NIWA v cranks 3: the economics of truthiness

Bryan Leyland’s dissembling about the funding of the NZ Climate Science Coalition under direct questioning from Sean Plunkett on Monday morning’s Morning Report on RNZ National — he repeatedly asserted his ignorance of financial matters, directing Plunkett to Terry Dunleavy — puts him in an awkward position. Leyland is a trustee of the NZ Climate Science Education Trust (along with Dunleavy and Doug Edmeades), the body hastily established to request a judicial review of NIWA’s national temperature record. Before lodging papers with the High Court, the trustees should have held a properly minuted meeting and discussed how they intended to fund the action — both in terms of meeting any legal fees, or dealing with any costs awarded against them. This would be standard good governance practice in a charitable trust, and if such a meeting were held then Leyland must be fully aware of the NZCSET’s current funding, and how it expects to fund an expensive and risky legal action. If no meeting were held, or Leyland has no idea how the trust expects to fund the action, then he is failing in his duty as trustee. Perhaps this is an issue that Plunkett and Morning Report might like to follow up…

Listen to the Morning Report segment here:

Climate sceptics take NIWA to court over data

Some interesting dates: I understand that the Statement of Claim lodged with the High Court is dated July 5th, and refers to the NZ Climate Science Education Trust. However the NZCSET’s Deed of Trust (go here, and enter 2539286 in the organisation number search box) is dated July 30th so did not exist when the Statement of Claim was drawn up. The Statement of Claim also states that the NZCSET is a registered trust, but registration was not granted until August 10th. Minor administrative matters, I am sure, but hardly indicative of the creation of trust intended, as its deed says, to:

…promote a heightened awareness and understanding of, and knowledge about, the climate, environment and climate and environmental issues among scholars and researchers, members of the professions and members of the public… (Sec 4.1.1)

One might suggest that the cart was put a very long way in front of the horse. More reaction to this strange affair below the fold…

In the NZ Herald this morning Brian Rudman demonstrates the value of a long memory, and the stupidity of the CSC’s stance:

In a press release coinciding with their trip to the High Court to file papers, the coalition claims “The NZ MetService record shows no warming during the last century.”

The joke is that in February 2002, I had some fun at the MetService’s expense, revealing that for $100,000 it would happily shift a weather station anywhere a mayor requested in order to improve his or her town’s temperature on the nightly television weather spot. And who did I find to criticise this sleight of hand but none other than the deniers’ bete noir, Jim Salinger, then a senior scientist at Niwa.

My investigations had been sparked by a reader noting that Wellington seemed to share Auckland’s temperature on the telly each night, which we all knew couldn’t be true.

It turned out that Mark Blumsky, the capital’s mayor from 1995 to 2001, became unhappy with the low temperatures reported from the traditional weather recording stations at Wellington airport, the Kelburn hills and Lower Hutt and demanded MetService find a warmer spot.

MetService said name your spot, and as long as it meets certain guidelines such as being over grass, and the mayor paid $100,000 in set-up costs, that would be it.

Which is how the sheltered lawn in front of the Michael Fowler Centre became a new MetService weather station, and Wellington’s daily temperature on the telly suddenly increased by about 1.5C.

Rudman also draws attention to the real losers here — the long-suffering tax payer:

The image of the flat-earthers in court making fools of themselves, trying to prove that if you travel to the horizon you’ll fall off into oblivion, is rather appealing. But court proceedings are ruinously expensive, and while the mystery money-bags funding the coalition – Act Party supporters are mentioned – may be able to afford it, taxpayers cannot.

Yet we are the ones who will have to fund Niwa’s day in court defending itself against this attention-seeking stunt of the deniers.

Meanwhile, denier-in-chief Barry Brill provides a typically wooden response (Chair challenges Science Media Centre) to comments on the case by leading scientists, and in so doing nicely demonstrates he hasn’t got a leg to sit on:

“Most of the comments by these learned scientists is limited to ad hominem, rhetorical cant, providing little confidence that they are well-informed on either the New Zealand temperature record or its significance.”

Another sceptic who needs to learn the correct meaning of ad hominem.

At Pundit, Andrew Geddis considers some of the legal aspects of the cranks putative case — it’s worth reading all the comments there — while the Timaru Herald waxes equivocal in its leader today. And while the legal case was gestating, that loquacious polymath Bryan Leyland was happily predicting an imminent global cooling by drawing on the infamous McLean, De Freitas & Carter paper and his own gut-feeling about sunspots. I think we’ll file that hostage to fortune away for future reference…

148 thoughts on “NIWA v cranks 3: the economics of truthiness”

  1. My ‘denier definition’ of ad hominem – i.e. any statement of disagreement that refers to any denier by name (we could call it a Dad Hominem!) – is looking rather robust!

  2. The Timaru Herald appears to believe that science can be settled in law courts, that the legal system is somehow riding to the rescue in the climate science “debate”. They conclude
    The High Court will add an important element of credibility to this debate, which must be welcomed.

    Rather patronising toward science I feel.

    1. Hilarious! A thing of wonder! Replete with the kind of rapier wit and keen insight we’d all expect from such a source… and all only 2 more strikes away from invisibility! Don’t be shy, folks!

    2. Except of course that cartoon’s scale and lack of other indicators, basically seeks to lie by omission about the speed and causation of current global warming.

  3. NickS: “…the speed and causation of current global warming.”

    Yawn! Another one who must lose a lot of sleep fretting about AGW.

    You need to get over it. Loosen up. See the funny side of it. I mean, let’s face it, AGW is really quite a lark. As theories go, it’s right up there with best practical jokes and mad pranks. Speaking of which, that’s what the legendary Augie Auer said of it… AGW would soon be joke. He was right. It is. Hence the cartoon I posted.

    That’s why I asked Gareth, what are you guys going to do after the AGW hobgoblin has done its dash, which is about now. You need to think ahead to the next “catastrophe” to worry about. Something to fill the void.

      1. I do not speak for Joe but I would like to see a number of matching inflections in the carbon dioxide and temperature curves. The more matching inflections there are the stronger the case for AGW. While the curves are running off in different directions I, for one, will need much convincing.

        1. Roger,

          Would that be carbon emissions, carbon accumulation or carbon concentration?

          The relationship between carbon emissions and temperature increase or other climate disruptions is not as simple as put more wood on the fire to get warmer. There’s a bit of delay in getting warmer with more wood on a fire, some fires are not as warming as others and that’s only one simple process. There’s probably a bit of interesting maths and science to be done on wood quality, speed of burning and the like. But nothing like as many or as interrelated as calculating a particular temperature on a particular date depending on carbon emissions into our atmosphere.

  4. Come on, you’re nearly there! Another few more clicks on the thumbs down and my post will disappear. Then you’ll be safe.

    Like the infamous “Hide the decline” email. The alarmists need to keep hiding all criticism and contradictory evidence, just in case someone notices the fraud.

  5. bill ramsay: “out of interest, what would it take to convince you that AGW was real? Or are you unconvincable?”

    Evidence! Conclusive emprical evidence. As opposed to conjecture on the strength of politically-tainted computer models and arm-waving hysterics from washed-up celebrities.

  6. Joe,

    “Evidence! Conclusive emprical evidence.”

    That’s not an answer. Tell us a bit more about what kind of evidence. For example, do you expect to see temperatures becoming uniformly elevated everywhere across the globe, and if so what kind of temperature readings would convince you? Perhaps you could also tell us what you believe would be the definitive experiment/observation that would clinch it for you.

  7. Tony: “Tell us a bit more about what kind of evidence… Perhaps you could also tell us what you believe would be the definitive experiment/observation that would clinch it ”

    That’s a fair question. So I’ll answer it. I’m talking about evidence that conclusively links industrial CO2 emissions to global temperatures & global climate in terms of these emissions being the CAUSE of the very slight upward temperature trend since the end of the Little Ice Age. Evidence of increasing temperatures, and/or climatic events, is not evidence – let alone proof! – that mankind’s industrial activities (ie., CO2 emissions) caused them! That part is conjecture. A theory as yet unproved and one that is hamstrung by a mulitude of political and vested interests.

    Increasing (or decreasing) temperatures is not evidence in itself. I want evidence for the link between CO2 emissions and global temperature trends.

    I know all about the greenhouse effect theory, and Tyndall, Arrhenius, Callendar, Plass blah blah blah, but it’s just that. A theory. It doesn’t mean anything on its own, especially when it can so easily be shown to be full of flaws and has become something of a political fashion supported by media-inspired hysteria.

    At the very least, there are far more reasons to question the theory (of AGW by CO2 emissions) than to hold on to it so vehemently, especially in the face of such powerful and well-founded criticism from so many highly qualified scientists.

    If there was any merit in the belief (because that’s what it is) that CO2 emissions are now driving global climate, it would stand on its own without the need to resort to political authority or employ celebrities to help sell it to the public. No other scientific theory needs such a crutch to survive and that alone is enough to start questioning both the theory itself and the motives of its apologists.

    1. Joe Foe: The AGW theory is very sound. It has been debated for a very long time now and the observations are in line with the predictions of the theory. The problem with the AGW theory lies in its consequences: If we want to avoid the consequences of relentless warming the world must act together. This requires treaties and governments who can live up to their obligations. This however is like a red cloth to a bull for most “libertarian capitalists” who would like to see governments reduced to defense and police and who constantly confuse the specter of a world united working to improve our planets future with communism. Therefore most of the hardened deniers of global warming are arguing from the libertarian free for all capitalist and anti-government corner. No evidence will convince them just like radiometric dating will never convince the creationists of the age of the earth.

        1. As of the Ross McKitrick paper: lets discuss it if and when it has undergone peer review and is published to give this paper the same sort of scrutiny as the thousands of papers that went into the IPCC reports.
          As far as modeling goes: Yes, its not child’s play and requires a lot of thought. That’s way climate models have undergone so much stringent review and refinement.
          http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

            1. If so, I can’t figure out why he’s prepared to put his name on a book but uses a pseudonym in here.
              Any ideas?

            2. Oh right and you are not a “disinterested commentator”.
              Yeah right, by your own words you have just admited your own comments are invalid. well we knew that when we read them.
              What a hypocrite.

            3. Yeah right, by your own words you have just admited your own comments are invalid.

              That is not the point Gareth was making David.
              The issue is transparency of identity, not whether he’s disinterested or not. Gareth isn’t hiding his, nor am I. You are though.

          1. Thomas, I’m not sure where that leaves us. Is it true “the observations are in line with the predictions of the theory” or not? McKitrick looks at one of the important outputs from climate models in this debate (future temperature trends) and finds them wanting.

            1. Gareth I wouldn’t trust Montford, McIntyre or McKitrick, if I were you.

              But has the paper been peer reviewed and have temperature trends been accurately forecast from climate models on reasonable scenarios?

            2. Technically, the paper is “in press”. It remains to be seen if the version on McKitrick’s web site is the one that will appear in print. I believe that it is principally the latest in the to and fro of papers about the “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere.

              The bigger question about model temperature predictions remains to be seen. Over the last 10 years actual temps fall within the range of modelled temps. You really need longer for a full assessment. Meanwhile, of course, you can simply look around at what’s happening in the real world…

            3. Thank you diessoli I had read that, and note that Annan etc come to similar conclusions despite their criticism of the methods used by McKitrick. For a more formal statistical view of Annan’s approach scroll down and read VS’s comment @ 11/8/10 10:45 PM.

              The issue revolves around how to treat multiple model runs in aggregate – see http://climateaudit.org/2010/08/13/ross-on-panel-regressions/ for a response (if you can unpick what is being said).

          2. After a quick browse a couple of things stand out immediately.

            1. The study is confined to a small section of atmosphere above the equator (The Topical Troposphere)

            2. They have averaged the results of all the models together.

            The issue I have with this is that different models have different areas of strength and weakness, and each model is used within those constraints.

            For example. One model may be optimised for computing ocean temperatures, while another might be optimised for computing land based temperatures. Yet another might be optimised for short term projections, others for long term projections, others for speed, and so on. Further, each model will include different feedbacks, depending on what questions are being asked.

            With these facts in mind, simply averaging the results from them all as has been done for this study strikes me as somewhat disingenuous and is not a particularly valid means of model assessment.

    2. Actually Joe, the “just a theory” bit is exactly opposite of what science is about. You earlier asked for “proof” that the observed rise in temperature was “caused” by human CO2 emissions.

      Well, the first step in explaining what is “causing” the current temperature increases is to have some kind of “theory” about what causes the global temperature to vary (or, at least, what makes it what it is). About the only “theory” that has ever been successful in explaining the earth’s surface temperature is the “greenhouse gas” theory. Numerous lines of evidence – physics experiments, theoretical calculations, space-based measurements, etc – all match up with the “theory”. So far there hasn’t been any scientific experiment that has “disproven” it. So as far as science is concerned, it’s effectively “the way it is”.

      Now the second part of your question, linking human CO2 emissions to the greenhouse-induced increase in temperature. Again, there are multiple lines of evidence that all support the conclusion that (a) human emissions ARE increasing CO2; and (b) that increased CO2 IS increasing temperature. The only valid scientific debate is HOW MUCH extra warming we might get as the CO2 increases. Ironically, the cartoon you started off with (showing the temperature changes over the last 400,000 years) is one bit of evidence that suggests the temperature will change quite a lot in response to CO2 increases – in order to get those swings of temperature the climate has to have a strong CO2/greenhouse feedback mechanism.

      So, we have “just a theory” that is successful in explaining the observed temperature, the longer term temperature fluctuations, and the recent temperature increases, the measured IR radiation from the earth, and numerous other experimental observations. In short, anything it has been asked to “predict”, that has subsequently been measured has been proved correct. Sounds pretty reasonable. What else can we ask it to “predict”? Oh, I know. Let’s use the theory to work out how much warmer the climate will get if we keep on emitting more and more CO2. And let’s check the results 20 years later. Oh, it’s already been done? 20 years ago? And it passed that test as well? OK… so how can you reasonably keep saying “it’s not proven”? To all practical purposes it is proven to be a correct explanation of reality.

      Now deal with the implications.

    3. “I want evidence for the link between CO2 emissions and global temperature trends.”

      That’s too easy. Simply apply the laws of radiative physics to the atmosphere and you will realize that it is impossible for the earth’s surface to not warm once extra CO2 is added to the atmosphere.

      The Science of radiative physics is rock solid and has been tested and verified for two centuries. Further much of modern science depends on the laws of radiative transfer.

      Actually the theory of AGW is based on many basic laws of science that have existed and stood the test of time for centuries.

      This lends a tremendous amount of weight to the theory before you even do any observation.

      The only really legitimate argument is not IF the earth will warm due to increasing CO2, but HOW MUCH the world will warm and HOW LONG it will take.

    4. “it would stand on its own without the need to resort to political authority or employ celebrities to help sell it to the public.”

      so tell us again why you believe you need to be here telling us your opinion of AGW? who are you and what are your climate science qualifications? are you one of these “highly qualified scientists” you speak of?

  8. Climate Scientists Defend IPCC Peer Review as Most Rigorous in History
    by Stacy Feldman – Feb 26th, 2010

    Nicholls, a professor at Monash University in Victoria, Australia, said the IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment report was subjected to several rigorous tiers of review. The study cites over 10,000 papers from the scientific literature, “most of which have already been through the peer-review process to get into the scientific literature.”

    The report went through four separate reviews and received 90,000 comments from 2,500 reviewers, all of which are publicly available, along with the responses of the authors, Nicholls said.

  9. I forgot the link to the last comment

    Climate Scientists Defend IPCC Peer Review as Most Rigorous in History
    by Stacy Feldman – Feb 26th, 2010

    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100226/climate-scientists-defend-ipcc-peer-review-most-rigorous-history

    Joe

    Do some reading. Read “Climate Cover-Up” by James Hoggan.
    *
    Read “Censoring Science: the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming” by Mark Bowen
    *
    Read “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”
    by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway
    *
    Read “The Heat is On”
    and
    ” Boiling Point” both by Ross Gelbspan
    *
    Read “Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate” by Stephan H. Schneider and Tim Flannery
    *
    Read “Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change” by Clive Hamilton
    He outlines the decade-long, coal-industry funded campaign in Australia to deny climate science
    *

    Then you might have some idea of how the Bush administration and Republicans and other conservatives have denied reason and science, out of ideological blindness to the truth, and to protect the status quo corporate interests of fossil fuel and other related industries.

    You see, the real scam is very well documented, unlike the absurd but imaginative conspiracy theories of deniers.

  10. “I want evidence for the link between CO2 emissions and global temperature trends.” – Joe Fone.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    “Here we analyse the difference between the spectra of the outgoing longwave radiation of the Earth as measured by orbiting spacecraft in 1970 and 1997. We find differences in the spectra that point to long-term changes in atmospheric CH4, CO2 and O3 as well as CFC-11 and CFC-12. Our results provide direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth’s greenhouse effect that is consistent with concerns over radiative forcing of climate.”

    ftp://ftp.etl.noaa.gov/user/cfairall/wcrp_wgsf/pubs/philipona_ASRB_grl.pdf

    “The resulting uniform increase of longwave downward radiation manifests radiative forcing that is induced by increased greenhouse gas concentrations and water vapor feedback, and proves the ‘theory’ of greenhouse warming with direct observations”

  11. also read the book:
    “Censoring Science: the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming” by Mark Bowen

    How the Bush administration censored the climate scientists at NASA’s GISS climate research unit, including trying to prevent James Hansen from reporting on the global avg temp for 2005.
    They also had a petroleum institute lawyer (Cooney) edit the federal climate change study, to water it down to drivel.
    Of course nearly everyone in the Bush administration was fossil fuel industry connected.
    Thats why, since Bush was elected, the oil companies switched their political donation funding from 60%Rep 40% Dem to over 80% Republican.
    The coal industry went from 60-40 to 90% Republican.
    Wonder why Republicans deny global warming?

    And they exported this denial propaganda movement from the U.S. – to New Zealand and Australia.

    1. sailrick – where do you get this evidence of “denialist propaganda” being exported to Australia and NZ?

      My knowledge of the sceptics is that they are largely self funded.

      Compared with upwards of $100 billion that has come the way of climate science over the years, the other side gets a pittance.

      The Big Oil funding of scepticism is a myth, at least of recent times.

      In 2002 Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford University to fund research into renewable energy sources. BP, which famously rebranded itself in 2004 as “Beyond Petroleum”, gave $500 million to fund similar research.

      There is a huge market for the Oil Companies to finance climate science – they are set to gain big time from Carbon trading.

      1. “There is a huge market for the Oil Companies to finance climate science – they are set to gain big time from Carbon trading.”

        Umm, no. Any valid form of carbon tax or trading system will put a squeeze on oil company margins – it effectively adds to their costs of production.

        Unless of course the government gives them carbon credits for free. But that’s got nothing to do with climate science – it’s politics (pork barrel variety). So who did you say the oil companies must be funding if they want to “gain big time”?

  12. Joe Fone said

    “I want evidence for the link between CO2 emissions and global temperature trends.” Joe Fone.

    Maybe you should peruse some of the early research.
    The greenhouse effect has been accepted science for a century.

    “These are the fundamentals of climate change science, and they are old hat:

    Fourier calculates colder earth without an atmosphere (1824)

    Tyndall discovers relationship between CO2 and long-wave radiation (1859)

    Arrhenius calculates global warming from anthropogenic CO2 (1896)

    Chamberlin models global carbon exchange including feedbacks (1897)

    Callendar predicts global warming increase catalysed by CO2 emissions (1938)

    Revelle predicts inability of oceans to sequester anthropogenic CO2 (1958) ”

    (From Spencer Weart’s history of ACC – http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm)

  13. “Evidence! Conclusive emprical evidence”

    I think what you want is 100% proof, which is impossible.
    Science considers what the preponderence of evidence indicates, as the correct theory. Gravity is a theory. It has evolved since Newton, (relativity, quantum physics etc) but you still wouldn’t want to jump off a tall building to test the validity of Newtons theory of gravity.

    All of several lines of evidence point to the greenhouse effect from human emissions as a major culprit.

    Many skeptics believe that its just a natural cycle of the earth, nothing to worry about.

    No it isn’t. This has never occured before.

    You probably heard of “clean coal” – carbon capture and sequestration.
    All those dead plants and animals, that eventually became coal and oil, are sequestered carbon. Through biological and geological processes, the carbon in them was removed from the active carbon cycle in coal deposits for instance.
    Coal is a carbon sink from long ago.

    ( The active carbon cycle is sometimes called the short term carbon cycle. Its the cycle of carbon circulating through living things, topsoil, the atmosphere, water. The active carbon cycle has been in a certain balance for probably millions of years, within which we and other species evolved and flourished. We are upsetting that balance.)

    Read the book, “The Carbon Age” by Eric Roston, for more on this, and generally an interesting book about carbon – its unique and vital role in the world. )

    It took 65 million years for coal to develop in the earth, by precipitating out of the short term carbon cycle, and being locked away in coal deposits and into the long term carbon cycle. I refer to this as mother nature’s carbon sequestration, similar to what is being proposed for clean coal. Now we are releasing this 65 million year accumulation of carbon back into the atmosphere and thus, back into the short term carbon cycle, in a few hundred years, or a geological nanosecond.
    This is an unprecedented occurance, probably in the history of the planet.

    I would like a skeptic to explain how this is part of a natural cycle, or is anything like any natural cycle that the earth has been through before.

    We are speeding up the short term carbon cycle a hundred fold.

    Human emitted CO2 from fossil fuels can be specifically detected, and differentiated from volcanic source, by isotope fingerprint.

  14. “I want evidence for the link between CO2 emissions and global temperature trends.” Joe Fone.

    Joe,

    This was not quite the answer I was after and so I will rephrase the question. Imagine that you have been awarded unlimited funding from NASA, enough money to buy any state of the art equipment you could ever want, and that you were to lead a team of competent scientists of your choosing. I would like to know what analysis/research that you would propose that would definitively demonstrate or exclude a link between CO2 and global temperature trends?

    Out of interest also, what is your view on the issue of ocean acidification?

    1. Taking the peer review process out of the hands of those committed to one view or the other would be a start.

      Publishing contradictory views in the same publications would speed up resolution of any dispute.

      Neutral editors would be an improvement.

      There are insufficient stations monitoring atmospheric carbon dioxide. There should be dozens more.

      Instead of averaging daily temperatures at any site maxima and minima should be recorded.

      1. I have yet to see:
        – evidence that people are kept from publishing ‘contradictory views’ (journals publish commentary to papers if the commentary meets their quality standards)
        – a coherent reasoning why journals would want to censor certain views in the first place

        At least those temperature readings that are supplied by the national weather services (mostly synops and metars) and which go into the GHCN are separate monthly means of daily maximum and minimum temperatures.

        D.

  15. For an interesting foray into the Crancosphere….
    I researched some information on “Radiometric Dating” and googled it.
    About 50% or more of the websites (blogs etc…) coming up are from the Creationists trying to “prove” that radiometric dating is flawed…..

    A few die heart crankers with too much time on their hands can make it look like there is a controversy in science about the age of the Earth for the untrained eye of the googeling layperson….

    Sounds familiar…?

  16. Thomas: “Imagine that you have been awarded unlimited funding from NASA, enough money to buy any state of the art equipment you could ever want, and that you were to lead a team of competent scientists of your choosing.”

    And that my friend is ‘it’ in a nutshell! The prostitution of science and the scientific method. You have inadvertently described the very driving force behind the whole AGW bandwagon: money. Politically-tainted money thrown at compliant fad-struck scientists who know what answers the boss wants in advance and who will provide those answers to protect that money flow. At the same time, they earn political and media kudos by playing the PC game and by providing a disaster-hungry media with yet another impending catastrophe (to add to the long list of ‘impending’ catastrophes that never eventuated). Yet the AGW theory is also tailor-made for selling to the wider public because the Western world has an insatiable appetite for fashionably disastrous calamities. So everyone wins for a while. That is until the tax payer starts paying for Smiths bloody ETS insanity.

    But imagine what would happen if one of these hand-picked scientists you mentioned was (God forbid!) refused to be blinded by all the hype and concluded that not only was anthropogenic warming not a problem, it was not even happening on any global scale. Imagine if he concluded (God forbid again!) that the measly warming of a few tenths of a degree since the Industrial Revolution (big deal!) is a result of the planet emerging from the Little Ice Age anyway and that the driving force was the sun, not CO2 emissions. An entirely possible explanation don’t you think? But he would lose his job!

    But if these conclusions were offered, the money would dry up immediately because they are not politically correct. Not fashionable. This incidentally is how Mann’s Hockey Stick fraud managed to get through the so-called ‘peer-review’ process and to be swallowed by the IPCC, despite its inherent errors and inconsistencies that were later exposed by McKitrick et al. He was surrounded by sycophants.

    But I digress, so I’ll answer your question with another question: Why is it beholden on me to disprove someone else’s theory? The onus of proof is on the perpetrators of the theory, not on those who are sceptical of it. You prove it and I’ll scrutinize your ‘proof’ to make sure there are no flaws in it. THAT is the scientific method. In any case, there are indeed so many flaws in the concept that I suggest it is even negligent perpetrating it any further for the simple reason that scientifically-illiterate politicians are now running with the ball and it has now been turned into a moral issue, rather than a scientific one. The scientific debate is now just noise in the background because the politicians have got their filthy claws in the AGW scam and are now imposing widespread taxes based on it – ie., on the back of a theory that is obviously in conflict, to put it mildly.

    And you think there’s no reason to be sceptical? That to me is very dangerous.

    1. Joe says: Why is it beholden on me to disprove someone else’s theory? The onus of proof is on the perpetrators of the theory, not on those who are sceptical of it. You prove it and I’ll scrutinize your ‘proof’ to make sure there are no flaws in it. THAT is the scientific method.

      I’m afraid you have that completely arse-about-face, to use Dewhurst-speak. What we have is a massive body of evidence that indicates we have a problem, with its roots in basic physics extending back over 150 years (see sailrick’s comment above). In the face of that evidence, the global community has made some moves to confront the problem (too little and perhaps too late, but that’s another argument). That is based on a rational risk assessment, not the science — though the science informs that assessment, of course.

      The important thing is the balance of evidence, and that’s overwhelmingly in the direction of a need to act. In order to persuade the world to do nothing in the face of this evidence, you have to do a great deal more than wave your arms and shout conspiracy. You have to provide a credible body of evidence that outweighs what we already know.

      Here’s a few things those arguing for inaction have to demonstrate, with sufficient certainty to make inaction the best course:

      1: Explain why CO2 is not causing the current warming, and provide evidence for what is. (Good luck with this, because CO2’s radiation physics is very well understood indeed, and has been since the 1950s when the first heat-seeking missiles were developed. That they work should reassure you that we understand the subject).

      2: Explain why continued CO2 emissions will not cause further ocean acidification, or demonstrate that further acidification will not cause significant damage to ocean life.

      And that’s just for starters…

    2. Joe – read the writing of any “sceptic” who is an actual scientist (eg Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, etc) and you’ll see that they accept the truth of the “greenhouse theory”. The only debate is about how much “positive feedback” or “negative feedback” will change the final temperature increase in response to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. People like Lindzen think that temperature will only go up about 1 degree even if we double CO2. Most “mainstream” climate scientists think 3 degrees is more likely. A few (eg Hansen) think that 5 or 6 degrees is possible.

      Of course, if you’re going to disregard science because you think it’s all bunkum, you can believe whoever you like (and there are many crazy beliefs out there…) But if you’ve thrown out science, you can’t then honestly turn around and invoke some kind of “scientific proof” argument as your reason for not accepting the greenhouse effect.

    3. The prostitution of science and the scientific method. You have inadvertently described the very driving force behind the whole AGW bandwagon: money….. blah blah blah

      Yes indeed, you did digress, into polemic conspiracy nonsense and utter drivel.

    4. Respectfully, your bluster has not masked the fact that you have yet to answer the question asked by Thomas, so getting back to the issue here; “what research would you propose that would exclude or establish a link between CO2 and global tropospheric temperatures trends”?

    5. JP: Just because you keep mentioning Ross McKitrick I think its worth while that we share who he is:
      He is an economist from the libertarian free capitalist corner of Canada and a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute, which as it states opposes public policy solutions based on government spending, taxes, deficits, and regulation… see what I mean?
      The sort of people the AGW deniers need to cite are like the Young Earth Creationists in their mental base. Just like the Young Earthers bang their head against the wall trying to “prove” that radiometric dating is flawed because they can not live with the facts science has found, the Liberal Capitalists see it as their duty to defeat the notion of AGW as it implies solutions that involve the people of the planet to work constructively together rather than competitively in a free for all brawl of survival of the economically strongest.
      The AGW “debate” is as artificially inflated by the deniers as the young earth debate, because in either case the true reasons for the “debate” are completely elsewhere than the scientific argument!

      1. What a load of cods

        Deniers, creationists, AIDS deniers, holocaust deniers…

        You guys really need to get out more and understand that the climate is a complex system that has NON-LINEAR feedback loops and UNKNOWN natural cycles.

        We all know the basic radiative physics of CO2, it’s the FEEDBACKS innit???

        Of course, you can always assume that man is the cause of all climatic events and burn a few witches at the stake to allay your fears.

        Hilarious. Where did they drag you up from?

        1. Willie said: “We all know the basic radiative physics of CO2, it’s the FEEDBACKS innit???”

          Errrr yes? And you think the thousands and thousands of papers considered by the IPCC did not deal with research on the feedbacks?

          No: But Willi In Aussie has! Great! So lets open the whole debate from scratch…. 😉

          Meanwhile we wait until the last Willie somewhere between Sydney and Timbuktu has made up his mind after first getting his degree and a doctorate in climatology and then considering the evidence. Sounds like a great idea for saving the planet.

        2. “You guys really need to get out more and understand that the climate is a complex system that has NON-LINEAR feedback loops”

          The climate system is what we call a “Chaotic” system. Such a system allows us to identify attractor sets which define the system, which in turn (a) allow us to predict the state of the system and (b) allow us to track its evolution. So you’ve got the wrong end of the stick there.

          ” and UNKNOWN natural cycles.”

          Actually we have a pretty good understanding of the natural cycles. What leads you to believe we do not?

      2. Just to add an familiar factoid to the who’s who of Ross McKitrick and the Fraser Institute:
        The Fraser Institute in 1999 published this paper:
        “Passive Smoke: The EPA’s Betrayal of Science and Policy”.
        This paper highlighted the “absence” of any scientific evidence for linking cancer with second-hand smoke [and] received widespread media coverage both in Canada and the United States.
        The Fraser Institute was funded among others by Rothmans International and Phillip Morris. It also published the paper: “History of Tobacco Regulation” in 2000 without disclosing their Tobacco industry funding.
        See what I mean about the real reasons of the artificial climate debate, its funding and its movers and shakers… ?

    6. I see you do not understand how funding works, Joe. The money does not usually get handed to individuals to do with as they please. I have yet to meet a wealthy scientist. Your comment is offensive.

      Because of the scope and scale of climate change, governments have to be involved in assessment and risk management. I have not heard of any government that wants this problem to exist. There must be an interface between science and politics to deal with this problem.

      True sceptics are examining issues such as how sensitive the climate system is to an increase in “greenhouse” gases – they have no doubt that warming is happening and that human activity carries most (if not all) of the blame.

      1. You are correct in pointing out that the money does not go directly into the pockets of individuals. However it enable individuals to increase the size of their departments and their prestige. Lack of these funds may well mean that they have to look elsewhere for work.

        1. I have yet to meet an under-worked scientist, Roger. Tell us, how many scientists do you know personally? How many science labs have you worked in? Do you have any science training? Are you sincere in your belief that scientists are so stupid and corrupt as to spend time working on a project they know to be bunkum? Or is it just a convenient fancy to sop your conscience about avoiding action on changing a lifestyle, corporatively, that has led to global warming?

          You are obviously upset by the conversation here, so why do you hang out with us? I would like to know, why do you feel the need to come here and ‘prosyletize’? Are you some kind of masochist?

          1. Having spent most of my working life as an applied scientist I have lost count of the number of scientists I have met.

            Though retired I still keep in touch with quite a number.

            My work has been in the field rather than laboratories.

            I have an M.App.Sc degree from the University of NSW.

            It is my belief that there are many who consider it prudent to keep their mouths shut. I very much doubt that a student could gain an M.Sc degree, or higher, at Victoria University while expressing scepticism of AGW.

            My lifestyle is a good deal less extravagant and carbon dioxide producing that that of your guru Al Gore!

            I happen to believe, on the basis of life experience and not proselytization, that you are all going down the wrong track. I am satisfied that you are all being proved wrong both by science and by observation but that you will not consider any possibility other than that your quasi religious belief is the truth. You laud science and then set about practicing the antithesis of science.

            I have shown you mine, now you show me yours, if you have anything to show, which I doubt.

            1. ” I am satisfied that you are all being proved wrong both by science and by observation”

              I disagree, but please provide examples of how science and observation is proving us wrong.

              “but that you will not consider any possibility”

              An odd assertion as all the possible attributions have been studied to great depth, and for decades. So please explain further how you come to that rather odd conclusion.

              “other than that your quasi religious belief is the truth.”

              In what way does religion apply to a scientific theory.
              I don’t see how it equates. Please elaborate.

            2. I have a humble BSc from Victoria University of Wellington – my major was geology. I have worked in the field, for a gold mining company. I have also worked as a lab technician at Ruakura Research Station, Hamilton – literal field work as I was involved in grass research.

              I know a number of scientists as personal friends – around 10, and I follow the work of many whom I have worked alongside over the years, more than 30.

              I have been interested in global warming since 1979 and tried to keep up with the research since then.

              I have no interest in Al Gore – didn’t see his film or read anything he has written. Therefore I do not regard him as a guru. I doubt if any scientist does.

              Like many others here, I am not blinkered when it comes to what I read about climate change, and I have carefully examined (to the best of my ability) all kinds of possibilities as to why the world is warming up. I also keep on eye on what is happening in the physical world and see if it matches what the theory says.

              When critics of global warming theory resort to saying those who accept its near-certainty are quasi-religious, they have lost crediblity as far as I am concerned, because they are using personal attack (dare I say ad hominen?) rather than giving evidence for why they think others are wrong.

              Once again I ask, if you are so convinced we are wrong, why do you insist on coming here? Pardon me, Mr Dewhurst, but it seems to me you are the one with the religious zeal.

            3. “I have a humble BSc from Victoria University of Wellington – my major was geology. I have worked in the field, for a gold mining company. I have also worked as a lab technician at Ruakura Research Station, Hamilton – literal field work as I was involved in grass research.”

              VUW had one of best, if not the best, Geology departments in NZ in the 1960s. It had people like Harold Wellman who is doubtless spinning in his grave watching the politicisation of the department and its promotion of AGW. It has amalgamated with the Geography department to form some vague earth science department which teaches, believe it or not, feminist geography! Well, I suppose feminist geography and AGW can be comfortable with each other.

              “I have no interest in Al Gore – didn’t see his film or read anything he has written. Therefore I do not regard him as a guru. I doubt if any scientist does.”

              Until you and your co-believers deny the rubbish he spouts you will be tarred with the same brush.

              “Like many others here, I am not blinkered when it comes to what I read about climate change, and I have carefully examined (to the best of my ability) all kinds of possibilities as to why the world is warming up.”

              I am afraid that you are blinkered. You have swallowed the current propaganda hook line and sinker.

              “I also keep on eye on what is happening in the physical world and see if it matches what the theory says.”

              Do you indeed? I do not think so.

              “When critics of global warming theory resort to saying those who accept its near-certainty are quasi-religious, they have lost crediblity as far as I am concerned, because they are using personal attack (dare I say ad hominen?) rather than giving evidence for why they think others are wrong.”

              When you accept the propaganda as near certainty you have accepted the quasi religious belief. Do you not see that?

              Religion is not my thing now though I was subjected to it as a child. I do however recollect something like “cast out the beam in thine own eye before removing the mote in thy brother’s eye” Something like that anyway as best I recall from about 60 years ago.

              “Once again I ask, if you are so convinced we are wrong, why do you insist on coming here?”

              Who knows, one of you might see the light one day!

            4. Roger (post 63), you have criticized me without giving any supporting evidence for your own views. Your basic premise appears to be, “I disagree with you therefore you are wrong.” You are obviously more interested in being heard than in saying something worthwhile.
              Another saying of Jesus is, treat other people the way you wish to be treated. Good day, sir.

    1. The statisticians, Wegman, and others in the last few days, have all come down on the side of McIntyre and McKitrick. None have come down on Mann’s side. Mann’s statistics are ropey. You have to live with that.

  17. I think that I am going to have to agree with Joe here, we certainly need some empirical data regarding CO2/global temperatures and not theories. Warmists and denialists must accept that the only way of definitively demonstrating a link between atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures is by actually doing the experiment! So lets do it, lets bring atmospheric CO2 down to 350ppm or below. If the sceptics are right the earth will continue to warm, and the Arctic/glaciers will likely show no sign of stabilising, nothing could be more empirical. The warmists would then have plenty of egg on their face and the sceptics will be well within their right to saturate the blogosphere with “I told you so!” On the other hand if the earth starts to cool then I expect that the opposite will apply. So I think Joe is right to demand empirical evidence. Before we start lets make sure that NIWA have the temperature gauges set up in the right places and that they are not shifted at any time during the experiment, this will save a future lawsuit from the NZCSC. I wonder what odds the TAB would give on the earth cooling, I guess that would require them to weigh up all the evidence.

    1. What a cool (pun intended) idea! Lets make the global temperature average a tradeable ticker symbol on the NYSE! Then all the deniers could go short on the temperature index and loose their shirts and the climatologists in the know had a really cool way of funding their future research! 😉

    2. But isn’t there about one hundred years of warming already set in motion? If the response time was instant we would be fools not to miss the sure bet, but we are gambling far into the future already. So we will have to issue the TAB slip to Joe’s great-grandchildren.

        1. Oh dear. Data from your side which does not suit your quasi religious belief!!!!!!!!!

          Just tell me is that saw tooth plot due to temperature or sunlight?

          GR. Do not wriggle out of this by deleting the post. Try and answer it without a load of flannel.

          1. I don’t delete any posts. Others vote them into invisibility.

            You appear to be talking about the annual cycle in atmospheric CO2 levels. That’s been described as the planet “breathing”, and is a consequence of the annual plant growth/decay cycle. There’s much more land in the northern hemisphere than south, so when NH spring arrives, CO2 is absorbed, to be released over autumn & winter. Hence the cycle.

    3. Tony, see my post @29 – those are measurements verifying an increase/enhancement of the Greenhouse Effect, with CO2 observed to be blocking more outgoing long wave radiation (heat) and also reflecting more long wave radiation back toward the Earth’s surface. In other words, empirical evidence of CO2 causing the Earth to warm.

      And please don’t refer to deniers in the third person, it just seems absurd.

    4. If we had four or five atmospheric carbon dioxide measuring stations off the west coast and a similar number off the east coast we could determine whether this country is actually adding to the global carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. If we are not making a significant contributions we could at least abandon the ETS. That experiment though will not prove a causal relationship between carbon dioxide and climate.

      1. GR. Why do you take exception to this post? After all it is all about how we might get some better data. Or are you afraid that a bit more data might just torpedo your case and, quite incidentally, the demand for your book?

    5. Tony, except even if you could flick a switch and do exactly that the earth’s surface will still continue to warm for decades. This is due to the thermal inertia of the oceans, which are keeping us artificially cool (with decreasing effectiveness over time) as CO2 concentration increases.

      As it stand now, there is already at least another 3/4’s of a degree Celsius of warming in the pipeline even if you could stop all anthropogenic CO2 emissions tomorrow!

      I wonder how many people actually realise this?

      1. “As it stand now, there is already at least another 3/4′s of a degree Celsius of warming in the pipeline even if you could stop all anthropogenic CO2 emissions tomorrow!

        I wonder how many people actually realise this?”

        An ever increasing number realise that it is utter hogwash!

        1. “An ever increasing number realise that it is utter hogwash!”

          A childish response for a supposed retired applied scientist. How about explaining why you disagree?

          1. What qualifications and experience do you have to make any comment whatsoever? None whatever I suspect.

            GR busily deletes my reasons as soon as I post them. So you had better ask him.

            1. Actually Roger, you are on moderation, so I only pass those comments of yours that add to the conversation. And I’m being remarkably tolerant in that respect.

            2. I do not think so. You simply remove those comments which you cannot deal with. “Adding to the conversation” appears to mean, to you, saying something in support of your argument. I suspect that you have the facility to load the negative comments. Then you declare that there was so much adverse comment that you removed the post! I am sure that this one will go the same way. There is nothing like the Mann Gang’s peer review is there?

            3. What a strange world you live in, Roger. In case you hadn’t noticed, we get all shades of opinion expressed here, though your perspective tends to get short shrift from regular readers. No comments are removed — you can still read them by clicking a link.

            4. You may assume my qualifications and experience to be whatever you like Roger. As a policy in forums, I make no claims concerning personal qualifications and demand none from others.

              But what should be insisted upon is honesty, and the ability to back up your statements with some reasoning.

              Browsing through your responses in this thread so far, you fail on both counts. For example, Dismissing a point with a single word – Hogwash – does not lend to your credibility.

      2. Thermo,

        I understand that there is some inertia, which is perhaps all the more reason to stop emissions and start sequestering now. It would just take a bit longer to cool. I’m convinced though that it could be done if enough people were committed to it. It would require education and good will among the populace, perhaps a sense of altruism. Yes I know, fat chance. Those who will be most affected are the youth in society. Perhaps we should entitle those under 18 years the vote, who will be most adversely affected by the effects of GHGs and remove those past 50 from the electoral roll. Otherwise the human race will forever be committed to instant gratification, and damn the long term consequences. Oh I forgot, Winston might not approve as he would lose his base. If we look at Australia, the farcical political situation means that introducing climate friendly policy is almost impossible.

        1. Tony, if we got rid of coal fired power stations, or were at least able to sequester the CO2 from them, that would be 80% of the problem solved right there. Coal is a much bigger threat than Oil. There is only enough Oil to get us to about 450ppm, but with Coal we can go far beyond that.

  18. Thomas “If we want to avoid the consequences of relentless warming the world must act together. This requires treaties and governments who can live up to their obligations.”

    In the main this is true. But when we look at Europe and the US we see similar standards of living but one area has double the emissions of the other. If the USA just continued to live the same way but with the European approach to fossil fuelled power, there would be an instant improvement. Repeat this in other smaller populations, Canada and Oz are prime candidates, and we have a good start.

    1. Yes exactly. All journeys start with the first step. And getting the US average consumption to EU levels would be a great step, especially for a cash strapped US in the light of likely rising oil prices.
      The really good thing about reducing CO2 output actively is that it inevitably means a step forward to more sustainable energy generation and the avoidance of waste. Both surely must be a good thing.

      1. Your link was broken, R2D2. As far as exporting manufacturing goes, I rather thought that everyone, USA, Europe, Oz, Canada had exported most of their manufacturing to low wage, low regulation countries.

        The big difference between Europe and USA (and Oz and Canada) is in urban planning and public transport as well as power generation. I find it ludicrous that Australia gets less of its power from solar than Germany does. Germany?! (And the USA is similarly blessed in terms of solar and geothermal.)

        How different would LA (and other American cities) be today if the oil and car companies that bought and dismantled the public transport systems had instead invested in better and more extensive public transport? Anyone who thinks the legal and moral mess of the oil companies is a new or modern development should check out this saga of greed and illegality.

  19. The mental gymnastics the deniers perform to avoid the unavoidable remind me of a conversation I had with a smoker in the early 70s.
    He claimed that the evidence linking smoking to cancer was “just statistics”, as he had yet to see anyone light up a fag and immediately drop dead…

  20. What the deniers remind me of is a friend of mine whose technique in argument I got to think of as ‘The Yellow Method’, based on an actual dispute we had once.

    Yellow does not exist. You cannot adequately define a boundary between the yellow-greens on one side, and the yellow-oranges on the other. It’s a completely subjective distinction – several of the key papers you site supporting the existence of this alleged hue vary by up to 15% in their assignment of the appropriate band of the visual spectrum! Call that certainty?

    And you cannot know that what appears yellow to you might not be what you would call orange or even a light reddy brown if you could seem the same colour through the actual eyes of another. And indeed there is the whole issue of blue-yellow colour-blindness, which might even be the other way round through your eyes for all you or I know.

    And yellow was a kind of what you’d call Cerulean Pink in the Middle Ages, and was a lot brighter, and that was well before all your Colourist Theories and Spectre Analyses.

    Plus there’s a poster in a shop window near me that’s been up there for years and the text says ‘I am Curious Yellow’ but I can’t see any yellow at all on it – in fact, it’s mostly just a sort of faded blue, though for all I know that may seem yellow to you; not that I’m saying yellow exists mind you… but blue does, of course, at least while I’m using it to deny the existence of Yellow.

    Art Schools promote the existence of this “mad man’s” colour simply in order to secure funding, enhance their own mystique, and fleece taxpayers while the so called artists thrive on the dole and then they don’t even want to pay tax when their so-called work starts selling and the very same government that paid for them all those years so you’d think they’d be grateful but they aren’t starts snapping up their hyper-inflated daubings and video insulations for $millions!

    And it’s all them Communists and furriners, too.

    1. Ha! I like that.

      This in turn reminds me of a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon:

      Calvin: Dad, how come old photographs are always black and white? Didn’t they have color film back then?
      Dad: Sure they did. In fact, those old photographs are in color. It’s just the world was black and white then.
      Calvin: Really?
      Dad: Yep. The world didn’t turn color until sometime in the 1930s, and it was pretty grainy color for a while, too.
      Calvin: That’s really weird.
      Dad: Well, truth is stranger than fiction.
      Calvin: But then why are old paintings in color?! If their world was black and white, wouldn’t artists have painted it that way?
      Dad: Not necessarily. A lot of great artists were insane.
      Calvin: But… but how could they have painted in color anyway? Wouldn’t their paints have been shades of gray back then?
      Dad: Of course, but they turned colors like everything else did in the ’30s.
      Calvin: So why didn’t old black and white photos turn color too?
      Dad: Because they were color pictures of black and white, remember?
      Calvin: The world is a complicated place, Hobbes.
      Hobbes: Whenever it seem that way, I take a nap in a tree and wait for dinner.

      I particularly like the bit about the insane artists.

      D.

  21. A mineral geologist, given a prospect to evaluate, should ask himself ‘what do I need to do to show that the shareholder should not spend more money on this prospect’. He therefore starts at a position diametrically opposed to that of the research scientist who is trying to prove his belief. The mineral geologist needs the funds of the ‘punter’ but knows that if he makes too many wrong decisions the funds will dry up. The research scientist, on the other hand, has access to unlimited funds from the taxpayer, far removed from management, knows that the supply of funds will continue as long as he can make a case for spending more money.

    1. Roger-
      I have worked in both worlds – applied and research geoscience – and the dichotomy that you perceive does not exist. The magnitude of funding is much larger in resource exploration when times are good, but both require a lot of time, effort and good luck to get a project off the ground. The style in which findings are reported is very different, but continued funding for a project in both applied and research geoscience is tied to how well results stand up to critical questioning – whether by a board representing shareholders or a panel of expert reviewers.

    2. I left science when I realised that I would be spending at least 50% of my time trying to get research grants, rather than actually doing research. It was thoroughly demoralising to get grant applications turned down purely because of a lack of funding, even though the science was solid.

      In fact, the more pure or theoretical the science, the less likely you are to get funding. All the funding agencies want to know what practical applications your research might have. This is such a short-sighted view, as it misses the point that most applications of science are fundamentally based on, or even directly derived from pure theory – so if you don’t fund theoretical science, you won’t get any applied science anyway.

      In my case, I was looking at the population ecology of the spread of disease (using computer models – ooh, I must be a crook). As my study subject was rabbits, my work was deemed to be in the theoretical camp, with no practical applications for people, therefore: no funding for you, pal. As all the SARS and swine flu hypes have been and gone, I often wonder if there would have been less panic if scientists had a better theoretical understanding of how diseases spread…

      Unlimited funding? Roger, you need to get out in the real world a bit more, sonny.

      1. The dichotomy does exist even though you were not in the private sector long enough to see it. The duties of a moderately senior exploration geologist include telling his employer when to pull the plug on the prospect he is working on. The academic researcher simply continues with his pet project for as long as he or she can suck money out of the taxpayer. That is the dichotomy.

        1. Roger, did I miss something? how do you know how long CTG has been in the private sector? or do you base all of your conclusions on a crystal ball?

        2. Not that it is any of your business Roger, but I still do consulting in the private sector as I am part-time at the university. The more posts you make, the more of your own ignorance you reveal. So, please continue.

          As a junior exploration geologist, I encountered two cases where I was expected to “prove” a senior geo’s pet prospect. I didn’t and was given the opportunity to pursue an academic career. The private sector is not immune to waste and every organisation has its fair share of internal politics.

          I greatly enjoy doing academic research because my work is judged by experts outside of the organisation that pays my salary. I appreciate the opportunity I have been given and use my spare time to educate young and old alike.

          1. There is a contributor to Hot Topic who claims that he had to spend 60% of his time justifying the funding for his project. In another post he claims that he was forced into the private sector which pays him 60% more than he was getting in research!

            Thus it seems that he is/was getting about the same rate for productive time. What has he to complain about? If a project requires 60% of the researcher’s time to justify it is the taxpayer justified in spending anything on it?

            Presumeably the research project was of his choosing whereas in the private sector he is told what the employer wants.

            As a private sector mineral geologist I spent much of my time advising punters not to blow shareholders’ money on harebrained ideas. The researchers, it appears, spend much of their time trying to justify taxpayer expenditure on projects which are self selected and may have little relevance to the public good.

            Quite incidentally the global warming sceptics are, in this respect, in the same camp as the the private sector mineral geologist while the hansenite warmers are largely in the same camp as the taxpayer funded researchers!

            1. Roger-
              Do you realise the irony that you are able to disseminate your comments so easily thanks to a product of taxpayer-funded research called the internet?

            2. I remember when it was pretty much restricted to the universities and research organizations. It was pretty primitive and useless to the ordinary citizen until Yahoo and later Google got involved. I got my connection when there were only about 30 subscribers in Rotorua. The ISP was Waiariki Polytechnic. I think that it might have been the first publicalIy accessible ISP in the country. I do not think that Yahoo had got off the ground then. If it had it had only just done so.

            3. As a private sector mineral geologist I spent much of my time advising punters not to blow shareholders’ money on harebrained ideas. The researchers, it appears, spend much of their time trying to justify taxpayer expenditure on projects which are self selected and may have little relevance to the public good.

              lolwut?

              Or, rather, “sheesh Roger, you really do have no idea how funding applications work”.

              In a nut shell, to get funding, a funding application needs to go through a review, in which the reviewers need to see that the proposed research needs to fill a hole in the literature or further develop interesting preliminary results. As well as actually show that the person(s) behind the proposal can actually do the research. Which unless you have a nice, money-throwing group behind you, you can’t actually research just any old thing.

              Then there’s your anecdote on “60%”, which I get the feeling you’re quote mining, as once a researcher has funding, they’re generally busy spending time on doing the research. Initially though some scientists do spend a lot of time getting their feet off the ground, especially if they haven’t gotten the knack of making a funding application. Or in the case of principle investigators, there will be a lot more time spent on administration and funding applications in order to make sure their lab/research group is well funded.

              Oh and:

              Quite incidentally the global warming sceptics are, in this respect, in the same camp as the the private sector mineral geologist while the hansenite warmers are largely in the same camp as the taxpayer funded researchers!

              I guess we shouldn’t trust public-funded researchers on stuff like vaccine safety, HIV causing AIDS, let alone evolution or the age of the universe/Earth ay Roger? You know, because their all involved in some vast conspiracy to hide teh truth!!11!.

              Or, it could just be that due to the nature of science, that stuff that is solid, or looks like the results will be solid gets selected for in funding applications. While stuff that clearly ignores prior research that counters claims made in the application, without saying why, or appears to be full of crap, gets rejected.

              Basically, as per usual, it looks like you’re full of crap. Not really surprising though.

            4. “I guess we shouldn’t trust public-funded researchers on stuff like vaccine safety, HIV causing AIDS, let alone evolution or the age of the universe/Earth ay Roger? You know, because their all involved in some vast conspiracy to hide teh truth!!11!.”

              I start to have my doubts when the research is tied to a political gravy train. AGW is.

      2. “The science was solid” In your opinion I am sure it was but clearly it was not in the opinion of your employer.

        Certainly the system is flawed when people have to spend so much time trying to get funding. Better perhaps that they write up their work once each year and get funded the following year if their work is up to scratch. Someone has to judge that. Should it be you or your employer?

        When researchers choose their own field of study someone else has to decide whether that interest is likely to be useful for society in the long run. Clearly some people are getting funded, thus the work of some people is more highly regarded. Did you make any serious attempt for figure out what might be useful for society?

        So you are being paid 60% more for doing what you are directed to do rather than what you wanted to do. That seems about right.

      3. Did you forget to put ” ….. with special reference to climate change.” in your application for funding? That usually does the trick or so I am told.

      1. There is little difference between Avery’s description and that in “The Little Ice Age” by Brian Fagan. The later chapters in Fagan’s book indicate that he is a bit of a warmist. However that does not detract from his historical account with some 14 pages of references. Like the Mann Gang I am sure that the LIA is an embarrassment for you. But it is not going to go away and neither are the warm periods in our history despite the efforts of Mann and Connolley. You know I suppose that Connolley got the boot for bias?

        1. And I need to get moving, but from what I know of the literature, the LIA and MWP where regional, rather than global, and often decades after warming or cooling had started in other places. Pointing towards long-term climatic cycles between the hemispheres, rather than Avery’s claimed 1500 year global cycle.

          Which the climate crock of the week video shows the see-sawing quite nicely. Of course, this would require you to actually watch it first, on top of digging into the actual literature and research, rather than your usual pick, choose and proclaim without supporting evidence style of “debating”.

          1. It seems that you have studiously avoided the southern hemisphere literature on the matter. I am not surprised. You just cannot accept that your hockey stick is broken! But it is.

            1. Which hockey stick? There are dozens of hockey sticks in the scientific climate change literature from different teams of scientists, based on different data sets, different methodologies, and all supporting each other.

  22. Could Dewhurst please provide the list of peer reviewed articles that canvas this rubbishing of which he speaks?

    Please do not link to articles/commentary on Blogs, they are not a primary source as he should well know from his professional training.

    1. Gareth,

      I am sure that you can answer this question for him.
      McKitrick, Wegman come immediately to mind. Then there is that very recent paper which goes rather further and rubbishes proxies in general. I am sure you have all this stuff at your fingertips.

      Have you seen this plot?

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_nOY5jaKJXHM/TGbHwwJPxhI/AAAAAAAABPs/GM0nE65s-Sg/s1600/past+mean+temp+co2+sea+level+variations.jpg

      There are some impression rates of temperature change between 14000 and 15000 years ago and at the start and finish of the Younger Dryas. Neanderthal man must have been lighting some bloody big bonfires!

      The carbon dioxide seems to be following the southern temperature fairly well with a time lag of about 1000 years.

      I do not see anything in the sea level curve about which to get one’s knickers in a twist.

      1. Both those reports focused on one that is ONE set of reconstructions, which also happened to be the first in the field. Where are the rest rubbishing all the other proxy reconstructions using different proxies and different statistical methods?

        Your Dyras comment reflects a level of stupidity that is embarrassing. I will say this slowly so you understand. Climate change can arise from natural causes and has done so many times in the past, including natural factors such as changes in the Earth’s orbit causing the release of naturally sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a known and proven climate forcing factor.

        There is no evidence that natural causes are causing the current warming. However, humans are releasing large amounts of naturally sequestered carbon into the atmosphere.

        Please show us your analysis on your view that “carbon dioxide seems to be following the southern temperature fairly well with a time lag of about 1000 years.”

        1. “Please show us your analysis on your view that “carbon dioxide seems to be following the southern temperature fairly well with a time lag of about 1000 years.””

          Plot the Vostoc and Epica Dome temperatures against the Epica Dome CO2 and Fleming, Johnson, Zwartz etc, sea level plot and you will have your answer.

        2. As for the rates of change between 14000 and 15000 years ago and between 11500 and 13000 years ago just plot the temperatures as derived from the GISP2 core. You might just feel a bit of an ass when you have done so. You certainly should. I rather suspect that you lot do not look too carefully at the data you love to say supports your case!

  23. Some years ago I was the project geologist proving the Beverley uranium orebodies at Lake Frome in South Australia. I was one of the authors of the final report. As I recall it was a pretty thick document! It was never published and it was never peer reviewed, except by its authors. Nevertheless it was the basis of the current mining operation. As that uranium will be used to generate power in place of coal and oil I think that I can claim to have done more than all of you lot put together to reduce the amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere long before you even started to talk about it. The most useful research is not always peer reviewed!

    1. I think your report has been peered reviewed by your peers within the industry. If they found it rubbish they would not use it. Peer review does not always have to be formal it just has to be impartial and robust.

      If you want to make that claim that’s fine by me, but I not that impressed

      In my view nuclear will not make a difference to AGW because if the issues of scalability of the industry. The number of nukes need to make a difference is huge and the difficulties funding, building, and managing the potential waste are just phenomenal.

      1. As you may readily find using Google, the deposits ARE being mined. I do not think you are quite smart enough to figure out what that means.

        Thus “in your view…” means ‘not very much’

        Nukes indeed! ‘Nukes’ commonly refers to nuclear weapons, you know those things that go off with a very big bang and a mushroom shaped cloud! Ah well, I doubt that you were even a gleam in your father’s eye (even if you know who he is) when the last one went off.

        1. So it comes to insults Roger. You are a horrible little man. By the way I am 51 years old, so I have some experience. Normally I would ignore such bile but my father was a wonderful man who I loved a lot. So don’t insult him again.

  24. Any response to posts 126 and 127?

    “Please show us your analysis on your view that “carbon dioxide seems to be following the southern temperature fairly well with a time lag of about 1000 years.””

    Plot the Vostoc and Epica Dome temperatures against the Epica Dome CO2 and Fleming, Johnson, Zwartz etc, sea level plot and you will have your answer.

    As for the rates of change between 14000 and 15000 years ago and between 11500 and 13000 years ago just plot the temperatures as derived from the GISP2 core. You might just feel a bit of an ass when you have done so. You certainly should. I rather suspect that you lot do not look too carefully at the data you love to say supports your case!

    1. My last question about the literature was asking for clarification becuase i was unsure what you were getting at.
      .
      You are right in the past CO2 has lagged the inital warming signal, but we know why that is. Milankovich cycles > warming> warmer oceans release CO2> released CO2 amplifies warming.

      This time no orbitial forcing what we have is:

      Humans release large amounts of sequestered carbon> warming> then probably methane released from permafrosts and warming oceans> ice caps melt albedo changes> further warming.

      1. There were a number of occasions, both warming and cooling, between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago when carbon dioxide followed warming by 600 to 1000 years. These events were not related to the Milankovich cycles.

        You assume, wrongly, that the net feedback is positive. In reality we a quite ignorant of most of the feedback mechanisms and would be unable to weight them appropriately even if we understand them.

        When you can explain EVERY warming and cooling episode from 1000 years ago until the year 1900 I might begin to think that you might have a clue about what is going on. Just saying that they did not happen or that they were merely local events does not cut the mustard.

        1. Yep we don’t have perfect knowledge about every climte change event. Looking back in time gives imperfect information, but real climate scientists are working on this issues and over time we will learn more. It is highly unlikely (not impossible) that they will find this as yet mythical negative feedback mechanism that you are so keen that we all take a punt on.

          You ask for perfect knowledge before acting. Since there is no such thing, including in your own field, as absolute certainty, how do you make recommendations as a consultant. Do you just say to a potential client “I won’t be able to know anything to 100% certainty so don’t bother hiring me.”

          I could also apply the same standard of proof to the argument used by many deniers that reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will destroy our economy and by implication modern society.

          Using the same standard of proof as you request I would say unless you can prove this position to a 100% certainty this view has no validity and can be ignored until such time that there is.

  25. How about actually reading the report. From the Exec Sum

    “The Committee found that the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall. However, the world has changed considerably since the creation of the IPCC, with major advances in climate science, heated controversy on some climate-related issues, and an increased focus of
    governments on the impacts and potential responses to changing climate. A wide variety of interests have entered the climate discussion, leading to greater overall scrutiny and demands from stakeholders. The IPCC must continue to adapt to these changing conditions in order to continue serving society well in the future. The Committee’s key recommendations for improving IPCC’s assessment process are given below.”

    Sound to me like a good report but with room for improvement as with any process.
    http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/report.html

      1. So let me paraphrase your comment. The people that wrote the report have less understanding of its content and conclusions than people who didn’t?

        Guess what I haven’t read your report on Uranium resources in OZ, based on your logic I must know more about it than you.

        This is easy next I will refute String Theory.

      2. For once I agree and I’m one of the “other”s. Here’s my interpretation of how the quoted excerpt in Doug’s comment should have read.

        The Committee found that the IPCC assessment process has been very successful. However, the world has changed considerably since the creation of the IPCC, with major advances in climate science, heated controversy on JUST A FEW climate-related issues, and an increased focus of governments on the impacts and potential responses to changing climate. A wide variety of interests, some vested and wanting to maintain the status quo, have entered and attempted to divert the climate discussion and slander scientists, leading to greater overall scrutiny and often unreasonable demands from stakeholders. In light of this the IPCC, through no fault of its own, has to change in order to continue serving governments in the future.

        1. The vested interests include the IPCC bureaucrats, academics who see AGW as the favoured route for departmental and personal status, central and local government bureaucrats, lawyers and others who see AGW as a means to leach off the public, promoters of wind farms, solar farms, exploiters of the tides etc etc, who see a cornucopia of subsidies, contributed by the taxpayer of course, on which to fatten themselves.

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