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Climate laws don't wait for UN

Richard Black | 22:47 UK time, Tuesday, 26 April 2011

With UN climate negotiations in something of a quagmire, you might assume that fewer and fewer governments were passing national legislation on the issue.

According to a report just out from Globe International, the parliamentarians' alliance, you'd be mistaken.

Arnold Schwarzenegger winning climate activism award

US states such as California are moving ahead with legislation, the report notes

Compiled in association with the Grantham Institute, the London-based climate think-tank, the report doesn't simply list climate laws.

Instead it analyses legislation in 16 of the world's major economies (15 countries plus the EU), including established powers such as the UK and Russia and emerging players such as Mexico, South Africa and Brazil.

One of their top-line conclusions is that most of the laws have been passed within the last 18 months - giving the lie to any notion that glacial progress on a new international agreement has caused governments to think again.

You might ask "so how do you define a law as climate legislation?" given that emissions can in principle be altered by a huge number of things - building schools closer to where pupils live, taxes on meat, encouraging flexible working... just about anything, in fact, could have an impact.

So selection criteria could be an issue; nevertheless, reading the entries for different countries does give a strong sense of what's happening, and of the legislative processes in the various capitals.

And there are some interesting comparisons.

The analysts divide climate legislation into seven main areas: carbon pricing, energy efficiency, renewables, forestry, other land use issues, transport, and adaptation to climate impacts.

Perhaps reflecting concern over the security of future energy supplies, the only category in which all 16 economies have all established policies is efficiency.

The only three countries to score a tick in all seven categories are Asian - Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

The UK has the highest number of laws, with 22. But as the report's authors note:

"...the number of laws relating to climate change is not a reliable indicator of the comprehensive nature of a given country’s legislative response. Some laws are integrative whilst others are very narrow in scope."

By comparison, a relatively recent entrant - South Korea - has fairly comprensive legislation stemming largely from its espousal of "green growth".

The US, as you'll know if you follow this stuff even in a cursory way, is a long way away from enacting comprehensive climate legislation, and apparently getting further away every month.

But the authors have some interesting observations:

"Although the passing of energy and climate change bills through Congress amount to a time‐consuming and complex process, US legislation on the issue tends to be rather comprehensive, precise, and with clear financial commitments and monitoring mechanisms.

"Additionally... the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources saw over 30 bill proposals relevant to tackling climate change introduced for its consideration in 2009‐2010.

"Finally, it is useful to note that although this project covers federal legislation only, there is a myriad of policies and legislation on climate change at the state level."

As to why Globe has released the report, its president Lord Deben (former UK Environment Secretary John Gummer) writes:

"It is my view that an effective post‐2012 climate change agreement will only be possible when countries are already taking the necessary domestic action, firmly rooted in their own national interest.

"In other words, an international agreement will only reflect the political realities in the major economies, not define them."

You might find an implicit criticism therein of the UN climate process, which is posited on the idea of a negotiated agreement in which countries first agree the scale of the problem and then assign themselves fair, equitable shares of pain incurred in its solution.

Solar tower

 

Lord Deben's analysis might not find favour with countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, nor with some activists.

But given the nature of the outcome from 2009's Copenhagen summit, it's hard to argue with his analysis of the political reality.

Still, in this picture, governments have to feel there's reason enough to enact this kind of legislation; what might persuade them?

Well, some types of legislation clearly come with side benefits - energy efficiency being the most obvious example, with forestry not far behind.

But cross-referencing the Globe study with the recent Pew Environment Group analysis of investment in renewables, it appears that there's something of a correlation between countries with active climate legislation and those that are attracting the cash for wind, solar and so on.

Perhaps that's not a surprise; but it is an economic reality.

One other aim of the Globe report is simply to help governments compare their relative situations and learn from each others' approaches.

Will it have any impact? We will only know by following the volume and the nature of climate legislation passed over the next few years.

 

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    So the UK has passed 22 laws to fight climate change, huh?

    I wonder how many of those laws will have the direct effect of taking money out of my pocket and directly effect the planetary climate by not one iota?

    If I had to guess, I'd say somewhere around 22 of them.

  • Comment number 2.

    Global warming deniers have concocted a paranoid delusion that nearly all the world's climate scientists and the most prestigious educational and research institutions are part of a vast conspiracy to deceive us for who knows what reason. The evidence for man-made global warming is stronger than ever; and unless you can revoke the laws of physics, increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and other gases will accentuate the greenhouse effect. Pretending that this isn't happening isn't going to make it go away or help us to avoid the consequences.

  • Comment number 3.

    Encouraging stuff, although some of these laws may be more to do with improving air quality, water quality etc than directly to combat climate change. I do value these articles, I have been busy recently saving copies of Richard’s past blogs for future reference, as I understand it they may soon be taken off line as part of a tidy up of the BBC website.

  • Comment number 4.

    hikertom @#2

    Believers in catastrophic man made climate change love to portray un-believers as conspiracy cranks, in that way the niggling voices of doubt can be dismissed. The greenhouse process is well understood but it is the magnitude of the warming that is continually being downgraded, heading towards insignificant. Warming was worth investigating, and most scientists are sincere however with funding, politics and personal reputations at stake warming has taken on a life of its own and turned into a monster. I am by the way all for a cleaner environment and free energy even if we have to spend a bit to harvest free energy.

  • Comment number 5.

    Translation: We failed to impose our AGW cult through the UN but maybe we can get it through bit by bit in national legislation. Of course the timing of this report might very well be related to the high tide of that legislation and a hope to encourage its continuation. Neither of which take account of the political reality that most people don't believe the catastrophic scare stories anymore. Sorry!

  • Comment number 6.

    '3. At 07:53am 27th Apr 2011, WendyRainbow .. recently saving copies of Richard’s past blogs for future reference, as I understand it they may soon be taken off line as part of a tidy up of the BBC website.'

    Not the broadcast only bits too, surely? I thought watertight oversight only applied to comments that didn't 'pass muster'.

  • Comment number 7.

    Climate debate again, and still with no mention of the Elephant in the room.

    Overpopulation is the problem and only solving that will ease the pressure on the environment. There are simply too many humans on this planet but nobody wants to even talk about this issue.

    As for Britain’s 22 laws, which supposedly address climate change, practically all of them are geared towards winning Green votes and are just political spin.

    The public is being taxed to support what is laughingly called renewable energy, in fact without the subsidies these renewables could not even pay for themselves financially and even with the subsidies they cannot hope to recoup the energy used in making the installations.


    The entire climate change debate is just one mass of lies and political spin. Governments lie, no change there of course, oil and gas companies lie so they can milk their profits and worst of all the green groups lie because they have an agenda that will only come about through hysteria surrounding climate change.

    Through all these lies the BBC and other news agencies could cut a path of truth by simply reporting facts and information but unfortunately they are every bit as involved in the misinformation as all the other parties.

    There are answers to our problems, simple answers that will enable humans to live on a cleaner and richer planet, but these answers don’t instil hysteria and are not seen as vote winners.

  • Comment number 8.

    #3 WendyRainbow - thanks for your kind comments. Earth Watch is staying beyond the overhaul.

  • Comment number 9.

    2. At 06:02am 27th Apr 2011, hikertom wrote:

    Global warming deniers...

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

    Ah yes, the Heretic Gambit.

    Must we go through this AGAIN?

    I am not paranoid, nor do I subscribe to conspiracy theories. The fact is that those who came up with the idea that human activitity (re CO2) is changing the climate are simply wrong. In science, this happens a lot. An idea is floated, evidence is found to support it, it is accepted as fact and then later proven to be nonsense ( a gross oversimplification, but you get the idea).

    Remember the quaint, bygone days of the 20th century when we all believed that ulcers were caused by stress and excess stomach acid?

    The problem with AGW theory isn't the science. That's just wrong and is being proven wrong all the time as estimates for the amount of doom CO2 are revised downwards on an almost daily basis.

    The problem is the politics, particularly from the greens and far left (let's pretend they're two seperate things for the moment...). The far left had lost the argument. The cold war was over and they were irrelevant. But then AGW showed up and suddenly they had a new way to fight they're old cause. By giving their old arguments a bit of a greenwash they've been able to fool some of the people. This is called watermelon politics.

    The greens are no better. Their policies have always been based on pipe dreams and wishful thinking but now they can get people to listen to their nonsense by claiming that if they don't, the planet is doomed. The politics of fear, simple as that.

  • Comment number 10.

    hikertom @#2

    As, perhaps, opposed to the conspiracy theory that more than half of the world's businesspeople and politicians are in cahoots to destroy the planet in the name of profits and votes?

  • Comment number 11.

    Global warming, the fight therein is actually about wealth re-distribution, which the socialists have been attempting to inflict on the world for decades. Socialism as a cause is nearly dead, so they needed another route, and they found it in global warming. So, while China and India and much of the Third World pollutes with abandon (real pollution, like sulfur dioxide, heavy metals, nitrous oxides, etc) the global warming cabal is silent on them and continues to pound away at the evil West.

  • Comment number 12.

    As thorium @#11 points out climate change has long been a pretext for wealth re-distribution, the idea being if some people have more wealth it is because they have taken more that their share. It is worth remembering that wealth is not a finite recourse, wealth is created by useful people, or not in the case of useless people, this is the wealth that greenies would re-distribute.

  • Comment number 13.

    Oh dear, climate debate with everyone claiming that the science is on their side. Let's look at the science:
    Fact: Carbon Dioxide and other trace gasses in the atmosphere trap heat. If it didn't, we'd all freeze to death. CO2 is the biggest contributor to this process. Anybody denying this? Good.
    Fact: We are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from fossil fuels at an ever increasing rate, and levels now are higher than they have been for the last 400,000 years. This again is verifiable, instruments have been measuring this and ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica have confirmed it from bubbles of gas trapped in them. Dozens of methods have been used and all are in rough agreement.
    Scientific Hypothesis: More CO2 = more trapped heat. Bit obvious, you put an extra blanket on the bed, you sleep warmer. This is borne out by analysing historical levels, measuring the CO2 and temperature of the Earth in the past indirectly, and they have all supported the hypothesis by high temperatures coinciding with high levels of CO2.
    Fact: The world is definitely warming up, measurements agree after excluding urban measurements and other factors that could distort the readings, it's still getting warmer. Loss of Arctic sea-ice in summer is a pretty good indicator too.
    What is the cause? Well there can only be four possible causes for the Earth warming up: More heat from the Sun, more heat from the Earth, less energy reflected by the Earth and the greenhouse effect. Astrophysicists are confident that the Sun isn't getting hotter, geologists are confident the Earth isn't getting warmer, and satellites can measure exactly how much light is reflected by the Earth (it is slightly less, but that's because ice is melting, it's an effect that trails and enhances the warming, it's not a cause). That leave the greenhouse effect, and CO2.

    The deniers are not a vast conspiracy of world-wreckers. Fossil fuels are cheap and plentiful, and any alternatives will cost more. In the same way that the tobacco industry didn't want people to die of cancer, the fossil fuel industry doesn't want global warming. They just want to make a living, and as one journalist said of his tobacco farming father: "It's really hard to get someone to understand a truth when their entire livelihood depends on them not understanding it" - in that case, his father only acknowledged that smoking was bad for you after his wife died of lung cancer.

    Yes, science sometimes gets it wrong, but it chases down the right answer in the end. For thirty or forty years climate science has been refining it's theories, and they are still saying there will be climate change, in fact it's happening right now and more and more scientists are in agreement. Do you really want to take a chance on it being wrong this time?

  • Comment number 14.

    My guess is that climate change is healthy,ongoing, & keeps things in balance.
    Static climate sounds scary.

  • Comment number 15.

    Oh the world will survive climate change, mscracker, the question is will our civilisation? and if it does, how many will die? Agriculture actually relies on stable weather, a small shift in rainfall patterns can mean a famine. Human civilisation has developed during a remarkably stable period of climate in the history of the Earth, and that is no coincidence.

  • Comment number 16.

    The report implies -of all the Industrialised nations, the Asian ones seem able to embrace change & adapt the quickest. My personal feelings re Global change echoes that of James Lovelock. The more pressure we put on this planet-depleting its resources, upsetting the balance of the environment with our waste and toxic discharges- the greater correction the planet is going to make to achieve some sort of re-balance. My feeling is, the less we do to regulate ourselves, the more the environment will do to regulate us. The nature of our short, self interested lives determines we often don't invest in expensive long term plans when short term (shoddy) quickfixes pay off

  • Comment number 17.

    The impact of human population on the environment has come up again @#7 but you don’t have to be a warmist or even an environmentalist to be very frightened about your loved ones being overwhelmed by mass migration of starving people, clearly it is in everyone’s interest that we limit the human population. We must find the courage to discuss this topic. Voluntary restraint will not be enough, it will simply reduce still further the size of the responsible population, there will have to be compulsion and human rights laws will have to be rewritten. Now is the time to openly explore the many difficult questions, should, for example, population control be applied uniformly across the human population, the clever as well as the dull, the peace loving as well as the violent, or should there be some sort of selection, and if so who is going to make the decisions, how will they be enforced and what safe guards will be in place? It is no wonder that politicians don’t want to touch the issue.

  • Comment number 18.

    Yes, it's the long-term view that matters. Even the deniers have to face the fact that oil is a finite resource, one day it will run out. Then we will need alternative sources of energy, and alternative materials too as we make a great many plastics from oil. Doesn't it make sense to develop those energy resources now while we have time and money to do so, and husband our reserves of a valuable resource for as long as possible?

  • Comment number 19.

    @15:
    Good points, but as a whole, mankind has survived some dramatic climate changes & natural catastrophes in the past.Civilizations have come & gone before.I expect each thought they were unique & would go on forever but history doesn't bear that up.
    Usually the healthiest choice is to embrace change & be resilient & innovative.That's typically the choices survivors make.

  • Comment number 20.

    @17 "Voluntary restraint will not be enough, it will simply reduce still further the size of the responsible population, there will have to be compulsion and human rights laws will have to be rewritten."

    Actually experience shows that where there is access to contraception and good health care, population growth typically slows down and can even go into a decline. So if we just make good health care and access to contraception as widely available as possible, the need for drastic action will largely alleviate itself. Of course this would require money that third world nations do not have ... which would you rather as the acceptable solution: take away rights and freedoms, or pay for decent healthcare?

    @19 Yes, I agree, we need to embrace change, but should we embrace social and economic change to deal with the problem we have caused, or just deal with the consequences? I prefer buying high-efficiency light bulbs today to leaving my children to deal with refugees from drowned cities in a century or so. Avoidable disasters should be avoided, in my book.

  • Comment number 21.

    @20:
    I am skeptical re whether man has any large effect on weather outside of microclimates.Coastlines change, often dramatically & have done so for eons without our assistance.
    I do hate to see waste & pollution, though & we certainly can clean up our act collectively on that score.Here in the U.S. you see empty commercial buildings lit up at night like Christmas. Ditto for schools & businesses.It's a huge waste.

  • Comment number 22.

    kelvin273 #13

    Fact: Carbon Dioxide and other trace gasses in the atmosphere trap heat. If it didn't, we'd all freeze to death. CO2 is the biggest contributor to this process. Anybody denying this?

    Yes, I deny this as a fact.

    Water vapour contributes up to 72% of the greenhouse effect and is by far the most important greenhouse gas. Refer to Kiehl, J. T.; Kevin E. Trenberth (1997). "Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 78 (2): 197–208

    Fact: We are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from fossil fuels at an ever increasing rate, and levels now are higher than they have been for the last 400,000 years.

    And beyond 400K years was much higher than present

    Scientific Hypothesis: More CO2 = more trapped heat. Bit obvious, you put an extra blanket on the bed, you sleep warmer.

    In a test tube, yes, but the real world is not a test tube.

    This is borne out by analysing historical levels, measuring the CO2 and temperature of the Earth in the past indirectly, and they have all supported the hypothesis by high temperatures coinciding with high levels of CO2.

    Oh, come on! This has been debated far too often and is one of the few agreements amongst sceptics and AGWers - CO2 rise lags temperature rise by around 800 years

    Fact: The world is definitely warming up, measurements agree after excluding urban measurements and other factors that could distort the readings, it's still getting warmer. Loss of Arctic sea-ice in summer is a pretty good indicator too.

    No disagreement there. Recorded temperatures towards the end of the 20th century did indeed indicate the earth was warming, but warming of the earth doesn't tell us what caused the warming, does it?

    The IPCC's unique fingerprint of AGW is still missing, 20 years after it was first modelled. It ain't gonna appear anytime soon. Expect it to be dropped quietly in the next IPCC comic

    /Mango

    I don't deny climate change, I know climate changes

  • Comment number 23.

    "CO2 is the biggest contributor to this process. Anybody denying this? Good."

    Water Vapour is the "biggest contributor". CO2 causes approximately 25% to the "greenhouse" effect, water vapour about 60% Before you label people "denier", which I find most offensive, get your facts right.

  • Comment number 24.

    @Smiffie #17:

    I wouldn't worry too much about being overwhelmed by mass-migration of starving people - starving people tend not to mass-migrate.

  • Comment number 25.

    21, You're right re waste & pollution. Even if people aren't convinced by our effect on the environment/resources of the planet & the stresses we place on it, maybe the economics of energy conservation can make sense

  • Comment number 26.

    kelvin273 #13

    Fact: Carbon Dioxide and other trace gasses in the atmosphere trap heat. If it didn't, we'd all freeze to death. CO2 is the biggest contributor to this process. Anybody denying this?

    Yes, I deny this as a fact. I'm a scientist and I know gases cannot trap heat.

  • Comment number 27.

    @kelvin273 #15:

    If you really think that agriculture anywhere in the world experiences stable weather for very long, let alone relies on it, then you either haven't seen much of the world or you haven't been around for very long.

  • Comment number 28.

    Global warming alarmists have concocted a paranoid delusion that nearly all the world's climate scientists are in support of the AGW theory.

  • Comment number 29.

    @kelvin273 #18:

    I think you'll find that it's a lot more difficult than you can ever imagine to come up with alternative sources of energy in sufficient quantities without being prohibitively expensive in some way or another. Probably about as difficult as coming up with alternative sources of food to feed the world - think on that.

  • Comment number 30.

    16. At 16:38pm 27th Apr 2011, _Ryan_ wrote:

    The report implies -of all the Industrialised nations, the Asian ones seem able to embrace change & adapt the quickest. My personal feelings re Global change echoes that of James Lovelock. The more pressure we put on this planet-depleting its resources, upsetting the balance of the environment with our waste and toxic discharges- the greater correction the planet is going to make to achieve some sort of re-balance. My feeling is, the less we do to regulate ourselves, the more the environment will do to regulate us. The nature of our short, self interested lives determines we often don't invest in expensive long term plans when short term (shoddy) quickfixes pay off

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

    Two things. Firstly Lovelock is the loony who gave the world the Gaia Hypothesis, so let's not put too much credence on what he has to say.

    Secondly, regarding all the "correction the planet is going to make to achieve some sort of re-balance" nonsense, I've seen The Day After Tomorrow as well and that was probably the most laughable claims the movie made. In fact, the movie was so riddled with inaccuracies I'm surprised Roland Emmerich didn't win a Nobel peace prize.

  • Comment number 31.

    30,Well I haven't seen that movie, but glad you enjoyed it. And the Gaia hypothesis distilled through Margulis' distinction that it's "not an organism", but "an emergent property of interaction among organisms" makes sense. The name, Gaia invoking the idea of personification is a pretty big stumbling block for many, it's just a name though

  • Comment number 32.

    #2. hikertom wrote:

    "Global warming deniers have concocted a paranoid delusion that nearly all the world's climate scientists and the most prestigious educational and research institutions are part of a vast conspiracy to deceive us for who knows what reason."

    Well tom, just because you can't figure out things doesn't mean that nobody else can. This might give you a clue:

    http://sppiblog.org/news/the-abdication-of-the-west

  • Comment number 33.

    "Bishop Hill Digging into the GLOBE

    Apr 23, 2011 Jason Lewis, the Telegraph's investigations guy, has been researching GLOBE International - most famous member, Lord Oxburgh."

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/4/23/digging-into-the-globe.html

  • Comment number 34.

    So Richard, why did you call Globe "the parliamentarians' alliance"? Did you think nobody knows who and what they really are or their connection to the Climategate whitewashes, etc.?

    Just following UN standards?

    ""It seems there’s a purge on at the UN to remove failed climate claims. Last week it was the 50 million climate refugees that never materialized and was covered up, this week it’s the poor of Africa they’ve “disappeared”. This one I stumbled upon quite by accident, doing some research for my previous story: World opinion on global warming: not so hot."

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/27/the-un-disappears-yet-another-inconvenient-claim-and-once-again-botches-the-cover-up/

  • Comment number 35.

    This discussion seems even more pointlessly anti-science than normal - a key reason why these blog comments have become less interesting, simply because any attempt at discussion climate change issues brings out a rash of comments like those exemplified in #22. The author of that one has been around plenty long enough to have seen the solid rebuttals for many of his pet memes, but out they come once again.

    Just one example:
    ---------------------------
    "Fact: Carbon Dioxide and other trace gasses in the atmosphere trap heat. If it didn't, we'd all freeze to death. CO2 is the biggest contributor to this process. Anybody denying this?

    Yes, I deny this as a fact.

    Water vapour contributes up to 72% of the greenhouse effect and is by far the most important greenhouse gas. Refer to Kiehl, J. T.; Kevin E. Trenberth (1997). "Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 78 (2): 197–208"
    --------------------------
    This contributor knows full well that the science is perfectly clear - water vapour responds to temperature increases, and thus amplifies warming, but doesn't drive the overall warming process - whereas the build-up of CO2 inexorably adds to the heat-trapping effect. There is a much more elegant explanation on the website SkepticalScience - fully referenced to real published science. Do look it up.

    There's a concerted, hostile effort on this site to shout down any comments in support of the science of climate change, with a whole range of weak arguing techniques - strawmen and nit-and-cherry-picking. That isn't the action of sceptics, rather a mindset of denial, anti-science and wattsbot-ism. It's disappointing, tedious, and it devalues a very important discussion.

    Lorax


  • Comment number 36.

    #35. Lorax - The whole AGW project is the ultimate in anti-science. That was PROVEN the day the proponents started screaming that 'the debate was over." That's why they must rely on endless propaganda, vitriolic smearing of their opponents, manufactured 'evidence' and all that.

    Given all that has happened, I can only assume that people still pushing this are either brainwashed cultists, just aren't too bright or well informed, or have a vested personal economic or career interest in promoting it.

    We all know why the BBC does.

  • Comment number 37.

    @35:
    It's simply an example of free speech. Each poster can contribute their own opinions.
    The same thing happens in other blogs.One is allowed to think outside the box & outside the politically acceptable.It may be annoying but it shows we still live in a free society.
    If you are old enough to remember, there was a popular theory re. an "Artic Winter" climate change predicted back in the 1970's.Those folks didn't get it right either, though judging from the past 2 winters in the U.S. they may have had at least some insight.

  • Comment number 38.

    31. At 21:14pm 27th Apr 2011, _Ryan_ wrote:

    30,Well I haven't seen that movie, but glad you enjoyed it.

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

    Why is it I have trouble believing you? Could it be because some of what you wrote was almost a direct quote from the script?

    But yes, I did enjoy the movie immensely. Who would have thought that all it takes to dress up ill-founded, sanctimonius scaremongering as entertainment was the CGI destruction of New York city?

  • Comment number 39.

    "Apr 25, 2011 – 9:30 PM

    Probably no single issue damages the reputation of the climate science community more than the refusal to show the data that supports their work, even under an FOI request. The public believes that scientists who purport to be concerned about the future of the planet should not place their own financial interests, including future grants, ahead of this concern, particularly when their research has been done with public funds.

    Recently I sent an FOI request to the University of East Anglia for a regional chronology combining Yamal, Polar Urals and shorter (presumably Schweingruber) chronologies referred to in Climategate email 1146252894.txt, as well as a request for even a simple list of sites used to make the chronology. This request is for data that is central to Climategate...

    Not only did East Anglia refuse my request for the regional chronology, they even refused to identify the sites. The University claimed that even identifying the sites would result in “financial harm” to the university though an adverse impact on their “ability to attract research funding”."

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/04/25/cru-refuses-foi-request-for-yamal-climategate-chronology/

  • Comment number 40.

    @Lorax #35:

    water vapour responds to temperature increases, and thus amplifies warming, but doesn't drive the overall warming process - whereas the build-up of CO2 inexorably adds to the heat-trapping effect.


    You seem to think that the only factor which increases temperature is CO2.
    But the temperature is increased by at least several degrees by the sun every single day, starting when the sun rises.
    That temperature increase evaporates far more water than the tiny forcing from extra CO2 - which probably isn't enough to even overcome the latent heat of evaporation.
    Once that water vapour is in the air, courtesy of the sun, it's more than capable of sustaining itself until it's cooled down in the evening.
    The extra CO2 can only really have an appreciable effect, which isn't swamped by water vapour, in the very coldest and driest parts of the world, at the coldest times of the year.

  • Comment number 41.

    #28. Lloyd wrote:

    "Global warming alarmists have concocted a paranoid delusion that nearly all the world's climate scientists are in support of the AGW theory."

    Well Lloyd they actually concocted a Madoffian statistical survey. I wrote up this little summary to paste when this topic comes up, which is often... thanks to the Goebbels method of brainwashing through repetition:

    The next time one of the usual suspects starts screaming about this supposed 97% consensus of scientists who agree on AGW you can simply ask... all 75 of them?

    Yes, 75 of 77 is 97%.

    Thought there were more scientists than that?

    Well, first you EXCLUDE "the thousands of scientists most likely to think that the Sun, or planetary movements, might have something to do with climate on Earth - out were the solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers."

    That left 10,257 deemed 'worthy' for this on-line survey.

    But only 3146 bothered to answer it, and only 83% of that selected (for their bias) group agreed on AGW. So they narrowed that down to a cherry picked sample of 77, and voila, 97% of them agreed. Most astonishing that it wasn't 100%.

    Here's a link to the original paper:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/consensus_opiate.pdf

    Here's Solomon's article about it:

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/03/lawrence-solomon-97-cooked-stats/#ixzz1A5px63Ax

  • Comment number 42.

    38,lol @ script. I haven't seen the movie, but it's cool if you watch Hollywood stuff. Each to their own and all that. Maybe Arnie will make a *climate theme* film aimed at the Tea Party Movement segment- keep everything *fair & balanced* as they say on Fox news

  • Comment number 43.

    42. At 22:46pm 27th Apr 2011, _Ryan_ wrote:

    Maybe Arnie will make a *climate theme* film aimed at the Tea Party Movement segment- keep everything *fair & balanced* as they say on Fox news

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

    Why would that interest me? Like many on your side of the barricades, you assume anyone who isn't on board with AGW is a right wing lunatic, probably in the pay of Big Oil. I really resent this. I'm not even a conservative, I just don't like to pretend that consensus is the same thing as fact.

  • Comment number 44.

    in 18. kelvin273 writes about the need to develop alternative sources of energy.

    You are of course correct, but miss the big problem which is that most/all of the current likely sources are inherently intermittent, which means that you need to be able to STORE the energy until it is needed. It is this storage problem that is the one that really needs to be solved, before alternative sources stand any chance of playing a significant role.

  • Comment number 45.

  • Comment number 46.

    In 35. Lorax wrote:
    "This contributor knows full well that the science is perfectly clear - water vapour responds to temperature increases, and thus amplifies warming, but doesn't drive the overall warming process - whereas the build-up of CO2 inexorably adds to the heat-trapping effect. "

    Sigh - this is a silly statement, which involves making somewhat strange assumptions, and completely ignores the generally agreed numbers which can be found in the IPCC report.
    Let us just look at a few numbers. In the tropics the heat from the sun is over 1100w/sqm and that generates a whole lot of water vapour during the day (note that this is to be compared with the warming heat due to CO2 re-radiation of heat of 30w/sqm but that is for both day and night). So the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere is dominated by solar radiation. Note also that the IPCC report also gives the warming heat due to water vapour re-rediation as 120w/sqm. So even the IPCC agrees that water vapour IS the dominant cause of greenhouse warming.

    You also say that water vapour amplifies warming - this of couse is true BUT increased water vapour implies increased cloud cover and that causes global cooling. (it is fairly well hidden but the last IPCC report had a table showing that increased cloud cover cooling was seven times the effect of water vapour heating). The big problem with the IPCC report is the computer models - none of which handle cloud cover cooling at all well; and the recent royal society report said that cloud cover cooling needed investigating and including in the models.
    Now the increase in CO2 levels since 1750 produces an increased heating of only 1.6w/sqm but the current AGW situation is that the models are claiming that some arbitrary feedback mechanism will cause that to produce a temperature rise of 0.7C. However that is at variance with the observed situation where it takes 150w/sqm to raise the earths temperature from the no greenhouse -19C to the pre industrial 14.3C (an increase of 33.3C), which means that 1.6w can at most produce an 0.3C rise.

  • Comment number 47.

    Anybody know what our 22 laws are?

    Richard?

  • Comment number 48.

    CR said "That's why they must rely on endless propaganda, vitriolic smearing of their opponents, manufactured 'evidence' and all that.

    Given all that has happened, I can only assume that people still pushing this are either brainwashed cultists, just aren't too bright or well informed, or have a vested personal economic or career interest in promoting it."

    Sounds like you are describing the deniers. Have you reread your past posts? I would say "vitriolic smearing of their opponents" describes them fairly well.

  • Comment number 49.

    It should be pointed out that not all clouds contribute to "cooling". It depends on their elevation. There is a reason why clear nights are colder than ones with cloud cover -- other things being equal.

  • Comment number 50.

    Walleye - Take a look at the link posted in my #45. You support that kind of thing?

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    Lorax:

    Don't you realise that the formation of water vapour and thus convection cool the earth during the day. Water vapour and CO2 radiate IR to space to maintain the energy balance with the energy arriving from the sun. At night, water vapour slows down the rate of radiative and evaporative cooling of the surface so that everything doesn't freeze, every night. Did you have any scientific training at school, or weren't you paying attention during physics lessons?

  • Comment number 53.

    Peter317 @#24 said of my earlier comment

    “I wouldn't worry too much about being overwhelmed by mass-migration of starving people - starving people tend not to mass-migrate.”

    Starving people tend to walk for a few days until they arrive somewhere with some food still left, there is then conflict with the people who are already there, this conflict brutalizes people, some people are displaced who then walk for a few days until they arrive somewhere with some food still left. The process is like dominoes, individual people travel a short distance but starvation and conflict crosses continents, clearly it is better for everyone if we can reduce our population size.

  • Comment number 54.

    How can all these politically motivated idiots keep spouting utter banalities about the myth that is so called Anthropogenic Global Warming/Climate Change/Disruption?
    The only reason is to fleece the taxpayers of their hard earned money, while congratulating themselves for "Saving the Planet".
    We need electrical power to give us a decent quality of life. Why on earth do the Greens want to return us to the Dark Ages?
    Wind Power is so inefficient that only our enforced subsidies keep them going - and greedy investors who run screaming when the occasional sharp thinking Government scraps the wind power subsidy in light of miserable power outputs from the bird and bat killing blots on our landscapes.
    We should put our money into Thorium based - ultra safe - Nuclear Power plants. Fail Safe with virtually no long term Nuclear waste - 1% of present devices] Also let us remind ourselves [we are a carbon based life form after all] that Carbon Dioxide is essential for plants and animals to live. Also remember that CO2 is but 0.038% of our atmosphere and if it increases then plants will grow better and to see the old chestnut of CO2 tipping points of 450 parts per million when many millennia ago the level was 20 times higher and trees and plants grew at an incredible rate and density [where did our coal/oil come from?] Also there were Ice Ages as well as Warm Periods during this time so let us get on and start Thorium Nuclear Power and keep our children warm and able to use their Play Stations! And stop all Carbon Trading on all Stock Exchanges NOW!

  • Comment number 55.

    The argument that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas is a red herring and it's only trotted out to support the lie that CO2 is too insignificant to matter.

    The fact is that without 390ppm CO2 in the atmosphere the Earth would be much cooler, and as a result water vapor levels in the atmosphere would be lower too. The Earth would be largely covered in ice with a ribbon of liquid water around the equator. Think of the last glacial maximum and ice sheets covering europe and north america, but order of magnitude worse.

    So that's how significant this "mere 0.039%" of the atmosphere is for the temperature of our planet.

    And skeptics are happy to see that level doubled, or even tripled, even as they admit they don't have a foggiest idea what will happen. You have to bury your head in the sand to hold such a position.

  • Comment number 56.

    GeoffWard 47: "Anybody know what our 22 laws are? Richard?"

    01. Climate Change Act [2008]
    02. Feed‐in Tariffs for renewable electricity [2010]
    03. Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme [2010]
    04. Energy Act 2010
    05. Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) [2009]
    06. Renewable Energy Strategy 2009
    07. Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) [2008, 2009, 2010]
    08. Low carbon transition Plan [2009]
    09. Energy Act 2008
    10. Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy [2007]
    11. Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act [2006]
    12. Climate Change Programme 2006
    13. Code for Sustainable Homes [2006]
    14. Regional Approval for Renewable Energy Projects [2004]
    15. Energy Act 2004
    16. Renewables Obligation [2002]
    17. Preferential Tax Regimes for Biofuels [2002]
    18. Bio‐energy Capital Grants Scheme [2002]
    19. Company Car Tax Reform [2002]
    20. Energy Efficiency Commitment (2002 ‐ 2005)
    21. Climate Change Agreements [2001]
    22. Climate change levy [2001]

    /davblo

  • Comment number 57.

    Re: 52. At 07:31am 28th Apr 2011, PAWB46 wrote:

    "Don't you realise that the formation of water vapour and thus convection cool the earth during the day. Water vapour and CO2 radiate IR to space to maintain the energy balance with the energy arriving from the sun. At night, water vapour slows down the rate of radiative and evaporative cooling of the surface so that everything doesn't freeze, every night."

    So what you are saying is that cloud based cooling means water vapor contributes even less to the 33C greenhouse effect than previously suggested? Meaning CO2s contribution to the greenhouse effect is probably a lot higher than 25%.

  • Comment number 58.

    @HungeryWalleye #49:

    There is a reason why clear nights are colder than ones with cloud cover


    Of course, ignoring the pertinent point that clear days are hotter than ones with cloud cover.

  • Comment number 59.

    @quake #55, 57:

    1) The greenhouse effect doesn't make things hotter, it keeps things from getting as cold.
    2) CO2 only dominates water vapour at temperatures too cold for water vapour to exist.

  • Comment number 60.

    "1) The greenhouse effect doesn't make things hotter, it keeps things from getting as cold."

    Same thing

  • Comment number 61.

    Brunnen No9:
    ''The fact is that those who came up with the idea that human activitity (re CO2) is changing the climate are simply wrong.
    ''The problem with AGW theory isn't the science. That's just wrong and is being proven wrong all the time ....''

    Do you really believe such nonsense?! And you are the one calling Lovelock a looney!!

    (And since when has stress been ruled out as a factor in ulcers?!!!)

  • Comment number 62.

    quake @#60

    No it isn't the same thing!

    Saying the greenhouse effect makes us hotter is to say the atmosphere is a heat source. It isn't. Gasses can only instantaneously re-radiate energy, their net level is zero. The sun is a heat source. Geothermal is a heat source. Those are the only two heat sources there are, everything else derives their energy from those, directly or indirectly.

    The atmosphere's role is to regulate the earth's temperature, preventing over heating during the day, and slowing cooling at night.

    The atmosphere fundamentally cannot *heat* the earth.

    (Also, look at what causes the temperature in a greenhouse to rise. It's not the IR absorbed by the air/gasses, its the re-emitted energy by convection and conduction by/from the internal wall surfaces of the energy received from the sun, and trapped by a physical barrier, the glass roof. The air/gasses cannot trap energy. This is entirely different to the atmosphere and has absolutely nothing to do with CO2.)

  • Comment number 63.

    @52 and @26

    It is fairly clear that PAWB46 was not paying attention at school if he thinks that "water vapour and CO2 radiate infra-red to space" and "gases cannot trap heat".

    The whole point is that these gases readily absorb and re-radiate infra red. But gases have no sense of direction, and radiate in all directions. So while some will be radiated towards space a great will be back towards the earth. And before emerging into space some will be reabsorbed and re radiated in myriad different directions. The net effect is that some infra red escapes and some does not.

    So while our atmosphere fairly transparent to visible light it is much less transparent to infra red, and more CO2 makes it less transparent. This science goes back as far as Joseph Fourier in the 1820's. I don't know Fourier's full history but tentatively suggest he was not an eco-lunatic.

    I remain agnostic about AGW. There are hugely important and very complicated scientific arguments about the effects of the CO2 we have added to the atmosphere. The effects may be large or small, and subject to moderation by all sorts of feedback mechanisms, including solar variations. There are also important issues about the absorption and emission spectra for both water vapour and CO2.

    But do we get reasoned argument about such issues in the posts? Almost never. And this is just one example of the many poor quality contributions being posted. As written the arguments are simply wrong.

  • Comment number 64.

    kelvin273 @#13

    As you say "Oh dear" - your facts are plain wrong!

    Wrong fact: "Gasses trap heat. "
    Gasses cannot. They can only instantaneously re-emit any energy they absorb - you could call that scattering reflection, but at different wavelengths. Only water vapour can hold onto energy. The (water vapour in the) atmosphere regulates the earth's temperature, and in itself, doesn't heat or cool it, just slows the transfer of heat through it.

    Wrong fact: "CO2 levels are higher than in the last 400,000 years."
    There have been 3 peaks and troughs of CO2 of the same order as today, with levels above 400ppm recorded in the 1800s. Today's level is NORMAL compared to the last 400,000 years, but very low when compared to a longer time period.

    Wrong hypothesis: "more CO2 = more trapped heat"
    See above. What you have is coincidence, not causation. The Vostok ice core data shows quite clearly that CO2 FOLLOWS TEMPERATURE by several hundred years, so making CO2 a symptom not a cause.

    Wrong fact: "World is warming ... when excluding urban measurements"
    The last 10-15 years has showed temperatures have flattened whilst CO2 continues to rise. The New Zealand govt and climate scientists were caught out in court having artificially 'adjusted' temperature readings, normally upwards, to falsely create a warming trend. The US ground station record is severely compromised and untrustworthy as >80% are not maintained according to set standards or are affected by urban heat island effects. Globally, readings from naturally colder areas have been removed and replaced with averaged readings from warmer surrounding areas. I could go on.

    Wrong fact: "The sun isn't warming"
    The sun is warming, albeit very slowly, and all life on earth will be wiped out in 500 million years. What's important though is solar activity, ocean currents, geothermal activity, the El Niinos/La Ninas, etc.. It's already being demonstrated that climate changes have a very close correlation to these (interfering) cycles. CO2 follows temperature, mainly due to ocean absorptivity levels at different temperatures (higher when cooler, lower when warmer).

    Saying "AGW based on the CO2 hypothesis is right" is a huge gamble, and one that observational evidence is telling us more and more that we will lose.

    A simple question: Would you rather spend $1Bn on adaptation to enable us to deal with whatever the earth throws at us, or $10Bn trying to prevent what we cannot? Let me rephrase that: Why did we refuse to heed the warnings of the last 2-3 harsh winters that saw hundreds of deaths and enormous economic damage in the UK alone? Why? Because we are told that "CO2=warming" by people (including the Met Office) who have a vested interest (power, money, control - the usual suspects) in needing us believe it.

  • Comment number 65.

    Re 62. At 13:57pm 28th Apr 2011, scs

    "Saying the greenhouse effect makes us hotter is to say the atmosphere is a heat source."

    A coat makes a person hotter. Am I saying a coat is a heat source? Nope.

    When someone suggests a cold person put on a coat to make them warmer do you object?

    If not, why object about the same language structure applied to the greenhouse effect? Ultimately the objection is both wrong and irrelevant.

  • Comment number 66.

    Re 64. At 14:32pm 28th Apr 2011, scs wrote:
    "There have been 3 peaks and troughs of CO2 of the same order as today, with levels above 400ppm recorded in the 1800s. Today's level is NORMAL compared to the last 400,000 years, but very low when compared to a longer time period."

    That's completely wrong. CO2 levels haven't been higher than 300ppm for *at least* the past 650,000 years. 400ppm in the 1800s? Wrong.

  • Comment number 67.

    Building on #63

    Some of the re-emitted energy by the atmospheric gases does go towards the surface, but here the Laws of Thermodynamics come into play. This re-emitted energy is by definition at a lower level than that emitted from the surface, energy that it absorbed (from the sun) in the first place. Therefore this re-emitted energy cannot heat the surface on the basis that a lower energy body cannot transfer its energy into a higher energy body, in the same way as holding a mirror in front of a torch doesn't make the torch any brighter.

    If the re-emitted energy from the atmospheric gases could heat the earth's surface, the re-emitted energy from the earth's surface would add to the sun's energy in the same way. Ridiculous? yes, of course it is.

  • Comment number 68.

    quake @66.

    Look at http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2/CO2databaserev3.pdf showing CO2 levels as past of "Gas Analysis in Air 1800 –1961"

    Not above 400ppm huh!

  • Comment number 69.

    @scs 64.

    Are you kidding about the temp records?

    The New Zealand temp records have never been in court.

    Are your just making things up about the American temp records?

  • Comment number 70.

    quake @65

    You completely misunderstand, and the telling word here is "make". A coat does not MAKE a person any hotter than they already would be, it only KEEPS them warmer than they would be without it. It just slows down their loss of heat.

    To make something hotter requires and therefore implies a heat source, and at a higher level of energy than the object to be heated. To slow down the heat loss of an object implies a cooler environment around the object and requires an insulator.

    This is a critical difference, and no, I don't object to someone putting a coat on to *keep* warm.

    What I do object to is the incorrect use of language and false, unproven hypothesis, especially when established physics laws tell me it can't be so and observed evidence shows otherwise, and it's used to extract untold amounts of tax money from me or charge me hugely inflated energy bills.

  • Comment number 71.

    Re 68. At 15:09pm 28th Apr 2011, scs wrote:

    The Ernst Beck work is wrong. Stick to mainstream science, not fringe nuttiness please.

  • Comment number 72.

    Re 70. At 15:12pm 28th Apr 2011, scs wrote:

    No I think I understand perfectly. You are making a meal over words. Now you want to focus on the meaning of the word "make".

    It's a grubby little tactic and I am not playing such a silly game. The fact is the greenhouse effect makes the Earth warmer and more greenhouse gases, including CO2, will make it warmer still. If your hope is to deny people the use of simple english to describe a real world phenomenon then your efforts here are doomed to failure.

  • Comment number 73.

    hotashes @69

    Really? The NZ NIWA was sued by the NZ Climate Coalition over temperature record data accurancy, specifically the unsubstantiated and generally upward 'adjustments' NIWA made. This record was referred to as "New Zealand official temperature record" (NZTR). The NIWA record (NZTR) was 'accepted' by the NZ government and was quoted by them in official publications, specifically a graph showing the adjusted temperature being presented as the actual temperature showing an increase where the raw data showed no increase. NIWA lost and the NZ government then 'disowned' the record. This is fact, and on the public record.

    As for the US surface stations, look at http://www.surfacestations.org/, where 91% are either class 3, 4 or 5, i.e. an error of >1 degC, normally upwards. Again, fact and on the record.

    No, I am most definitely not making things up. I'm letting facts and observed data speak for themselves.

  • Comment number 74.

    @73 scs

    Re. New Zealand temp records. No it wasn't.

    Re. American temp records - http://www.skepticalscience.com/microsite-influences-on-global-temperature-intermediate.htm (you seem to have things backwards)

  • Comment number 75.

    quake @72

    No you don't understand. No it's not a grubby tactic. It's being scientifically accurate. To confuse the 2 concepts has enormous ramifications.

    Indeed, to argue that words don't make a difference to support a hypothesis that doesn't add up to the rational mind could be construed as a tactic.

    To engage in the argument of the CO2=warming hypothesis needs evidence. Where is the evidence that CO2 causes warming? So far, it's all based on coincidence and refusal (by the IPCC and pro-AGW folks) to examine any other cause. As mentioned, coincidence is not causation.

    As I've set out:
    - Gases cannot absorb or block heat, that's basic physics;
    - The atmosphere regulates the earth's temperature and in itself cannot make it any warmer, also basic physics.
    - Observed temperatures over the last 10-15 years show a flattening despite continuing CO2 rise, observed and factual data.
    - CO2 trails temperature by several hundred years, also factual and observed data.

    Also, the IPCC and computer model predicted hotspot that comes from the same CO2=warming hypothesis has never materialised (and never will, and cannot). The temperature gradient (which has the same characteristic on all planets with an atmosphere) shows that temperature falls with altitude, it doesn't get warmer. Again, basic physics, as pressure has a direct effect on temperature (just ask the mining engineers who have to cool deep shafts, and not because of geothermal energy).

    As also mentioned, several hundred people died because of last winter's harsh conditions, all because the govt believed the "CO2=warming" rhetoric, refused to listen to the warnings and were therefore not prepared. I for one find that unacceptable. Same for the previous 2 winters, and yet we didn't learn.

    Take the recent Australian floods. History has given us ample evidence that this happens on a regular basis (but longer than a politicians term of office), yet the "CO2=warming" mantra meant the govt ignored the possibility of flooding. At what cost to human life and all the communities devastated?

    Please, let facts and physical laws lead your thinking, not political/environmental driven hypothesis and rhetoric driven out of vested interests.

  • Comment number 76.

    "As for the US surface stations, look at http://www.surfacestations.org/, where 91% are either class 3, 4 or 5, i.e. an error of >1 degC, normally upwards"

    That station classes represent absolute errors in points in time. They say nothing about biases in longterm trends. Such a conclusion would require an actual analysis. The only analyses that have been performed find that the warming trend is immune to whether the good stations or bad stations are used.

  • Comment number 77.

    hotashes @74

    This is where the "laugh test" comes in. If located stations are away from urban heat islands but in the same geographic area (i.e. subject to the same climate/weather/temperature), they will be cooler than when located next to them. Why isn't that blindingly obvious? Isn't the clue in the title "urban HEAT islands"?

    The questions are, what were the adjustments? How are they decided? What level is made for each condition? etc.

    Post-reading correction is not necessary for correctly sited and regularly calibrated stations.

    This 'unknown' adjustment issue was the at heart of the NZ temp record court case, which did happen. Why do you say it didn't?

  • Comment number 78.

    Re 75:
    "To confuse the 2 concepts has enormous ramifications."

    That's just it. It doesn't. It has no enormous ramifications. It doesn't have any ramifications.

    Just as it matters not whether someone describes a coat as making them warmer or making them less cold. Doesn't alter the actual properties of the coat.

    The greenhouse effect, of which CO2 makes up about a quarter of the effect, makes the surface of the Earth warmer than it would be. No greenhouse effect = the Earth's surface temperature drops dozens of degrees celcius.

    Whether you call that "warmer" or "less cold" is ridiculously missing the point

  • Comment number 79.

    77. Scs

    Re. American surface stations - the link I provided shows what happens when you analyse the data. Your claims are false.

    Re. New Zealand temp records - as far as I'm aware the court case didn't happen because the NIWA published clear explanations of why they adjustments where made to the temp record. They also published an analysis of a number of sites that hadn't been adjusted, which showed the same warming trend.

  • Comment number 80.

    @quake #76:

    I see you're still confused about the 'CO2 doesn't make things hotter' thing.

    Perhaps if I paraphrased: No greenhouse effect = the Earth's minimum surface temperature, and probably its average surface temperature, drops dozens of degrees celsius, but not it's maximum surface temperature.

    Get it now?

  • Comment number 81.

    Trying to pass climate laws to combat nature is like King Canute turning back the incoming tide. Futile in the attempt!

    The various hypotheses circulating and being expounded by so-called eminent scientists have to be supported by scientific fact. But they cannot, they are just theories that some of our politicians have adopted for the spurious purpose of inventing and raising green taxes, some such as Caroline Lucas, Leader of the Green Party, have even got themselves elected into parliament on the back of this nonsense.

    CO2 is a life-giving gas that is essential to Earth's existence; it is being misrepresented as a poisonous substance in the furtherance of a hypotheses. A 0.01% increase in CO2 in Earth's total atmosphere is insufficient to drive a mean average temperature change of + 0.5 Celsius in the last 50 years.

    Plenty of scientific evidence is now available to dis-prove the so-called scientific consensus about climate change. In the USA, last February, the House of Representatives passed a Bill forbidding any further financial support for the UN IPCC
    by the US Government because the material published and circulated to UN member states is misleading and contradictory.

    Time for the media to start publishing the facts without giving air-time and column-inches to a narrow group of academic climate-change theorists who are trying to mislead the public with inaccurate, unsupportable forecast data.

  • Comment number 82.

    scs no.75:
    ''...several hundred people died because of last winter's harsh conditions, all because the govt believed the "CO2=warming" rhetoric, refused to listen to the warnings and were therefore not prepared.''

    That is the most ridiculous statement!

  • Comment number 83.

    Re 80,

    Im not confused. I mean I see what you are trying to do.

    You don't want to deny the greenhouse effect exists, but you do want to pretend CO2 doesn't cause warming.

    The rest is just sematics games to square that circle.

  • Comment number 84.

    quake @76

    If the spot readings were in error and the stations were unattended over the long period, why would only the spot readings be in error? Again, this is an obvious and rational question to ask. It is unreasonable to assume that readings prior to the ones in the report were any better than those used for the report.

    Whilst you are right that trends are important, only trends that are identified using consistent data sets are usable. To start adding or changing 'adjustments' part way along the records disjoints them and removes and invalidates their consistency. It is wrong to then use these disjointed trend records for policy making.

    It is also curious why many of the temperature sensors in the poorly located sites mysteriously disappeared shortly after the surfacestations survey.

    The report on skepticscience.com and the conclusions being drawn are from a premature and preliminary report that was made before the project was completed, peer reviewed and published. One has to look at the motives for doing that, especially when the pro-AGW folks constantly talk about peer review!

    The surfacestations.org is an unfunded project that has surveyed over 1000 United States Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) stations, which are chosen by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) to be the best of the NOAA volunteer operated Cooperative Observer network (COOP), so is both very extensive and non-partisan (not paid to produce a specific result). The preliminary report to the Congress was not sanctioned by the project's leader, Dr Anthony Watts, and didn't take into account (ignored) issues such as the effect local irrigation has on night time temperatures, and the temperature sensor height above ground, which are important. Again, what were the motives for doing that. Dr Watts is asking the same question.

  • Comment number 85.

    Another piece of interesting information.

    CO2Sense Yorkshire, a Quango set up to promote low-carbon initiatives throughout the Yorkshire region has an incentive budget of £4 million in the 2011/2 year to help organisations implement worth-while projects.

    Out of 190,000 public and private organisations in this region only 300 a year are signing up, despite the fact that they can be paid to do so.

    This Government plan is not working. People do not believe in the claims about CO2 being responsible for climate change.

    The Government has also spent tens of millions in providing free home insulation to some, heavily-subsidised to others, to reduce heat loss and save energy. Worthwhile? Of course if it saves our money.

    On the other hand a levy is made on everyone's electricity bill to help pay for this together with the renewable energy projects that are claimed to be essential to bridge the 'energy-gap' that is looming.

    Chris Huhne Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State is fooling the public with his rhetoric. David Cameron needs the courage to come clean about what is happening (and perhaps also about investments made by his own family in renewable energy organisations such as wind turbine manufacturing for wind farms).

    This whole 'green-industry' on a global basis is being founded on false hypotheses
    about climate change that should be exposed by the media - not supported by it.

  • Comment number 86.

    PragueImp @82

    Why is that ridiculous? Very cold weather always causes deaths for various reasons, much more so than heat, but most are preventable by preparation. We refused to prepare so didn't prevent them. Because we were not warned of the impending cold weather (because the Met Office wouldn't believe it was coming), we didn't help the elderly to prepare to stay warm, we didn't prepare or deal with the treacherous road conditions, we didn't prepare the transport system to keep businesses running to get people safely to work. How ridiculous is that?

    I personally took heed of the warnings, and put winter tyres on my car for the last 2 winters, which meant I could get my wife and myself to work safely, children safely to their activities and other folks to where they needed to get to in safety, whilst people all around were sliding around endangering themselves and others.

  • Comment number 87.

    Paul Latham No85
    Firstly, CO2 Sense is not a Quango!!

    So, you are basically saying that you are against paying for insulation to save energy?

    'People do not believe in the claims about CO2 being responsible for climate change.'
    Yes they do. Just some of you don't (and like to come on these pages and rant about it!).

  • Comment number 88.

    scs no.86
    '..we were not warned...' '..I took heed of the warnings...'
    So, were we warned or not?! Make you mind up! Or did they just tell you and no one else?!! Ridiculous.

  • Comment number 89.

    Re 84. At 16:56pm 28th Apr 2011, scs wrote:
    "The report on skepticscience.com and the conclusions being drawn are from a premature and preliminary report that was made before the project was completed, peer reviewed and published. One has to look at the motives for doing that, especially when the pro-AGW folks constantly talk about peer review!"

    The project being preliminary and not completed never stopped Watt's from citing the station CRN ratings on his blog and publishing them in reports and blog posts which led many people to think that recent warming was due to poorly cited stations.

    If you want to analyze motives, start with the motives for on one hand promoting wild speculation about the data, while at the same time opposing those who release analyses of the data so far which can clear up that speculation.

    "The preliminary report to the Congress was not sanctioned by the project's leader, Dr Anthony Watts"

    He's a Dr now is he? suddenly gained a PhD?

    "and didn't take into account (ignored) issues such as the effect local irrigation has on night time temperatures, and the temperature sensor height above ground, which are important"

    No, but it did address CRN rating and how there's still warming even if the bad CRN rated stations are removed. The fact is that skeptics thought, without any analysis having been done, that the bad rated stations were causing the warming in the record. That has turned out to be false.

  • Comment number 90.

    quake @83

    I'm afraid that you are confused.

    The 'greenhouse effect' as is being hypothesised about, that the atmosphere traps heat such that it heats the earth, is plain wrong. As explained, the atmosphere cannot heat, it can only slow the rate of temperature change, and so yes, CO2 therefore doesn't cause warming.

    So far you have not offered any evidence or application of the laws of physics to explain how CO2 can warm the earth, considering no gas can trap heat (pure physics), and no cooler body can heat a warmer body (Law of Thermodynamics), I'm not convinced you can, hence falling back to the 'semantic' argument, which doesn't wash and smacks of desperation. Sorry.

    So saying CO2 traps heat defies physics and its laws. Even Einstein's Theory of Relativity is just that, a theory. It has stood the test of time, but who is to say it always will. I'm sure Einstein, if he were still with us and was presented with a better explanation than his, would welcome it. The CO2=warming hypothesis is bad from the start, it cannot cause the earth to warm, so why is it still being presented as if it can? It defies all logic!

    It is you my friend that us playing the semantic game, even in your statement, as a square is completely different to a circle. In science, accurate usage of terminology is critical, as misuse of words or misinterpretation of concepts can then be used by policymakers to create bad law and regulation, and who pays, we do!

    Normally at this point, the argument is made back that the IPCC can't be wrong, as its report shows that CO2 causes warming. Well, for a start, the IPCC isn't scientific, it's political, was set up to examine the human fingerprint on global climate, yet presented it's case as only humans affect the climate by way of his emissions, primarily CO2, so that the UN and like minded organisations such as the EU and EPA, and left/liberal/green governments could enact legislation. The reports written by contributing authors were changed AFTER they had been agreed to make them fit the Summary for Policymakers. I'm sure the cry will go out "no they weren't", but again, the evidence from testimony is out there on public records, even to the extent that authors took legal action to have their names removed in protest. The IPCC report is also riddled with inaccuracies, reductions or non-reporting of the huge uncertainties, and many non-scientific report citations (up to 1/3 at last counts). The IPCC is entirely partisan towards AGW. If it wasn't, we would see them resist the enacting of governmental legislation and regulation with heeds towards caution.

  • Comment number 91.

    PragueImp @88.

    My apologies for the lack of clarity.

    There was warning of the harsh weather for the recent winters from various commercial forecasters who don't base their predictions on a CO2 based model. These warnings were were largely accurate (no forecaster can be 100% as the climate is a chaotic system and never entirely predictable).

    The government(s) ignored these warnings, but instead chose to listen to the forecasts of milder winters from the Met Office who base their mid-long range forecasts on a CO2 based model. You see, the MO are closely linked to CRU and the Hadley Centre for Climate Research who actively push the AGW hypothesis.

    I saw the independent forecasters summary report predicting the last 2 winters harsh weather, so took appropriate steps - winter tyres and stocking up on wood for the woodburning stove, and amongst other things, extra insulation, draft excluders, the normal stuff.

    Whilst the government didn't listen, many private organisations did, such as many farmers, hauliers, etc. and they were much more prepared.

  • Comment number 92.

    PragueImp #87

    (1) If CO2Sense Yorkshire is not a Quango, how is it funded? It is a 30-strong team under an Operations Director with responsibility for delivering investment, market development projects in renewable energy, wood fuel and resource efficiency.

    (2) Insulation subsidy costs have to be paid for out of VAT and the energy levy.

    (3) The claims made about C02 driving climate change are not substantiated by scientific fact and evidence. Produce the evidence. You cannot, it is simply hypothesis.

    Finally, I am not ranting I am exposing the truth and I have a particular interest in the subject because so much information is being misinterpreted by the so-called scientific consensus at present for spurious reasons.

  • Comment number 93.

    quake @89

    Apologies. Mr., nor Dr. You are Correct.

    The alarm about the data wasn't wild, it was rational based on the observed quality and environment of the locations of the stations. The fact that such a large percentage violated the siting/location guidelines should have immediately been enough to question the reliability of the data.

    I have heard it said by a senior scientist that even the right answer derived from bad methodology is not valid as it doesn't adhere to the scientific method.

    You have to ask why it took an independent 'questioner' (Mr Watts) to cause a review of the stations? Shouldn't that have been an ongoing process to ensure the temperature record was trustworthy and above reproach. As it stands, until the stations are properly analysed, location and siting errors corrected and a new record established, probably for several years (10, 20, 30?), any inference from the current record must be considered unsafe. Also, until the analysis project is completed and properly reviewed and published, any interim results must also be considered unsafe to use.

  • Comment number 94.

    Re 90. At 17:42pm 28th Apr 2011, scs wrote:

    The laws of thermodynamics only forbid net energy exchange from cooler body to warmer body. But they don't forbid energy emitted from a cooler body being absorbed by a warmer body, which is what is happening in the greenhouse effect.

    The Earth's surface is far warmer than geothermal energy and sunlight alone can explain. The reason is that the surface is absorbing not only solar energy, but also a lot of energy which is emitted downwards by the atmosphere in the form of infrared.

    For more detail about the physics behind the greenhouse effect:
    http://scienceofdoom.com/roadmap/back-radiation-or-dlr/

  • Comment number 95.

    "As it stands, until the stations are properly analysed, location and siting errors corrected and a new record established, probably for several years (10, 20, 30?), any inference from the current record must be considered unsafe"

    Does that include the inference that observed temperatures over the last 10-15 years show a flattening?

  • Comment number 96.

    @SCS

    Re Surfacestation.org

    "Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative (“cool”) bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive (“warm”) bias in minimum temperatures."
    Menne, Matthew J.; Claude N. Williams, Jr., and Michael A. Palecki (2010)

    Also see, for a video on the subject http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcxVwEfq4bM

  • Comment number 97.

    92 Paul Latham
    1 It is NOT a Quango! Check the definition.
    2 That's doesn't answer my question
    3 Wrong!
    And you are ranting in your final paragraph!

  • Comment number 98.

    quake @94

    That doesn't make any sense!

    If there is a warming, net energy must have exchanged, i.e. transferred from one body to the other. As net energy can only transfer from the warmer to the cooler body, and as the atmosphere is cooler than the surface, net energy cannot transfer from the atmosphere to the surface, therefore the atmosphere cannot warm/heat the surface. Your own argument shows your hypothesis to be false.

    On what basis do you say the sun and geothermal cannot account for the surface temperature? Have you ever walked on the beach in the Mediterranean after the sun has been on it for any time? I have (Tel Aviv), and it's very hot, too hot to walk on. That's from the sun alone. Also, if the sun and geothermal don't supply all the energy to account for the surface temperature, and as the surface radiated energy is just a re-emission of what it gets from the sun (with perhaps a tiny bit of geothermal), where on earth (phrase, not literally) is the other energy coming from? Thin air? How do you magic this up? You are creating energy from nowhere!

    You seem to think, as with rest of the AGW crowd, that the energy re-radiated by the atmosphere down to the surface is 'extra' energy. It's not. Any energy the atmosphere re-radiates is gained either from sun via the surface, or directly from the sun. There is no 'other' source and the atmosphere is not a source. Please tell me where this extra energy comes from.

    As I said, it just doesn't make any sense?

    @95.
    Try the satellite data, that shows no rising or lowering trend over this last 10-15 years. Any change there is, is negligible, and so cannot be said to be in any way significant.

  • Comment number 99.

    @quake #83:

    I'm not trying to do anything. Why do you assume that anyone who questions any aspect of anything anyone says in favour of CAGW must automatically be ignorant of the associated physics?
    Tell you what, why don't you calculate it yourself? Consider the amount of solar radiation hitting the surface at midday in the tropics, calculate the surface temperature and the amount of back-radiation etc, and from that calculate the contribution to the surface temperature from the added CO2 concentration. See if it even amounts to the energy lost to latent heat of evaporation at that temperature.
    Then repeat the exercise for night time in winter in Antarctica.
    Then tell me again how it's just about semantics.

  • Comment number 100.

    PragueImp @97

    As Paul Latham asked, show the evidence (for 3), then we have a debate. Until you can, I would advise reading up on the subject, the physics, and all the politics and vested interests in continuing to push the AGW hypothesis as though it were fact. Ask questions of the statements. Ask if they make sense. Ask what are the motives of the players.

    I'll tell you my motives. Truth, and not wanting to pay huge taxes an inflated energy bills based on falsity.

    Here's another AGW untruth - "Fossil fuels are running out". Just Google "shale gas" and "shale oil" and you will discover this.

    Another untruth - "Nuclear is dangerous". How many deaths have there been in the nuclear industry compared to alcohol and cigarettes, or car accidents, or in the coal industry? Virtually none, even none. How many deaths were suffered at the Fukushima station in Japan because of radiation leaks? None. We do of course salute the 50 or so workers battling at the possible cost to their own health.

 

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