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EU climate chief asks for leadership

Richard Black | 08:18 UK time, Thursday, 15 July 2010

To Storey's Gate in central London, for lunch with the EU's climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

She is as well-informed about current global climate politics as anyone, having played a leading role in the run-up to last year's Copenhagen summit in her role as Danish climate minister, and now leading EU diplomacy on the issue.

Connie_HedegaardProspects for a binding climate treaty at the UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico this year?

It's clear that the EU isn't planning for it. The idea, said Ms Hedegaard, is to show "delivery" on issues of substance this time round, to break down the logjam of distrust, with the aim of putting the political pieces in play that could produce a binding treaty at the South African-hosted UN climate summit of 2011.

This will disappoint some developing countries and also some campaigners who want something sooner; but given events elsewhere in the world, it's hard to argue Ms Hedegaard isn't bang on the money when it comes to prospects for the Cancun summit.

"Have you seen anything new from the US or China in the last six months? Because I haven't," she asked rhetorically.

On China, she later clarified: lots is being done in the country itself.

The next five-year plan is currently being finalised; and indications are that the nexus of climate mitigation, energy security and green growth are going to dominate once it's published.

Sometimes on climate-oriented Earth Watch threads there comes a comment such as "Oh, so it's peak oil now", or "So it's really about exporting wind turbines".

With some governments, it's about everything; and one suspects that's exactly what's going on in China now.

The fact that three of the top 10 wind turbine manufacturers are now Chinese (after giving the Danes and Germans a decade's start) is undoubtedly positive for exports and economic growth.

If populating the Chinese landscape with wind farms helps mitigate the climate impacts that we know Chinese leaders are concerned about - well, all the better for that particular policy. The word is "synergy".

Wind _turbineBut I digress.

Internationally, China has not put anything new on the table - that's clear, though it was always going to be the case while the five-year plan was being written.

And neither has the US - in fact, as I've described before, if anything it's retrenching from its Copenhagen commitment.

The latest version of Senate legislation - even if passed - looks likely to have a markedly lower impact on US emissions than the original Waxman-Markey bill.

Analysts are also becoming concerned about the Japanese political situation.

The previous prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, pledged almost the most ambitious carbon cuts in Copenhagen, and opened the national coffers for "fast-start finance" wider than any other country.

He's now out of office; and his successor, Naoto Kan, has just lost his Democratic Party of Japan majority in the upper house of parliament. The opposition Liberal Democratic Party is traditionally more resistant to carbon cuts.

Ms Hedegaard is insistent that the EU should reclaim the gowns of leadership that were ripped from its shoulders in Copenhagen's final hours.

I'm sure she's sincere in her aim. But whether EU countries, particularly the new entrants, want to take up the reins with her isn't entirely clear - as unclear, you might say, as the bloc's definition of "new and additional finance", the element of the Copenhagen Accord that in theory ought to be realised first.

And whether others are prepared to be led is an even bigger question.

After lunch, my bus ride home took me via Copenhagen Street.

There were roadworks.

UPDATE:Ministers leading on climate from France, Germany and the UK have just published a joint letter in the Financial Times, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung arguing that the EU should move to its higher target of 30%.

Chris Huhne, Jean-Louis Borloo and Dr Norbert Rottgen argue that the 20% target and the consequently low carbon price are not enough to drive serious investment in low-carbon technology.

"If we stick to a 20% cut, Europe is likely to lose the race to compete in the low-carbon world to countries such as China, Japan or the US - all of whom are looking to create a more attractive investment environment by introducing low carbon policy frameworks and channelling their stimulus packages into low-carbon investment."

As Connie Hedegaard pointed out, moving to 30% would be important politically. It's not, she said, something to be announced lightly; timing and context are everything.

Comments

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  • 1. At 08:57am on 15 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    it's interesting that you bring up the Chinese, they are abviously planning for the long term (buying up natural resources, technology investments ect)- i'd be very interested to see how they move on the issue in the next year or so.

    few points/questions-

    -love the new site- and the image of you with the monkey is awesome (as by definition monkeys are awesome).
    -an update on the japanese (?) greenpeace person facing charges for breaking into that warehouse(?) would be great at somepoint down the road.

    -the CRU reviews. Richard, do you think there's anything in those reviews that isn't, up to standard, and further more- can you see any trend in the reviews?

    on topic though-
    i'm interested to see how the 'AGW' political landscape changes over the next few months- it's clear that the reviews haven't had the desired effect (whether through failures on the reviewers part or general 'heel digging' on the other side) and i'd be very very interested to see whether we start to see a 'decoupling' of environmental issues from the AGW 'stance'.

    Have you seen any indication of this, Richard, in your travels, because if the AGW line does bite the dust, it would be awful if 'genuine' environmental concerns took a hit alongside it?

    I'm very curious to see if those in the political establishments have picked up on this yet (or even care).

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  • 2. At 09:26am on 15 Jul 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    I'm all for living as rationally and harmoniously as possible with our planet's limited resources - so long as the whole issue is not bogged down with highly speculative 'solutions' and 'causes'. (I am slagging of the CO2 is 'the' cause and 'the' solution mob those with the dodgy emails.)

    The excessive and profligate use of energy is just daft, given that we need to leave something of a planet and energy resource left for future generations. But virtually nothing is proposed that will actually tack them major (ab)users of inefficient machines and poorly insulated homes.

    Cars: Why is it possible still to sell inefficient vehicles that can go faster than the speed limit?

    Travel: Why can employers employ people who live too far (and excessive distance > 30 min. travel) from their work without a financial penalty?

    Homes: Why are their no programmes to insulate solid wall homes?

    Heating: Why are there so few heat pumps on sale generally (as these are many times more efficient that burning fuel)?

    Instead there are grossly bureaucratic schemes to produce bio-feuls that are so open to fraud it is as it a fraudster deigned them. And why did no-one thing that clearing rain forest to grow palm oil was a really bad and negative thing to do?

    Lost of questions no answers!!!!

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  • 3. At 09:30am on 15 Jul 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    'Chief asks for Leadership'.

    Guess that's why they get the big bucks.

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  • 4. At 10:10am on 15 Jul 2010, Dr Brian wrote:

    Immensely well paid and outrageously well pensioned apparatchik and her staff wasting their time worrying about the AGW fantasy.
    Couldn't she be usefully employed resolving the extremely important matter of fish debt?
    Or protecting Paul the psychic octopus from being turned into calamari?

    Time we got out of Europe.

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  • 5. At 10:21am on 15 Jul 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Re #2. John_from_Hendon wrote:

    last line "Lost of questions no answers!!!!"

    should of course read 'Lots of...' Must switch to a keyboard with bigger keys! Sorry.

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  • 6. At 12:56pm on 15 Jul 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    I sense a bit of movement as you discuss 'synergy' Richard.

    Surely it is time for the eco-industry to stop milking a dead cow - people have rejected global warming as an excuse for taxes and taking us back to the dark ages.

    However - fossil fuels are coming to the end of their era.

    Lets see ACTION on realistic alternatives to fossil fuel - same old comfy life style, new energy sources. Why would we object?

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  • 7. At 2:09pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Strongly worded editorial in influential New Scientist.

    Note the replacement of the IPCC friendly caveats with

    "But what happened to intellectual candour - especially in conceding the shortcomings of these inquiries and discussing the way that science is done. Without candour, public trust in climate science cannot be restored, nor should it be."

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727692.900-without-candour-we-cant-trust-climate-science.html

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  • 8. At 2:41pm on 15 Jul 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The governments will continue to push the ETS as this is what the bankers and investors want. ETS does nothing to lower emissions and provides the right to pollute under the pretense that something is being done. Coal and oil have already bought up large areas of forests and would like a return on their investments and the banks and investors see an easy way to make money and have promised the governments some tax dollars. I still remain baffled by the governments selling the air. The stranger the governments become the more likely they will fail.
    China builds wind turbines but most of the companies are foreign owned. China will copy that technology and soon be producing their own but that will have no impact on the existing coal fired power plants that have made China the largest producer of carbon emissions.
    The Western governments struggle to maintain the status quo of power and money. If those governments were concerned about alternative engeries one would see greater investment in research but the coal and oil lobbyist receive much of that funding and are not interested in alternatives except as long term developments that supplement their existing supplies and in the end leave them in control of the next generation of energy production. The new alternatives will be developed from the East because the have to. Continued economic growth in all of Asia will add to the problems and any cuts in the West will be replaced by growth in the East. The space requirments for wind turbines and the energy produced makes this a supplemental energy source and not a primary alternative. The best way to create a boom in the world economy is a new alternative energy and the conversion to such a source, but the vested interest of coal and oil and the lack of political leadership will prevent that for as long as possible.

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  • 9. At 2:45pm on 15 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 7. nice find jane.

    any comments richard?

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  • 10. At 3:18pm on 15 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    I do hope the editorship of the New Scientist will live to regret this remark:

    "Data manipulation is the stuff of science"

    Data interpretation (i.e. taking a test result to mean this or that) is the stuff of science, but data manipulation is the stuff of statistical extrapolation.

    My oft-repeated lonely cry in the wilderness: statistical extrapolation is not science!

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  • 11. At 3:30pm on 15 Jul 2010, silverfoxuk wrote:

    @ 7. nice find jane.

    Yes, very interesting from New Scientist. Good to see some intelligent journalism.

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  • 12. At 3:40pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #10

    So what happens when they need to do sums to interpret that data? Because that's what New Scientist seems to be referring to.

    And what happens when they want to use graphics to interpret that data? Because a map of the world with temperature (or temperature anomaly) indicated by colour is so much more understandable than a list of temperatures by location.

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  • 13. At 3:43pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey #9

    Please be nice to Richard. He's environment correspondent. Not dedicated Climategate correspondent.

    Meanwhile my impression of the New Scientist editor is that as well as calling for general openness within climate science he is effectively calling for a fourth enquiry, this time rigorously examining the science linked to Climategate, and effectively suggesting that climate science as a whole is in limbo until such an inquiry is complete.

    Webb (I presume the piece was written by Jeremy Webb) doesn't explicitly say so but I believe such an inquiry would have to include examining the IPCC's WG1 core conclusions including whether there had been warming since the mid 20th century, probable causes of warming since the mid 20th century, and likely ranges of climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases, because Climategate related science is perceived as significantly contributing to these conclusions. Even if that perception is false it makes it politic to publically re-examine the conclusions.

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  • 14. At 3:47pm on 15 Jul 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Labmonkey:

    You are impressed by an unsigned editorial about the need for candour and openness. Another "when did you stop beating your wife" questions for the skeptics that relies on accusations and inpretations that differ from others. Impressive in the lack of anything important in the content.

    We don't believe and we will never believe..we have heard it all beofre.

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  • 15. At 4:04pm on 15 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #12 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "So what happens when they need to do sums to interpret that data? Because that's what New Scientist seems to be referring to."

    If that is really all they are referring to, fine. It's a chilling word, though, as there is doing sums and choosing to add or not to add, depending on which option gives the more desirable result. To me, the word 'manipulation' evokes the second of those activities.

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  • 16. At 4:17pm on 15 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ jane #13 and richard- i had zero intention towards being 'nasty' towards richard. If it came across that way then i apologise unreservedly- it was only meant in curiosity (which is all i ever really post for) and to present new 'evidence' as it arrives- nothing malicious. I will endeavour to be clearer in my posts.

    @14, erm no- i simply said it was a nice find...... it's interesting alone given the New Scientists previous stances on the credibility of the AGW, but it echo's the concerns of many a sceptic (and quite a few climatologists i may add), that the reviews were nothing but a farce and arguably did more harm than good.

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  • 17. At 4:54pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @ghostofsichuan #14

    "unsigned editorial"

    As an "unsigned" editorial, it would either have been written by current editor Jeremy Webb or would have been written by a close trusted colleague and signed off by him.

    http://www.newscientist.com/people

    And based on previous "unsigned" editorials I would interpret the latest New Scientist editorial as presenting a strong case for a rigorous 4th inquiry rather than dissing climate science completely out of hand.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527452.600-let-the-sunlight-in-on-climate-change.html
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527492.500-honesty-is-the-best-policy-for-climate-scientists.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=magcontents

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  • 18. At 4:58pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey #16

    Cool. Remember one of the limitations of this medium is the lack of body language or voice tone, we are all prone to misinterpret each other.

    (blows raspberry at limitations)

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  • 19. At 5:03pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #15

    Then perhaps I need to remind you of the caveat you trimmed in your #10 (caveat highlit)

    "Data manipulation is the stuff of science, but that manipulation has to be as open and transparent as the data itself."

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727692.900-without-candour-we-cant-trust-climate-science.html

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  • 20. At 5:32pm on 15 Jul 2010, boodnock wrote:

    What rubbish the Woman talks, a 20% cut is more than adequate, if she thinks the Chinese and USA are going to leave us behind by introducing bigger % cuts then its simply because they are so far behind us already in cuts made....even if they offered up 50% cuts they would just playing catch up to what we have already planned....that and the fact they between them will still belch Dozens more times the amount of CO2 than we ever will.

    It's all Climate Change Politics at the end of the Day and nothing to do with saving the planet.....the planet we live on is just fine and it will survive ok wihout these doom and gloom merchants that are in it for the money..

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  • 21. At 5:36pm on 15 Jul 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #9 labmunkey

    i could comment on 'the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong' from the article.

    actually i'm all for a 4th enquiry. the political process has stalled for reasons that have nothing to do with science so it can't do any harm.

    but an enquiry into a the quality of science in a specific field can only be done primarily by those in that field which just leaves it open to the same old 'poachers turned gamekeepers' argument.

    and the arguments about peer review and openness are nonsense and have only come about because of the enormous (and malicious) political pressure the scientists have been under. if this assault was made on any field of science then the same 'apparent issues' would surface.

    but since i don;t think anything is going to change in time to make a blind bit of difference, not just wrt agw but any area that impinges on the profits of our new global rulers (which makes detaching agw from other environmental issues somewhat spurious imho) then let's have enquiries 4,5,6.....

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  • 22. At 5:54pm on 15 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #19 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "Data manipulation is the stuff of science, but that manipulation has to be as open and transparent as the data itself."

    Yes, I hear what you're saying, I'm taking your point... It's just that I'm very uneasy with the current usage of the word 'data'.

    Waxing metaphorical for a moment, when you test a theory, "you ask the world a question", and have to be prepared to get an unwelcome answer in return. A "datum" in this "testing" sense is typically a "numerical answer" to such a question. So while it's perfectly OK to wonder "Was that was a No or a Yes?", to tinker with the answer is to miss the whole point of the exercise. The distinction between wondering and tinkering is really crucial here, and everyone involved would be acutely aware of it, and would feel like a cheap crook if they caught themselves tinkering instead of wondering.

    But the "data" we are talking about in the context of the New Scientist editorial are not "answers to questions" at all. They function completely differently from "answers" as above, and instead work as the "foundation" for an edifice to be built later. Given the shift in what "data" means here, I no longer see any crucial difference between wondering and tinkering as I did above. It's all just "laying the groundwork", so who cares if we nudge a bit to the left here, or a bit to the right there? Who cares if we ignore "outliers", and instead "choose the best data available"?

    Do you see what I'm getting at? (I apologize for the metaphorical nature of all this, by the way.)

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  • 23. At 6:06pm on 15 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #18 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    one of the limitations of this medium is the lack of body language or voice tone, we are all prone to misinterpret each other.

    It's interesting how quickly "emoticons" became established as a substitute for body language, tone of voice, etc.. It shows how crucial "peripheral indicators" are in discursive language.

    Written court records reveal that people often utter words that say the exact opposite of what they mean, but no one batted an eyelid in the court -- the speakers made themselves completely clear by the tone of their voices, facial expressions, etc.

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  • 24. At 6:23pm on 15 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #21 rossglory wrote:

    "an enquiry into a the quality of science in a specific field can only be done primarily by those in that field"

    Are you saying that the people who can make the best judgements about the scientific quality of astrology are astrologers? That the people who can make the best judgements about the scientific quality of phrenology are phrenologists? And so on?

    I would have thought that the people who can make the best judgements about the scientific quality of any field would be those who are not so directly involved in the field itself. So I would choose a reasonably wide range of people who have definite facility with scientific ideas, as well as a few others who don't -- to ask the "dumb questions" in a confident and intelligent way. I might even choose one or two climate scientists, just to let them get a word in.

    It seems to me that whenever anything has to be checked, the "checkers" and "checkees" have to be reasonably independent of each other. Bankers can't check bankers, politicians can't check politicians, climate scientists can't check climate scientists.

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  • 25. At 6:52pm on 15 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #24.

    uh, get this: bowman elevates astrology and phrenology into the sciences.

    "I would have thought that the people who can make the best judgements about the scientific quality of any field would be those who are not so directly involved in the field itself."

    so when you hear your doctor's diagnosis and don't like it, you'd ask your accountant for a second opinion?

    neat.

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  • 26. At 6:58pm on 15 Jul 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    Poor Richard. Still having to push the busted flush that is AGW and still having to pretend wind turbines are anything other than a fancy way to piss away millions.

    Maybe someday the BBC will let him be a journalist again instead of a publicist for whatever nonsense the AGW lobby want to push this week.

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  • 27. At 7:04pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @rossglory #21
    @LabMunkey #9
    @Richard Black

    rossglory, your comment is more applicable to my #7 than LabMunkey's #9

    Sloppy reading on my part. Of course "Though the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong," can be described as an IPCC friendly caveat.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727692.900-without-candour-we-cant-trust-climate-science.html

    It's still way stronger than anything I've read from New Scientist journalists before, including Fred Pearce.

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  • 28. At 7:08pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #22

    I don't find anything particularly suspicious about wanting to "turn raw data into the graphs of global average temperatures". Which was the specific example that the New Scientist editorial gave.

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  • 29. At 7:36pm on 15 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #25 jr4412 wrote:

    uh, get this: bowman elevates astrology and phrenology into the sciences.

    I don't: the problem is that astrologists and phrenologists describe themselves as scientists. We need to distinguish between those who claim to be scientists (i.e. almost everyone) and those who really are scientists. You have noted, correctly in my opinion, that astrologists and phrenologists are not really scientists. I have a reason for my opinion that they are not scientists, but do you have a reason for your opinion that they are not scientists?

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  • 30. At 7:46pm on 15 Jul 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #27 JaneBasingstoke wrote:


    Sloppy reading on my part. Of course "Though the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong," can be described as an IPCC friendly caveat.


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

    I remember the good old days (of 2 years ago) when we were told time and time again the debate was OVER! Now the case remains strong.

    The rats are looking for a way off the ship...

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  • 31. At 8:46pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Brunnen_G #30

    "when we were told time and time again the debate was OVER"

    There are two scenarios when that was appropriate.

    1. When the individual concerned believed that the scientific proof required by the politicians and the public only needed to be strong enough to show that AGW was reasonably probable. And a naive reading of the Rio Precautionary Principle had many thinking the bar was even lower than that.

    2. Not all sceptics are as competent and as honest as Lindzen, Spencer, Christie, McIntyre, etc. Some of the sceptic arguments on AGW are pure drivel, and many commentators were only dismissing the drivel when they used the expression "the debate is over".

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  • 32. At 9:10pm on 15 Jul 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    It was never appropriate. It was just said in the vague hope of shoring up what has turned out to be very shonky science.

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  • 33. At 10:12pm on 15 Jul 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Connie's got some crazy ideas.

    The idea that the EU going-in-front-alone will help the EU.

    Just. Think. About. It.

    This could also apply to a country. The country could go it alone.
    A part of a country could go it alone. An individual household could go it alone.

    Fine by me - she can go it alone if she wants. Just leave me out and get your hand off my wallet.

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  • 34. At 10:13pm on 15 Jul 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    @Jane - do I sense your own views have shifted over the last year?

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  • 35. At 10:17pm on 15 Jul 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    It's not a simple debate between the red team saying tom-ayto and the blue team saying tom-arto.

    One side wants to force its views on everyone. The other side just doesn't want this to happen - for all kinds of reasons.

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  • 36. At 10:57pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Brunnen_G #32

    "never appropriate"

    As an opinion as opposed to a policy it was and sometimes is appropriate. My #31 was an attempt to show that such an opinion could be consistent with a healthy approach to the science and the politics.

    "It was just said in the vague hope of shoring up what has turned out to be very shonky science."

    Are you claiming to be telepathic?

    And are you aware how badly some sceptics made and still make the sceptic case? Idiots that have even been debunked by the competent sceptics.

    And as for "very shonky science", even applied to hockey sticks, you do seem to be undervaluing the time, skill and effort of the likes of Steve McIntyre. Are you sure you personally would have avoided Mann's mistake in "upside down Mann"?

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  • 37. At 11:23pm on 15 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Bowmanthebard wrote (#10): "... Data interpretation (i.e. taking a test result to mean this or that) is the stuff of science, but data manipulation is the stuff of statistical extrapolation. My oft-repeated lonely cry in the wilderness: statistical extrapolation is not science!"
    -----------
    Hi, Bowman, I've manipulated masses and masses of data, diced, sliced & drilled, packed, unpacked, re-structured and done the things that analysts do; but I have only extrapolated when the project design had this objective. The skill of the scientist (etc) is in knowing your data and its robustness within the analysis; this conditions when/where/what/how etc you can do with it. Arguably, interpretation is a higher order skill (or so I argued when discussing my annual salary!;-)
    Don't get hung-up on the analytical techniques needed to arrive at interpretation. Something positively synergistic happens when the scientist and the IS/statistical specialist work in harmony on a project. It's not magic, but it can be magical.
    Regards, Geoff.

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  • 38. At 11:51pm on 15 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Jack Hughes #34

    Most of the changes have been subtle. And you might have been pigeon-holing me before.

    As to my enthusiasm for a 4th inquiry I think that with large segments of the public and the media having already decided the Climategate scientists are guilty the least painful course for them is a full open rigorous inquiry of all the allegations. Honest scrutiny never hurt science.

    To my fellow warmists who say "it won't satisfy the more blinkered hardcore sceptics" I say who cares. A good inquiry would help build bridges between the reasonable people on both sides of the debate.

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  • 39. At 11:57pm on 15 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Hi again, Bowman (re: #24),

    I’ve worked out my problem – I read the postings from the bottom up, so I get the solutions before I read the questions! (It comes from always reading the Sports pages first, I think).

    I see the nub of your argument in your posting #24, it’s rooted in the old ‘who regulates the regulators’ problem. You chose ‘pseudo-science’ to test your proposition, arguing, I think, that the judges of the quality will be positively biased to results/publication if they themselves are ‘believers’. But does the same hold true in the core branches of science, mathematics, etc.?
    A science or mathematics PhD candidate would wish his thesis-defense to be in front of specialists directly involved in the field. Equally, an atmospheric chemist or a mathematical modeller would wish his/her paper to be peer-reviewed by specialists in the field (this avoids career-limiting major boobs entering the public domain).
    I agree with you that cross-disciplinary research (such as climate research, writ large) often needs a wide span of knowledge and competences in the peer-review process, but let these people be professionals that are skeptical rather than professional skeptics.

    Geoff.

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  • 40. At 00:18am on 16 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Boodnock wrote (# 20): "... It's all Climate Change Politics at the end of the Day and nothing to do with saving the planet.....the planet we live on is just fine and it will survive ok wihout these doom and gloom merchants that are in it for the money.."
    -----------
    Hi, boodnock, we haven't met before but your comment about 'the planet being just fine ... and us all surviving OK' grates a little.
    One thing Richard Black's posting site is especially good at is that people posting are asked to back up their assertions, give evidence, reference etc.
    I hope to see you again on this site and hope for more substantial argument.
    Geoff.

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  • 41. At 04:37am on 16 Jul 2010, Blasius wrote:



    30% cut by 2020 for EU might be easier than 25% cut in Japan because Japanese eco tech is the highest in the world. 30% is possible if such high techs are applied.



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  • 42. At 04:55am on 16 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    13. JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "@LabMunkey #9

    Please be nice to Richard. He's environment correspondent. Not dedicated Climategate correspondent."

    Yes, let's all be nice to Richard. Its a difficult period for him because, if you actually look at these blogs or to this recent lunch date, he clearly is a "dedicated Climategate correspondent."

    I'm sure that Ms Hedegaard was hoping for a bit more of a cheerleading piece here but reality is setting in.

    Re your #7, your term the "influential New Scientist" is a stretch as they have been an AGW promoter with zero influence as an objective source. That said, the fact that even they made that statement does say a lot and will be influential among those who still though it was influential.

    Speaking of turning tides, I did post this at the tail end of the 'what's hidden' blog but it seems worth posting here too, mostly because it is from another source which would formerly never question anything AGW (and still does accept that basic premise) but have had enough of the blatant whitewashes:

    Excerpt: "I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause."

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/climategate-and-the-big-green-lie/59709

    Lots more in that article. Very interesting. Plus angry comments from their readers, who can barely believe it showed up there.

    In the meantime Ms Hedegaard carries on in a complete state of denial about how the world has turned. One wonders if she is still watching some home copy of that insane introductory shock-film they used to introduce the Copenhagen debacle... or simply has too much invested in this project to ever accept that not just the climate changes.

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  • 43. At 05:00am on 16 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    10. bowmanthebard wrote:

    "I do hope the editorship of the New Scientist will live to regret this remark:

    "Data manipulation is the stuff of science""

    Unfortunately, this is indeed the "stuff" of post-normal science, like "IPCC climatology" or "WWF conservation biology."

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  • 44. At 07:31am on 16 Jul 2010, sanity4all wrote:

    Ah - Climate LEADERSHIP required?
    Why and in which direction should Climate Change leadership go?

    Would that person make the same mistake as the current head of the IPCC in issuing a communique to all Climate Researchers to AVOID contact with the Media, immediately PRIOR to the Muir-Russel report on Climategate?
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43218

    Climate research definitely needs a new leader,with that sort of communications "faux pas"!

    Perhaps the WWF could put up a Panda or two?

    After all the WWF are in a great rush to get Climate Change Political agreements in place before we are all drowned in 2035 when the Himalayn Glaciers are supposed to melt.

    Which puzzles me? Why do we need to do anything, if we aren't going to survive?

    So is Climate Change Politics about changing our behaviour or is it more likely, that organisations - whoever they maybe, including the WWF, want agreements in place in order to share the £60 billion plus carbon credit market over the next few years?

    Climate Change Politics is so important, why does NO-ONE want the job of HEAD or LEADER?

    Could it be that, with a ban on illegal timber logging, it is not possible to sustainably build enough ARKS to survive the FLOODS, so nobody wants to make the decisions about who survives and who does not?

    Finally, maybe a touch of irony maybe, but there is always an element of truth somewhere.

    Commercial interests will eventually take over from Climate Researchers.

    Money always does lead, so eventually leadership will come from either
    business enterprise or the Nation with the most to GAIN commercially.

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  • 45. At 07:41am on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #28 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    I don't find anything particularly suspicious about wanting to "turn raw data into the graphs of global average temperatures". Which was the specific example that the New Scientist editorial gave.

    There's no such thing as "raw data". This is a bad philosophical fantasy that people suffer from if they think science is "an edifice built on foundations of experience".

    What they are mistaking for "raw data" in the case of climate science are highly conjectural theoretical claims -- the deliverances of dendrology, among other things. I think it would be more honestly dubbed "dendromancy".

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  • 46. At 08:18am on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #39 GeoffWard wrote:

    A science or mathematics PhD candidate would wish his thesis-defense to be in front of specialists directly involved in the field.

    Wouldn't he wish even more strongly to defend it to no one but himself? Or failing that, to defend it to no one but his own PhD supervisor?

    For a less welcome but more accurate assessment, a candidate has to defend his thesis to a group of people, most of whom would have a rough idea of what he is talking about, but few of whom have been working on the specific topic of his PhD thesis.

    An entire field such as climate science is much broader than a PhD thesis, so its assessment should be conducted by a correspondingly broader range of people. There should be some who have not been working in climate science. I would argue that there should be a few who have given various ideas of scientific method some critical thought instead of just unquestioningly accepting the orthodoxy within the field.

    That is why I mentioned phrenology. Its practitioners and followers were satisfied that their methods were scientifically sound, but they were all wrong.

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  • 47. At 08:31am on 16 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    "The word is "synergy"."

    Isn't the correct spelling sinergy? I mean all the human activity involved in resourcing, designing, marketing, smelting, moulding, machining, building, selling, transporting and servicing wind machines and spending the profits and wages costs how much in global warming terms? Or has everyone been so busy they haven't worked it out yet?

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  • 48. At 09:03am on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ bowman # 45
    "There's no such thing as "raw data". This is a bad philosophical fantasy that people suffer from if they think science is "an edifice built on foundations of experience"

    erm... i think you'll find there is such a thing as raw data. Are you actually a scientist? i forget.

    Raw data (as far as i/my colleagues are concearned) is the data that is directly reported from the source with no interpretation/adjustments. I.e. the 'raw' absorbance readings from a spectrophotometer. The 'raw' area measurements from a HPLC, the 'raw' temperature records from a monitor.

    This is raw data and it is a defined, scientific concept.

    The minute you adjust the data (against a calibration curve, against a standard, to take into account equipment deficiencies, to remove outliers etc) it becomes 'adjusted data' and must be recorded as such.

    It is perfectly acceptable to present adjusted data and this is often the norm (as statistical methods can be invaluable in detecting trends/levels of significance that would be otherwise missed), but only if the raw data, and the methods used to adjust that data is also presented.

    Perhaps spend less time trying to trip people up over lingusitic intricacies and spend more time debating the ACTUAL issues.

    (though i stand by my assertion in post #1 that picture with richard and the monkey is AWESOME)

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  • 49. At 09:36am on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #48 LabMunkey wrote:

    Raw data (as far as i/my colleagues are concearned) is the data that is directly reported from the source with no interpretation/adjustments.

    You cannot use a reading from an instrument without interpreting it in some way or other. It has to be interpreted to imply anything.

    I.e. the 'raw' absorbance readings from a spectrophotometer.

    Black lines are black lines. "Absorbance lines" are the posits of a theory, and their positions are determined by calibration of the instrument, among other things. That is quite a lot of "cooking", although of course it is completely innocent. It just isn't "raw" the way you assume.

    Are you actually a scientist?

    That is an appeal to authority, which has no place is an honest discussion of science.

    Perhaps spend less time trying to trip people up over lingusitic intricacies and spend more time debating the ACTUAL issues.

    In my opinion the ACTUAL issue is the mistaken assumption that theory is "based on raw data". In your opinion the ACTUAL issue takes place within climate science. I regard discussion within any discipline that assumes theory is "based on raw data" as a complete waste of time.

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  • 50. At 10:19am on 16 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #45

    Struggling how you manage to label "160 years of global thermometer data" as dendromancy. Are you somehow confusing conventional thermometers with tree ring temperature proxies? Or are you being ultra picky about the interpretation of the thermal expansion of mercury inside a quality built-for-purpose thermometer?

    :-p

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  • 51. At 10:38am on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #50 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    Are you somehow confusing conventional thermometers with tree ring temperature proxies?

    Yes -- I confess I was confusing those things. But I maintain there are no "raw data"! The idea probably originates in the philosophical tradition of "sense data". According to that tradition the mind is a non-material "ghost in the machine", so the only knowledge it can have is "based on sense data" -- where these "data" are supposed to be "raw experiences", whose nature is "certain" or self-evident. All that sort of c***!

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  • 52. At 10:56am on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Thermometers have to be calibrated, and they have to be read at a particular time of the day, and so on, but perhaps the most important bit of "non-rawness" of "160 years of global thermometer data" is the location of the thermometers. I'd guess that most of them were "in the back garden behind the geography department", whether that happened to be -- next to the tennis court, the lake, the multi-lane highway...

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  • 53. At 11:01am on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ bowman #49 (swore i wouldn't get drawn into one of these discussions- but here goes)

    "You cannot use a reading from an instrument without interpreting it in some way or other. It has to be interpreted to imply anything"
    of course- but it doesn't change the fact that the data coming out of it is classified as 'raw data'.

    "Black lines are black lines. "Absorbance lines" are the posits of a theory, and their positions are determined by calibration of the instrument, among other things. That is quite a lot of "cooking", although of course it is completely innocent. It just isn't "raw" the way you assume."

    and

    "That is an appeal to authority, which has no place is an honest discussion of science."

    You are reading things into people's statements that are simply not the case- or rather you are seeing things you want to rather than taking the statement at face value.

    I asked if you were a scientist not as an appeal to authority, but to assess your level of competence to actually comment on this 'raw data' distinction. Scientists are trained to collect and evaluate 'raw data', so for a scientist raw data is any observational recording, be it by hand or by a piece of equipment. This is what scientists class as raw data- you cannot say that there is no such thing, because there clearly is. it is a tightly defined area- what you are trying to do is over analyse and over complicate the issue.

    Your theoretical postulations on the subject does not change the fact that there is a class of data that all scientists have been trained to recognise as and call 'Raw data'. You can ague the abstract all you want, but it just shows you to be out of touch of the actual reality on the subject.


    Of course equipment calibration, personal observational bias (the unintentional kind), validation and procedural applications all have their effect- but these too are tightly defined and do not negate the fact that the results obtained, as far as scientists are concearned, is called and classified as raw data.

    You may think you are bringing somethig to these discussions- but of late especially, all you seem to be doing is trying to confuse them whilst arguing over completely irrelevant (from a procedural point of view) points. Stick to the issues.

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  • 54. At 11:08am on 16 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey

    "that picture with richard and the monkey is AWESOME"

    I think the "monkey" looks like a baby chimp, making it (sorry, picky here) an ape rather than a monkey. But I agree it is seriously cute.

    And just in case people can't find the picture in question
    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48359000/jpg/_48359638_rb3.jpg

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  • 55. At 11:23am on 16 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey

    Oo, I just love it when philosophers start doubting stuff.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8aWBcPVPMo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiZt79UKUFQ

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  • 56. At 11:31am on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    bowmanthebard #49: You cannot use a reading from an instrument without interpreting it in some way or other. It has to be interpreted to imply anything

    LabMunkey #53: of course- but it doesn't change the fact that the data coming out of it is classified as 'raw data'.

    bowmanthebard: But then it is misclassified. And it is misleading, because...

    LabMunkey #53: You may think you are bringing somethig to these discussions- but of late especially, all you seem to be doing is trying to confuse them whilst arguing over completely irrelevant (from a procedural point of view) points.

    I think you are making a misjudgment about what "the issues" are. And I think your judgement of what the issues are is off because you have swallowed the mistaken idea that science is "based on raw data". You have swallowed that mistaken idea partly because of widely-accepted but misleading classifications such as that of "raw" data.

    LabMunkey #53: Stick to the issues.

    Isn't that just a schoolmarmish way of saying "shut up"? If you don't like what I write, don't bother reading it. Don't try to censor it.

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  • 57. At 11:52am on 16 Jul 2010, davblo wrote:

    Various #Recent: "raw data"

    I tend to agree with bowmanthebard; if I understand this discussion correctly.

    I don't think there is any such thing as "raw data".

    Just a long sequence of causes and effects, some of which terminate in our brains.

    I see no justification for saying that some particular point in that sequence is an any way "raw".

    /davblo

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  • 58. At 12:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ jane- #54... i bow my head to your superior simian knowledge...

    and #55.
    brilliant. i'd almost forgotten about that sketch!

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  • 59. At 12:12pm on 16 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    What the sceptics consistently fail to recognise is that if they put forward another explanation for the observed rapid climate change over the last 100 years or so, they must also explain why the 30% rise in CO2 levels since 1750, largely attributed to burning of fossil fuels and change in land use, hasn't retained heat as basic physics says it must. Greenhouse gas physics has been well understood for over 100 years and if sceptic scientists have discovered some new properties of greenhouse gases that have eluded other scientists then they must present the evidence and present it for the scrutiny of the scientific method, which includes a rigorous peer review process. At the moment we have a well documented rise in CO2 levels that can be shown to be from burning fossil fuels; we have a proven rise in temperatures globally; we have an agent (CO2), a mechanism (greenhouse effect) so it hangs together scientifically. CO2 absorbs and emits infrared radiation. This can be measured in the laboratory. It can be measured by pointing instruments at the sky. And the emission, and effects of its absorption, is measured continuously by weather satellites orbiting the Earth.

    You don't need a computer model to show this - Arrhenius showed the link and predicted what would happen by adding more CO2 over 100 years ago. Models simply apply the laws of physics and allow climatologists to apply and investigate more sophisticated climate mechanisms, especially feedback from such factors as more H2O leading to more clouds, ice melting reducing sunlight reflecting etc. Sceptics need to be very careful in disparaging computer models: if alternative hypotheses are proposed, computer models will be needed to demonstrate their validity. Why should computer models be unsafe in one application, but acceptable in another?

    Saying it's "just a theory" shows lack of knowledge of the scientific method. A theory is not synonymous with "conjecture" or "hypothesis". Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and Evolution are all "theories" but all explain the empirical evidence extremely well, make testable predictions and provide technology (eg satellites, computers and genetic based techniques respectively) that the general public just take for granted. Science works by evaluating facts derived from empirical evidence, postulating hypotheses to explain the evidence, testing the hypotheses and the predictions they make against new evidence and the hypothesis that scientists accept as the best explanation of the facts becomes a "theory". A theory can never be proven absolutely but can be disproved. Thus far, the Greenhouse gas theory is the best explanation of the observed evidence and, thus far, has not been disproved and, as per para 1, must be if sceptics want alternatives to be taken seriously. The public is very happy to take the word of scientists when it has provided the standard of living we now enjoy. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics, biochemistry, physics, chemistry etc have made the modern world, yet "the public" wouldn't have the foggiest idea about the quantum mechanics that enables their computer and the internet to function. Yet when they find scientists say something inconvenient, time to ignore them! The oft cited examples of Galileo and Einstein to show scientists being opposed by “the mainstream” are historically and scientifically inaccurate: in both cases they were opposed by political and religious forces, not scientific ones. Indeed, their correctness was demonstrated by use of the scientific method, not by rejecting it. Moreover both (and Newton, Maxwell, Darwin etc) took science off in a non-intuitive, non-common sense direction and this is true of most science. The scientific method was established because the senses and human prejudices are inadequate to investigate the way the world works. Consequently, to cite Galileo and Einstein as heroes of the sceptics is high irony!

    Saying scientists are biased to get funding ignores how funding works. If you want to be a physics professor, you won't get a position if you don't understand and accept relativity and quantum mechanics; if you want to be a biology professor, you accept evolution. Same with climatology: you have to accept well understood thermodynamics and statistical mechanics and many other basics of physics and chemistry. None of these fields is intuitive to the public. However, scientists do not achieve fame and glory by supporting a false consensus, especially if evidence for a different theory were obvious. No Nobel prizes go to scientists who merely provide additional evidence for a well established orthodoxy. Instead fame and glory goes to those who successfully challenge orthodoxy. The reason few, if any, are doing this is not because they are conspiring with tax hungry governments to subvert the science but because that science is robust. If money were their objective, anyone with the analytical, numeracy and computational skills of climate scientists could make much more money as a trader in the City. Moreover, It would be very easy for scientists not in cahoots with an alleged conspiracy with the IPCC (eg the many scientists being produced by India and China, in non-climate science - eg Solar physics - or by energy companies) to devise experiments to disprove the manmade CO2 link to climate change, and get results published if it were possible to do so. They don’t and can’t do this because the causal connection is so compelling.

    Why should the BBC (or the media generally) be "balanced" in presenting both sides of the argument with equal weight? Should a 1 hour Horizon programme on (say) "The Big Bang" spend half the programme giving Creationists their side? Of course not and I would expect only Creationists to disagree with that point of view! The Big Bang is also "just a theory", relies on computer models and "unproven" science and huge amounts of money is spent each year researching it further. Yet the Big Bang theory is the best scientific explanation we have for the beginning and evolution of the Universe and few cosmologists debate the core principles, even if they do on the details. I don't hear anyone accusing cosmologists, particle physicists etc being biased and desperate for funding because they accept the basic tenets of their discipline. Certainly, if the science does turn out to be wrong, it will be the scientific method that shows it, not rhetoric and polemics! At this time, well established principles of physics and chemistry are sufficient enough and robust enough to explain what's going on - applying them to a highly complex, chaotic system is the challenge. There are no modern equivalents of the Michelson-Morley experiment, a photographic plate darkened by uranium salts or even a "missing neutrino" problem that contemporary science couldn't explain and caused major rethinks in the science of the time.

    The hypothesis that "It is a natural progression of the Earths relationship or position in the Solar System against the Sun and the Planets combined with other natural phenomena" can easily be tested. If what you believe is true, then astronomers would be re-aligning their telescopes, star charts republished, predictions of eclipses, occultations and other astronomical phenomena would be wrong and have to be recalculated, the height of the Sun would be different from that predicted, the length of the day and year would be changing. In short a whole range of phenomena would be acting very differently from what they would be. Are these things happening? The Milankovitch cycles are pretty well understood but operate over tens of thousands of years, not decades. Again, if this hypothesis were correct, plenty of scientists in disciplines not associated with climate science funding would come forward with their evidence. Are they?

    On the point "Global Warming leading to Climate Change has occured on numerous occasions over Billions of Years and NONE of these occurences were due to mankind." - No one disputes this, but it is a false dichotomy to present an argument "it is natural OR it's manmade and since we know it has been natural in the past, it must be now". Pumping tens of billions of tons of CO2 into the air each year, above the natural cycle, has the effect of retaining more heat. This then has second order feedback effects, some cooling (eg clouds), some warmth enhancing (more H2O, more CO2).

    Hence, the IPCC bases its report (which covers all the standard sceptic soundbites: ice ages, the socalled "lag", the Sun, the mini ice ages, the medieval warming period - all the natural causes of climate change) on well understood science. Sceptics should read it before criticising it. Instead, I see claims that lots of (never named) scientists disagree with the IPCC, that the CO2 theory is wrong (but no credible, peer reviewed, scientific alternative explanations provided) and that politics is driving the science (despite the fact the scientific evidence was becoming clear a generation ago, well before politicians got involved).

    The sceptics I do hear about actually aren't debating the premise that manmade CO2 is changing the climate. What they are debating is whether we should do anything about it and what the effective mitigation strategies should be if we do. What is clear is that demand for fossil fuels is going to continue to increase this century, leading to insecurity of supply. If we are to maintain our standards of living, then alternatives must be found and those alternatives need to be low CO2 sources. Rather than debate the science that most of us are not actually qualified to do, we should debate the correction, mitigation and adaptation strategies that affect us all, recognising we are mere custodians of the planet, not its owners.

    Many of the sceptics here are treating the scientific debate like courtroom or debating society debate: use rhetoric to put forward all sorts of argument to obfuscate the real evidence. They dance from one argument to another suggesting a lawyer's concern to win the case rather than establish the truth. Their courtroom style argument for the defence seems to be that their client isn't doing it, but even if he is doing it's harming nobody, and even if it is harming anyone it cannot be stopped.

    They have every right to assert their opinions. They are right that scientific predictions of future climate change from computer models are inherently unreliable and right to warn that market-led solution to climate change may not work. But neither of these is to be celebrated nor reasons to doubt the established science that manmade CO2 has largely caused the currently observed climate change and will continue to do so.

    Lastly, I would far rather be taken for a fool by future generations because we acted and the science was wrong, than be vilified by them for not acting when we manifestly should have.

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  • 60. At 12:14pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 56.

    sigh.

    "LabMunkey #53: of course- but it doesn't change the fact that the data coming out of it is classified as 'raw data'.

    bowmanthebard: But then it is misclassified. And it is misleading, because..."

    it is misclassified in YOUR opinion. For scientists it is a correct classification, as a scientist knows and understands the limitations of the classification.

    "I think you are making a misjudgment about what "the issues" are. And I think your judgement of what the issues are is off because you have swallowed the mistaken idea that science is "based on raw data"You have swallowed that mistaken idea partly because of widely-accepted but misleading classifications such as that of "raw" data."

    i repeat. sigh.
    no, i have not made a mistake- the definition of raw data was given BY scientists so they can seperate the classes of data. It is a classification BY scientists FOR scientists. It is used internationally, is recognised by first year students and professors alike and as such it is an entirely VALID classification. You can argue the abstract nature of it all you like- but you are wrong. it's as simple as that.

    "LabMunkey #53: Stick to the issues.

    Isn't that just a schoolmarmish way of saying "shut up"? If you don't like what I write, don't bother reading it. Don't try to censor it."
    no it is not, but if you want to have a philisophical discussion about the classiffications of scientific terminology the i suggest you go somewhere else- i.e. not a blog on environmental issues but one on language use. If you want to discuss the environment, climate, apes (!) then fine. Otherwise you are needlessly distracting from the issue(s).

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  • 61. At 12:25pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @57.

    i see your point, however it is irrelevant in this context. (in the kindest way possible). Scientists have decided that they will call that particular point of the 'sequence' Raw Data. It is totally irrelevant whether in philosophical terms that it is truely raw or not- it is simply a term used by scientist to identify a 'that point'.

    It allows them to seperate the processed and unprocessed data.

    of course we could argue all day (and bownam will) whether it is strictly true, but then you might as well argue that green isn't ACTUALLY green, but yellow and blue- it's irrelevant in the context of the discussion.

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  • 62. At 12:33pm on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #60 LabMunkey wrote:

    if you want to have a philisophical discussion about the classiffications of scientific terminology the i suggest you go somewhere else

    I'm sorry that you cannot see I'm not talking about terminology but about ideas and practices in science. Those practices are embodied in its terminology.

    You may be surprised to learn that the position I am defending was proposed by a working physicist called Pierre Duhem. Its name -- 'holism' -- was coined by General Smuts (who was a General).

    Holism is the idea of the twentieth century. If you ignore it, you ignore the most important insight of the last 100 years or more.

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  • 63. At 12:34pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 59 a very long, rambling post- but i'l just pick up on your first point-
    "What the sceptics consistently fail to recognise is that if they put forward another explanation for the observed rapid climate change over the last 100 years or so, they must also explain why the 30% rise in CO2 levels since 1750, largely attributed to burning of fossil fuels and change in land use, hasn't retained heat as basic physics says it must"

    what the 'warmists' fail to realise is that the skeptics DON'T have to put forward an explanation, the earth is doing it for them- it is enough to say (in this instance) that the natural feedback mechanisms counter for the CO2 increases, as that is what the observations and paleoclimatic data show.

    it is more the case of the 'warmists' using the absence of an 'all inclusive' counter -theory to bolster the 'proof' for their theory- a scientific phallacy that only those in politics or ignorant of how science works would push.

    We know the world can absorb VERY large concentrations of co2, we know it has in the past, we know that temperatures have both been MUCH lower with higher co2 concentrataions than today and we also know that the relationship between co2 and temp is at the very least, not as straight forward as the initial AGW theory postulates.

    To coin an old phrase- the absence of proof does not prove it's absence, meerly the ability to detect it.

    and finally

    "Lastly, I would far rather be taken for a fool by future generations because we acted and the science was wrong, than be vilified by them for not acting when we manifestly should have" And therin lies the problem. If the rhetoric is loud enough, scary enough people will always support it- just in case.

    that alone should tell you how weak your actual position is.

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  • 64. At 1:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #60 LabMunkey wrote:

    it is misclassified in YOUR opinion.

    That's right -- what I express in my own writings are my own opinions.

    For scientists it is a correct classification, as a scientist knows and understands the limitations of the classification.

    You are sounding a distinctly un-sceptical note here -- that might have been written by George Monbiot!

    First, scientists are often mistaken, and they have mis-classified things on numerous occasions. Second, not all scientists are at all clear on what it is they are doing. Take Newton, for example. He was arguably the greatest scientist who ever lived, but he completely misconceived what it was he was doing. His claim hypotheses non fingo is notorious. It is no surprise that he was an avid alchemist as well as a great physicist.

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  • 65. At 1:17pm on 16 Jul 2010, davblo wrote:

    LabMunkey #61: "Scientists have decided that they will call that particular point of the 'sequence' Raw Data. ... It allows them to seperate the processed and unprocessed data."

    If the "particular point of the 'sequence' " that you label "Raw Data" is an arbitrary point (which seems to be the case) the why does the separation it provides (processed vs. unprocessed) have any special significance?

    /davblo

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  • 66. At 1:50pm on 16 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    Interesting reading the debate on "raw data".

    In the climate record there are "reliable" instrument records going back to about 1850 using thermometers. In the early period of this record there will have been alcohol and mercury thermometers in use and more recently solid state thermometers. Nonetheless there will be various sources of error: to what specification were the capillary tubes in the thermometers made (ie how accurate and uniform)? How linear is the relationship between temperature and expansion of the liquids? How well ventitalated were the enclosures? Were there location dependent variables in the placement etc. These and other such sources of error are called "systematic error" and must be adjusted or compensated for when making comparisons between different data sources. When a more accurate instrument replaces one from a particular location then adjustments have to be made (ie calibrated) to ensure trends can be properly recorded. Then there are random errors down to how accurate it is possible to read the instrument - these tend to be greater as one goes back in time. So, even within the instrument record the "raw data" from such instruments must be calibrated, corrected and adjusted to take account of the various sources of error before it becomes useful to science. So long as the scientists involved explain what they have done and how and subjected this to peer review then no-one should have any problem with this (though some clearly do, but then they don't explain what alternative there is). Personally I call this "manipulation" as that's what it is, and no-one should assume this means it has been fraudulently changed.

    Then when one adds in the tree ring data, ice cores etc then whole new dimensions of error are opened up in calibrating and adjusting for systematic and random errors. For instance, newer tree rings will not yet have been dried out and compressed to the extent of older tree rings, so there needs to be an adjustment to the recorded thickness of recent tree rings to extract a useful temperature measurement. Hence the need for calibration and correction of recent tree rings and, hence, might appear that some underhand method was used when, in fact, they were simply trying to correct appropriately for the discrepancy between recent and older rings against instrument records.

    So, given the variety of soucres of temperature record: some direct instruments (but still subject to different systematic and random errors) and proxies such as tree rings, with vastly different calibration and systematic errors, then it is fair to say there is "raw data" which is data transcribed directly from the source and useful data which are the measured quantities that have been derived from the raw data for direct comparison. So long as the methods and techniques for doing this are documented and can be validated, then there should be no problems.

    However, the sceptics place scientists in a catch 22: "since the raw data can't be directly compared without "manipulating" the data then we cannot possibly have credible records of the long term temperature trend so how can we be sure of anything it says" or "well, if you've manipulated the data to allow direct comparison, we can't be sure you did it in an honest way so we reject any trend data from such work". This is dishonest of the sceptics. The data we have is the data and we can't invent data that doesn't exist. it has to be calibrated, corrected and adjusted so direct trend analysis can be performed on it. So long as scientists are open about how this has been done and any errors corrected, then it should be trusted and not treated with suspicion.

    Since most scientists will take statistical methods as part of their undegraduate curriculum years back, they may be applying out of date or simplistic statistical methods in their data analysis. Hence the recommendation in both the "hockey stick" and "climategate" reports that the scientists involved work more closely with statisticians to apply more appropriate modern statistical techniques. But this is not evidence of dishonesty. People on here whose knowledge of physics and experimental data analysis stopped when they did O levels or GCSEs are in no position to lecture professional scientists on their methodologies today. However, such "soundbite scientists" feel able to proclaim they have found the fatal flaw in the climate science that, apparently, the professionals have overlooked (or lied about). I call that arrorant.

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  • 67. At 2:38pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 64 bowman.

    "First, scientists are often mistaken, and they have mis-classified things on numerous occasions. Second, not all scientists are at all clear on what it is they are doing"

    but this is not what we are talking about. raw data is an arbitrary term used to seperate the unprocessed data and the processed. It is not an erroneous classification because it is only used for that distinction. It is not the same as, for example, getting an animal in the wrong genus.

    You are either spectaculary missing the point, or trying to be to clever for your own good.

    #65
    it's quite simple- it is important to distinguish between the processed and unprocessed data in science- vitally so if someone were to want to replicate your work. The 'raw data' allows them to not only check your calculations, or statistical methods, but to also attmept to apply their own statistics and calculations (where appropriate) to better understand the data.

    The distinction is doubly important when, for example, taking global temperatures into account.

    the raw data is very 'noisy' there are outlyers, local variations, situational issues (hie, elevation ect) all present and this can make accurate interpretation difficult, hence the need for processing (via statistics, scientific process etc). This processed data is then what is released- however, without the raw data, you cannot check if the adjustments made were a) correct and b) reproducable.

    Thats the importance in the distinction- the raw data (arbitrary point though it may be) is used to allow you to check the validity of the 'processed' data. it's your starting point (barring the equipment issues obv).

    does that makes sense?

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  • 68. At 2:44pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @66"However, the sceptics place scientists in a catch 22: "since the raw data can't be directly compared without "manipulating" the data then we cannot possibly have credible records of the long term temperature trend so how can we be sure of anything it says" or "well, if you've manipulated the data to allow direct comparison, we can't be sure you did it in an honest way so we reject any trend data from such work". This is dishonest of the sceptics. The data we have is the data and we can't invent data that doesn't exist. it has to be calibrated, corrected and adjusted so direct trend analysis can be performed on it. So long as scientists are open about how this has been done and any errors corrected, then it should be trusted and not treated with suspicion."

    you are slightly mis representing the issue, but for the sake of argument lets take that as read- i'd only say that the issue is not necessarliy the adjustments (wholly inadequate though some are, hie for eg), but the lack of openness on them and the 'deletion' of data, once calibrated that doesn't fit in with the theory, or the divergane trick as we call it.

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  • 69. At 2:46pm on 16 Jul 2010, SR wrote:

    #63
    "what the 'warmists' fail to realise is that the skeptics DON'T have to put forward an explanation, the earth is doing it for them- it is enough to say (in this instance) that the natural feedback mechanisms counter for the CO2 increases, as that is what the observations and paleoclimatic data show."

    You are kidding yourself. You have swallowed whole the indefensible sceptic arguments. Your statement here is factually incorrect. The observations and paleoclimatic data do not indicate that natural feedback mechanisms counter for CO2 increases. Far from it.

    "we know that temperatures have both been MUCH lower with higher co2 concentrataions than today"

    Solar output was lower during these times. In fact, this question has been robustly dealt with in the literature with convincing arguments. Repeating the statement won't take these arguments away. You will, unfortunately, need to prove the arguments in the literature are wrong and this observation really is a show stopper.

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  • 70. At 2:54pm on 16 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    63. At 12:34pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:
    "Lastly, I would far rather be taken for a fool by future generations because we acted and the science was wrong, than be vilified by them for not acting when we manifestly should have" And therin lies the problem. If the rhetoric is loud enough, scary enough people will always support it- just in case.


    Hardly. It's an admission of humility. Something you and sceptics like you don't seem to understand. You clearly know better than professional scientists by throwing soundbites you selected from whatever source justifies your denial yet don't have the humility to consider you may be wrong.

    As for your claims on CO2 absorption. We know the natural carbon sinks are not able to cope with the extra CO2 we put in the atmosphere: it has risen by 30% in 250 years and is continuing to rise at about 1% a year. The isotopic analysis confirms it is from our activities. Those like Bob Carter who claim that the amount we put in the air is within the margin of error of all other natural sources is irrelevant: it's exta CO2 over and above such sources so is a NET addition. The "lag" argument (ie warming precedes CO2 increase after an ice age) is also irrelevant. There wasn't a non-natural agent pumping extra CO2 into the air then (maybe you think it's the Medieval Warm Period that causes your car to emit Co2 not the combustion processes in its engine). Once in the air that extra CO2 causes warming from the greenhouse effect (not even sceptic scientists disagree with that).

    As for it has been cooler when CO2 was higher, well when the Sun's luminosity was much lower (around 500 million years ago), that's to be expected.

    And you clearly do not understand how science works: a scientific theory can be disproved with new evidence or with a better explanantion that predicts better and more accurately. You appear to be saying that as the "warmists" (as you pejoratively call the vast majority of the world's scientists) can't prove that their isn't a disproof, then there must be one. I suggest you study the philosophy of science to understand how ridiculous that is.

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  • 71. At 3:19pm on 16 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    68. At 2:44pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:
    you are slightly mis representing the issue, but for the sake of argument lets take that as read- i'd only say that the issue is not necessarliy the adjustments (wholly inadequate though some are, hie for eg), but the lack of openness on them and the 'deletion' of data, once calibrated that doesn't fit in with the theory, or the divergane trick as we call it.


    I don't think I am: one denier tactic is basically to say we can't trust either the data or the scientists analysing it (take your choice) so we can't be sure anything is going on so can ignore the problem. The fact that increasse CO2 levels MUST cause heat retention they conveniently overlook or start to use the discredited arguments you used in #63.

    On the particular point you raised here, I assume you have read [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    if you don't believe it I suggest you take it up with the authors rather than blogging.

    Should the discovery of the Higgs Boson be announced in the near future you can be sure the scientists involved engaged in 'deletion' of data, once calibrated that doesn't fit in with the theory. So long as they expose such "tricks" to the peer review process that would not be anything to be suspicious about. I don't expect you to have a problem with that but when it comes to science that might cause you to change your lifestyle a bit and make some sacrifices for the long term, suddenly you and others have a problem.

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  • 72. At 3:23pm on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    LabMunkey #67 wrote:

    raw data is an arbitrary term used to seperate the unprocessed data and the processed.

    There is data you process yourself, and there is data that has already been processed by someone else. You are free to call the latter 'raw' data if you like, as long as you realize that there is no such thing as genuinely "unprocessed" data. For anything to work as data it has to be interpreted in some way or other so that it has logical properties (i.e. it implies something, or rules something out, that sort of thing).

    You may think I am hair-splitting, or doing semantics, but I suspect you just haven't understood my real objection to climate science.

    Climate science (and to be fair, quite a few other applications of statistical extrapolation) assumes that in science, you start off with "data" and then "base" theory on that "data". It is because everything theoretical is supposed to be "based on" that "data" that you have the urge to say that the "data" is uncorrupted or "raw". But I repeat, there's no such thing as genuinely, non-arbitrarily "raw" data, and if you think there is, give me an example.

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  • 73. At 3:32pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @#69

    the literature unfortunatley doesn't cover the ipcc predictions wrt increased warrming per doubling of co2, and then apply that to the past temperatures- regardless of the solar output. You can calculate the 'expected' temperature given the proxie temp data (from which you can infer the solar output) and then using the co2 'doubling guide' you can back calculate the 'expected' temperature when using the IPCC 'predicted' values for co2 doubling. Try it.

    #70
    " You clearly know better than professional scientists by throwing soundbites you selected from whatever source justifies your denial yet don't have the humility to consider you may be wrong. " if in doubt ad hom huh.

    This is not denial, this is a scientist questioning the 'official' account. the theory, to my mind, does not add up. There is no evidence for it (physic textbook examples do not translate to real world models, a model we don't fully understand- if you cannot grasp that principle, may i suggest you no longer comment on scientific matters- it's why we do clinical trials) barring models, which have been proven, time and time again to be wrong.

    The world is not behaving as the IPCC would suggest, and it looks as if the pdo cycle will continue and that the world will cool over the next 20-30 years.

    But, and here's the REAL difference between you and I, i have criteria (being a scientist) that will make me change my position- immediatley, if met:
    If you can prove climate sensitivity wrt co2 is high, high enough to provide the warming the ipcc predict and the world doesn't infact start cooling (or stay level) within the next 10 years (with 5-10 year error either side for PDO variation) then i will re-evaluate my position as they would be compelling evidence for the theory of AGW.

    What would make YOU 'turn sides'? if you can't answer that (without an appeal to authority- h/t bowman) then i suggest you don't understand the issue at all and that you are blindly following the masses.

    "We know the natural carbon sinks are not able to cope with the extra CO2 we put in the atmosphere: it has risen by 30% in 250 years and is continuing to rise at about 1% a year"

    you dismiss the sinks, yet where did all the co2 go when it was order of magnitudes higher than today? and you cannot discount the lag either- the papers that do are wrong.

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  • 74. At 3:39pm on 16 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    63. At 12:34pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:
    @ 59 a very long, rambling post- but i'l just pick up on your first point-
    "What the sceptics consistently fail to recognise is that if they put forward another explanation for the observed rapid climate change over the last 100 years or so, they must also explain why the 30% rise in CO2 levels since 1750, largely attributed to burning of fossil fuels and change in land use, hasn't retained heat as basic physics says it must"

    what the 'warmists' fail to realise is that the skeptics DON'T have to put forward an explanation, the earth is doing it for them- it is enough to say (in this instance) that the natural feedback mechanisms counter for the CO2 increases, as that is what the observations and paleoclimatic data show.


    Such a claim violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics. More energy in the system (because the CO2 prevents IR radiation escaping into space) must go somewhere. "Natural feedback mechanisms" cannot remove the heat: it may cause more evaporation and precipitation (which might cause some feedback in terms of clouds reflecting sunlight) and it may exchange heat between atmosphere and oceans, but the extra energy is still there. Anyone that resorts to arguments that violate two of the most basic laws of physics can't be taken seriously.

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  • 75. At 4:40pm on 16 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    73. At 3:32pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:
    #70
    " You clearly know better than professional scientists by throwing soundbites you selected from whatever source justifies your denial yet don't have the humility to consider you may be wrong. " if in doubt ad hom huh.


    So what are by terms such as "warmist" ten? Or (use used by other deniers: "eco looney", "eco fascist", "marxist conspiracy" etc? What did you mean by that alone should tell you how weak your actual position is."?

    This is not denial, this is a scientist questioning the 'official' account.

    I have a PhD in Physics. What are you a scienist in?


    the theory, to my mind, does not add up.


    In what way? Is CO2 not a GH gas? Have scientists since Arrhenius miscalculated its potency? Do the Ice core sample and the Keeling measurements lie?

    There is no evidence for it (physic textbook examples do not translate to real world models, a model we don't fully understand- if you cannot grasp that principle, may i suggest you no longer comment on scientific matters- it's why we do clinical trials) barring models, which have been proven, time and time again to be wrong.

    The climate is complicated sure and models, by their nature, can't simulate it fully. But basic physics says that adding more energy to a system will result in more heat, more dynamism etc. Sure, CO2 causes all sorts of feedback, some negative and some positive, but there's more heat energy in the system, ergo higher overall temperatures. There are no arguments founded on scientific principles you can use to counter this argument.


    The world is not behaving as the IPCC would suggest, and it looks as if the pdo cycle will continue and that the world will cool over the next 20-30 years.


    The PCC does not say that CO2 is the ONLY agent at the moment. We see natural cycles (eg a recent sunspot minimum. El Nino etc) superimposed on a rising trend. The last decade is the warmest on record and each of teh past 10 years, apart from 2008, warmer than the one 10 years earlier. The climate is not deterministic, and anyone arguing otherwise is naive.


    But, and here's the REAL difference between you and I, i have criteria (being a scientist) that will make me change my position- immediatley, if met:


    So do I


    If you can prove climate sensitivity wrt co2 is high, high enough to provide the warming the ipcc predict and the world doesn't infact start cooling (or stay level) within the next 10 years (with 5-10 year error either side for PDO variation) then i will re-evaluate my position as they would be compelling evidence for the theory of AGW.


    I don't need to prove anything to you. You need to show evidence that the current climate science is wrong.

    What would make YOU 'turn sides'? if you can't answer that (without an appeal to authority- h/t bowman) then i suggest you don't understand the issue at all and that you are blindly following the masses.

    That the basic laws of physics (laws of thermodynamics, causality etc) are wrong; that CO2 does not have the effects scientists for the past 100 years have supposed it to have; that manmade Co2 has a different effect to other CO2.

    "We know the natural carbon sinks are not able to cope with the extra CO2 we put in the atmosphere: it has risen by 30% in 250 years and is continuing to rise at about 1% a year"

    you dismiss the sinks, yet where did all the co2 go when it was order of magnitudes higher than today?

    Really! It went underground as fossil fuels. We see lots of it coming out of the ocean floor every night on TV. A the moment we are returning to the air in decades, carbon that took hundreds of millions of years to lock up underground. Anyone who says that can't have an effect is in denial. as a scientist I am amazed you did not know where that Co2 went. It undermines your arguments catastrophically.



    and you cannot discount the lag either- the papers that do are wrong.


    I can discount the lag: it really is irrelevant. Does the CO2 your car emit come from some new chemistry then, as that is the clear implication of claiming the "lag" is relevant. All that CO2 that goes into the air from our burning of fossil fuels MUST retain more heat energy in the air and so MUST change the climate.

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  • 76. At 4:42pm on 16 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Rene Descartes
    @James T Kirk

    (sigh)

    Although I do not agree with LabMunkey's exact position, unlike some sceptics LabMunkey is not violating either the first or second laws of thermodynamics.

    Instead LabMunkey is stating a belief in a low climate sensitivity. And there is a lot of legitimate debate over climate sensitivity.

    Doubling of atmospheric CO2, with no other changes is calculated to raise temperatures by about one degree centigrade.

    However if you change atmospheric CO2 you get other feedbacks coming into play. You get positive feedbacks such as ice melting, increased water vapour and methane release. You get negative feedbacks including a feedback called the lapse rate feedback. Some of these feedbacks involve the CO2 temperature increase changing the concentration of greenhouse gases. Others affect energy balance by affecting albedo, how much sunlight is reflected from the Earth. The lapse rate feedback is a little more fiddly to explain.

    The most complex of these feedbacks are clouds. Clouds affect albedo, a negative feedback, but they can also trap heat at night time, a positive feedback. Much of the real debate on climate change is about clouds. There is also debate over the contribution of aerosols such as soot to feedbacks.

    I said earlier that a doubling of CO2 with no other changes is expected to raise temperatures by about 1 degree centigrade. When you add in all the feedbacks the IPCC states that a doubling of CO2 will give a temperature rise probably in the range of 2 to 4.5 degrees centigrade, with a best estimate of about 3 degrees centigrade. The IPCC does not rule out sensitivities below 2 or above 4.5, but has them at a low probability.

    LabMunkey believes that climate sensitivity is a low value, significantly below 2 decrees centigrade for a doubling of CO2. Such a climate sensitivity is consistent with the basic science, but you would need to hear LabMunkey's reasoning as to why LabMunkey thinks this is substantially more likely than the IPCC's figures.

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  • 77. At 4:55pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    last post before i go for the weekrend.

    @71 and rene
    "I don't think I am: one denier tactic is basically to say we can't trust either the data or the scientists analysing it (take your choice) so we can't be sure anything is going on so can ignore the problem. The fact that increasse CO2 levels MUST cause heat retention they conveniently overlook or start to use the discredited arguments you used in #63."

    it's not a trick. it's an objective assessment. i am not making up issues with the data to discredit the theory/scientists, these are actual genuine concerns. I couldn't care less what the data says, but if the integrity of it is low, then i will say something.

    as for this
    "Should the discovery of the Higgs Boson be announced in the near future you can be sure the scientists involved engaged in 'deletion' of data, once calibrated that doesn't fit in with the theory."
    all depends on whether emails from the descoverers comes back saying "delete the data rather than share it" and "we can't explain the deviations". if that happens then yes, sure i'll doubt them.

    @72. bowman- i think we're arguing at cross purposes. I agree with your points in this post- i am meerly trying to define what raw data is generally accepted to be- not analysing the ACTUAL 'raw-ness' (term?) of the data. trust me, i know better than most what kind of biases/variables can be present even before you get the raw data.

    and #74
    "Such a claim violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics. More energy in the system (because the CO2 prevents IR radiation escaping into space) must go somewhere. "Natural feedback mechanisms" cannot remove the heat: it may cause more evaporation and precipitation (which might cause some feedback in terms of clouds reflecting sunlight) and it may exchange heat between atmosphere and oceans, but the extra energy is still there. Anyone that resorts to arguments that violate two of the most basic laws of physics can't be taken seriously"

    you seem to be misreading what i'm saying. i am not saying the heat is arbitrarily removed- rather that the 'system' compensates for the increase in other ways (such as cloud cover).

    just as a buffer compensates for increased H+ ions- it doesn't remove them, but it still negates/reverses the effect.

    try to read a bit more carefully next time.

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  • 78. At 7:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    LabMunkey #67 wrote:

    the raw data is very 'noisy' there are outlyers, local variations, situational issues (hie, elevation ect) all present and this can make accurate interpretation difficult, hence the need for processing (via statistics, scientific process etc).

    But the reason it is "noisy" is it already has been "processed", consciously or otherwise, by the people who gathered it. Just think about what "noise" means in this context.

    I work in the publishing industry, and there are various stages in the production of a book, say, only one of which we want to call "unprocessed by us" -- usually a Word document from a writer which has yet to be copy-edited, yet to be laid out, yet to be proof-read, yet to be converted to PDF or ePUB, yet to be published in print or in electronic form...

    We can agree to call what we have not yet processed "raw", but it isn't raw in any interesting sense. The writer would be annoyed as much as the scientific observer, both of whom put real effort and originality into the production of words and numbers, respectively.

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  • 79. At 7:30pm on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #76 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    a temperature rise probably in the range of 2 to 4.5 degrees centigrade, with a best estimate of about 3 degrees centigrade

    I wonder what makes you say this is a "best" estimate?

    According to me and my best buddy Richard Feynman, we guess first, and then wait -- to see if our guess looks OK or not OK. I can see why we can have a "least bad" estimate: it's the one that comes closest to what we said would happen. But what decides "best" here in the magic neverland of No Testing?

    (LabMunkey came out of his cage today, and he's inspired me to do the same.)

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  • 80. At 8:50pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @bowman- i also owe you an apology- i misinterpreted what you were trying to get at and was responding (initially) to what i THOUGHT you'd said, not actually WHAT you'd said. Though, your final explanation was what made it finally 'click' in my head, if you could always be that clear we're onto a winner.

    ok last lot before i go-

    #75 rene.

    "I have a PhD in Physics. What are you a scienist in?" i have a BSc (hons) in microbiology, over ten years lab experience. I project manage biotech testing, have set up and submitted numerous pre-clinical trials, designed a clinical trial and designed, implemented and presented cutting edge research projects. I am in the process of writing my first paper (it's difficult to get the go ahead to publish in biotech- given patent issues).

    "I don't need to prove anything to you. You need to show evidence that the current climate science is wrong." co2 is rising exponentially, temperature is falling (OH so slighlty). next question.

    "But basic physics says that adding more energy to a system will result in more heat, more dynamism etc. Sure, CO2 causes all sorts of feedback, some negative and some positive, but there's more heat energy in the system, ergo higher overall temperatures. There are no arguments founded on scientific principles you can use to counter this argument."
    for someone with a phd in physics you misunderstant how a dynamic system can work quite badly. Please see my earlier 'buffer system' example.

    "That the basic laws of physics (laws of thermodynamics, causality etc) are wrong; that CO2 does not have the effects scientists for the past 100 years have supposed it to have; that manmade Co2 has a different effect to other CO2."
    again, you misunderstand my point- my 'theory' is not mutually exclusive with the laws of thermodynamics. Again if you cannot understand that i must question your pHD.

    "A the moment we are returning to the air in decades, carbon that took hundreds of millions of years to lock up underground. Anyone who says that can't have an effect is in denial. as a scientist I am amazed you did not know where that Co2 went. It undermines your arguments catastrophically."
    if you'll recall i was not commenting on the rate of absorption, just the potential QUANTITY. if, as i think, co2 has negligable effect on temperature- the rate of absorption doesn't actually matter. Again, not 'understanding' my point.

    "I can discount the lag: it really is irrelevant. Does the CO2 your car emit come from some new chemistry then, as that is the clear implication of claiming the "lag" is relevant. All that CO2 that goes into the air from our burning of fossil fuels MUST retain more heat energy in the air and so MUST change the climate."
    again you miss my point. there is compelling evidence that the capacity of the earth to absorb co2, increases along with demand. Very recent research- you should have no issues finding it. and again, note- you're responding to what you THINK i'm saying- not what i actually AM saying; like i did with bowman earlier.

    @jane #76
    LabMunkey believes that climate sensitivity is a low value, significantly below 2 decrees centigrade for a doubling of CO2. Such a climate sensitivity is consistent with the basic science, but you would need to hear LabMunkey's reasoning as to why LabMunkey thinks this is substantially more likely than the IPCC's figures."

    as it stands it's purely from the observations- the relationship between co2 and temp is not showing the 'positive reinorcement' you would expect should c02 be DIRECTLY driving temp and the IPCC 'doubling/sensitivity' figures be correct.

    Also i stand by my assertion that the paleoclimatic data does not fit the high sensitivity model.







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  • 81. At 9:11pm on 16 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #80 LabMunkey wrote:

    if you could always be that clear we're onto a winner.

    Very decent of you to say so, and I'll try to be clearer in future, because I think we can win.

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  • 82. At 08:29am on 17 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    Labmunky: I think I would trust a Physics PhD to better understand the laws of thermodynamics than a microbiologist. Basic thermodynamic principles state that add more energy to a system and expect consequences.

    Nonetheless, if you disagree with the scientific arguments for global warming, please submit your reappraisals to the appropriate scientific journals. I suggest: The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, the International Journal of Climatology, the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, and Nature, among others. Your arguments will be carefully and expertly peer-reviewed. Work that involves misleading or erroneous arguments or that does not properly cite its references will be rejected. Do not expect to be taken seriously until you show, using accepted experimental and analytical techniques, that you have a credible explanation for the data on climate change. The world's scientific community awaits your response.

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  • 83. At 09:02am on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Rene Descartes #75

    Nobody with even the slightest knowledge of this subject thinks CO2 is not a ghg

    I have a PhD in Physics.

    In that case, I am sure you will agree that climate sensitivity based on observations is preferable to climate sensitivity based on computer models. Current observational evidence, including clouds, suggests sensitivity is low, whereas climate models suggest sensitivity is high. Which do you think is likeliest to be correct?

    You need to show evidence that the current climate science is wrong.

    Isn't it for the proposer of an hypothesis to prove it correct under normal circumstances? Surely the lack of observational evidence for high sensitivity, means the CO2 as primary driver of climate change is not proved?

    My personal belief, for what it's worth, is agw is real and is caused by excessive beer consumption:

    COORS + BEER = CO2 + ER-ER + BS ;)

    /Mango

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  • 84. At 09:08am on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #82

    LanMunkey argues from the point of view of somebody who understands and indeed abides by the scientific method. The scientific method is used regardless of discipline. Your ad hominem attach on him just discredits the rest of the post.

    I could have said trying to publish in the suggested journals would be a waste of time, because, as we all know, said journals were hijacked by the Team (at least that's what the emails tell us), but i won't

    /Mango

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  • 85. At 09:13am on 17 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    76. At 4:42pm on 16 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:
    @Rene Descartes
    @James T Kirk

    (sigh)

    Although I do not agree with LabMunkey's exact position, unlike some sceptics LabMunkey is not violating either the first or second laws of thermodynamics.

    Instead LabMunkey is stating a belief in a low climate sensitivity. And there is a lot of legitimate debate over climate sensitivity.

    Doubling of atmospheric CO2, with no other changes is calculated to raise temperatures by about one degree centigrade.


    Labmunkey's stated claim (and let's remember this is a blog, not something submitted to the rigour of peer review so let's not all get hung up on precision here and the, as Labmunkey does, question the credentials or intelligence of the others on that basis) violated the 1st and 2nd laws.

    And feedback process (eg cloud formation) directly related to the primary cause (heat retained by increased GH effect) cannot reduce the entire effect of that primary cause. To do so would violate the laws of thermodynamics. They can offest some of the effect and reach an equlibrium point lower than would have happened without that feedback but it would still be higher than if the primary cause had not occurred.

    Sure, there is a lot of debate on how sensitive the climate is to specific increases in CO2. That is a legitimate debate. But Labmunky's position is basically that the climate is insensitive to a rise in CO2 which is manifest nonsense and no climate scientist (including Christie on the recent Panorama) would agree. Labmunkey needs to explain why he disagrees with socalled sceptic climate scientists.

    It may be possible to apparently violate the laws of thermodynamics in clinical trials and microbiology but not in a rigorous scientific discipline.

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  • 86. At 09:48am on 17 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    84. At 09:08am on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @James T Kirk #82

    LanMunkey argues from the point of view of somebody who understands and indeed abides by the scientific method. The scientific method is used regardless of discipline. Your ad hominem attach on him just discredits the rest of the post.

    I could have said trying to publish in the suggested journals would be a waste of time, because, as we all know, said journals were hijacked by the Team (at least that's what the emails tell us), but i won't

    /Mango


    Hardly! I could enumerate the ad hom attacks LM has made but this is a blog. How can anyone who apparently does not accept basic causality, picks and chooses which physical principles apply and cherry picks data to suit his point of view be applying the scientifc method? The FDA and drug regulators need to be informed about his employers so that additional checks can be performed on the clinical trials he manages as the public need to be safeguarded from such a "scientific method".

    As well as littering his posts with ad hom attacks (and then getting indignant when they are returned) Labmunkey lacks the humility to explain why he thinks he is right and the vast majority of climate scientists are wrong. If he is right he should put his money where his mouth is and subject his opinions to the peer review process as I suggest rather than wasting his time indulging in futile blogging.

    For teh rest of you check out a well informed site such as: http://climate.nasa.gov/

    If Labmunkey disputes the science presented there, take it up with NASA.

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  • 87. At 11:20am on 17 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #86 James T Kirk wrote:

    If Labmunkey disputes the science presented there, take it up with NASA.

    What a different attitude from that of your namesake!

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  • 88. At 11:52am on 17 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #79

    OK, two different interpretations of your question.

    1. Imagine that someone throws a normal 6 sided dice 6000 times and gets each of the six sides roughly 1000 times each. They do some sums and the sums give a "best estimate" that the dice is close to unweighted. But it is still possible that the dice is weighted and that pure chance has hidden this.

    So "best estimate" would mean that IPCC sums give a small range close to 3 degrees centigrade as more "probable" than any other small range.

    (I apologise for using the term "probability" here, I cannot remember the correct Bowman dictionary term.)

    2. My post described the IPCC position. I do not know enough of the underlying science to justify the IPCC's position on climate sensitivity or on "probability" from scratch.

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  • 89. At 11:53am on 17 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @James T Kirk
    (@MangoChutneyUKOK)

    "Labmunkey's stated claim (and let's remember this is a blog, not something submitted to the rigour of peer review so let's not all get hung up on precision here and the, as Labmunkey does, question the credentials or intelligence of the others on that basis) violated the 1st and 2nd laws."

    I've seen sceptics p***ing about with the 1st and 2nd laws, demanding Feynman diagrams in inappropriate places, demanding air is treated as a significant conductor of electricity, and coming up with pure drivel. There's even a sceptic who thinks our Sun is mainly made out of iron.

    There is none of that sort of nonsense in LabMunkey's posts. Instead there are clear references to low (not zero) climate sensitivity and negative feedbacks.

    It hurts the debate for the competent sceptics to be mistakenly lumped in with those promoting the drivel.

    "And feedback process (eg cloud formation) directly related to the primary cause (heat retained by increased GH effect) cannot reduce the entire effect of that primary cause. To do so would violate the laws of thermodynamics. They can offest some of the effect and reach an equlibrium point lower than would have happened without that feedback but it would still be higher than if the primary cause had not occurred."

    Either you have misread LabMunkey's posts or you don't understand the term "negative feedback". A "negative feedback" damps an effect down. It does not reverse (or remove) it.

    "Labmunky's position is basically that the climate is insensitive to a rise in CO2"

    Sceptics that refer to climate sensitivity and to negative feedbacks are usually competent enough to be arguing for low climate sensitivity rather than no climate sensitivity. That's what I see in LabMunkey's posts. If you have issues with this I point out that in LabMunkey's #73 and #80 LabMunkey explicitly complains about high sensitivity.

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  • 90. At 5:06pm on 17 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    89. At 11:53am on 17 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:
    @James T Kirk
    (@MangoChutneyUKOK)

    "Labmunkey's stated claim (and let's remember this is a blog, not something submitted to the rigour of peer review so let's not all get hung up on precision here and the, as Labmunkey does, question the credentials or intelligence of the others on that basis) violated the 1st and 2nd laws."

    I've seen sceptics p***ing about with the 1st and 2nd laws, demanding Feynman diagrams in inappropriate places, demanding air is treated as a significant conductor of electricity, and coming up with pure drivel. There's even a sceptic who thinks our Sun is mainly made out of iron.

    There is none of that sort of nonsense in LabMunkey's posts. Instead there are clear references to low (not zero) climate sensitivity and negative feedbacks.

    It hurts the debate for the competent sceptics to be mistakenly lumped in with those promoting the drivel.


    I'm sorry, but it really is not possible to take seriously the statements of someone who, on the one hand, claims to be a professional scientist who applies the scientific method in their work, but who then makes claims of authority to present statements purporting to challenge the mainstream science that manifestly have NOT been through the rigour of the scientific method, especially the peer review process.

    If Labmunkey believes he knows something about the thermodynamic and radiative properties of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that have eluded science since the time of Arrhenius, then he should state references to peer reviewed sources or, if theese claims are original, subject these claims to the peer review process.

    Posting them here without attribution is "p***ing about". Worse than that he gives unwarranted comfort and succour to the sceptics whose main motivation is self interest in protecting their lifestyle rather than establishing scientific truth by casting apparent doubt on the mainstream science. In essence such people treat non-peer reviewed blogs and creationist columnists as equals to the scientific process. This is danerous and irresponsible.

    Those like Labmunkey (and you) who claim a degree of scientific rigour should also put down the types of outrageous sceptic claims of the type you refer to (socalled "Zombie science"). The fact you don't in itself undermines any scientific credentials.

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  • 91. At 5:34pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #90

    There is plenty of observational based, peer reviewed evidence to suggest climate sensitivity is low - you just don't seem to want to consider that AGW could possibly be wrong. What do you think about the Pinker paper?

    /Mango

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  • 92. At 6:17pm on 17 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    91. At 5:34pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @James T Kirk #90

    There is plenty of observational based, peer reviewed evidence to suggest climate sensitivity is low - you just don't seem to want to consider that AGW could possibly be wrong. What do you think about the Pinker paper?

    /Mango


    I'm sorry, it really isn't me you need to convince. If you or LabMunkey (assuming you are different people) have a compelling argument to deploy take it to NASA, the IPCC, The Hadley Centre etc.

    You don't seem willing to consider the possibility AGW is right. What are responsible policymakers meant to do: take the broad consensus of climate scientists around the world or the scepticism of "MangoChutneyUKOK" and "LabMunkey" and hope the offchance you're right? Oh wow, they've now convinced "James T Kirk", better take them seriously now and change policy totally.

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  • 93. At 6:52pm on 17 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    I really don’t know where to start. You really are indulging in an exercise in futility if you think blogging and attempting to undermine others who have very valid reasons for accepting AGW (either they have no scientific background and really have to trust scientists, just as they trust the unproven General Relativity by which their Satnav operates or, like me, know that it’s founded on basic laws of physics which tell me if you increase the energy content of a system, it has important consequences).



    80. At 8:50pm on 16 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:
    
#75 rene.

"I have a PhD in Physics. What are you a scienist in?" i have a BSc (hons) in microbiology, over ten years lab experience. I project manage biotech testing, have set up and submitted numerous pre-clinical trials, designed a clinical trial and designed, implemented and presented cutting edge research projects. I am in the process of writing my first paper (it's difficult to get the go ahead to publish in biotech- given patent issues).


    Wow. Someone who has yet to publish original research in a biological science field, totally unrelated to disciplines founded on the physical sciences thinks they can take on the world’s climate science community, most of which have qualifications in multiple physical sciences, have broad and deep research portfolios and years and decades of professional contributions to the field. Me, I just have a PhD and Bachelors from 2 top 5 world universities in Physics, have a thesis of original research and papers from international collaborations and I would not attempt to do so. Firstly I have a life and secondly my knowledge of the fundamental laws of physics tells me they are far more likely to be right than wrong.

    However, microbiology is very different from climate science. In the former you have a basically unconstrained, open system. In the latter you have (to a very close first order approximation) a closed system (the sun/earth system) which in principle can be understood. This is why you have to do clinical trials as the human body is far from being a constrained environment, whereas the sun/earth system (to first order) is and can be modeled much more easily, though predictions at a local level and of specific events at specific times are not possible, overall energy flows are. To the extent the laws of physics can tell us a lot about macroscopic behaviour. In terms of the human body they can also tell s a lot: if a human is put into a vat of boiling water, we can predict simply from physics that they will die. We don’t need microbiology to tell us that. Physics can tell us roughly how fast depending on how big someone is as well, though will be unable to predict where blisters will appear. Similarly, with climate, physics tells us that as more energy goes into the system, the more chaotic it becomes but it cannot tell us how that chaos might manifest itself at a detailed level. Models can help but they simply instantiate the laws of physics, they are not independent of them and allow scientists to model differing assumptions of the detailed behaviour. 

    
"I don't need to prove anything to you. You need to show evidence that the current climate science is wrong." co2 is rising exponentially, temperature is falling (OH so slighlty). next question.


    CO2 is rising approximately linearly right now. Temperatures are rising: the last decade has been the warmest on the instrument record and each year of the past decade (apart from 2008) warmer than 10 years previously. I presume you cherry pick 1998 as the warmest. This automaically discredits your claim the “temperature is falling”. I refer you to NASA GISS http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/
    
"But basic physics says that adding more energy to a system will result in more heat, more dynamism etc. Sure, CO2 causes all sorts of feedback, some negative and some positive, but there's more heat energy in the system, ergo higher overall temperatures. There are no arguments founded on scientific principles you can use to counter this argument."
for someone with a phd in physics you misunderstant how a dynamic system can work quite badly. Please see my earlier 'buffer system' example.

    You badly misunderstand the laws of thermodynamics which describe macroscopic systems. This can easily be applied to closed systems such as the climate, though not to describe the weather. More thermal energy in the system means higher temperatures. This leads to dynamism (2nd and 3rd order effects etc) but these cannot by themselves remove energy from the system, merely redistribute it.

    
"That the basic laws of physics (laws of thermodynamics, causality etc) are wrong; that CO2 does not have the effects scientists for the past 100 years have supposed it to have; that manmade Co2 has a different effect to other CO2."
again, you misunderstand my point- my 'theory' is not mutually exclusive with the laws of thermodynamics. Again if you cannot understand that i must question your pHD.


    If you claim that the natural system automatically adjusts for the extra thermal energy retained by greenhouse gases (as you appeared to do), you are violating the laws of thermodynamics. I seriously doubt that a microbiology BSc covers thermodynamics to anything like the depth of physics. Please refrain from ad hominem attacks if you wish others not to against you.

    
"A the moment we are returning to the air in decades, carbon that took hundreds of millions of years to lock up underground. Anyone who says that can't have an effect is in denial. as a scientist I am amazed you did not know where that Co2 went. It undermines your arguments catastrophically."
if you'll recall i was not commenting on the rate of absorption, just the potential QUANTITY. if, as i think, co2 has negligable effect on temperature- the rate of absorption doesn't actually matter. Again, not 'understanding' my point.

    Then I suggest you submit your “thinking” to the peer review process. You did in fact write “yet where did all the co2 go when it was order of magnitudes higher than today?” which was far broader than rate of absorption you now claim you meant.

    
"I can discount the lag: it really is irrelevant. Does the CO2 your car emit come from some new chemistry then, as that is the clear implication of claiming the "lag" is relevant. All that CO2 that goes into the air from our burning of fossil fuels MUST retain more heat energy in the air and so MUST change the climate."
again you miss my point. there is compelling evidence that the capacity of the earth to absorb co2, increases along with demand. Very recent research- you should have no issues finding it. and again, note- you're responding to what you THINK i'm saying- not what i actually AM saying; like i did with bowman earlier.

    Very ironic: you want us to comment on what you’re thinking not what you actually wrote but you won’t give the rest of us bloggers that same benefit of the doubt.

    However, te lag is irrelevant. what happened as the Milankovitch cycles warmed the planet and caused oceans to release the CO2 they contained, resulting in accelerated warming is irrelevant to today. The earth is NOT absorbing the extra CO2 released into the system. It has risen by 30% in 250 years, far higher then anytime in the past 600K years. If the earth has capacity to absorb it, which it undoubtedly does over the very long term, it is not doing it fast enough to save us.

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  • 94. At 7:01pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk

    You don't seem willing to consider the possibility AGW is right.

    Completely wrong, I actually believe AGW is real and is happening now. I just don't accept the whole CO2 as primary driver of global warming is proven and I have good reasons for my rejection of the AGW based on CO2 premise. Now, if you or anyone has a link to a paper that shows observational evidence of high climate sensitivity, including clouds, then I would have to accept it, but you don't have such a thing, because high sensitivity only exists in computer models, not in real life.

    As for consensus science - at one time, wasn't the consensus that the earth was flat, plate tectonics were false and the heavens revolved around the earth?

    /Mango

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  • 95. At 7:06pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Rene Descartes #93

    I would refer you to my post:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/07/eu_climate_chief_asks_for_lead.html#P98417584

    would you care to respond?

    ?Mango

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  • 96. At 7:27pm on 17 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    83. At 09:02am on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @Rene Descartes #75

    Nobody with even the slightest knowledge of this subject thinks CO2 is not a ghg

    I have a PhD in Physics.

    In that case, I am sure you will agree that climate sensitivity based on observations is preferable to climate sensitivity based on computer models. Current observational evidence, including clouds, suggests sensitivity is low, whereas climate models suggest sensitivity is high. Which do you think is likeliest to be correct?


    In physical sciences theory and experiment typically evolve together. Observations that do not fit established physical principles need explaining and either other factors (2nd order effects: CO2 -> heat -> evaporation -> clouds -> negative feedback) or natural factors (solar changes). Only if no explanation is available would established physical principles be considered to be wrong. We are nowhere near that point yet. The observed facts are that despite being at a deep solar minimum in 2008, it was the 9th or 10th warmest on record. This decade has been the warmest on record, yet you say the earth is cooling. Why is that?

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  • 97. At 7:44pm on 17 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    94. At 7:01pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @James T Kirk

    You don't seem willing to consider the possibility AGW is right.

    Completely wrong, I actually believe AGW is real and is happening now. I just don't accept the whole CO2 as primary driver of global warming is proven and I have good reasons for my rejection of the AGW based on CO2 premise. Now, if you or anyone has a link to a paper that shows observational evidence of high climate sensitivity, including clouds, then I would have to accept it, but you don't have such a thing, because high sensitivity only exists in computer models, not in real life.


    Well stop blogging and submit your "work" to the scrutiny of the peer review process.


    As for consensus science - at one time, wasn't the consensus that the earth was flat, plate tectonics were false and the heavens revolved around the earth?

    Oh wow you must be desperate: "they've been wrong before so must be now" argument.

    1) By definition no scientist ever believed the world was flat. It was known not to be in ancient Greek times. however, if you were a medieval serf who'd never been more than 5 miles from where he was born, the world seemed flat.

    2) If you had no eveidence the earth moved and could feel no movement of course the heavens went around it. Common Sense after all. It was for this reason that the scientific method was put in place. However, it was at the same time when mariners needed much more accurate charts that showed the geocentric system was clearly wrong. Copernicus ressurected Aristarchus of Samos' (again ancient Greek) theory, Tycho, Galileo and Kepler found observational evidence and Newton explained it all in Principia. The triumph of the scientific method over common sense.

    3) similarly with Wegener and continental drift. Once submersibles showed sea floor being created and destroyed the evidence was their and continental drift very quickly accepted. Unfortunately Wegener was dead by then.

    Lesson: find the evidence, show how your theory explains it within the framework of established physical principles and makes testable predictions and off you go. Stop blogging and get on. I repeat it's not me you have to convince.

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  • 98. At 7:51pm on 17 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #88 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    So "best estimate" would mean that IPCC sums give a small range close to 3 degrees centigrade as more "probable" than any other small range.

    Would this be a way of saying that 3 degrees centigrade is the mean? If so, it's the only estimate, not the best estimate!

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  • 99. At 8:09pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Rene Descartes #96

    In physical sciences theory and experiment typically evolve together. Observations that do not fit established physical principles need explaining

    Agreed, but the models make the assumption that the observations are incorrect, substituting a calculated sensitivity for an observational sensitivity. Would you agree that is an incorrect method of working and, therefore, invalid?

    Only if no explanation is available would established physical principles be considered to be wrong. We are nowhere near that point yet.

    Agreed, but we have published paper that shows sensitivity to be low. AFAIK there is no paper based on observational science, which includes clouds, and suggests high sensitivity. As a physicist, which would you consider to be more likely to be correct - low sensitivity as observed or high sensitivity as calculated?

    This decade has been the warmest on record, yet you say the earth is cooling. Why is that?

    I have never said the earth is cooling, I've even said i believe AGW is occurring. Recorded temperatures as adjusted by the usual suspects, show the earth is warming. I accept that (but see the surface stations project). Warming or cooling, a physicist must surely see that neither tells us the cause of that warming does it?

    /Mango

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  • 100. At 8:16pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #97

    Well stop blogging and submit your "work" to the scrutiny of the peer review process.

    Correct me if i am wrong, because I'm not really sure of the process, but don't published papers have to add to science rather than re-hash old data? My understanding is from reading papers on climate change, therefore I am in no position to write something new. The papers that show low sensitivity are already published, so nothing new to add from me

    So, what do you think of the Pinker paper?

    Oh wow you must be desperate: "they've been wrong before so must be now" argument.

    Hardly desperate, old chap, just illustrating that consensus means nothing in science, especially when it's the people benefiting from the consensus that declare the consensus. Ask Renee, I'm sure he will confirm consensus is meaningless in science.

    /Mango

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  • 101. At 9:06pm on 17 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    96. Rene Descartes wrote:

    "The observed facts are that despite being at a deep solar minimum in 2008, it was the 9th or 10th warmest on record. This decade has been the warmest on record..."

    That is the 'observed fact' based on highly dubious data - surface temperatures from a selective and biased shrunken sample, from areas effected by surrounding buildings and concrete etc., and conveniently adjusted and/or extrapolated to larger areas - which means that it is not an observed fact at all.

    Anyone who ignores these problems, or accepts the pathetic attempts to explain them away, is in a true state of denial.

    Hopefully satellite data will prove to be more accurate.




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  • 102. At 9:18pm on 17 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Following on my last comment, here's a critique of this latest alleged peak of planetary fever:

    'NOAA’s Jan-Jun 2010 Warmest Ever: Missing Data, False Impressions'

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/17/noaas-jan-jun-2010-warmest-ever-missing-data-false-impressions/#comments

    Starts with NOAA's own map of the alleged temperature anomalies and logically examines the problems with them. One very convenient problem is that the greatest warming comes from areas with no data stations at all.

    Its Madoff in a white coat.

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  • 103. At 10:04pm on 17 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    94. At 7:01pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    As for consensus science - at one time, wasn't the consensus that the earth was flat, plate tectonics were false and the heavens revolved around the earth?

    /Mango


    I guess this means evolution, relativity and quantuum mechanics must be wrong then as their is consensus behind each of these. I guess you would argue along these lines:

    1. If a lot of scientists disagree with anthropogenic climate change, then it is not sufficiently robust to be believed.
    2. If several scientists disagee with climate change, whilst the majority agree, well they are brave, underfunded researchers who should be believed above the near consensus.
    3. If only one scientist disagrees with climate change - well he is Galileo.
    4. If no scientists disagree with climate change then it is a conspiracy and should not be believed.

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  • 104. At 03:54am on 18 Jul 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    If there is one thing I would convey to the EU leadership, Mr Black, it is the futility of expecting anything substantive in the form of federal or even state policy for eco-sanity, in the USA for the foreseeable.

    The one likeliest exception is if Jerry Brown is returned to the Governorship of California for a second tour of duty this coming November. This is an important state & Jerry Brown understands how to wield the considerable resources that would be at his disposal to shape meaningful improvements in pro-planet human activity - especially in such critical areas as agriculture, water management, land use, air quality and energy conservation.

    Outside California, there are plenty of Americans who understand what needs to be done & try to do it on their own initiative. But the collective trend is not a favourable one for emissions shrinkage.

    Paradoxically (for some), China is indeed in a better position to make bigger, more quickly detectable improvements than the currently internally paralysed (well, deadlocked, or nearly deadlocked) American body politic. That is why the best we must hope for, and look for, is a strengthening of President Obama's hand, rather than the reverse, at the November vote.

    Neither China, nor the USA like to "told what to do" or assessed by external auditors or boards of examiners.

    The takeaway from Copenhagen, certainly for me, was that no one should waste any more breath, time or protocol on trying to impose ceremony & formalism on two crucial participants who simply balk.

    Instead of pointing out their idiosyncracies, let us simply embrace them the way we might the quirks of a perfectly fabulous, much beloved, but somewhat dotty & capricious elderly aunt. If the EU teams, so diplomatically savvy, and of course the Host Nation, the Japanese, Antipodean sovereignties and assorted others -- who are so obviously skilled at conviviality, desperately needed here -- manage to simply dazzle the recalcitrant delegations with displays of reverence and even sentimentality ("Good Old Mother Earth, We love you so much we will finally do Mother's bidding & clean up the homestead"), maybe the harder edges of the negotiations can be set aside altogether for broader consensus.

    And then, let those who are prepared to do more, do more. Healthy habits are also sometimes catching. Momentum is important. Ministers need to be able to tell their national institutions -- military, education, health, social services, law enforcement -- that the Moment is Finally Upon Us and we are all committed.

    For there is simply no more time to waste. Hasn't been for quite a few years now... Mayhap this harsh summer/winter shall definitively drive the message home through remaining thick skulls & hard hearts.

    Let's make our collective motto The Bard's eloquent homage to the tragic Richard II:

    "I wasted time... and now doth Time waste Me." Let's not let that become a prophecy about our own generation & its vanities.

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  • 105. At 08:24am on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #103

    No, I'm just pointing out that a consensus in science means nothing and can be overturned by a single experiment

    Please tell me what you know about climate sensitivity

    /Mango

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  • 106. At 08:26am on 18 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    MangoChutneyUKOK #94: As for consensus science - at one time, wasn't the consensus that the earth was flat, plate tectonics were false and the heavens revolved around the earth?

    James T Kirk #103: I guess this means evolution, relativity and quantuum mechanics must be wrong then as their is consensus behind each of these.

    It's one thing to argue that consensus does not imply truth, quite another to argue that consensus implies falsity.

    To see this more intuitively, consider clouds and rain (substituting 'clouds' for 'consensus' and 'rain' for 'truth'). MangoChutneyUKOK is in effect arguing that it's often cloudy but not raining -- in other words "the presence of clouds does not imply it is raining". You are taking him to be arguing that whenever it's cloudy it's not raining -- in other words "the presence of clouds implies it is not raining".

    Do you see the difference? Maybe leave the logic to your colleague Mr Spock?

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  • 107. At 09:41am on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    106. At 08:26am on 18 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:
    MangoChutneyUKOK #94: As for consensus science - at one time, wasn't the consensus that the earth was flat, plate tectonics were false and the heavens revolved around the earth?

    James T Kirk #103: I guess this means evolution, relativity and quantuum mechanics must be wrong then as their is consensus behind each of these.

    It's one thing to argue that consensus does not imply truth, quite another to argue that consensus implies falsity.

    To see this more intuitively, consider clouds and rain (substituting 'clouds' for 'consensus' and 'rain' for 'truth'). MangoChutneyUKOK is in effect arguing that it's often cloudy but not raining -- in other words "the presence of clouds does not imply it is raining". You are taking him to be arguing that whenever it's cloudy it's not raining -- in other words "the presence of clouds implies it is not raining".

    Do you see the difference? Maybe leave the logic to your colleague Mr Spock?


    That's the problem with blogs, irony and sarcasm aren't always obvious.

    I am fully aware of what a sylligistic fallacy is. Many/most climate change sceptics don't appear to be when they use such arguments as "the climate has always changed naturally so must be natural now" and "scientists have been wrong before so moust be now".

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  • 108. At 09:53am on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    100. At 8:16pm on 17 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @James T Kirk #97

    Well stop blogging and submit your "work" to the scrutiny of the peer review process.

    Correct me if i am wrong, because I'm not really sure of the process, but don't published papers have to add to science rather than re-hash old data? My understanding is from reading papers on climate change, therefore I am in no position to write something new. The papers that show low sensitivity are already published, so nothing new to add from me

    So, what do you think of the Pinker paper?

    Oh wow you must be desperate: "they've been wrong before so must be now" argument.

    Hardly desperate, old chap, just illustrating that consensus means nothing in science, especially when it's the people benefiting from the consensus that declare the consensus. Ask Renee, I'm sure he will confirm consensus is meaningless in science.

    /Mango


    1) I repeat, it is not me you have to convince. Since you appear to accept that man's activities in terms of CO2 production must be warming the planet (you just think that feedback via cloud formation will make the rise at the lower end of the IPCC scenarios) then why do give support to those who say we should take no action to avoid even this expected smaller rise?

    2) I, and neither has any scientist I am aware of, used the "consensus" argument as the primary reason the science should be accepted. The science is well founded on basic physical principles and a causal relationship between a rise in CO2 (all else being equal) and an increase in temperatures is well established. The argument is about how far and how fast future increases will occur. Again, you appear to think it will be at the lower end of the forecast. Even so, why do you appear to advocate ignoring the problem?

    As for the consensus examples you give. Two are invalid because they predate the scientific method, the third showed the triumph of the scientific method in action.

    As for the posts from CanadianRockies he appears to give more weight to creationist style blogs than real science. If the world isn't actually warming, then you have to explain why CO2 isn't doing what basic physics says it must: retaining heat. Even "Mango" accepts it must do that.

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  • 109. At 10:06am on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    105. At 08:24am on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @James T Kirk #103

    No, I'm just pointing out that a consensus in science means nothing and can be overturned by a single experiment

    Please tell me what you know about climate sensitivity

    /Mango


    Please tell me what you kinow abnout thermodynamics, radiation physics, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics.

    Also please explain how Venus with large amounts of cloud cover and high concentrations of GH gases in its atmosphere shows very high sensitivity? It is several hundred degrees C warmer than it would be due to its closer distance to the Sun. Maybe we should ask the Venusian CC sceptics why they thought they were right. That last statement was ironic in case anyone couldn't tell.

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  • 110. At 10:23am on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #108

    why do give support to those who say we should take no action to avoid even this expected smaller rise?

    because reducing CO2 levels to the "magic" 350ppmv would have very little effect on temperature

    The science is well founded on basic physical principles

    Agreed, however observation science shows us that climate sensitivity is low not high, so whilst the basic physics is sound in the lab, in the real world we need more than basic physics

    a causal relationship between a rise in CO2 and an increase in temperatures is well established

    There is a corresponding relationship between the rise in price of a stamp and temperature, but I think you will agree stamps do not cause global warming.

    why do you appear to advocate ignoring the problem?

    Why do you think an insignificant rise in global temperature is a problem?

    /Mango

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  • 111. At 10:25am on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #109

    You're avoiding answering my question

    /Mango

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  • 112. At 11:21am on 18 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

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

  • 113. At 11:22am on 18 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    re my # 112.

    please ignore, it was a post in-process and i submitted it by mistake, it is un-edited, un finished and a very rough first draft.

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  • 114. At 12:09pm on 18 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:


    The moderators very kindly removed my previous post (112), as in it's very rough state it had the potential to offend when no offense was intended.

    I had intended to respond to each of the, shall we say- 'strong' comments aimed towards me, my qualifications and career but on relection i've decided not to and to stick to the issue- only to say that my questioning of the pHD was not out of some 'political' or positional motivation- but only in responce to a misunderstanding of what i consider to be a very basic concept. It was not meant as a direct insult, though unfortunatley may be interpretted as one.

    I find in situations like this it is best to be very. very specific:

    As Jane had pointed out i am not and have not tried to argue that co2 is not a ghg, does not cause warming and that these are not related to man-made emissions. I have tried to be very clear on this.

    I must however refer to the point on Thermodynamics; nothing i have stated or put forward as an alternative explanation violates any of the laws. I am not saying that energy is being removed, i am not saying that that energy doesn't matter, what i am debating is it's EFFECT.

    I used the buffer example to illustrate my point and i'll re-iterate it here as no one addressed it. Adding ions to a buffer (as co2 to the climate) will result in a pH shift (or temperature shift). HOwever, as the system is an equilibrated buffer (or the climate) the systems within that buffer (feedbacks) will move to compensate for the addition. These ions are not being removed, they are not being destroyed, simply... converted into a different state.

    This is what i see happening in the climate. The co2 levels rise, and the temperature rises- ever so slightly, before the 'feedback' mechanisms kick in. The enrgy is not removed, not destroyed, meerly converted. These feedbacks then lower the 'overall' energy in the system by affecting the system elsewhere (but not necessarily resulting in cooling). Just as in the buffer.

    It is an exceptionally simple concept (for a scientist, especially one with a pHD) to grasp and given the recent work on cloud cover, is just as- if not more likely, an explanation for the observed results (and this work has been published- just not by me).

    This all ties into climate sensitivity. This work and the observational evidence (imo) is wholly compatable with this theory. Current work shows climate sensitivity to be low (or significantly lower than the ipcc predictions to be precise) and therefore has more 'going for it' than a wholly coincidental relationship between co2 and temp- see mango's stamp example for another good illustration on this point.

    Finaly, i'd like to say that forcing the 'skeptics' to disprove the theory (which is still to be proven OR have ANY compelling evidence for) is akin to asking someon to disprove god, then taking their inability as proof incarnate (if you'll forgive the pun) for gods presence.

    in summary (for the inevitable, hounding responses):
    1- c02 is a ghg
    2- the world (until recently) has warmed
    3- co2 has a role to play in this warming
    4- co2 is NOT the primary driver, and there is no direct evidence for this (models don't count)
    5- all evidence poitns to low climate sensitivity wrt co2

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  • 115. At 12:27pm on 18 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @James Tiberius Kirk

    The thing about the Consensus is that it is a big a political football as anything else in the debate.

    Pro-AGW politicians tend to exaggerate it. They downplay all the probabilities and caveats that come with it. And fail to mention that a significant minority of competent climate scientists are not signed up.

    Whereas some sceptic lobbyists will have you believe that the number of scientists dissenting from the mainstream is a majority.

    You may find the two following articles by the warmist science side interesting.

    (Note the comment "Of course, just because most scientists think something is true does not necessarily mean they are right.")
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11654-climate-myths-many-leading-scientists-question-climate-change.html

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

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  • 116. At 1:14pm on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @LabMunkey #114

    in summary (for the inevitable, hounding responses):
    1- c02 is a ghg
    2- the world (until recently) has warmed
    3- co2 has a role to play in this warming
    4- co2 is NOT the primary driver, and there is no direct evidence for this (models don't count)
    5- all evidence poitns to low climate sensitivity wrt co2


    Are you me? lol

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  • 117. At 1:38pm on 18 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies. #102

    I happen to have a globe of the Earth in front of me.

    On my globe latitude and longitude are marked out in intervals of 10 degrees rather than 5. But it is interesting to note that Greenland, Canada, and other places within the Arctic circle, have 10 degree grid "squares" that are dramatically narrower than lower latitudes.

    I see that there is also a Saharan example of lack of coverage. I note however, that compared to other parts of the world the problem Saharan grid squares are not the biggest anomalies for the month in question.

    Obviously there are always problems with projecting the 3D globe onto a 2D map. And there is nothing to indicate that NOAA are happy with the current gaps (as opposed to merely coping with them). The gaps, by the way, are all in sites that are awkward for access and outside of the NOAA's direct ambit. (With you being based in Canada perhaps you are in a better position than the US based NOAA to ask the Canadian government to fund weather stations in some of the places flagged up by Watts.)

    Perhaps that is why Watts is not making the same "Madoff" comments as you are.

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  • 118. At 3:09pm on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    111. At 10:25am on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @James T Kirk #109

    You're avoiding answering my question

    /Mango


    Your avoiding mine. The reason behind it is simple: if you don't understand those things then you cannot possibly be qualified to distinguish between the various peer reviewed science. On what basis can you choose to select those papers that happen to agree with your world view from those (ie the amjority) that don't? You are being as dishonest and irresponsible as those who chose to select some flawed science that purported to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

    Unloess you can inform us as to your technical abilities that enable you to choose certain papers in preference to others you have no credibility.

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  • 119. At 3:11pm on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    a causal relationship between a rise in CO2 and an increase in temperatures is well established

    There is a corresponding relationship between the rise in price of a stamp and temperature, but I think you will agree stamps do not cause global warming.

    why do you appear to advocate ignoring the problem?

    Why do you think an insignificant rise in global temperature is a problem?

    /Mango


    Since you clearly do not understand the distinction between a causal relationship and a correlation I think you answered the question I just posed.

    Hence I have no reason to answer that last question as you have no basis on which to claim its validity.

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  • 120. At 3:20pm on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    115. At 12:27pm on 18 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:
    @James Tiberius Kirk

    The thing about the Consensus is that it is a big a political football as anything else in the debate.

    Pro-AGW politicians tend to exaggerate it. They downplay all the probabilities and caveats that come with it. And fail to mention that a significant minority of competent climate scientists are not signed up.

    Whereas some sceptic lobbyists will have you believe that the number of scientists dissenting from the mainstream is a majority.

    You may find the two following articles by the warmist science side interesting.

    (Note the comment "Of course, just because most scientists think something is true does not necessarily mean they are right.")


    It certainly is not an indication gthey are wrong. In fact all science is provisional and can be overturned (or more likely modified) with new evidence. However, it is application of the scientific method taht will do this, not rhetorical arguments.

    Science can be defined as the thought system favoured by most current scientists. Those who think differently are “independent thinkers” and can expect to have papers rejected by scientific journals. Most independent thinkers are wrong. Some are right and provide the framework for the orthodoxy of the future. But don’t expect other scientists and policy makers to reject current orthodoxy in the most likely vain hope someone might come forward in the future with a new orthodoxy.

    Sceptics on here and elsewhere use the term "consensus" pejoratively but they actually wish to form a new "consensus". Provide the evidence and an explanation founded on accepted physical principles (or show those principles are flawed and have new ones) and that could happen. However, in the meantime should we put the IPCC process and global action on hold on the 1 in 20 (using the IPCC definitions of levels of confidence) that the "consensus" science is wrong.

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  • 121. At 3:33pm on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:


    Labmunkey wrote:

    I used the buffer example to illustrate my point and i'll re-iterate it here as no one addressed it. Adding ions to a buffer (as co2 to the climate) will result in a pH shift (or temperature shift). HOwever, as the system is an equilibrated buffer (or the climate) the systems within that buffer (feedbacks) will move to compensate for the addition. These ions are not being removed, they are not being destroyed, simply... converted into a different state.

    This is what i see happening in the climate. The co2 levels rise, and the temperature rises- ever so slightly, before the 'feedback' mechanisms kick in. The enrgy is not removed, not destroyed, meerly converted. These feedbacks then lower the 'overall' energy in the system by affecting the system elsewhere (but not necessarily resulting in cooling). Just as in the buffer.

    It is an exceptionally simple concept (for a scientist, especially one with a pHD) to grasp and given the recent work on cloud cover, is just as- if not more likely, an explanation for the observed results (and this work has been published- just not by me).


    Unfortunately whilst you feel you may not violate the first law (conservation of energy) you certainly violate the 2nd (increase in entropy) with your thinking. The 2nd law is NOT a simple concept (unlike the first) and you cannot, in a closed system (which the sun/earth system essentially is) lower the energy content without increasing entropy and in a way that has consequences that tend to outweigh any gain.

    You also show you do not understand the modern scientific method: theories are provisional and can be disproved, never proven. Your endorsement of Mango's stamp example shows a failure to distinguish between causal relationships and correlations. If you wish your thinking to be taken seriously (on the premise your are not "Mango" who has said his views are derivatives) then kindly subject it to the peer review process. Any papers that violate the 2nd law (after Eddington) are not going to be accepted. You can violate any other scientific principle (with evidence) but not that one.

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  • 122. At 3:55pm on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    Labmunkey: I think I can explain your apparent unfamiliarity with the 2nd law: biological processes (of which I will accept your deep familiarity) are not closed systems: they extract energy from their environment and so can appear to violate the 2nd law when they do not. Indeed "creationist scientists" (an oxymoron) use apparent violation of the 2nd law as a reason for rejecting evolution (though why those who accept miraculous events to explain creation accept one law as inviolable beats me).

    However, thye earth's climate extracts all its energy from the sun and the planet itself absorbs and redistributes that energy. That redistribution cannot violate the 2nd law. That is what you are asserting. Cloud formation changes the energy redistribution, it cannot nullify it.

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  • 123. At 4:32pm on 18 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 121
    "you cannot, in a closed system (which the sun/earth system essentially is) lower the energy content without increasing entropy and in a way that has consequences that tend to outweigh any gain."

    i hate to be the one to break this to you, but the earth isn't a closed system...

    "You also show you do not understand the modern scientific method: theories are provisional and can be disproved, never proven"
    insult aside, i agree with that statement. However i was not using the stamp example to disprove the agw theory- only to show that the correlative evidence is there for both and to show that correlation is not proof. Yet, as we have no causal proof of co2 being the primary driver, it presents quite a problem.

    I suggest you read my future posts MUCH more carefully, else one could start to think you are misunderstanding/conlflating matters purposley.

    As for the second law of thermodynamics, again- you'll have to explain why in an open system (such as the earth) my theory violated that law- similary, using your argument a Buffer would not work- yet it does.

    Are you sure you understand what you are talking about?

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  • 124. At 4:41pm on 18 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 122

    i think i see where we're getting confused now.

    "However, thye earth's climate extracts all its energy from the sun and the planet itself absorbs and redistributes that energy. That redistribution cannot violate the 2nd law. That is what you are asserting. Cloud formation changes the energy redistribution, it cannot nullify it."

    i am not saying that cloud cover removes the energy provided by increased co2- however, can you accept that cloud cover increases the albedo reflecting energy back into space that would otherwise have been meant for earth?

    Please look carefully at my buffer example- i am not suggesting that the energy dissapears- only that something else happens that COMPENSATES for the increase- i.e. for example the decrease in incoming energy from increased cloud cover offsets the gain in energy from increased c02... or as we like to call it a negative feedback...

    this doesn't violate the 2nd law- i assure you.

    note- i am not also saying that cloud cover is the only negative feedback mechanism- we don't know what they all are, but it will suffice for this example.

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  • 125. At 5:23pm on 18 Jul 2010, mvr512 wrote:

    The undemocratic unelected Politburo aka European Commission is at it again.

    Climate change is a natural phenomenon and not man made. The undemocratic EU just wants to use the issue to grab more powers for itself and thus destroy more democracy.

    There is no such thing as man made climate change. Just like there is no such thing as a democratic EU.

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  • 126. At 6:05pm on 18 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #120 James T Kirk wrote:

    Science can be defined as the thought system favoured by most current scientists.

    And who would they be, prey tell -- you are going round in ever-decreasing circles!

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  • 127. At 6:18pm on 18 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @James Tiberius Kirk #122

    "apparent unfamiliarity with the 2nd law"

    Fer gawd's sake "Kirk", LabMunkey hasn't got either the 1st or 2nd Laws wrong. His scenario exactly matches the lowest possible climate sensitivity scenarios covered by the IPCC.

    Incidentally changing cloud cover is known to cool the Earth without violating either 1st or 2nd Laws, as is seen after significant volcanic eruptions such as Pinatubo.

    If you want to challenge LabMunkey you want to ask why he is ruling out the higher sensitivities that the IPCC think more likely.

    Think that snog from Joan Collins has gone to your head...

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  • 128. At 6:49pm on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #lots

    Nobody is questioning the basic laws of physics. If the real world shows climate sensitivity as being low, then the real world must be correct, therefore rising levels of CO2 cannot be a danger to the climate regardless of what the computer models tell us, can they?

    Do you know anything about climate sensitivity or is it all bluster?

    /Mango

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  • 129. At 7:51pm on 18 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK #128
    (@James Tiberius Kirk)

    "Nobody is questioning the basic laws of physics."

    Er, actually that's not quite true. There is that rather tedious Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper that gets the 1st and 2nd Laws well and truly mangled. Perhaps "Kirk" has read about that elsewhere and is confusing posts by LabMunkey and yourself with it.

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  • 130. At 8:10pm on 18 Jul 2010, Aristarchus of Samos wrote:

    Labmunkey:

    I don't go to my GP to get my car repaired. Likewise I would not expect a microbiologist to have much of importance or interest to say on climate science.

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  • 131. At 8:21pm on 18 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    123. At 4:32pm on 18 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:
    @ 121
    "you cannot, in a closed system (which the sun/earth system essentially is) lower the energy content without increasing entropy and in a way that has consequences that tend to outweigh any gain."

    i hate to be the one to break this to you, but the earth isn't a closed system...

    "You also show you do not understand the modern scientific method: theories are provisional and can be disproved, never proven"
    insult aside, i agree with that statement. However i was not using the stamp example to disprove the agw theory- only to show that the correlative evidence is there for both and to show that correlation is not proof. Yet, as we have no causal proof of co2 being the primary driver, it presents quite a problem.

    I suggest you read my future posts MUCH more carefully, else one could start to think you are misunderstanding/conlflating matters purposley.

    As for the second law of thermodynamics, again- you'll have to explain why in an open system (such as the earth) my theory violated that law- similary, using your argument a Buffer would not work- yet it does.

    Are you sure you understand what you are talking about?


    You complain I don't read your posts: you clearly don't read mine. I said the sun/earth system is to very close approximation a closed system You read that as just the earth - I could accuse you of doing that deliberately.

    Virtually all the energy that enters the earths atmosphere is from the sun. The rest is a realtively small amount of heat that reaches teh earth's surface from its interior.

    As a closed system with sunlight entering the earth's atmosphere and IR being emitted from its surface the inflows and outflows of energy are pretty well understood.

    In the ion example, there is a reaction between the agents that generate or absorb energy (in other words they are participating in changing the energy in the system not merely redistributing the energy as is the case in the atmosphere. Hence you analogy is just that, an analogy and is invalid to explain your thinking.

    Again. please do not complain at others misreading your posts if you do that to theirs.

    As I have said, if you have some scientific contribution to make on the subject, submit it to the appropriate journals.

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  • 132. At 10:16pm on 18 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    117. JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "@CanadianRockies. #102

    "And there is nothing to indicate that NOAA are happy with the current gaps (as opposed to merely coping with them)."

    And yet they still make authoritative sounding statements despite the obvious gaps, and seem quite happy to adjust all the gaps upward.

    "With you being based in Canada perhaps you are in a better position than the US based NOAA to ask the Canadian government to fund weather stations in some of the places flagged up by Watts."

    I certainly would not ask the government to waste one more cent on this surface temperature project. That's like giving an alcoholic more booze. Much better to invest in the satellite based systems and hope they are more accurate and less prone to convenient 'adjustments.'

    "Perhaps that is why Watts is not making the same "Madoff" comments as you are."

    He doesn't need to, and needs to be more polite in his position. The evidence speaks for itself, and the commenters fill in the Madoff blanks.

    I just call them as I see them. And, to continue the Madoff analogy, it must be remembered that for years (almost) nobody questioned his convenient numbers because he was part of the establishment... just like NOAA is. So is NASA... and they are desperately looking for a new reason to maintain their extremely expensive existence, and monitoring the climate could be big for them - IF only there was a suitable crisis that they could help 'save' us from.

    The basic model here is the military-industrial complex, or any 'protection/extortion racket.' Give me money or the planet will die!!!

    Of course you folks are now legally bound to pour money into Big Green so you're bound to be safe.


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  • 133. At 10:28pm on 18 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #131 James T Kirk wrote:

    As I have said, if you have some scientific contribution to make on the subject, submit it to the appropriate journals.

    How dare you sully the name of James Tiberius Kirk with your creepy authoritarianism?

    The "real" James T Kirk always called the authority of the Federation into question. He never hesitated to annoy Starfleet Command with his willingness to subvert its supposed authority, nor to call its supposed expertise into question, unlike your creepy attitude to NASA.

    Give up all hope of snogging Joan Collins or Lieutenant Uhura!

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  • 134. At 10:29pm on 18 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    123. LabMunkey wrote:

    "i hate to be the one to break this to you, but the earth isn't a closed system..."

    Bingo! But the AGW gang would like us to believe that it actually is closed in the sense that all that solar powered heat is trapped in some impermeable non-conductive blanket of CO2... surrounded by ultra-frigid space.

    That really would be quite the miraculous blanket. Wonder where it is, exactly?

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  • 135. At 11:25pm on 18 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies #134

    OK. That latest is not helpful.

    Energy gets into the Earth's atmosphere from the Sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Energy leaves the Earth's atmosphere to outer space in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

    The basic underlying mechanisms of a planetary greenhouse are not in doubt. It is the contribution of feedbacks and the resulting climate sensitivity that is less clear.

    There's enough confusion from "Kirk" not getting LabMunkey's posts. Please don't add to it.

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  • 136. At 00:17am on 19 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #135. JaneBasingstoke

    As you know Jane, I do enjoy making outlandish blanket comments now and then. Thus I described an "impermeable non-conductive blanket of CO2," which is a highly exaggerated description of what some people actually imagine is 'trapping' the heat... and a backhanded way of saying that I don't think CO2 is that important. While there is obviously a "planetary greenhouse" effect created by the whole atmosphere, the atmosphere is composed of many things.

    But I definitely agree that the key question is one of "the contribution of feedbacks and the resulting climate sensitivity," though these questions go far beyond the simple CO2 story.

    Someday, in the distant future, we may begin to understand it, or not. At this point there are still unknown unknowns.

    In the meantime, its a beautiful day here, though it has been a very cool spring and early summer. Perhaps I should put my thermometer out on a south-facing rock wall to try and fool my tomatoes?

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  • 137. At 01:12am on 19 Jul 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @Rene and Kirk

    Just for laughs from wiki:

    1st Law: "The increase in the internal energy of a thermodynamic system is equal to the amount of heat energy added to the system minus the work done by the system on the surroundings."

    Increase in internal energy of a system = heat supplied to the system - work done by the system

    2nd Law: "The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium."

    So let's keep it simple - If the Earth retains more energy from the Sun, the Earth warms and it emits more infrared energy into space. This brings the Earth's Radiation Budget into balance. If the Earth emits more of this energy than it absorbs, then the Earth will cool. As it cools, the Earth emits less infrared energy and this change also brings the Radiation Budget back into balance.

    How does or could this process break the first law?

    As to the 2nd law and absorbed heat - The atmosphere, land and oceans will attempt to move this newly acquired heat from the equator and towards the poles, with each of these steps being lossy there's conversions to kinetic energy, phase changes, collisions, more IR etc etc and not all of the Infrared radiation produced will be re-absorbed.

    So, I've got a real difficulty with understanding how you think this could ever break the second law.

    Finally, for the minute (it's not really worth wasting the electronic ink on you), as labmunkey was pointing out to you there's clouds. These have a couple of (well a lot more than a couple - but I'm guessing you both have trouble with big numbers) really very interesting properties - one of which is really quite important...... They tend to be white....

    A fact which means they often have a much higher albedo than the land or sea that they are covering. This means that the cloud now reflects more of the incoming shortwave radiation back to space than the covered surface would be reflecting in the absence of the cloud. The result of which, is that less solar energy available to heat the surface and the atmosphere.

    This alters the Earths radiative balance reducing the energy that's aborbed (no it's not be nullified, or disappearing it's merely being reflected) and the cycle of heating and cooling as described in first paragraph, begins anew.

    I'd recommend a quick primer on atmospheric thermodynamics.......... Plus, you might want to read up on clouds..... just a thought.....

    If either of you (you do seem quite similar you know) has a PhD in Physics, from a top five University then it's a very sad indictment of the current education system.

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 138. At 06:36am on 19 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    137. At 01:12am on 19 Jul 2010, blunderbunny wrote:etc

    If you'd read the posts you would have seen that I was invoking the 2nd law to challenge Labmunkey's assertion that cloud formation and other unspecified feedback mechnisms essentially neutralise the GH forcing effects of increased CO2. In a closed system that's not possible and is equivalent to opening the fridge door in your kitchen and expecting the kitchen to cool (or at best remain the same temperature).

    Labmunkey's negative feedback from clouds (he appears to ignore positive forcing from the GH effect of H2O and heat trapping below clouds) also then acts to reduce evaporation and so reduces the effect of these. All in all, the effect of the overall process is to increase the thermal energy in the system. To investigate the interaction between theese difference phenomena requires something more advanced than intuition: computer models.

    Rather than indulging in what are obvious ego trips by Labmunkey and others on here, if Labmunkey has something new and important to say about these systems he should submit scientific papers to the peer review process. The fact he is playing to the gallery of MMCC deniers on here who think they understand basic physical principles tells me he doesn't want to do that. For someone who claims to work in microbiology running clinical trials I would question his aversion to both the precautionary principle and to exposing his work to real scrutiny.

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  • 139. At 06:52am on 19 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    128. At 6:49pm on 18 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    @James T Kirk #lots

    Nobody is questioning the basic laws of physics. If the real world shows climate sensitivity as being low, then the real world must be correct, therefore rising levels of CO2 cannot be a danger to the climate regardless of what the computer models tell us, can they?

    Do you know anything about climate sensitivity or is it all bluster?

    /Mango


    The real world has lots of other natural factors: the recent deep sunspot minimum has offsest CO2 induced warming to some extend. The massive energy flows between oceans and atmosphere (eg ENSO) causes big fluctuations on top of the rising trend. If you are asserting that CO2 is the only forcing factor and since it isn't warming as fast as models say (if that were thew only factor) then it can't be that serious, then you are being naive.

    I will return your "Do you know anything about climate sensitivity or is it all bluster?"

    Let me repeat: if you/Labmunkey are right the onus is on you to demonstrate that to the scientific community. Posting on here and refusing to do that is certainly all bluster.

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  • 140. At 07:32am on 19 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    124. At 4:41pm on 18 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:
    @ 122

    i think i see where we're getting confused now.

    "However, thye earth's climate extracts all its energy from the sun and the planet itself absorbs and redistributes that energy. That redistribution cannot violate the 2nd law. That is what you are asserting. Cloud formation changes the energy redistribution, it cannot nullify it."

    i am not saying that cloud cover removes the energy provided by increased co2- however, can you accept that cloud cover increases the albedo reflecting energy back into space that would otherwise have been meant for earth?

    Please look carefully at my buffer example- i am not suggesting that the energy dissapears- only that something else happens that COMPENSATES for the increase- i.e. for example the decrease in incoming energy from increased cloud cover offsets the gain in energy from increased c02... or as we like to call it a negative feedback...

    this doesn't violate the 2nd law- i assure you.


    But to FULLY COMPENSATE for the extra energy absorbed WOULD violate the 2nd law. Indeed, reducing the impact would also act as a 2nd order feedback which would then positively reinforce it in an oscillatory cycle. I am not saying that clouds that are produced due to other primary sources or ash from volcanoes that also reflect sunlight are not a factor, but thaty's not what you appeared to be saying. you appeared to be saying that clouds that resulted from the warming due to extra CO2 would impose a negative feedback due to the reflected light from the sun. This would imply a reversible system which cannot exist in nature. Since it can't be a reversible system then to claim (or appear to) that the negative feedback compensated would break the 2nd law (and those whose knowldge of the 2nd law derives from a reading of a Wiki can refrain from commenting at this point).

    Now, let's also remember that the IR radiation absorbed by this extra CO2 is not from the reflected sunlight: it is the "black body" radiation emitted from an earth in rough thermodynamic equilibrium. So, this process continues despite any negative feedback from clouds. The spectrum of the IR will change slightly (from, for sake of argument, from that due to a 300K black body to one of 301K) but that does not change it fundamentally. The GH effect is still acting to warm whilst the clouds act to cool but also extra H2O acts to warm. The net effect is still an increase in temperatures. The question is by how much and why we should trust the views of a microbiologist rather than professional climate scientists.

    Which leads me then to ask why you then believe the climate sensitivity is at the lower end of the IPCC range and not a higher amount. Since we have already seen undesireable consequences of the existing warming (arctic ice depletion, sea level rise, water shortages etc) why do you not think even a 1C rise (at the lowest end of the IPCC range) not worth doing something about?

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  • 141. At 08:12am on 19 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James T Kirk #140

    OK, we've established you don't know anything about climate sensitivity, although you do know the IPCC suggests low to high as caluclated values.

    The whole CO2 as pimary driver for global warming rests on whether or not climate sensitivity is high or low. High and we have a problem, low and it's nothing to worry about.

    Observational values suggest the value is low.

    Could I suggest you do a little reading on climate sensitivity?

    @blunderbunny #137

    JTK = RS

    I was thinking exactly the same thing - glove puppet?

    /Mango

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  • 142. At 08:26am on 19 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #88 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    I apologise for using the term "probability" here, I cannot remember the correct Bowman dictionary term.

    I'm trying to save you from your own conceptual confusion, and I'm disappointed the penny hasn't dropped yet.

    The word 'probability' can mean two different things. It can mean a numerical proportion (e.g. half of coin tosses are heads in the long run) or it can mean the degree to which we ought to believe something. The routine confusion of these utterly different concepts corrupts climate science from top to bottom.

    "Best estimates" are not "claims we ought to believe most" but mere statistical averages, usually got by assuming samples are perfectly representative, which they never are.

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  • 143. At 08:27am on 19 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    135. At 11:25pm on 18 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:
    @CanadianRockies #134

    OK. That latest is not helpful.

    Energy gets into the Earth's atmosphere from the Sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Energy leaves the Earth's atmosphere to outer space in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

    The basic underlying mechanisms of a planetary greenhouse are not in doubt. It is the contribution of feedbacks and the resulting climate sensitivity that is less clear.

    There's enough confusion from "Kirk" not getting LabMunkey's posts. Please don't add to it.


    Well, Labmunkey hardly helps by [utting posts subject to misinterpretation and then proceeds to misinterpret those of others, as do you.

    This is a blog where people put up simplistic arguments, (oftena s is clear from Labmunkey's in the heat of the moment), not a peer reviewed scientific publication.

    If Labmunkey, you, CanadianRockies, Mango etc have some scientific contributions to make, put them through the rigour of the scientific method.

    We all agree that the drivers of our climate are complex. You and others here appear to advocate inaction until we understand them all. By the time we have done that (which may be never) it will be too late if you are all wrong, whereas the worst we will have done if the mainstream science is wrong is that we will have enhanced the security of energy supply. That is necessary anyway.

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  • 144. At 08:29am on 19 Jul 2010, Aristarchus of Samos wrote:

    125. At 5:23pm on 18 Jul 2010, mvr512 wrote:
    The undemocratic unelected Politburo aka European Commission is at it again.

    Climate change is a natural phenomenon and not man made. The undemocratic EU just wants to use the issue to grab more powers for itself and thus destroy more democracy.

    There is no such thing as man made climate change. Just like there is no such thing as a democratic EU.


    I hate to bring facts into this but there are 192 governments in the IPCC, not 27. All, including China and the USA, agree that action on claimte change is needed but disagree with the rate and specifics of that action. You might also like to explain why in both the "emergency" budget in June and Darling's earlier in the year "green taxes" were prominent by their absence. Why would thios be the case if we need to raise lots of taxes and this would be a great excuse.

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  • 145. At 08:31am on 19 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    141. At 08:12am on 19 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK

    OK, we've established you don't know anything about the scientific method as you cherry pick data and observations that suit you and do not relate them to underlying physical principles.

    Could I suggest you do a little reading on the scientific method?

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  • 146. At 08:35am on 19 Jul 2010, Aristarchus of Samos wrote:

    141. At 08:12am on 19 Jul 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    The whole CO2 as pimary driver for global warming rests on whether or not climate sensitivity is high or low. High and we have a problem, low and it's nothing to worry about.


    Perhaps you could explain the advantages of a 1C rise in global tempertaures to the inhabitants of the Maldives, Bangladesh and other low lying nations. Perhaps you explain to the inhabitants of those in what are currently Mediterranean climates how increased desertification and reduced water supplies benefit them?

    In any case you do not provide an explanation of why you believe the sensitivity is low. Do you know anything about this subject?

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  • 147. At 09:10am on 19 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    aaaaan you're back in the room.

    for suggesting a 'microbiologist' cannot comment on climate science. Well, are you sugesting a micro does not understand statistics? good data colelction? 'series' validation? how to test, present and refine theories?
    It is, arrogant in the extreme to think that the only people capable or worthy of commenting on climate science, is the climate science cabal. I freely admit, i am not as knowledgeable on some of the specifcs as the 'experts' are- but i'm learning (or is it a case of once a microbiologist always a microbiologist??). BUt i'll tell you what i am eminently qualified to do, spot a poor theory with little to no ACTUAL corroberative evidence. And technically i'm now more of a biochemsit- having cross trained, but potatoes potatoes.. (blast that doesn't work in type).

    re-130- it's actually quite unbelievable you said that- not for the reasons you state but i actually know a dentist (not gp- but close!) who spends his spare time doing track day races, builds and maintains kits cars and is a member of numerous builders clubs (more money than sense). I'd take my car to him any day (and have).


    Re- earth as a close system- i was aware you were reffering to the earth and the sun, but i'm sorry- it is not a closed system. It's damned close, but it is not and you're grossly misrepresenting the situation if you think so.

    Re - clouds/feedbacks etc etc.
    I think we've established that my proposed explanation doesn't violate any of the laws of thermodynamics- but to clarify on a point- i was not saying that only the negative feedbacks play a role, all the feedbacks do- positive and negative, however the earth maintains a 'running' equilibrium that can be shifted by certain inputs, but like all 'controlled' equilibriums the earth moves to counter any change (just like a buffer- your explantion 'disproving' me was flawed by the way) though obvisouly there is a limit to this buffering capacity.

    i am not proposing a reversable system, but as it isn't a closed system, the negative feedbacks CAN outway the positive.

    The observational evidence suggests low climate sensitivity wrt co2 (thats why i lean towards the lower end of the predictions jane), so frankly, until you can show otherwise- my explanation is just as if not more likely than 'yours' (AGW).

    As for this statement(s):
    "Since we have already seen undesireable consequences of the existing warming (arctic ice depletion, sea level rise, water shortages etc) why do you not think even a 1C rise (at the lowest end of the IPCC range) not worth doing something about?"

    i think you show your level of knowledge right here
    1- arctic ice is doing just fine
    2- sea level rises are constant ~3.4 mm / year
    3- more to do with poor management than anything else
    4- 1C rise??? you're wanting us to worry about a 1C rise?? we know FULL WELL that the earth, hell even MAN has seen that before and there were no issues. I think the question would be- why do you think it WILL be an issue- given all the 'lies' the IPCC has been caught in recently?

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  • 148. At 09:14am on 19 Jul 2010, Rene Descartes wrote:

    98. At 7:51pm on 17 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:
    #88 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    So "best estimate" would mean that IPCC sums give a small range close to 3 degrees centigrade as more "probable" than any other small range.

    Would this be a way of saying that 3 degrees centigrade is the mean? If so, it's the only estimate, not the best estimate!


    The "only" estimate is by definition the "best" estimate. If you have other "estimates" that are different from the IPCC's perhaps you could explain why these should be accepted in preference?

    Your appear to be arguing that since we aren't absolutely certain of everything then we can safely ignore those things we do know about.

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  • 149. At 09:21am on 19 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    too tempting to leave

    #143. James, jamesy, mate, buddy, pal. It seems we've gotten off on the wrong foot. You don't have to launch into an attack on me in every post just because you disagree with what i say- just prove me wrong- that's all you have to do.

    And i DO love the old 'think of the children' argument. Look, noone is arguing against energy security, polluting less, being better to the world and those in it- why do you, and those you support have to resort to this kind of political stunt whenever a technical discussion doesn't go your way?

    #145- frankly james, it's you that needs to look at scientific method, not he. I'm also REALLY begining to question your qualifications as if even a pathetic microbiologist can see the difference between something that violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics and something that does not, then i'm beginning to worry.

    #146- perhaps you can explain why you are trying to use a symptom of a warming planet as proof of a possible cause?

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  • 150. At 09:26am on 19 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    re sea ice http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/18/sea-ice-news-14/#more-22170

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  • 151. At 09:37am on 19 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    re publishing.

    i would love nothing more than to spend the time publishing my theories on this issue- unfortunatley i have a demanding day job and a heavily pregnant wife. Tell you what, arrange for some of that AGW tax-money to come my way and i'll publish as many papers as you want.

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  • 152. At 09:58am on 19 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #145 James T Kirk wrote:

    Could I suggest you do a little reading on the scientific method?

    What do you suggest he should read?

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  • 153. At 10:54am on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Rene Descartes #148

    [on the discussion about 3 degrees centigrade being the "best estimate"] "The "only" estimate is by definition the "best" estimate."

    (forces air out between almost closed lips)

    There isn't an "only" estimate in this case. The IPCC give a range of the more likely values. From IPCC AR4:

    "The equilibrium climate sensitivity is a measure of the climate system response to sustained radiative forcing. It is defined as the equilibrium global average surface warming following a doubling of CO2 concentration. Progress since the TAR enables an assessment that climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values."

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/mains2-3.html

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  • 154. At 11:24am on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @James Tiberius Kirk #143

    I'm not a sceptic.

    I am not advocating inaction, but like many grass roots warmists, and like warmists such as Lovelock, Hansen and the Friends of the Earth, I think carbon trading is c***.

    http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/carbon_trading_05112009.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/12/james-hansen-carbon-emissions
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/10/lovelock-meacher-slam-carbon-trading

    Carbon trading is c***. But there are plenty of other approaches to be looked at.

    There are other problems associated with warming, including some appalling misunderstandings, not just of the science, but of people on both sides of the debate.

    Your posts really wind me up. You keep accusing people of breaking the 2nd Law. That is true of some sceptics but so far does not apply to the posts you have criticised here. And there is a real stigma to breaking the 2nd Law, as Arthur Eddington summarises:

    "If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation." [The Nature of the Physical World (1928)]

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  • 155. At 12:07pm on 19 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #153 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    There isn't an "only" estimate in this case. The IPCC give a range of the more likely values.

    But that is just a sophisticated version of a calculation of the mean and deviation. The "best estimate" is just a sort of average -- what you get if you extrapolate from the sample(s) in accordance with the rules.

    Those rules are determined not by their ability to deliver truth, but by their ability to exclude human input. They assume that the sample is perfectly representative, that theory is implied (i.e. fully constrained) by "data", so that there is no creative/imaginative input at all. That methodology is aimed at avoiding all human guesswork rather than aimed at truth. In other words, it's painting by numbers, which isn't science but the perennial human yearning for "no culpability".

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  • 156. At 12:12pm on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    Oo.

    User 14370057, formerly posting as "James T Kirk", is now posting as "James Clark Maxwell".

    Is that a typo for "James Clerk Maxwell, with "Clerk" misspelt with an "a"? Did my Eddington quote, with its reference to Maxwell's famous equations, inspire this change?

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  • 157. At 12:37pm on 19 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #156.

    "User 14370057, formerly posting as "James T Kirk", is now posting as "James Clark Maxwell". ... Did my Eddington quote, with its reference to Maxwell's famous equations, inspire this change?"

    safe to assume that the personality change was triggered by a transporter accident, unless chemical imbalances in the brain are to blame.

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  • 158. At 1:07pm on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @"James Clark Maxwell" [sic], formerly posting as "James T Kirk"

    Seriously Jimbo. There's evidence of you posting as "James T Kirk" going back almost as far as you've been posting here. You will confuse other posters familiar with your previous identity by changing it. And surely you must count some of the other posters here as mates?

    @jr4412

    Careful. Slagging off Starfleet transporter technology like that. He'll mistake you for "McCoy, Leonard H".

    @MangoChutneyUKOK
    @blunderbunny

    "JTK = RD"

    Think they might be riffing off each other. But there are distinct differences in style. In particular RD seems disposed to very long posts.

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  • 159. At 1:56pm on 19 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @James Clark Maxwell AKA James T Kirk #145

    OK, we've established you don't know anything about the scientific method as you cherry pick data and observations that suit you and do not relate them to underlying physical principles.

    Could I suggest you do a little reading on the scientific method?


    I've pointed out that observational science including shows us climate sensitivity to be low and non-observational science shows climate sensitivity to be high - how is that cherry picking?

    @Sat_Tyre #146

    Perhaps you could explain the advantages of a 1C rise in global temperatures to the inhabitants of the Maldives, Bangladesh and other low lying nations. Perhaps you explain to the inhabitants of those in what are currently Mediterranean climates how increased desertification and reduced water supplies benefit them?

    In any case you do not provide an explanation of why you believe the sensitivity is low. Do you know anything about this subject?


    We've already had around 0.4C rise since 1979 according to the IPCC. The report on the Maldives "sinking" has been shown to be exaggerated (refer Nils-Axel Mörner). Bangladesh is actually gaining more land than it is losing due to currents and shifting sand banks.

    As for climate sensitivity being low, i will repeat:

    observational science including clouds shows us climate sensitivity to be low and non-observational science shows climate sensitivity to be high

    @Rene Descartes

    You still haven't responded to this post:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/07/eu_climate_chief_asks_for_lead.html#P98417584

    As a physicist, could you answer please or do we assume you agree with me?

    /Mango

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  • 160. At 1:58pm on 19 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Jane #158

    I still think it's the same person, too many similarities - Sat_Tyre may even be the same person but i'll hold fire on that one

    /Mango

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  • 161. At 2:57pm on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK #160

    "same person"

    Works better for JTK/JCM = S_T than JTK/JCM = RD.

    But they could still be riffing off each other, or a shared role model.

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  • 162. At 3:51pm on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK

    "observational"

    A reminder.

    Climate sensitivity, unlike temperature or air pressure, cannot be measured by a simple device. Observation based approaches to establish an estimate for climate sensitivity have included a number of different approaches, all with downsides.

    Yet you seem to be asking our chum using the French name to take your word for it.

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  • 163. At 3:57pm on 19 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    MangoChutneyUKOK #159.

    "observational science including clouds shows us climate sensitivity to be low and non-observational science shows climate sensitivity to be high"

    out of interest, could this discrepancy be explained by the sheer amount (volumes) of matter involved, ie inherent lag/inertia?

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  • 164. At 4:24pm on 19 Jul 2010, Poppy55 wrote:

    why all these meetings are in turistic places??:-0

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  • 165. At 5:35pm on 19 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke #162

    I accept what you are saying Jane, but observation is still preferred to calculation, isn't it?

    @jr4412 #163

    out of interest, could this discrepancy be explained by the sheer amount (volumes) of matter involved, ie inherent lag/inertia?

    of course it could, there could be many explanations, but, as far as i know, to the best of current knowledge, climate sensitivity including clouds is low, although sensitivity may not even have a single value for all instances.

    Your question seems like it has something up it's sleeve. I'd be happy to reconsider my position if you have further information

    /Mango

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  • 166. At 5:41pm on 19 Jul 2010, ADMac wrote:

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

  • 167. At 6:13pm on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK #165

    "I accept what you are saying Jane, but observation is still preferred to calculation, isn't it?"

    I'm not sure you do accept what I'm saying. You are effectively asking people to take it on trust that observation shows low sensitivity, even though such observation is not straightforward. You do not show why you believe your statement to be true.

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  • 168. At 6:48pm on 19 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #167 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    You are effectively asking people to take it on trust that observation shows low sensitivity, even though such observation is not straightforward. You do not show why you believe your statement to be true.

    This is the cue for a test. MangoChutneyUKOK should get his theory -- or hunch -- to stick its neck out and make a prediction. It will require the cunning of an experimentalist to make the observation(s) that will decide whether or not the prediction turns out to be true. But that shouldn't surprise anyone -- it just goes to show that there's a lot more to the pursuit of truth than "painting by numbers".

    If the prediction turns out to be true, MangoChutneyUKOK's theory is vindicated, at least for the time being.

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  • 169. At 7:02pm on 19 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    MangoChutneyUKOK #165.

    "Your question seems like it has something up it's sleeve. ... of course it could, there could be many explanations.."

    no, it wasn't a 'loaded' question, Mango; when I read your #159, it got me thinking about the volume of ocean water, the amount of energy it could soak up, the resulting lag, etc.

    also just read this: http://slatest.slate.com/id/2260930/?wpisrc=newsletter

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  • 170. At 9:20pm on 19 Jul 2010, robedwards1980 wrote:


    Well, I seem to have stumbled on a ghetto of ego tripping MMCC deniers who use and abuse their simplistic scientific knowledge to challenge what they are amply demonstrating they don’t understand and a small number of well meaning people attempting to answer back but being shouted down.

    The problem is that, in the case of global warming, we've reached a stage where decades of research and study have persuaded the over-whelming majority of scholars and scientists to accept that the earth's climate is changing at a rapid and dangerous rate and that co2 emissions are the chief culprit. What we're left with is a tiny fraction of that scholarly community raising objections that have less and less merit.

    There may never be a time at which 100% acceptance is reached - there are still numbers of people who produce "scientific" reports to challenge the theory of evolution, who claim that the Earth is a few thousand years old, that man and dinosaurs lived side by side, even that the Earth is actually flat. At some stage, you have to say that the evidence is so overwhelming that it is no longer feasible or practical to address every objection raised by every person with a claim to scientific credentials.

    The tipping point has to be reached where we say that the burden of proof must rest with those who wish to STOP us from addressing climate change rather than with those who want us to START doing something urgent. With the preponderance of evidence and opinion so firmly supporting the view that climate change is real and caused by humans, why should massive efforts to address the threat be held up by a dwindling number of mavericks and kooks who question what is blindingly obvious to the majority?

    It really is amazing how many sceptics here are intent on protecting the lifestyles they have that are the result of modern science and the scientific method. Yet when that science and scientific method produces information that potentially threatens that lifestyle, suddenly they know more than the scientists and throw in "what about this then?" anecdotes and historically inaccurate or inappropriate comparisons of "they got it wrong then" to justify their scepticism.

    What amazes me about the contributions here is that many of the sceptics are acting very self-satisfied: "here's evidence the AGW theory is wrong, I don't need to change and can continue to indulge myself". Hardly anyone has expressed any outrage at the impact on the developing world. We in the developed world have no right to hold their development back whether or not AGW is true. They need to radically increase their energy usage to achieve our standard of living and who can deny them that?

    But to these people governments are motivated to distort the science purely as a tax raising ruse (the fact these would lose them votes seems lost on most sceptics). Scientists, apparently, are motivated solely to get funds for research, not by the desire to advance the state of human knowledge. The sceptics, however, are driven only by the purest of motives: preservation of their self indulgent lifestyles! They don't challenge any of the science that gave them this lifestyle, but feel able to on this!

    Perhaps sceptics would be honest enough to admit that their only reason for being sceptical is because they don't want to change their lifestyle? The only reason they select certain science that justifies their denial from the vast amount that doesn’t when they don't have any scientific knowledge to bring to the discussion but latch on to any apparent inconsistency in the science (and there are lots, as the science is very complex) and use it to justify their scepticism. If they would admit to their quite understandable motivation for denial then we can get beyond the emotion and address the problem of climate change.

    After all, we have only one earth on which we all depend for our lives, so it is totally unethical to experiment on it in the way the deniers advocate. If you’ve got something to say on the science do so to the scientists but stop indulging yourselves believing you have a right to stop the adoptions of policies that the rest of us believe are essential to the lifestyles of future generations on spurious, selfish grounds.

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  • 171. At 10:50pm on 19 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    I just heard about the sad and sudden passing of Prof. Stephen Schneider.
    My sincere condolences to his family, friends and acquaintances.

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  • 172. At 11:15pm on 19 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #143. James T Kirk wrote:

    "This is a blog where people put up simplistic arguments, (oftena s is clear from Labmunkey's in the heat of the moment), not a peer reviewed scientific publication."

    Yes. Well, as everyone now knows from the Climategate emails, if they did not know it before, peer review often simply means censorship and the reliance of such publications can simply be the reliance on accepted groupthink orthodoxy.

    "You and others here appear to advocate inaction until we understand them all."

    Not me. I am a firm advocate of energy conservation and efficiency and, in my personal life, I have been walking that walk since the first energy crisis in the 1970s. That is just plain common sense. In the meantime, the hypocrites moaning about CO2 jet around the world to conferences.

    "it will be too late if you are all wrong, whereas the worst we will have done if the mainstream science is wrong is that we will have enhanced the security of energy supply. That is necessary anyway."

    Too late for what? If CO2 is the devil you imagine, just look at what is happening in China and India and it is obviously already too late in any case.

    The "worst we will have done" if we continue on this hysteria-driven path is squander vast amounts of diminishing resources on poorly thought out and uneconomical projects and enrich the usual suspects - at the expense of the freedom and quality of life of the western middle class. Building endless SUBSIDIZED windmills and solar farms which will be broken down and worn out long before they pay for themselves - if EVER - while still needing to back up those unreliable energy sources with more reliable sources is utterly braindead - unless you are an investor or, in the UK, a landowner like Cameron's father-in-law with a wind farm on his land.

    The only two logical replacement for massive amounts of reliable fossil fuel energy, and the one with the minimal net ecological footprint, is nuclear power.

    Hydropower also has a place where that works but the valleys which big projects flood have much better uses in most areas - not to mention the horrific ecological costs of this permanent habitat destruction of wild valleys. But there are lots of opportunities for minimal impact run-of-the-river hydro projects in mountainous areas but, at least here in Canada, the simple Greens think they are bad too... just because.

    Here is an excellent summary on energy:

    http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=2469


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  • 173. At 11:33pm on 19 Jul 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @Yet Another New Identity(robedwards1980)

    Talk about split personalities............ Please do the rest of us a favour and just pick one identity and stick to it. Alternatively, just learn to type differently.

    One of the Lobby

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  • 174. At 11:35pm on 19 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    Follow up to Peter317 #171

    Stanford climatologist Stephen Schneider dies at 65 - July 19, 2010
    http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/07/stanford_climatologist_stephen.html

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  • 175. At 07:37am on 20 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #174 JaneBasingstoke

    The co-author of the recent and infamous PNAS blacklist. Could be Karma. And rather ironic that he died while jetting between meetings in the UK and Sweden, a long flight from California.

    http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/world-news/top-climate-scientist-dies-on-plane-2264837.html


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  • 176. At 07:40am on 20 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Most recently, he was behind a paper suggesting that scientists who believe in global warming have stronger climate-science credentials than those who don't.

    It's a shame that that is the last thing he is remembered for. It's "up there" with research that shows religious people attend church more often than non-religious people.

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  • 177. At 08:06am on 20 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke #167 & Bowman

    You are effectively asking people to take it on trust that observation shows low sensitivity

    I'm not asking anybody to take anything on trust, Jane. I would hope that the majority of people have sufficient common sense to check for themselves, especially a physicist, who seems reluctant to answer questions on science.

    Incidentally, it's not my theory, it's data gathered by several prominent sceptical climate scientists and indicates sensitivity to be low. Jane points out that the observations are not straightforward and, of course, she is correct, but it's preferred to calculations that may or may not include all the parameters

    @jr4412 #169

    it got me thinking about the volume of ocean water, the amount of energy it could soak up, the resulting lag, etc

    It's also interesting that GISS seems to weight global temperatures towards land temperatures rather than sea temperatures, which could have the effect of pushing the global temperature higher.

    As for your link, all the ice melt in the world may show the world is warming, but it tells us nothing about the cause, does it?

    @CanadianRockies #175

    There's no need for that CR

    /Mango

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  • 178. At 08:51am on 20 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 170.

    another post full of political assurances, with as usual- little substance.

    If you are new to this site i'd just like to say, welcome. But you should know that none of the (serious) skeptics are arguing against energy security, moving away from fossil feuls (in the medium term), developing safe/efficient renewables, protecting the environment and generally treating the earth a little bit better than we generally do.

    This is (genrally) a technical discussion on issues that the 'skeptics' find troubling/incomplete/incorrect.

    It must be nice to assume all skeptics are either in the pay of big oil or biased by their lifestylses, however the truth (as is often the case) is never that clear cut and i think on reflection you may see your first post on this thread doesn't exactly bathe you in praise.

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  • 179. At 09:15am on 20 Jul 2010, robedwards1980 wrote:

    So let’s agree the following:

    1) CO2 is a greenhouse gas
    2) Mankind is adding it to the atmosphere; it has grown by 30% since about 1750 to its highest level in 600K years and is continuing to grow
    3) this growth cannot be explained by natural factors and, indeed, must be from fossil fuel use and deforestation
    4) this extra CO2 induces a “forcing” in retaining IR radiation that would otherwise escape into space
    5) this forcing also induces certain feedbacks, some positive, some negative
    6) no feedback directly related to the forcing can totally negate the effect of that forcing
    7) amongst the positive feedbacks are:
    i) cloud formation which prevents IR escaping above the cloud level
    ii) water vapour which is a greenhouse gas (indeed the most dominant one that contributes most to keeping the earth 33K above its “natural” equilibrium state)
    iii) depletion of ice caps that then reflect less sunlight back into space
    8) amongst the negative feedbacks are
    i) cloud formation which acts to reflect sunlight back into space

    So everyone on here accepts that more CO2 means higher global temperatures right? Also they would accept the science that water vapour alone cannot explain ALL of the 33K above natural temperature and that the natural 280ppm of CO2 makes a significant contribution? Otherwise why isn’t most of the CO2 forcing (and indeed a lot of the H2O forcing) offset to a large degree by feedbacks?

    The IPCC estimates (and for those who do not understand jargon, “estimate” is not synonymous with “guess”) the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C for a doubling of CO2 over its 280ppm pre-industrial level.

    Now, 2C is still a significant amount: remember human civilisation has not existed under such global conditions; certainly modern civilisation has definitely not. So, pointing out that the temperatures were much higher at the time of the dinosaurs is an interesting but totally irrelevant point: we are not dinosaurs. Indeed, suggesting that our Viking ancestors got by pretty well in the socalled “Medieval Warm Period” (even if it is correct that it was warmer than now, which is highly debateable) is also irrelevant. More importantly what is a “containable” rise for those of us living in highly developed countries is not for those living in less developed ones, in low lying areas, in regions closer to the tropics etc.

    Now, it may be that the models don’t properly account for all the feedback mechanisms. This is a valid debate, but comes back to why you (or more important policymakers) would trust these rather than the IPCC “estimate”. Should your doctor tell you that you have only 6 months to live unless you take certain action do you keep going for second and third opinions until you get a “better” answer? If your car mechanic tells you your car needs some work done do you ignore his advise simply because he will make money from that advise?

    Those who claim to know more about climate sensitivity than others on here should explain to the scientific community, not other bloggers, why action to address the “best estimate” should be put off because they know better. Whereas, those who accept the IPCC range and “best estimate” do not need to justify themselves: they are in the company of the vast majority of climate scientists, all national science academies worldwide, oil company scientists etc etc. Should this community turn out to be wrong then it was with the best science available at the time. Just as no-one casts doubt on Einstein’s contribution to Physics because he got it wrong (probably!) on quantum mechanics or no-one questions Newton’s contributions because he was an alchemist and wrote nasty letters to Hooke, Leibnitz and others (that would put ad hominem accusations on here in a new light) or Kelvin’s contributions to thermodynamics because he did not believe in an ancient earth/sun or in heavier than air flight. Science moves on with new evidence and new thinking but not on the wishful thinking and self interest that predominates the debate on here.

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  • 180. At 10:31am on 20 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    once more unto the breech...

    @ #179 rob

    1- absolutely.
    2- i'd have to check up on that, but i am happy to say it is at it's highest level in over 1000 years.
    3- cannot be explained by natural factors alone, nature IS contributing- but man is contributing a large amount of it certainly.
    4- current information would suggest so, though it's not quite as straight forward as that- but for the purposes of this line of reasoning- sure.
    5- yes. though i would add we don't currently know what all these are or how they work, either way.
    6- this is true, but misleading. The feedback does not have to affect the system directly where the increase in energy is taking place- it can mitigate the 'increase' by affecting input elsewhere. For example, increased cloud cover reflecting more enrgy back into space than would otherwise be done. This doesn't break any of the laws of thermodynamics (as has been suggested elsewhere in the thread) and is completely compatable with current observations.
    7- positive feedbacks, all correct as far as i can tell
    negative feedbacks- there is more than one, we know this, in fact we know there are many interconnected feedbacks- both positive and negative- we just don't know what they all are- so a comparative list like this is, at best, misleading. Not to mention the 'degree' of feedback,

    i'm afraid you're going to have to qualify this a bit more- " ALL of the 33K above natural temperature and that the natural 280ppm of CO2 makes a significant contribution?"

    -are you saying that the earth is 306 'C higher in temp than it should be?
    -also, how can you say that c02 is a significant contributer when you've already stated that water vapour is the largest?

    You then go on to wax lyrical about the IPCC et al- which probably isn't wise.

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  • 181. At 10:55am on 20 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies #175

    Bleedin' 'eck Canadian Rockies, I'm amazed the mods allowed you to get away with that "karma" comment. It's not the sort of stuff people normally say about someone that's just died and has grieving relatives out there.

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  • 182. At 11:26am on 20 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @robedwards1980 #179

    "and for those who do not understand jargon, “estimate” is not synonymous with “guess”"

    Are you having a pop at bowmanthebard's #142?

    Brave. Very brave.

    (takes cover behind sofa)

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  • 183. At 11:54am on 20 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #182
    robedwards1980 #179

    and for those who do not understand jargon, “estimate” is not synonymous with “guess”

    And 'best' is not synonymous with 'only' or 'the'!

    When we estimate an average such as the mean, and a measure of variation such as a confidence interval or standard deviation, the average is nothing like "my best offer", or "my best guess", or "my best symphony", or "my best behaviour", or... because the measure of variation does not generate a range of alternative options which are less good.




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  • 184. At 4:23pm on 20 Jul 2010, robedwards1980 wrote:

    For those wanting some discussion on "feedbacks" try this:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/explained/feedbacks.html

    Though I realise this is from those corrupt, venal scientists conspiring to get grants to fund their research, not from the amateur scientists on here whose motivations are entirely pure.

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  • 185. At 5:43pm on 20 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    It has always bothered me the way the statistics of extrapolation (which eschews the testing of hypotheses) uses an Orwellian newspeak version of terminology from genuine science (which does involve the testing of hypotheses). The current use of the word 'estimate' is a good example of this tendency.

    Whenever we "estimate" something, we make a judgment about its value. It might be a pure guess, or it might involve a lot of observations, calculations, etc.. One way or another, an estimate "sticks its neck out" by taking a risk that it might be wrong. The "best" estimate is the judgment that turns out to be least wrong, because it comes closest to the actual or observed value of the variable. To find out close it is, a comparison is made between the estimated value and something else.

    However, the statistics of extrapolation doesn't involve that crucial last step -- the comparison. Its methods do not involve any "something else" for its so-called "estimates" to be compared to (and thereby judged to be closer to or more distant from). It simply starts off with some so-called "data", then uses mathematics to arrive at a figure that these "data" imply. Because this figure lies at the centre of a penumbra of other figures, it is tempting to suppose that it is the "best" figure in a field of "less good" figures. But that is simply not the case, as that "penumbra" of other figures is itself just part of the original calculation from the original "data" -- in effect it is an added detail of the original figure implied by those "data".

    We might call the divination of such a figure an "estimate", but we cannot call anything a "best" estimate until we have compared it to reality to see how good it turned out to be -- in other words until we have tested it.

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  • 186. At 5:44pm on 20 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @robedwards1980 #184

    I thought your link wasn't that bad. From the link:

    Clouds could create positive or negative climate feedbacks and are an ongoing area of research.

    Which is exactly what LabMunkey and I have been saying - we don't know enough about clouds to be sure, but sensitivity including the cloud effect appears to be low.

    One example is low-level clouds, especially stratocumulus, which help reflect sunlight and keep the Earth cool. The more stratocumulus we get over the planet, the more cooling effect. If our warming climate creates more low cloud, this would be a negative feedback — helping to offset the heating by reflecting more sunlight away from Earth. If our current climate change means there will be less low cloud overall, then this would be a positive feedback — contributing further to the warming by allowing more sunlight in.

    Pinker anyone?

    /Mango

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  • 187. At 7:08pm on 20 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    @Mango #186:

    It's not just the altitude of the clouds - there are many other factors involved, a lot of which are unpredictable.
    For example, clouds over a tropical ocean will have far more effect on the albedo than the same amount of cloud over a polar icecap, similarly clouds over a rainforest will have far more effect than the same cloud over a desert. Also, clouds which form early in a day will block out much more sunlight than those which form late in the day.
    And, given that a 1% change in the earth's albedo leads to roughly a 1C change in average temperature, something small like the wind direction or the position of a SST 'hotspot' can have quite profound effects.

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  • 188. At 7:26pm on 20 Jul 2010, robedwards1980 wrote:

    The unreconstructed MMCC deniers on here might like to read Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse”. It describes the collapse of civilisations and societies that exploited their environment beyond its capacity to support them. Some experienced natural climate change and were uanble to adapt quickly enough, others simply pushed it too far. Examples include the Maya, Anasazi, Easter Island, Medieval Greenland. One question he asks was “what was the Easter Islander that cut down the last tree thinking as he was doing it?”. Could it be “I’m sure there’s just one more around that headland”? Similarly what will our descendents be thinking as the sea laps up around them, and oil is running out: “We were told the climate sensitivity in those climate models was wrong, now look”.

    Humans are capable of investigating and understanding nature and making predictions about what may or may not happen as a result of that understanding. Modern humans have an even greater ability to do this, based on science not based on superstition and the capriciousness of “the gods”. Whether you accept the “consensus” or not you had better have a compelling reason to expect the rest of us to ignore it. Arguments that “they’ve been wrong before” is not in the least compelling.

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  • 189. At 7:57pm on 20 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #188 robedwards1980 wrote:

    Whether you accept the “consensus” or not you had better have a compelling reason to expect the rest of us to ignore it.

    I do have a compelling reason. The current consensus is based on chummy feelings rather than testing, as genuine science requires. Its methods stink. It's confused and stupid.

    Arguments that “they’ve been wrong before” is not in the least compelling.

    Suddenly, I agree with you. Do you see why?

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  • 190. At 8:10pm on 20 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK #186 (also #91 and #100)

    Mango, Pinker et al 2005 is one paper and it did not directly measure climate sensitivity. And yes, the IPCC are aware of Pinker.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-4-2.html
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-2-2-2.html

    If you keep banging on about Pinker then various accusations about cherry-picking might start to look justified.

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  • 191. At 8:17pm on 20 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    To those who subscribe to the so-called 'precautionary principle', which, in reality, means throwing untold trillions in order to have an uncertain effect on an uncertain problem - and risk impoverishing the entire planet in the process, how would you feel about spending equivalent trillions in order to protect the peoples of the earth from, or mitigate the effects of, asteroid strikes, tsunamis, mega-earthquakes and supervolcanoes? With these things, it's not a question of if, but rather a question of when?
    Not to mention diseases, wars etc, which are continuously causing death and suffering on a biblical scale?
    What are we doing about those things? And if not, why not? Surely the precautionary principle shouldn't apply to just one of many potential disaster scenarios?

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  • 192. At 8:22pm on 20 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    @robedwards1980 #188:

    One question he asks was “what was the Easter Islander that cut down the last tree thinking as he was doing it?”


    He was probably just following the diktats of his religious leaders, in the belief that cutting down that one last tree would deliver him and his people to Paradise.
    Not a million miles away from what people are doing nowadays.

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  • 193. At 8:29pm on 20 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    Further to my #191:

    And are we 100% confident that our efforts to cut carbon emissions, if they're successful, might not hasten the onset of the next glacial period?
    Do we know enough about how the climate works to be able to answer that one?

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  • 194. At 8:49pm on 20 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    @robedwards1980 #188:

    Similarly, is it too much to ask that you have a compelling reason to expect the rest of us to pay for it?

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  • 195. At 9:14pm on 20 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke #190

    The Pinker paper pointed out that a small change in cloud cover could have a big effect on surface solar radiation and hence temperature, without the need for another forcing

    Hardly cherry picking to point out a paper that could show global warming to be mostly natural

    /Mango

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  • 196. At 11:47pm on 20 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    @Mango #195:

    There's also the new Miskolczi paper at: http://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B74u5vgGLaWoNDFjODAwMWMtNmNmYS00NDhmLWI3NjItMTE0NGMwNWMxYjQ2&hl=en

    Haven't yet had a chance to have more than a quick look at it.

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  • 197. At 00:01am on 21 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK #195

    "Hardly cherry picking to point out a paper that could show global warming to be mostly natural"

    So what you're saying is the only reason you like the observations in Pinker over other sensitivity related observations is that they agree with your low sensitivity theory.

    Hardly cherry picking? LOL

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  • 198. At 00:14am on 21 Jul 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @robedwards1980 #188

    "Some experienced natural climate change and were unable to adapt quickly enough, others simply pushed it too far. Examples include the Maya, Anasazi, Easter Island, Medieval Greenland."

    So, Medieval Greenland Experienced rapid natural climate change did it?

    Are you sure that you ran that past all of the members of the warmist collective?

    Next you'll be telling us that it happened in Europe, South Africa, South America, China and Indochina at around about the same time too ;-)

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 199. At 00:22am on 21 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #181. JaneBasingstoke (177. MangoChutneyUKOK)

    I do believe in Karma.

    I do accept death as part of life, especially for 65 year olds, so I don't mourn for the millions of people who die every day unless I know them personally.

    I don't see anything offensive about my comment. I do think that PNAS paper was as low as one can go, and I know that the world is full of irony.

    That said, if I did offend you I apologize.

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  • 200. At 02:57am on 21 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @peter317

    Your link didn't work, but I found the paper here:

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=483

    The data negate increase in CO2 in the atmosphere as a hypothetical cause for the apparently observed global warming. A hypothesis of significant positive feedback by water vapor effect on atmospheric infrared absorption is also negated by the observed measurements. Apparently major revision of the physics underlying the greenhouse effect is needed.

    which is a very bold claim, especially if Miskolczi is advocating throwing 100 years of physics into the bin.

    I haven't read the full paper yet, but the first thing i notice is Miskolczi "ignores the presence or absence of clouds..." and "assumes the atmosphere is in a stable steady state of cloud cover", which imho are a no no.

    I'd be cautious before trumpeting this paper.

    /Mango

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  • 201. At 03:28am on 21 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke #197

    So what you're saying is the only reason you like the observations in Pinker over other sensitivity related observations is that they agree with your low sensitivity theory.

    I'm not saying that Jane as you well know. My mentioning Pinker was in relation to robedwards link to climate sensitivity at the met office. As you pointed out, Pinker did not measure sensitivity directly.

    The Pinker paper shows solar radiation reaching the earths surface increased between 1983-2001 at a rate of 0.16W/m sq. Please note, this is the increase received at the earths surface which may or may not relate to actual solar radiation output (the sun didn’t put out more light).

    The paper also states there was a decrease in solar radiation reaching the earths surface from 1960-1990, although the paper points out that this was pre-satellite era and not part of their study, whereas their study was all satellite.

    The paper suggests the reason for the increase in solar radiation was due to changes in cloud cover allowing more of the suns light to reach the surface.

    I took a look at RC for their view on the Pinker paper and the only conclusions they seem to draw are “There must be some slight cautions about the quality of the satellite data” and the results should not be over interpreted.

    No rebuttal, no see this paper for the reasons why this is wrong. Even the answers to the comments seem measured, which is very unusual for RC.

    I think the Pinker paper is significant. If the sun didn’t put out more light, but the earth did receive more radiation due to a change in cloud cover, this could account for the known warming without the CO2 correlation

    it’s a very interesting paper and I believe Pinker has recently stated the IPCC mis-interpreted their paper.

    consider Svensmarks ideas relating to cosmic rays as a possible explanation for cloud cover


    /Mango

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  • 202. At 08:18am on 21 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 188.

    i'm afraid your post shot yourself in the foot there a little bit (twice actually), even more unfortunate is that you probably don't even realise why.

    @ mango,
    good paper that, thanks for the 'spot'

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  • 203. At 08:59am on 21 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #201 MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    the sun didn’t put out more light

    Without wishing to call this claim into question, I've often wondered why people sound so confident about it. Over and over again, light (and electromagnetic radiation in general) turns out to be much more complicated that we thought.

    The obvious example is white light. Pre-Newton, everyone thought white light was pure and simple, but Newton showed it was impure and complicated. There is a very wide variety of different kinds of "pure white light".

    At the other end of the causal chain, there's much more to colour perception that was believed until quite recently. There are many interesting ways to "fool the eye".

    If it's so easy to fool the eye, surely it must be even easier to fool the instruments?

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  • 204. At 09:17am on 21 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @203
    "If it's so easy to fool the eye, surely it must be even easier to fool the instruments?"

    i'd take issue with this- you can't fool instruments. They will measure precisely what you tell them to measure (assuming correct use). However, whether they are measuring what you THINK they are measuring, well that's a totally different question (and there are numerous examples of this being gotten spectaculary wrong).

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  • 205. At 09:41am on 21 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #204 LabMunkey wrote:

    i'd take issue with this- you can't fool instruments. They will measure precisely what you tell them to measure (assuming correct use).

    That's a bizarre thing to say. Ever hear of scientists measuring the "negative mass" of phlogiston? Did they perhaps neglect to give their instruments the right instructions? -- In which case, Priestley did "tell" his instruments to measure amounts of dephlogisticated air. (But he didn't take account of gases expanding at higher temperatures.)

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  • 206. At 09:52am on 21 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    @ LabMunkey #204

    Oh wait -- I think I get what you're saying. A brainless physical object doesn't have beliefs, so can't be mistaken. Fair enough. I suppose we must always remember that when we talk about an instrument we mean the instrument plus its interpretation by the human brain.

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  • 207. At 10:01am on 21 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 205.

    my mistake, i was not being precise enough in my use of language- which is obviously a mistake... :-)

    By 'measures' precisely what you tell it to measure i was reffering to the instrumentation's capabilities. I.e. if it is designed to measure at a specific wavelenght, it will, if it's designed to measure the exact weight of something, it will. It's the interpretation, or assumptions made AROUND the measurements, that cause the issue.

    Take the GRACE satellites as a prime example. They were designed to measure subtle gravitational variations in the earths make-up. HOwever evidence recently published shows this may not in fact be the case, that other factors are involved and the results may not mean what they think they do.

    This isn't the instruments fault, it is the designers or the operators. Perhaps i would have been better saying "the insturment cannot be fooled as it can by definition, only measure what it is designed to measure. Whether the operators/designers interpretation of what it is ACTUALLY measuring and the limitations of these measurements are correct, is secondary and more often than not- wrong".

    there :-)

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  • 208. At 11:17am on 21 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK #201

    "I'm not saying that Jane as you well know."

    No, I don't know. Your #195 was an extremely strong statement. And it followed a number of other strong statements from you about climate sensitivity observations.

    Your #201 is more measured. However the IPCC has looked at many other papers that have made observations relating to climate sensitivity including the behaviour of clouds. And they have found it difficult to reconcile these observations, partly because the different limitations of different observation methods have delivered different results - hence clouds are up for debate.

    I also point out that you appear to have been too selective in your Pinker quote. There was a turning point in 1990. A fuller version of your Pinker quote reads

    "Here we present an estimate of global temporal variations in S by using the longest available satellite record. We observed an overall increase in S from 1983 to 2001 at a rate of 0.16 watts per square meter (0.10%) per year; this change is a combination of a decrease until about 1990, followed by a sustained increase."

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/308/5723/850

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  • 209. At 11:51am on 21 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #208 JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "clouds are up for debate"

    Spoken like a true sceptic! Do I detect a hint of a change in the climate here?

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  • 210. At 11:53am on 21 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @blunderbunny #198
    (@robedwards1980)

    The debate over the MWP is frequently misunderstood.

    Warmist orthodoxy states that MWP warmth appears to have been geographically confined, and Greenland is explicitly included in the warm areas.

    Scientific debate over the MWP is what to do about problems with tree ring temperature proxies, which may be hiding anomalous MWP warmth in other locations, and how to get the stats right.

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  • 211. At 1:20pm on 21 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke #208

    Your #195 was an extremely strong statement. And it followed a number of other strong statements from you about climate sensitivity observations.

    You're probably right, Jane. My statements followed goading by Rene/Kirk/Sat_tyre/Rob (did i miss any of his/her alter egos?), who have all seemed to disappeared / morphed into yet another incarnation, without having answered questions

    Your #201 is more measured.

    That's because I'm talking to my favourite AGWer ;)

    I also point out that you appear to have been too selective in your Pinker quote. There was a turning point in 1990.

    It wasn't intended to be selective, I was aiming for brevity and the assumption that most people won't take my word for anything and will look up the paper for themselves - perhaps that's what Rene/Kirk/Sat_tyre/rob is doing as we speak!

    /Mango

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  • 212. At 1:59pm on 21 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #209

    "Spoken like a true sceptic!"

    Careful Bowman. You might have to apply the same compliment to the IPCC for their AR4.

    "The response of cloud cover to increasing greenhouse gases currently represents the largest uncertainty in model predictions of climate sensitivity (see Chapter 8)."

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-3.html

    "In summary, while there is some consistency between ISCCP, ERBS, SAGE II and surface observations of a reduction in high cloud cover during the 1990s relative to the 1980s, there are substantial uncertainties in decadal trends in all data sets and at present there is no clear consensus on changes in total cloudiness over decadal time scales."

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-3-2.html

    And this documentation of uncertainty isn't just squirreled away in the full AR4 report, it is also present in the shorter synthesis report

    [In the section on sensitivity and feedbacks] "Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty."

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/mains2-3.html

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  • 213. At 2:19pm on 21 Jul 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke

    It's okay Jane, I was only teasing. You know you shouldn't talk to me about tree ring proxies... Happy/happier with isotope ones.... Also happy that there are enough published papers (links and search hints published previously, if you want to wander though my contributions such as they are) to show that it was a global not a regional phenomena.

    Plus, it finally seems as if even the odd warmist is starting to concede that particular point..... yay, wonders will never cease.......

    I'm just waiting for the final nails in the dendroclimatological (not sure that's a word) coffin (couldn't happen to a nicer Mann), at least in the direct relation to temps and water and I'll mostly be a happy little chappie.

    Regards,

    One of the (Mysteriously Cheerful) Lobby

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  • 214. At 2:24pm on 21 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK #211

    Thanks for that. Thanks also for your #200.

    I found this on Youtube, I couldn't watch all of it, my head started hurting when Miskolczi's mate started comparing graphs and deciding that the similarity of near featureless slightly upward curves should be treated as "new relationships" and substituting these "new relationships" into equations. (blows raspberry at Miskolczi's mate)

    I think Bowman would have a field day debunking Miskolczi.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ykgg9m-7FK4

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  • 215. At 2:48pm on 21 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @MangoChutneyUKOK
    @peter317

    On the subject of Miskolczi 2010.

    Miskolczi seems to have form. Along similar lines to Gerlich and Tscheuschner.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/06/gigo-eli-has-learned-over-years-that.html

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  • 216. At 5:52pm on 21 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke #214

    You're welcome Jane, I just tell it the way i see it

    /Mango

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  • 217. At 6:44pm on 21 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    @Mango #200:

    "I'd be cautious before trumpeting this paper."

    I'm not endorsing it in any way, neither do I intend doing so. Someone I know brought it to my attention, so I just posted it - warts and all - FWIW.
    Please don't shoot the messenger.
    I had a bit of a falling out with Jane a while back because I defended a very small section of another paper, which became the subject of, I felt, some unjustifiable criticism. I was in no way defending the whole paper, which I hadn't even read - nor had any intention of doing so. Life's too short.

    Sorry Jane, love ya, but it had to be said. ;-)

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  • 218. At 6:48pm on 21 Jul 2010, Peter317 wrote:

    @JaneBasingstoke #210:

    "Warmist orthodoxy states that MWP warmth appears to have been geographically confined, and Greenland is explicitly included in the warm areas."

    It could also be argued that the warmth over the last few years has also been geographically confined - particularly around the Arctic.

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  • 219. At 11:35am on 22 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @blunderbunny #213

    "It's okay Jane, I was only teasing."

    You were being sarcastic to a climate debate newbie, and a newbie who clearly did not know his own limits.

    Now I'm not saying sarcasm is off limits to such an individual, I am saying that you do need to be careful which topics you apply that sarcasm to. This is one of the reasons for all the Star Trek cracks made in posts addressed to "James T Kirk", there was a reasonable chance "Kirk" would have understood the joke.

    @Peter317 #218

    "It could also be argued that the warmth over the last few years has also been geographically confined - particularly around the Arctic."

    The difference being that today's highest temperature anomalies are in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, and that today's global average temperatures are demonstratably high.

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  • 220. At 11:45am on 22 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Peter317 #217

    Yes I had to apologise for my initial sloppiness in debunking Gerlich and Tscheuschner, which you picked up on.

    Incidentally I think my initial apology was too strong, I think G and T wanted to use the apparently spurious calculation to soften their readers up for their subsequent rejection of radiative balance (and therefore conservation of energy) as a means of calculating expected temperature.

    I corrected my sloppiness. But Gerlich and Tscheuschner are still pushing their howlers.

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