Fomenting unhappy mischief…

I usually stay out of the fray at NZ’s political blogs, but sometimes it’s impossible to resist a brief plunge into bracing waters. Yesterday, David Farrar at Kiwiblog posted approvingly about the impending launch of a movie called Not Evil, Just Wrong, apparently intended as a counter to Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Here’s Farrar:

The film compares the consequences of the ban on DDT, with the cost of trying to ban carbon emissions. They talk about how Al Gore would have you believe the sea level will rise by 20 feet in the near future, when in fact the IPCC say this would be over millennia.

Here’s Ed Darrell:

The film is both evil and wrong. Errors just in the trailer:

1: Claims that Al Gore said sea levels will rise catastrophically, “in the very near future.” Not in his movie, not in his writings or speeches. Not true. That’s a simple misstatement of what Gore said, and Gore had the science right.

[plus eight more]

It’s sad to see Farrar giving credence to the DDT ban myth — something that’s been shown to be the product of a US tobacco-funded attack on the WHO in the late ’90s. It’s even sadder to see his mischaracterisation of the climate problem:

And again I agree the long-term trend is for warming, but the hysteria over how it is urgent to have cut emissions by 40% by 2020 or the planet is doomed, is just that. In fact by 2020 the planet may still be in a cooling phase.

The “cooling phase” thing is based on something a German modeller didn’t say at a conference a few weeks ago. Climate Crock Of The Week provides the full context (you can hear what Latif actually said), and Joe Romm interviews the man to get the truth. The whole “cooling for 20 years” thing is a beat-up by cranks. And 40%? That’s an IPCC AR4 recommendation…

But Farrar’s misunderstanding runs deeper:

As we get better technology, and gradually transition to energy sources that produce fewer emissions, our carbon emissions will reduce. But 2020 is not some date of no return.

Sadly, we passed the point of no return a long time ago. We are now committed to considerable warming — our current emissions trajectory is pointing us at 4ºC by 2060 — and unless we take rapid steps to reduce global emissions, staying under the 2ºC “guardrail” is already looking unlikely. The longer we leave cutting emissions, the steeper the cuts we will eventually have to make (and the more expensive they will have to be) if we are stay within reasonable temperature bounds. Far from being a counsel of moderation, Farrar is allowing his misconceptions to mislead us into greater danger.

Farrar is of course a National party stalwart, credited by some with being the premiere spinmeister for the present government. If this post were just the ill-conceived ramblings of a right-wing blogger, designed as a dog whistle summons to the crazies who are his commentariat, then it would be worth ignoring. But Farrar’s site is NZ’s top ranking blog, and his thinking looks suspiciously like a reflection of what’s going on in the National caucus. It’s the fallacy of the false middle, based on placing yourself in the middle of a debate you deem to be polarised, but where only one side has the facts right. And that’s not the nutters in Kiwiblog’s comments calling for those who want action on climate change to be “hung, drawn and quartered”.

54 thoughts on “Fomenting unhappy mischief…”

  1. Apparently Al. Gore only allows the ‘right kind’ of questions to be asked of him. The director of “Not Evil, Just Wrong,” dared to ask a question at the Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference. And his mic gets turned off
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf-fzVH6v_U

    I’m surprised that AG even took questions. Doesn’t he know his drill by now:
    Never discuss the science.
    Attack the skeptic.
    Repeat the mantra.

    And AIT DOES show the WTC site, before rebuilding, flooded by metres of sea-level rise, as Gore stands in front of Antarctica, waving his hands saying “if this goes…”. We have every right to call this stand-up comic on his BS.

  2. That director got his mic turned off because he was hogging the Q & A session, and there was a queue of people after him patiently waiting their turn. It was a pathetic bit of attention seeking for his movie… Here’s what happened.

  3. “It’s the fallacy of the false middle, based on placing yourself in the middle of a debate you deem to be polarised, but where only one side has the facts right.”

    This comment made me laugh!

    Gareth, you say “one side has the facts”. I would say one side has the theory. A theory that hasn’t been proven.

    Do you accept that there isn’t a person on this Earth that knows for sure, with 100% certainty, if 20th century warming was caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases, and if human emissions of greenhouse gases will cause significant warming in the future?

    1. As Carol points out below, 100% certainty is neither required nor necessary. The balance of evidence is quite sufficient. Those who wish to convince us that no action is needed are the ones who must provide extraordinary evidence, who need to overturn a paradigm. And what have you got? Nothing…

      1. You miss my point once again.

        You may claim that 100% may not be needed for action, but it is to say there is no debate!

        Quote, “The fallacy of the false middle”, “One side has the facts right”

        You are pretending there is no debate yet you can not claim that anyone knows with 100% certainty that warming is man made!

        Also: do you really think non-believers are short on facts? I am on the other side of the debate to you but I do not pretend you are ignorant, you have simply interpreted the facts differently. Please, do not insult me.

    2. “I would say one side has the theory.”

      For once, you’ve got something right, R2. There is only one theory – AGW. The denialists do not have an alternative theory, merely line-by-line arguments that often contradict each other.

      Isaac Newton said:
      “In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined…….This rule we must follow, [and] may not be evaded by [speculative] hypotheses.”

      In other words, in the face of an experimentally tested hypothesis, such as the role of CO2 in AGW, it is not enough just to say “it might be something else”. you actually need to come up with a competing hypothesis that can also explain the observed data.

      That is why McIntyre is wasting his time trying to “break” the hockey stick. Even if it were proved that the MWP was as warm as today, that would not mean that CO2 is not the cause of today’s warming, unless he could also come up with a mechanism that explains both the MWP and today’s warming without CO2. No one on the denialist side has been able to do this.

      So yes, there is a theory on the AGW side – and nothing on the denialist side except lies, slander and misinformation.

      Newton quote from Oreskes’ How do we know we’re not wrong.

    3. Creationists make it sound as though a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

      – Isaac Asimov

      Substitute creationist for the-science-is-wrong-on-the-climate-ist (they don’t like to be called denialists), and the statement reads exactly the same. They talk like NASA pulls climate science out of James Hansen’s ass.

  4. R2, you are completely missing the point if you demand 100% certainty.
    The theory of evolution (or is that still a mystery to you too?) is completely open to being disproven – the biologist JBS Haldane, when asked what kind of evidence might disprove evolutionary theory, famously growled “Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian”. But as it happens, the evidence for evolution has just continued to pile up and pile up. And so it goes with AGW. Have you ever been to a scientific lecture on climate change? (I asked roger the same thing).

    1. Sadly, some of us crave certainty. The droid who haunts this bit bucket often demands it. In Delphic days these folk hung on the words of oracles and soothsayers; more recently it was the Adolfs and Winstons who held them in thrall. Today our newspapers are populated by people who can churn out an unequivocal 500 word opinion to a weekly deadline. These people are very much in vogue because they have the answer to every problem and they express it with absolute certainty. Mr F is the first violin in their orchestra. There is no room in their score for probability, uncertainty, or Mr R’s unknown unknowns. Spelling is not optional. Contrast this addiction to one dimensional certainty; to black or white, to either or, with a quote from the Resilience Science blog:

      “With resilience,” Walker told me, “not only do we acknowledge uncertainty, but we kind of embrace uncertainty. And we try to say that the minute you get too certain, as if you know what the answer is, you’re likely to come unstuck. You need slack in the system. You need to have the messiness that enables self-organization in the system in ways that are not predictable. The best goal is to try to build a general resilience. Things like having strong connectivity, but also some modularity in the system so it’s not all highly connected everywhere. And lots of diversity.”

      You won’t find ideas like that on the op-ed pages of your next fish and chip wrapper.

    2. Unfortunately Carol, it’s even worse than that, in my view. The nastiness of many of KB’s respondents is beyond contempt. And some of the respondents on Espiner’s blog are not much better than that.

      Meanwhile, that idiot Garth George has a “rebuttal” of criticism by Salinger in today’s Herald – quoting Bob Carter!

  5. This post on Kiwibog appears to me as the typical viewpoint of much of the National MPs.
    Although they claim that they accept the IPPC (yer right), their rhetoric appears to be the total opposite.
    I love how Farrar says ‘I tend to accept the IPCC consensus’. Well that’s good, he believes in scientific evidence, but then says ‘but the hysteria over how it is urgent to have cut emissions by 40% by 2020’….

    This is an important point. Either, people in the climate change movement in this country are failing to communicate climate change science or mainstream New Zealanders are failing to understand.

    Of course the media and the climate skeptic idiots play a part in this. But we are still trying to convince people to believe in science. Compare this to other countries (i.e UK). This is a great shame and something we need to work on.

  6. I love how Farrar says ‘I tend to accept the IPCC consensus’. Well that’s good, he believes in scientific evidence, but then says ‘but the hysteria over how it is urgent to have cut emissions by 40% by 2020’….

    This is an important point. Either, people in the climate change movement in this country are failing to communicate climate change science or mainstream New Zealanders are failing to understand.

    He may be having trouble separating recommendations from environmental orgs (which tend to be more emotive and have much higher targets) from the IPCC’s? Admittedly I haven’t taken great notice of anyone’s respective targets in recent times.

  7. You can catch the NZ blog rankings at Tumeke blog, and it’s not surprising the top few are strongly political, either left or right. They exist to comment on current news, consequently any science will be once-over- lightly, at best.

    The problem I have is the historical sanctimoniousness of scientists in the climate change debate. Initially, interested people had to pay serious money for the first few IPCC reports, and many supporters have quickly grabbed the “denialist” broom to sweep others aside because the science is so strong. Really?.

    By continually pushing for serious money for data and model refinement, and science by numbers ( xxxx climate scientists can’t be wrong ), even though they apparently can’t accurately forecast imminent regional climate events, many of the public may wonder why researchers keep needing money if they have already have truth.

    The climate scientists want active denialists to help with media coverage. Because of media focus on trivial distractions, people don’t understand the basic issues. They may even believe that carbon trading schemes are cures that are also surrogates for any personal action.

    The recession is the time that scientists should have stepped to the plate and said, “it’s in your interest to act local – make choices that reduce your personal emission footprint, and support research into low energy and greener production and substitution that don’t change lifestyle much. It’s sensible to be green because you can save money, have fun evaluating new lifestyle options, and help the planet “.

    Choices have to be palatable and common sense, because today’s problems are nearly always more significant than those that appear in the future, excluding illness and death.

    The November talkfest in Europe will grab a few headlines, and researchers may get even more money thrown at them ( thus further suggesting that more information is required before critical decisions are needed), but for many of the public it’s irrelevant to their daily life, and the govt seems to be doing something.

  8. Farrar and others like him in the political world are drawing a thin cover of worldly wisdom/common sense over a vast pit of ignorance. They simply haven’t read the science, but have assumed they can pick up all that is necessary from media reports from journalists who also haven’t read the science but assume they can report it by finding some ‘balance’ between the science they haven’t read and the organised propaganda of the denialists which conveniently appears in front of them wherever they turn. Something like that anyway.

    If Farrar sat down for a few days with a small selection from the books reviewed on Hot Topic such as Gavin Schmidt’s Climate Change, Robin Archer’s The Long Thaw, Richard Alley’s The Two Mile Time Machine, or Wallace Broecker’s Fixing Climate he surely wouldn’t write such ignorant stuff. And it’s not that you have to be a scientist to understand them. I’m afraid simple intellectual laziness afflicts many who aspire to influence policy in New Zealand.

  9. I also think DPF is deeply hypocritical, and disingenuous, in that he likes to project an aura of reasonableness (e.g. in claiming to accept the IPCC consensus) but seems to claim no responsibility for the tone of his comments thread, which is … a sewer.

  10. I actually posted the video because someone emailed me asking me to, suggesting I would not post it, as I would not allow contrary views to my belief that AGW causes global warming.

    But thank you for demonstrating one of my criticisms – those who go well beyond the IPCC conclusions. Gareth himself says the current trajectory is 4 degrees by 2060, while the IPCC itself says their best estimate is from 1.8 to 4.0 degrees by 2099, depending on which scenario occurs.

    Yes the UK Met Service has done a report saying it will be 4 degrees by 2060, but there are hundreds of reports out there claiming different outcomes. This is why I go off the best formal estimates of the IPCC, and not cherry pick the most alarmist reports.

    1. Fair enough DFP as long as you recognise the IPCC is always playing catch up with the science and the latest evidence is tending toward the upper bounds.

      I hope that you are as even handed when it comes to the claims of the economic alarmists when they claim, without any evidence, that reducing carbon emissions by moving to best practice will certainly destroy the economy.

    2. David, thanks for your comment. The problem with your position is that while claiming to “go off the best formal estimates of the IPCC”, you apparently don’t understand what the IPCC actually says, or what AR4 means for policy.

      Here’s a summary: this government says it supports a global target of 450 ppm CO2e. This is based on the IPCC’s lowest stabilisation scenario, and is the de facto international target. If you then examine what that means for emissions (and I did, in detail, here), you’ll see that 450 ppm only has a 50% chance of limiting temperature increases to 2ºC. To hit 450, the IPCC says that emissions need to peak and start falling by 2015 at the latest. As I said in my post, leave it later, and you effectively rule out the chance of staying under two degrees. Do you think that’s wise?

      As Bryan points out elsewhere in the thread, research since the closure of reports for AR4 (2005) is available in several handy recent summaries, and to ignore 4 years of work is just plain stupid. What that work is telling us is that by most measures, things are proceeding faster than expected, and emissions growth is following the highest of the IPCC scenarios.

      The news may indeed be alarming, but it is not alarmist to point that out. What is truly alarming is that someone close to the National caucus, an influential blogger who claims to be middle of the road of this issue is so transparently ignorant of the reality of the problem. Perhaps you might do yourself a favour, and sniff the air outside the foetid stench of ignorance and hypocrisy that populates your comment threads. If you really want to learn more about the issue, I’ll be glad to buy you dinner (or at least a small drink) next time I’m in Wellington and answer your questions.

    3. “I actually posted the video because someone emailed me asking me to, suggesting I would not post it, as I would not allow contrary views to my belief that AGW causes global warming.”

      I did it because someone dared me too…

    4. ‘But thank you for demonstrating one of my criticisms – those who go well beyond the IPCC conclusions.’

      i.e. up to date scientific evidence.

      I wonder what Farrar would think of Hansen’s ‘350’ paper? It may just blow his mind. Although, DPF could be considered a National Party hack, not a scientist. It may be hard for him to come to grips with it all.

  11. DPF, I don’t know what reports you have in mind as alarmist, but recent responsible updates to the IPCC picture such as this very recent UN compendium hardly fall into that category. Neither for that matter do the Copenhagen congress reports earlier this year, extensively reported on this website, one section of which discusses targets and timetables. Falling back on an IPCC estimate as if no more can reasonably be expected from you is not good enough. If you’re going to comment on these matters you should acquaint youself with the rapidly developing science and not simply dismiss it as alarmist without having done so. In any case your mention of the IPCC upper limit of 4 degrees omits to note that figure is an estimate within a possible range which extends as high as 6.4 degrees.

  12. CTG: “…There is only one theory – AGW. The denialists do not have an alternative theory, …”

    OMG, where do I start on this pseudo-religious gem?
    Numerous theories have been put forward as possible contributors to the moderate warming we have seen in the last 150 years, from solar activity, to ocean currents, to cosmic rays to instrumental bias to…

    However even if NO alternative explanations had been but forward, that does not prove man dunnit. Argument from ignorance is scientifically illegitimate. “We don’t know” is the honest, and scientifically correct answer.

    It’s like saying “well there are no other suspects, so Arthur Allen Thomas must have done it.”

    1. Bollocks. That’s not what I said at all.

      Greenhouse theory has been around for a long time, and has been proven experimentally. One of the predictions you can make from Greenhouse theory is that if you change a forcing, such as CO2, then you will see change in the temperature of the atmosphere (the change can be warmer or cooler depending on what forcing has changed – aerosols such as sulphates are negative forcings).

      There is no alternative theory to explain how the atmosphere works. None of the “theories” you talk about can explain the totality of the radiation budget of the atmosphere without also invoking greenhouse theory.

      You proved my point nicely – randomly firing a whole lot of “it might be” theories, none of which contradict basic greenhouse theory, and which therefore according to Newton’s method can be ignored.

      We DO know how the atmosphere works – not every single last detail, but enough to make predictions, therefore the scientifically correct answer is “CO2 is causing today’s warming”.

      It is dishonest of you to suggest that we know nothing just because there are some uncertainties.

    2. No they have put forward hyopthesis which are not supported by the data. A theory in science must explain all the data and have a testable mechanism.

      Solar activity has a clearly known mechanism but the data does not explain recent warming (they diverge)

      Cosmic rays don’t have clearly defined mechanism or data that support the hypothesis. More work is needed but the portents for it are not good.

      There is no evidence of systematic bias in the temperature record. Even the WUWT crowd have gone quiet on that.

      The correct scientific answer is
      “based on the evidence and our understanding of the physics of climate we conclude that it is highly probable that the climate is warming and very probable that human activity is causing it.”

      Lots of alternative explanations put forward, none so far have stood up under any sort of scrutiny in real science.

      But this doesn’t prevent legitmate alternative explanations being put forward. Please do so as it strengthens the science, but I am afriad that what passes for science on the web doesn’t cut it.

      Note: Hot Topic, or even Realclimate, are not a blog science sites they are sites that report or attempt to explain the science that is happening in the real world.

  13. CTG:”Greenhouse theory has been around for a long time, and has been proven experimentally.”

    So what? GH theory is not what is under contention. GH theory on its own does not a disaster make. What is under contention is the theory that CATASTROPHIC global warming is resulting from (according to the 350dotorg crowd) a less than one part in 10 000 rise in a colourless, odourless, non-toxic gas vital to life.

    Prof. Mojib Latif now says global warming’s taking a 30-year holiday. Guess those placards worked. We’ve STOPped GLOBAL WARMING!!

    1. Unbelievable – Gareth actually linked to the video where you can quite clearly hear that Latif says nothing of the sort, and you still repeat the lies!

      Wrathall, you really are a complete git.

    2. “vital to life”

      I’ve got a canister of CO2 right here – if it’s vital to life, you won’t object to breathing it for a while, will you? 30 seconds ought to do the trick…

    1. Why not ask a scientist? Here’s what one had to say:

      How well does the film handle the science? Admirably, I thought. It is remarkably up to date, with reference to some of the very latest research. Discussion of recent changes in Antarctica and Greenland are expertly laid out.

      Can’t wait to see how Not Evil does on that score. To judge by the trailer, not well…

  14. David Farrar’s antagonism towards climate science does indeed seem to represent the response of the Government (Nats, ACT, MP don’t care enough to fight) to climate change. My experience is that people have a remarkable capacity for convincing themselves they are right in spite of huge amounts of information otherwise. You need to play to people’s egos to get them to change – seriously, give them a way to think they were right all along.

    And AGW denier, you think that you know better than the best scientists in the world, with their screeds of data on every part of the science imaginable. That the “blog science” Mr Watts comes up with is better than the conservative compilations of the IPCC? Go find your own planet to destroy.

  15. “best scientists in the world”?? with their “screeds of data on every part of the science imaginable”?? What data would that be then? Oh yes computer models. Nice.

    1. aka hypotheses aka applied physical science.

      E=½mv² is a model of energy and velocity. You can write a computer program to compute it, and now it’s a model.

      Your scoffing misses that point as well as the vast wealth of evidence for the AGW case.

  16. A complete list of things caused by global warming:

    Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed, poppies more potent, Africa devastated… [Snipped] …World War 4, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever.

    and all on 0.006 deg C per year!

    [AGWD: You’re new here so don’t know my rules, but please don’t spam discussions with long cut’n’pastes. Provide links instead. And try and stay on the topic of the thread… GR]

  17. Georgedarroch
    “And AGW denier, you think that you know better than the best scientists in the world, with their screeds of data on every part of the science imaginable. ”

    The debate hasn’t moved forward much in the last decade. There are an awful lot of climate science “experts”inhabiting the planet, and herding cats would be easier than obtaining a unanimous consensus from the experts.

    The debate should be about climate change and the quality of the hypotheses, models, and data. Not whether “best” scientists are involved, or whether Al Gore’s AIT is a good representation of climate science.

    The IPCC, along with Al Gore, received the Nobel peace prize, not the chemistry or physics prize. Nobel prizes don’t only go to those with correct hypotheses, and several winning theories have been subsequently found to be incorrect, but it doesn’t demean the scientists’ contribution at the time, and the prize validity.

    As I noted above, we should take action now because it’s timely and sensible, and there are no significant adverse consequences from applying a precautionary approach. We should invest in research and innovation to minimise potential adverse economic effects.

    That’s more rational and responsible than waiting and hoping that future people will develop viable just-in-time solutions. I’m sure there will be innovative solutions, but we should try to eliminate the need for them.

  18. Hi Bruce,
    I’m not sure I follow your arguments and my irony filter is on the fritz.

    You, more than any person here, know that even a crude model will accurately give the global climate trend and you also know that going from global to regional is not simply going from 5 degree boxes to 1 minute boxes and just doing 300x more calculations.

    We need to disabuse politicians of the pernicious “fast follower” meme. The wrongheaded idea that should we turn the taps off tomorrow the CO2 would be gone by lunch time. It won’t. The stopping time is like that picture in the back of the road code: The faster you go, the longer to stop. The more CO2 in the air before we begin reductions, the greater the impact (temp, acidification etc).

    The National party have shown themselves content to talk big and act little. That is why I think it is useful to show up denialist lies as being lies. This removes the flimsy claim to credibility denialist politicians have for continued inaction.

  19. Although DPF’s blog allows for freedom of thought in his comments section (a good thing of course), it’s a great shame that it’s a sounding board for all the climate sceptic idiots out there.

    It a pity that they don’t even engage with informed debate. Their arguments aren’t even comparable to the sceptic idiots here. The Kiwiblog sceptics are just pathetic:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/10/general_debate_16_october_2009.html#comment-619929

    1. One thing you learn from Kiwiblogging jonno is that D4J is like the crazy old guy on the sidelines who just likes yelling stuff that may or may not make sense – seriously. He says the most outrageous stuff and no one really cares.

  20. Bruce Hamilton makes some excellent points, notably that Al Gore and the IPCC got the Nobel PEACE prize, not the physics or chemistry prize. Al Gore is the quintessential performer. He’s demagogue and a failed politician, so it is not surprising his comedy AIT didn’t cut the mustard as far as the “science” is concerned. There wasn’t any because his comedy was all about hysteria backed up by supposition and idle assumptions.

    However, on the subject of climate change, presumably when you alarmist types say “climate change” you still mean specifically “global warming”, right? Or is the term “climate change” really just a cunning and subtle way of backing away from the global warming idea in case temperatures go the other way? It’s “climate change” now because it’s obvious there isn’t any actual warming to speak of. So by using the term “climate change”, you have a dollar each way and can preserve your psychological, subconscious – even pathological – need for some impending ‘disaster’ by claiming that weather events of any sort are the consequence of human-induced climate change (‘global warming’ in brackets). If it rains, it’s because of global warming. If we have a heat wave, it’s because of global warming. Australian bush fire? Global warming. Increasing Arctic sea ice? Global warming. Decreasing sea ice? Global warming. Tsunami? Global warming. Blowfly epidemic? Global warming. Disappearing Amazonian frogs? Global warming. Everything is caused by global warming. It’s the universal elixir, the universal Do-All. Doesn’t matter what it is or what’s happening where because it all now comes under the umbrella of “climate change” (but you will still say “global warming” if anyone presses you on what you mean by “climate change”). The “Global warming” thing is still there; it’s just been veneered over to cope with the adversity of Nature not playing the game and obeying the IPCC’s computer models. You have cleverly hijacked both ends of the argument in case things don’t work out for you temperature-wise, which of course they aren’t because temperatures have been trending downward for the past decade despite CO2 going the other way. I guess you had to think of something. Otherwise there would be a lot of red faces and unemployed climate “researchers” whose “research” grants would have suddenly dried up and they would be out on the street. So “global warming” becomes “climate change” and “climate change” becomes “sustainability”. It’s all about obfuscation and preserving the hobgoblin so that you’ve got something to bleat about, to wring your hands over and to fear. But manmade global warming/climate change is like the witch doctor pointing the bone. It’ll only happen if you believe it.

    But then Hamilton says, “we should take action now because it’s timely and sensible, and there are no significant adverse consequences from applying a precautionary approach. We should invest in research and innovation to minimise potential adverse economic effects.” No significant adverse consequences?? Where have you been for the last few months? You don’t think the huge economic costs and the massive increased cost of living that even the Government has admitted to, is “significant”? Are you happy forking out a few thousand extra dollars per year for no known or measurable climatic difference, and on the strength of an hypothesis that is clearly riddled with flaws? Well maybe you have money to burn and you won’t notice the extra financial burden, but most of the rest of us don’t and we will feel the adverse effects of Nick Smith’s madcap carbon taxes. So I want to know what I’m buying for that extra outlay. What precisely is that extra cost going to do for anyone? So far, no one has been able to tell me because it is all based on guess work, supposition and assumption supported by fudge-factors, lies and deceit.

    As for the “precautionary” principle, I’m surprised you get out of bed each morning. I mean you might be hit by a meteorite the moment you step outside so wouldn’t you be better off invoking the precautionary principle and staying safely tucked up in bed?

    1. Oh my. Too long. Too long. The CC in IPCC has always been climate change. Atmospheric temperature is easily measured but it is not the only evidence. My personal interest has long been ocean acidification.

    2. “As for the “precautionary” principle, I’m surprised you get out of bed each morning. I mean you might be hit by a meteorite the moment you step outside so wouldn’t you be better off invoking the precautionary principle and staying safely tucked up in bed?”

      The human brain’s main evolutionary advantage was the ability it bestowed to predict our environment and take precautionary approaches. Are you seriously suggesting acting without considering consequences is a good idea? Well don’t let me stop you crossing the road without looking…

  21. However, on the subject of climate change, presumably when you alarmist types say “climate change” you still mean specifically “global warming”, right? Or is the term “climate change” really just a cunning and subtle way of backing away from the global warming idea in case temperatures go the other way?

    You can partially blame the Bushies:

    The US Republican party is changing tactics on the environment, avoiding “frightening” phrases such as global warming, after a confidential party memo warned that it is the domestic issue on which George Bush is most vulnerable….The phrase “global warming” should be abandoned in favour of “climate change”, Mr Luntz says
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2003/mar/04/usnews.climatechange

    Though I always thought ‘climate change’ was just more accurate than the simplistic ‘global warming’, which implies warming, but doesn’t say anything about the other aspects of climate that go with warming, as climate change does, once one bothers to find out the effects.

    1. They are different things.

      “Global warming” describes what is happening to the planet as a result of the increase in atmospheric CO2, i.e. global mean temperatures are increasing.

      “Climate change” refers to the consequences of global warming, i.e. that climate will change – exactly how climate will change differs for different parts of the world.

      Both terms have always been used by climate scientists.

  22. Hi Doug,

    ” I’m not sure I follow your arguments and my irony filter is on the fritz. ”

    Sorry, I was poorly playing Devil’s Advocate, but my scribbling were too muddled. I don’t dispute the data, but science by the number of scientists and even “consensus”, doesn’t always have a great track record. If you encounter a group of scientists that give you an unqualified “fact”, you have every reason to be suspicious.

    As always, I agree that if we continue to procrastinate, we make the task harder, hence my suggestion scientists should just accept that their perpetual qualifications in IPCC reports are nutrients for other agendas.

    The IPCC scientists should cease implying that they are the temple guardians of “true” science, and that their prognostications are important. Uncertainties will always facilitate procrastination, and we need action.

    Over a decade on from Usenet sci.environment debates, the same sad incorrect claims appear, and are refuted with as much uncertainty as data will allow, wasting valuable resources. However, such “debates” always continue to be given space by media looking for controversies.

    Perhaps Al Gore sees it much the same, and has tried to invoke action, hence the Nobel Peace prize, but he’s inadvertently become yet another distraction. I’m suggesting that we try to invoke more immediate, useful, action to reduce relevant gaseous emissions and energy consumption by utilizing people’s common sense and self interest. I obviously don’t hold out much hope that politicians will achieve much in December.

    I’m not sure how tolerant Gareth is of long posts in comments, but I may respond a little to the AGW-Deluded steaming heap, but his using my surname in a futile faint hope of school teacher assertiveness probably means my time would be wasted.

    Please keep having fun,

  23. “As for the “precautionary” principle, I’m surprised you get out of bed each morning. I mean you might be hit by a meteorite the moment you step outside so wouldn’t you be better off invoking the precautionary principle and staying safely tucked up in bed? ”

    You have evidence that beds and houses repel meteorites?. Please post the reference. If they don’t, then I’ll stick with the ~1:700,000 lifetime odds of being killed by one, versus the ~1:7000 lifetime odds of dying in bed from accidental suffocation or strangulation. ( Google “lifetime risk of dying” for sources )

    If I didn’t take the risk and sleep, then I could die from the greater risk of accidents due to tiredness. Isn’t the precautionary principle wonderful?, we intuitively perform risk assessments throughout our lives and use that principle to stay well.

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