headline. Impossible to argue against flexible definitions.
    "Anxiety"(say) could be produced by a Western Lifestyle, which clearly has to be changed, since it's having an effect on our attitude to Immigrants and to other ideologies and religions.
    Dealing with "Anxiety" (say) is best done by setting up Departments and agencies clear of narrow National influences, run by the Concerned.
    Gore made a Billion from Polar Bear cubs dying on melting bits of ice.
    I'd be happy with a six-pack from this idea.

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  • 46. At 08:03am on 18 Mar 2010, akaExpensesFiddler wrote:

    Are people still going on about climate change and is Mr. Al Gore still evangelizing? Importantly, the West must stop dictated the international discourse. For example, if it is not terrorism, then it is climate change or both.

    The worlds outside the West should deny the West this self-ordained role by ignoring the West and not participating in such debates. Africans should worry about their real problems and not problems from the Western perspective.

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  • 47. At 08:41am on 18 Mar 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    Mmmm...so an 'alliance' is meeting to work out how to ramp up the climate of fear? Sounds a bit like when Blair and co. got together to 'sex up' the evidence for WMD.

    Sorry it's just not working.

    This will go on until these people understand what normal people are objecting to. It's the hidden agendas of tax, tax, tax from government and anti-capitalism from the likes of greenpiece that people are rising up against. Regardless of your 'evidence' normal people are not going to sign up to a massive destruction of their quality of life.

    Give people realistic programmes to preserve their quality of life, whilst moving to non-fossil energy.... then watch the resistance fade away.

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  • 48. At 09:27am on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #47 jon112uk wrote:

    "normal people are not going to sign up to a massive destruction of their quality of life."

    I think people are quite prepared to make huge sacrifices if they think "it's the End of the World". This is what people did everywhere in the 1930s and 1940s. A better strategy would be to bring it to their attention that global warming is very unlikely to be the End of the World!

    I suggest sceptics decouple the issues of taxation and AGW. There are some sensible, scientifically-minded people on the left who also think AGW is horse manure, and would happily join its debunking but for the loose political association between the anti-AGW movement and right-wing free-marketeers, Creationists, religious nutters, etc.

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  • 49. At 09:37am on 18 Mar 2010, FrankMitchell wrote:

    The people on both sides of this debate appear to have missed a trick.

    All scientific conclusions are accompanied by probabilities. Most public arguments appear to assume that issues are either right or wrong.

    One figure associated with Climate Change I have seen suggests that there is a probability of 50% that we shall be past the "tipping point" by 2050 if we do nothing. (The exact figure does not matter as long as it is non-zero.)

    One thing the public does seem to understand is "Insurance". Would I take my car out on the road uninsured if I was told that the probability of being involved in an accident was 50% (one occasion in two)? I think most people would agree that this would be foolish, even if the odds were considerably lower.

    The argument about climate change is similar: do nothing and hope to get away with it? Or do something now if we can afford it - which rich nations certainly can. The longer we postpone, the costlier it gets.

    It does not matter what the odds are - only the most hardened climate change sceptics think they are zero. If government bodies generally think that action is required, the adverts should say something like:

    "Insure your planet against climate change by acting now. It's likely to cost you/your children a lot more in money, natural resources, health, population movement, lives, etc, if you don't act immediately".

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  • 50. At 09:38am on 18 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #47 jon112uk
    "It's the hidden agendas of tax, tax, tax from government and anti-capitalism from the likes of greenpiece that people are rising up against."

    i think this does highlight the dilema. the agw 'sell' is really hard because it is perceived as a trojan horse concealing tax rises. this is also fed by an utter lack of trust in politicians and although probably not as passionate, in the media too.

    on the other hand, the contrarian pr campaign is well financed and organised and has the best message ever devised for marketing 'don;t worry about anything just carry on doing whatever you want'. of course that's double a lie, we do have to worry and we will never be able to do what we want.

    the second part from jon112uk that the population is rising up against anti-capitalism is bizarre. i don;t see anyone rushing to the defence of the banking institutes, multi-millionaire ceos, the rolling back of the welfare state etc....in the uk anyway.

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  • 51. At 09:39am on 18 Mar 2010, manysummits wrote:

    \\\ Quality of Life? ///

    I don't see it.

    I see confused people, most living, as Henry David Thoreau put it, "lives of quiet desperation."

    The big brain comes with a price - a very heavy price.

    The talk is of tax, and money, and being taken advantage of.

    The lobby would have us believe this is being perpetrated by environmentalists.

    Tell a big enough lie and people just may believe.

    It is business as usual, and the industrial de-humanization of most of us, which has produced this confusion, apathy and near despair in people. All the while business as usual thrives at the bottom line, selling us junk no-one needs, and which is almost without exception detrimental to our physical and mental health.

    The bottom line is just that - the bottom of the barrel.

    If we don't learn how to be human beings again, and fairly soon, all our problems will be rendered academic.

    Surely this is within our capabilities?

    - Manysummits -

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  • 52. At 09:44am on 18 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #18 SR
    i stopped arguing the science on here a long time ago. it just spawns a flurry of cuckoo science from those that think they know better than the accumulated scientific research of thousands over several decades (it's the sun, galactic cosmic rays, water vapour, lia/mwp etc, etc, etc).

    would be useful for davblo to reproduce his contrarian thesaurus here!!

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  • 53. At 09:44am on 18 Mar 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    thinkforyourself,

    Please try to understand that what you are writing shows a deficient understanding of the science.

    for example you write

    "he story so far:-

    The sceptics seem to accept that warming is occurring and that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is man made (this is beyond scientific doubt)."

    Let us assume warming is occurring and let us even assume that the link between atmospheric levels of CO2 and warming is established it does not follow that the increase of CO2 CAUSES warming. Indeed the data shows (ice core records) that atmospheric CO2 seems to rise after warming occurs. So elevations in CO2 show us that warming has occurred (temperatures were higher) NOT that CO2 rose and it CAUSED warming. This is what the scientific evidence shows not what you say that it shows. In consequence your argument that this is beyond scientific doubt is simply, wrong.

    Further, there is no experimental evidence that changing levels of atmospheric CO2 by man made actions (anthropogenic change of CO2) will have any effect on global warming one way or another. It is just unsupported conjecture built upon very faulty pseudo science. Please go read the papers and look at the very faulty studies with a critical eye.

    Further, if we accept historical studies of CO2 levels produce meaningful results (which is highly suspect) the atmospheric levels of CO2 have been very much higher (orders of magnitude) higher that they have been in the last millennia and if the (badly over simplistic) models suggested by the pseudo science of Climate Change are applied then the temperature of our planet should have been so high as to prevent there being any liquid water on the planet - yet there is in the fossil record ample evidence that surface life existed on the planet throughout this period and that actual temperatures were well under the boiling point of water when the models of climate change suggest that the temperatures should have been well over the boiling point of water ensuring that the type of fossil found should not have have been possible. Ergo the CO2 link is not scientifically well founded.

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  • 54. At 09:48am on 18 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Shadorne, #41
    you wrote:
    "...climate change is COMPLEX. It is clearly a combination of a great many poorly understood NATURAL factors with some small (as yet unknown) human contribution."

    If you are accepting there is a man-made component to climate change, which your statement implies, how do you KNOW it is "small"?
    If you wish to demand that those who claim a significant anthropogenic component come up with supporting science/evidence, then a claim of this type must be similarly supported.

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  • 55. At 09:56am on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace
    That was a great story until about 2003. Ocean heat content peaked around 2003-2004 and has been falling since then...every bit as fast as it rose. For the last 7 years or so the earth has been LOSING heat as rapidly as the models claim it should be GAINING heat.

    But poitsplace, that's just wrong and it didn't take too much investigation to find out.

    First, look here, on the dreaded Watts up with that ...

    You'll see he's got one of those blinking charts showing how data has been adjusted, in this case from a flatlining ocean heat content to a small reduction. But the general level now is higher than its been at any time in the past 55 years and I can see at least 3 other places in the chart where it shows a short decline before continuing its upward trend.

    So where does your ridiculous claim that ocean heat content is now falling every bit as fast as it rose come from?

    Its likely that I could go to every one of the points you raise in response to the excellent SR and very quickly find that you're being wilfully misleading - but unfortunately I don't have the time, I have a job to do.

    This is just one example, however, of how any undecided reader needs to be very wary when faced with an alleged 'fact' that supposedly shows that the prevailing scientific consensus on the causes of climate change is wrong.

    Check your facts, poitsplace, check your facts

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  • 56. At 09:57am on 18 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #bowman
    "I suggest sceptics decouple the issues of taxation and AGW."

    i totally agree

    "There are some sensible, scientifically-minded people on the left who also think AGW is horse manure, and would happily join its debunking but for the loose political association between the anti-AGW movement and right-wing free-marketeers, Creationists, religious nutters, etc."

    and vice versa

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  • 57. At 10:22am on 18 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #41 shadorne
    unfortunately it is very difficult to convince everbody here that you don;t know what you're talking about. however, you do seem to be doing a pretty good job yourself.

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  • 58. At 10:23am on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #49 FrankMitchell wrote:

    "All scientific conclusions are accompanied by probabilities."

    None -- not one -- scientific "conclusion" has ever been accompanied by a probability.

    However, some scientific claims are statistical, in the sense that they estimate the proportion of a given class that have a particular property.

    For example, "23% of regular smokers develop lung cancer". From this you may guess how likely an individual is to develop lung cancer, but the confidence of your guess depends on other things you may or may not know already, such as the individual's family history, his medical records, etc., etc..

    Science itself says nothing about belief, or about how much confidence we can have in any of our beliefs.

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  • 59. At 10:31am on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 60. At 10:39am on 18 Mar 2010, Bryn wrote:

    The depressing dialogue continues I see.
    Gee, some of you guys must have spent half your lives posting here and I wonder whether you feel that you have significantly advanced your cases?
    It bothers me that there is such an imbalance of consequences between the two sides (to reduce a multi-faceted debate to the black-and-white so popular here). Thus if anthropogenic climate change arrives and proves destructive the sceptics, who wish to deny us effective action to curb GHG emmissions, can preserve their anonimity and avoid taking the blame that they will (at least partly) deserve.
    Would the sceptical voices here therefore tell us what they will do to take practical responsibility for the consequences of the inaction they propose should they turn out to be wrong? Perhaps we could all make a written statement of our beliefs about AGW, deposit them in a bank vault for our grandchildren to open?
    For my part I urge strong action not least because I am concerned that the economic consequences of inaction will be disasterous for business. I would be happy to sign up to a rebalancing of taxation to provide incentives to reduce GHG emissions (and reduce our dependency on the oil producers) and other measures - and I will be willing to sign a paper to that effect and defend that position before my grandchildren.
    If I did so who would join me?

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  • 61. At 10:56am on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #60 Bryn_hill wrote:

    "For my part I urge strong action not least because I am concerned that the economic consequences of inaction will be disasterous for business."

    For my part I urge total inaction not least because I am concerned that the economic consequences of reversing economic growth will be disasterous for the world's poor. And AGW is all a religious fantasy anyway.

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  • 62. At 11:01am on 18 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #55 who wrote...
    "So where does your ridiculous claim that ocean heat content is now falling every bit as fast as it rose come from?"

    I guess I got the rate wrong. I'm sorry...its just dropping. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that SR was wrong.

    I'm not entirely sure how to respond to your comment implying all of my post was an attempt to mislead. Since one of the comments you would have encountered BEFORE the mention of ocean heat content was stating that convection removes heat from the surface...I have to wonder if your comment isn't its self an attempt to mislead others.

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  • 63. At 11:05am on 18 Mar 2010, Vic Smith wrote:

    Many proposers of man-made global warming refer to science as if it were something that they respected although, in many cases, almost everything that they say or write on the subject betrays their lack of affinity with science.

    Some go even further and display an extreme dislike of the scientific method itself. For example, it is common to read, on this site and others, complaints about the precise use of language that is common in science ("nit-picking"), or requests for a falsifiable hypothesis ("bizarre").

    It is also common to see complaints that sceptics don't provide evidence or counter-theories, but climate-change researchers are questioned at every turn. That is quite correct and perfectly as it should be. This is how science works. Those who object to this state of affairs object to science.


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

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

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

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

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  • 64. At 11:08am on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:


    The BBC seems to be a part of the problem in getting the 'message' across itself in the article above.

    Classic Groupthink (shown in climategate email):

    They want instantly want to counter it....
    Not investigate to see if it is true.

    As soon as someone is off message, instantly thought/denigrated as a 'sceptic'.

    What are Paul Hudson's qualifications, vs the 'envorinoment team' at the bbc, that IPCC/CRU team instantly get on to..

    Do they think the bbc, is their equivalent of the 'useful idiots' (no offence intended here just an historic past example/analogy, how a group of people get thought of and used another group)

    ------------------------------------------
    From: "Narasimha D. Rao" xxxxxxxxx.xxx mailto:xxxxxxxxx.xxx
    To: "Stephen H Schneider" xxxxxxxxx.xxx mailto:xxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2009 10:25:53 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific

    Subject: BBC U-turn on climate

    Steve,

    You may be aware of this already. Paul Hudson, BBC's reporter on climate change, on Friday wrote that there's been no warming since 1998, and that pacific oscillations will force cooling for the next 20-30 years. It is not outrageously biased in presentation as
    are other skeptics' views.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100013173/the-bbcs-amazing-u-turn-on-climate-change/

    BBC has significant influence on public opinion outside the US.

    Do you think this merits an op-ed response in the BBC from a scientist?

    Narasimha

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

    Has the bbc been used for propaganda itself, by failing to critical challenge the 'press releases' they are given, by the lobbyists. Does the BBC they fear the 'big cut off'

    Look how quickly the former greenpeace leader admitted, backtracked, that the artic ice disapearing, had no bearing in reality, when challenged..

    Noticeably, he looked suprised to be challenged(on the BBC, late night tv), they have had such an easy ride, they have said 'anything' in the past to get their 'message' across.

    http://eastangliaemails.com/search.php

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  • 65. At 11:23am on 18 Mar 2010, Bryn wrote:

    #61 So, bowmanthebard, will you sign up to that view and face the judgement of your descendants, whether the consequences are for or against you?

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  • 66. At 11:28am on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Frank Mitchell #49

    Very good point about risk and insurance

    Even if we don't think that catastrophic climate change is very likely there may still be an imperative to do something to mitigate it.

    If you were getting on a plane and the pilot told you that we'd probably get to our destination but there was one chance in 100 we'd crash you wouldn't get on board would you?

    If there was an asteroid heading for Earth and there was 1 chance in 1000 that it would strip off a large chunk of atmosphere I think we'd all be demanding that measures were taken to deflect it.


    Now, climate change has greater uncertainties associated with the science than those examples so for complacent people who support business-as-usual its a bit easier to spin a very misleading story by highlighting uncertainties, the occasional error (those glaciers!), robust e-mails. Then spin a few outright lies into the mix and crawl all over the web like a rash ...

    But for the original point of Richard's piece about finding ways to simplify a complex message, examples like the ones I gave above of how we respond to high impact risks even if their chances are quite small, are one way forward.

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  • 67. At 11:51am on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace #62

    You're wrong about SR being wrong. SR said this

    "More recent evidence says that the planet is accumulating heat, especially in the oceans. This is backed up by empirical experimental evidence, so we know the heat contained by the earth is increasing."

    and if you look at the figure I originally linked to in my post #55, it looks pretty obvious that oceanic heat content has been rising for the past 55 years (ie SR was right) and that the reduction that's happened in the past few years is no different from other interruptions to the steadily rising trend.

    Your implicit demand that responses to rising CO2 mirror the monotonic character of the rise in CO2 is impossible to meet (because other natural cycles are still operating behind any trend caused by greenhouse gases). And no climate scientist would expect that to happen

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  • 68. At 11:55am on 18 Mar 2010, andy765gtr wrote:

    i wrote this on youtube earlier. the topic of denial as a form of psychosis had come up. i was responding to someone who thought the denialism of AGW was 'normal'.

    "Psychosis is a mental disorder, but I think AGW denial is actually normal human behavior. "

    religion is 'normal behavior' too, but its still, objectively, a delusion (an incorrect perception of reality). AGW deniers have delusions too - perceiving reality incorrectly; and paranoia - seeing conspiracy where it doesnt exist. both are symptoms of psychosis. more tellingly, to the observer, their utterly incorrect, but unswayable perception of reality leads them to compulsions can be seen as psychotic, such as obsessive, aggressive attacks on an objectively correct reality. this outright rejection of formal logic and scientific knowledge, is, i would say 'abnormal' and definitely on the spectrum of 'psychotic' behavior.

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  • 69. At 12:03pm on 18 Mar 2010, andy765gtr wrote:

    "AGW is all a religious fantasy anyway."

    creationists say exactly that about evolution. it seems you have much in common with that other branch of repugnant, reality rejecting nutters.

    does that make you feel comfortable?

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  • 70. At 12:09pm on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    This article reminded me of a comment I made on the BBC's Andrew Neil blog...
    The Dam is Cracking:

    It would appear that the BBC, is part of controlling the 'message' ie propaganda that get's caught out as 'untruth's' or 'inconvenienet truth's' get hidden buried away, on good days to 'bury bad new's

    They need to take a long hard look at themselves, post climategate:

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    161. At 1:31pm on 28 Jan 2010, you wrote:

    If the wall street journal knew about his.... (November 29th 2009)

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703499404574564291187747578.html

    "...Other emails include one in which Keith Briffa of the Climate Research Unit told Mr. Mann that "I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC, which were not always the same," and in which Mr. Jones said he had employed Mr. Mann's "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures. A May 2008 email from Mr. Jones with the subject line "IPCC & FOI" asked recipients to "delete any emails you may have had" about data submitted for an IPCC report. The British Freedom of Information Act makes it a crime to delete material subject to an FOI request; such a request had been made earlier that month."

    Why did the bbc after 3 weeks of a virtual news blackout on climategate scandal last year... (just prior to copenhagen conference)

    Just run a report about the 'hide the decline' email.
    Using a scientists involved in agw theory to explain away the 'trick'.?

    All over the internet (16th -20thNov 2009)
    the FOI deletion emails were a hot topic..

    Yet only today are they talked about in the press, appeared briefly on the bbc's main page, then disapeared to science/environment?

    Maybe it is BBCgate as well?
    ----------------------------------------------------------



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  • 71. At 12:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Yes, that of which I write is like HIV.
    "When it started nobody wanted to believe it. It's got nothing to do with me, and it's not going to touch me." but before we knew it, it hit us left, right, and centre...And the same thing is going to happen with man-made climate change.
    Man-made climate (aka HAARP) will strike the upper atmosphere like a lightening bolt, in fact is striking the atmosphere NOW. It will focus an electromagnetic beam. It will heat the “ionospheric”.
    (The ionosphere is the electrically-charged area around the Earth’s upper atmosphere.)
    HAARP It is super-powerful. It lifts areas of the ionosphere.
    How?
    By focusing a beam, heating intensely. Electromagnetic waves then rebound to earth, penetrating everything, and I mean everything – alive or dead.
    HAARP academia say it is the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program. It is an academic project. It’s puprose is to change the ionosphere to improve “communications”.
    The US military says: HAARP's purpose is to “exploit the ionosphere for Department of Defense purposes”.
    HAARP keeps slipping under the wire. Everyone knows only God can control the weather. Everyone knows that climate reports have been falsified. Everyone knows that "An Inconvenient Truth" is just Al Gore being Al Gore... Everyone knows...Everyone knows…but apparently, no one can bring himself to recognize the truth.
    The HAARP project is supposedly like the other ionospheric heaters e.g. Puerto Rico, Norway, & even the former Soviet Union.
    The US military, in cooperation with the University of Alaska (at Fairbanks), has in HAARP an inexpensive defense shield AND the most powerful climate manipulator since the nuclear bomb.
    The very well researched CBC documentary, January, 1999 uncluded this key quote:
    "It isn't just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. In January of 1999, the European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks..." Officials at HAARP insisted then, and continue to insist that the project is nothing - just a radio science research centre.
    Some people (like I) are beginning to wonder about
    HAARP and Haiti earthquake
    HAARP and Chile earthquake
    HAARP and the Indonesian tsunami
    HAARP and Hurricane Katrina,
    etc.
    Most stricken countries will deem it an act of God, bad luck - certainly not the result of an aimed attack.
    Then Professor at Columbia, Zbigniew Brzezinski's predicted: “Unhindered by the restraints of traditional liberal values, the elite would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by using the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control.”
    His forecasts are proving true.
    One last point, if this technology was sumple "communications" research, why was it banned by the United Nations as far back 1974? How far do you think HAARP has come since 1974?
    1974: United Nations General Assembly bans environmental warfare.
    What does a UN ban mean to the United States:
    It means carry out the work more carefully, secretly. Let the world find out about HAARP when they get HAARPed; and even then, the world will probably call it an act of God.

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  • 72. At 12:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    From a BBC report:
    The BBC Trust's From See-saw to Wagon Wheel, p 40:

    The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC's role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as 'flat-earthers' or 'deniers', who 'should not be given a platform' by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.


    Who were these experts, all true believers in the 'message'?

    Was anyone sceptical actually present?
    Events would have appeared to moved on..

    Will the BBC reconvene this meeting, with a balanced inivitation, Steve Mcintyre (statistics might be good, and for every eco journalist, invite someone like James Delingpole)

    No warming since 1998 (Paul Hudson, Phil Jones) AGAINST all the computer model predictions....

    Or will the BBC,
    run the next IPCC propaganda due this year(and the UK governments) clips, UNCRITICALLY, CGI tidal waves, engulfing a ruined land, small child running away from a tsunmai (caused by EARTHQUAKES - not co2), leaping into a small tree and screaming...

    MY small child still has the occasional bad dream about this, and asks about the child..

    The IPCC said 59cm in 90 years sea level rise (other sea level experts disagree ( a recent scientifc study, real experimentation with buoys, showed a drop in sea levels in the last few years)

    0.006 m a year is NOT a tidal wave.

    (they of course rushed out a 2 m rise recently, as the got their predictions wrong recently - 0.6m obviously not scary enough - thoug my IPCC friend still says 59 cm - not 58 or 60?)

    Still that is only, 0.022 m a year. (if you believe the projections)

    Still not a tidal wave...

    Of course we are all doomed anyway...
    We had 50 days to save the planet: minus how many days ago now?

    (back to my jobs - I should be painting my kitchen this morning!)

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  • 73. At 12:37pm on 18 Mar 2010, Vic Smith wrote:

    Defenders of the beleaugered IPCC report frequently assure us that it only contains a couple of errors, and that the rest of the report is sound. Also, that most people who know about these things consider it to be reliable.

    The Titanic only had a couple of faults. The rest of it was exquisitely engineered. Most people who knew about these things considered it to be a magnificent achievement. It is currently at the bottom of the Atlantic.


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  • 74. At 1:04pm on 18 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    54 Dave: If you are accepting there is a man-made component to climate change, which your statement implies, how do you KNOW it is "small"?
    If you wish to demand that those who claim a significant anthropogenic component come up with supporting science/evidence, then a claim of this type must be similarly supported.

    You make me laugh. That is so easy to prove. I'll use your very own Hockey Stick hero - ex-head of the CRU - Dr. Phil Jones:

    We know it is small as there has NOT been ANY unprecedented warming. As Dr. Phil Jones admitted in an interview a few months ago - there is no statistically meaningful difference in the rate of increase in temperatures in the last 30 years compared to two other periods (pre-SUV, pre-Oil) when temperatures went up in a quite similar manner!

    Temperatures go up - they go down - they have been doing so for 10's, 100's, 1000's, millions and billions of years - this has all been natural.

    Here is another example (a visual will help those who are challenged to understand that they are victims of man-made catastrophic warming fraud):

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/noaa_gisp2_icecore_anim_hi-def3.gif

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  • 75. At 1:04pm on 18 Mar 2010, minuend wrote:

    No one believes the UN on climate change.

    No one believes the IPCC on climate change.

    No one believes the EU on climate change.

    No one believes the UK government on climate change.

    No one believes climate scientists in climate change.

    No one believes the WWF on climate change.

    No one believes GreenPeace on climate change.

    No one believes Friends of the Earth on climate change.

    No one believes OXFAM on climate change.

    No one believes the BBC on climate change.

    All the above have indulged in propaganda by either exaggerating, fabricating or falsely using the scientific evidence.


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  • 76. At 1:12pm on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #65 Bryn_hill wrote:

    "will you sign up to that view and face the judgement of your descendants, whether the consequences are for or against you?"

    It is laughably silly to think that descendants "blame" their ansestors for making the best judgements they can. What kind of fool are you that you "blame" your own ancestors for something? Are you mad?

    Can you not grasp that I am trying to avoid gullible nitwits causing more famines because they have mistaken their religious impulses for scientific judgement?

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  • 77. At 1:17pm on 18 Mar 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    50. At 09:38am on 18 Mar 2010, rossglory

    I think we are agreeing about the use of MMGW as a pretext for tax being a problem to people accepting the message.

    On 'anti-capitalism' - I was trying to put something complex in one term. What I mean is the message greenpeace etc were selling long before MMGW had been invented. End of global trade, end of consumerism, no personal transport, live in a cave in the dark etc etc

    Now the same old people are trying to sell the same old message but, majically, they now have a new pretext to scare us with.

    Many people have a nice house, good income, drive around in a comfy car and go abroad on holiday. None of us has ever been to the shops and found there was no food. We don't intend to give this up.

    Surprise, surprise. Ordinary people are not willing to sign up to the greenpeace world vision - no matter how many dodgy dossiers (or TV ads).

    Give people some sensible plans to keep their lifestyle, but fuel it on non-fossil fuels. Watch the resistance fade.

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  • 78. At 1:50pm on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 1:55pm on 18 Mar 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    I'm kind of stepping back from Richard's blog, partly because i'm tired of the usual arguments, partly because, with a few exceptions, AGWer's continue to sprout the usual "ice melt = AGW" without understanding that no matter how much evidence there is of warming - ice melting, flowers budding, birds migrating - it still doesn't tell us what caused the warming, partly because some sceptics have a similar attitude, but the main reason I am stepping back is because I have found a pro-AGW website that is really peculiar. They argue the science and the papers and, mostly, seem to have a healthy respect for opposing views on both the AGWer side and the sceptic side. It's enlightening and I'm learning lots about things that I didn't previously know

    All the best and talk soon

    /Mango

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  • 80. At 1:57pm on 18 Mar 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    PS @Richard

    Keep up the good work on the environmental issues, but please drop the AGW slant on every issue - you will do yourself a favour in the long run when this whole farce is over and consigned to the bowels of history

    /Mango

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  • 81. At 2:01pm on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #69 andy765gtr wrote:
    "AGW is all a religious fantasy anyway."

    "creationists say exactly that about evolution."

    They don't offer arguments. I do, and I haven't seen any attempt on your part to take them on. You're just endlessly appealing to authority, which is just the same as appealing to scripture: "It is written..." = "Studies say..."

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  • 82. At 2:02pm on 18 Mar 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @persuademe #73

    It was an iceberg that sank the Titanic too ;)

    /Mango

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  • 83. At 2:04pm on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    persuademe #73
    Defenders of the beleaugered IPCC report frequently assure us that it only contains a couple of errors, and that the rest of the report is sound. Also, that most people who know about these things consider it to be reliable.

    The Titanic only had a couple of faults. The rest of it was exquisitely engineered. Most people who knew about these things considered it to be a magnificent achievement. It is currently at the bottom of the Atlantic.


    First para correct

    Your second point is frankly demented. You do appreciate that if we really did demand your standard of perfection from every report, every engineering advance, every institution then the advance of human knowledge and civilazation would come to an end. Why do you even bother making such a pointless argument?

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  • 84. At 2:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #67 who wrote...
    "The reduction that's happened in the past few years is no different from other interruptions to the steadily rising trend."

    LOL, "steadily rising trend"...except where it's not.

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  • 85. At 2:27pm on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    The BBC is part of the 'message' and is in part responsible for the 'message' and perpetuating the 'message'

    Prior to copenhagen last year, no doubt many people will remember teams of journalists, running around the himalyas, pointing at glaciers that were goingto melt by 2035.. (lots of tv prime time dedicated to it - all channels)

    The BBC went along with this, it was a big part of the 'message' prior to Copenhagen. Does the BBC not have a public service responsibility to check if the 'message' is correct?

    In february, The IPCC 'glacier' 'mistakes' were 'discovered' and reported in the media, front page, as wrong, not only known to be wrong, prior to copenhagen, but deliberatly put into help the 'message'

    the head of the IPCC, was discovered to have said, voodoo scientists, when pointed out the mistakes prior to copenhagen...
    Then he denied all knowledege of prior knowledge as well (all in the press recently)

    And YET..

    The BBC promoted this 'message' before Copenhagen.

    Even though, the BBC themselves knew these details.... of the 'mistakes' and knew about the criticism, prior to copenhagen.

    Why did they continue with the 'message'?
    Why did they not report actually this is incorrect...

    After all 2 articles Dec01 - Dec05 2009 on the BBC website knew this.

    Why was the 2035 reporting of the 'mistake' buried away in the south east asia section of the website....

    Did the BBC not want to be off 'message'..

    Did they think the 'message' justified, burying inconvenient 'truthes' about the 'message'

    The glacier story was big news (however now they try to say just a minor mistake) it was one of the big scare stories, (effecting 100's of millions of people in the region) designed to get people and countries on board with the 'message'

    Why was this not reported on, given the teams journos running around pointing at glaciers on the prime time TV news, special reports, etc?

    Not even put into science and environment, or copenhagen sections.

    Links:

    10:04 GMT, Saturday, 5 December 2009
    Himalayan glaciers melting deadline 'a mistake'
    By Pallava Bagla in Delhi
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8387737.stm

    The Himalayas hold the planet's largest body of ice outside the polar caps. The UN panel on climate change warning that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035 is wildly inaccurate, an academic says.

    A few days earlier, this article made it clear, that al was not consensus on glaciers...


    Himalayan glaciers' 'mixed picture'
    By Navin Singh Khadka
    Environment reporter, BBC News
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8355837.stm

    Some recent findings seem to run counter to the view glaciers are retreating. A scientific debate has been triggered over the state of glaciers in the Himalayas.

    Some recent findings seem to contradict claims that the glaciers are retreating rapidly. Some glaciers are even said to be advancing..."

    Yet the BBC,again knowing this failed to comment, were uncritical of the copenhagen conference, with respect to all the doom and gloom pronouncements on glaciers...


    Will the BBC stay on 'message' this year?

    Or will they, say show me the proof, not just the assertions of a lobbying group, show us the science?



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  • 86. At 2:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, davblo wrote:

    rossglory #52: "would be useful for davblo to reproduce his contrarian thesaurus here!!"

    From just the first 33 comments, and taking the earlier 101 reasons to deny AGW, 2009 as read...
    (sorry for any overlaps)

    ...
    102. Nobody knows for sure what will happen (dictostelium)
    103. ...lies and propaganda (Jack Hughes: )
    104. there is no immediate prospect of science providing an answer (persuademe)
    105. no coherent theory has yet been developed (persuademe)
    106. we ...say it's divine punishment for our own excesses (bowmanthebard)
    107. The half truths that the climate change 'religious' force upon the ill-educated (John_from_Hendon)
    108. There is no scientific evidence...(John_from_Hendon)
    109: Could we hang a few climate 'scientists'... (bowmanthebard)
    110. there is no PROOF of a human signature (Barry Woods)
    111. Climate Science and its propagandists ...gild their lilies (bandythebane)
    112. We are sceptical of man made climate change due to man made co2 (Barry Woods)
    113. AGW ...a theory, with no PROOF (Barry Woods)
    114. The bbc is very guilty of confusing (Barry Woods)

    /davblo

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  • 87. At 2:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, Bryn wrote:

    #76 I'll take that as a "no" then.

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  • 88. At 2:54pm on 18 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #61

    bowman
    "For my part I urge total inaction not least because I am concerned that the economic consequences of reversing economic growth will be disasterous for the world's poor."
    does it not strike you as odd that so much of the world is STILL poor. i think you'll find it is primarily a consequence of western economic growth and will continue until the west's conscience is pricked enough to do something about it.

    bowman
    "And AGW is all a religious fantasy anyway."
    surely not still pushing that nonsense meme are you?

    btw: thanks for the link to feynman's 'cargo cult' essay....as you'd expect i don;t think it applies to climate science, but interesting all the same

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  • 89. At 3:03pm on 18 Mar 2010, infiniti wrote:

    Current understanding of climate can explain recent warming by anthropogenic means. It cannot explain recent warming by natural means.

    That's the elephant in the room which skeptics try to evade frantically on this thread.

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  • 90. At 3:07pm on 18 Mar 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Manysummits:

    Governments only respond to a crisis. Vested interests prevent any real planning for change. Clean alternative fuels development is hampered by the restrictions that they must "plug in" to existing power generation networks, i.e., maintaining the status quo. A non-attached inventor or serendipitous discovery will more likely change things as the vested interest only wish to pretend that research is serious. It is the way of most change as those in power are always happy with the way things are as they receive the benefits. As they try to deal with stalled economies it is easy to see that defending the vested interests produces no results. When systems are corrupt they only can defend and they do not have the motivation or structure to be creative..so they eventually die..When dealing with large systems one must remember that they only give up what can be taken anyway. Identify what can be taken.

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  • 91. At 3:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Shadorne #74

    That visual you linked to is quite entertaining but also misleading, since obviously the changes that matter to us are those that have happened during the period of human development - basically, since the end of last Ice Age.

    Now, some people have claimed that recent warming is unprecedented in the past millennium. Nobody's made any claim with regard to any period earlier than that - in fact its fairly well accepted that there have been times during the Holocene when temperatures were hotter than they are now. So only the first graph of Watt's series has any relevance to the claims made by Mann etc. The rest are just propaganda, frankly

    Also the value of the plots are limited because they only refer to Greenland (where we know there probably was a significant MWP) and they lack any error bars.

    It leaves the outstanding issue - to what extent is modern (20th century) warming attributable to the known rise in greenhouse gases, as predicted by the physics, and to what extent is it related to other cycles.

    Also, what is the risk that amplifying feedbacks will cause a rapid shift to a new equilibrium which may make many parts of the world uninhabitable. And, even if the risk of that is quite small, aren't the consequences of that low-risk eventuality sufficient dire to justify our taking mitigating actions right now (see my post #49 and tell me if you'd get on that plane)

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  • 92. At 3:13pm on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    minuend #75

    You're wrong. I accept the broad conclusions of all those institutions.

    You're just wrong

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  • 93. At 4:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    My reaction to the government ads when they came out was "oh no, not more patronising embarrassing adverts from the government".

    "Is there a happy ending?" asks the little girl after the cartoon puppy drowns. Excruciating drivel. I am amazed that anyone thought they were sophisticated enough to be seen as propaganda, and why such critics aren't more concerned about the bulk of general advertising that is far more sophisticated than the government's pathetic efforts.

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  • 94. At 4:07pm on 18 Mar 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    The following is loosely based on xtragrumpymike2's favourite, the Precautionary Principle. It might work as a soundbite but it is not really advertising material.

    "Many of our scientists think our greenhouse gases are probably changing the climate. We aren't sure, and if so we only have a vague idea by how much. But we still want to look for any easy fixes, or fixes that pay for themselves with other benefits."

    47 words. Or 48 if you count "aren't" as 2 words.

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  • 95. At 4:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, tom_cripin51 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 96. At 4:42pm on 18 Mar 2010, jazbo wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 97. At 4:45pm on 18 Mar 2010, jazbo wrote:

    22. At 9:54pm on 17 Mar 2010, thinkforyourself wrote:

    John from Hendon says at #13:-

    ‘….(There is no scientific evidence that reducing CO2 emissions will, or is likely to change the climate.)……’

    Where is your evidence to support this silly statement?

    Well actually the climate scientists, You should read a bit more.

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  • 98. At 4:47pm on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    A game of "Chinese Whispers":

    1. Science never yields certainty
    2. Science only describes what is probable
    3. Science only deals with probabilities
    4. Science yields probabilities
    5. All scientific conclusions are accompanied by probabilities
    6. Climate science assures us that AGW is 95% probable
    7. AGW is practically certain
    8. AGW is proved

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  • 99. At 4:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, jazbo wrote:

    27. At 10:21pm on 17 Mar 2010, thinkforyourself wrote:

    The story so far:-

    The sceptics seem to accept that warming is occurring and that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is man made (this is beyond scientific doubt).

    Their new mantra (probably via Watts and the CEI) is to acknowledge the correlation but now to attempt to cast doubt on the causation.

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

    Minor, very minor warming MAY be occurring if its 100% accurate, maybe half a degree. Looking at this in the context of a longer temperature record than 200 years, its nothing to shout about.

    As for C02, Im seeing plenty of evidence to suggest that the linear trend championed by the IPCC is now starting to be proven to be false. Again looking at the historic record we see far higher C02 concentrations with no comparable linear increase in temperatures, and we also see climate cooling afterwards - so no "runaway green house effect" with C02 as high as 1000ppm. Scared? panicked? No, only for the poor mugs who believe the political science cooked up since Jimny boy made a name for himself in front of Congress.


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  • 100. At 4:52pm on 18 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    If you are a sceptic and you make a statement like 'there is no proof', then you must try to justify this in the only way possible: by providing a point by point rebuttal of every line of evidence that exists supporting AGW.

    It never ceases to amaze me how a person can claim to be more knowledgeable on a niche topic than an expert. How high a self opinion must these people have? Is it justified?...no.

    If more genuine climate scientists, and experts from fields allied to climate science, came forward to doubt the consensus view, then I would begin to question it myself. The truth is, the theory isn't really in doubt - the evidence is compelling - and getting stronger. No 'tide has been turned', only public perception has been muddied by a media storm. Sad really.

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  • 101. At 4:52pm on 18 Mar 2010, jazbo wrote:

    44. At 05:57am on 18 Mar 2010, Quipper wrote:

    you are probably the same person who spouted these utter fantasies over on Real Climate yesterday.

    Eveerything you wrote about controlling climate is absolute tinfoil hat nonsense.

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  • 102. At 5:10pm on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace #84

    @Paul Butler #67 who wrote...
    "The reduction that's happened in the past few years is no different from other interruptions to the steadily rising trend."

    LOL, "steadily rising trend"...except where it's not.


    You miss my point. The trend in oceanic heat content - over the whole 55 year period - is up. And there may be some natural cyclicity going on in the background causing periodic flattenings and dips.

    Here's the plot again

    In fact I'm not quite right about a steadily rising trend. It looks as if the rate of increase has itself increased quite rapidly since around 1985.

    You can see, for example here that the dynamics of oceanic heat content are quite complex and that we know very little about how heat is transferred between the surface and deep ocean.

    So its quite dangerous to dive into this argument and claim that a ten-year flattening in the curve is symptomatic of any change in the trend.

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  • 103. At 5:21pm on 18 Mar 2010, JRWoodman wrote:


    I suppose next we'll have to change all the cigarette packets to include the warning, 'SMOKING MIGHT KILL', instead of the current 'SMOKING KILLS'.

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  • 104. At 5:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    91. At 3:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote: Shadorne #74 That visual you linked to is quite entertaining but also misleading, since obviously the changes that matter to us are those that have happened during the period of human development - basically, since the end of last Ice Age.

    Paul you are WRONG.

    That visual plot shows that there is absolutely nothing catastrophic about man-made CO2 global warming. The slight warming we have seen could easily be natural because data proves that natural variations simply DWARF anything we have seen in ice cores (over thousands of years and when man CANNOT have been the cause of climate change).

    Furthermore, as I pointed out in the same post #91, Dr. Phil Jones, ex-head of CRU, has pointed out the same thing for RECENT times also.

    Refer to Dr. Phil Jones somewhat weaselly answer to Question A in this link

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm

    My point is that an alarmist position that screams that we take action against man-made greenhouse gas (or implicates CO2 of significant climate impact) is completely and totally unwarranted and unfounded based on the ACTUAL data. Nature can easily account for far more than what we have observed in terms of temperature changes (tenths of a degree) in the ACTUAL data. There is absolutely NOTHING unprecedented in the last 30 years - zip, nada, nothing.

    Sorry alarmists, it really is time for you to move on and find another end-of-the-world scenario to worry about...

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  • 105. At 6:45pm on 18 Mar 2010, infiniti wrote:

    "Minor, very minor warming MAY be occurring if its 100% accurate, maybe half a degree. Looking at this in the context of a longer temperature record than 200 years, its nothing to shout about."

    0.5C is not minor. When ice sheets stretched into north america and europe in the last glacial maximum global temperatures were 5C-6C lower, so 0.5C represents about 10% of that kind of very significant change. Words like "minor" are subjective, but in my mind 10% of a very significant change cannot be considered minor, let alone very minor. More importantly though it's the possibility that warming to come will dwarf 0.5C that's the main issue.

    "Again looking at the historic record we see far higher C02 concentrations with no comparable linear increase in temperatures, and we also see climate cooling afterwards - so no "runaway green house effect" with C02 as high as 1000ppm. Scared?"

    According to climate models 1000ppm would not cause a runaway greenhouse effect. It would cause several degress of warming, but would certainly not cause temperature to "run away" indefinitely.

    It would be helpful if you understood the science before attacking it.

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  • 106. At 6:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, infiniti wrote:

    "81. At 2:01pm on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:
    #69 andy765gtr wrote:
    "AGW is all a religious fantasy anyway."

    "creationists say exactly that about evolution."

    They don't offer arguments."

    On the contrary. Creationists do offer arguments. Far too many (quantity rather than quality.

    For example "peer review is corrupt", "scientists prevent skeptical voices from being publishing", "the media is biased against us", "it's a conspiracy against us", "scientists have to agree with the theory for funding", "the theory violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics"

    You should be familiar with these particular ones because they are the same arguments made by some global warming skeptics.

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  • 107. At 6:55pm on 18 Mar 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Why do the pro-AGW poster behave in such a school yard manner?, it is rather tedious having to scroll through so much infantile ad-hom attacks on people with contrary views.

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  • 108. At 7:09pm on 18 Mar 2010, infiniti wrote:

    104. At 5:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    "There is absolutely NOTHING unprecedented in the last 30 years - zip, nada, nothing. Sorry alarmists, it really is time for you to move on and find another end-of-the-world scenario to worry about..."

    So you know for a fact that the last 30 years of warming hasn't been largely caused by human activity because it isn't "unprecedented"?

    And furthermore because it isn't "unprecedented" so far you conclude it cannot ever become so?

    And furthermore you think that if something is not "unprecedented" it is "nothing to worry about?" WWII wasn't unprecedented - there were other wars before it. Nothing to worry about?

    And you claim "end-of-the-world scenario". WWII wasn't end-of-the-world scenario. Nothing to worry about?

    Use the WWII test on your arguments in future. Try to think about the others a lot more - ie if they make logical sense. Although I can only thank you for showing lurkers how illogical skeptics are willing to argue for arguments sake.

    The scientific explaination of manmade global warming is not based on the idea that the last 30 years of warming is "unprecedented". It's based on scientific evidence that the past 30 years of warming is largely due to human activity. Unprecedented or not, if this continues it could lead to significant warming with significant effects. Inventing hyperbolic strawmen isn't going to avoid that.

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  • 109. At 7:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, John Lilley wrote:

    Great article Richard, as always. It’s a real shame about Africa. In many ways our recent aid programmes have made things worse because we didn’t take a holistic approach to their problems. What we need in the UK is some sort a mini climate disaster that will shut up the sceptics and armchair scientists once and for all. There is so little time.

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  • 110. At 7:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Why do the pro-AGW poster behave in such a school yard manner?, it is rather tedious having to scroll through so much infantile ad-hom attacks on people with contrary views.

    Answer. because that is all they have

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  • 111. At 7:53pm on 18 Mar 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #103 JRWoodman wrote:

    "I suppose next we'll have to change all the cigarette packets to include the warning, 'SMOKING MIGHT KILL', instead of the current 'SMOKING KILLS'."

    The most honest warning would be 'YOU WILL DIE NO MATTER WHAT, AND SMOKING IS VERY LIKELY TO HASTEN YOUR INEVITABLE DEATH, BUT YOU MIGHT GET LUCKY'.

    (And I'd just like to add that since Big Oil throws more cash at me than I can spend already, there's no need for the manufactures of "Lucky Strike" cigarettes to darw up a contract!)

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  • 112. At 8:08pm on 18 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    shadorne said:
    "That visual plot shows that there is absolutely nothing catastrophic about man-made CO2 global warming. The slight warming we have seen could easily be natural because data proves that natural variations simply DWARF anything we have seen in ice cores (over thousands of years and when man CANNOT have been the cause of climate change)."

    The ice core data show, amongst others, two things. One is that there seems to be a very close correlation between CO2 and temperature. Second is that atmospheric CO2 has not gone above 280ppm for the entirety of the ice core record.

    The third piece of this puzzle is that over the last 150 years, scientists have developed a model to explain a causal relationship between atmospheric CO2 and temperature.

    Fourth thing in this puzzle is temperatures are rising - fast! So is it natural?, are we to blame? Well the key to answering this question is to realise that we would expect NOTHING OTHER than temperatures to rise when CO2 rises. If temperatures were not rising, it would be one of the greatest msyteries in science!

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  • 113. At 8:22pm on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    John Lilley said:
    "What we need in the UK is some sort a mini climate disaster that will shut up the sceptics and armchair scientists once and for all. There is so little time. "

    there are mini and major 'natural' climate disasters ALL the time...

    You would NEED to PROVE a man made signature..

    Is it about 'winning', I do not understand this 'mindset'

    Why so upset, about the 'good news' that man made co2 is not going to cause unprecedented global warming, etc,etc,etc..

    And we have only the natural stuff to worry about...
    Unfortuently natural throws some preety big stuff, at us insignificant humans..


    "there is so little time"

    maybe for Al gore, GoldmanSachs, to make a billion or 2 carbon trading/offsetting/carbon investments, before they are finally rumbled..

    You did read Richard's article?

    All the stories have been shown to be exagerations, gone astray, etc (why not just say untrue, exagerations lies)

    Lot's of time, before the next ice age - maybe ;)

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  • 114. At 8:34pm on 18 Mar 2010, Vic Smith wrote:

    Let's listen to a climate-change researcher who acknowledges that his work is not science:

    "Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists - and politicians - must trade (normal) truth for influence. If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth seeking and reveal fully the values and beliefs they bring to their scientific activity."



    "What matters about climate change is not whether we can predict the future with some desired level of certainty and accuracy; it is whether we have sufficient foresight, supported by wisdom, to allow our perspective about the future, and our responsibility for it, to be altered. All of us alive today have a stake in the future, and so we should all play a role in generating sufficient, inclusive and imposing knowledge about the future. Climate change is too important to be left to scientists - least of all the normal ones."

    Mike Hulme, a professor in the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research


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

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  • 115. At 8:59pm on 18 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Mike Hulme, and all this post-normal science stuff, must make physicists laugh/cry at the same time.

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  • 116. At 9:01pm on 18 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #86 davblo

    nice one :o)

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  • 117. At 9:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    SR: Fourth thing in this puzzle is temperatures are rising - fast! So is it natural?, are we to blame? Well the key to answering this question is to realise that we would expect NOTHING OTHER than temperatures to rise when CO2 rises. If temperatures were not rising, it would be one of the greatest msyteries in science!

    You are wrong in that temperatures are rising FAST - the rate is no more than two other similar periods as reported by Dr. Phil Jones in the link I gave in my last post.

    And here is the amazing conclusion as to why your fourth point is EXACTLY why we don't need to worry (much, if at all). Temperatures stopped rising in 1998 (at least in a statistically meaningful way). Since then CO2 has been continuing to rise continuously: so we obviously do not have a "BIG" problem as the "dangerous link" between CO2 and rising temperatures is NOT supported by the evidence (ACTUAL data).

    This is why skeptics call the effect of CO2 as small or minimal.

    This is why skeptics call anyone who trumpets catastrophe as ALARMIST.

    Go find something else to frighten people with.

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  • 118. At 9:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, thinkforyourself wrote:

    2010 so far from UAH satellite record.

    ‘Hottest January, second hottest February. Now March is busting out’

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/17/global-cooling-hottest-january-february-march-uah-satellite-data/

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  • 119. At 10:05pm on 18 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    shadorne @117 said:
    "You are wrong in that temperatures are rising FAST - the rate is no more than two other similar periods as reported by Dr. Phil Jones in the link I gave in my last post."

    Natural variability comes in bursts. Look at the big picture. You *can* split up the influences on the climate into constituents. One is natural variability, another is anthropogenic forcing. If you look at the temperature rise in the last 100 years, the warming is uniquivocal - and the trend isn't always linear. Nobody expects it to be linear either. The warming since 1998 has been curtailed by a period of natural variability, however - if anthropogenic forcing were not present, who's to say we wouldn't ave had cooling?...and when the natural variability reverses to warming again (which it inevitably will), we will have another 10-15 year burst of warming.

    Something like 12 of the 13 or 14 years on record have happened in the last 14 years, so even though there hasn't been warming, the temperatures have remained consistently high. When the next warming phase comes, they will again reach a new plateau.

    This is exactly what anthropogenic warming superimposed with natural variability looks like!

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  • 120. At 10:41pm on 18 Mar 2010, Yorkurbantree wrote:

    Posts 107 and 110: Pot. Kettle. black.

    Post 116: Seconded.

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  • 121. At 10:54pm on 18 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    119 @SR

    Your entire last post is just wishful thinking.

    You state, "This is exactly what anthropogenic warming superimposed with natural variability looks like!"

    Clearly, you have superimposed your beliefs on a data set.

    There is absolutely no way you or anyone can tell what is anthropogenic and what is natural in the data. We don't know (yet). If we could predict natural variability to a ridiculously amazing accuracy of a tenth of a degree by year/decade or whatever scale you like then you could begin to draw conclusions but we ain't figured out the COMPLEX atmospheric system yet (just to show you how preposterous your conclusion is: we don't even know the effect of clouds!!!)

    All a rational person could say is that the anthropogenic portion (if there even is one) is definitely very small because it is dwarfed by natural variations (something you admit in your post above, "The warming since 1998 has been curtailed by a period of natural variability"). You shoot holes in your own theory.

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  • 122. At 10:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    John Lilley writes:

    "What we need in the UK is some sort a mini climate disaster that will shut up the sceptics and armchair scientists once and for all."

    This is the same theme that Richard Black of the BBCspoke about in February

    "I agree that a short term disaster would be effective in persuading people."

    Let's play Richard's words again:

    "..a short term disaster would be effective in persuading people..."

    I'm struggling with this.

    1) The sceptics/skeptics say everything's OK.

    2) The alarmists want things to go wrong to disprove the sceptics - a disaster will do nicely.

    This is getting sick.

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  • 123. At 01:32am on 19 Mar 2010, pocpoc wrote:

    Good article thank you. Lack to time to read all the comments, but it seems more and more obvious that we need to stop asking Mr and Mrs. Everybody to have an opinion on climate change (the science I mean) or pretending that they should have one. Are we asking them their opinion on whether a factor or another really without a doubt influences the defence mechanisms of a body against HIV or on the progress of medical science on HIV? This is non sense. Governments - at a 99.9% majority - are convinced of the human induced climate change and have accepted the IPCC findings. AND by definition, being a scientist means being a skeptic, in the scientific sense of the term. AND we are not asking bacterologists to be 100% certain, and as we are not asking medical authorities to prove that the H1N1 vaccine would reduce the risks. What we need to spend some saliva and ink on instead, is asking governments to take tough policies, set targets and caps, carbon taxes and ambitious programmes to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This is not to suggest that education and campaign are useless and that people are fools, quite the contrary! Everybody needs to act. But proportionally speaking, the power of governments is much greater. The proper incentives and signals must be there for industries to start with, with citizens and local authorities, otherwise actions will be delayed and delayed again... and for Mr. BowermantheBard I will make an exception to my initial thought to suggest he stops singing and go and read the 4th assessment report on climate change so that he can rectify his thoughts on CO2.

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  • 124. At 01:34am on 19 Mar 2010, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Why don't we all just focus on the:

    -environment

    Instead of all the abstract notions of climate change.
    For the environment we can do something here and now.

    -Coal is pollution. Find alternatives because it polluts the environment we live in.

    -Smog, anyone?

    -stop overfishing now!
    Make vast international nature parks in the oceans in which the fish can life and rebuild their stocks.

    -Use renewable materials that are sustainable well into the future.
    Carbage is filling our streets and landfills are overloaded with materials that have decay periods well beyond our lifespan.

    Do not do it for a vague un-proven-pseudo-scientific-theory. Do it because it improves the environment you live in here and now immidiately.

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  • 125. At 01:46am on 19 Mar 2010, Kev wrote:

    Just a quick note to everyone saying why not just be a good human and turn the lights out!

    Because it doesn't work:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ethicalman/2010/01/the_problem_with_hidden_agendas.html#comments

    And the problem is that these green policies are going to mean massive rolling blackouts in a few years time.

    You may be protesting now at that coal fired station, but I wonder if you will still feel the same way when the TV or computer don't work any more because the electricity has dried up. Or your employer can't pay you because the computer doesn't have power to run the payroll.

    We could of course build more windmills, I'm up for that, but then of course as we have progressed to the dizzy hight of 1.8% of output and it only took 20-30 years, I'm not expecting a contribution worth much any time soon.
    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14167834

    I'm not scared by Global warming, but the Green party scares the pants off me.

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  • 126. At 01:53am on 19 Mar 2010, Phlogiston wrote:

    @ Jack Hughes,

    How many over the ages have prayed for disasters to strike at their enemies?

    And how many over the years have taken advantage of prayers, and disasters?

    I'm just very glad that such people seldomly have the power and opportunity to act. The safeguards are currently working, not well but they are working.

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  • 127. At 04:21am on 19 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #102 who wrote...
    "You miss my point. The trend in oceanic heat content - over the whole 55 year period - is up. And there may be some natural cyclicity going on in the background causing periodic flattenings and dips."

    I don't miss your point at all. I see its warming. I see that CO2 may have some impact. What I don't see...is any signs of significant warming. The warming rate since the last warm period is only about .5C or .6C per century.
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1940/mean:12

    Even assuming the original, century old warming trend magically stopped some time in the 40s, we show no signs of any feedback at all. We have had 40% of the warming we would have for a doubling of CO2. Assuming the raw CO2 absorption math for CO2 translates to an equivalent amount of energy trapped on the surface...this is actually the most warming we should have without feedbacks. The fact that ocean heat content can level off (and fall) means it is highly unlikely there is any significant "heat in the pipe" we should be concerned about. The deep ocean circulation changes are most likely the reason MOST of the recent warming occurred anyway, not some magical place saving us from AGW (although that part of the cycle is just starting)

    Most of this is really nothing by hype...a gross oversimplification and exaggeration that was repeated over and over until even some of the people that said it originally started to believe it themselves. At current rates the anomaly won't go any higher than about 1C-1.2C by 2100. Let's be honest here, we KNOW they were complaining about the shift to cold weather during the last cold period. Cold sucks.

    Alarmists whine because there were about 35000 excess deaths across all of europe during the worst heat wave recorded. BUT every year there are that many excess deaths in the UK alone during the winter...figures which BTW had been steadily dropping until the recent cooling (or at least leveling off) started. In the US the excess deaths during the winter season are over 100000 every year. Boo-hoo, 35000 died because of a heat wave...forget about the larger number that have NOT died because of milder winters. Forget about the longer growing seasons and reduction in the amount of necessary farm land.

    On the "worst case scenario" front...time and time again we find that the holocene optimum was warmer than today. We'd have to go over an anomaly of about 3C for an extended period of time to melt even the greenland ice sheet (much less the antarctic). We apparently spent thousands of years hitting those temperatures repeatedly without the greenland ice sheet melting. The arctic was almost certainly ice free during that period...nobody seems to have had any problem at all. Humans actually seem to have done extremely well during that time.

    But once again, we show no signs of warming by that much...and there aren't enough fossil fuels known to exist (given the ocean equilibrium changes) to push us beyond about 600ppm. Within 100 years we will not be burning fossil fuels and CO2 levels will drop back down quite a bit, undoing much of whatever impact CO2 had.

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  • 128. At 05:03am on 19 Mar 2010, chris manson wrote:

    I thought that the reason the snows were declining was because the micro-climate, created by the surrounding forest, was unable to sustain the moisture flow to the top (creating snow).

    The cause/effect apparently, is that too much of the vegetation has been removed by people.
    Does anyone know if that is correct? (I have no proof)

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  • 129. At 05:07am on 19 Mar 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    Focusing on alternative (to fossil fuels) makes much sense. In the USA, building more nuclear plants is hindered by environmental true believers. I think (w/o proof) that they are trying to reduce the human population by 75% or so -- back to less than 2 billion. Don't think that they have checked with the Asian or African countries (or S. America) that would mostly be affected. Resentment by those of us who would be asked to reduce our standard of living while Al Gore and other true believers jet all over the world to various conferences. Is there a disconnect here?
    Anyway, keep cool.
    TeaPot562

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  • 130. At 05:33am on 19 Mar 2010, Doug wrote:

    So what if global warming is actually happening and is being caused by human activity! We all have to breathe and we all exhaust carbon dioxide. All of our animal food sources do the same. People engage in activities that produce emissions of the stuff, and there's no point in engaging in some airy-fairy utopia where we will not continue to do so. The ultimate "problem" is the exponential increase in the population. Some otherwise ecologically sensitive countries like Germany and Japan are exacerbating the problem by providing incentives for people to reproduce. Until the world gets serious about limiting population growth, don't bother me with all of these other proposals that are doomed to fail.

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  • 131. At 05:44am on 19 Mar 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    "Spin, science and climate change" - that is the theme of a feature being run in this week's edition of the Economist magazine (18 March 2010).

    As the Economist describes it: "This week we look at the science of climate change. We reckon that, while recent scandals have encouraged scepticism and huge uncertainties remain—especially around the issue of whether clouds will warm or cool the atmosphere—the chances of a dangerous outcome are still serious enough to justify investing in mitigating climate change."

    -----------

    TeaPot at #129 - by most accounts the main barriers to new nuclear power plants in the US have little to do with "environmental true believers" (whatever that term is meant to mean) but an awful lot to do with poor economics for new reactor construction.

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  • 132. At 05:47am on 19 Mar 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Shadorne at #121

    Compare: "There is absolutely no way you or anyone can tell what is anthropogenic and what is natural in the data. We don't know (yet)."

    With: "All a rational person could say is that the anthropogenic portion (if there even is one) is definitely very small because it is dwarfed by natural variations"

    So which is it? It can't be both!

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  • 133. At 07:40am on 19 Mar 2010, Ninad wrote:

    @#23: Proposing a theory/hypothesis and designing an experiment to test the theory is the scientific method, but not the end-all of science.

    First, certain phenomena have no known method of proving; however they can be verified so often that they are assumed to be true. Such phenomena are called Axioms, rather than theorems. Perhaps you know this, perhaps you don't. A good example is Gravity. There is no known method of mathematically proving gravity. Forget proof- it can't even be conclusively explained at this point. So, are you ready to jump off a building since there is no "proof",or do memories of splattered tomatoes on the street dissuade you from jumping?

    Secondly, common sense and intuition are often good starting points for forming hypotheses, which still must be proved/disproved by the scientific method. Thus, as you say it is unknown what percentage of global warming (if it exists) is caused by human activity. However, this is scientific fact- CO2 and CH4 (methane/natural gas) trap infra-red wavelengths, causing heating. A second fact is CO2 and CH4 emissions from human-caused processes have greatly increased in the last 150 years. Therefore, our contribution to any global warming occurring is not a matter of debate, but common sense. Assume there is no evidence linking cancer to smoking. However, surely it is common sense to quit given the immediately noticed benefits of increased stamina, etc.! Similarly, surely it is common sense to emit less crap into the atmosphere and our environment!

    Finally, a mention about the scientific method itself - Assuming a certain phenomenon to be true and then following it to its logical conclusion is a perfectly valid,and highly respected way to test a hypothesis. If the assumption is wrong, the logical conclusion is absurdity. In Math, this is called "Reductio-cum-absurdum". Thus the reason for the antarctic ice drilling to see CO2 deposit levels, air sampling, ozone layer depletion tracking, air density measurements, and yes, observing effects on polar bears, fish migration and bird flight paths.

    There's an old saying: The only thing destined to failure is the thing never attempted.

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  • 134. At 08:28am on 19 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Shadorne, #74

    "We know it is small as there has NOT been ANY unprecedented warming."

    Again, a claim with no supporting evidence. You claim that temperature variability is the combination of 2 factors, natural and anthropogenic. The only evidence you give in support is to look at the COMBINED effect of the 2. In order to make a claim about either one, it is imperative you show evidence that separates the two and shows their relative magnitudes - none of what you have presented so far does this.

    Saying that "current behaviour is similar to what's happened before" is simple inductivism of the type that Bowmanthebard is so rightly concerned about (see my comment #500 of Richard's previous blog ) and is therefore not evidence supporting your claim. Furthermore, your stance is ignoring the possibility that there may be an issue (to illustrate: it's happened before, therefore it can't be me, therefore I have no reponsibility to even find out if my actions are having an effect). This point is important and I will be happy to read your considered views on the application of the scientific method to the claims of AGW and the counter arguments such as your own.

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  • 135. At 08:59am on 19 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Shadorne,#121

    Sorry, I hadn't read down as far as #121 when posting my #134 so missed this part of your argument. You wrote:

    "There is absolutely no way you or anyone can tell what is anthropogenic and what is natural in the data..."
    ... the anthropogenic portion (if there even is one) is definitely very small. "

    (my emphasis)

    Not only is your claim unsupported, you even contradict yourself... I ask again, would you care to present something that actually supports your position?

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  • 136. At 09:12am on 19 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace #127

    The warming rate since the last warm period is only about .5C or .6C per century.
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1940/mean:12


    I had a quick look at that. It looks like a rise of the order of .6C (from ~-.2C to +0.4C anomaly) since 1960, which is double what you say it is. Can you go back and tell me what you think?

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  • 137. At 10:53am on 19 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #79 mango
    "They argue the science and the papers and, mostly, seem to have a healthy respect for opposing views on both the AGWer side and the sceptic side. It's enlightening and I'm learning lots about things that I didn't previously know"

    i'm sure you'll be back. but i think you're missing the point a bit. there isn;t pro-AGW science and anti-AGW science.....there is just science. just because the papers you dig out that appear to be anti-AGW are discussed by people does not mean they have a significant impact. i'm glad you're learning new things, 7 years of study with the OU certainly opened my mind to a lot of things and I would thoroughly recommend it........but you wont study too many of the papers you like i'm afraid :o(

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  • 138. At 11:00am on 19 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #131 simon-swede
    "Spin, science and climate change" - not a fan of the economist but may look out for this edition, thanks.

    i was reading elsewhere about a journalist who interviewed a respected scientist about the possible link between la nina and this winter's weather. apparently his editor wanted to know 'who would give the other side?'. seems much of the media want everything to be a debate, fight or sports match now. ho hum.

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  • 139. At 11:07am on 19 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #125 kev
    "And the problem is that these green policies are going to mean massive rolling blackouts in a few years time."

    that's not a problem with green policies, that's a problem caused by not implementing them soon enough.

    reading this blog you get the impression there's been a massive wave of green initiatives forced on an unwilling public in the west.....but look out the window and you'll see that next to nothing has been done and that is why c02 emissions are still growing exponentially.

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  • 140. At 11:30am on 19 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #136 who wrote...
    "I had a quick look at that. It looks like a rise of the order of .6C (from ~-.2C to +0.4C anomaly) since 1960, which is double what you say it is. Can you go back and tell me what you think?"

    That's odd, for some reason the link didn't work properly. It was supposed to zoom in on that period. Anyway, the temperatures at the end of the last warm period were about .05C and the recent plateau of this warm period is at about .45C. If you'll paste the original link into your browser you'll see what I mean.

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1940/mean:12

    GISS shows similar results. Its a little higher but then Hansen keeps tweaking his to make it show more warming and increased linearity every few years.
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1940/mean:12

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  • 141. At 12:43pm on 19 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace #140

    Yes, I see what you mean. I started at the bottom of the first cycle and went to the top of the next cycle, whereas you went from the top of the first cycle to the top of the second cycle which is a better guesstimate of the underlying trend.

    So we've got a trend of ~0.4C since 1940 (70 years) equivalent to ~.06C per decade, or .6C per century. And the IPCC best case scenario predicts a rise of 1.8C over the next century (ie three times the rate over the past 70 years). That's a big increase (although the uncertainty band (1.1C-2.9C) is quite high as well), and your confidence in those figures will have lot to do with how much faith you put in the models which are driven by assumptions about climate sensitivity and future feedbacks.

    Well, we know the models are uncertain, and there is quite a lot of debate within climate science about how they can be improved. That will only happen with more research and the accumulation of more data. As a scientist myself, I prefer to trust the established and peer-reviewed science (while remaining aware of how much is not known and of how great some of the uncertainties are).

    Remember, the concentration of greenhouse gases is continuing to increase quite rapidly, and it isn't going to stop increasing for several decades at least. So the rate of warming due to greenhouse gases alone is likely to increase from its present level. And some of the feedbacks can be estimated from how they worked during the glacial-interglacial cycles.

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  • 142. At 1:20pm on 19 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    135 @Dave: Not only is your claim unsupported, you even contradict yourself... I ask again, would you care to present something that actually supports your position?

    Huh? Are you referring to another as yet unknown global temperature set?

    The data I am referring to is the recent one that the IPCC uses as well as looking further back in distant history through ice cores, in this data sets the natural variations in temperature dwarf any supposed CO2 warming response therefore it is logical to describe the effects of man-made CO2 as SMALL (lower end or possibly even much less than IPCC range of predictions). Clearly, there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

    Are you talking about Venus perhaps? I was referring to Earth.

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  • 143. At 1:45pm on 19 Mar 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory #137

    but you wont study too many of the papers you like i'm afraid

    it's not a question of like or dislike, it's a question of what the papers tell us, if you only read papers that support your view, you will never be able to challenge yourself. This is the reason I read RC - to challenge any preconceptions that i may have

    this is why the blog I have found is written by an AGWer who happens to think people with an alternative view should be heard

    oh and btw, I know a lot more about the OU than you could possibly imagine - how do you think i gain access to most papers?

    ;)

    /Mango



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  • 144. At 3:26pm on 19 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Shadorne, #142

    You have missed the point I'm attempting to put to you. I can illustrate it another way:

    1. You accept large natural variabilty on the scale of up to, say, 10 degrees (these levels are shown in the graphic you linked to in post #74, on some of the timescales).
    2. You accept there is probably a man-made component.
    3. What if I said I believed the natural variability in recent times was a cooling of 10 degrees and the currently observed, small, TOTAL warming in the last few decades/ last century (time-period is immaterial) therefore proved the man-made component is positive and greater than 10 degrees. (Please note this is NOT what I am claiming - it is merely a hypothetical illustration).

    My claim at point 3 is as invalid as your claim about the man-made component being small in comparison to the natural variation. It is pure inductivism.

    This can be further illustrated by comparison to the standard "swans" example:
    I see some white swans therefore all swans are white.
    Compare this to your claim:
    I see large natural temperature variation therefore all large temperature variation is natural.

    It just doesn't hold up. An attempt must be made to separate the natural and anthropogenic components which is an extremely complex task. Unless you can point to some literature that attempts this separation and concludes an insignificant anthropogenic component, you have NOT supported your claim. Incidentally, if you are interested, I am still debating this point of inductivism with Bowmanthebard and JaneBasingstoke on Richard's previous blog.

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  • 145. At 6:11pm on 19 Mar 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #143 mango
    "it's not a question of like or dislike, it's a question of what the papers tell us, if you only read papers that support your view, you will never be able to challenge yourself. This is the reason I read RC - to challenge any preconceptions that i may have"

    i used to do the same when i thought the climateaudit type sites were really on to something, but gave up. maybe i should look at one or two (i did read the summary of the pinker one you linked to). i think you, bowman et al really get the impression we (pro-AGWers) have totally closed minds, bowman even thinks i'm religious. but the truth is i've always (back to teh 80s anyway) been concerned about co2/agw but really didn;t want to believe it, so spent a lot of time on blogs looking at the contrarian 'killer' articles/papers looking for einstein's one expt (as you put it). i never found it.

    having spent the past 7 years studying with the ou i'm having a break. it's a great uni but i'm worried about the govt funding. i hope they can keep the standards and breadth of study high.

    good luck with your new adventure but i'm sure you'll be back here to have a whinge at richard every now and then.

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  • 146. At 8:19pm on 19 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    my comment of yesterday has been refereed to the mods for 36 hours now..

    If there is something wrong that does not comply with house rules, let me know and I'll correct it.

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  • 147. At 9:44pm on 19 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #141 who wrote...
    "Remember, the concentration of greenhouse gases is continuing to increase quite rapidly, and it isn't going to stop increasing for several decades at least. So the rate of warming due to greenhouse gases alone is likely to increase from its present level."

    Ah, but the rate of increase for the amount of CO2 emitted is falling short. The reason is that solubility increases faster than the warming can offset. Basically, no matter how much CO2 we put in the air, the oceans will soak up about half of it. It is quite likely that there isn't enough commercially viable coal/oil on the planet to more than double CO2 levels...and that's assuming we burn it all.

    It is highly unlikely that we would burn ALL of the fossil fuels. Within a decade or two some FAR more viable alternatives will be available. Thorium reactors are far safer (and therefore cheaper) and produce waste with a MUCH shorter sequestering time (400 years). Fusion will likely be viable in another couple decades. Incredibly cheap solar cells based on roll to roll processes should be available. Newer storage systems will be available.

    Within a few decades the transition away from fossil fuels will happen naturally. No need to crush the economy with the tens (possibly hundreds) of trillions of dollars in up-front costs on the current batch of immature renewable tech. Remember, the up-front costs mean whatever it costs to produce, you're locked into those rates for DECADES. If we try to transition now, we'll be stuck paying those high electrical rates for over a decade.
    ---------------------------

    "And some of the feedbacks can be estimated from how they worked during the glacial-interglacial cycles. "

    Actually this is where you missed my point. If you'll look at the ice core record it's obvious that there has been a change to the sensitivity. Just grabbing any old ice core record at random, you can see that the fluctuations during the glacial-interglacial temperature ranges are far larger than during the glacial periods.
    http://www.climateactionnetwork.ca/images/charts/vostok-ice-core.jpg

    The case for high feedbacks during the interglacial is weak if you use either the behavior captured in the ice core record or just the current temperature record. They can claim anything they want...but its just not happening. I didn't start this critical of AGW. I just started looking into the data and found that there's no way you can shoehorn the idea of substantial, dangerous, anthropogenic global warming into the real world data.

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  • 148. At 10:17pm on 19 Mar 2010, Richard wrote:

    "Global Warming which has now become climate change" call it what you will, the whole thing is a scandal.

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  • 149. At 11:14pm on 19 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    144 Dave_Oxon: My claim at point 3 is as invalid as your claim about the man-made component being small in comparison to the natural variation. It is pure inductivism.

    Huh? I look at the record of natural temperature variation records before man-made CO2 was even a factor. I look at the recent temperature variation record (natural + some "supposed" or "expected" or "hypothesized" man-made effect).

    What do I see?

    I see nothing unusual at all in the recent temperature variation record which has modest temperature increases no different to what we saw 80 years ago and smaller than other natural effects seen historically.

    Therefore using "Occum's razor", I assume that man-made CO2 has a small impact - otherwise we would have seen something that stands out as different.

    You my friend, are doing everything you can to try to see a catastrophe in the data - going as far as to assume natural variations have caused temperatures to decline rapidly if it were not for a bigger positive offset due to man-made CO2.

    Frankly, you can speculate all you want about a CO2 Monster but until there is need for alarm I will continue to criticize alarmists.

    "Occum's Razor" principle is that we do not need to resort to a catastrophic CO2 Monster to explain what looks like absolutely perfectly normal natural climate behavior.

    You can call this "inductivism" if you like but where I come from this is simply common sense.

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  • 150. At 11:18pm on 19 Mar 2010, infiniti wrote:

    Re 148. Richard: "Global Warming which has now become climate change"

    Here's a quick quiz for you:

    Question 1. What does the CC in IPCC stand for?

    Question 2. When was the IPCC formed?

    Taking into account the answer to quesiton 1 & 2, when are you proposing "global warming" was changed to "climate change".

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  • 151. At 11:23pm on 19 Mar 2010, infiniti wrote:

    "Actually this is where you missed my point. If you'll look at the ice core record it's obvious that there has been a change to the sensitivity. Just grabbing any old ice core record at random, you can see that the fluctuations during the glacial-interglacial temperature ranges are far larger than during the glacial periods."

    It's not obvious at all, in fact the image doesn't provide any support for your claim. There's nothing notably different in the variation between the interglacial and glacial periods. The interglacial periods are far to short to compare with the glacial periods anyway. And this idea doesn't fit at all well with the idea that the medieval warm period was many degrees warmer than today does it? That would suggest a problem for negative feedback as negative feedback should prevent such large changes.

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  • 152. At 04:37am on 20 Mar 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    @Simon-Swede #131; Compare the new nuclear plants being built in France and Japan to the number built in the USA in the last thirty years. An application by a utility to build a new plant at any site in the US has to run an obstacle course of local, county, state and Federal regulators, with litigation sponsored by the environmental lobby. The last time I saw a figure on delays, the estimate exceeded five years in the best case from date of submission of a plan to the date of being able to "break ground" for the new plant. In some legal jurisdictions, California, e.g., the probable delay is infinite. No private company can afford to have the capital needed to build a plant tied up in litigation for a large number of years. The economic lack of feasibility is directly tied to activities of the Green lobby, which doesn't like CO2 in the atmosphere, but lobbies (in the US, anyway) against a logical power source that generates little or no CO2 in operation.
    TeaPot562

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  • 153. At 09:31am on 20 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @infinity #151 who wrote...
    "It's not obvious at all, in fact the image doesn't provide any support for your claim. There's nothing notably different in the variation between the interglacial and glacial periods. The interglacial periods are far to short to compare with the glacial periods anyway. And this idea doesn't fit at all well with the idea that the medieval warm period was many degrees warmer than today does it? That would suggest a problem for negative feedback as negative feedback should prevent such large changes."

    Actually if you'll look...
    http://www.climateactionnetwork.ca/images/charts/vostok-ice-core.jpg

    ...the climate goes into a much smoother sort of behavior...but there are still fluctuations of about 2C all through the holocene. None of these fluctuations are explainable by climate scientists. The only thing that would be odd is if it DIDN'T fluctuate. During the glacial period the spikes are often twice or three times as large. It is quite clear that during the interglacials the feedbacks are much weaker.

    As for negative feedback preventing such shifts in climate...I'm perfectly open to this idea. The problem again is that these things cannot be explained AT ALL. With or without positive/negative feedback it appears the climate just warms and cools because of something as yet unknown or at the very least, not well understood. The most obvious candidate appears to be the ocean cycles...something that has indeed been found to be changing during these most recent warming episodes.

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  • 154. At 11:52am on 20 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Shadorne, #150

    "You can call this "inductivism" if you like but where I come from this is simply common sense."

    ...and therein lies the crux of the problem concerning communication of scientific ideas: so much of science is non-intuitive that common-sense, inductivism and Occam's razor cannot be used as a guide - only the scientific method will do.

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  • 155. At 12:56pm on 20 Mar 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory #145

    i used to do the same when i thought the climateaudit type sites were really on to something, but gave up.

    Don't give up, I think you are better off understanding the opposite side of the argument to try understand your own argument

    i think you, bowman et al really get the impression we (pro-AGWers) have totally closed minds,

    Some have - on both sides of the argument. Manysummits is a clear example, although he won't think so

    good luck with your new adventure but i'm sure you'll be back here to have a whinge at richard every now and then.

    You say i'm whinging, I say I'm trying to correct AGWers misconceptions

    poe-tah-toe / poe-tar-toe

    but believe it when I say, the majority of people who come here and question the science part of AGW are legitimate sceptics, not deniers or contrarians or any other derogatory term that AGWers can dream up. Being sceptical in science is part of the system. Recognise that and you will be half way understanding where we are coming from

    Warmist regards ;)

    /Mango

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  • 156. At 1:28pm on 20 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    shadorne@149 said
    "I see nothing unusual at all in the recent temperature variation record which has modest temperature increases no different to what we saw 80 years ago and smaller than other natural effects seen historically."

    CO2 going to 384ppm when it hasn't been above 280ppm for the entire 400,000 year ice core record is not unusual? I guess you can go on about the correlation between CO2 and temperature in the ice core record, but the most important reason to treat AGW as a credible theory is the evidence, old and new, that shows causaility - CO2 absorbs certain bands of radiation and enhances the greenhouse effect. Without this knowledge, a lot of what's happened in the ice core record would make no sense - no sense at all - the variation in solar irradiation by itself can not explain the full extent of cycles and no other viable explanation can explain it. Also, the models, which are really just mathematical representations of our current knowledge in atmospheric physics, cannot explain the recent warming. Pieces in a puzzle....

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  • 157. At 2:07pm on 20 Mar 2010, Korrigan wrote:

    As our family have given up TV to reduce our carbon footprint (along with tumble dryer, freezer, lawnmower, iron, vacuum cleaner and soon dishwasher) we are blissfully free of nursery rhyme propaganda. The debate, as this blog demonstrates, generates too much heat and complexity to be reduced to a soap ad.
    Will my little solar powered laptap be the last thing dropped from my hands as I walk off into the wastelands? Space Odyssey 2001 in reverse...

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  • 158. At 3:32pm on 20 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace #153

    ""...the climate goes into a much smoother sort of behavior...but there are still fluctuations of about 2C all through the holocene. None of these fluctuations are explainable by climate scientists. The only thing that would be odd is if it DIDN'T fluctuate. During the glacial period the spikes are often twice or three times as large. It is quite clear that during the interglacials the feedbacks are much weaker.""

    That's an interesting plot you linked to, though. Look how the holocene warm period is already significantly longer than any of the other interglacials. There's one hypothesis (due to Bill Ruddiman) that human intervention (mainly deforestation) has already prevented the slippage into a new ice age.

    The big amplifying feedback loops, however, are those that switch between glacial and interglacial conditions, especially the rapid warming (forced initially by orbital cycles but then amplified by feedbacks involving greenhouse gases) that takes us out of glacial conditions. The major concern is the very rapid increase in CO2. You can see in the the top plot that CO2 concentrations are now 25% higher than they've been at any time in the past 400,000 years. The temperature difference between glacial and interglacial periods is ~10C. Yet a rise of just one-fifth of that is considered a cause of concern.

    The problem is, we're facing a new scenario. The temperatures right now are probably not unprecedented during the holocene. The issue, though is that concentrations of greenhouse gases are unprecedented in the past 400,000 years and are known to be involved in substantial amplifying feedback loops, especially in the warming direction.

    You said in your post

    "The problem again is that these things cannot be explained AT ALL"

    but that's not entirely true. There are models that do a reasonable job of explaining the glacial-interglacial transitions, and they tend to involve feedbacks including greenhouse gases.

    The models may not be as good at predicting the future, since the concentration of CO2 really is unprecedented. But I don't think that's a cause for complacency. Quite the opposite.

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  • 159. At 3:45pm on 20 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    SR Write: CO2 going to 384ppm when it hasn't been above 280ppm for the entire 400,000 year ice core record is not unusual? I guess you can go on about the correlation between CO2 and temperature in the ice core record, but the most important reason to treat AGW as a credible theory is the evidence, old and new, that shows causaility - CO2 absorbs certain bands of radiation and enhances the greenhouse effect. Without this knowledge, a lot of what's happened in the ice core record would make no sense - no sense at all - the variation in solar irradiation by itself can not explain the full extent of cycles and no other viable explanation can explain it. Also, the models, which are really just mathematical representations of our current knowledge in atmospheric physics, cannot explain the recent warming. Pieces in a puzzle....


    I agree about it being a puzzle. However, correlation is not causation - especially when temperatures change on average some 800 years before we see a change in CO2. The simplest explanation is that oceans warm up and release CO2 like a warm can of cola on a hot day. This makes a lot more sense than a scary CO2 monster.

    As for the greenhouse effect, I am sure nobody would deny that CO2 is an infrared absorber. However small increases above 280 ppm to 384 parts per million are only going to change the infra-red optical depth. Rather than increase absorption it will change where the absorption occurs - bringing absorption a little lower in the troposphere. (You need to understand atmospheric physics to know this is true - there is a logarithmic effect - a 30% increase does not translate to 30% more absorption - and this is where laypeople can become alarmed by meaningless numbers) Since we know that water vapor is a much bigger greenhouse gas and we know that the the troposphere is unstable (heated air rises) and we also know that there is a huge influence by clouds....well you get the picture...as Richard states it is COMPLEX....so what the actual temperature do and where the actual rain falls or does not fall and where teh actual winds blow or don't blow due to these small changes in atmospheric compostion and absorption is simply UNKNOWN.

    You can speculate all you like that there is a potential catastrophe in the offing, however, all the evidence suggests that man-made CO2 is having a small and possibly negligible overall effect on surface temperatures - there are simply too many other things going on in our churned up and dynamic climate system to make the simplistic argument that X increase in CO2 = Y increase in global temperature. There are just too many unknown feedbacks.

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  • 160. At 4:33pm on 20 Mar 2010, SR wrote:

    Shadorne @159

    When you say 'all the evidence suggests man-made CO2 is having a small and possibly negligible effect on surface temperatures', you are making a statement that is completely at odds with what the vast majority of experts say. Why you have come to this conclusion is still a bit of a mystery, but I think it is in part due to a misinterpretation of the science. The 800 year lag between CO2 and temperature simply shows that CO2 is not the initiator of the first part of the temperature rise, but subsequently amplifies it in a positive feedback mechanism. Without CO2 and the enhanced greenhouse effect, the magnitude of the glacial and inter-glacial cycles would be smaller. Remember, the natural cycle is slow - of course it would take a lot of time for CO2 to be liberated from the ocean and other sinks. The maximum rate of release is something like 6ppm per century in the natural cycle, compared to 100ppm per century now. It's all consistent with CO2 and the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    With your view on absorption being logarithmic - the scientific community already know this, and have done for several decades. You say it as if it's something 'missed out' for convenience. Even with the lower absorption at higher concentrations, the effect is still powerful because of the link with water vapour. This part of the puzzle is actually quite well understood (i.e, absorption of CO2), the bits we are really uncertain about is how far water vapour will respond and whether clouds will be apositive or negative feedback, but this uncertainty is not enough to change the overall conclusion - this is the leap of logic you're taking that really you should not. Anyway, this is the expert's view. Science is self correcting over time but there's still no sign of the consensus view changing - if anything, it's getting stronger.

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  • 161. At 4:45pm on 20 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #159 Shadorne

    "There are just too many unknown feedbacks."

    Isn't that the whole point though. We know that there have been significant periods of rapid warming coming out of glacial periods that are driven by amplifying feedbacks involving greenhouse gases (mostly water vapour I think, but also CO2). We also know that the CO2 concentration is considerably higher than it has been for the past 400,000 years (see SR's posts and the link by poitsplace #153). I'm sure you'll also agree that there is a lot of argument about the extent to which water vapour will be an amplifying or stabilizing feedback in the future (see this piece and surrounding discussion on Pielke's site)

    The current state of the science says that there is a high enough chance of significant amplifying feedbacks in the future for us to be concerned about the amount of CO2 we emit. Not necessarily just because of the CO2 itself, but because of the effect of even a small amount of warming on (for example) methane emissions, sae ice albedo and water vapour. I may not think the severest predictions are likely. But I don't have to. If I was getting on a plane and the pilot told me I'd probably get to my destination but there was a 1-in-100 chance the plane would crash, I wouldn't get on that plane. Would you?


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  • 162. At 6:33pm on 20 Mar 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Hi Paul, and thanks for joining in the debate.

    I'm not sure about your "plane" analogy.

    It's more like a bus called the world economy. The bus is already moving.

    Some people want a change. Some of the changers want the bus to stop and everyone get off and walk. Other changers want to drive the bus themselves while everyone else has to get off and walk. I am looking at Al Gore, Raj Pachauri, Prince Charles.

    I have no respect at all for these people - they are hypocrites.

    I do respect the people who have already got off and are walking. They are wrong but I respect their integrity of walking the talk.

    I sometimes wonder if they will stick to their principles when the chips are down. Imagine a child breaking an arm: will these enviros walk to a wind-powered hospital with little Johnny - or will they cheat and call an ambulance?

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  • 163. At 7:28pm on 20 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Jack Hughes #162

    Perhaps we're both 'alarmists' in one way or another. But I don't think we have to stop the world economy. We just need to shift its sources of energy to sources that are not going to run out. Let's face it, little Johnny isn't going to get to hospital in an ambulance if there's no fuel to power it.

    Its so easy right now to say that renewable energy is rubbish on economic grounds. Its under development and it needs to be subsidised. But ultimately that will be the way forward. Our response to the potential (but perhaps unlikely) threat of catastrophic climate change will help move the world economy through the period of peak oil with less trauma than if we leave the response to the last minute. That would be the case even if catastrophic climate change wasn't going to happen anyway (and I really would prefer it to remain a hypothetical possibility that was avoided rather than see my scientific view proven correct)

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  • 164. At 9:51pm on 20 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    160. At 4:33pm on 20 Mar 2010, SR wrote: Shadorne @159 When you say 'all the evidence suggests man-made CO2 is having a small and possibly negligible effect on surface temperatures', you are making a statement that is completely at odds with what the vast majority of experts say. Why you have come to this conclusion is still a bit of a mystery,

    I look at the temperature record and I see only a small change in temperature measured in tenths of a degree. This is small. This is a fact. The IPCC suggested possible changes of up to 6 degrees per century change (upper limit) and we simply are NOT seeing anything like that rate of change. The effect of ma-made CO2 MUST be small unless you believe there is some kind of tipping point (but why invent a tipping point unless you WANT there to be a catastrophe).

    As someone else wrote on these forums, it is very sad and concerning to see that alarmists all seem to WANT a catastrophe. Even in the absence of anything unprecedented or unusual in our temperature records, alarmists WANT man-made CO2 to cause catastrophic effects.

    I think you all need to ask yourself WHY do you choose this highly improbable alarmist "thermageddon" position and keep insisting on it - even in the face of a severe lack of evidence to support this belief?

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  • 165. At 2:10pm on 21 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    The BBC might be thought by many in a similar vein as these government adds.

    Can anybody imagine Richard Black (or the environment team) writing an article about a sceptical viewpoint on man made global warming.

    Like Paul Hudson's: Whatever happened to Global Warming?

    In response to a complaint I made, the BBC said:

    "The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific
    experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer
    justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But
    these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should,
    because it is not the BBC's role to close down this debate. Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed
    scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution."

    This was a few years ago now.
    Who are these scientific experts...
    (the sceptical scientists, there are many, appear not to have been invited to the meeting!)

    The BBC has refused to say... even after FOI requests.
    If the BBC can make the descision based on their advice,
    it is only appropriate for the public to know who these people were.

    If you only invited those who are now implicated in the 'climategate scandal '
    If you only listen to one side, you will only hear of one 'message'..

    In light of recent events, IPCC, climategate, copenhagen failure,etc

    And an acrimonous political 'climate' where :
    Gordon Brown, says 'Flat earther', 'anti science',
    Ed Milliband, says 'climate sabatouers'

    Perhaps it is time for the BBC to reconvene this meeting,
    and invite those scientists that are sceptical, not just self selecting
    group of 'climate scientists' but those from other fields, astro physicists, statisticians, geologists, etc..
    (which in fact all people in climate science are a mere subset of, as it
    is a cross discipline problem of great complexity)

    To verify if it is still a valid position.

    Steve Mcintyre, Ian Plimer, Lindzen, Spencer, etc might be good candidates.
    Lord Lawson might be a respectably mediator from the sceptics side, or
    even Lord Monckton. For every activist/journalist like George Monbiot, you might invite someone like Christopher Booker.

    I do believe the BBC have gotten far to close to the issue to be considered impartial. Would they perhaps reflect on the possibility that they have been captured by the IPCC 'groupthink' and are considered to be the 'useful idiots' by the AGW (man made global warming) advocates

    Richard Black (and the BBC) is clearly considered to be onside, by those
    implicated in the climategate scandal'

    As a climategate email demonstrates.
    The BBC's Paul Hudson, writes a fairly obscure article on the BBC website.
    Whatever happened to Global Warming:

    And those involved, at the centre of IPCC/CRU. immediate response is to
    get in contact with the BBC/Richard Black.

    Who do a good job forthe cause and is clearly considered to be on 'message'
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    From: Michael Mann mannxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    To: Stephen H Schneider shsxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 09:00:44 -0400
    Cc: Myles Allen allenxxxxxxxxx.xxx, peter stott
    peter.stottxxxxxxxxx.xxx, "Philip D. Jones" p.jones@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,
    Benjamin Santer santer1xxxxxxxxx.xxx, Tom Wigley
    wigleyxxxxxxxxx.xxx, Thomas R Karl Thomas.R.Karlxxxxxxxxx.xxx, Gavin Schmidt gschmidtxxxxxxxxx.xxx, James Hansen jhansenxxxxxxxxx.xxx,
    trenbert trenbertxxxxxxxxx.xxx, Michael Oppenheimer
    omichaelxxxxxxxxx.xxx

    extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its
    particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black's beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.

    We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be
    appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what's up here?

    mike
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Michael Mann, P Jones, James Hansens, etc in this email are KEY
    individuals in promoting an AGW poltical agenda and are at the centre of
    the controversy. These are the Key very small group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC.

    Please note that this email is from, Michael Mann, whose 'hockey stick'
    graph, used by the IPCC, Al Gore's 'Inconevenient Truth to promote the AGW cause to many millions of people, has been completely discredited scientifically as worthless.

    It shows that Real Climate is the PR machine of the 'hockey stick team' including honourary member Phil Jones. It would appear that the BBC is considered a part of the advocacy of AGW by the team.

    Has Richard and the team had any emails from Michael Mann recently?
    Do the speak to Professor Plimer, Lindzen, etc

    The BBC are too close to see they are part of the climategate scandal.
    They are advocates, not reporting it

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  • 166. At 6:48pm on 21 Mar 2010, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Barry,

    I can't help but wonder what you will do if, as seems likely, the enquiries into Climategate find that the key allegations made by yourself and others against the scientists are false.

    Having taken a look at the "evidence" from the emails, which is claimed to show fraudulent activities, all I have seen is evidence of anger and frustration. If the scientists are guilty of anything, it is ignoring FOI requests....... but given that the Climateaudit website had a template posted encouraging bloggers to post FOI requests for data from random countries (data that was, incidentally, already publicly available from other sources), I have huge sympathy for the scientists.

    Turning to Paul Hudson, I think you may be reading too much into his blog asking where global warming had gone. He did, sadly, only discuss the HADCRUT data and failed to mention all of the other available data sets, which DO show warming since 1998, albeit at a reduced rate....... and of course 1998 was a strong El Nino year, so it was frankly a silly year to use as a starting point for any comparison! However, if you read his article more carefully, you'll see that he provides explanations for the slow down in warming which are entirely consistent with the pro AGW argument.

    In fact, Paul Hudson has made his views on AGW very clear in the past:

    http://www.coolkidsforacoolclimate.com/Climate%20Change%20News/Hudson.htm

    Other things he has said live on air more recently lead me to believe that he hasn't changed his mind!

    Finally, I have to ask what is wrong with Michael Mann expressing concern to colleagues over the BBC's coverage of the debate? Do you not think that sceptics do the same in their private emails? ....... and why shouldn't Realclimate respond to misrepresentations of the facts which pervade so much of what is posted on the internet? Somebody has to! At least the articles on Realclimate are backed up by peer-reviewed scientific literature.

    ........ and before you claim that Climategate proves that the peer-review process is flawed, you should watch the following video, which shows that it does no such thing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXesBhYwdRo

    In fact, most of potholer54's videos are worth a watch.

    Finally, the BBC was correct - there are actually very few climate scientists who disagree with AGW. You named some of the key ones (although you also mentioned some who are not scientists at all!).

    Paul

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  • 167. At 7:05pm on 21 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    My concern is the BBC appears to have gone a step to far, and become an advocate of AGW, not a reporter of it..

    Plus, it would appear that AGW theory is a complete delusion.

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  • 168. At 7:14pm on 21 Mar 2010, thinkforyourself wrote:

    ‘It is nearly certain that a new record global temperature will be set in 2010’

    NASA.

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/19/nasa-giss-james-hansen-global-warming-record-hottest-year/#more-21468

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  • 169. At 7:21pm on 21 Mar 2010, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Shadorne @ #164

    I don't have time to get bogged down in an in-depth debate, but there is one other issue which you may wish to consider - "temperature or climate inertia". It is discussed in the following papers:

    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/1wl.html

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2005/Hansen_etal_1.html

    The point is that although any increase in CO2 in the atmosphere would be expected to have a warming EFFECT straight away, it takes the Earth as a whole a very long time to respond fully to the warming. The main reason for this is that it takes many years for the huge bulk of the oceans to catch up. Hence, it has been estimated that even if we stopped emitting CO2 today, temperatures would continue to rise for many years and would finally equilibrate at a temperature around 0.6 Celsius higher than we are seeing now.

    So the bottom line is that the temperature rise we have seen thus far does not represent anything like the full climate response to the 100ppm increase in CO2 levels there has been since the pre-industrial age.

    Paul

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  • 170. At 9:22pm on 21 Mar 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    Paul Briscoe: So the bottom line is that the temperature rise we have seen thus far does not represent anything like the full climate response to the 100ppm increase in CO2 levels there has been since the pre-industrial age.

    Despite the complete lack of evidence, you alarmists really do like to grasp at every straw in order to cling to the thermageddon end-of-the-world doomsday scenario. This is just speculation - we don't know what inertia there might be, however, all one can say is that observations show that in higher latitudes it can get darn cold in winter and darn hot in summer...so much for there being a huge climate inertia!!! Preposterous.

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  • 171. At 10:01pm on 21 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    I just watched the first episode of Wonders of the Solar System on iplayer: The Sun

    The bit when Professor Brian Cox, describes the wonderfully simple scientific experiment, to calculate the suns energy released per second.

    All with a tin of water, a thermometer, and an umbrella (shade until water is brought up to ambient tempereature...

    Later, he is talking about how suns energy is essential to all life on earth, and how plants capture the sun's energy, using the red, blue part of the spectrum, and reflecting the green...

    All the while very, very, very, VERY carefully, NOT mentioning carbon dioxide, which is the other component of photosynthesis essential to all life on this planet...

    Plus the bit, where he is talking about how the sun effects the earths climate, and describes shear amount of energy required from the sun, that drags the water into the atmosphere over the andes to create the vast rivers of the Amazon.

    Then talks about how these Rivers have cycles of flow, one particular river with flows measured since 1904, then looking at them with a bit of physics, showing graphs with peaks of flow three times, in that period...

    How can that be?

    Then he lays a graph of the sun's energy intensity, over the river flow graph, and they match precisely...

    He knows, I know, the Institute of Physics know, that AGW theory is a delusion, of man's insignificance....

    A fantastic program, which the programs makers and physicists slipped passed, the BBC's Man made co2 is the dominant force in acceerated global warming radar, and the sun has only a minor role!!!

    Hope they bring the whole series out on DVD

    Explaining the institutes of Physics, submission to the climategate enquiry...

    Fantastic program, all 'climate scientists' should watch that episode..

    Brian Cox, Professor of Physics, works at Cern.
    Probably could tell a few climate scientists about the SKY and CLOUD experiments.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Cox_(physicist)

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  • 172. At 11:20pm on 21 Mar 2010, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Shadorne @ #170

    "Preposterous."

    No! Not at all. If you have some peer-reviewed scientific literature you can point to which refutes the 2 papers I linked to then fair enough, but the response you have given thus far doesn't come anywhere close!

    In fact, climate inertia makes perfect sense if you think about it rationally and objectively. Here's some more information showing how heat is indeed building up in the oceans:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling.htm

    ..... which is the main reason why sea levels are rising:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise.htm

    Then there's the empirical scientific evidence for AGW:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm

    Climate sensitivity to CO2 has been extensively evaluated?!:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sensitivity.htm

    There are lots more peer-reviewed references in there for you to refute! This being a debate about science, it is only reasonable for me to expect you to be able to come up with a similar array of peer-reviewed literature to support what you're saying.

    Paul

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  • 173. At 11:29pm on 21 Mar 2010, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Barry Woods..

    "He knows, I know, the Institute of Physics know, that AGW theory is a delusion, of man's insignificance...."

    ...... and I have just seen the third episode, Barry, in which the same Professor Brian Cox explains how a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus, caused in large part by CO2, led to all of the water boiling away!

    ...... and of course there are many within the Institute of Physics who are convinced that AGW IS happening and didn't agree with the submission to the Parliamentary commission (which I'm presuming you're referring to).

    Paul

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  • 174. At 00:32am on 22 Mar 2010, oldterry2 wrote:

    in 118. thinkforyourself wrote:
    "2010 so far from UAH satellite record.
    ‘Hottest January, second hottest February. Now March is busting out’
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/17/global-cooling-hottest-january-february-march-uah-satellite-data/ "

    Yep, that's what climateprogress says - however the NOAA report it links too says as its first point: 'The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for February 2010 was 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.9°F). This is the SIXTH warmest such value on record.' So not quite as earth shattering as you would have us believe.


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  • 175. At 00:46am on 22 Mar 2010, oldterry2 wrote:

    in 173. Paul Briscoe wrote:
    "...... and I have just seen the third episode, Barry, in which the same Professor Brian Cox explains how a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus, caused in large part by CO2, led to all of the water boiling away!"

    Though you neglect to mention that the CO2 in venus's atmosphere is at 935000ppm (ie 2400 times the CO2 presence in our atmosphere). But I suspect that the fact that venus receives about twice the solar energy that we get has a fairly significant part to play.


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  • 176. At 00:54am on 22 Mar 2010, oldterry2 wrote:

    Those pro AGWs (though I still prefer the phrase COOers for those who believe it is all down to CO2) and who are relying mightily on the computer models that have CO2 driving global warming, might like to note that the IOP has a web lecture with the title 'A Crack in the Code: Why software fails in scientific research, and how to fix it.'

    Part of the abstract reads "In the 60 years since the invention of the digital computer, millions of lines of code have been developed to support scientific research. Although an increasingly important part of almost all research projects, most research software is BARELY FIT FOR PURPOSE compared to equivalent systems in the commercial world. The code is hard to understand or maintain, lacking documentation and version control, and is continually ‘re-invented’ as the code writers move on to new jobs."

    Yep, been there, done that, which is why I am very suspicious about computer models.

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  • 177. At 08:58am on 22 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Shadorne, #164, #170:

    It seems that you don't accept the idea of "thermal inertia"... then consider this:

    When I light a gas-flame under a pan of water on my stove, I have created a system that is not in thermal equilibrium, the flame adds heat to the water steadily, the pan of water loses heat to the surrounding air via the usual processes (conduction/convection/radiation). After some minutes the water will approach* a new equilibrium in which, if the flame is hot enough, the water will be boiling. The minutes in between lighting the flame and the pan boiling are equivalent (in a very simplistic sense) to the "climate inertia" Paul Briscoe has mentioned.

    Unless water boils instantaneously in your kitchen I put it to you that you must consider this effect in any of your claims. Furthermore, the best calculations we can muster put a characteristic timescale on this effect ~100years. Unless you can show calculations that put the timescale an order of magnitude lower then, again, your claims do not hold up.

    *even this system must employ a set of interlinked differential equations that take into account such things as nonuniform heating effects across the pan, conduction convection radiation from the flame, the same from the water, conduction and convection within the water (water is a poor conductor of heat) and the water/steam phase change to come up with a realistic estimate of the temperature vs time of our pan of water.

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  • 178. At 09:32am on 22 Mar 2010, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Oldterry @ #175

    "Though you neglect to mention that the CO2 in venus's atmosphere is at 935000ppm (ie 2400 times the CO2 presence in our atmosphere). But I suspect that the fact that venus receives about twice the solar energy that we get has a fairly significant part to play."

    It's important to bear in mind that Venus is surrounded by a thick layer of cloud which would keep it much cooler than Earth, despite being closer to the sun, if it wasn't for the high level of CO2 in the atmosphere:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/lessons-from-venus/

    ...... and many sceptics are still claiming that at 390ppm CO2 is already at saturation with respect to trapping IR radiation!

    Paul

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  • 179. At 09:49am on 22 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Actually Paul, those sceptics, are professors of physics....
    Real climate, was set up by the 'hockey stick' team.

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  • 180. At 12:44pm on 22 Mar 2010, 772sdr wrote:

    Whether AGW is happening or not, I don't know because I'm not a climate scientist and seeing as everyone in the media has some kind of bias, most of the things we hear is extreme one way or the other.

    The problem is that cutting carbon emmissions through carbon trading is the worst possible way to combat global warming even if it is happening. If we want to save polar bears why don't we make it illegal to shoot polar bears? If we want to stop people dying from flooding in south east asia why don't we improve flood defences like in the Netherlands. When was the last time some one died from flooding in Holland? The point is that there are much much cheaper and more effective ways of helping people than cutting carbon emissions which may or may not have an effect in a hundred years time but if we want to stop people from dying now this isn't really soon enough.

    Of course this raises the question of Global Warming getting worse (if its happening at all and if the consequences are harmful) due to more carbon emissions while we concentrate on other things. But this won't be a long term problem because humans will progress and develop. Research and development funding for renewables and clean energies such as hydrogen fusion reactors must increase and as these technologies get better and better we will change towards them. Partly because of the environment but also because they are simply better for energy security because they have a much longer life span than the finite reserves of fossil fuels. And as such they will be much cheaper for consumers.

    Add that to the fact that the IPCC doesn't predict any major disasters in the next 1 hundred years (The Ipcc's predictions for sea level rises are not the alarmist and extreme predictions that make a good news story. Although their predictions can be very conservative) and that the link between extreme weather events and global warming is shaky at best, we have got time to catch our breath and think about what the best solutions really are and how we should be helping really poor people now rather than spending loads of money to help people in 100 years time who will be rather well of anyway (growth in the global economy suggests that people in poverty now will probably be almost as rich as those in the west currently are in 100 years time).

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  • 181. At 1:46pm on 22 Mar 2010, LarryKealey wrote:



    The topic at hand is 'climate change ads' - and given all the 'half truths' and sheer falsehoods we see on tv - it is certainly worth debate.

    It is disappointing that this blog tends to always deteriorate into these very specific scientific details and guesses around sensitivities and feedbacks and the like - which there is much argument about in the scientific community and for which it seems there is no purpose in arguing here - as it won't change the state of the science.

    So, what about 'climate change ads'?? Does anyone have comments?

    Cheers.

    Kealey

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  • 182. At 2:09pm on 22 Mar 2010, seasambo wrote:

    There is certainly a great deal of uncertainty about future climate change and its impacts. However, these two recent publications in Nature and Science show how bad the situation potentially is. Now we are starting to calculate the impact of positive feedback effects on climate change and the picture is far more complex, uncertain and dangerous. The paper in Nature shows that the release of carbon dioxide as a positive feedback to 1 degree of warming from northern peatlands could offset all carbon reductions for Europe under the Kyoto protocol! That doesnt even take into account the potential methane feedback from the Arctic reported in the second paper! The situation without positive feedbacks is potentially bad enough. Add positive feedbacks into the mix and the situation is surely not worth the risk. I wonder how that compares to the governments adverts?
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v460/n7255/full/nature08216.html
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100304142240.htm

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  • 183. At 3:01pm on 22 Mar 2010, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Barry Woods @ #179

    Barry,

    I presumed that you had read about the question marks over the IOP submission:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/05/climate-emails-institute-of-physics-submission

    You'll note that the IOP was forced to issue a clarification explaining that it did in fact support the basic science of AGW:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/02/institute-of-physics-emails-inquiry-submission

    Paul

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  • 184. At 4:15pm on 22 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Maybe you shoud have looked at the comments section of that Guardian article. I cannot imagine as may sceptical comments 4 months ago..

    of course the criticism have not been withdrawn (and no pressure from the establishment possible!)

    After all they know how to pack enquiries, with people with finacial vested interests in AGW theory.

    Nice to see another greenwash coming:

    Royal Society panel announced
    Mar 22, 2010

    The Royal Society panel that is going to examine the scientific aspects on the Climategate affair has been announced. This is the press release from UEA (via a reader - it doesn't appear on the UEA website at the moment).

    Lord Oxburgh FRS, a former chair of the Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, is to chair an independent Scientific Assessment Panel to examine important elements of the published science of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

    His appointment has been made on the recommendation of the Royal Society, which has also been consulted on the choice of the six distinguished scientists who have been invited to be members of the panel.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/


    Oxburgh's conflict of interest
    Mar 22, 2010
    Commenters are also noting the background of Ron Oxburgh, the chairman of the RS panel. Lord Oxburgh is:

    President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association
    Chairman of wind energy firm Falck Renewables
    A member of the Green Fiscal Commission
    So we have a chairman with a direct financial interest in the outcome.

    I'm not sure this is a surprise.



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  • 185. At 4:25pm on 22 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    yes, back to the topic, is a good idea.

    Does anyone have a comment about the copenhagen conference video, of a 59cm rise in 90 years, tidal wave (or is it the 2 m projection now) engulfing a small child, running screaming across the land, that gave my child a nightmare..

    of course I told her, a tidal wave of .00006km a YEAR (or 0.00022km a year, respectively) gives you plenty of time to get out of the way..

    Is that back on topic.

    Any comment about that CGI fiction, used to scare people and attempt to close down debate.

    The BBC, ran it uncritically, and Richard Black has refused to answer my concerns that BBC let this go uncritically. Which surely they have a public duty to inform, on patently false propaganda, in the name of someones agenda.

    Richard just said, in an email to me, it was not 59cm, but in fact a 2m IPCC projection in 90 years(yet my IPCC editor friend is sticking to 59 cm)

    Not exactly answering my concern about scientifically unjustified CGI, being propped up by the BBC

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  • 186. At 5:01pm on 22 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    "Falck Mission Statement:

    Falck Renewables’ mission is to help expand the global use of wind energy. This mission supports the European Council’s goal of having 20% of total energy consumed from renewable sources by 2020. Falck provides technical solutions for a future with reduced dependence on fossil fuels and fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which has been identified as the cause of global warming and is a major threat to our planet.

    Falck’s development of wind energy is consistent with what is prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol. Once in operation, wind farms are a virtually emission free energy source, providing clean and sustainable energy. Falck works to be actively involved in all key phases of wind farm development, finance, construction, and operation."

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  • 187. At 5:47pm on 22 Mar 2010, infiniti wrote:

    Re 178. Paul Briscoe

    Furthermore venus is warmer than mercury, which is of course the closest planet to the sun.

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  • 188. At 6:11pm on 22 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Falck Renewables’ mission is to help expand the global use of wind energy. This mission supports the European Council’s goal of having 20% of total energy consumed from renewable sources by 2020. Falck provides technical solutions for a future with reduced dependence on fossil fuels and fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which has been identified as the cause of global warming and is a major threat to our planet.

    Falck’s development of wind energy is consistent with what is prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol. Once in operation, wind farms are a virtually emission free energy source, providing clean and sustainable energy. Falck works to be actively involved in all key phases of wind farm development, finance, construction, and operation



    So what's wrong with that, Barry? Except that 20% by 2020 sounds lower than it should be.

    Do you really want us to continue to be dependant on fossil fuels. How soon before they actually run out do you think we should start looking for alternatives?

    Or do you have shares in the oil companies, who seem to turn over a nice profit when the price goes up ...

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  • 189. At 6:15pm on 22 Mar 2010, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Barry Woods @ #184

    "Maybe you shoud have looked at the comments section of that Guardian article. I cannot imagine as may sceptical comments 4 months ago.."

    Personally, I don't normally bother reading the bloggers' comments as many of the posts tend to be merely assertions rather than statements of fact. It was obviously the content of the articles themselves that was important in this case.

    There's no doubting that Climategate has damaged the reputation of AGW scientists........ but that was, of course, the whole idea of it!

    Regarding the rest of your post, the various enquiries were always on a hiding to nothing where the sceptics were concerned, as whoever had been chosen to sit on the panels would have been criticised for not being impartial enough.

    ...... and few sceptics are going to accept the findings of the enquiries unless they go along with the gross misrepresentations which have pervaded the entire internet!

    Paul

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  • 190. At 7:03pm on 22 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    So a novel definition of independent enquiry, with no vested financial interest has just been discovered.....

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  • 191. At 8:32pm on 22 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    I have no shares in any oil company..

    The Climate Research Centre, has received major funding from Oil companies...

    Lot's of climategate emails from P.Jones and company seeking it...
    So I guess by your inuendo/smear that makes their research suspect?

    How do you feel Paul about the use of CGI propaganda with no basis in the science, being used to scare small children?

    On a lighter note:

    Bill Clinton makes a 'Climate Change' (man made ) joke..

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7495834/Bill-Clinton-pokes-fun-at-Al-Gore-during-Gridiron-dinner.html

    "He also targeted Al Gore, noting that it was spring: "otherwise known to Al Gore as proof of global warming."

    Bill has sharp political radar, I guess he sees the direction of the wind has changed in the poltical 'climate'......

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  • 192. At 8:44pm on 22 Mar 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    CO2 is dead in the water but biofuels are still the way to go if we want freedom from energy controlled by regimes that despise us and that finance those who bomb us. Further the use of food crops for biofuel production will go some way to containing the population bomb that is about to go off in some parts of the world.

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  • 193. At 9:03pm on 22 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Barry Woods #191

    So I guess by your inuendo/smear that makes their research suspect?

    No innuendo/smear meant or implied. You critically quoted what looked like a perectly reasonable mission statement from Falck Renewables. I asked whether you'd be happy to sit and watch as fossil fuels became scarce and expensive rather than have us move to lose our dependance on them asap. That question, you haven't answered.


    How do you feel Paul about the use of CGI propaganda with no basis in the science, being used to scare small children?

    I'm not aware of any small children being scared by such films.

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  • 194. At 9:32pm on 22 Mar 2010, andrew9999 wrote:

    @barry woods
    #171

    You said
    "He knows, I know, the Institute of Physics know, that AGW theory is a delusion"

    Is this the same Institute of Physics which said this:
    http://www.iop.org/Media/Press%20Releases/press_40680.html

    "The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia which has become the focus of media hype.

    We regret that our submission has been seized upon by some individuals to imply that IOP does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

    IOP’s position on global warming is clear: the basic science is well established and there is no doubt that climate change is happening and that we should be taking action to address it now."

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  • 195. At 00:46am on 23 Mar 2010, ADMac wrote:

    andrew9999 @ 194

    "The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia which has become the focus of media hype.

    We regret that our submission has been seized upon by some individuals to imply that IOP does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

    IOP’s position on global warming is clear: the basic science is well established and there is no doubt that climate change is happening and that we should be taking action to address it now."


    The Institute of Physics have chosen their words very carefully to effectively tell us very little about their position on global warming.

    Virtually everybody agrees that CO2 contributes to warming to a greater or lesser extent. IOP does not indicate how much they think it contributes to global warming.

    They said their position on global warming is clear, but said that there is no doubt that climate change is happening. They didn't say that there is no doubt that global warming is happening.

    They will be aware that a complete understanding of all factors relating to the climate requires more than an understanding of the basic science.

    They are clearly hedging their bets and also trying to be all things to all people.

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  • 196. At 03:44am on 23 Mar 2010, LarryKealey wrote:

    187. At 5:47pm on 22 Mar 2010, infinity wrote:

    Re 178. Paul Briscoe

    Furthermore venus is warmer than mercury, which is of course the closest planet to the sun.

    ____________________________________-

    @infinity - that is an apples to oranges comparison - Venus is slightly warmer than Mercury - which has almost no atmosphere to speak of - just two trillionths of the atmospheric pressure on Earth. A Day on Mercury is about 54 earth days (a year on Mercury is 88 days) - on the side facing the sun, the temperature is about 800F. The temperature on Venus is about 870F - not much difference there.

    Its also a bad comparison with Earth. The atmosphere of Venus is 97% CO2 AND the surface pressure is 92 bars - or 92 times the surface pressure of the Earth. A whole lot of very different dynamics going on there. It is also completely covered in clouds of sulfur dioxide. Very very different from Earth, and no proof that even increasing Earth's CO2 level by ten fold would cause run-away warming.

    Cheers

    Kealey

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  • 197. At 08:41am on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    Hopefully the climate scare mongers realize most of the IR frequencies that react with CO2 also react with water vapor. That water vapor trumps CO2 to the extent that the role of CO2 in the shared frequencies is to all intents and purposes, irrelevant. Only a narrow band of IR frequency's can be claimed as CO2 specific.

    Using a very simple model of 1 CO2 molecule and 1 IR short pulse of a given intensity. Assume that the back radiation of CO2 is 50% (0.5 of the outward bound IR energy). The next IR pulse has to be 1.5 as intense as the first because the energy budget has to be maintained. The back radiation is now a 0.75, 50 % of 1.5. The next IR pulse is at 1.75 etc. Lets try a table it will be clearer

    iteration outward back radiation.
    1 1 0.5
    1 1.5 0.75
    3 1.75 0.875
    4 1.875 0.9375
    5 1.9375 0.96875
    6 1.96875 0.984375
    7 1.984375 0.9921875
    8 1.9921875 0.99609375
    9 1.99609375 0.998046875
    10 1.998046875 0.9990234375

    We all know this is very simplistic and in the real world IR being re radiated by CO2 is chaotic but this does demonstrate that the heat increase that CO2 can be responsible for has to be less than 1 unit when the heat source is providing I unit. Diminishing returns as outbound heat reaches toward 2 units. If this were not the case then it would not be a subject for discussion because thermal runaway would have fried the earth long long ago.

    The sun has been pouring energy at the earth for a longer time than I can imagine and for much if not all that time CO2 has been playing its back radiation game. With this in mind I come to the conclusion that the earth has absorbed nearly 1 unit of heat but not quite and never will be 1 unit in excess. That increasing the CO2 content has to increase the amount of back radiation that gets back to earth. That the heating effect of this increased back radiation is so small that it is irrelevant and that thermal runaway is impossible while the sun has fuel left to burn. Because energy can neither be crated or destroyed, unless some one can magic up some other source of energy, there is nothing to worry about, we are not responsible for any warming.

    Another thing I have noticed is that conduction seems to transport more heat than IR. Here is one of the reasons why.

    I have a stainless steel vacuum flask. I always pre-heat it with boiling water. Twice I have had the outer flask fail and let in air. The conducted transfer of heat to the outer flask is very quick, you can feel the outer flask get to hot to hold in less than a minute. When the flask is working with the vacuum intact heat can only escape by conduction, through the stopper and via IR. The contents of the flask are still good and hot after 8 hours. Considering that the bulk of the atmosphere is nitrogen and oxygen and the tremendous amount of heat that is conducted into these gasses and then convection carries the heat upwards to escape into space, this must be the main way that the earth is cooled, not IR. Sounds a bit like the daily weather to me.

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  • 198. At 08:51am on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @168. thinkforyourself

    ‘It is nearly certain that a new record global temperature will be set in 2010’


    I am 100% certain that new global temperatures will be set each and every day in the future of the earth.

    I think that you did not think and what you wanted to say was that, "It is nearly certain that a new record global temperature record will be set in 2010"

    When you mentioned this in another blog it was 50% sure. What a difference a few days can make to your ever increasing optimistic view.

    One thing I am 100% certain about. If the next ice age happens in your lifetime, you will blame it on global warming.

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  • 199. At 09:23am on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    Incandescent light bulbs are not energy efficient at producing light, most of the energy going into a light bulb is converted to heat. On the surface it seems that compact florescent bulbs will save us money (and give us a poor quality light).

    Where I live there are very few days of the year that when it is dark and and hot. Mostly when it is dark it gets quite cool. Most of the days a little extra heating would be welcome. On those days an incandescent light bulb is 100% efficient, I am getting the (good quality) light and a bit of extra heat.

    On quality of light. In my workshop I have florescent tube lighting. This provides enough light so I do not trip over stuff or bump into things. I need to read a vernier scale, frequently and the quality of florescent light is just not good enough for my aging eyes. I have to use an incandescent light.

    When it comes to temperature, one mans hot is another mans cold. I went on a winter holiday to Mexico. It was well below zero at home and nearly 30 in Mexico. Needless to say I was sweating profusely. While on a taxi journey the driver was complaining about it being cold. Not thinking I protested that it was very hot. The taxi driver pointed out that it was winter for him. If I had thought I would have recalled all the days that I was cold in Malaya, shivering wrapped up in a blanket. Those times would be during the rainy season when it would bucket it down for about an hour each day. While was raining the temperature would drop from 35C to 20C. As soon as it stopped raining the temperature shot back up again.

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  • 200. At 09:40am on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Paul Briscoe: I'm not aware of any small children being scared by such films.
    (well I do,)

    Is it OK for the BBC to treat the public like children, the BBC know that was CGI fiction, do you agree or not that clip was 'alarmist' fiction?

    This is not the Guardian.(you know what you are going to get there)

    The BBC have a duty to inform.
    Actually, that is not what is going to happen (59cm in 90 years does not a tidal wave make), even if you believe the IPCC's own computer projections..

    So do you and the BBC think it OK to pass on uncriticised this fiction, (propaganda) used to close down the debate, all in the name of the greater good.

    I'm still waiting for Richard Black's and Roger Harrabin's answer to that question as well.

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  • 201. At 10:00am on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Cariboo:

    "@168. thinkforyourself

    ‘It is nearly certain that a new record global temperature will be set in 2010’

    I am 100% certain that new global temperatures will be set each and every day in the future of the earth. "

    WHAT all through, Spring, Summer - Autum, Winter as well!!!!!
    We did just have the coldest winter for 30 years, is this autumn/winter going to be hotter than the summer??!?!?!?

    Breaking all sorts of snow extent and amounts, for decades across the northern hemisphere as well
    (but of course, evrything the weather does, cold/hot, drought/flood can be said as evidence of 'climate change' despite zero proof)

    Wow.

    Well of course, satellites record began 30 years ago, human temperature records 150 years ish.

    The UK government website, planet warming since records began, highest temp since records began..(1850 - just after the frost fairs on the Thames - ie at natural cold low) This is called 'cherry picking'

    All, economically with the truth - 'true'

    However, since records began, is a selected starting point..
    Not quite the same, as
    Is it the highest temp in earth history?
    Is it even the highest temp in human history?

    If you start measuring temperture, and quoting figures, on an up cycle of natural warm/cool cycles... surprise surprise, it gets warmer...

    Or as Paul Briscoe, famously said in an earlier post, pre history doesn't matter.. (ie mediavel warm period, minoan, holocene, little iceages)

    which left me lost for words...

    Just throw away all the evidence, that shows nothing is unprecedented, everything we have seen, is within the realms of natural variability...

    purely because it is 'prehistory'...

    Thier is a flood point in henley over a 100m from the river, wast height, good 9-10 feet above the river level..

    Of course no one in living mememory, remembers it (couple hundred years ago) If it happended now, of course it would be held up as proof of 'climate change' more extreme weather events, etc,etc.

    Just like Cockermouth.. where as a wag noticed, oh look (at an aerial photo in the paper) all the old mediavel buildings are high and dry.

    And another article, showing the current 'climate change' flood high on a wall. Sharp eyed reporters missing the higher flood lines from the 1800's in the same picture...

    Keep on believing, fact are one thing, belief is another..
    the bbc needs tokeep on believing..
    8 billion pounds invested in 'green' pension investments.

    Hopefull the mods, are diversifying thei portfolios, with this inside information..

    Bill Clinton can see which way the 'wind' is blowing politically now..

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7495834/Bill-Clinton-pokes-fun-at-Al-Gore-during-Gridiron-dinner.html

    "He also targeted Al Gore, noting that it was spring: "otherwise known to Al Gore as proof of global warming."

    Looks like Cariboo works in a climate science department?

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  • 202. At 10:03am on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Actually, sorry cariboo, I think my above reponse, should have been directed to thinkforyourself, multilple quoting each other gets confusing sometimes.

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  • 203. At 10:22am on 23 Mar 2010, Vic Smith wrote:

    The deliberations of the Scientific Assessment Panel looking into the CRU will yield no indication for us of the validity, or otherwise, of climate-change research.

    This is not its function.

    It is similar to a disciplinary body investigating whether a doctor has been carrying out good practice. It is only necessary to demonstrate that the doctor has acted as most doctors would, in the same circumstances, to avoid censure.

    If the panel decides that correct procedures were followed at the CRU, this cannot be interpreted as saying that climate-change research is a science in the way that physics is.

    Fortunately, we will all be left to make up our own minds on that point.

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  • 204. At 10:57am on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Denying Email Deletion
    Phil Jones, Dec 3, 2008:

    About 2 months ago I deleted loads of emails, so have very little – if anything at all.

    Phil Jones, Nov 24, 2009 Guardian

    We’ve not deleted any emails or data here at CRU.

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  • 205. At 11:43am on 23 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Cariboo,#197

    The thought experiment you've proposed here is an interesting exercise but I think you may have mis-interpreted the result.

    Your simple model is tending towards (at iteration infinity) 1 unit of back radiation + 1 unit of direct radiation. This means that, due to the greenhouse effect you are attempting to model, the planet's surface is receiving, at each time step, 2 units of radiation (1 direct + one back radiation from CO2) instead of 1 (direct radiation, no back effect).

    As far as I can interpret this result, you have simply confirmed the greenhouse effect (albeit at a somewhat exaggerated level with a 50% feedback factor).

    This model will never show an exponential thermal runaway, as you have mentioned, but it will ALWAYS reach an equilibrium with a higher surface irradiation than direct radiation alone (which would probably result in a higher surface temperature) i.e.
    total irradiation=1/(1-factor)

    hence for a feedback of 99.9%, new total irradiation =1000units
    for a feedback of 0.1%, new total irradiation =1.001 units

    Fortunately, we're talking about a greenhouse effect that is much weaker than the simple one you have shown with a 50% factor, but it is still theoretically enough to increase the atmospheric energy content over time. By how much, and what effect this would have on us living at the surface, these are the big questions which the science is attempting answer.

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  • 206. At 1:02pm on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    From Spinning the climate.
    A expert reviewer of the IPCC wrote an article back in July 2008:

    (pdf link, so you need to find it yourself. 'IPCC Spinning the climate' should find it, by Vincent Gray, last part he says:

    MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
    I have been an “Expert Reviewer” for the IPCC right from the start and I have submitted a very large number of comments on their drafts. It has recently been revealed that I submitted 1,878 comments on the
    Final Draft of the current 4th Report. Over the period I have made an intensive study of the data and procedures used by IPCC contributors throughout their whole study range. I have a large library of
    reprints, books and comments and have published many comments of my own in published papers, abook, and in my occasional Newsletter the current number being 157.

    I began with a belief in scientific ethics, that scientists would answer queries honestly, that scientific argument would take place purely on the basis of facts, logic and established scientific and mathematical
    principles.

    Right from the beginning I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely.

    Over the years, as I have learned more about the data and procedures of the IPCC I have found increasing opposition by them to providing explanations, until I have been forced to the conclusion that
    for significant parts of the work of the IPCC, the data collection and scientific methods employed are unsound.

    Resistance to all efforts to try and discuss or rectify these problems has convinced me that normal scientific procedures are not only rejected by the IPCC, but that this practice is endemic, and was part of the organisation from the very beginning.

    I therefore consider that the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt. The only “reform” I could envisage, would be its abolition.

    Part 4 of the book is a description of the scientific publications of the IPCC and how they have been used to distort climate science to make false claims for the proposition that human greenhouse gas emissions
    are harming the climate.

    By drawing attention to these obvious facts, I have found myself persona non grata with most of my local professional associations, as I am questioning the integrity of these award-winning scientific leaders of the local science establishment.

    I somehow understood that the threshold had been passed when I viewed “The Great Global Warming Swindle” Channel 4 documentary.

    Yes, we have to face it. The whole process is a swindle, The IPCC
    from the beginning was given the license to use whatever methods would be necessary to provide “evidence” that carbon dioxide increases are harming the climate, even if this involves manipulation of
    dubious data and using peoples’ opinions instead of science to “prove” their case.

    The disappearance of the IPCC in disgrace is not only desirable but inevitable. The reason is that the world will slowly realise that the “predictions” emanating from the IPCC will not happen.

    The absence of any “global warming” for the past eight years is just the beginning. Sooner or later all of us will come to realise that this organisation, and the thinking behind it, is phoney.

    Unfortunately severe economic damage is likely to be done by its influence before that happens.

    ------
    The BBC of course, complained about he Great Global Warming Swindle!

    Would they like to interview this chap, find out more?

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  • 207. At 2:46pm on 23 Mar 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Paul Briscoe
    @oldterry2
    @infinity
    @LarryKealey

    OK. Concerned.

    There seems to be a debunk meme doing the rounds in the blogosphere for Venus's greenhouse as an example of a planetary greenhouse. This seems to be partially because the role of the lapse rate in planet scale greenhouses is left out of the basic greenhouse explanations.

    The lapse rate, whereby temperatures decrease with altitude, or increase with depth, is an essential component of a planet scale greenhouse. If Venus's atmosphere was completely transparent to its infra-red emissions then the infra-red emissions would be from the surface, the lapse rate could not contribute to a greenhouse effect and Venus would be substantially cooler. But with the actual Venus most of the infra-red emissions come from high in the atmosphere (precise altitude smeared out), so a large proportion of Venus's lapse rate contributes to its greenhouse, making its surface temperature very hot.

    I am not sure of the precise role of the clouds in Venus's greenhouse, except that they do increase Venus's albedo (cooling) as well as contributing to the greenhouse (warming).

    A point on the definition of a "runaway greenhouse". The definition of "runaway greenhouse" is not temperature based, it is chemistry based. All Venus's potential greenhouse gases are in its atmosphere (or lost to space). It would take an extremely long time for Earth to emit a volume of carbon dioxide comparable to that in Venus's atmosphere as much of Earth's carbon dioxide has been locked away in carbonates. Also some carbon based fossil fuels are too awkward or hidden to extract.

    Finally a reminder. Sceptics don't need to debunk Venus.

    Venus being an extreme example of a planetary greenhouse does not affect those elements of AGW central to debate

    1. Climate sensitivity to anthropogenic greenhouse gases (including certainty). (Why don't you sceptics trust your fellow sceptic MangoChutneyUKOK on this?)
    2. Impact of temperature changes.
    3. Potential fixes.

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  • 208. At 2:48pm on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:


    Paul Briscoe says:
    "There's no doubting that Climategate has damaged the reputation of AGW scientists........ but that was, of course, the whole idea of it!"

    And you point is?

    In much the same way the MP's expenses leak/hack/whistleblowing then....

    The reputation can only be damaged because of the CONTENT, has been shown to be devastingly damaging..


    The move along here, nothing to see, just a few silly claims(silly emails) catch that naughty hacker, did not work when parliament tried that line...

    Their has been lots of warnings as well about AGW, CRU, IPCC...
    Phil Jones famously unscientific "why should i give you the data (to replicate work, the core of all science) you just want to find holes in it"

    And of course, they did get it, and did find 'flaws' shall we say (climateaudit)

    Just one 'of many' above warnings(I'll start posting more if you'd like)...

    Vincent Gray (IPCC expert reviewer) July 2008:

    "I therefore consider that the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt. The only “reform” I could envisage, would be its abolition."

    Still no answer from Paul, whether he approves of the use of cgi spin,propaganda scare tactics, as described above, to further the AGW agenda (no response from Richard Black, Roger Harrabin, and the BBC trust yet either, on that exact issue.)

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  • 209. At 4:21pm on 23 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Barrie Woods #206

    "(pdf link, so you need to find it yourself. 'IPCC Spinning the climate' should find it, by Vincent Gray"

    Would you care to list the peer-reviewed papers on climate science by Vincent Gray?

    The fact is, anybody can volunteer to be an 'expert reviewer' for the IPCC. All it means is that the person asked to see the draft report.


    The IPCC had indeed rejected a lot of comments in this section, but 90 per cent came from a single reviewer: NRSP insider Dr. Vincent Gray, a New Zealand chemist and coal expert who has never published peer-reviewed work on climate science and whose last peer-reviewed publication on any topic appeared 17 years ago. And a large number of rejections came because the input was grammatically or logically insensible.

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  • 210. At 5:40pm on 23 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Barry #208

    Still no answer from Paul, whether he approves of the use of cgi spin,propaganda scare tactics, as described above, to further the AGW agenda

    Not sure if you mean me or Paul Briscoe, but let's pretend you mean me.

    You're begging the question by referring to "cgi spin,propaganda scare tactics". What goes on in science is one thing, what goes on in political lobbying quite another. If the science suggests that there is a risk of some unwanted or catastrophic development in the future, then people who think we should adopt the precautionary principle are at liberty to stress the undesirable outcome, even if the science is not saying this outcome will definitely happen but is only saying there is a significant chance that this outcome may happen and we can describe with reasonable confidence a chain of events that will result in this outcome and we can also say that if fossil fuel emissions are reduced this chain of events is less likely to happen.

    The science itself always has to be simplified in such cases (doesn't matter what 'side' the argument is coming from). The scientist in me doesn't approve of that, but the pragmatist in me appreciates that this is how political discussion and lobbying is carried out. In this case, the AGW 'side' has the upper hand because all peer-reviewed science supports it. The complacent 'side' is faced with the task of showing that postulated scenarios of amplifying feedbacks leading to temperature rises of several degrees are impossible or virtually impossible. There is no peer-reviewed science that can show that, simply because there are too many uncertainties right now.


    Now Barry, you answer the question I've asked you twice now in connection with your view of Falck Renewables. Do you think its desirable to remain dependant on fossil fuels until they run out, or do you think we should be investing in new renewable technologies right now so we are ready for that eventuality

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  • 211. At 6:15pm on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    simplified to a lie.

    This approach will always backfire eventually..
    Iwouldn't probably have even noticed or become very sceptical...

    excpet the blatant manipulation of an alarmist message, prior to Copenhagen, raised my sceptical radar..
    Why, if the science is so strong do they need to do this...

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  • 212. At 6:33pm on 23 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    No it is not a good idea to remain dependant on fossil fuels...

    Doesn't mean we should blindly follow every daft idea, even George Monbiot has criticsed solar, and wind farm at 10% capacity or less.

    I don't see how that has got anything at all to do with being seen to be impartial though..

    Does the establishment not see, it would BENEFIT the debate, if the enquiry could be seen to be totally impartial..

    Someone who could be accused as having such an obvious direct financial interest and a very strong pro AGW position in maintaining the consensus view, is just fodder for the sceptics, and does not help the advocates at all.

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  • 213. At 6:34pm on 23 Mar 2010, Bonn1e wrote:

    As a member of 'the public' just how much more 'aware' of climate change does the government wish me to be? I am sick to death of hearing about it as it is. And what, precisely, does it expect me to do about it? Lie awake worrying? I'm sorry, I have far better thins to do with my three score years and ten thanks.

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  • 214. At 7:27pm on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @205. Dave_oxon
    As far as I can interpret this result, you have simply confirmed the greenhouse effect (albeit at a somewhat exaggerated level with a 50% feedback factor).


    Yes, to deny the greenhouse effect would be a stupid stance. I chose 50% feed back because few iterations are required to demonstrate that feedback is (self) limited and that the feedback can never be more than the initial source. In an idle moment I thought it would be interesting to write a small scale computer model to simulate the interaction of IR with CO2, just a programing exercise. If CO2 were in a static position at all times and was evenly dispersed it would be possible. However convection comes into the equation. A moving target, I quickly realized I could not write a program where a target is moving to who knows where, a bit like pushing a rope. One of the first things about programming is that if you cannot do it by hand you cannot write a program to do it. Another important thing I learned is that fudge factors at best hide a programming error and at worst come back and bite you later on. In short, don't do it. I think I have just described the programming screw ups in climate modeling.

    This model will never show an exponential thermal runaway, as you have mentioned, but it will ALWAYS reach an equilibrium with a higher surface irradiation than direct radiation alone (which would probably result in a higher surface temperature)

    Yes that is what I wanted to show. I do not stand as an advocate for this, I relay do not know but I suspect that if back radiation has an effect then this back radiation has to have a warming effect. I suspect that any warming effect has long since ceased to be a factor in global temperature due to the long time that the process has been going on. I suspect that any effect that CO2 has concerning back radiation has long since reached piratical equilibrium.

    hence for a feedback of 99.9%, new total irradiation =1000units

    Would this not be thermal runaway?

    Fortunately, we're talking about a greenhouse effect that is much weaker than the simple one you have shown with a 50% factor, but it is still theoretically enough to increase the atmospheric energy content over time.

    I think more than enough time has passed to reach piratical equilibrium.

    By how much, and what effect this would have on us living at the surface, these are the big questions which the science is attempting answer.

    Yes and it seems to me that there is much grasping at straws in the scientific and political world, not to mention some of the general public. May be I am one of them.

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  • 215. At 7:31pm on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @202. Barry Woods

    Actually, sorry cariboo, I think my above reponse, should have been directed to thinkforyourself, multilple quoting each other gets confusing sometimes.


    That's OK. You just proved you are human and as fallible as the rest of us.

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  • 216. At 8:18pm on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @213.Bonn1e
    As a member of 'the public' just how much more 'aware' of climate change does the government wish me to be? I am sick to death of hearing about it as it is. And what, precisely, does it expect me to do about it? Lie awake worrying? I'm sorry, I have far better things to do with my three score years and ten thanks.


    Thats how politics works.
    1) Define a goal.
    2) Manufacture a suitable and imaginary problem.
    3) Make the general public (peasants) aware of how big and devastating
    the problem is.
    4) Solve the problem by passing legislation that achieves the initial
    goal.
    5) Laugh while pushing the political wheelbarrow to the bank, fooled them again.

    Now when a real problem occurs you find yourself stuck up effluent creek.
    The politicians can be readily identified, they have you paddle. They are ducking and weaving and casting the blame and or consequences on you whilst beating a headlong retreat to the bunker.

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  • 217. At 8:51pm on 23 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Barry #211

    Any attempt to convey complex science to the non-scientific public will be a lie by your definition. Why? Because important caveats, uncertainties, details will have to be left out. Because precise scientific language will have to re-expressed in less precise, maybe even misleading, 'ordinary' language.

    Any school science textbook must be full of what you would describe as 'lies' because otherwise it would be incomprehensible to its intended audience.

    Most scientists hate any attempt by the mainstream media to report their findings because they always get it wrong. But they still have to let it happen, because one way or another they'd usually like their research to be known about.


    Barry #212

    Problem is, any informed scientist who knows about the field will accept the basic premise of the AGW theory, because all the peer reviewed literature accepts it. So selective sceptics will be able to criticize pretty well anyone qualified to assess whatever -gate they're supposed to be assessing this week.

    The trouble is, the selective sceptics are fighting a dirty war, in which the scientists have to be above board and unimpeachable at every turn, while facing a barrage of uninformed criticism, zombie arguments and downright lies whose only intent is to damage a part of science whose conclusions the selective sceptics don't like, but which they can't argue against scientifically. Witness your attempt to argue that the IPCC should spend its time dealing with the opinions of a retired coal chemist, one Vincent Gray (see my post #209 above), who has never published in the field of climate research.

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  • 218. At 9:58pm on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @217. Paul Butler

    Problem is, any informed scientist who knows about the field will accept the basic premise of the AGW theory, because all the peer reviewed literature accepts it.


    Ah yes, that brings to mind the hockey stick. Medieval warm period negated. Little ice age negated.
    Peer revived and thus is accepted fact. Later found to one big “porky”.

    In my view the Michael Mann (made global warming) is either incompetent or a charlatan. Why the man still has a job in science is beyond me. As for the peer reviewers, the same applies. And then to defend the indefensible just adds insult.

    Just because some learned fellow says something and other learned fellows agree does not make it so.
    It all comes down to the integrity of the learned fellows. Some have it some do not. The problem is weeding out those who's integrity is lacking and those who are incompetent.

    Lack of knowledge does not = incompetence. Lack of knowledge can be corrected. Incompetence = unsuitability.

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  • 219. At 10:15pm on 23 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @217. Paul Butler

    Witness your attempt to argue that the IPCC should spend its time dealing with the opinions of a retired coal chemist, one Vincent Gray (see my post #209 above), who has never published in the field of climate research.


    I have no idea who Vincent Gray is or what he has to say but I would point out that knowledge is knowledge no matter how it was obtained.

    You would accept or dismiss a person based published papers. What you are really saying is that anything that I or any one else have learned during their life is of no value unless they have published a peer reviewed paper.

    Well I not published a reviewed paper so I guess my life is a complete waste of time and all I have achieved in my life is just taking up space.

    So unless you have a published and peer reviewed paper, by your own standards I will dismiss you.

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  • 220. At 01:16am on 24 Mar 2010, ADMac wrote:

    Paul Butler @217

    The idea that a scientist needs to publish peer reviewed papers to be credible is utter nonsense.

    Often the best science graduates are head hunted by big corporations or other major industry players where usually research activity is not published for reasons relating to commercial confidentiality.

    We have already seen commercial confidentiality in climategate.

    There are many climate scientists who are not in academia but are civil servants who publish peer reviewed papers who were possibly unsuccessful in obtaining more lucrative employment elsewhere.

    Its also worth remembering that there is likely to be government sponsored climate related research which will have restricted access and will not be published in the public domain and usually done by people who are regarded as the most gifted scientists.

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  • 221. At 09:01am on 24 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Cariboo #218

    Well, Michael Mann continues to defend the hockey stick, and there have been a number of other reconstructions of global temps during the past millennium which give basically the same result. While I'm not entirely convinced by it, since as you go back in time the proxies become fewer in number and less reliable, that doesn't make it, as you seem to think, a 'porky'

    For the umpteenth time, AGW theory does not depend on the hockey stick. So to try to maintain it is false because you think you've found a flaw in the hockey stick is itself dishonest. And I'm sure you know it.


    Cariboo #219

    You would accept or dismiss a person based published papers. What you are really saying is that anything that I or any one else have learned during their life is of no value unless they have published a peer reviewed paper.

    You know as well as I do that I wasn't saying that!

    For comments about Vincent Gray, see my post #219 and associated links. I'm obviously not saying you can't have an opinion if you haven't published. But IPCC reports have to be based on the science (look what happens to them if they get it wrong!). So if somebody wants to set themselves up as an expert reviewer and comment on IPCC drafts, they need to make their submissions on the basis of published science (whether by themselves or somebody else).

    Of course, I haven't read Gray's submissions, but I would be very surprised if they said anything that was both (a) in the scientific literature AND (b) the IPCC lead authors were unaware of.

    I've just had a quick look at his article 'Spinning the Climate'. There actually isn't any science in this, but there is a section entitled 'Environmental Religion' which ends with the remarkable paragraph "The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development ... in Rio 3-14 June 1992 was organized to launch an attack on all forms of "Development" on the grounds that they destroyed "The Environment". A major purpose of the Conference was to launch the greenhouse theory, once more, and this time to convert it into a weapon for a campaign to impoverish the world" (!!)

    People (including Gray, evidently) like to flag up agreement with the AGW theory as some kind of religion. And then they come up with a demented statement such as the one I've just quoted!!

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  • 222. At 09:08am on 24 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    ADMac #220

    I'm sure there are plenty of good scientists who don't publish for all the reasons you mention. However, the conclusions of IPCC have to be based on what is in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Can you imagine what people would say if they made some statement then said the research underlying this is commercially confidential so we can't actually give a citation that will allow you to read it?

    So whatever points Gray was making, they will only be considered if they are backed by published research.

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  • 223. At 09:27am on 24 Mar 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8583308.stm

    more overexaggerations.

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  • 224. At 10:20am on 24 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Cariboo, #214
    you wrote:
    "I suspect that any effect that CO2 has concerning back radiation has long since reached piratical equilibrium."
    "I think more than enough time has passed to reach piratical equilibrium."
    (emphasis mine)

    So your argument, though initially based on a fine thought experiment, essentially boils down to your opinion.
    You claim that you cannot do the calculation, that's fair enough, but unless you can understand the methodology of those who have attempted the calculation (see, for example, the paper linked in one of my previous posts on the subject), your opinion remains simply that: an opinion.

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  • 225. At 10:23am on 24 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #158 who wrote...
    "That's an interesting plot you linked to, though. Look how the holocene warm period is already significantly longer than any of the other interglacials. There's one hypothesis (due to Bill Ruddiman) that human intervention (mainly deforestation) has already prevented the slippage into a new ice age."

    OR there's the fact that this interglacial has long been suspected of being similar to the MIS-11. Feel free to look that up.
    ====================


    "The issue, though is that concentrations of greenhouse gases are unprecedented in the past 400,000 years and are known to be involved in substantial amplifying feedback loops, especially in the warming direction."

    This isn't known at all. This is simply assumed.
    ====================

    RE:these things cannot be explained AT ALL
    "but that's not entirely true. There are models that do a reasonable job of explaining the glacial-interglacial transitions, and they tend to involve feedbacks including greenhouse gases."


    I didn't say the glacial-interglacial transition, I said the holocene fluctuations (within the interglacial). And again, the ice, dust, desertification and REAL water vapor feedbacks available during the glacial-interglacial transition are entirely adequate on their own to explain ALL of the glacial-interglacial transition amplification. They also respond far faster.

    Also the more important factor of the milankovitch cycles is not that they provide a "forcing" but that they actually change the very nature of the feedbacks so they favor either warming or cooling.

    And of course once again, just because you can force a model to work with something doesn't mean that's how it actually works. Its actually an extremely poor fit within the ice core record. The glacial/interglacial transition temperatures simply fluctuate too rapidly and show no actual signature of CO2's influence...the only signature is of temperature on CO2.

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  • 226. At 11:42am on 24 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace #225

    As a matter of interest, can you give a citation for your statements that

    the ice, dust, desertification and REAL water vapor feedbacks available during the glacial-interglacial transition are entirely adequate on their own to explain ALL of the glacial-interglacial transition amplification. They also respond far faster.

    and

    [the model ] is actually an extremely poor fit within the ice core record. The glacial/interglacial transition temperatures simply fluctuate too rapidly and show no actual signature of CO2's influence...the only signature is of temperature on CO2.

    I'm not trying to catch you out, since I'm sure there are valid reasons for your assertions. I just wonder how robust they are. For example we all know how much uncertainty there is about water vapour feedbacks - so what are "REAL water vapor feedbacks?"

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  • 227. At 1:31pm on 24 Mar 2010, SheffTim wrote:

    “We did just have the coldest winter for 30 years, is this autumn/winter going to be hotter than the summer??!?!?!?” #201

    It has been a cold & snowy winter in parts of northern Eurasia and in the USA – yet for Canada it was the warmest and driest on record.
    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/777975--warmest-driest-winter-ever-in-canada

    The Arctic also had an unusually warm winter.
    http://arctickingdom.com/blog/2010/01/scientists-report-an-unusually-warm-arctic-winter/

    This unusual state of affairs was called the ‘upside down winter’ by some US forecasters.
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1432

    In 2010 the tropical Atlantic waters were the warmest on record for a February and the 2nd warmest anomaly for a month since 1948.
    http://www.examiner.com/x-4053-Raleigh-Weather-Examiner~y2010m3d15-Very-warm-atlantic-ocean-and-weakening-el-nino-could-lead-to-actice-hurricane-season

    Also bear in mind it wasn’t cold everywhere – even in the northern hemisphere. In Crete on New Year's Day the temperature reached 30°C (86F), a new all-time record for Europe in January.

    On Feb 20th 2010 in Niger a temperature record of 44.3 C (112 F) was recorded, the second warmest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere in a February.

    In Australia Perth recorded the joint-hottest summer (December, January & February) in its110-year record whilst Rio de Janeiro in Brazil experienced temperatures of 46.3 degrees Celsius in February 2010 in the worst heat wave to hit Rio de Janeiro in 50 years.

    Overall January and February were abnormally warm globally. The climate sceptic Roy Spencer ‘double checked’ NASA’s figures and found them correct.
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/02/january-2010-uah-global-temperature-update-0-72-deg-c/
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/03/february-2010-uah-global-temperature-update-version-5-3-unveiled/

    We had a highly unusual winter, due to a rare combination of events; a strong El Nino in the pacific, the Arctic Oscillation in its most negative phase in 60 years and so on. This resulted in a shift in position of both Jet Streams in the N. Hemisphere, warm air rushing into the Arctic causing cold air to move southwards over Europe and the USA and so on. El Nino helped generate exceptional snowstorms as well as floods and droughts elsewhere in the world.

    This site has a detailed overview of the 2009-2010 winter: Impacts and causes.
    http://sites.google.com/site/whythe2009winterissocold/

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  • 228. At 4:53pm on 24 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    224. Dave_oxon

    @Cariboo, #214
    you wrote:

    So your argument, though initially based on a fine thought experiment, essentially boils down to your opinion.


    Yes and I did not make any claim otherwise, I was careful not to claim anything as science fact. So this begs the question, your point is?

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  • 229. At 04:46am on 25 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #226 who wrote...
    I'm not trying to catch you out, since I'm sure there are valid reasons for your assertions. I just wonder how robust they are. For example we all know how much uncertainty there is about water vapour feedbacks - so what are "REAL water vapor feedbacks?"

    I'm just referring to the fact that the most potent feedbacks would be found in the glacial-interglacial transitions. Currently there just isn't a lot that adding more water vapor to the atmosphere will do. The glacial earth however is very cold and dry place...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Maximum#Glacial_climate

    There are many interesting twists and turns the climate takes in glacial-interglacial transitions that most people are simply unaware of. Seriously...have you ever considered the impact of lower sea levels on albedo? How about the potential feedback from having warmer (due to low circulation) tropical oceans but with ice sheets sitting on the continental shelf where it can be melted much more rapidly once the climate starts a transition? How about desert albedo verses grassland/forest that springs up as soon as there is some actual rainfall?

    It is accepted that feedbacks are incredibly powerful and the various climate features are set in a very precarious state by the glacial maximum. The theoretical maximum "forcing" from CO2 is tiny compared to the feedbacks and the feedbacks have a far more rapid reaction time...especially once you realize how unstable the configuration becomes once the milankovitch cycles change the energy distribution of the planet. The changes to the distribution likely have a far greater impact than the "forcing" by the milankovitch cycles.

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  • 230. At 08:41am on 25 Mar 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    poitsplace

    I don't think I'd argue too much with that, and there's no doubt that glacial maxima combined with the orbital cycles have constituted tipping points for the climate over the past 2Ma.

    But you are presumably saying that there is no scope right now for feedbacks triggered by rises in greenhouse gases (which may by themselves have only a small effect). That depends, though, on the assumption that we aren't close to a tipping point and we just don't know that that is the case. The fact that we are at a glacial minimum with rapidly rising concentrations of greenhouse gases is itself unprecedented within the glacial cycles. Specifically, for example, we have loss of sea ice albedo or the release of methane clathrates to consider as well as the very uncertain influence of the water vapour cycle. I'm not saying that the models used by IPCC have got it all right, and I'd hope that they will continue to be improved as real world data is added and time series are extended.

    For the moment, though, I'd take the view that (a)the possibility of a runaway feedback is sufficiently high (in the context of the magnitude of potential damage) for us to adopt the precautionary principle and (b) the steps that need to be taken to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are in any case desirable for other reasons (most obviously to anticipate the peak oil scenario, but also to trigger technological improvements in building design and transport and to move away from dependence on a small number of often unstable countries for energy supply.

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  • 231. At 08:48am on 25 Mar 2010, Dave_oxon wrote:

    @Cariboo, #228

    D_O: "So your argument boils down to your opinion"

    C: "Yes and I did not make any claim otherwise, I was careful not to claim anything as science fact. So this begs the question, your point is?
    "

    My point was that your post #197 appeared to be making a scientific argument and therefore a stronger claim than just an opinion. Take for example this condensed version of your paragraph 5:

    "[from this simplistic calculation] I come to the conclusion... that the heating effect of this increased back radiation is so small that it is irrelevant... [so] we are not responsible for any warming."

    This unfortunately reads as a stronger claim than just an opinion - I would like offer my apologies for mis-interpreting it as such and would also like to thank you for your openness during our discussion on the matter.

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  • 232. At 10:41am on 25 Mar 2010, poitsplace wrote:

    @Paul Butler #230 who wrote...
    "That depends, though, on the assumption that we aren't close to a tipping point and we just don't know that that is the case. The fact that we are at a glacial minimum with rapidly rising concentrations of greenhouse gases is itself unprecedented within the glacial cycles."

    No, that depends on the assumption that CO2 at these concentrations is the primary force maintaining the temperature gradient of the atmosphere...and that is incorrect. Latent heat and convection are the dominant movers of energy across the troposphere (as opposed to the energy that simply passes straight through it).
    ===================


    "Specifically, for example, we have loss of sea ice albedo"

    We've had no significant loss of sea ice worldwide and it is ENTIRELY plausible that the loss of sea ice in the northern hemisphere is a result of the same natural warming/cooling cycles visible in the proxy records going back thousands of years.

    Ignoring the southern hemisphere entirely and just working with the loss of sea ice in the northern hemisphere...let's run through the figures, shall we?

    The arctic ocean (and ice extent) is approximately 14million square kilometers (2.7% of earth's surface) but dwindles down to 5-6 million. Only half of that at most is ever really facing the sun. It only receives about 1/3 the energy of equatorial regions due to the latitude. The albedo of ocean water at higher latitudes is higher due to the higher angles while albedo of summer ice however is significantly lower due to melt water ponds and the general color of the ice. You're left with a theoretical maximum feedback of about .15% to .2% of earth's energy budget...assuming the arctic ocean went from current levels to never having ice at all.

    ...oh, and it would require that the arctic warm up so much that it would be spewing far more energy than that...energy that has to come from elsewhere on the planet.
    ===================


    "or the release of methane clathrates to consider as well as the very uncertain influence of the water vapour cycle."

    Since this has not happened withint the temperature ranges you're suggesting (like during the previous interglacial or the holocene optimum) it is ludicrous to suggest that it will help to CAUSE the temperatures you're suggesting.
    ===================


    "the possibility of a runaway feedback is sufficiently high (in the context of the magnitude of potential damage) for us to adopt the precautionary principle"

    You haven't even shown that CO2 can significantly impact temperatures. While you claim high feedbacks you can't actually demonstrate them...and the ice core record clearly indicates a DRASTIC reduction in the potency of feedbacks. The temperatures are not and never have gone up at a rate high enough to hit the outrageous figures you NEED to even consider evoking the precautionary principle. Then to top it all off there are no ACTUAL signs that warming does harm. Warmer ages seem to have been fantastic for mankind and wildlife alike. All indications are the Africa and Australia will get greener, the frozen north would become a MUCH more viable habitat...again, not that you've shown any good reason to believe we could even hit those most likely harmless temperatures.
    ===================


    "(b) the steps that need to be taken to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are in any case desirable for other reasons (most obviously to anticipate the peak oil scenario, but also to trigger technological improvements in building design and transport and to move away from dependence on a small number of often unstable countries for energy supply."

    LOL, it is only because of the self imposed CO2 restrictions to stop this imaginary threat that we face any significant issues. We've got plenty of coal and could right now be converting it at a significantly lower cost...into a substance like crude oil. I believe China has already started on this.

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  • 233. At 3:43pm on 25 Mar 2010, Vic Smith wrote:

    Mike Hulmes view of the scientific method;

    "The problem is that in areas of science which are seeking to understand the behaviour of large complex systems which can’t be replicated in the lab, it is very hard if not impossible to apply the scientific litmus test of falsification through experimentation. And climate change is one such area of science. We have scientific theory, we have empirical observations. What we haven’t got are lots of different Earths that can be experimented on in controlled conditions. Virtual climates created inside computer models are the best we’ve got.

    All of this means that climate scientists frequently have to reach their conclusions on the basis of the partial, and sometimes poorly tested, evidence and models available to them. And when their paymasters - elected (or non-elected) politicians - ask them for advice, as in the case of the IPCC, opinion and belief become essential for interpreting facts and evidence. Or rather, incomplete evidence and models have to be worked on using opinions and beliefs to reach considered judgements about what may be true. This approach is a well recognised for evaluating some forms of scientific evidence, and quite sophisticated procedures have been established to make it work. Bayesian statistics and expert elicitation are two such methods, and they both lend themselves to consensus-making.

    But these ‘consensus methods’ don’t suit everyone. For some scientists, statements that commence with ‘We believe ...’ sound much too close to religious creeds or political manifestos to be accredited as reflecting scientific knowledge. I have heard scientists of many stripes – both those accepting the scientific orthodoxy about climate change and those disputing it – say “it’s not about belief, it’s about evidence”.

    Reaching consensus about climate change, recognising that these statements emerge from processes of deliberation and discussion rather than from pure observation, experimentation and falsification, can therefore be an uncomfortable thing for scientists and public alike. Scientists need to be prepared to argue about their ‘considered opinions’, to embrace consensus but without closing down argument or suggesting that matters are settled. And the public need to recognise that sometimes consensus is the best that science has to offer about a topic, especially when decisions need to be made by politicians – even if the decision is to do nothing."

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  • 234. At 10:00am on 26 Mar 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    he lost me at this point

    "Scientists need to be prepared to argue about their ‘considered opinions’, to embrace consensus "

    as i've pointed out repeatedly. consensus means nothing in science, except to those without good data perhaps.

    a more accurate interpretation would be to not make predictions on things you don't understand. But then i supopse that isn't politically viable now is it.

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  • 235. At 10:42am on 29 Mar 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Compare and contrast 4 months. (both links bbc)

    Pre - Copenhagen - 24th Nov 2009
    Gulf stream failing due to climate change (scare)

    Post climategate - Today
    No it isn't fine, natural variability (experimentation/observation)

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

    Weaker Gulf Stream -
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8369236.stm

    "A rise in temperatures around the world due to carbon emissions since the industrial revolution means many icecaps and glaciers are steadily melting.

    Rising temperatures have also caused ocean waters to expand - the main cause of sea level rise in the 20th Century.

    The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected a likely sea level rise of 28-43cm this century, but it acknowledged that this was probably an underestimate, as not enough was known about how ice behaves.

    "The fact that sea levels are rising is a major reason for concern and it's a combination of the global average rise together with the natural variability leading to larger regional rises," said Dr John Church, from Australia's government-funded science and research body, the CSIRO.

    The weakening of the Gulf Stream coupled with the gravitational effects of being closer to the North Pole mean waters in the northern hemisphere are experiencing the biggest rise. "


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


    Now: (less than 1 Hour ago)


    Gulf Stream 'is not slowing down'
    By Richard Black
    Environment correspondent, BBC News

    Data came from the global network of Argo floats in the oceans
    The Gulf Stream does not appear to be slowing down, say US scientists who have used satellites to monitor tell-tale changes in the height of the sea.

    Confirming work by other scientists using different methodologies, they found dramatic short-term variability but no longer-term trend.

    A slow-down - dramatised in the movie The Day After Tomorrow - is projected by some models of climate change.

    The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

    The stream is a key process in the climate of western Europe, bringing heat northwards from the tropics and keeping countries such as the UK 4-6C warmer than they would otherwise be.

    It forms part of a larger movement of water, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which is itself one component of the global thermohaline system of currents.

    Between 2002 and 2009, the team says, there was no trend discernible - just a lot of variability on short timescales.

    The Atlantic overturning circulation is still an important player in today's climate

    Josh Willis, Nasa
    The satellite record going back to 1993 did suggest a small increase in flow, although the researchers cannot be sure it is significant.

    "The changes we're seeing in overturning strength are probably part of a natural cycle," said Josh Willis from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

    "The slight increase in overturning since 1993 coincides with a decades-long natural pattern of Atlantic heating and cooling."

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  • 236. At 11:17pm on 29 Mar 2010, LarryKealey wrote:


    #227 SheffTim

    Note, that this winter, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico ranged from 6-9F below normal...upside down winter, perhaps, but much of Canada was very cold indeed (which is where all the cold weather in the US came through...;)

    Cheers.

    Kealey

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