Tell it like it is

NZETS.jpgThe select committee established to review the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is now accepting submissions, and controversy over the precise interpretation of the terms of reference is already looming. As I noted last year, the terms were drafted by ACT and adopted wholesale by the government, with the exception of the removal of a review of the science of climate change. That was replaced by this clause:

• identify the central/benchmark projections which are being used as the motivation for international agreements to combat climate change; and consider the uncertainties and risks surrounding these projections

The Standard considers that this opens the door to Rodney Hide and his mates in the ranks of the cranks, while David Farrar at Kiwiblog leaps to its defence:

So when you hear people rail against the considering the uncertainties and risks of projections, they are actually railing against people understanding the science, and reading the IPCC reports.

No, David, they are railing against the use of that clause to introduce a review of the underlying science — which is what Hide is adamant he’s going to do, and committee chairman Peter Dunne is equally certain he’ll veto. However, the precise wording of that section is so vague that it is capable of multiple interpretations. Time to pull it to pieces…

Parsing this sentence requires some sort of definition of what is meant by “the central/benchmark projections”. I have no doubt that Hide and crank submitters will push for this to be interpreted as a review of the climate projections made in the IPPC’s fourth report (AR4), on the grounds that the global temperature increases they foreshadow are the primary motivation for international action to reduce emissions. For Rodney and the cranks, the risk and uncertainties will lie in the modelling and the projections of future damage. The models will be too uncertain to rely on, the expected damage too small to worry about, and the cost of action too great. The standard climate crank tropes will be given another airing.

There is, however, another reading of that key phrase that could suggest a worthwhile exercise for the committee — if the “central/benchmark projections” are taken to be of future emissions and targets for atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. Taking the science — AR4 — as read, the parliamentarians could embark on a realistic assessment of the emissions targets that are central to international agreements on climate change. This would involve considering the EU’s +2ºC “limit” and what that means for greenhouse gas levels — usually taken to be 450 ppm CO2, even though that only yields a 50 percent chance of hitting the temperature target.

This is where, from a policy perspective, the risks and uncertainties really lie. One the one hand, we have Jim Hansen and others advocating 350 ppm as a “safe” level for CO2, one that would keep the major ice sheets intact and restrict sea level rise, while the reality of international negotiations and national self-interest will be to aim for a much less challenging (and cheaper) target — perhaps well over the EU’s 450 ppm. Judging the risks here is not a matter of questioning the science, more a balancing of the perspectives science provides against the realpolitik of international trade and diplomacy.

The committee would also do well to consider the asymmetry of the risks associated with dealing with climate change. If we suppose we are wrong, and climate change amounts to not very much, then we will have spent some money decarbonising our energy economy — something that the end of cheap fossil fuel suggests we need to do anyway. If we do nothing and are wrong, then we could suffer impacts sufficient to bring misery to millions — perhaps billions — and change the world in ways we can only imagine. The sensible strategy is to take the risk seriously, and buy insurance by reducing emissions now.

Submissions to the ETS committee close on Feb 13 (guidelines here). I will be making a detailed submission dealing with all the points in the terms of reference, and will publish them here. I would strongly urge Hot Topic’s readers to do the same. You can be sure that the cranks are gearing up to submit, and that the big emitters will be rehearsing their arguments against onerous action. Meanwhile, the world will be moving on, leaving NZ behind. Do not miss this opportunity to make your views known.

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137 thoughts on “Tell it like it is”

  1. we could suffer impacts sufficient to bring misery to millions — perhaps billions

    This is an alarming prediction. Still, it’s based on… oh, what was it, again?
    I know you won’t allow the science to be challenged, because… um… just because that’s what you think; but is it all right to re-state it? Briefly? Without references to dull texts elsewhere? Just in your own words.
    Perhaps you might add a word or two, out of interest, on how the warming has been going lately?
    Cheers.

  2. Thanks for the references, Gareth. Every one reveals recent cooling.

    From the WMO: “2008 is likely to rank as the 10th warmest year on record” and “the global average temperature in 2008 was slightly lower than that for the previous years of the 21st century.”

    So it’s been cooling.

    From GISS: “The meteorological year, December 2007 through November 2008, was the coolest year since 2000.”

    So it’s been cooling.

    From the MET Office: “Global temperature for 2009 is expected to be 14.44 °C, the warmest since 2005, when the value was 14.48 °C.”

    So it’s been cooling.

    At least we are not rushing pell-mell towards your alarming prediction of millions in misery. Actually, temperatures are moving in the opposite direction—isn’t that good news? But you have yet to state the scientific basis for the prediction.

    You invite me to challenge the science (and thank you), but won’t countenance any public investigation of it by the select committee. Worse, you go on about cranks as though your challengers are less than human. Apart from being discourteous, it is inconsistent. A factually secure position cannot be dislodged by mere questions, so what are you concerned about?

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying the lovely summer temperatures. Makes one glad to be alive. Nothing like a little warming (I can’t resist one nudge in the ribs.)

    Cheers.

  3. Richard,

    You can’t judge “cooling” or “warming” on the basis of a single year. The point made in all my references is that the trend remains – remorselessly – upwards.

    As for the millions/billions: I would refer you to the earlier post on Gwynne Dyer’s very good Climate Wars. As he notes, it’s no accident that the world’s major armed forces are looking at climate change as the next great driver of conflict.

    There is no way that a committee of our parliamentarians are in any way entitled or equipped to stand in judgement on the science of climate change. Their job is to take the best advice – the IPCC and our own climate scientists – and decide on the best policy to deal with it.

    If the committee were to take our dwindling band of climate cranks seriously, it would be as if the health select committee were to take policy advice from faith healers.

  4. As for the millions/billions: I would refer you to the earlier post on Gwynne Dyer’s very good Climate Wars. As he notes, it’s no accident that the world’s major armed forces are looking at climate change as the next great driver of conflict.

    So it’s not global warming climate change any more, but the fear of it, that will drive humans to destruction and misery? Clever. That scenario need answer to no scientific principles.

    But the military are always drawing up plans for this or that contingency; most are never required. A vague assertion it’s “no accident” plans are being made means nothing. It is, frankly, beneath you to brandish that as a reason for anything.

    No scientific reason is known to predict dangerous sea level rise. Nor dangerous temperature rise. Nor increases in storm frequency nor intensity. Nor droughts nor floods beyond natural variation.

    Or, what are your scientific reasons for the prediction of destruction? In your own words. Briefly. As one might explain things to a child. Scientifically.

    Do that or persuade nobody. Do that or preach interminably to the converted alone.

    Faith healers would of course be a poor choice to set public policy. Yet their belief pales beside the transcendent faith of the warmists, and you only need faith to sustain you through the absence of fact, for facts destroy faith. Those faithful warmists would set their hand to our national tiller and my skin crawls at the harm they could do.

    Like you, they hesitate to simply and frankly (as to a friend) set out the science of dangerous carbon dioxide-induced warming. They refuse to validate their climate models. They call for their opponents to be silenced. They depend upon appeals to authority to defend their case. They make more-and-more-horrendous predictions to make us listen, yet their highest priests claim they make no predictions whatsoever. They cannot explain the past course of climate yet clamour ceaselessly with 50-year and 100-year forecasts that nobody alive today will experience. They make money, even now, from the commercial opportunities and the new markets thus created.

    I cannot trust these new prophets. Gore is now a wealthy man, yet his accolytes are prevented from charging for their public lectures based on An Inconvenient Truth.

    There. Now I’m ranting. Damn.

    But the science, Gareth?

    Oh — and if our committee were bravely to examine what the rest of the world, it appears, refuses to examine, it would at once be the envy of the world and its leader, make no mistake. The mere fact of deciding upon a review has already been noticed.

  5. Gareth, I don’t judge the cooling on a single year. WMO: 8 years; GISS: 9 years; MET Office: 5 years. It is valid to say that the temperature has gone up or down over any period one chooses. Your real concern is for the ramifications you imagine I will claim from a fall in temperature.

    You may also be concerned that I’m not interested in caring for the environment generally, which is not the case. That is one of the saddest mistakes of the global warming fiasco — that groups assume, because of questioning of CO2-caused warming, that “the other side” do not care about the environment.

    In 1988, when Hansen alarmed Congress, only ten years of rising temps were available. What’s sauce for the goose…

    More relevant is the constant warmist clamour that this or that storm, drought, flood, heatwave or this or that year or two of the same are due to “climate change” (meaning global warming), and not to El Nino, PDO or whatever, while any cooling is assigned to La Nina, etc., and is claimed not to affect the “underlying warming”, which continues — as though such a thermodynamic concept were real. Such misleading nonsense must stop.

    But the science behind the alarming prediction?

  6. So it’s not global warming climate change any more, but the fear of it, that will drive humans to destruction and misery?

    Had you bothered to check the references, you would have found that Dyer talks about regional destabilisation caused by warming-related events (see below).

    No scientific reason is known to predict dangerous sea level rise. Nor dangerous temperature rise. Nor increases in storm frequency nor intensity. Nor droughts nor floods beyond natural variation.

    This is where you demonstrate your imperviousness to the facts. On sea level rise, I would direct you to the best recent summary, Chapter 2 of the US CCSP Abrupt Climate Change report (available here). Perhaps the text will be a little too “dry and dusty” for you, but the bottom line is clear: the IPCC AR4 numbers are likely to be exceeded this century. The “informal consensus” view (according to Mark Serreze at the NSIDC) is for over a metre. During the last interglacial period, when global temperatures were similar to now (or slightly higher) and CO2 lower, sea level was 4 – 6 meters higher.

    On temperature: I struggle to understand how you can simply ignore the IPCC projections, plus the entire contents of the WG 2 report, and say there is no evidence that temperature increases won’t be dangerous. Perhaps you should read Six Degrees by Mark Lynas, if you find the IPPC too dry.
    Let’s put it simply: we’re in a warm interglacial. We’ve increased greenhouse gas amounts by 40% (for CO2, more for methane), and we can see that temperature’s increasing. The last time something similar happened (Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum) it caused a major extinction event. Grounds for concern, I’d suggest.

    Or, what are your scientific reasons for the prediction of destruction? In your own words. Briefly. As one might explain things to a child. Scientifically.

    So – ignoring your pomposity – lets assemble a scenario. The areas most vulnerable to sea level rise are the Asian megadeltas – Bangladesh, Mekong etc – and millions of people live in those regions. A modest amount of sea level rise will be enough to increase the damage done by storm surges (consider Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar). In only a few decades time, cyclone striking one of those regions could displace millions, destabilising countries and regions. India, for instance, is already building a fence around Bangladesh… Dyer explores this sort of scenario in some detail. Suffice to say, the consequences have the potential to be nasty, and not just for the people directly affected.

    Like you, they hesitate to simply and frankly (as to a friend) set out the science of dangerous carbon dioxide-induced warming.

    Astonishing! There is a huge amount of information, from beginner/school level explanations right through to the IPCC reports that covers the science in as much or as little detail as you might require. To assert that it doesn’t exist is to be heroically blinkered.

    What is lacking is any coherent explanation from cranks/sceptics/denialists why increasing greenhouse gas levels will not warm the planet. There’s plenty of bluster and bombast and assertion, but nothing remotely capable of standing up under scientific scrutiny.

  7. sauce for the goose…

    In fact Hansen had good data on temperature going back over 100+ years, ice core data and direct measurement of CO2 levels in the atmosphere, knowledge of the radiation characteristics of CO2 and a physical model of the climate system that suggested that temperatures would continue to increase. As they have.

    Just as egregiously, when you parsed my references on temperature above, you carefully ignored this part of the statement from the Hadley Centre:
    Professor Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, explains: “The fact that 2009, like 2008, will not break records does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming – the period 2001-2007, with an average of 14.44 °C, was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000.”

    The decade 2011-2020 will – and I’m prepared to support this with a wager – be a similar amount warmer than the current decade (barring volcanoes). The physics is undeniable.

  8. Given the unexpected speed at which warming is happening and the avalanche of new reports confirming this, this term of reference should lead to a conclusion that current benchmarks are inadequate and too conservative. An unintended consequence for Mr Hide.

    But then, if the committee were to agree with Prof James Hansen that its too late for an ETS we urgently need a “carbon tax and 100% dividend” (his open letter to the president elect), will we see yet more policy paralysis?

    Thanks for advice re submitting to the committee. I intend to.

    Tom

  9. Had you bothered to check the references.

    You gave no reference; I Googled and found a description of Dyer’s book somewhere. Now I have found your review of it, but I see nothing to alter my view; the book is complete speculation. You consider “there is no denying their underlying credibility” (though there is denying!), but you acknowledge that “Dyer [himself] claims no certainty for his scenarios.”

    Dyer talks about regional destabilisation caused by warming-related events.

    His talk is based on merely a fertile imagination of regional destabilisation. But historically, strife has tended to occur during colder periods; warmer periods have always favoured expansion and development. So his imaginative scenarios have no scientific support, neither are they supported by human history.

    You mentioned Dyer to support your argument that our inaction now “could” cause misery for millions. Yet Dyer provides no reason for us to act; he tells us pretty stories; he is a poor choice to inspire us to action.

  10. So his imaginative scenarios have no scientific support, neither are they supported by human history.

    Haven’t read the book, have you? Dyer’s scenarios are all credible, based firmly in the science, and in the assessments conducted by the US military and others. Your reading of “human history” is equally partial.

  11. the bottom line is clear: the IPCC AR4 numbers are likely to be exceeded this century.

    I have examined the Executive Summary. You are right, but the IPCC “numbers” are likely to be exceeded only in the output of climate models, not in reality. The statements are so hedged about with “possible causes”, “no clear evidence” and ‘can’ and ‘might’ and ‘if’ that the report offers no firm conclusion at all. They cannot say with certainty that models fed with the new data will produce higher projections, nor do they even define “substantially”.

    The actual words are “Inclusion of these processes [in ice sheets and large glaciers] in models will likely lead to sea-level projections for the end of the 21st century that substantially exceed the projections presented in the IPCC AR4 report (0.28 ± 0.10 m to 0.42 ± 0.16 m rise).”

    What engineer would present this to a planning meeting? What difference could it make to a sea wall now under construction? This is a Clayton’s conclusion: the conclusion you come to when you can’t get a conclusion. It’s a joke. The fact that it applies to conditions 90 years hence merely adds to its comic effect.

    Recent sea level data from the University of Colorado shows the rate of sea level rise (by satellite altimetry) over the last 16 years has been about 3.3mm/yr. I don’t know whether the rate has slowed since 2006. But there is no cause for concern when the rate is not abnormal.

    What good is the “informal consensus” view from Serreze? It’s just another guess.

    You mention the last interglacial, but I don’t know how much help it is: more factors are involved in weather than just temperature and CO2.

    The point made in all my references is that the trend remains – remorselessly – upwards.

    Yes, they all make that point; and they make it in spite of the data they present. Does nobody else notice those blatant denials?

    On temperature:

    I ignore the IPCC projections on the grounds they are not evidence of any kind. They are certainly not accepted by the IPCC as evidence, or else they would say loudly “we have evidence.”

    I don’t think I said that “temperature increases won’t be dangerous”. I did say “no scientific reason is known to predict dangerous temperature rise” but that’s different. You say Mark Lynas “finds plenty to cause alarm” in “comparatively low rises of one or two degrees”. Even you sound a little surprised. Alarm? Lynas must be stupid; it has been that warm before and we thrived. Sweden would like a winter with temperatures one or two degrees higher, though they would still be sweeping snow off their windowsills. Lynas is just looking for disaster.

    I wish I could sell a stupid book for actual money.

    Temperature is not increasing. The only warming dataset is supervised by the most alarmist scientist on the planet, it uses data-gathering stations subject to the most intense scientific dispute because large numbers of them are affected by the UHI effect, the data are changed sometimes months later and altered in undisclosed statistical “corrections” made by GISS which appear to exaggerate warming so some reputable scientists no longer refer to it. It has too many problems.

    Look at the UAH dataset and explain how to see the warming.

    Greenhouse gases up 40%, but so what? What’s the effect of it? It’s not driving temperatures up, as I’ve just established. The major extinction event is of concern; but temperature’s not rising, does that help?

    Pomposity? I’m sorry. That was not intended. This was the third time I had asked the question and I was trying to induce you to answer.

    You describe sea level rising over deltas, but not the reasons for it. What are the reasons? Why should sea levels suddenly take off? CO2 has been rising steadily without acceleration of sea level rise. What will change?

    No, I haven’t read Dyer’s book; from your description I have no wish to. Perhaps I ought to. My reading of history is equally partial to whose or to what?

  12. “What engineer would present this to a planning meeting”

    Well, I would for one. And these for another few hundred who are actually responsible for coastal planning. In fact, I would think it imprudent, to the point of negligence, for an engineer not to consider this information and present it to the “planning meeting”.

    It is clear that you are not an engineer, or have any particular ability in science or mathematics or you may be better equipped to interpret that UAH graph that you link to.

    Let me explain it to you….in 1979 the rough average of the temperature is around 0.0, today it is more like 0.2. That is the eyeballed trend line is beautifully parallel with the CO2 line. If I doubted the relationship between the two this graph would give me just cause to go and find out what the relationship is.

  13. Andrew, don’t make me laugh. You overstate the matter wildly. The MfE Climate Change Manual doesn’t even mention General Circulation Models, much less the US Climate Change Science Program; they are not equivalent. My main question is: why would you present an unquantified report of sea level rise? How would anyone know what dimensions to add to the sea wall? You’d all be guessing. What’s more, you’d still anchor your guesses in the past, as you’ve always done. The reason you record the past is to find actual numbers you can use in your erections.

    You pointed to a “few hundred” engineers, but I saw none mentioned; I don’t think the MfE has that many working for them. You’re trying to connect a fairly sensible NZ manual with a completely speculative and alarmist US report. Why are you defending it?

    I take particular note that the manual’s analysis is based on the past, with presentations of time series of sea level, precipitation, etc. In other words, it takes the traditional engineering approach, looking to the past to discover what is likely in the future. The manual is riddled with it. So far, so good.

    The manual makes only vague statements about the future, saying climate is likely to do this or that, but it doesn’t offer any reasons; it doesn’t mention models. For example, the introduction refers to “escalating risk over the coming decades”. The reasons that risk should be escalating are not addressed. I find that odd, for those reasons are the spur to action and the more widely known they are, the better.

    But the manual does not encourage us to quote models of the climate and it is most certainly not allied either formally or in spirit with the US CCSP report.

    I notice your post is now longer than it was. I see you have access to your posts after posting. I’ll address your statistical comments separately.

    Cheers.

  14. Andrew, you give me cause for thought about the slope of the graph (I’m no engineer, nor statistician). I suspect there is a little correlation between them. Then, the 0.2 rise over 30 years is only 0.7 for a century; no cause for alarm, is it? The starting point is everything; choose another, get different results. There is a present failure to warm, catastrophically or not. Something is wrong with the AGW hypothesis, it needs tweaking.

    CO2 is not responsible for all the temperature rise, since its radiative properties are too weak. Though how to calculate feedbacks? There would be different opinions, since the science is not really settled.

  15. Richard,

    Most of your responses amount to little more than “I don’t believe it/you/them”. On the one hand you can read a paper that goes into detail about the likely sources for sea level rise, and later in the same comment ask:

    You describe sea level rising over deltas, but not the reasons for it. What are the reasons? Why should sea levels suddenly take off?

    And then this paragraph says more about you than I ever could:

    Temperature is not increasing. The only warming dataset is supervised by the most alarmist scientist on the planet, it uses data-gathering stations subject to the most intense scientific dispute because large numbers of them are affected by the UHI effect, the data are changed sometimes months later and altered in undisclosed statistical “corrections” made by GISS which appear to exaggerate warming so some reputable scientists no longer refer to it. It has too many problems.

    It shows, quite simply, that you don’t know what you’re talking about. You appear to be happy to parrot arguments from the denialist echo chamber – parading your ignorance as wisdom. An unedifying spectacle.

    You thus make yourself irrelevant in the real world.

  16. Richard
    “A few hundred engineers” The contents page mentions…
    Northland Regional Council, Auckland Regional Council, Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Whakatane District Council, BECA Consultants Ltd, Jim Dahm (Eco Nomos Ltd) Peter Barrett and Martin Manning (Victoria University), Roger Crimp (Engineering Lifelines), John Hannah (Otago University), Charles Willmot (IPENZ).
    And that is just the contributers to the manual….I am thinking more about the users of the manual with my “few hundred” comment.

    Section 2 of the report deals with climate change impacts. IPCC AR4 gets a good airing, GCM’s are mentioned, new science (ie post AR4) is specifically identified..eg Hansen 2007 and others. Is that enough for you?

    A good engineer should advise their clients that a) here are the current mainstream projections for sea level rise, b) there are considerable uncertainties and new developments (eg the USGS report), c) maximum anticipated SLR within the life of the structure is……., but it could be worse d) present the costs of achieving differing levels of protection and e) if the least cost option is chosen, should strongly recommend that some provision for extension be made in future (eg ensure available land is sufficient – or foundation are big enough to take a top up). Failure to do this, under the current level of knowledge, would be to invite a negligence claim in future (albeit a low risk given the rate of change).

    So getting back to your original question “what engineer would…?” the answer really is, pretty much, all of them (Bryan Leyland excepted).

    cheers
    Andrew

  17. Andrew, thanks. So, many engineers were involved in the preparation of the manual and many profess to use it; it is at least a handy collection of required data.

    But I wasn’t referring to the Climate Change Manual, I was talking about the US CCSP report; that’s not good enough to be an engineering guide. It doesn’t specify numbers; in your planning meeting you would all be guessing dimensions for our sea wall or revetment. None of you would know how much higher the sea will be in 2100.

    Thanks for your description of the engineering method, though I maintain my position that there’s nothing you can do with a dimensionless forecast except guess.

    Cheers.

  18. Gareth,

    Most of your responses amount to little more than “I don’t believe it/you/them”.

    Surely it’s no surprise that I disagree with the salient points, beginning with the lack of warming? But you perhaps miss this subtlety: that I try not to assume what you (or other people) believe; I’d rather hear it from you. When I ask about the science I’m confirming your thinking, not ignoring what I’ve heard elsewhere.

    Sea level increase seems to be dominated by a lack of acceleration over hundreds of years. So, although there are multiple causes of sea level rise (and fall), for the inundations you speak of to occur (and you were saying it would happen within the next 90 years), an acceleration must begin. So I asked you what would begin it.

    The question seems to upset you, but why not simply answer it?

    The GISS dataset: if I’m wrong, then refute what I said, don’t merely insult me.

    You appear to be happy to parrot arguments from the denialist echo chamber – parading your ignorance as wisdom. An unedifying spectacle. You thus make yourself irrelevant in the real world.

    If even a parrot says what’s true, at least it does not lie. “Denialist echo chamber” — nice! Creative! Good word use! Deliciously ad hominem. I will never deny my ignorance—it is surely “paraded” every time I speak; that is inevitable with us all. The point of argument is to remove ignorance and reveal truth; pointing out my ignorance is easy, but accomplishes just half the job. The hard part is left undone.

    The remainder of your comment is ordinary and your conclusion a disappointing, discourteous diversion.

    For your ad hominem remarks, you chose a passage most fitted for proper refutation, filled with references. Did it hit a nerve? You advised me to use science, not wishful thinking; need I remind you of that? I hope that bad feelings will not overwhelm the capacity for rational argument. The topic’s too important; if our leaders do that in Copenhagen what will happen to us?

    I refute, with three datasets, the salient part of the GISS dataset: the fact of strong warming. You must stop blinkering yourself. Warming is the first plank of the global warming argument, yet it’s not happening, no matter how often you say it is. Without warming there can be no warming-induced sea level rise or increased storms, droughts, floods or the rest.

    I began by saying the warming is not happening. You refuted that with three references which all show cooling while averring warming, repeated your own assertion of warming, then diverted attention to Gwynne Dyer, our select committee and subsequently sea levels, reports and other things. You would talk forever; you are well-informed enough to do so. But to what end?

    You ignore most of my questions and my refutations. When I presented something you might get your teeth into you descended to ad hominem remarks.

    The point is there is no warming and without it, the rest is meaningless. What on earth is your answer to that?

    Or do you claim about 0.2°C/decade, and that’s enough to condemn mankind?

    Cheers,
    Richard.

  19. Richard,

    1. Sea level rise averaged a little over 2mm/yr over the last century, but 3mm /yr over the last 20 years. The rate of increase has accelerated. Equally, we know from ice mass measurements, that the rate of ice melt has increased significantly in recent years. We also know from paleo data that rates of up to 1m in 20 years are possible. Should we be concerned? Emphatically yes.

    2. You assert that the world is not warming, yet every global temperature dataset – GISS, Hadley Centre, UAH, RSS – shows that it continues. You can only justify your cooling assertion by butchering the statistics. Let me try one more time: the rate of warming is somewhere between 0.13C and 0.2C per decade, but individual years can vary by more than that (ENSO being one cause). The post at Open Mind referenced in the “Bright future” story on the front page explains… In a noisy series, it’s not just likely that you will get sequences of years that show “no warming”, it’s a virtual certainty.

    This whole “cooling” thing that resonates around the denialist web has been debunked so many times that it becomes tedious to have to refute it again. Here’s one from last year.

    3. It is not ad hominem to point out that you are wrong. It would be ad hominem if I said that you were a [insert insult of choice] and therefore wrong.

    4. 0.2C per decade in the global average is about twenty times faster than the warming out of an ice age (5C in 5,000 years, roughly). The speed of the increase is at least as important as the quantum of increase, because it will stress and change natural ecosystems – and is already doing so.

    If mankind fails to act to restrain – and preferably, over time, eliminate – carbon emissions, then it is taking a huge gamble with its future. Much more sensible, in my view, to act now.

    And before you whinge about how expensive that’s going to be, let me point you to another reference: a report by that well known far-left lobby group McKinsey (that’s sarcasm, by the way) concludes that hitting a 450ppm target for carbon dioxide could boost economic growth:

    The macroeconomic costs of this carbon revolution are likely to be manageable, being in the order of 0.6–1.4 percent of global GDP by 2030. To put this figure in perspective, if one were to view this spending as a form of insurance against potential damage due to climate change, it might be relevant to compare it to global spending on insurance, which was 3.3 percent of GDP in 2005. Borrowing could potentially finance many of the costs, thereby effectively limiting the impact on near-term GDP growth. In fact, depending on how new low-carbon infrastructure is financed, the transition to a low-carbon economy may increase annual GDP growth in many countries.

    Quoted here.

    You’re wrong about the risks, wrong about the costs, and therefore deny yourself a say in fixing the problem. That’s a pity, but it’s your loss. The rest of the world will just get on with it.

  20. “4. 0.2C per decade in the global average is about twenty times faster than the warming out of an ice age (5C in 5,000 years, roughly). The speed of the increase is at least as important as the quantum of increase, because it will stress and change natural ecosystems – and is already doing so.”

    That is utter rubbish as you should be well aware. The rate of change at the start and end of the Younger Dryas was much faster than that.

    Roger

  21. The rate of change at the start and end of the Younger Dryas was much faster than that.

    The Younger Dryas brought rapid changes to Greenland and parts of the NH, but the global change was much smaller – as you should be well aware.

    Please don’t spam your Plimer links all over the site. Once is quite enough.

  22. Gareth,

    3. You are not at liberty to redefine the meaning of ad hominem. In the paragraph you complained of, I made seven factual statements, each of them true and substantiated in the references I gave. You ignored those statements and said:

    It shows, quite simply, that you don’t know what you’re talking about. You appear to be happy to parrot arguments from the denialist echo chamber – parading your ignorance as wisdom. An unedifying spectacle.

    These comments were directed towards me (by use of the word ‘you’) and not, therefore, towards the substance of the arguments. They are, by definition, ad hominem remarks. A courteous response would be apologetic, not defensive.

    4. More important than the rate of change in global temperature is the cause of that change and its duration. Though much fear is expressed, no danger is evident.

    2. “It is valid to say that the temperature has gone up or down over any period one chooses. Your real concern is for the ramifications you imagine I will claim from a fall in temperature.” The reference you gave to Skeptical Science is full of confirmation of a falling temperature, so you cannot deny it. The point really is that the AGW greenhouse “hypothesis” is poorly formed, for it leads us to suppose that while CO2 levels increase, so will temperature. That’s the basis of the scare, there’s nothing else to worry about, yet it’s not happening like that.

    The theory is, indeed, so very poorly formed that even cooling will do for a demonstration of its truth. That simply means it cannot be falsified, which means it is unscientific. It must be altered, for it cannot be proved or disproved.

    I have not said the temperature will not rise again. But you seem unable to form the words “the temperature is falling.” Which means you are driven by doctrine, not by science.

    1. Holgate, S.J. 2007. On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century. Geophysical Research Letters 34: 10.1029/2006GL028492.

    There is a summary of the paper at CO2 Science. The summary includes a graph showing a deceleration of sea level rise towards the end of the 20th century. I don’t share your concern.

    As for McKinsey, far be it from me to argue with a body clearly gifted with knowledge of the future, but how do they know the costs of investing in “this carbon revolution”? As for borrowing financing many of the costs — borrowing adds to costs! Although the costs they cite are near the present costs of insurance, they are also additional to them.

    More importantly, there are too many disputed issues regarding the cause, the processes and the progress of global warming to merrily commit to trillions in extra costs. If the concerns are baseless, it will be a tremendous waste of time and resources. Let’s first spend a million on confirming the global terrestrial temperature dataset, or the actual distribution of CO2 levels around the world.

    Too many of us are getting completely carried away.

    Finally, when you complain that I’m about to whinge, what are you doing?

    Cheers,
    Richard Treadgold,
    Convenor,
    Climate Conversation Group.

  23. From the Holgate 2007 paper (bold mine):

    The mean rate of rise was greater in the first half of this period than the latter half, though the difference in rates was not found to be significant.

    “This period” referring to 1904–2003.

  24. fragment, thanks for confirming the rate of rise was smaller in the latter half of the period, but you make it sound like a refutation of something, so what’s your point? Gareth had said “The rate of increase has accelerated.” This paper, and others, shows it has not. There is no cause for concern on those grounds. Even if, as he says, “the rate of ice melt has increased significantly in recent years,” since that is not affecting the sea level.

    Cheers.

  25. Richard, I didn’t confirm anything, I quoted the paper. Fact is, if a difference is not statistically significant, that means the data is inconclusive as to whether there is an actual difference. That’s something that the CO2 science summary avoided mentioning – as usual they are a misleading source for scientific information.

    With regards to acceleration, I’m not familiar with the data, but I will point out that the Holgate figures mentioned aren’t necessarily incompatible with recent acceleration. It’s a matter of which periods you are comparing. Holgate compares the periods before and after 1954, Gareth compared the rate of the last 20 years with the rate over the whole period. Both can be true under a scenario of rise 1900-1950, no rise 1950 – 1985, and rise again after 1985. Not saying that’s the way it happened, I’m just pointing out that your reasoning is in error.

    Ideally, to get at the question of acceleration, we’d look at more than one paper, and use some objective method for determining the most meaningful periods for comparison.

  26. fragment,

    I am unable to view the paper, so thank you for what you’ve said. There is no error in my reasoning.

    In quoting the paper, you do choose a passage that confirms my original comment that there was no acceleration late in the 20th century. The summary concluded that there is no evidence for acceleration — that they didn’t mention the “significance” comment is nitpicking (the paper’s own abstract didn’t mention it, either). The significance related to a possible DECREASE in the rate of sea level rise, so it’s hardly relevant. Wipe it out—who cares? The paper still would not show continued increase in the rate of sea level rise and remains sufficient refutation of the warmists’ claims of continued acceleration.

    I don’t agree with your suggestion that there could have been an increase in rate after 1985 that exceeded the rate before 1950 without it being an acceleration, which the Holgate paper explicitly excludes.

    This paper may not be to your liking, but its observations are not erased by your dislike of them. You are free to find as many papers as you please; only one is required to establish a fact, and this one remains so far unaltered and unrefuted.

    The rate of rise found in the paper for the latter period (1.45 ± 0.34 mm/yr 1954-2003) is about half what Gareth quoted (though without a reference so far). But neither rate is sufficient for an inundation to be concerned about. The maximum, of approximately 300mm by 2100, represents a minor challenge to human ingenuity.

    You have most emphatically not justified the expenditure of millions from our national treasury since you have not demonstrated an approaching peril. I reiterate my lack of concern.

    Cheers.

  27. Why only refer to the Holgate study there are others more recent.
    Two from AGU research letters
    A reassessment of global and regional mean sea level trends from TOPEX and Jason-1 altimetry based on revised reference frame and orbits
    B. D. Beckley, F. G. Lemoine, S. B. Luthcke, R. D. Ray, N. P. Zelensky

    Mean sea level trends from TOPEX and Jason-1 altimeter data are recomputed using unified geophysical modeling and the new ITRF2005 terrestrial reference frame for the entire altimetric time series, with consistent orbits based on satellite laser ranging (SLR) and DORIS tracking data. We obtain a global rate of 3.36 ± 0.41 mm/yr over the 14 year period from 1993 to 2007. The regional sea level trends computed with the new reference frame show significant north/south hemispherical offsets of ±1.5 mm/yr relative to trends based on the previous 1995-era frame. Regional sea level trend comparisons for the time periods of 1993–1999 and 1999–2005 reveal strong basin-scale polarities and pronounced inter-decadal variability, with a relative increase in the global mean sea level trend of 1.5 ± 0.7 mm/yr in the latter seven years.

    Something closer to home.

    A 20th century acceleration of sea-level rise in New Zealand
    W. Roland Gehrels, Bruce W. Hayward, Rewi M. Newnham, Katherine E. Southall

    Sea levels in New Zealand have remained relatively stable throughout the past 7000 years, but salt-marsh cores from southern New Zealand show evidence of a recent rapid rise. To date and quantify this rise we present a proxy sea-level record spanning the past 500 years for Pounawea, southeastern New Zealand, based on foraminiferal analyses.

    Sea level was rising slowly (0.3 ± 0.3 mm yr−1) from AD 1500 to AD 1900, but during the 20th century the rate increased to 2.8 ± 0.5 mm yr−1, in agreement with instrumental measurements commencing in 1924. This is the first sea-level record from the southern hemisphere showing a significantly higher rate of sea-level rise during the 20th century as compared with preceding centuries.

    Something earlier from Holgate himself which actually doesn’t contradict his later work. I would note that all he is saying in the 2007 paper is that sea levels vary alot. There is no comment in the abstract about recent rates of sea level increase.

    I would also note that in his reply to Rahmdorf’s use of linear regression to estimate future sea level rise he does not contradict the notion that sea levels are rising. His point is that there is significant uncertainty about how much.

    Evidence for enhanced coastal sea level rise during the 1990s
    S. J. Holgate and P. L. Woodworth
    published 9 April 2004
    [1] Sea level rise over the last 55 years is estimated to have
    been 1.7 ± 0.2 mm yr1, based upon 177 tide gauges divided
    into 13 regions with near global coverage and using a Glacial
    Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) model to correct for land
    movements. We present evidence from altimeter data that
    the rate of sea level rise around the global coastline was
    significantly in excess of the global average over the period
    1993–2002.We also show that the globally-averaged rate of
    coastal sea level rise for the decade centered on 1955 was
    significantly larger than any other decade during the past
    55 years. In some models of sea level rise, enhanced coastal
    rise is a pre-cursor of global average rise. It remains to be seen
    whether the models are correct and whether global-average
    rates in the future reflect the high rates of coastal rise
    observed during the 1990s.

  28. Thanks for the references, Doug. I was referring to AR4, of course, because the figures I used are up front in the Summary for Policymakers (PDF).

    Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate
    was faster over 1993 to 2003, about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year.

    Perhaps Richard hasn’t bothered reading the IPPC report… Chapter Five (PDF) gives chapter and verse, while Doug’s top ref is also more recent than the one Richard chooses. Another interesting paper (Cazenave et al. Sea level budget over 2003-2008: A reevaluation from GRACE space gravimetry, satellite altimetry and Argo. Global and Planetary Change, 2008; DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.10.004), covered at Science Daily here, points the finger at the likely source – increased melting from ice sheets and continental ice.

    Funny how Richard is happy to assert that McKinsey can’t know the future costs of action, but is so sure himself that we will have to “merrily commit to trillions in extra costs”.

    I am very happy to accept that the global average temperature for 2008 was cooler than 2007. But — as I have said repeatedly — that does not mean the world is “cooling”.

    As for ad hominem: I am sure that you are a nice bloke, Richard, but your “climate conversation” is tendentious and partial. You ignore the big picture, in order to pick cherries at CO2 “Science”. In saying that, of course, I am not attacking the man, only his strange take on reality.

  29. Doug,
    “Why only refer to the Holgate study.” Because it refutes Gareth’s assertion of acceleration. There are other studies; it’s interesting reading the details you provide, thanks. You’re a pleasure to read.

    3.36 ± 0.41 mm/yr … pronounced inter-decadal variability … 2.8 ± 0.5 mm yr−1 … all he is saying in the 2007 paper is that sea levels vary a lot … there is significant uncertainty … 1.7 ± 0.2 mm yr-1.

    I’m no expert, but this is clearly an unsettled topic; still, the rates of rise are all unalarming and provide no cause for concern.

    The rates of sea level rise and fall vary greatly from multiple causes. Prediction over long periods would surely be only by the brave.

    Cheers.

  30. Gareth,
    You speak about me, not to me, but permit me to answer you directly.

    No, I haven’t read all AR4. “Doug’s top ref is also more recent than the one Richard chooses.” You imply, with “also”, that my reference is older than AR4; at October 2006, it is of course later than AR4, which closed off in early 2006, as I recall. Anyway, as we were discussing late 20th century sea levels, you are just splitting hairs, it hardly matters.

    Cazenave et al is very interesting, thanks. They say the steric contribution to sea level rise has dropped to a quarter of what it was, because of cooling. Part of the “slack” was taken up by ice melting, but overall the rise lessened from about 3mm/year to 2.5mm/year. No acceleration.

    Curiously, the ice sheet and mountain glacier melting could not have been caused by rising temperatures, so perhaps it was greater ice velocity brought about by increased precipitation? Not warming, though, or the steric rise would have been greater.

    Richard is happy to assert that McKinsey can’t know the future costs of action, but is so sure himself that we will have to “merrily commit to trillions in extra costs”.

    Now this just makes two separate sets of costs from one; McKinsey (and others like him) predicts oodles of money will be needed; the government now turns to us and says we must commit to the extra costs. I am not at all sure of the amounts required, but I do know that we’re being expected to commit to paying them. You should not say that I am sure of the costs, since I am not. I guess the “merrily” is a proxy for permission and the trillions refers to humanity, not NZ.

    All right, I goaded you into using the word “cooling” and you’re a good sport for doing so. Yes, you’ve said it repeatedly: the world is not cooling. But it is. As we’ve just been discussing, because of recent cooling, the ocean has not expanded: right or wrong? So, actually, the world is (or just has been) cooling. Actually. It might not continue to cool, but it is now.

    Notice, too, that any question of the oceans’ heat content increasing recently must be dismissed as well.

    “As for ad hominem.” Gareth, you have been corrected (you’re welcome).

    “tendentious and partial?” My, my: you’re becoming repetitive. If I sound partial to you, it is because I don’t agree with your views. I do attempt, though, to be rigorously fair and impartial when judging evidence.

    If I choose a paper to refute your comment, that is not cherry-picking, which means choosing for one’s paper just the data that supports one’s position. And, though you aver a “strange take” on reality, you don’t illustrate it. All I say is entirely reasonable. Or refute it, why don’t you!

    None of the foregoing justifies your alarming predictions. Not one fact! While your predictions continue to unreasonably cloud our future, the reasonable cannot fail to challenge them.

    If you truly foresee catastrophe, then justify it. Something made you believe it—tell us what it is. Then we will all listen. We will be agog. The trouble is, your arguments are all based on hot air, they don’t hold water, it’s too easy to pick holes in them and they don’t stand up to close scrutiny. We cannot believe them. But on the positive side, they are numerous, interesting, varied and use long words.

    Cheers.

  31. Curiously, the ice sheet and mountain glacier melting could not have been caused by rising temperatures, so perhaps it was greater ice velocity brought about by increased precipitation? Not warming, though, or the steric rise would have been greater.

    This one paragraph demonstrates perfectly why arguing with you is so pointless, Richard – it’s evidence not only of your fixation with a mythical “cooling”, but of the contortions you have to put yourself through in order to sustain the belief.

    So, with a sigh and a heavy heart because I know it’s futile, here’s a simple explanation… The planet’s energy budget is out of balance. More energy is arriving from the sun than being radiated out to space (see current top post, The Heater). This is a consequence of the physics of the atmosphere, and as long as we go on increasing the amount of greenhouse gases, the energy imbalance is going to continue, and get larger.

    The excess energy in the climate system shows itself in a number of ways: by heating the land, the air, the ocean – and, importantly, by melting ice. The latent heat of fusion of water means that it takes a lot of energy to make water change state from solid to liquid – and while ice is melting, it stay at the same temperature. So ice sheets and glaciers can melt, and in so doing they stop temperatures around them rising. The amount of ice melting at the moment is large enough to absorb a huge chunk of the planetary energy budget surplus.

    The oceans also absorb a lot of heat. We can only measure the heat content of the upper layers, as this NASA Earth Observatory article explains, and because of the large scale circulation of the oceans, heat may be moved around — beyond our current measurements. This reference also goes into considerable background detail on the way the various contributions to sea level rise are worked out.

    In fixating on “cooling”, as measured by “global average surface temperature”, you miss the big picture. The heat’s coming in, and it’s changing the climate system. The fact that the Cazenove et al paper points to a dramatic increase in the contribution to SLR from melting ice should tell you that something’s up — but instead you misinterpret what the temperature record is telling you and hunt around for some reason that fits your preconceptions.

    You see, the trouble is, your “counter arguments” are all bluster and no substance. My take on this issue is grounded in the science being done by the earth science community around the world. I cite my references, you seem to ignore them. Finished reading Spencer Weart yet?

  32. Excuse me what are the t-test results on this cooling trend that people keep going on about? Also I would be interested in knowing the specification of the model.

    When I run the the regressions (linear AR1 models seem to give the best fit) I find that the only statistically significant trend is a warming one.

    Doug

  33. Despite all these la de da teas now a days gumboot is still my favourite 😉

    More serious – my point being that people talk about trends without understanding the very basics of trend analysis. I am no Tamino, but my stage 1 stats and stage 2 econometrics course taught me that if it anti statistically significant it anti a trend.

    So to all those people who say they have a cooling trend show us your confidence intervals.

    Doug

  34. Hey Richard,
    Gareth is quite right to ping you on the glacier thing. In case you don’t understand why here’s a quick glaciology primer.
    1. Glaciers transport snow/ice from a high altitude “accumulation zone” to a lower altitude “ablation zone”
    2. For any climatic condition of average temperature and precipitation a glacier will achieve a “mass balance” (if it can’t it is doomed)
    3. With a lower temperature the glacier will grow because there is less melting in the ablation zone and the converse will happen with increasing temperature
    4. Similarly, more snow in the accumulation zone will cause a glacier to grow (as is happening to Fox and Franz Josef glaciers), less snow and it will shrink
    5. This behaviour is completely independent of anyone’s views on climate change

    And, whilst increased precipitation may increase the velocity it can never cause melting (or be interpreted to explain the loss of mass of glaciers worldwide). Only more warmth can do that.

    Andrew

  35. And, going way back to comment 19.

    I know you are referring to the US CCSP report and I am saying the the MfE report requires engineers to think beyond IPCC AR4 predictions and consider the latest available science, of which the US CCSP will become a key part of the literature until it is superseded.

    You may be right that there is some need for guesswork but the point is that someone has to do this. I prefer the SWAG over the WAG.

    Andrew

  36. Gareth,

    Easy, old son. My assertions are not as far from reason as your intemperate response imagines. Slow down and listen. You say:

    This one paragraph … [is] evidence … of your fixation with a mythical “cooling” …

    We now have AndrewH’s helpful summary of glacial mechanics to assist us in visualising the processes. He admonishes me for implying that increased precipitation can cause melting; he overlooks the precise fact that, given static temperature, increased precipitation will certainly give rise to more melting, since it brings a greater mass of ice more quickly to the ablation zone; hence a greater effect on sea level. You also overlook this simple explanation for my comment. But my thinking was of course inspired by the Cazenave et al paper you quoted, which positively demanded an explanation that excluded warming.

    The following are connected. From the paper: “since about 2003, ocean thermal expansion change, based on the newly deployed Argo system, is showing a plateau.” And my comment: “Curiously, the ice sheet and mountain glacier melting could not have been caused by rising temperatures, so perhaps it was greater ice velocity brought about by increased precipitation? Not warming, though, or the steric rise would have been greater.”

    I did not say “cooling” — I said “not warming”; I have no fixation greater than the one that makes you hear “cooling trend” whenever I speak. The paper itself said that warming has stopped, so it led me to think up another reason for the increased contribution of mountain glaciers to sea level rise. That’s perfectly reasonable; what did you do? I specifically excluded warming from the possible reasons for the increased melting; what did you do?

    Intriguingly, you seem to insist that the increased contribution of mountain glaciers to sea level rise in this period was caused by increased atmospheric temperatures, against this paper’s evidence. Your “heavy-hearted” expansion on the planet’s “energy budget” gives the impression of an increasing temperature, leading to increased melting of ice everywhere. Of course, nobody knows all that happens to energy everywhere on, in and under the earth, and assertions of a “budget” being out of “balance” (why should that be wrong or even unusual, anyway?) are sheer arrogance.

    What tosh and nonsense: you casually refute the conclusions of a paper that you yourself cited!

    That and the others you mentioned were just to show that ice is melting; terrific. Now, why is it melting, that’s the important point. Cazenave shows that it’s not rising temperatures, so what can it be? And why should we blame ourselves? It’s nothing to do with CO2, is it? Why is that?

    Cheers,
    Richard.

  37. AndrewH,

    Glaciers: thanks.

    5. This behaviour is completely independent of anyone’s views on climate change

    LOL.

    And, whilst increased precipitation may increase the velocity it can never cause melting (or be interpreted to explain the loss of mass of glaciers worldwide). Only more warmth can do that.

    I hope I’ve shown, in comment #41 to Gareth, that it cannot cause melting per se, but it can, through increased transport of ice to the ablation zone, cause more melting. Do you agree? If you don’t, I will of course ask how do you account for the Cazenave conclusion?

    SWAG/WAG: I had to look these up again. LOL! I guess I agree with you.

    Cheers.

  38. Doug,

    I don’t know what a t-test is. I’ve looked it up and I still don’t know. There is no model involved. Gareth just uses the word trend and tacks it on the end whenever I use the word cooling. That gives the cooling a special statistical meaning that I never intended, then he shoots me down in flames. All I ever said was “the temperature is going down.” I said that because it is going down, and has been since 2002.

    No model is needed to read a thermometer or a graph: when the temperature drops, the line goes down.

    Cheers.

  39. Richard, you need to learn the difference between temperature and heat. It’s not rising temps that melt ice — it’s heat.

    As for “arrogance and tosh” — once again you ignore a reference, and proclaim your ignorance a virtue.

    Finished Spencer Weart yet?

  40. Gareth, the difference between temperature and heat is clear: when temperature is going down, there is less heat, therefore less melting, not more, as you aver.

    When you say: “More energy is arriving from the sun than being radiated out to space” are you saying that the sun rules our climate? And that, in a period of low solar activity, it is now warming the earth without raising the temperature? Do you say that there is more energy now arriving from the sun than before?

    Apart from this, your reply is economical, so I take it, from your lack of response, that you agree with the remainder of what I said. It would be nice, when you agree, for you to say so. It would not diminish you.

    In mentioning Spencer Weart you remind me I have been avoiding him. I’ll try again.

    I hope you realise that the arguments you champion are not idle points in rebuttal of some amusing dispute; they’re intended as the justification to greatly tax our people, rape our industry and send that industry, and fortunes besides, to poor countries. So I hope the arguments are the best you’ve got; if they’re not very persuasive they will fail.

    I am not so far persuaded. Have they failed?

    Cheers.

  41. I am reminded of the saying about some people knowing more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing. This is apt in relation to the warmers as is their inability to see the wood when they are standing among the trees, their propensity to ignore historical data even when their noses are rubbed in it and a disturbing propensity to fudge the data as did Mann.

    There is a massive unwillingness to examine the present in the context of the past whether that past be the Pleistocene or the Holocene. In terms of the climatic record of both the Pleistocene and the Holocene the climate variations of the last few decades are trivial and not unusual.

    The correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide on an significant timescale suggests more plausibly than otherwise that rising temperature results in an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Roger

  42. Roger,

    “they know everything about nothing.” LOL.

    I know little about geology or geological history. What you say reinforces the point that those who would incite us to urgent action over our influence on the climate must provide proof of that influence and reasons for urgency, not that we must debunk their case.

    The matter is self-regulating.

    If they reach for our wallets they should know we want to hold on to them. But persuade us sufficiently and we’ll be scrambling to throw our money at their feet, crying “save us, save us.” That we’re not doing that says more about the failure of their case than science ever could.

    Cheers.

  43. No, Richard, I do not agree with you. My reply was short because I’m posting from my phone.

    You clearly need to read up on latent heat of fusion.

    The climate system is solar-powered, but the imbalance in the budget is caused by GHGs, not by variations in solar output. Read the NASA article I referenced.

    Still stuck on the huge costs of action, it seems. Where are your references for that?

  44. Gareth,

    Why do you not tabulate the costs of doing and the costs of not doing together with the relevant probabilities. We can then multiply the costs by the probabilities and readily determine the appropriate course of action.

    You might consider this an invitation to make use of, or not as the case may be, that china container which used to be found underneath the bed.

    Roger

  45. Roger
    Sorry mate you have blown any credibility with that comment. Let me repeat “there is no cooling trend since 2002 or 1998, or 2005. You can repeat that there is a trend as many times as you like, but that does not make it true!

    The fact that you do not know what a Student’s T test is shows that you do not know anything about trends.

    Let me explain this once. Climate is noisy, this means there is a lot of temperature variation about a mean (changes in the mean over time are a trend). To separate the noise from the trend requires statistical tests. Eyeballs are often deceived when there are a lot of data points. The tendency is to pick the first data point of the series and link it to the last, irrespective of whether those data points represent anomalous (with respect to the mean) observations or not.

    Statistical tests don’t do this as they include all the data points. More importantly these tests tell whether a trend can be drawn from a noisy data set in the first place. (basic statistics here) The larger the data set the better the results and more confidence you can have that the detected trend is real. 2002 to 2008 is too short a time to determine anything with any confidence. To gain any confidence you start adding more data points by going back in time when you do this the trend that emerges is a warming one, not cooling.

    Repeat there is no cooling trend. I have run the numbers using linear, non-linear and kernel regressions. Same result the trend is still up. It is too early to call cooling and will be for a while yet.

    Doug

  46. Roger
    Sorry mate you have blown any credibility with that comment. Let me repeat “there is no cooling trend since 2002 or 1998, or 2005. You can repeat that there is a trend as many times as you like, but that does not make it true!

    What comment?

  47. Doug

    Is this the comment to which you refer?

    “I am reminded of the saying about some people knowing more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing. This is apt in relation to the warmers as is their inability to see the wood when they are standing among the trees, their propensity to ignore historical data even when their noses are rubbed in it and a disturbing propensity to fudge the data as did Mann.”

    The first part appears to apply in your case.

    Roger

  48. I was referring to rtreadgold’s earlier comment on t-tests and trends. I may have confused the first name. In that case I apologise for any confusion.

    I never respond to RD because he is not worth it. As his last little arrogant and irrelevant spew confirms.

  49. Gareth,

    “No, Richard, I do not agree with you.” On that, we agree. But what statement, precisely, do you not agree with?

    Admirable of you to keep in touch and post by phone — that can be so awkward! By all means, leave your responses until it’s more convenient. It’s always exciting to see a reply, but there’s no rush.

    “You clearly need to read up on latent heat of fusion.” Possibly, but even if I understand its details better than I do now, it won’t reveal any dangerous climatic departure. It’s just another distraction.

    Yes, I’ve seen the NASA article. It’s interesting. However, no reason is given as to why the small “imbalance” (which is “very hard to measure”) is significant or unusual. So why should we worry about this? I would point out that nobody knows the “energy budget” of the earth.

    You’re very bold to state GHGs are solely responsible for the small energy imbalance. You don’t even know what the ocean is doing.

    There are so many questions. How much energy is contributed (positively and negatively) by geothermal heat, geological activity, volcanic activity, human and other biological activity? How much, exactly, is sequestered for various periods of time and returned to the biosphere by oceanic processes?

    Your references only discuss possibilities. On the strength of them, there’s absolutely no possibility of you or your cohorts gaining access to my wallet.

    Reference for costs of action. Hmmm. Let’s try the MfE. From 2008 to 2012 we must choke our industrial output back to less than what it was in 1990, more than 20 years ago.

    I don’t know the costs of that. How many jobs will be lost; what capacity will our hospitals have; how small will our schools become; how many new vehicles will we be able to import; how many people will suffer or die for lack of resources? How do we cost their sacrifice? And for what — a guaranteed change in climate? No!

    Or have you a cunning plan?

    Cheers.

  50. Roger, #46
    “There is a massive unwillingness to examine the present in the
    context of the past whether that past be the Pleistocene or the
    Holocene.”

    At least three of the books I have recently reviewed on Hot Topic, all written by working scientists, (Chris Turney, Wallace Broeker, David Archer) spend a good deal of time doing precisely what you claim there is a massive unwillingness to do. The IPCC report carries a lengthy chapter on paleoclimate studies, with no less than 13 pages of references to published papers. You may want to disagree with the conclusions, but you can hardly claim the question is avoided.

  51. Doug,

    Thanks for your explanations.

    “Sorry mate you have blown any credibility with that comment.” You don’t seem to realise that science is not about credibility; well, perhaps, to some degree. But it is mostly, overwhelmingly, about facts and their refutation or validity. I don’t care about my credibility; just refute what I say and leave it at that!

    It seems that the comment you refer to here is my admission that I know nothing about statistics; but that cannot “blow” my credibility if I’m not opining on statistics. I am credibly admitting my ignorance and there can be nothing wrong with that.

    You apparently attribute two statements to me: 1. “You can repeat that there is a trend as many times as you like”; and 2. “The fact that you do not know what a Student’s T test is shows that you do not know anything about trends.”

    1. I never used the word “trend” — you don’t seem to be paying attention. I said that Gareth adds the word “trend” when I say “cooling”. I repeat: I say the atmosphere has been cooling recently because the temperature has been going down. That is uncontroversial. What you and Gareth seem to be afraid of is what might follow from that (but I have drawn no conclusions).

    2. If that follows from not knowing what a t-test is, then I agree with you. The only trouble is, when I mention cooling, Gareth adds “trend”. So a statistician like you can roast me. But it’s not based on my words.

    From your explanation, I take it that, though the temperature has gone down since 2002, you still confirm a rising trend, so your starting point must be some time (a long time) before 2002? Your results would change if you began in 2002, but you won’t do that, since six years are not enough to be statistically certain, right?

    “It is too early to call cooling and will be for a while yet.” So how long would you leave it before calling it cooling?

    Of course, while it’s not warming it’s also not dangerous. What’s CO2 doing all this time — rising or falling? What’s its trend?

    Cheers.

  52. Roger — The cost benefit analysis you want has been done. Stern, IPCC etc, all find the cost of action moderate when set against the results of inaction.

    Richard — Your reply indicates that your understanding of the basic physics of the climate system is, at best, naive. It’s not my job to provide you with an education. Go and finish reading Weart, then come back here and if you still don’t understand why a “small” imbalance in the energy budget is big news, I’ll do my best to help.

    Meanwhile, you’ll have to do better than just pointing to our Kyoto commitment, and asserting (without evidence) that this will cripple the economy. So far all you’ve produced is a lot of hot air.

  53. Gareth,

    You’ve missed the point entirely. This debate doesn’t exist just to let you parade your knowledge. Believe it or not, you are actually trying to pry open the wallets of your fellow New Zealanders. A pompous attitude serves you ill.

    It’s a debate for you to prove, not for me to refute. So, pretending that you’re speaking to your brother Kiwis, try to prove that something dangerous is on the way, why and when.

    Cheers.

  54. Given that you fail to either understand or accept the evidence when it’s presented to you, you’ll forgive me for regarding any “debate” with you as an exercise in futilty.

    To have an informed opinion, you must first inform yourself.

  55. Gareth,

    You’re starting to understand what’s going on. You suggest that I “fail to … accept the evidence.” Well, of course, that’s exactly what’s happening.

    But there are reasons for that, and for you to give up trying to persuade me is a bit of a let-down. Perhaps you’ve run out of persuasive evidence, for if you had some left, you’d surely want to present it.

    You might attempt to find out why I don’t accept this or that piece of evidence—and God knows, I’ve left plenty of clues for you—then look for countering arguments and deliver them with a soothing sensitivity.

    But you abuse your interlocutor, as though you had never really tried to persuade him after all, you don’t care whether he is persuaded and certainly as though you never had the slightest respect for him. But that is simply to obscure the fact of your failure to convince him.

    What are you going to do about your failure to convince him?

    You see, there’s no alternative for you; you positively must convince the New Zealand populace (you, or someone sharing your views) or you won’t get your hands on our wallets.

    For you really don’t seem to realise what’s at stake here; it’s not about me (your insults are of no consequence); it’s about public policy. To take the country in a radical direction you must persuade the country. When they object to your evidence you must acknowledge its limitations or errors and find more, not just insult them.

    Failing that, there will be only failure.

    Good luck.

  56. Richard you say

    “1. I never used the word “trend” — you don’t seem to be paying attention. I said that Gareth adds the word “trend” when I say “cooling”. I repeat: I say the atmosphere has been cooling recently because the temperature has been going down. That is uncontroversial. What you and Gareth seem to be afraid of is what might follow from that (but I have drawn no conclusions).”

    Lets break this down. You say the temperature is cooling. Cooling is a trend. You say that temperature is going down. I, and lots of other people, say it isn’t. Therefore, it is controversial (only here in this blog in the real science world they would ROTFL if someone said it was cooling). It is now up to you to make your case. I can make mine using statistics tools, which are used in all fields of science. What are you going to use?

    Doug

  57. Well – you guys have been busy…but maybe some (dis)traction is possible in the simple world of glaciers…back at #42 Richard said…

    I hope I’ve shown, in comment #41 to Gareth, that it cannot cause melting per se, but it can, through increased transport of ice to the ablation zone, cause more melting. Do you agree? If you don’t, I will of course ask how do you account for the Cazenave conclusion?

    Actually, no I don’t agree, if we are defining more melting as meaning a rise in sea level then I don’t believe extra precip can do this alone.

    Assuming no change in temperature then the glacier can only dispose of the extra snowfall by increasing length and hence size of the ablation zone (this may also extend the zone to a lower, warmer, altitude).

    Longer glacier means more ice means lower sea levels.

    Now I guess I’ll have to read Cazenave et al.

  58. Oh and since Roger is here it would be good to get his views on all those USGS types that wrote the US CCSP reports (see link in Gareth’s comment 8).

    They must have been ignoring their lessons from geological history mustn’t they?

    Or perhaps they just understand that this time is a little different.

  59. Andrew,

    Assuming no change in temperature then the glacier can only dispose of the extra snowfall by increasing length and hence size of the ablation zone …
    Longer glacier means more ice means lower sea levels.

    The increased precipitation will eventually put more ice in the ablation zone, and it may or may not also arrive more quickly, by increased velocity. The presence in the zone of a greater volume of ice will result in a greater rate of melting from the greater surface area. Hence an increased contribution to sea level.

    You are correct that more ice means lower sea levels, but only immediately before precipitation, which might have been 200 years ago, or whatever. The increased melting now will contribute to raising the sea level. Of course, it may still not rise in the presence of negative factors.

    The Cazenave paper states that for the last six years the rate of sea level rise has declined by about 17%, from 3.0 mm/yr to 2.5 mm/yr, while the steric contribution to that has declined by a whopping 73%. This means the oceans have not warmed much.

    It is hard to imagine mountain glaciers being increasingly melted by higher atmospheric temperatures which don’t warm the oceans.

    Cheers,
    Richard.

  60. Doug,

    You’re right. If someone disagrees, then the topic is controversial. I suppose it’s a bit like global warming, isn’t it? If thousands of scientists disagree, then the science isn’t settled after all. But I digress.

    This graph clearly shows a cooling for the last six years. It justifies my assertion that the temperature is going down. Please note that I avoid using the word “trend” and say “going down” in the ordinary sense of the phrase. Like an elevator.

    Cheers.

  61. I don’t see any statisitical data on those lines. It appears that the trend is down but with that amount of noise in the data (bouncing around) it could be just a random anomaly. Like tossing a coin and getting 5 heads in a row. It does not necessarily mean that the coin is baised.

    So I am sorry it doesn’t clearly show anything. Also the website owner is remiss in not providing the statistical diagnostics with the analysis.

    For the last time I will make this point – we just can’t tell that there has been a change in the upward trend given just 6 years data. It will take more time to be sure.

    Try reading these.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/what-if/
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/cold-hard-facts/

  62. Richard,

    You are still confusing temperature with heat energy. But to return to your earlier comment:

    But you abuse your interlocutor, as though you had never really tried to persuade him after all, you don’t care whether he is persuaded and certainly as though you never had the slightest respect for him. But that is simply to obscure the fact of your failure to convince him.

    You seem a little hung-up on the “abuse” you receive here. You seem a very sensitive little flower if having your mistakes and lack of understanding pointed out constitutes “abuse”. But if my frustration shows, it’s because you show no signs of learning. You do not educate yourself, beyond a wholly superficial nit-picking (which, in the case of glaciers, their mass balance and sea level rise you are risibly in error). You make repeated pompous pronouncements about what I need to do, yet do nothing yourself. That’s your loss, not mine.

    What are you going to do about your failure to convince him?

    In your case, nothing.

    You see, there’s no alternative for you; you positively must convince the New Zealand populace (you, or someone sharing your views) or you won’t get your hands on our wallets.

    Once again, you return to money – even though you fail to produce any evidence of the extreme costs you claim action will entail. I repeat my challenge: show me the money!

    You seem to think you speak for the people of NZ — a delusion, since your views as expressed here locate you on the fringes of public opinion. Only one political party is openly sceptical of climate change, and had Rodney Hide not won Epsom they would be as absent from parliament as NZ First — and it’s worth remembering that pro-ETS NZ First polled more votes than ACT. Every other party is committed to action of some sort — they will argue about what, when and how much, and I will throw my few cents into that ring by making a submission to the ETS subcommittee — but action we will get.

    Meanwhile, you deny yourself a place at the policy-making table by insisting we need do nothing. Your failure to inform yourself thus makes you irrelevant. Again, your loss, not mine.

    Finally, you have this argument completely the wrong way round. The world, including NZ, is getting on with finding solutions to a problem that the balance of evidence shows to be pressing and serious. To get the world to change course, you need to demonstrate that there is no danger. To take such a huge gamble with the future of humanity, you need to produce exceptional evidence that will convince the scientists of the world that you are right.

    Good luck with that.

  63. Bugger

    I am terrible at proofing my own writing. There is a ‘not’ missing from my previous comment as in:

    It does “not” necessarily mean that the coin is biased (fixed that one too).

    cheers Doug

    [Fixed! – GR]

  64. Doug,

    I’m sorry about the lack of statistical data. Perhaps this graph might show what you’re looking for?

    You say: “It appears that the trend is down.” This is more than I said, for now that I’m aware there is a specific statistical meaning to the word “trend” I’ve avoided using it. I said the temperature has been going down and I made no claim for the future.

    You surely know what I mean—it’s very simple and you don’t have to qualify my words. I’m just commenting on a short-term feature of the recent temperature record.

    It’s something you can easily let me get away with. You yourself refer to the data “bouncing around”, which just means going up and down. It happens to be going down right now. Your (and others’) hyper sensitivity to that fact draws attention to what smells strongly like dogma, not detached, platonic science.

    You immediately follow “the trend is down” with “but with that amount of noise in the data … ” it could be random. I agree, but you didn’t have to give an explanation. Your other comments sound close to defensive; what nerve has been stepped on here; what are you worried about?

    If I had commented that I saw you in the village last Thursday and you replied you were there, but added: “I was nowhere near the petrol station,” it would reveal your interest in said petrol station, wouldn’t it? So what’s your interest in the temperature going up?

    Although it’s more interesting to know the reason for it rising (if it’s rising).

    Cheers.

  65. What am I worried about? First I have no vested interest in climate change other than academic interest. I have no children so have no personal interest in their future wellbeing. If I did I would definitely be concerned about the quality of their life and their children etc.

    I am not defensive, but I am angry that people such as yourself with obviously limited scientific education and no willingness to address this shortcoming who feel like they have the god given right to express an opinion and expect to have it treated as equal value to those who have worked for years to hone their skills, knowledge and build their credibility based on a body of work in the relevant field.

    How’s that for defensive.

    P.S. To answer your questions. It is going up. It is due to huge quantities of fossil CO2, and other anthroprogenic infra-red absorbing gases being released into the troposphere.

  66. “I am not defensive, but I am angry that people such as yourself with obviously limited scientific education and no willingness to address this shortcoming who feel like they have the god given right to express an opinion and expect to have it treated as equal value to those who have worked for years to hone their skills, knowledge and build their credibility based on a body of work in the relevant field.”

    Since you claim expertise let us see it. Post your c.v.

    Roger Dewhurst

  67. “Roger — The cost benefit analysis you want has been done. Stern, IPCC etc, all find the cost of action moderate when set against the results of inaction.”

    Gareth, can you lend me dollars, the more the merrier, at the discount rate Stern proposed. If not why not?

    Stern could not understand the science, as he freely admitted, and was therefore incapable of understanding the probabilities involved. Furthermore is estimate of the discount rate was utterly absurd as the answer to the question above shows.

    In reality the probabilities cannot be reasonably estimated.

    The best available predictions of what the outcomes might be should be drawn not from computer models but from the realities of history and pre-history.

    Stern not only could not understand the science he could not grasp the history and pre-history. On top of that he fiddled the discount rate to get the outcome he was instructed to get. He belongs in the same bucket of crap as your idol Mann.

    Roger

  68. “P.S. To answer your questions. It is going up. It is due to huge quantities of fossil CO2, and other anthroprogenic infra-red absorbing gases being released into the troposphere.”

    Rubbish. You cannot see the wood for the trees.

    Stoat (perhaps some other mustellid might have provided a more descriptive nickname) Connolley, an occasional and apparently admired contributor to this blog, chose to write off Professor Bellamy as a mere television entertainer. In the same vein would it not be entirely fair to write off the owner of this blog, and of course his ideas, as a mere fungus farmer?

    Roger

  69. Stern not only could not understand the science he could not grasp the history and pre-history.

    Stern sought scientific advice from experts, and his assessment of the probabilities of damage were entirely grounded in the mainstream literature.

    On top of that he fiddled the discount rate to get the outcome he was instructed to get.

    Stern’s take on the discount rate was (and remains) controversial, but other economists — critics of Stern — have repeated the exercise using discount rates they deem reasonable, and come to very similar conclusions: viz, the cost of action is considerably smaller than the likely damages caused by inaction.

    This “mere fungus farmer” finds that reassuring.

  70. >Stern sought scientific advice from experts, and his assessment of the probabilities of damage were entirely grounded in the mainstream literature.

    In your view they were experts and in your view the literature is mainstream.

    I would argue that you so called experts are merely feeders at the trough and your idea of what is mainstream is steadily being supplanted by more realistic and less financially motivated science.

    As for probabilities do the warmers consider any probability less than 100%?

    Who, and some numbers please. Again I refer you to that china device for nocturnal use.

    Roger

  71. Who, and some numbers please. Again I refer you to that china device for nocturnal use.

    Stern, for starters. Garnaut, for seconds. I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the mainstream literature. Numbers? Try McKinsey for a recent assessment.

  72. I claimed no professional expertise in climate science only a willingness to learn and understand it rather than dismiss it out of hand or contradict it without any good evidence, such as you do Roger.

    My expertise in statistics, such that it is, is derived from courses taken during my BSc and BForSc degrees and subsequent courses undertaken as part of my work and my current studies.

    Doug Clover

  73. >My expertise in statistics, such that it is, is derived from courses taken during my BSc and BForSc degrees and subsequent courses undertaken as part of my work and my current studies.

    Perhaps your enthusiasm for statistics limits your ability to consider anything outside that miniscule slice of history for which numerical data is available.

  74. Why not read Ice, Mud & Blood, Roger? A whole book about historical climate, stretching back hundreds of millions of years.

    But then you wouldn’t like what it told you, so I expect you’ll ignore it, as you do with the rest of the evidence.

  75. >Stern, for starters. Garnaut, for seconds.

    Both with no scientific training or understanding.

    I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the mainstream literature.

    Your confusion lies in your interpretation of mainstream.

    > Numbers? Try McKinsey for a recent assessment.

    If you have an argument present it yourself and stop referring to others. If you have not got the argument in your head just stop spouting.

  76. Both with no scientific training or understanding.

    …but enough nous to take advice from experts.

    Your confusion lies in your interpretation of mainstream.

    Yours in apparently believing that it means “any view that accords with mine”.

    If you have an argument present it yourself and stop referring to others. If you have not got the argument in your head just stop spouting.

    Ah, so I’m not allowed to point to evidence that supports my central contention: that the costs of action are less than the damages expected from unrestrained change? What a remarkable way to expect someone to behave. I don’t just make this stuff up, y’know — though you seem quite happy to, as in your repeated assertions that climate scientists ignore climate history.

    You are a shining example of the spirit of enquiry and thirst for knowledge to be found amongst the membership of the NZ Climate Crank Coalition. I expect you’ll be up for a special award at the cranks conference in New York in March, for services to blog argumentation.

  77. ” Why not read Ice, Mud & Blood, Roger? A whole book about historical climate, stretching back hundreds of millions of years.

    But then you wouldn’t like what it told you, so I expect you’ll ignore it, as you do with the rest of the evidence.”

    The author has a business which reliant on the AGW scam. His book supports his business. Gore runs a business which makes money from the AGW scam. You also derive income from a book the sales of which will cease when AGW goes up in a puff of smoke. When people rely on the AGW scam for all or a significant part of their income I am inclined to take their utterances with a large pinch of salt.

  78. When people rely on the AGW scam for all or a significant part of their income I am inclined to take their utterances with a large pinch of salt.

    Roger, when the day comes that my royalties from the sales of Hot Topic even begin to approach a reasonable return on the time I invested in researching and writing it, I’ll be a happy man. That day is nowhere in sight…

    Now, let’s see what happens when we apply your logic to Roger Dewhurst, consultant geologist. Clearly, you derive all or a significant part of your income from selling your expertise, therefore I should take any advice you give with a huge pinch of salt.

    Seems reasonable to me…

  79. “Now, let’s see what happens when we apply your logic to Roger Dewhurst, consultant geologist. Clearly, you derive all or a significant part of your income from selling your expertise, therefore I should take any advice you give with a huge pinch of salt.”

    There is a considerable difference between selling one’s services as a professional or consultant and promoting a particular and controversial belief in order to make money. An expert should show no bias when engaged as such.

  80. Crank fringe indeed. How would you describe Gore and Monbiot?

    When you finally pull your head out you will realise that the IPCC does not have the thousands of supporters that it claims. Less than 100 when duplicates are removed. On the other hand there are thousands of sceptics and the numbers of them are increasing steadily. You had the numbers at the start of the debate but you do not have the numbers now unless you make them up with politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, accountants and their ilk all feeding at the public trough.

  81. Roger, the intellectual contortions that allow you to maintain your view of the world are a constant source of amazement. The IPCC reports are essentially reviews of the scientific literature, and there is little or no support in that literature for your position. You reject not the IPCC, or the lead authors of the various chapters, or the reviewers who commented on the text, but just about every working earth scientist publishing peer-reviewed work.

    The only peer review crank writings receive is when Viscount Monckton gives them a once over.

  82. “The IPCC reports are essentially reviews of the scientific literature, and there is little or no support in that literature for your position. ”

    They are not. The conclusions, politically vetted, are written before the reports are completed. The supposedly scientific reports are then massaged to fit the conclusions.

    “You reject not the IPCC, or the lead authors of the various chapters, or the reviewers who commented on the text, but just about every working earth scientist publishing peer-reviewed work.”

    It seems that the geologists that I know do not publish but they have plenty of experience, all being around retiring age or past it. Not one believes in the AGW crap. I have to bear in mind that in academia these days, particularly close to the VUW politbureau, it is professional and financial suicide to express and doubts about AGW. There are plenty of young academics around who keep their mouths shut or pay lip service to AGW.

  83. Roger, this:

    They are not. The conclusions, politically vetted, are written before the reports are completed. The supposedly scientific reports are then massaged to fit the conclusions.

    .. betrays a profound ignorance of the IPCC and its process. Once again, you make stuff up to suit your views.

  84. “.. betrays a profound ignorance of the IPCC and its process. Once again, you make stuff up to suit your views.”

    You are wrong. In the last report the conclusions, under some other name, were written before the technical reports were completed. There was widespread publicity about that at the time.

  85. There was widespread publicity about that at the time.

    There was an attempt in sceptic circles to “spin” the IPCC process that way, but it failed to gain any traction because there was no truth in the allegation.

    Roger, you really need to get out more. There’s a big wide world outside the crank echo chamber. We call it reality.

  86. And back to glaciers with Richard at #65

    The presence in the zone of a greater volume of ice will result in a greater rate of melting from the greater surface area. Hence an increased contribution to sea level.

    No…but I think I see where the confusion comes from.
    More ice in the accumulation zone results in more ice in the ablation zone as the glacier attempts to achieve mass balance. More ice & bigger glacier means water is taken out of the water cycle and sea levels are lowered.

    Yes, there is a greater volume of meltwater leaving the glacier but this doesn’t add to sea levels because it is taken up by the atmosphere to supply the extra precipitation.

    and at #42

    I will of course ask how do you account for the Cazenave conclusion?

    I don’t have a problem with the Cazenave conclusion – the world absorbs heat and the sea level rises. No surprises there. No suggestion that the SLR is solely due to extra precip and granted a slowing down of steric SLR in the last few years but perhaps that is to be expected with the trend in surface temperature.

  87. Time for you to stop digging Gareth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former
    supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fear
    soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that
    Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen
    was “was never muzzled.” Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of
    international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming
    fears.

    “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that
    global warming is man made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the
    Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “I was, in
    effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate
    his resources, and evaluate his results,””

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/27/james-hansens-former-nasa-supervisor-declares-himself-a-skeptic-says-hansen-embarrassed-nasa-was-never-muzzled/

  88. Gareth,

    Scientific support for your AGW nonsense is draining away like water through a colander.

    As a doting mother said in seeing a platoon of soldiers marching by “Look at our Johnny, he is the only one in step”.

  89. Bigcitylib provides some context on Dr Theons validity.

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2009/01/john-s-theon-new-elderly-denier-on.html

    I quickly reviewed his publishing record looks like he did some good work on rainfall back inthe 1960s and 1970s and was supportive of concept of anthro climate change at least until the early 1990s. He retired from NASA in 1994. Somewhere along the way he had a change of mind, but I can find no specific reason stated for it other than he doesn’t appear to like Jim Hansen.

    It tooks like just another old fart who has jumped the shark.

    Doug

  90. “It tooks like just another old fart who has jumped the shark.”

    On a par with Skunk Connolley’s description of Professor Bellamy as a television entertainer.

    You are all the same, go for messenger when you cannot deal with the message.

  91. “You are all the same, go for messenger when you cannot deal with the message” and

    “The author has a business which reliant on the AGW scam. His book supports his business. Gore runs a business which makes money from the AGW scam. You also derive income from a book the sales of which will cease when AGW goes up in a puff of smoke. When people rely on the AGW scam for all or a significant part of their income I am inclined to take their utterances with a large pinch of salt.”
    and

    “I have to bear in mind that in academia these days, particularly close to the VUW politbureau, it is professional and financial suicide to express and doubts about AGW.”

    Pot kettle

  92. Gareth

    What I find amusing is how he accuses me/us of playing the Mann (sic) not the ball, and then he posts a long post that ignores the substance of the study but goes after Prof Eric and Dr Mike personally. Its sad really.

    Doug

  93. I lack the depth of pocket to defend a lawsuit.

    If you want to post stuff like that, go get yourself your own blog. You can get one free of charge at Blogger or WordPress.com. Then you’d be free to butcher the truth with all the ill-advised bravery you can summon…

  94. “I lack the depth of pocket to defend a lawsuit.”

    I concede that in other circumstances and other places I have written stuff which has caused me to consider very carefully indeed whether it crosses the line. I have pushed it right to the limit on occasions though not in last year or two. I have never, touch wood, been sued yet but I am reasonably sure that one or two council staff have consulted lawyers!

    If I had posted something that was anywhere near the margin I would have kept a copy. In this instance I did not and I cannot track down what I posted.

    It is possible of course that I posted something that I did not intend to post. That is a bit difficult with the way this blog is set up. There is plenty of time to edit the odd goof.

    Perhaps you would care to send back to me what it is that you consider actionable.

  95. >What I find amusing is how he accuses me/us of playing the Mann (sic) not the ball, and then he posts a long post that ignores the substance of the study but goes after Prof Eric and Dr Mike personally. Its sad really.

    On first name terms are we?

  96. Its funny Roger, you will post anything that backs your opinion, without doing any research whatsoever.

    That is not very scientific and you claim we are wrong about climate change.

    Anything you supports you, no matter how wrong it is.

  97. Well, Roger, your Mr Courtney is very inventive. His take on UK politics (your first link) is quite remarkable, and bears little resemblance to what actually happened. As conspiracy theories go, however, it is a fine example.

    Sadly, his take on the science (your second link) is much less interesting, because he doesn’t even try to make a sensible argument. Let me elucidate. His point one — “There is no correlation between the anthropogenic emissions of GHGs and global temperature” — is simply wrong. There is a good statistical correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature over the last 150 years, and we know that the carbon comes from fossil fuels. So the rest of his argument immediately fails.

    The relevant “test” of the “AGW hypothesis” runs like this: we measure the behaviour of atmospheric gases, and note that they have effects on the passage of radiation through the atmosphere (done 150 years ago). We therefore expect that if the amount of radiatively active gases increases — and it has — then we would expect the global temperature to rise. It has. Hypothesis passes test. Courtney fails.

  98. “The relevant “test” of the “AGW hypothesis” runs like this: we measure the behaviour of atmospheric gases, and note that they have effects on the passage of radiation through the atmosphere (done 150 years ago). We therefore expect that if the amount of radiatively active gases increases — and it has — then we would expect the global temperature to rise. It has. Hypothesis passes test. Courtney fails.”

    Some would say that you elementary physics has let you down.

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0707/0707.1161v3.pdf

  99. “Well, Roger, your Mr Courtney is very inventive. His take on UK politics (your first link) is quite remarkable, and bears little resemblance to what actually happened. As conspiracy theories go, however, it is a fine example.”

    Mr Courtney appears to have been rather closer to the action than you. Perhaps his opinion should be given greater weight.

    “There is a good statistical correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature over the last 150 years, and we know that the carbon comes from fossil fuels. So the rest of his argument immediately fails.”

    There are many that do not share your opinion that there is a good correlation and many consider that even if there is an apparent correlation that is no proof of causation.

  100. I was living in Britain during Thatcher’s reign. Like all conspiracy theories, Courtney’s take on Thatcher touches reality at certain points , but veers wildly away at many others. For a real history of how the study of global warming developed, read Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming — linked in the sidebar above.

    Courtney’s argument is all about correlation. It fails because he says there isn’t one, and there is. But as you observe, correlation does not prove causation, which is why I said that the real test (that of radiatively active GHGs warming the planet) has already been passed.

  101. I believe Dr Smith works at the American Physical Society. The key thing, however, is this section in his introduction:

    The results presented here are not new. However the form of presentation is designed to clearly and accurately respond to recent claims that a physics-based analysis can “falsify” the atmospheric greenhouse effect. In fact, the standard presentation in climatology textbooks is accurate in all material respects.

  102. “The common enemy of humanity is man.
    In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up
    with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
    water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these
    dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
    changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
    The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
    – Club of Rome,
    premier environmental think-tank
    consultants to the United Nations

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “We need to get some broad based support,
    to capture the public’s imagination…
    So we have to offer up scary scenarios,
    make simplified, dramatic statements
    and make little mention of any doubts…
    Each of us has to decide what the right balance
    is between being effective and being honest.”
    – Stephen Schneider,
    Stanford Professor of Climatology,
    lead author of many IPCC reports

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
    – Sir John Houghton,
    first chairman of IPCC

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “It doesn’t matter what is true,
    it only matters what people believe is true.”
    – Paul Watson,
    co-founder of Greenpeace

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue.
    Even if the theory of global warming is wrong,
    we will be doing the right thing in terms of
    economic and environmental policy.”
    – Timothy Wirth,
    President of the UN Foundation

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…
    climate change provides the greatest opportunity to
    bring about justice and equality in the world.”
    – Christine Stewart,
    fmr Canadian Minister of the Environment

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and
    spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest
    opportunity to lift Global Consciousness to a higher level.”
    – Al Gore,
    Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “The only way to get our society to truly change is to
    frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”
    – emeritus professor Daniel Botkin

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “We are on the verge of a global transformation.
    All we need is the right major crisis…”
    – David Rockefeller,
    Club of Rome executive member

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  103. Of the two quotes I could quickly track down the sources for, they are both misleading. Paul Watson, presented above as co-founder of Greenpeace, in fact left that organisation long ago and has been highly critical of it – a fuller quote is “The secret to David McTaggart’s success is the secret to Greenpeace’s success. It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true-You are what the media define you to be. (Greenpeace) became a myth, and a myth-generating machine” here.

    The Daniel Botkin one’s even worse, if you read it here you find that Botkin is being quoted from a piece highly critical of global warming activism.

    So that’s two quote-mines from hostile sources that have been manipulated into the appearance of coming from the purveyors of some nefarious “green agenda”. I suspect some of the others may be similarly distorted by being taken out of context – certainly the above shows that the website Roger cut’n’pasted from is not an honest reporter of information. But then, I’ve shown before he is appallingly lax at checking his sources, choosing instead to uncritically redistribute that which supports his preconceived agenda.

  104. Here are some more sources:

    Most of Earth in Balance can be read here: http://books.google.com/books?id=QDbNhec98iEC
    Most of The First Global Revolution can be read here: http://books.google.com/books?id=8RNKHGbzUuAC
    (nb. this is now the 1993 edition with some significant omissions from the original)

    Blair, Tony. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7297937.stm

    Botkin, Daniel. Opinion Journal. October 21, 2007.
    http://www.americanenvironmental.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28

    Brown, Lester. quoted in ‘Sovereignty in World Ecopolitics’. Vol. 41, No. 2 (Nov., 1997), pp. 167-204
    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=1079-1760(199711)41%3A2%3C167%3ASIWE%3E2.0.CO%3B2-3

    [Edited for space: Roger, please post only the ones you’ve read, rather than cut and paste somebody else’s list of references…]

  105. Good lord, Roger, that list of sources you cut’n’pasted is exactly where I went to track down those quotes. The two I picked up on were one that actually linked to the original material and one in which it was easy enough to track down corroborating evidence with fuller information – compared to other references like this highly biased opinion piece, which provides no more context for the quote than you did.

    Context is important – as I’ve shown, quotes can be manipulated to appear to show something quite different from the intent of the author. Especially when put together on the web by a guy who has a paranoid enough imagination to write stuff like “If Gore had won, I have no doubt we would now be deep in the midst of the Green Reich,” and cite Ezekiel when conjuring a “most likely scenario” for future political developments (see here).

  106. Or alternatively, they are a hell of a lot smarter than you think. They are after all the ones that will be left to clean up the crap you and I have left them.

  107. “I am appalled at the selection of James Hansen as this year’s recipient of
    the AMS’s highest award – the Rossby Research Medal. James Hansen has not
    been trained as a meteorologist. His formal education has been in astronomy.
    His long records of faulty global climate predictions and alarmist public
    pronouncements have become increasingly hollow and at odds with reality.
    Hansen has exploited the general public’s lack of knowledge of how the
    globe’s climate system functions for his own benefit. His global warming
    predictions, going back to 1988 are not being verified. Why have we allowed
    him go on for all these years with his faulty and alarmist prognostications?
    And why would the AMS give him its highest award?”

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