Blackleg miner

NZcoal.jpgSolid Energy, NZ’s state-owned coal mining company, is promoting an alternative to an economy wide emissions trading scheme. According to Carbon News, the approach is being “heavily peddled to policy makers and others in Wellington”, and it is seen to have “great simplistic appeal”. Carbon News has made the document, A Durable Climate Change Strategy for New Zealand, available here.

The essence of the scheme, once you plough through Solid Energy’s reasons for disliking the ETS as currently proposed, is that the government should plant lots of trees, funded by a $1/tonne carbon levy applied across the economy. Lots and lots of trees — a million hectares of new exotic and native forest planted over the next 20-30 years. Solid Energy claims that “Kiwiforest” would provide enough cheap carbon sequestration to allow the economy to grow without the need to impose steep carbon prices. An ETS would only be introduced when there was a truly global interlinked network of carbon markets.

Sounds attractive, on the face of it. Who could object to planting lots of trees? Certainly not me. Unfortunately, as a national emissions strategy it looks too simplistic to be realistic, and on Solid Energy’s numbers delivers emissions reductions that aren’t credible.

The key assumptions are clear in this graph from Solid Energy’s document: SolidEnergy.gif

Solid Energy expect that the government will commit to an emissions target of 50% below 2010 emissions by 2050. The graph suggests that forest growth and efficiency gains will essentially “mop up” all but a small portion of the growth in emissions and deliver emissions reductions. Built into this appears to be an assumption that NZ will hit its Kyoto target (100% of 1990 levels), so the 2010 base figure is not shifting the baseline much, and “50 by 50” was National’s stated policy before the election. However, Nick Smith has also promised that NZ will work towards a stabilisation target of 450 ppm CO2 (he said CO2e, but must have been confused), and other countries are looking at much more demanding targets than 50 by 50. Even Australia, where Kevin Rudd has delayed the introduction of the ETS for a year, has said it will support 25% (below 2000) by 2020 if there’s international agreement. Ultimately, to stay within 450 ppm, developed economies will have to commit to 80% cuts by 2050, and probably more to allow room for some emissions growth in developing countries. And if by some miracle the world agrees that we should aim for 350 ppm, then we’ll need to move to negative emissions — fixing more carbon than we emit.

SolidEnergy80.gif

To put this into the context of Solid Energy’s plan, I’ve overlaid the emissions pathway we need to follow to arrive at an 80% reduction in net emissions by 2050. It goes (approximately) through 25% in 2020. It’s obvious that we will need more than just big new forests and efficiency to hit that target — we will need substantial cuts from all emitters, and all sectors of the economy. That means a realistic carbon price in the local market, and to deliver least cost change we need to start soon…

There are other substantial fish hooks in Solid Energy’s plan. A major one is that a national forestry company designed to deliver offsets to the New Zealand economy at $2 – $15/tonne (SE’s estimate) is a huge market distortion. International carbon prices are likely to increase over time as emissions caps bite, so by creating a source of cheap carbon NZ Inc would effectively be subsidising its big emitters. That’s not likely to go down well in export markets where our competitors are exposed to the full impact of carbon pricing.

The economic reality is that a carbon credit asset on this massive scale would have to be valued at international prices. It would make much more sense to a government (and taxpayers) for that resource to be sold at the best prevailing price – the world price for that class of carbon. Milk prices in New Zealand are not set by the cost of production but by the prices farmers can get in international markets. The same would inevitably apply to Kiwiforest’s carbon.

Solid Energy’s plan is certainly superficially attractive, but amounts to little more than a new twist on the special pleading by big emitters for protection from carbon pricing. Although planting lots of trees and protecting and enhancing native forests could and should be a major part of NZ’s climate policy, this proposal looks economically naive and impractical.

The uncomfortable truth for our state-owned coal company is that while it may have good markets for its fossil fuel in the short term, in the medium to long term it is becoming increasingly obvious that we are going to have to leave coal in the ground. If carbon capture and storage proves economical (and it hasn’t yet), then perhaps there’s a long term future for coal, but in a world where we may be looking to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere, CCS technologies would almost certainly be better applied to biomass burning to deliver carbon negative energy. Instead of whinging about the ETS and pleading for protection from carbon pricing, it would be a far better use of NZ’s taxpayer investment if Solid Energy’s management were preparing strategies for the real world.

[Steeleye Span]

39 thoughts on “Blackleg miner”

  1. The Solid Energy plan suggest using regulations, rules, MOUs and targets to achieve energy efficiency. That’s nonsense. Easy emission reductions can come at much lower cost. Look at any marginal abatement cost study

    1. Plus the hope that international carbon markets will value emission reductions from forestry activities – not a lot of demand there at the moment. And continuous emission reductions will require additional new plantings – on top of replanting harvested land. This will compete with other land uses (unfairly through its subsidisation), which is not necessarily in NZ’s best economic interests.

  2. Yes, we are going to have to leave coal in the ground.
    A recent study in Nature says that if we want to stay below 2degC temperature rise, we will be able to burn only one quarter of today’s proven fossil fuel reserves…

    put another way, we have a 1000Gt “budget” to burn by 2050. But we’ve already burned one third of that.

    Solid’s proposal is ridiculous. Thank you for pointing this out so eloquently Gareth.

    Oh, and note: CCS is not yet proven…

  3. Hows the weather outside? Global warming isn’t kicking in this May thats for sure. Those in Christchurch might be tempted to leave there car running over night to try and boost the thermostat a little.

    Instead of this why don’t we link the tax to the temperature? Every 0.05 degrees we go up above – say the average of the last decade – we put the tax up $1?

  4. R2D2… how is your brain this morning, too cold to start?

    Once again, weather and climate are two different things.

    Maybe, we should put a tax on stupid climate skeptic lies, everytime they repeat the same old lies, they get taxed $1.

  5. Bryan

    Monbiot is right – the papers only looked at proven reserves, but meanwhile the production continues unabated.

    When an oil company’s share price is partly based on the test of future production and reserves, we can expect them to continue to produce. and once it’s produced, we’ll probably burn it.

    sigh

  6. Jonno: Yes! Seems you are right, now that the heater is on, my brain has warmed up, and i remembered; there is a difference between local weather, and global climate!

    I think I had been confused by recent posts on this website proving how the Aussie heatwave was caused by global warming.

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/fires-which-burn-brightly/
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/long-hot-summer/

    See, I was listening to Gareth explain how the IPCC predicts that global warming will result in more extreme weather events, so when one happens it must therefore be global warming, and I got confused and thought cold weather events must be caused by global cooling.

    I get it now, warm weather means global warming, cold weather means is local weather variability. And rain storms are caused by climate change. Sorry, I’m slow to cotton on to the logic but I will get there in the end! Thanks Jonno.

  7. Actually R2, more water vapour means more fuel for weather in general, so coupled with snow in Canterbury (lots at Hutt – great!), you get hail up North. Extremes become more common…

    On the Aussie heatwaves, I would highly commend Erick Brenstrum’s article in this month’s NZ Geographic. He sources a lot of the Victorian heat to the heavy rains taking place in Queensland at about the same time… Fascinating. Much more interesting than knee-jerk denial.

  8. Yeah I have read an article saying that here:

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/anatomy-of-a-firestorm-20090225-8hvi.html?page=1

    Interesting stuff alright.

    I didn’t deny anything. Satire isn’t ‘denialism’ (what ever that is anyway), its a comedic way of pointing out the ridiculousness of another’s position.

    Having a theory about CO2 and warming doesn’t prove causation – you say that global warming predicts increased weather variability, so any weather variability now must be proof of global warming?

  9. “Having a theory about CO2 and warming doesn’t prove causation”
    RD
    Hypothesis, prediction and confirmation are the essence of the scientific process. Finding a predicted effect happening tends to confirm an hypothesis rather than refute it. It’s predicted that with global warming the Southern Alps will receive more snow – it happens – its just more confirmation.

  10. Phfff haha lol

    So if I predict low solar activity will cause this year to be cooler than last, and then it happens, does that prove my theory? MUST of it happened BECAUSE of my theory? And only because of theory? Too funny mate

  11. On other hand, we do have a very good understanding of the way that CO2 works. Right down to the quantum level. So we have correlation, and a very good candidate for causation.

  12. Yeah we we we, you and all the great meteorologists while people like William Kininmonth are just cranks.

    Well its a quantum leap from proving a greenhouse affect and proving that AGW caused the bush fires or todays snow.

    Keep up the good work Gareth

  13. Actually R2D2 Its not just one or two predictions that support the science – as it is in your example – ie reduced solar activity will cause the average global temperature to fall. There are a raft of predicted outcomes that have and are continuing to fall into place. As for your hope that reduced solar activity will relieve the situation – well that is just so much pie in the sky. The reduction of solar activity has led to small changes in the past but hardly sufficient to halt the perceived increases today.

  14. R2, I wouldn’t be so smug, sitting like that in between Antarctica and the tropics. Climate is what happens over many years, as folks keep patiently explaining, and weather is what happens a tad more immediately, as pockets of cold air and warm air duel away and the earth turns.

    NZ is much like Canada – our climate and weather and ability to grow food are at the whim of larger battles, between large masses of cool and warm air from polar and tropic regions. More energy into the system in the form of higher temperature gradients caused by rapidly changing overall climate, and things will be, well, more unpredictable.

    None of this proves that I have a greater understanding of the minute details of the science than anyone else. But I distrust implicitly the arguments of those who would claim that messing about with basic atmospheric chemistry is going to have no effect, and that we are better off just continuing on a course that continues this grand fool’s experiment.

    Canadians are seeing cool, rainy weather (at times of the year when it just shouldn’t come, often displacing much colder weather, er, winter), very spotty rainfall, followed by sun that is blistering, and land that dries out rapidly. Everyone that is close to the land agrees that the weather is wingy.

    A good percentage of the world’s wheat is being shipped from the Canadian prairies. World grain stocks are at a dangerous low. With the susceptability of the Canadian grain harvests to swings in temperature, having a climate that is changing so fast that we have a difficult time making sense of it, and weather events that are responding by being unpredictable, I have lost the smugness that so many Canadians have towards climate change.

    I keep thinking about the Canadian prairies as similar to the Cantebury Plain, breadbaskets both, with mountains to the west, followed by rainforest and a wet coastal plain. And to add to the mix, very interesting experiment that NZ and Canada are both playing with their water tables, cutting down most of the native forest on the wet side.

    Of course it is now rainy and cool, so many Canadians are saying, “Global warming? Tfffsssstt! Ha ha! Prove it!”

    1. ” wouldn’t be so smug, sitting like that in between Antarctica and the tropics”

      What is that sposed to mean? We would be better off somewhere else? I global warming happened I thoought we are in a decent place. Canada would benefit more tho. Canadians should me more worried about cooling than warming.

      ” I distrust implicitly the arguments of those who would claim that messing about with basic atmospheric chemistry is going to have no effect”

      Messing about with atmospheric chemistry? What do you mean by that? Are we performing reaction in the atmosphere?

      You comment is a very strange ramble. I think you are trying to address my comment about the weather being cold in Christchurch in May. I know climate requires long term trends. I was fishing for that obvious rebuttal.

      My point made in comment 8 was that when we have cold events its noise, and when we have shot events global warming. Some times cool events are even climate change. The AGW believer applies different logic to different events.

      You say “Canadians are seeing cool, rainy weather”. Yes. So?

      Does that mean its caused by people? New Zealander’s are currently experiencing cold weather. What should this tell us? Only that our weather is variable. The same thing warm weather should tell us.

      The myth that weather has become more variable is not backed up by any data.

      We have had changeable whether since the beginning of time. Recently we have a theory on global warming. Now, the whether we have always had is blamed on global warming.

  15. R2, could you please explain what short term weather events are causing the Arctic sea ice to disappear like never before? What short term weather events are responsible for the last decade being the warmest decade in recorded history?

  16. Precisely.

    Let me deal with this long rambling critique.. hmmm… I guess that means I did ramble a bit… hmmmm….

    >>My point made in comment 8 was that when we have cold events its noise, and when we have shot events global warming. Some times cool events are even climate change. The AGW believer applies different logic to different events.

    I think some are sensitive to this point because it is such a common denial of AGW. The hot weather events are signals of increased and predicted overall warming of the global climate, and as weather events are so BECAUSE they are at the upper end of the historical experience for the time of year when they occur. And I do not mean the upper end of the last couple of hundred years. I mean the upper end of at least 20,000 and quite possibly 40,000 years of experience, handed down through a live and vibrant oral history, a history that has been judged by the Canadian courts and by Canadian historians working in the field to be every bit as important in a court of law and in the discipline of academic history as any amount of written “evidence.” It is the folks whose history this is that I raised in my ramble, but one that apparently doesn’t carry any weight with you.

    The cool events that I am concerned about are not just more of the same old weather. I am used to rain and plus 20 degrees C – cool, chilly, one might say. Just not in January, when the historical average is what, minus 16? And then the cool, hovering around the temperature where plant growth is inhibited. Expected in late fall and early spring, just not in July, when it is so essential for the growth of grain crops to have some good, hot sun.

    Both of these are examples of weather events. Key to the understanding of why they are important in a climate that is changing is the understanding that they are examples of extreme weather events, responding the changes in the energy flows brought about by rapid changes is overall mechanisms of climate. Weather is about balancing the flow of energy – electrical, magnetic, gravitational energy and the interplay of hot and cold air masses. More energy in this system means more extreme weather events, and provides more signals that the overall system is changing.

    And that might mean that there is simply a hailstorm and thundershower event on the Canadian prairies at just the wrong time of year, and it could mean that the weather turns cool for some time after, and then the dry wind comes up from the south east, and everything has been killed and withers. And then we shall see if the water and food pirates leave New Zealand alone, or if they decide to pluck you all like fat little hens and take what they wish. The irony of that is that a similar thing could have just happened to New Zealand, so by the time the pirates get there, all the food is gone, anyways.

    >> You say “Canadians are seeing cool, rainy weather”. Yes. So?

    See above.

    >> Does that mean its caused by people? New Zealander’s are currently experiencing cold weather. What should this tell us? Only that our weather is variable. The same thing warm weather should tell us.

    Look. When people predict something based on pretty solid science and then hold to their convictions, perhaps what they have found something worth paying attention to. If they have found simple connections between something like increased CO2 and threats to the CO2 capacity of the natural ecology that we have evolved in, or links between levels of CO2 before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the level as it exists now, and the timescale involved in the change, I am more inclined to listen. After a certain time studying the work of these serious folks, I am more convinced. To still claim that humans are not having an impact in the face of convincing evidence borders on the irresponsible. So I challenge you to prove that the climate is not changing as a result of human interference. The onus is on you.

    >> The myth that weather has become more variable is not backed up by any data.
    See above. None that you recognize. Noticed also that the experience of the people who actually know what it means to know the land hass also been judged irrelevant.

    >> We have had changeable whether since the beginning of time.

    Sure, ignore all data about weather, then claim to have known it since the beginning of time…

    >>Recently we have a theory on global warming. Now, the whether we have always had is blamed on global warming.

    But just my point: the weather is outside the bounds of what we have always had. That is what is being reported, what I have seen with my own eyes, as I stood on the banks of the upper Yangtze River during the floods of 2005. I watched whole mountains get turned into rushing torrents, houses and rice fields that hadn’t moved for centuries being washed away.

    And finally: >>Messing about with atmospheric chemistry. What do you mean by that?
    Oh, just that we are dumping huge quantities of gaseous pollutants into the atmosphere, pretending all along that we are having no impact, in what is a huge experiment that we then deny we are conducting. Something along those lines…

    I do get your point – it is a huge problem for those who seek real action on AGW to have those who are “skeptics” constantly say, “Global warming? It’s cold out!” and then use weather to argue against climate change. So it doesn’t help to see folks argue FOR AGW action to use the same specious arguments.

    Cheers.

  17. “So I challenge you to prove that the climate is not changing as a result of human interference. The onus is on you.”

    I can not do this. This is the simple problem of not being able to prove a negative. Many of my other posts have addressed this issue. The onus of prof in science is always on the hypothesis, not the null. The null in this case is certainly that weather has is changing naturally.

    I will give you an example. It is currently summer in Canada. I have a theory that it will get colder from now on, and by January 2010 it will be much colder than today. Your response may be that this is natural seasonal weather. If my response was to you to prove it, you would say, it has always happened, the onus is on you.

    You also mention that the climate has gotten warmer. Yes no doubt it has. You say that Canadians know this. From this comment I will take it to mean warmer in the last 50 years. I am not denying this! Climate change does not equal man made climate change, this is my point!

    I will choose to focus on one part of what both you and CTG have said:

    “BECAUSE they are at the upper end of the historical experience for the time of year when they occur. And I do not mean the upper end of the last couple of hundred years. I mean the upper end of at least 20,000 and quite possibly 40,000 years of experience”

    First point, 40,000 years ago we were in a glacial period. We are in an ice age now, but then we were in a glacial, whereas now we are in an inter-glacial. This interglacial is due to end soonish (geologically speaking, may be another 5,000 years away for all we know), and temperatures will plummet again. See below.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png

    The above graph is interesting in that it shows even though temperatures are stable during an interglacial, ice cover decreases as a delayed effect of the ending ice age.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png

    The above shows the huge variations that have happened in climate, possibly due to orbital cycles.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

    This next graph shows the ‘close up’ of the current interglacial.

    This is where the disagreement occurs. The graph shows the well agreed historical temperatures, and then indicates 2004 as warmer than anything previous.

    The disagreement comes because the creators of the reconstruction have spliced recorded temperatures over proxies such as tree rings. No proxies show this abrupt increase. It is a case of mixing apples and oranges. Los Angeles didn’t exist in AD1000, so the climate of Los Angeles can not be compared. Satellite and weather balloons records show a more gradual increase.

    I have to run but I can post better sources tomorrow or Monday…..

    1. So much fail.

      The onus of prof in science is always on the hypothesis, not the null. The null in this case is certainly that weather has is changing naturally.

      You keep using that word, Science – I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      The null hypothesis you present has not been relevant in the last 40 years at least. The “possibly due to orbital cycles” part of your above statement is a generally accepted, well understood and entirely predictable climate forcing. So that’s our baseline – that’s what the earth does in absence of COâ‚‚ forcing. We know quite well the bounds of “changing naturally” from all sorts of proxy sources. Your null hypothesis is invalidated by these findings.

      This is where the disagreement occurs. The graph shows the well agreed historical temperatures, and then indicates 2004 as warmer than anything previous

      The scale on the graph is thousands of years and recent warming has been relatively a blink of an eye. Refer to a more detailed one. This is really bloody obvious stuff.

      The disagreement comes because the creators of the reconstruction have spliced recorded temperatures over proxies such as tree rings. No proxies show this abrupt increase.

      Ooo, an assertion. That sounds easily testable. Let’s just pull up a reference of the graph, and then have a look at some actual data (I know, this might be a bit too scientific-y-ish for ya…)

      And here’s the first one I found, D’Arrigo (2006). Clearly showing a rise to the end.

      What’s also clear R2 is that you have a very poor grounding in any of the current research. Yet you speak as if you are an authority. You make assertions upon assertions which are completely false or at best ignorant. You throw in the odd fact as if it challenges the standard model, when really it is just your understanding of the science which is lacking.

      1. “The “possibly due to orbital cycles” part of your above statement is a generally accepted, well understood and entirely predictable climate forcing. So that’s our baseline – that’s what the earth does in absence of COâ‚‚ forcing”

        That is a 100,000 year cycle.

        What does the climate do, in the absence of CO2 forcing, during intergalcials?

        “You keep using that word, Science – I don’t think it means what you think it means.” “What’s also clear R2 is that you have a very poor grounding in any of the current research. Yet you speak as if you are an authority. You make assertions upon assertions which are completely false or at best ignorant. You throw in the odd fact as if it challenges the standard model, when really it is just your understanding of the science which is lacking.”

        I disagree with you so I must be ignorant? Is this how you react to every contrary point of view? You accuse me of speaking as an authority then speak as one yourself.

        I know what a null hypothesis is. I also know it is very hard to prove a negative, ie “This coin gives me good luck”, “prove it”, “prove that it doesn’t”. The onus of proof is not to prove a theory wrong but to prove it right. AGW has never been proved right.

        Now onto your temperature proxy.

        First of, notice the black line in the graph you linked to? That is an instrumental record such as thee NASA’s GISS record. Not a proxy. Notice the proxies don’t follow the black line after 1980? That is what I am saying, you proved me right, not wrong. So I must return the comment, fail.

        Here is the article for you: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~rjsw/all%20pdfs/DArrigoetal2006a.pdf

        From the conclusion:

        “Although we calibrated to the common 1856–1978 period, valid calibration using a reduced data set would be possible until the mid-1980s (Figure 5). After this period, however, the divergence between the tree-ring and instrumental data results in weakening of calibration results and failed verification
        statistics.”

        So the tree rings do not agree with instrumental data, one or both must be wrong.

        If the instrumental data is wrong, then the current warming is not unusual. If the tree rings are wrong, then we can not compare the current warming to know if it is unusual.

        Look at page 3, the proxies do not show the hockey stick shape (POL does, OK so not all, but the bulk, the rest all show warming, but the warming had finished by 1930 odd, and is comparable to the 1000 AD centered warming).

        Thanks for the article, it will be useful to show AGW alarmists when they claim current warming is unusual.

        More from the conclusions:
        “It is also possible that the models are themselves
        biased in some way (e.g., although they incorporate external
        (solar, volcanic, anthropogenic) forcings, they do not take
        into account internal atmosphere-ocean dynamics [Jones and
        Mann, 2004]). Taken at face value, our reconstruction indicates
        that MWP conditions were nearly 0.7C cooler than
        those of the late twentieth century. These results suggest how
        extreme recent warming has been relative to the natural
        fluctuations of the past millennium. This conclusion,
        however, must be taken cautiously. First, there is significant
        divergence between reconstructed and actual temperatures
        since the mid-1980s, which, until valid reasons for this
        phenomenon have been found, can only question the ability
        of tree-ring data to robustly model earlier periods that could
        have been similarly warm (or warmer) than the present.
        Second, there are presently only very few millennial length
        records available for direct comparison between the recent
        period and the MWP, and these records show trends which
        are not necessarily coherent over the latter interval, resulting
        in a ‘‘flattening’’ of MWP conditions compared to recent
        warming in our reconstruction. Ultimately, many long records
        from new NH locations and updating of existing records
        (mainly in Eurasia) to the present are required. Successful
        modeling of paleoclimate data with the high temperatures
        of the late 1990s is essential if we are to make robust,
        definitive conclusions about past temperature amplitudes
        and variability.”

        One thing they don’t say is that modern temperature records may be wrong / biased. They could verify the tree ring record using another proxy, like ice cores, stalactites etc.

        1. You need to read up on orbital cycles: there are three major ones (here).

          You say “AGW has never been proved right”. The balance of evidence (which is the best you’re going to get, because proof in the sense you seem to require only exists in mathematics) is very clear indeed, and that’s good enough for us to get on and do something.

          Tree ring divergence is an interesting problem, but tree rings are far from being the only temperature proxies. We have also got direct evidence that today is warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 years (at least), with the finding of material left by retreating glaciers — such as Oetzi the Italo-Austrian ice man.

          1. First point: Yes I understand, I didn’t want to get side tracked.

            2nd: I only say AGW has never been proven when others claim the science is settled. I Claim the null hypothesis defense when others say “the onus of proof is on you” as Nicol Design Did.

            3rd: Are there any other proxies that confirm the temperature record apart from the two glaciers you mention? It strikes me that sea levels have been rising for 10,000 years and glaciers retreating for ten thousand years as a delayed response to the ending of the last glacial period.

            http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png

            It does not seem to make sense to me that tree rings could some how decouple from temperature in the last 30 years. Seems to be a double standard in logic here, all to common with AGW alarmists. Any data that disagrees with their world view they simply ignore or discard.

            Easy solution anyway: compare tree rings and instrumental records to another temperature proxy, such as ice cores or stalactites (these are better than the length of a glacier, that may have an underlying trend)

        2. Notice the proxies don’t follow the black line after 1980?

          Now you are really verging into the ridiculous of claims. Whatever could your point be? The upwards trend is still very visible in that proxy data to 1980.

          You answered the first shattering of your rubbish with “Yes I understand”, when clearly, you don’t. As I stated, that undermines your use of the null hypothesis.

          I disagree with you so I must be ignorant? Is this how you react to every contrary point of view?

          No, only the ignorant ones. And please – it is not you that is ignorant, it is a point of view which is ignorant. You yourself can gain the knowledge to overcome that. If you do and still hold the same position, that would make one a crank, not ignorant.

          1. What could my point be? Read my posts, and stop with the insults. You have no leg to stand on here, the paper you referenced concludes, as I claimed, that the proxies do not match the instrumental record after 1980. I never claimed that we haven’t had warming. We have warmed, but not as dramatically as the instrumental record claims.

            Read post. I was very clear on the difference in positions.

            You claimed to prove the following statement wrong:
            “The disagreement comes because the creators of the reconstruction have spliced recorded temperatures over proxies such as tree rings. No proxies show this abrupt increase.”

            ie this one:
            http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/nuclear/Fig10HockeyStick.jpg

            And actually proved it right. I doubt you read the article, you just looked at the graph, but didn’t realise what you were looking at.

          2. Sure. I did just look at the graph, it wanted me to pay to read the article. Well spotted that the proxies don’t show a correlation in the very recent times since 1980.

            But that doesn’t change the fact that up to 1980 they do show a rapid increase. After 1980, well we’ve got instruments to measure it and I guess there are a number of reasons that the proxies might not match those, standard crank/refuted theories like UHI excluded. Example: the chemical method may diminish in accuracy when the COâ‚‚ levels are significantly above that which increases uptake by the plant, eg 300ppm a pre-industrial method. Or maybe it’s some other common environmental factor – maybe it was the influence of Chernobyl. I’d say it only makes a difference if it was viewed to challenge the earlier proxy data.

            Note I’m not actually insulting you, I’m just characterising your argument and your current grasp of the science. I fully expect you to be smart enough to figure this out as you learn more, and join the consensus position.

          3. SAMV: Right, there must be a reason, because Anthropogenic Global Warming is infallible (in eyes of the believer)

            Interesting quote from “The Little Ice Age”, by Brian Fagan

            “Almost invariably, a frenzy of [witchcraft] prosecutions coincided with the coldest and most difficult years of the little ice age… Today, our ecological sins seem to have overtaken our spiritual transgressions as the [blame] for climate change”

            “But that doesn’t change the fact that up to 1980 they do show a rapid increase. ”

            Well the 40’s-70’s had a flat cooling trend.

            All the so called hottest years of the millennium are either in the 30’s or the post 80’s period (I think). So if the post 80’s is in question, the peak and trend of the warming no longer matches the emissions trend.

          4. No, the “post 80’s” period is not in question. The authors of the paper you quote have since published another paper that found the divergence effect is much smaller than originally thought, and may be due to detrending end effects. Other papers have been published which find no divergence problem at all.

  18. R2, it’s interesting that out of that series of charts you linked to, you didn’t mention this one. Especially so as that was the chart I was asking you to explain. Historical records are irrelevant when it comes to explaining this chart, which shows the temperature record of the last 150 years. That is 0.8°C of warming since the 1880s. Do you think that is just “weather”? If it is not just weather, then what is the climatic process that is causing the increase in temperatures?

    1. Yes, but to get a historical perspective you need to look further than 150 years. The current interglacial is 10,000 years old.

      I also mention that proxies are more reliable than instrumental records. As those records measure the change in climate in cities, where the climate most definitely has changed due to people. They tend to take average high and low temperatures, city lows are much warmer during the summer than farm land as the concrete hold the temperature. Even farm land is human induced climate change as forest land is much cooler.

      The below link shows satellite temperatures, only for 30 years, so no historical comparison that a full proxy would give.

      http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6540

      The below article talks about the need to compare modern temperatures with historical ones using consistent proxies.

      http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=89

      No global data is ‘raw’. It all needs to go through some kind of weighting system. The NASA data needs to be adjusted for urban heat island effect and for changing number number of stations. And then increased weighting given to stations in areas where there is few. It also relies on stations in politically unstable countries and countries with weak infastructure. The US data shows the 30’s as the hottest decade.

      The below website is a good place to look for info on why that graph is flawed, ie all the errors that NASA has made adjusting for urban heat island effect, and the problems with changing the number of stations over time. And errors in data coming in from Russia, that NASA did not pick up.

      http://www.climateaudit.org/

      1. It’s curious that you think that amateurs like McIntyre and Watts are more reliable than the actual professional climatologists. I wonder, if you break your leg, would you call a plumber?

        The IPCC estimates that UHI contributes around 0.05°C of the 0.8°C warming, so I’m not quite sure why you think that this is a problem. Perhaps you have been taken in by Watts’ pretty pictures. Of course, statistical analysis of Watts’ work shows that his so-called “bad” stations do not affect the temperature record significantly. In fact, taking the 70 stations that he declares are perfectly sited, the warming trend is still there.

        But if you prefer pseudo-science, that’s your prerogative.

  19. IIRC the author of most of the material at Climate Audit has a BA in math and spent his career in the resource extraction industry. Why should he be granted any credibility?

    See this interesting post.

    1. I don’t give him anymore credibility than I give anyone else.

      I find his articles interesting, but I never said they were infallible.

      Having a BA in math does not bother me. I would not trust him any more if he had a Science PhD, or an environmental science major.

      Do you make your mind up on issues based on the degrees of the people involved?

      http://hot-topic.co.nz/unreliable-witness/

      I didn’t think so. So whats your point? I think Steve McIntyre is well equipped to understand the process that goes into pulling together reconstructions from wide ranging proxies. He has a maths and modelling background and seems to know the issues well. It isn’t really cliamte science he deals with, but the statistics and modelling involved in reconstructions.

      Anyway, he has a BSci not a BA (according to wikipedia anyway). And He helped write a paper on the Mann reconstruction that led to him testifying in front of the U.S. House of Representatives. So a few people at least still think a BSci is still a good degree. And he has worked for the Canadian Government as a Policy Analyst. So maybe he deserves a little more credit than you give him.

    1. What a great link, now I know what a Latin phrase is I had never heard of before.

      I’m sorry, you (and Steve Bloom) didn’t attack his character, only said I shouldn’t trust him on the issue because he has a BA (which is incorrect), and worked for the (big bad) mineral industry. Oh and called him an amateur. It was insinuation (I think lol). Either way you were diverting away from my argument and onto his credentials etc. If it was easy to attack my argument you would have done that instead.

      I never said the MWP period was colder, I don’t know if it was or not. You presumed that. I said, the warming is not strange when you don’t look at the temperature records, when you only look at proxies it does not suggest a link to GHG emissions.

      The article concluded that proxies and temperature records do not match after 1980.

      1. “I never said the MWP period was colder”

        No, you claimed that the current warm period is not unusual compared to the MWP. However, the paper you quote says quite clearly that the MWP was 0.7ºC cooler than today’s warm period. It also notes that the MWP showed a lot more geographic variation compared to the consistent global increased seen today. So today’s warming is unusual compared to the historical record.

        And you still have not answered my original question, which is how you explain the temperature graph of the last 150 years if it is not caused by CO2.

        And yes, the onus is on you to disprove the link, because the link between CO2 and global temperature was known long before the current warming was noticed. Greenhouse theory predicts the current warming.

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