Predicting the bleeding obvious (and getting it wrong)

A couple of days ago one of the leading figures in the New Zealand climate crank pantheon, the Climate “Science” Coalition’s very own Bryan Leyland, popped in to Hot Topic and left a comment drawing attention to his new favourite game — “predicting” global temperatures by projecting the southern oscillation index forward seven months. He bases this on the “work” of John McLean, last mentioned here a couple of months ago when I looked at his prediction (happily promoted by the NZ C”S”C) that 2011 will be the “coolest year globally since 1956 or even earlier”. Suffice to say, it won’t be.

Leyland first notes the infamous McLean, De Freitas and Carter paper of 2009, then his own “prediction” that this year’s La Niña would bring a cooling in global temperatures, and then says:

What is remarkable about this is that a retired engineer with access to the Internet has been able to make accurate predictions of future climate. Yet, to my knowledge, no computer-based climate model nor any mainstream “climate scientist” predicted this cooling. To me, this is truly remarkable.

What’s really remarkable is that Leyland is actually only showing his ignorance of some pretty basic climate relationships.

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People talkin #5

Time for another open thread — the place to witter on about climate change science, policy and politics, or the sounds of seals in the night. Off topic comments from other threads will be moved here.

Grim news on emissions

The Guardian, with the exception of the foolishness of its analysis of the climategate emails, is one of the world media’s bright spots when it comes to recognising and communicating the realities of climate change. It carried grim news yesterday. Environment correspondent Fiona Harvey reported International Energy Agency (IEA) unpublished estimates that greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history.

“Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuel – a rise of 1.6Gt on 2009, according to estimates from the IEA regarded as the gold standard for emissions data.”

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Low hanging fruit: efficient lighting

It was good to see Michael Downie, the general manager of Phillips Lighting, writing in the Herald this week in praise of energy-efficient light bulbs in the context of tackling climate change.

“The case for change is clear. Globally, lighting uses 20 per cent of all electricity. And two-thirds of lighting installed is based on old, inefficient technology.

“New energy-efficient lights use up to 80 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs, which waste 95 per cent of their energy on heat.”

Downie  goes on to remark how the speed of change in the development of compact fluorescents (CFLs) is providing new versions with much greater flexibility and variety of appearance.

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John Abraham: How to give good radio

It’s hard to know listening to this recent US radio interview with John Abraham whether to be more admiring of his incisive responses or more astonished at the regularity with which tired old denier claims are put forward by the interviewers. The interview perhaps highlights the extraordinary divergences of American society – home to impressively intelligent and dependable science yet harbouring, at high levels of government and in major media, scientific denial expressed with a confidence untethered to any scientific grounding.

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