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Climate ship trims sails but keeps captain

Richard Black | 09:30 UK time, Friday, 15 October 2010

IPCC plenary meeting, Busan:

Smog in morning in China

The IPCC hopes its reforms will cut through any smog of confusion

So: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came to South Korea with Rajendra Pachauri in charge, and it leaves with Rajendra Pachauri in charge.

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Despite calls for him to go from some sceptics and environmentalists alike, it's worth noting that although reports from the InterAcademy Council, the Dutch government's environment agency and others found faults in IPCC processes, none of them concluded that chopping off the head would improve the workings of the body.

The review and reform process instigated earlier this year was always about much more than one person.

It's fundamentally about two things.

One is updating the governance of an organisation conceived 22 years ago - before the internet revolution, in a less responsive era of governance, and before attacking the science of climate change became such an important political strategy.

The other is making sure that its rules on issues such as dealing with critical comments and non-peer-reviewed material are followed to the letter, and improved if they are not completely fit for purpose.

Whether the IPCC leaves South Korea with all of these issues fully tackled is, however, another matter.

The InterAcademy Council, in its recent review, noted that it might take time for the IPCC to assess some of its recommendations and decide what to do about them; change did not have to be explosive, it said.

Even so, it is hard to escape the feeling that the government delegates who sit on the panel and are finally responsible for it are making a big meal out of some pretty straightforward decisions.

Rajendra Pachauri

 

Dr Pachauri denied that the divisive politics of the UN climate convention had spilled over into the IPCC meeting - but that view was not shared by other delegates I spoke to.

The IAC report has been available for governments to consider since August; is it so difficult to reach decisions on issues such as whether to appoint a new chief for the small and overworked secretariat?

If the reforms that have been decided are implemented in full, though, it's hard to argue that the IPCC will not be a more effective body producing better honed and more wide-ranging assessments of the global climate.

Nothing can guarantee there will be no repeat of "HimalayaGate", especially given the ever-increasing mountain of scientific material that the IPCC has to assess.

But next time around - the fifth assessment (AR5), due out in 2013-4 - we should, in principle, see a report that clarifies much better which conclusions are based on solid evidence, and which sit on more ephemeral grounds.

We should see a more robust review process, ensuring critical comments are not only read but analysed and acted upon.

If mistakes are made, they should be corrected more quickly and more transparently.

And we should see an organisation less vulnerable to malicious attack - partly because potential conflicts of interest will have been assessed and dealt with ahead of time, and partly because when organisations are open to constructive criticism, there tends to be less of the malicious stuff around.

However AR5 turns out, Rajendra Pachauri will be here to usher it in, barring some major mishap.

Although the IAC recommended that IPCC chairs should serve only a single term, governments decided there was no reason to truncate his second term halfway through - and as I understand things, not a single delegate pressed for anything more.

The flamboyance may be turned down a notch, given the acceptance that the IPCC's job is to inform policy-making, not to recommend policies - and indeed, that was evident in South Korea, in a more restrained press conference performance than we have been used to from the usually ebullient doctor.

But he is, and remains, very much in charge.

Successive reviews found there was no smoking gun in his leadership role, just as they found no smoking gun on the issue of mainstream climate science itself.

All the frenzy of the last year has not changed that - though it may yet, perhaps, lead to a new, more open and more effective era for a modernised IPCC.

 

Comments

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  • 1. At 10:27am on 15 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    Pachauri is such a PR disaster for the AGW alarmists, that leaving him in post is good for us scientists who are sceptical of AGW. He is an object of ridicule. Long may he continue with his gaffs and porn books.

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  • 2. At 10:51am on 15 Oct 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "But he is, and remains, very much in charge."

    So we have to wait till he dies - by the way how old is he. He has quite obviously held his views fro such a long time he is impervious to contradictory facts and thus given the way that science works he will hold his views no matter how wrong till he retires or dies. This is a pity as it is preventing the World from doing what is necessary to ameliorate the problems of climate change - instead we are stuck in the rut of the wrong answer (that CO2 is 'the cause" rather than it being just an effect).

    I am sure that the answers really is (in the style of the tabloid press) "it is the SUN wot does it" (climate change that is)! It will take a few years (a few wasted years!) and billions of dollars for the scientific community to converge on this view - but scientifically that actually fits the facts (rather than in the case of CO2 having to fiddle the facts to fit!)

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  • 3. At 12:14pm on 15 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    Richard,
    the main science page of the BBC website doesn't seem to be updating your recent blogs very quickly- it took days for the last one to be linked and this one (at time of typing) isn't either.

    May be worth having a word with the website people, you're blog will not be getting as much traffic as it normally would.

    On topic, all im really interested is the removal or serious curtailment of grey literature. Cut that out and already the IPCC regains significant confidence back but i agree with this assessment richard, completely:

    "Even so, it is hard to escape the feeling that the government delegates who sit on the panel and are finally responsible for it are making a big meal out of some pretty straightforward decisions"

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  • 4. At 12:24pm on 15 Oct 2010, AnotherEngineer wrote:

    before attacking the science of climate change became such an important political strategy.
    I suggest that there is a simple counter to this - publish the science in full for peer review. This will surely silence the deniers immediately. The failure to do so is bound to raise suspicion.

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  • 5. At 1:31pm on 15 Oct 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #4. AnotherEngineer wrote:

    "publish the science in full for peer review"

    Peer review is not the be all and end all of science as it does not produce truth that lasts forever. It really depends on who the peers are. Peer review typically fails at the time of paradigm change when one orthodoxy is on its last legs (such as is the case of CO2 caused AGW).

    The climate has always changed during all of our the planet's history. No one will deny that. The denial is about cause and effect.

    It is entirely wrong to describe solar flux climate changers as being deniers. It is that their view of the scientific fact supports their view and they see that the CO2 AGW mob as being unsupported by real scientific facts. This difference creates a divergence in required actions and there is the critical difference. (I'll no spell out the difference here as I have done so so many times before.)

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  • 6. At 1:33pm on 15 Oct 2010, Roland D wrote:

    "before attacking the science of climate change became such an important political strategy."

    Or how about "before promoting the so-called science of climate change became such an important political strategy"?

    Do you seriously believe that climate change wasn't political until a few boys suggested that the emperor was in his birthday suit, Mr Black?

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  • 7. At 1:35pm on 15 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Richard Black.

    "It's fundamentally about two things.

    One is updating the governance of an organisation conceived 22 years ago - before the internet revolution, in a less responsive era of governance, and before attacking the science of climate change became such an important political strategy.

    The other is making sure that its rules on issues such as dealing with critical comments and non-peer-reviewed material are followed to the letter, and improved if they are not completely fit for purpose."

    this (loosely) translates to:

    one, the big players will ensure IPCC governance remains weak and ineffectual.
    (after all, it works in the United Nations)

    two, the big players will use technicalities to discredit and ignore all unwelcome materials.
    (many of our judiciaries show this to be a viable course of action)

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  • 8. At 1:47pm on 15 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    But he is, and remains, very much in charge.

    Successive reviews found there was no smoking gun in his leadership role, just as they found no smoking gun on the issue of mainstream climate science itself.


    The future is certain only the past is unpredictable.

    /Mango

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  • 9. At 1:59pm on 15 Oct 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Was it a video conference interview...

    Or has Richard been - gasp - flying....

    Did the BBC but Richard his 'carbo offset'

    did Richard buy his own...

    Or did no one bother (only 7% do apparently - for flying) because Richard has important work do do, part of the AGW elite,the BBC is exempt from such things.... ?

    sarcasm, sorry, but a serious point...

    Does the BBC buy carbon offsets for their correspondents flying,

    If so how much.?

    If not, why not...?

    or are carbon offset only for the little people going on holiday.. not important BBC business' defending the IPCC's AGW delusion

    I would recommend buying your CO2 'indulgence' from these guys, the biggest bunch of merchant bankers that I could find.

    JP Morgan Chase - Climate Care...

    http://www.jpmorganclimatecare.com/

    I bought one for my cars TOTAL lifetime mileage (for posterity, to be framed) which was the equivalent of just one return flight to Australia.

    I get called deniar, (no flights for me or family for 9 years) by people that have 'carbon' footprints, dozens of times (or more) than my own. yet they wonder why I am sceptical.

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  • 10. At 2:13pm on 15 Oct 2010, AnotherEngineer wrote:

    #5
    You are quite right John (did I really say that?). Peer review was the wrong thing to say. I should have said where everyone can read and, hopefully, understand it. I am amazed that all the evidence is not collected together in easily digestible form, or perhaps it is?

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  • 11. At 4:32pm on 15 Oct 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    I like the closing line

    "All the frenzy of the last year has not changed that - though it may yet, perhaps, lead to a new, more open and more effective era for a modernised IPCC."

    Not going to happen the politicos have thrown the railway engineer and the whole process under a bus. It's a great way for the Camerons, Obamas etc. to wriggle out of all that nonsense they have been telling us.

    The whole IPCC is corrupt and the chairman with it, AR4 is basically in shreads and it seems okay to carry on with AR5.

    I do admire the idea that there was only one error in AR4 when the vast majority know it is full of self interest, conflicts of interest and basically nonsense to the point of being fictional. But it seems okay to carry this on!

    AR5 will be published but it will be a bigger joke than AR4, the whole thing is delusional, as it simply is not happening, people are not going to listen anymore. So hence the politcos will keep the IPCC in place to further shoot itself in the foot.

    As Labmonkey said have a word Richard my browser was showing your blog from last week.

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  • 12. At 7:42pm on 15 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    "Successive reviews found there was no smoking gun in his leadership role, just as they found no smoking gun on the issue of mainstream climate science itself."

    None of the reviews looked for the smoking gun. They were deliberately set up to whitewash the accused and not look at the science. Perhaps Richard hasn't read Andrew Montford's review of the reviews, or that by McKitrick.

    If you don't look, you won't find. Cognitive dissonance continues Richard. I wonder at what point you will come to accept thet AGW is the biggest scientific scam of all time.

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  • 13. At 8:43pm on 15 Oct 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Is it time for the BBC to get some skeptical reporters to balance out the team ?

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  • 14. At 8:53pm on 15 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Jack Hughes #13

    Won't happen - the BBC's Blog of Bloom was closed last March

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/climatechange/

    Having said that events will force the BBC to change sooner of later - it's just a matter of time

    /Mango

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  • 15. At 8:59pm on 15 Oct 2010, Yorkurbantree wrote:

    Jack Hughes @13:
    "Is it time for the BBC to get some skeptical reporters to balance out the team ?"

    Yeah, why not? I think the BBC News team should be more accomodating at covering all the beliefs of viewers. With health storys the BBC should also have a skeptical reporter - say a member of the "Christian Science" deonomination (yes, they do exist), who can put forward the argument that drugs and conventional medicine don't work...

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  • 16. At 10:16pm on 15 Oct 2010, Vic Smith wrote:

    Richard's use of the term 'smoking gun' demonstrates the inability of many warmists to understand the nature of the problem that sceptics have with climate science. It is not a matter of showing one killer flaw that invalidates the IPCC's pronouncements.
    The whole process used to produce predictions of future climate is flawed. It cannot possibly succeed. This is also the reason that there is no point discussing details. Climate science could have the most robust data imaginable and it would still be unable to make useful predictions.

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  • 17. At 02:36am on 16 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    12. PAWB46 wrote:

    "Successive reviews found there was no smoking gun in his leadership role, just as they found no smoking gun on the issue of mainstream climate science itself."

    None of the reviews looked for the smoking gun. They were deliberately set up to whitewash the accused and not look at the science. Perhaps Richard hasn't read Andrew Montford's review of the reviews, or that by McKitrick.

    If you don't look, you won't find. Cognitive dissonance continues..."

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

    Exactly! It takes a certain kind of denial to pretend that these whitewashes mean anything. Just more bogus peer review by cherry picked peers designed to produce a predetermined result.

    Here's something that sheds light on the incestuous circle of so-called peers and the lack of objectivity of the Oxburgh Whitewash...

    "The chair of the Panel... that re-endorsed the 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change sits on the science advisory board of a large international bank http://annualreport.deutsche-bank.com/2009/ar/supplementaryinformation/advisoryboards.html The bank has a $60+ billion Green portfolio, which it wishes to assure investors is safe…not to mention their income from carbon trading. Other members of this board include current IPCC chief Pachauri and Lord Oxburgh, of Climategate exoneration fame."

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/13/aps-responds-deconstructing-the-aps-response-to-dr-hal-lewis-resignation/

    Such a small world. Follow the money. Pity the dupes.

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  • 18. At 02:38am on 16 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    1. PAWB46 wrote:

    "Pachauri is such a PR disaster for the AGW alarmists, that leaving him in post is good for us scientists who are sceptical of AGW. He is an object of ridicule. Long may he continue with his gaffs and porn books."

    Agree entirely again. Keep him there as long as possible! Then replace him with Al Gore or Tony Bliar.

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  • 19. At 04:05am on 16 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    isn't it funny how Mr Pachauri is being maligned and belittled continuously mostly because he chairs an organisation that has become a focal point for the ire of those in favour of the status quo? a bit like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran. politics, eh?

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  • 20. At 08:59am on 16 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

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

  • 21. At 10:02am on 16 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Vic Smith #16 wrote:

    The whole process used to produce predictions of future climate is flawed. It cannot possibly succeed. This is also the reason that there is no point discussing details. Climate science could have the most robust data imaginable and it would still be unable to make useful predictions.

    I completely agree. That is why I never bother to discuss the details. Climate science is guided by a completely wrong, thoroughly discredited image of science (which comes from psychology, not physics or biology) and anyway its subject-matter is chaotic, so even if it employ genuinely scientific methods, it would not get very far.

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  • 22. At 10:14am on 16 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Vic Smith #16 & bowmanthebard #21

    As I said in my comment

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/10/climate_ship_trims_sails_but_k.html#P101880130

    The future is certain only the past is unpredictable.

    /Mango

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  • 23. At 10:15am on 16 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    Reposted from #20

    I know plagiarism is the in-thing, so I attribute this comment on cognitive dissonance to Roger:

    "As contrary evidence has accumulated and political efforts have been frustrated, proponents of global warming have shown signs of cognitive dissonance. More than a half century ago, Leon Festinger developed the concept of cognitive dissonance and conducted early studies referred to even today. The idea is that when presented with information that is dissonant from strong beliefs that people have invested in, the easiest way to deal with it is to ignore it, divert attention to something else, or simply avoid that type of information. This helps explain why people can be resistant to new information which should be good news. Why would you get angry if someone tells you, “There won’t be a climate catastrophe.”

    But how can a belief be held so strongly when most people do not have the training or the inclination to make a personal scientific assessment? Well, it is easy for people to fold their global warming cognitive into their political cognitive or their too-many-people cognitive, or whatever. There it becomes hardily resistant to new information."

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  • 24. At 11:42am on 16 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Looking on the IPCC website it looks like they are falling over themselves to be transparent and accessible. The site gives you the structure of the organisation and 27 pages of who is responsible for what. The data produced by these individuals will be processed until deemed satisfactory and published for anyone with an interest in the subject. That is fair and reasonable. Let us hope and pray that none of these guardians of the truth are ever swayed, by whatever means, for whatever reasons, to diverge from the truth entrusted to them. If the truth is unpalatable it should still be the only dish served up. 'A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.' Hopefully now that the working groups are organized, if we did get a massive solar flare, NEO, magnetic reversal, jammed conveyor belt or whatever the structure of a worldwide organization is in place for the future. How they would communicate with each other if we did ever get 'the big one' is another matter.

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  • 25. At 12:31pm on 16 Oct 2010, Julian Williams wrote:

    "Successive reviews found there was no smoking gun in his leadership role, just as they found no smoking gun on the issue of mainstream climate science itself." Reviews by who? Did they look very hard or did they just ask his friends?

    Well where do you start?

    Scandal 1

    How about the Voodoo Science remark. At teh time he smeared an innocent scientist the IPCC chairman was wearing two hats

    Hat 1 - Chairman of the IPCC who supervised the writing of the AR4 report
    Hat 2 - Trustee and founder of TERI which was applying for millions of dollars of grants to study teh Himalayan glaciers.


    So he had a reason to smear VK Rainer when he blew the whistle about the Himalayan Glaciers not melting away withion 30 years, and his reaction was very strange, he smeared the scientist who threatened his grants for TERI, which were afterwards withdrawn.

    Scandal 2

    We cannot see his financial relationship with TERI. He has hired his own auditors to make a report saying he only recieves £44,500 per year from his relationshiop with TERI. But the report has caveats, such as one that the auditors relied on figures Pachuri gave the auditors. so it is a matter of trust.

    Then we look at his TERI Europe figuires and find he underreproted his income to the Charity comission for this charity by 85%. So why are we expected to trust his bookkeeping?

    Scandal No 3

    Before he became chairman he was ridiciuled in the Indian courts by a judge who said Pachauri had "suppressed material facts and they have sworn to false affidavits"

    The original court document of the judement is here: http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/290167/

    And this is a extract from Richard North's EUREferendum citing the contents of court document:

    the judge was entirely unconvinced, declaring that the three officers of the Council, including Mr (sic) Pachauri, " have suppressed material facts and they have sworn to false affidavits."

    The Judge went on to say that the defendant had acted in a very arbitrary way, stating: "such things could not be tolerated in a democratic set up." In a coruscating indictment, he then declared:

    And I am afraid, that the affairs and the efficient management of the Centre are not safe in the hands of officers like ... Dr R K Pachauri ... and they had ignored that the officers have to function as a public functionaries within the parameters of the Constitution.

    A year after that judgement, Pachauri was elected to become co-chair of the IPCC. He is still on the Governing Council of the Habitat Centre and between September 2004 and September 2006 was its president.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/12/hypocrite-as-well-as-liar.html

    That is just off the top of my head, there are his relationships through TERI with all sorts of commercial organisations, including the Carbon Exchanges. Too many things wrong with keeping this man!

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  • 26. At 1:04pm on 16 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Julian Williams at post 25
    When you cast doubt on the credibility of a person and even name the person in question, doesn't that cause a problem or two? Firstly, I found myself wondering who you were. Secondly, I started wondering if you had wanted to be on the team and were refused. Thirdly, I wondered if you had some financial stake in something opposed to the person named. Casting doubt raises questions about the doubter as well as the person named. I am sorry if this offends in any way but, having a questioning disposition I want to know more about the underlying reasons for casting doubt in the first place. My fourth point is, why would a global body of people chose to employ a person with a disreputable character (as suggested) when they want world wide credibility? Don't forget I am not a scientist and I am only a member of the public who has a real interest in the subjects discussed on this blog.

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  • 27. At 3:09pm on 16 Oct 2010, Spanglerboy wrote:

    Julian Williams #25
    Presumably all these facts are known to the people that keep this man as head of the IPCC. If so, one can only assume that it is policy of the international community for the IPCC to continue to have serious credibility problems. This may be part of a narrative that will allow governments to distance themselves from the shambles as time goes by.
    On the other hand it is much more likely the case that the people who make these important decisions are somewhat less well informed than the average web surfer.
    None of this is going to help to re-establish the reputation of science.
    Hey ho. Onwards and upwards.

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  • 28. At 3:47pm on 16 Oct 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    Great to see that Captain Pachauri will go down with his ship. It can only sink faster with his totally discredited leadership.

    The multiple gaping creditability holes in the hull of Her Majesty's Ship "IPCC man-made global warming" means that it is time for all those environmental fundamentalists to launch lifeboats.

    I am pleased to see that Richard is finally starting to change his tune. Richard appears to have drifted away from the IPCC Titanic not long after it hit that Himalayan Iceberg (just the most recent in a long list of embarrassing collisions, that have ripped apart IPCC propaganda).

    Simply fantastic to see Richard rowing backwards with both oars, towards the skeptics camp, in his eco-friendly lifeboat.

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  • 29. At 3:52pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    26. At 1:04pm on 16 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:
    My fourth point is, why would a global body of people chose to employ a person with a disreputable character (as suggested) when they want world wide credibility?


    I should remind you that the original choice as chair of IPCC was Bob Watson. Here's Wiki's entry on his removal after pressure from the US government:

    "In April 2002 the United States pressed for and won his replacement by Rajendra Pachauri as IPCC chair. According to New Scientist, "The oil industry seems to be behind the move." The industry campaign to oust Watson had begun days after George W. Bush's inauguration in January 2001, with a memo to the White House from Randy Randol of oil giant ExxonMobil asking "Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the US?" "

    So Pachauri, with all his vacillating, grandstanding, and all his vulnerabilities to accusations of conflicts of interest, seems to have been an acceptable choice as far as the US government and the oil industry were concerned

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  • 30. At 4:10pm on 16 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Lots of dirty laundry and intrigue and so much better than a soap opera. How can they clean up their act? Some of the cloth is wearing thin and the stitching is coming undone.

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  • 31. At 4:27pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    28. Shadorne wrote:
    ... not long after it hit that Himalayan Iceberg (just the most recent in a long list of embarrassing collisions, that have ripped apart IPCC propaganda).


    Shadorne, this is all just rhetoric. The story about the Himalayan glacier is the only uncontested error that anybody has found in the 3,0000 page IPCC report. And that's with hundreds of self styled "auditors" crawling all over it like a rash.

    If it wasn't the only error, why keep bringing it up? You apparently have a "long list of embarrassing collisions". Why not give us a bit of variety by plucking something else out of this list.

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  • 32. At 5:18pm on 16 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

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

  • 33. At 5:25pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #31. Me
    The story about the Himalayan glacier is the only uncontested error that anybody has found in the 3,0000 page IPCC report.


    Sorry. Even the IPCC only has 3,000 pages not 30,000!

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  • 34. At 7:13pm on 16 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    Paul Butler:

    Other IPPC errors:

    Chapter 12 of WGII claims that 55% of the Netherlands is below sea level. In fact the true figure is about 26%.

    For lots more errors, distortions and exaggeration in AR4, see http://sites.google.com/site/globalwarmingquestions/ipcc

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  • 35. At 7:35pm on 16 Oct 2010, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    Right man for the job, good looks and charisma count for nothing, just let him get on with his good work.

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  • 36. At 7:40pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #34 PAWB46

    Well, we're only talking about errors, and uncontested errors at that.

    I'm not saying there are no other errors in IPCC, just that the Himalayan glacier one is the only example that people ever come up with, presumably because its the only one that can be unarguably attributed to IPCC itself, or perhaps because it is so spectacularly wrong.

    With regard to the Netherlands example, the agency which supplied the information to IPCC has accepted that it supplied the wrong information. Here's a quote from one of the links in your list of criticisms.

    The IPCC based its claim about Dutch vulnerability to rising sea level on data it received from the Netherlands environmental assessment agency PBL. "The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level where 60% of its population lives and 65% of its Gross National Product (GNP) is produced," according to the report."

    But the Dutch agency now admits it delivered incomplete wording to the panel. "It should have said 55 percent of the Netherlands is vulnerable to floods; 26 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level and another 29 percent can suffer when rivers flood," the PBL said in a statement after the mistake was uncovered by Dutch weekly Vrij Nederland on Wednesday.


    Unfortunately I don't have time to trawl through the rest of your list right now ;-(

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  • 37. At 8:02pm on 16 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    Paul Butler:

    So, not much peer review evident at the IPCC then. What are all those thousands of the world's experts actually doing when they compile these reports? Each chapter has editors, lead authors and authors (and probably more reviewers) who should pick up these errors, distortions and exaggerations. Even I would have queried the 55% figure for the Netherlands, and I am not an expert for the IPCC.

    Amazon rain forest vulnerability.

    Food production in Africa.

    The list goes on and on.

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  • 38. At 8:19pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #37. PAWB46 wrote:
    Paul Butler:
    So, not much peer review evident at the IPCC then.


    I wonder if you have any idea how many mistakes would have slipped through if there really had been "not much" peer review?

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  • 39. At 9:03pm on 16 Oct 2010, jackcowper wrote:

    to 32 Lamna

    Short memories in the denialist jihadi camp..

    You must be truly proud of yourself with this remark. Why the need to be so abusive?

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  • 40. At 9:29pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #39 Jack Cowper

    Hi Jack. This will be OT, but the last thread I was talking to you on got closed before I could come back to you, so I hope the mods let it through!

    I had a look at that Dennis Wheeler paper about Piers Corbyn that you mentioned to me on the earlier thread

    Essentially he assessed Corbyn's predictions of gales in the UK over a two year period. He used a chi-squared test to work the probability that Corbyn's results might have occurred by chance and found ...

    "the all year forecast success rates have only a 1 in 1000 probability of occurring by chance. It must be recalled however that this figure is derived by inclusion of the summer season data when ‘success’ rates are inflated as a result of the marked seasonality in the incidence of gales [ie its easy to predict 'no gales' in the summer]. In comparison the more informative forecast success rates for the September to April period have a random probability of 1 in 125. The corresponding figure for the winter only period (October to March) is much lower at approximately 1 in 5.

    Then in the conclusion, he mentions this
    Yet more compelling is the finding that the system successfully forecast, several months in advance, the four (arguably five) most active and damaging of the storms that occurred in the survey period.

    So it looks as if I'd be unfair if I said he was just making it up. There probably is something to it.


    On the hand I'd be careful about that assessment from weathernet that he provides on his site. That gives a very high success rate (86%?) in predicting tropical storms. The problem with trying to judge what is essentially a commercial organization is that they have no imperative to be honest. Quite the opposite in fact. So while I'm sure the document is real, I have no idea how many assessments he might have got weathernet to do before they came up with one that he liked!

    I should also say that I once looked at a powerpoint he provided about his views on the AGW theory and frankly it was full of unmitigated rubbish and very obvious errors right from the start. But of course CO2 levels are not relevant to his weather forecasts so he's being disingenuous when he says he doesn't use them in his models.

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  • 41. At 10:09pm on 16 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    #37 Paul Butler:

    I don't suppose anybody knows the answer to an unanswerable question. In my line of work, the sorts of errors we see here do not get through because we use verification before peer review. In verification, every claim from every reference is confirmed.

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  • 42. At 11:39pm on 16 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    40. At 9:29pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:
    "The problem with trying to judge what is essentially a commercial organization is that they have no imperative to be honest. Quite the opposite in fact".

    Hi Paul,

    I think you have just enunciated a new law of commercial success......

    The more dishonest you are as a company, the more successful you become.

    Sure makes it difficult to get repeat business, though.

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  • 43. At 00:31am on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    42. GeoffWard wrote:

    40. At 9:29pm on 16 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:
    "The problem with trying to judge what is essentially a commercial organization is that they have no imperative to be honest. Quite the opposite in fact".

    Hi Paul,

    I think you have just enunciated a new law of commercial success.....
    The more dishonest you are as a company, the more successful you become.
    Sure makes it difficult to get repeat business, though.



    Yes I expect there'll be some management guru along with a book about it soon ...

    No, I know what you mean, and obviously most commercial companies are as honest as they need to be and if they were blatantly dishonest they should be found out sharpish

    On the other hand, I'm acutely aware that I once let a racing tipster ... let's call him CD, I'm spending quite a few precious minutes writing this, so I don't want to get modded for libel ... have some of my money in the fond expectation that he had some system which would make me rich.

    Ha!

    Well he picked a few winners because he picked a few favourites, but there was no way on God's earth I was ever going to recoup what I'd already paid the guy.

    And that's the feeling I get when I look at WeatherAction, Piers Corbyn's site. The same breathless descriptions of his successes in the past. The same anonymous testimonials ("Mr PB", "Mr GW") from people whose lives have been changed by following the "system".

    So people on these threads do cite that 86% figure I mentioned in the earlier post to claim that WeatherAction's predictions are better than the Met Office's. And I just think its dishonest or naive of them to do that. And a bit hypocritical, since a major demand often made (correctly) is that publicly funded climate scientists should be fully transparent with their models and data.

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  • 44. At 09:57am on 17 Oct 2010, Jack Savage wrote:

    The IPCC has just enough political savvy to know that it must adapt or die. Expect much nodding by them in the direction of the concept that the uncertainties are greater than originally advertised. However, there will of course be a grim death grip held onto the original fundamental precept that it is ,according to them ,an incontrovertibe fact that our CO2 emissions are changing the planet for the worse. Why the death grip? Because to promote AGW is still the "raison d'etre" of the committee. If it for one minute sheds doubt on that, it dissolves itself.
    A small but significant battle has been won.

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  • 45. At 10:28am on 17 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    Jack Savage:

    You are right. They will increase the uncertainty to allow for a higher upper bound to warming without also a lower lower bound. They will never admit that there could be cooling.

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  • 46. At 12:17pm on 17 Oct 2010, quake wrote:

    38. Paul Butler wrote:

    "I wonder if you have any idea how many mistakes would have slipped through if there really had been "not much" peer review?"

    Take a look at the NIPCC report to find out. A report uncritically accepted by many "skeptics", betraying their attacks on the IPCC as insincere.

    The IPCC reports will continue to be authored by experts who summarize the state of current science. Many skeptics will continue denying basics like the greenhouse effect. Doesn't matter whose in charge of the IPCC.

    Many skeptics argue that they are just concerned for the reputation of science, but then some of them claim they couldn't be happier that Pachauri is staying on because it will discredit the science.

    Of course it won't discredit the science because the chair is a figurehead role and that the reports will read the same no matter who is chair. The people that matter realize this because they weren't born yesterday.

    Skeptics have been playing a game of "wish it so" where they hope that if they keep wishing and talking as if Pachauri matters to the credibility of the entire report, it might convince other people. I am glad Pachauri is staying because for all the claims to the contrary coming from skeptics, they really did want him to leave so they could start afresh attacking his replacement.

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  • 47. At 12:48pm on 17 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @quake #46

    Many skeptics will continue denying basics like the greenhouse effect.

    there are no credible sceptics who think CO2 is not a greenhouse gas or has an effect on temperatures. What we say is CO2 doesn't raise temperatures significantly after the first 200 ppmv or so, after that it's a minor increase that diminishes with each additional molecule

    there is no credible data outside of a lab or computer model to show otherwise

    so come on quake accept that people who are sceptical of CO2 driven global warming are not that odious word "deniers"

    /Mango

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  • 48. At 3:01pm on 17 Oct 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    quake @46 wrote "Many skeptics will continue denying basics like the greenhouse effect."

    If you studied graduate level atmospheric physics (I have) then you would know that basics (like CO2 infrared absorption) are woefully insufficient to explain complex atmospheric variations. Feedbacks to increased/decreased CO2 (negative/positive/indifferent) as well as many other naturally variable factors have long been well understood to easily have the potential to render CO2 absorption lab basics as a totally irrelevant/insignificant factor after the first 200 PPM or so.

    In layman's terms (allow me to borrow and expand on your term "the basics like the greenhouse effect"), think of the basics as "warmth in a bed with no blankets compared to a bed with one extra blanket". Big difference - am I right?

    Now imagine you add 10 more blankets and compare this to the bed without any blanket or even the bed with one blanket. Big difference again - am I right?

    Now let's add 100 blankets to the bed and compare this to the bed with 10 blankets - now we see that there is only a very small effect over the bed with 10 blankets but still a difference - am I right?

    Now let's add 100 more blankets. Ignoring the weight of the blankets in this analogy, we ask ourselves will the hypothetical person sleeping in the bed notice more warmth from the additional 100 blankets (there are now 200 total blankets) over 100 blankets. Probably not.

    Now lets at 200 more blankets. 400 blankets in total. In this case it starts to become obvious that the basic idea that each individual blanket contributes significantly to the warmth of the person sleeping in the bed ONLY works at the beginning. After a while it becomes INSIGNIFICANT how many extra blankets you add. Am I right?

    Now substitute in the above: One PPM CO2 is equivalent to One blanket.

    If you can follow this logic then you will understand why Skeptics do not believe we should be worried about catastrophe. Our atmospheric bed is already warm to a point where one blanket or ten more blankets or 200 more blankets has become insignificant.

    Those who paint man-made CO2 as a major driver with catastrophic consequences are being disingenuous. The overwhelming evidence is that these man-made CO2 thermageddon beliefs are religious convictions rather than having any solid basis in atmospheric sciences.

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  • 49. At 3:50pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #48. Shadorne wrote:
    Feedbacks to increased/decreased CO2 (negative/positive/indifferent) as well as many other naturally variable factors have long been well understood to easily have the potential to render CO2 absorption lab basics as a totally irrelevant/insignificant factor after the first 200 PPM or so.

    #47.MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    What we say is CO2 doesn't raise temperatures significantly after the first 200 ppmv or so, after that it's a minor increase that diminishes with each additional molecule



    I understand the real situation is a bit more complex than that. You should have a look at the excellent Science of Doom site, especially this chapter:

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/05/12/co2-an-insignificant-trace-gas-part-eight-saturation/

    There seem to be 2 main aspects that result in CO2 continuing to be a greenhouse gas even after its concentration has reached 200ppmv (quotes in italics from the Science of Doom site)
    (a) forcing due to CO2 is also relevant in the "wings" of the CO2 bandwidth - ie not just the 15mu band, but 13-14.5 and 15.5-17.
    "It is interesting to see that the effect of the center of the CO2 band is not zero, although it is very low, but the main increase is in “the wings” of the band. This is the primary reason why doubling CO2 provides a significant increase in “radiative forcing” – or more heat into the surface and lower atmosphere."

    (b) the atmosphere has to be considered as layered, so that if CO2 is saturated at one layer, its radiative effect just transfers to the layer above. This apparently is what results in the raising of the tropopause.
    "And if one “layer” of the atmosphere totally absorbs it will still radiate energy to the atmosphere above. As the atmosphere gets thinner it will eventually be radiating out to space – and it’s at these levels (heights) in the atmosphere that adding more CO2 will reduce the outgoing radiation."


    I'm not bright enough fully to understand all this, but I think it should at least convince all of us that the real response is far more complex than we'd like to imagine. Sorry Shadorne, I don't have a metaphor for this involving blankets ....

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  • 50. At 3:59pm on 17 Oct 2010, Spanglerboy wrote:

    @ Shadorne
    Interestingly, during the period 1942ish to 1979ish global average temperatures (if you can believe in such a ludicrous concept) declined/plateaued (depending how you squint at the graphs) whilst apparently the bed was having some of its early blankets applied.
    All this will be wasted on Quake - the latest CAGW cheerleader sent to amuse us by Alarmist Central Command - the home of faith based science. Not for me, thanks.
    Quite comfortable in the lobby

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  • 51. At 4:15pm on 17 Oct 2010, Spanglerboy wrote:

    @ Paul Butler
    I rate Science of Doom very highly. Anyone who is interested in the science, as opposed to the spin, should be a regular visitor. And you are right that it is in no way a simple picture. One of the problems that I have with the whole climate change issue is that proponents have tried to sell it as a simple 'the science is settled' 'the overwhelming consensus of scientists believe' 'climate models tell us' 'we are doomed, I tell you, we are all doomed' crass narrative that scores 180 on my scam-o-scope.
    You might find this article on the Royal Society interesting
    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2010/10/what-next-for-the-royal-society.html
    Happily mixing metaphors in the lobby

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  • 52. At 4:44pm on 17 Oct 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    Paul Butler @49

    Agreed. Once you realize that the "basic greenhouse effect" is insignificant and a very weak argument then one needs to resort to forcing and feedbacks, layering and all kinds of tricks to get "catastrophe" out of the models.

    The trouble is this: CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas. Water vapour is FAR more of a concern. So in the blanket analogy it turns out that the insignificance of 200 extra CO2 blankets may be dwarfed by the behavior of something else marching to another independent or (possibly) related variable(s).

    The complexities and possibilities are mind boggling - and it all boils down to the realization that a total fixation ONLY on man-made CO2 is a complete perversion of science and the reality of the real world situation.

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  • 53. At 5:01pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #51. Spanglerboy wrote:

    @ Paul Butler
    I rate Science of Doom very highly. Anyone who is interested in the science, as opposed to the spin, should be a regular visitor. And you are right that it is in no way a simple picture. One of the problems that I have with the whole climate change issue is that proponents have tried to sell it as a simple 'the science is settled' 'the overwhelming consensus of scientists believe' 'climate models tell us' 'we are doomed, I tell you, we are all doomed'


    I, personally, am not very comfortable with the overemotional approach you describe, whichever side of the debate it is on. That recent crass film by Richard Curtis for 10:10 is an example. I'm much more interested in the science itself.

    And I'm sure that there is plenty of science still to do in this area, especially with respect to sensitivity and feedbacks.

    But we are in a situation that while 'doom' (by which I mean severe disruption to our complex society driven by rapid changes in climate) is not certain, it is a sufficiently likely eventuality that governments do need to do something about it (mitigate it if they can, and at the very least be prepared for possible rapid changes). This is not exclusive to so-called 'warmists'. I understand that Steve McIntyre, who runs ClimateAudit, thinks that way as well.

    And some of the policies for dealing with climate change are also desirable for other reasons, such as the security and continuation of energy supplies or the maintainance of biodiversity.


    Most importantly, I do not think that there is any kind of conspiracy among scientists to maintain the AGW model. To risk annoying you, it is indeed the case that "the overwhelming consensus of scientists" accept the AGW model. But they also accept that there are uncertainties in it and that there is more science to be done. If it is to be overturned, somebody needs to come up with a convincing theory that explains observations at least as well as the AGW model. If it to be modified, there will need to be a substantial shift in the balance of new evidence in favour of lower or higher climate sensitivity than the very wide range (1.5-4.5) that is currently in IPCC.

    If anything, the acute political sensitivity around everything that IPCC does is likely to make it more difficult for them to change those numbers (especially to change them down)

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  • 54. At 5:09pm on 17 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Paul Butler #49

    The Science of Doom blog is indeed very good - I visit a lot, although Science of Doom did promise to get back to me on a discussion about pinker, but never did :( I guess he has a lot of other things to do

    My understanding of CO2 is above 200ppmv there is a diminishing effect on temperature, hence doubling of CO2 gives ~1C rise for every doubling - 300 to 600 ppmv = ~1C, 600 to 1200 ppmv = ~1C etc. For all intents and purposes the absorption bands are saturated, although if the tropopause is able to rise, which according to Santer could be the case, then CO2 may be able to increase temperature a little more. The problem with measurements of the tropopause is the tropopause isn't the same everywhere, at all times of the year and even fluctuates on a monthly basis. Add in the jet stream and it is very difficult to accurately measure the height of the tropopause.

    http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap01/tropo.html

    I do agree that all this is very complex, which is why i always revert back to real life observations of climate sensitivity being superior to model / calculated values of climate sensitivity

    /Mango

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  • 55. At 5:15pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #52. Shadorne wrote:

    Paul Butler @49

    Agreed. Once you realize that the "basic greenhouse effect" is insignificant and a very weak argument then one needs to resort to forcing and feedbacks, layering and all kinds of tricks to get "catastrophe" out of the models.


    Well, these aren't "tricks". They're the vital details of how our climate works


    The trouble is this: CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas. Water vapour is FAR more of a concern.

    There's far more water vapour in the atmosphere, but its very short lived and is continually moving through the hydrological cycle. The problem occurs if it gets into an amplifying feedback loop with increasing levels of CO2 (and the other anthropogenic greenhouse gases) - which was the likely situation during the glacial cycles.


    it all boils down to the realization that a total fixation ONLY on man-made CO2 is a complete perversion of science and the reality of the real world situation.

    Well, the media present it in that way because if they started going about methane and nitrous oxide and ozone and all the other greenhouse gases in excruciating detail nobody would actually bother reading it. And to make things simple, scientists sometimes wrap up all the greenhouse gases into a CO2-equivalent figure, so it might occasionally look as if they are concentrating on CO2.

    Any distillation of the science for public consumption will be in some sense a perversion of the science. But (sorry SpanglerBoy I'm going to upset you again) "the overwhelming consensus of scientists believe" that action to mitigate or adapt to climate change is highly desirable. Some of them think its essential. Which is why in this case you do get quite a lot of lobbying of politicians by scientists. And that's unusual for scientists.

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  • 56. At 5:32pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #54. MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    I do agree that all this is very complex, which is why i always revert back to real life observations of climate sensitivity being superior to model / calculated values of climate sensitivity


    I think we're all agreed that CO2 can't do very much by itself. Its the feedbacks that are key, and there are no detectable feedbacks going on right now (I think some people say that feedbacks are currently stabilizing rather than amplifying) so if you just do real life observations you will get low sensitivity. But I think when IPCC calculates sensitivity, it does so on longer timescales, which is why it has to attempt to give numbers which include feedbacks. The thing is, the onset of an amplifying feedback will have some threshold temperature, so you can imagine the temperature trend being quite shallow for a bit then suddenly rising sharply when a threshold has been passed. That's why people like to quote this figure of a 2 degree temperature rise as a situation to be avoided (I accept that its a bit arbitrary, but I can also see it as realistic in the context of the kind of changes that occurred during the glacial cycles)

    Cheers, Paul

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  • 57. At 5:43pm on 17 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Paul butler #56

    Climate sensitivity calculations exclude clouds. The IPCC already acknowledge that clouds are the biggest unknown in climate sensitivity, so how can the IPCC confidently calculate long term climate sensitivity without clouds?

    /Mango

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  • 58. At 5:57pm on 17 Oct 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    Paul Butler wrote "Well, these aren't "tricks". They're the vital details of how our climate works"

    Sorry. I must apologize. I meant "trick" in the colloquial sense of the word as currently used by leading Climate Scientists.

    As in, for example, "I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. "

    This is of course a perfectly legitimate scientific method for massaging data to get a desired outcome - in the particular example above it results in nice hockey stick.

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  • 59. At 6:20pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #57. MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    Climate sensitivity calculations exclude clouds. The IPCC already acknowledge that clouds are the biggest unknown in climate sensitivity, so how can the IPCC confidently calculate long term climate sensitivity without clouds?


    Well their range of sensitivities is quite wide (2 degrees to 4.5 degrees (not 1.5-4.5 as I said in #53)) and, as you say, that is mostly down to uncertainties about cloud feedbacks:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter8.pdf
    Recent studies reaffirm that the spread of climate sensitivity
    estimates among models arises primarily from inter-model
    differences in cloud feedbacks.


    So while they aren't necessarily confident about the precise level, most if not all of the sensitivities in that range fall into what we might call the "area of concern" when we assess possible societal impacts of climate change. So you might say that in spite of the uncertainties about cloud feedback, they can still be confident when they recommend that climate change should be treated as a matter of public concern.

    Our disagreement, I suspect lies more in the fact that you think the level of those numbers is too high. Well perhaps they are. Or perhaps they're too low. Some of my thinking about that is in earlier posts, so I won't waffle on about it again :-)

    Cheers, Paul

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  • 60. At 6:26pm on 17 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    Paul,

    All climate sensitivities based on empirical evidence and including clouds point to climate sensitivity being low, so it's less what i think and more what the evidence suggests

    /Mango

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  • 61. At 6:33pm on 17 Oct 2010, Spanglerboy wrote:

    @ Paul Butler
    Thanks for your responses.
    The concept of a global average temperature is crackers. It tells you nothing about the heat content of the system. It tells you nothing about precipitation or other weather phenomenon that we have to live with in the real world. No-one on the planet experiences ‘average climate’. We all experience local climate. It may be that some parts of the world would be substantially better off with a bit of warming, a bit more rain, a bit less ice.
    Even if one was to accept that CO2 (or CO2 equivalent to be more precise) is a simple thermostat that can control ‘global temperatures’ there is zero chance of the people of the world cutting emissions in any meaningful way. Emissions will continue to rise simply because fossil fuel is the way out of poverty. Modern governments (perhaps with the exception of those in the EU) do not want to see their citizens living in poverty. So the obsession with CO2(e) is daft. It is never going to fly. It is a dead horse.
    On the other hand weather will continue to happen. And each country needs to ensure that it has plans to deal with whatever its weather chucks its way.
    And my reading of the runes, for what it is worth, is that we are as likely to experience 20 years of cooling as we are to experience 20 years of warming.
    Shadorne if you have any spare blankets, send them my way.
    A bit chilly in the lobby

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  • 62. At 6:33pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    Mango

    Read my #56 again. The question is not whether we have feedbacks now, its whether they kick in at some higher temperature.

    As a matter of interest, across what length of time has the empirical evidence you describe been observed?

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  • 63. At 6:42pm on 17 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Paul Butler #62

    The question is not whether we have feedbacks now, its whether they kick in at some higher temperature.

    If's and but's are not a basis for spending $trillions on Paul

    As a matter of interest, across what length of time has the empirical evidence you describe been observed?

    I'm talking about individual studies since the AGW nonsense started, which I accept only capture a moment of time, but empirical evidence is preferable to a computer calculation

    /Mango

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  • 64. At 6:54pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #61. Spanglerboy wrote:

    @ Paul Butler
    Thanks for your responses.
    The concept of a global average temperature is crackers. It tells you nothing about the heat content of the system. It tells you nothing about precipitation or other weather phenomenon that we have to live with in the real world. No-one on the planet experiences ‘average climate’. We all experience local climate. It may be that some parts of the world would be substantially better off with a bit of warming, a bit more rain, a bit less ice.


    True. For example the UK might have a more congenial climate (or it might just get wetter of course!) And predictions about what will happen regionally in a world with increasing levels of greenhouse gases will be an important part of future climate models.

    The problems may arise where densely populated parts of the world experience large scale climate related degradation. Then how are Europeans going to take to the resultant mass migration? Some of them don't seem too happy with what's happening right now!


    Even if one was to accept that CO2 (or CO2 equivalent to be more precise) is a simple thermostat that can control ‘global temperatures’ there is zero chance of the people of the world cutting emissions in any meaningful way. Emissions will continue to rise simply because fossil fuel is the way out of poverty.


    ... while there are abundant cheap supplies of fossil fuels. But you must have noticed that the price of fossil fuels has increased significantly recently and the cost of a litre of fuel is now around 115p and looks set to stay that way. That would have been unthinkable just ten years ago. So finding alternative sources of energy is essential to the advancement of developing countries, even without climate change.

    Cheers, Paul

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  • 65. At 7:09pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    63. MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    The question is not whether we have feedbacks now, its whether they kick in at some higher temperature.

    If's and but's are not a basis for spending $trillions on Paul


    That's a different question. We spend billions on a nuclear deterrent because we think that if we don't have one somebody else might attack us. Its all based on a realistic balance of risks and commitments.

    But best not to go there on this thread. We'll obviously disagree :-(

    As a matter of interest, across what length of time has the empirical evidence you describe been observed?

    I'm talking about individual studies since the AGW nonsense started, which I accept only capture a moment of time, but empirical evidence is preferable to a computer calculation


    Yes. I'd imagine that before these studies can be incorporated into the models they will need to have been going for long enough to have an impact on the kind of timescales the models need to integrate.

    For a very limited part of the picture, observation may well do better than a large scale model. But when you are integrating multiple forcings and cycles over a longer period, models are required to give the full picture.

    Cheers, Paul

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  • 66. At 7:24pm on 17 Oct 2010, Spanglerboy wrote:

    Paul Butler #64
    'So finding alternative sources of energy is essential to the advancement of developing countries, even without climate change.'
    Agreed, but in the meantime they have the right to use the fuels that are currently available and they will do.
    One of my concerns is that the way the AGW campaign has been run (very badly) means that mankind is in danger of taking its eye off the ball. There are real issues in the world today that we should be focusing on. AGW is a distraction, and in my opinion a very dangerous one. If the resources that have been, and are being, expended on cliamte change had been directed towards clean water, cheap energy, better health, better education, eradication of poverty, all on a global scale, I would feel a lot happier with the efforts of my fellow man.
    Greed and self-interest are the drivers of the modern world. So.... not much has changed, I guess.
    Spanglerboy out

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  • 67. At 7:29pm on 17 Oct 2010, quake wrote:

    Re 56 Paul Butler wrote:

    "I think we're all agreed that CO2 can't do very much by itself"

    I disagree. 1C direct warming from a doubling of co2 is more than the total warming over the entire 20th century. Therefore "by itself" co2 will very likely be the dominant temperature driver over the 1900-2200 period.

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  • 68. At 7:37pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    66. At 7:24pm on 17 Oct 2010, Spanglerboy wrote:

    If the resources that have been, and are being, expended on cliamte change had been directed towards clean water, cheap energy, better health, better education, eradication of poverty, all on a global scale, I would feel a lot happier with the efforts of my fellow man.


    Very idealistic Spanglerboy.

    Might I suggest that the transfer of appropriate low carbon energy production technologies to developing countries would help address several of those problems and reduce emissions at the same time.

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  • 69. At 7:43pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    67. quake wrote:

    Re 56 Paul Butler wrote:

    "I think we're all agreed that CO2 can't do very much by itself"

    I disagree. 1C direct warming from a doubling of co2 is more than the total warming over the entire 20th century. Therefore "by itself" co2 will very likely be the dominant temperature driver over the 1900-2200 period.


    Oh God quake. It takes up enough of my time dealing with the massed ranks of anti-warmists, without having to field your comments as well ;-)

    I mean, you might be right so I'm not going to argue with you here. But I'm also trying to achieve some kind of compromise with all these other guys!

    Cheers, Paul

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  • 70. At 9:14pm on 17 Oct 2010, jackcowper wrote:

    Paul Butler @40

    Thanks Paul for clearing some of that up for me. I will have to look up 'chi-squared'. Also are you aware that Corbyn is no longer allowed to bet on the weather at William Hill.

    Respect to you for the comment:

    'So it looks as if I'd be unfair if I said he was just making it up. There probably is something to it.'

    Cheers

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  • 71. At 9:37pm on 17 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    70. jackcowper wrote:

    Paul Butler @40

    Thanks Paul for clearing some of that up for me. I will have to look up 'chi-squared'. Also are you aware that Corbyn is no longer allowed to bet on the weather at William Hill.


    But you know I'm a suspicious b ;-) I am aware that he says it on his site!


    Respect to you for the comment:

    'So it looks as if I'd be unfair if I said he was just making it up. There probably is something to it.'


    Thanks. If that's the case though, I just think he'd get more respect if he didn't go on so much about his opposition to the AGW greenhouse theory.

    Cheers, Paul

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  • 72. At 08:26am on 18 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ paul, mango.

    Really interesting discussion chaps. really.

    As ever it's the feedbacks we come back to, which as i've said before- are the crux of the matter.

    The climate sensitivity models, as mango stated are based on simulations that do not include clouds (though unless i'm mistaken they are trying to take these into account now), which leads to the higer figures we get (2.5-6 ish). However other empirical evidence points to around 0.5-4 ish.

    It's encouraging that there's overlap there, and would suggest just at a blink test level, that the actual figures somewhere in between.

    I take Pauls point about spending trillions mitigating climate change vs spending billions on nuclear deterrants, however the political machinations of the planet and the workings of the climate are two different things. We KNOW there will be more wars, it's one of the few certainties of the human condition, we don't know that cAGW is man made.

    Hence i think that particular argument falls down.

    Re-tipping point. Again, as we don't fully understand the system any talk of an arbitrary tipping point is just that, arbitrary and more than likely purely political. it should be avoided.

    Finally, to echo mango's points- noone (credible) argues co2's greenhouse gas capabilities. However anyone with even a basic knowledge of complex systems will tell you that the effects of one component are rarely the whole story. This is not to say that co2 cannot behave as the ipcc stipulate (by stimulating positive feedback via water vapour), just that it is unlikely given current knowledge.

    Still, really interesting reading your discussions guys. thanks.

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  • 73. At 12:12pm on 18 Oct 2010, hotashes wrote:

    Re: Climate sensitivity from empirical observations

    All these studies uses direct empirical observations and calculate sensitivities to be;

    Lorius 1990 - 3 to 4°C
    Hoffert 1992 - 1.4 to 3.2°C
    Hansen 1993 - 3 ± 1°C
    Gregory 2002 minimum climate sensitivity of 1.5
    Chylek 2007 - 1.3°C and 2.3°C
    Tung 2007 - 2.3 to 4.1°C
    Bender 2010 - 1.7 to 4.1°C

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  • 74. At 1:21pm on 18 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @hotashes #73

    and which of these "direct empirical observations" include the cloud effect and doesn't rely on a climate model where the cloud effect is an assumption?

    i'm banging on about this because, whilst i don't think the true climate sensitivity value(s) including clouds and based on empirical observations are perfect, they are currently the best we've got

    as i've said before, many times, climate sensitivity including all know parameters and not based on a GCM indicate the value to be low not high.

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  • 75. At 3:44pm on 18 Oct 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

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

  • 76. At 6:53pm on 18 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @34

    Would that be the 55% of the Netherlands that is at risk of flooding?

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