The long history of hot air and inaction

by Bryan Walker on October 13, 2011

In a comment on Tom Bennion’s recent post on the water crisis in Tuvalu and Tokelau Gareth drew attention to an article in the Economist which sounded similar themes. Small island states are well aware of the danger in which they stand and of how grudging any help is likely to prove:

Australia has turned down Tuvalu’s request for an emergency migration programme that would resettle the islanders. Even a €90m ($119m) aid package to tackle regional climate change pledged earlier this year by the European Union has done little to tamp down its fears.

The leaders of countries as far afield as Barbados and Grenada joined Tuvalu in raising the alarm over the issue in a series of impassioned speeches to the United Nations General Assembly last month. Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, laid the blame for the current debacle squarely at the feet of developed economies.

He was “baffled” he said, “by the intransigence of major emitters and developed nations that refuse to shoulder the burden for arresting climate changes that are linked to the excesses of their own wasteful policies.” As it happens, the first states to experience the effects of climate change as an existential threat are among the world’s smallest, most isolated and least powerful.

What particularly caught my attention in the Economist article was a link back to a past story published in the magazine in 1997. It was revealing both of how long the island states have been anxious and of how summarily those concerns have been treated by the more powerful.

Fourteen years ago at the South Pacific Forum meeting the small island states banded together to push for a Forum position at the then forthcoming Kyoto conference. They wanted the Forum to press for a world-wide cut of 20% of 1990 emission levels by 2005, tougher even than the target of 15% proposed by the European Union by 2010. They stood no show, of course. After days of heated argument with Australian PM John Howard, with New Zealand’s PM Jim Bolger trying to steer a course down the middle, the island leaders eventually reluctantly agreed to a statement in which the forum “recognised” the concerns of low-lying island nations, but accepted that there should be different reduction targets for different countries. The Economist commented that this “differentiation” was what Australia had been pushing for.

There was little choice for the aid-dependent island nations, though that didn’t stop Tuvalu’s PM expressing his frustration with Australia: “There was no compromise. It was just no, no, no, no, no.”

Mr Howard dismissed the islanders’ fears as “exaggerated” and “apocalyptic”. Australia argues that it depends heavily on energy-intensive industries, and that binding greenhouse-gas limits would hit it unfairly. Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of black coal. Other raw and semi-processed commodities figure highly in exports to Asia, its biggest market. Mr Howard claims that 90,000 jobs in Australia could be lost if it were forced to reduce its emissions.

Well, the Islanders’ fears in 1997 were not exaggerated, as is becoming all too apparent.  And this year’s meeting of the Forum saw no attempt to downplay those fears, all the more, perhaps, because of the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He had come via endangered Kiribati and said “Climate change is not about tomorrow. It is lapping at our feet – quite literally in Kiribati and elsewhere.”

The Forum called for “an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions sufficient to enable the survival and viability of all Pacific small island developing states.” Fourteen years ago it might as well have urged a reduction of greenhouse emissions small enough to allow business as usual to continue in Australia. However although today’s rhetoric is more on the mark there’s little evidence that it will be reflected in action.

Where did Howard get the confidence to use words like exaggerated and apocalyptic in dismissing the small island fears in 1997? It seems to have been the perceived threat to the Australian economy that gave him such boldness. No doubt it was mingled with science denial, or at least the assumption that the scientists must be overplaying the picture. And perhaps a touch of political swagger. Today’s politicians may be more circumspect in their language (or not, in the case of American Republicans), but perceived threats to the economy of developed countries still often outweigh in importance the need to address emissions reduction. Nick Smith has made it clear in New Zealand that the emissions trading scheme will not be permitted to pose any imagined threat to our major industries. In the UK the Chancellor George Osborne has recently and startlingly announced in the course of a speech to the Conservative Party conference:

Now we know that a decade of environmental laws and regulations are piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies. Yes, climate change is a man made disaster. Yes, we need international agreement to stop it. Yes, we must have investment in greener energy. And that’s why I gave the go ahead to the world’s first Green Investment Bank.

But Britain makes up less than 2% of the world’s carbon emissions to China and America’s 40%. We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. So let’s at the very least resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe. That’s what I’ve insisted on in the recent carbon budget.

That’s very reminiscent of the words used by New Zealand government politicians:

It is important that New Zealand does its fair share to combat climate change, but we don’t want to jump ahead of the rest of the world.

That is why our ETS will be regularly reviewed, so we can assess our approach relative to international progress and the latest science. Our very moderate ETS is the sensible way for New Zealand to go forward.

We may not be as brash as John Howard fourteen years ago, but there’s no comfort for the small island states in the cautious approaches to emissions reduction still typical of much of the developed world. No comfort indeed for any of us who are aware of just how real the threatened impacts of climate change are.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

barry October 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

Tuvalu’s case in the late 20th Century wasn’t helped by the 1998 El Nino event with its extreme low sea levels and the subsequent Mitchell report. This is still touted in the denialsphere even though it has proved to be just a blip in an otherwise rising trend.

Jimmy October 14, 2011 at 8:50 pm

The problem I have is that in all the incidences throughout history of warming, going back for millennia, which has sometimes shown higher rates of warming – why is it that warming that occurs now isn’t acknowledged as perhaps being instigated by the same causes as all the other instances? is it computer modelling? the reason people are skeptical in my opinion is that it is extremely hard to imagine that a computer model could accurately take into account all variables from such a complex, chaotic thing as the climate and be accurate to a point where the computers can say that the warming in the 20th century doesn’t match up to computer modellings without an added anthropogenic cause. If the computers were applied back to all the other instances of warming throughout the past and the results didn’t fit the computer models – as surely they wouldn’t in the cases of higher rates of warming than today – how would it then be explained? would we then be able to say that perhaps the models may not be correct? or would we again look elsewhere for the cause so that the models do not suffer criticism?

Tom Bennion October 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

The argument for doing little or nothing until others take action comes up regularly in the courts. Here is the majority of the US Supreme Court rebutting the idea in Massachusetts v EPA (the 2007 Bush era case where the EPA claimed it did not need to regulate greenhouse gases).

“EPA nevertheless maintains that its decision not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles contributes so insignificantly to petitioners’ injuries that the agency cannot be haled into federal court to answer for them. For the same reason, EPA does not believe that any realistic possibility exists that the relief petitioners seek would mitigate global climate change and remedy their injuries. That is especially so because predicted increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing nations, particularly China and India, are likely to offset any marginal domestic decrease.

But EPA overstates its case. Its argument rests on the erroneous assumption that a small incremental step, because it is incremental, can never be attacked in a federal judicial forum. Yet accepting that premise would doom most challenges to regulatory action. Agencies, like legislatures, do not generally resolve massive problems in one fell regulatory swoop. …. They instead whittle away at them over time, refining their preferred approach as circumstances change and as they develop a more-nuanced understanding of how best to proceed. …. That a first step might be tentative does not by itself support the notion that federal courts lack jurisdiction to determine whether that step conforms to law.

And reducing domestic automobile emissions is hardly a tentative step. Even leaving aside the other greenhouse gases, the United States transportation sector emits an enormous quantity of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere … more than 1.7 billion metric tons in 1999 alone. … That accounts for more than 6% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.”

Thomas October 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm

And while the plight of the islanders is great, in numbers it will be the low lying lands of south east Asia which will see the brunt of sea level rise flood burden in terms of affected population numbers. One only needs to watch the current events in Tailand where “exceptional tides” conspire with “exceptional seasonal flooding” to inundate Bangkok at present, a mega city only 2m above normal sea levels and built on the flood planes of the Chao Phraya river. People might recover from these situations if floods like this happen on a once or twice a century scale but the current path of change will make these events far to frequent to allow for insurance cover or the will to rebuild to carry forward much longer. It does not need a sea level rise of 2m to to make places like this untenable! Even the incremental change we have seen so far can be enough to render large areas economically untenable!!
All it takes is an unacceptable frequency of flood inundation and at the turn of this century when average sea levels may have risen by 2m even places now 4m above sea will become questionable for the very same reason.

Mr February October 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm

That’s interesting (in a sad way) to see UK Minister Osborne echoing our own Nick Smith’s mantra of “Never mind Tuvalu – let’s do little or nothing until others take action”.
Meanwhile in New Zealand we have lobbying by special interest groups such as the ironically-named Greenhouse Policy Coalition who completely ignore the consequences of climate change on the vulnerable small island states in their lolly-scramble for delays in their ETS obligations and increases in their free allocations of emissions units. For example, the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, in their submission to the recent NZ ETS review, push the line that NZ is too far out in front of our trade competitors: “It is also highly unlikely that our main competitors are going to have national carbon prices from 2013, which means we will not be competing on a level playing field”. And then when David Caygill’s review of the NZ ETS recommends a slowing down of the NZ ETS, the Greenhouse Policy Coalition moves the goal posts and says that the Review is heading in the wrong direction “to preserve the competitiveness of New Zealand businesses”. Meaning the GPC’s members still have not been cushioned enough from a carbon price by excessive over-allocation of emissions units and delayed obligations.
The Greenhouse Policy Coalition are New Zealand’s equivalent of the USA’s right-wing think-tanks funded by the Koch Brothers, .

Jimmy October 14, 2011 at 8:23 pm

It is unfortunate for the people of Tuvalu that coming out of the little ice age and the steady return to a warmer temperature since the 1850s has caused the sea level to rise, however it seems that the natural warming process has slowed down and that we haven’t seen any warming trend since around 1995. The sea level rise is neither caused by us nor can it be prevented by us. it is one of those unfortunate events that occurs naturally. lets not blame natural cycles on man, lets help the poor people and not use this as a way of propping up the AGW argument. After all sea levels were steadily rising well before we had starting putting co2 into the air…

Macro October 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Sorry Jimmy but your dead wrong on almost all counts. You’re right on one count, sea level rise is unstoppable (if we continue with business as usual). Most of what you say is an unfortunate misinterpretation of reality, however, it’s been a long day and frankly I can be bothered with correcting your errors.
My comment is purely to point out that your comments are factually and scientifically wrong and misguided. You need to carefully reconsider your understanding of AGW. I refer you to here for a more informative and reliable interpretation of climate change science and global warming information.

Jimmy October 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Oh please! – that dismissive, condascending approach doesn’t work anymore, in fact it is a chief reason for the collapse of the faith in climate alarmism, and is symptomatic of someone who doesn’t want to acknowledge the otherside of the debate and of someone who is sure that they have safety in numbers on this website! however you and everyone here know full well that opposition to climate alarmism is growing and gaining traction everyday! which just makes you people even more snide and aggressive – I can just imagine the unscientific, personal attacks that will flow from that comment, please do! i welcome them, it helps to prove my point! – Macro you can’t seriously think what you said is a satisfactory answer! and your attitude will continue to erode belief in climate alarmism because climate science is the only issue where people actively avoid real debate and cry ‘concensus’ whilst trying to discredit and decommission skeptics – honest scientist’s know that that is not the way to advance science – you cannot correct my facts, because you do not have the weight of facts on your side anymore – and referring me to skeptical science! yeah that takes the weight right off your shoulders, that site is as biased as they come! -my pick is that people on this site will soon jump to your defence with snide comments! after all climate alarmists are without doubt the harshest attackers of contrary theories in any branch of science. And get very nasty, very quickly! like anyone who has there life’s study or credibility genuinely threatened is liable to do! but it has been questioned and rightly so. So in conclusion macro I would disagree with what you said and actually ask for some evidence that the world hasn’t been warming since the 1860s, but for god’s sake PLEASE do not reference the ‘hockeystick graph’ I would love some healthy debate not scorn and avoidance as usual!

Macro October 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

And what, pray tell, is wrong with the graph? Every “criticism” of the Dr M Mann’s work has been more than adequately dealt with. Those who pour scorn are the ones who have little to recommend their judgments. Furthermore, the projections from 1988 onwards hold. Your faith in your certainty of denial is touching – but unfortunately based on falsehoods.

Jimmy October 20, 2011 at 2:29 am

According to temp records the earth has warmed about 0.6 degrees since the 1880s.The pre industrial level of co2 is said to be about 280ppm. Climate sensitivity refers to the warming we would experience from a doubling of co2, so it is the warming we would have, in theory, by the time we reach 560ppm. It is these predictions which provide the scare factor needed to instigate policy change. We are at around 390ppm now, so we are well on our way to 560ppm. we all know co2 is logarithmic and that co2 levels eventually plateau at about 1.2 to 2 degrees so it takes an assumption of positive feedback to multiply that level of warming to a dangerous level.. thus arriving at predictions that a doubling of co2 will cause 6 degree or so increases in temperature. We have moved from 280ppm to 390ppm and only experienced an increase of 0.6 degrees. This shows a warming more consistent with no positive feedback – it just shows warming consistent with co2 increase alone from the greenhouse effect which will eventually peak and then flatten out at about 1.2 – 2 degrees without adding in feedbacks or – outrageous proposition as it may seem, the sun (which seems to be ignored by alarmists) – and no one will ever be able to discount the sun as a factor. Lets remember that when the climate is warmer more water vapour comes off the ocean, increasing co2 concentrations, so any natural warming would also increase co2 concentrations, thus temperature trends would lead co2 trends and not the other way round. Ice cores show that temperature leads co2 increase by 800-2000 years. Despite Al Gores monstrous misrepresentation of this fact on ‘an inconvenient truth.’ If the climate was at threat from positive feedbacks exaggerating the problem, how can it be that strong warming trends in the past failed to spiral out of control from positive feedbacks and reach tipping point? after all co2 is only a small portion of the greenhouse gas makeup which leads to the greenhouse affect, and the world has been warmer in the past and with higher greenhouse gas levels. It is because positive feedback is a big fallacy that the layman doesn’t understand and it is proven by the IPCC’s own inaccurate predictions and the resultant temperatures since the industrial age began to be a sham and a convenient way to prop up scary predictions. Positive feedback is the big issue and it is far too uncertain yet to prop up carbon taxes and fundamental change. I would love to see a solid defence of positive feedback by someone, based on measurement and applicable to the historical temperature record. But i fear that is highly unlikely.

Macro October 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Jimmy – are you trying to teach your granny to suck eggs? I don’t think you have said anything there we haven’t already heard. The sad fact is you are firstly understating the average global warming of the past century and a half, and then secondly ignore the the huge energy imbalance mostly hiding in the earths oceans. Thirdly you lightly toss aside impending positive feedbacks (although you admit unintentionally one – increased water vapour) without so much as a beg your pardon! How do you honestly think that any intelligent person could take you seriously?

Jimmy October 21, 2011 at 12:05 am

When you say I unintentionally mentioned a positive feedback in water vapour – i didn’t unintentionally mention anything I mentioned water vapour in full knowledge, what I am saying is that water vapour is not an example of positive feedback – positive feedback is a runaway process and things that contribute to positive feedbacks and thus runaway processes are not positive feedbacks in themselves. If there is a natural balancing of the effects of runaway climate, as there clearly is (otherwise the first time temperatures increased they would have accelerated and baked the earth), and something prevented this on every occassion, how can a runaway process be prevented by anything? if it is prevented and neutralised it is not a runaway process. Was it a high level of greenhouse gases deflecting the sun back into space that prevented runaway warming? who knows, but modern climate scientist will warn about tipping points and runaway processes despite the fact is hasn’t happened ever before and that the earth always returns itself to some form of equilibrium.

CTG October 21, 2011 at 7:55 am

positive feedback is a runaway process and things that contribute to positive feedbacks and thus runaway processes are not positive feedbacks in themselves

LOL. The stupid is strong with this one

Macro October 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

“the earth always returns itself to some form of equilibrium.”
Really! Well I never!
Is this “Jimmy’s 1st Law of Equilibrium” ?
You have of course a proof.

Macro October 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

“If there is a natural balancing of the effects of runaway climate”

BIG “if” that, Jimmy.

Macro October 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Increased water vapor IS an example of a positive feedback Jimmy. As even you yourself comprehend, water vapor IS a green house gas. Increasing, the temperature of the atmosphere by 1 degree C enables the atmosphere to the carry 4% more water vapor.
The past year has been the wettest on record. The flooding in Thailand – just another example of loading the Climate by AGW.

Macro October 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm

“Was it a high level of greenhouse gases deflecting the sun back into space that prevented runaway warming?”

You statement here indicates that you have frankly NO understanding of what a greenhouse gas is, or how it works! Greenhouse gasses ARE TRANSPARENT to solar radiation – so there is no possible way they could reflect it. They are NOT however transparent to Infrared or Black Body Radiation which is the radiation released by a warm Earth heated by the sun during the day. If there were no GHG surrounding the Earth the ambient temperature at night would be minus 18 Degrees C, and the Earth would be a snowball.
Now go away and find out just how warm the Earth was when we last had this concentration of CO2 and just how long ago. It’s all there – but NOT on denier sites.

(By the way – what IS in the atmosphere at present, and IS reflecting solar radiation are Human generated aerosols from dirty smoke stacks – but that is not an altogether good thing, because those aerosols return to Earth as acid rain.)

RW October 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Haven’t seen such a breathless diatribe since the days of “John D” – every denialist cliche trotted out!

“Biased” Sceptical Science? Bieng biased in favour of the truth is a highly desirable moral attribute.

Jimmy October 20, 2011 at 3:07 am

everyones bias is based on their perception of the truth, however deciding too early on what the truth is and having a bias toward that position is not desirable. Science that deals with stable, certain processes take decades of study and observation to ascertain truth in their field, decades involving skepticism and feedback – yet one of the newest branches of science that deals with a hugely chaotic unpredictable system like the weather is apparently settled and beyond debate, this is ridiculous – in climate science, skepticism and debate are spurned for talk of ‘concensus.’ – crying ‘concensus’ is like saying – “we are sure of our science, look who agrees with us’ – the Climategate emails certainly show that truth isn’t always a huge factor in the way climatologists operate, and that self preservation is also a motivation. There is a petition in the u.s signed by over 31,000 scientists including over 9,000 Ph,ds agreeing that there is no valid evidence linking man to Global warming – see http://www.petitionproject.org/, not everyone shares your idea of truth. alarmists thinks they know the truth on this issue, no one knows the truth, there is huge doubt. alarmists have the burden of proof on them, skeptics do not propose an extreme theory that demands explanation they are just skeptical of it.

CTG October 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

And the fact that dead and non-existent people signed that petition doesn’t make you just a little bit suspicious of it?

Carol Cowan October 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Jimmy, climate science (a branch of physics) has been around for over 100 years. Paleoclimate has also been studied for many decades as a branch of Geology. Spencer Weart’s website, The Discovery of Global Warming – http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm – should be of interest to you.

And those 31,000 scientists you refer to are from all branches of science, including veterinarians amongst others – in other words, thousands of people with no expertise or experience in climate science.

Jimmy October 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm

the energy imbalance is another way of saying “we can not allow for the lack of warming, and it is a travesty that we cannot” aka kevin Trenberth….ok so the global temperature’s stopped increasing – how do we allow for the lack of warming? we simply say that the earth is absorbing the warmth into the oceans and that takes care of the inconvenient failure of the air temperature to keep warming up as anticipated – because it must be said that alarmists did not predict that the world would stop waming and they didn’t predict that it would stop warming the air and start warming the ocean and ice. Why did the ocean not absorb all the heat in the past whilst we have been warming? and show less warming according to temperature records, it is like crawling out onto a narrow branch and clinging to whatever could prop up a lack of warming. There are immensly clever people who are creating justifications for a lack of warming, but it is starting to look like desperation. I particularly like the fact that the cooling from the 1940s to 1970s as per NASA temp records despite the post war industrial boom contradicts Michael Manns hockeystick which shows warming through the 1950s – yet this cooling is attributed to aerosols! how convenient – I notice you say “we haven’t heard before” I am aware that this website is collaborative and that alarmists gather together for their strength. It is also true that “we skeptics have heard all your stuff before” also and its what gives us our ammunition. Global warming theory will be the laughing stock of the world within ten years and will disappear of the face of all global policy as the world will continue to cool. Where did I get my facts fro my previous email? straight out of the IPCC 1990 report.

CTG October 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

So, Jimmy, with your amazing grasp of planetary physics, can you please explain
this graph for me?

To me, this looks like Arctic ice is declining year on year, and because I’m an ignorant fool, the only explanation I can think of for this is that the Arctic is getting warmer.

Maybe you can enlighten us?

CTG October 15, 2011 at 10:46 am

Hey, Jimmy you must have missed the memo. We’re not allowed to say 1995 any more, cause those damn warmistas went and cooked the books again. We’re supposed to say “no warming trend since 1996″ now. But hey, keep up the good work with the denial. Check’s in the post.

Love, Chuck Koch.

Jimmy October 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

you mean like how the ipcc claim 5000 scientist’s contributed to their 2001 report, when really on 50 contributed to the relevant section on AGW?. And how political interests edited the paper and removed the 5 pieces that said, ‘no evidence conclusively shows that humans are affecting climate’ and threw in ‘the evidence shows that humans are having a discernable effect on climate’ – then present it to the world as science, that was a political report first and a scientific report second…. – so names were made up? that sounds like grasping at straws! thats a lot of scientists isn’t it….To be honest even if only 2000-3000 Phd.s signed the petition, which isn’t the case, it would still be damning evidence that the debate is not over. people here keep referring to skeptical science – if you read the comments below the articles there, you will see there is a lot of complex debate going there from both sides, and alarmists cannot deliver the knockout blow, which is strange for a ‘settled’ branch of science.

CTG October 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Strange, I can’t find any references on the IPCC website to any of the things you have claimed. Where, for example, does the IPCC claim that the science is “settled”?

Or are you just making up a bunch of crap?

Mr February October 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Jimmy,
have a look at Skeptical Science. Re the Little Ice Age.

The main drivers of the Little Ice Age cooling were decreased solar activity and increased volcanic activity. These factors cannot account for the global warming observed over the past 50-100 years. Furthermore, it is physically incorrect to state that the planet is simply “recovering” from the Little Ice Age.

from What ended the Little Ice Age?

And It’s a natural cycle.

Jimmy October 15, 2011 at 12:28 am

ok so the ice age was caused by decreased solar activity I can agree with tha , yet the subsequent increase out of the ice age, you say was solely caused by human co2 production, not the sun at all even, though the ice age ended around the 1850-60s before human emissions were a factor. Cmon Mr February, are you really saying all the warming from 1860 to now was fro, humans and driven by co2? no one claims that! even mr hockeystick Michael Mann claims that it wasn’t until 1950s that man started affecting temperature…..back to the drawing board mr February

Jimmy October 15, 2011 at 12:39 am

actually that reply from me wasn’t intended to sound so rude Mr february and arrogant I was worked up by a previous mail! i apologise! I just want to get to the bottom of this! I was supporting AGW up until about 2 years ago.

Dappledwater October 15, 2011 at 2:15 am

Jimmy – don’t start with the “I used to support AGW” nonsense. We’ve heard that phrase parroted so many times. And all by confused individuals like yourself.

Mosey on over to Skeptical Science and they’ll set you straight. Look at the list of rebuttals and tick off how many you just regurgitated.

Yes it’s very sad that the islands of Tuvalu, Kiribati and other coral atolls will begin to be inundated within decades. What’s even sadder is people like you don’t even give a damn. But no fear, your time of suffering will come too, as it will for us all. And we have no one to blame, but ourselves.

Jimmy October 15, 2011 at 3:50 am

Hello Dappledwater – firstly please don’t start with the ‘go to skeptical science website’ rubbish, that website seems to be the big weapon in the arsenal of people who frequent this page, it is hard to find a more one sided website! – I will look more thorougly at that website when I need justification for spreading worldwide propaganda,socialism, regulations and forced sanctions on developing nations! – or if I become prime minister and I fancy only a one term stint! – the fact that the phrase “I used to support AGW” has been parroted so many times dapplewater, is because people who were sold with the AGW nonsense in the past have actually changed their mind and abandoned ship – sorry, did you think it was a tactic to illicit trust and credibility with alarmists before launching an attack? or is that just what you want to believe? NO – it is what happens when people step away from the propaganda and the self interested, overtlly proud individuals who prop up AGW theory and would rather die than admit that they were wrong about climate change science, or that their funding may have been misplaced, or that there could be further questions about the science – the reactions of threatened alarmists are more akin to children having their toys taken off them than that of adults genuinely seeking an answer to scientific questions – you dare to say I don’t give a dam! you don’t give a dam about the global, financial implications of policies stemming from dodgy science, so much so that you will cling to them as long as it is humanly possible and financially viable to do so! your dogmatic adherence to a failing science is damaging to countries who wish to have an industrial revolution or to be free from further global taxes (paid to beauracrats) that people cannot afford, or who need to burn fossil fuels in order to survive – the problem with alarmists is that they have too quickly summed up the situation and staked their careers on it, and then received grants and funding – thus making it too hard and too demoralising to back down!….. They also see to it that any opposition is crushed with the utmost distain. People who genuinely wish to advance science should be open to skepticism because it allows humanity to better understand all sides of science – but instead we have a bunch of insecure, name calling people who aren’t even remotely open to the issue that perhaps climate change is not as bigger issue as people thought, or even a major issue at all. Alarmists are losing the battle despite the complex computer models designed to be so far beyond the laymans understanding that you can shout ‘trust us, it’s the concensus!’ and it makes me very happy – we are winning! and we will win! despite the efforts of this website and its many pawns!

Thomas October 16, 2011 at 12:08 am

Hey Jimmy: Define Victory please. What would that victory you are trying to score look like to you? Can politically motivated denial of the truth turn into some sort of victory? If the science denial movement would “win” the battle for the hearts and minds of the voters, will this also magically change the laws of Physics, make CO2 stop absorbing IR or make the world some 6000 years old and have Santa dropping presents into chimneys? In a world 4 degrees warmer than today, can there be ANY winners?

The old adage still holds: be careful what you wish for! because: “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land, like Jimmy the know it all, will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” Adapted from H. L. Mencken, 1921

Rob Taylor October 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Ho hum, “Jimmy”, do you get paid extra for the exclamation marks?

You also left out the bit about George Soros and the black helicopters – please try to stick to the script…

bill October 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Now now, let’s not be unkind to a man who’s clearly valiantly struggling with a computer lacks an ‘enter’ key…

Though, upon inspection, the arguments would scarcely be any less dense if they were laid out in some vaguely readable manner.

What is it about the enlarged amygdala brigade and punctuation?

Dappledwater October 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

Jimmy – “firstly please don’t start with the ‘go to skeptical science website”

Afraid of a bit of science eh Jimmy?

adelady October 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Jimmy “…individuals who prop up AGW theory and would rather die than admit that they were wrong about climate change science…”

You’ve got that the wrong way round Jimmy. Those of us who face the facts and the science would dearly like to be wrong. On second thoughts, make that desperately rather than dearly. We do get tired of people questioning the science – what we’d like to see is someone prove it wrong and that there’s nothing to be concerned about. We’ll happily clap and cheer and dance in the streets, and I will personally shout any number of rounds of drinks for the Nobel Prize winner who does this.

As for people ‘needing’ fossil fuels for daily life and industry – one thing is certain. Fossils are going to be harder to extract and much more expensive – before they eventually run out. We might as well get busy building power sources that aren’t going to run out in the same way.

Steve Wrathall October 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Anothjer desperate attempt to hang any problem of the Pacific Is on AGW. In this case over population despite the fact that it directly contradicts the warmist narrative: “Fongafale Islet experienced greater population in-migration and centralization beginning in the 1970s…As the population increased, construction took place in vulnerable swampland areas” (Yamano, H. et.al. (2007). Atoll island vulnerability to flooding and inundation revealed by historical reconstruction: Fongafale Islet, Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu. Global and Planetary Change 57 (3-4))

How come the population of Tuvalu is still increasing? Can’t be true. Al Gore assured us that Pacific Islands were being evacuated, and his film was the “truth”.

Thomas October 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Steve, don’t forget also what is happening under water. I have dived on many reefs in the south Pacific before and after 1998 and the devastation that the pronounced warming in 1998 caused was horrendous in many places. The reefs of these islands are one of the most important food sources for the people and they are going to be transformed into wastelands compared to what was there before.
If people could see the change with their own eyes it would be so obvious.

Dappledwater October 18, 2011 at 2:07 am

Coral atolls face a triple-whammy:

1. The solid foundations formed when sea level was higher in the Pacific a few thousand years ago. Coral grew up to this level, but was left exposed as sea level fell. The solid foundations make them resistant to storm and wave attack. Rising sea level will see the reef flats begin to get overtopped around mid-late 21st century.

2. Coral bleaching has had a respite in may regions because of the dominant La Nina-like period we’ve experienced in the last 6 years particularly. This won’t last – the El Nino-like (warm phase) of this natural cycle will probably see a big jump in mass coral bleaching.

3. Ocean acidification will greatly affect coral reefs, they’ll start to break down and begin to erode away when they are no longer able to grow fast enough to keep up with the forces of erosion. This will happen long before ocean acidification is bad enough to dissolve their skeletons – and cruelly, ocean warming makes the effects of acidification on coral even worse.

And yes Thomas, I know exactly what you mean – shifting baselines. I’ve seen the same thing here in New Zealand. It’s hard for people to comprehend how prolific marine life in our waters once was, unless you have seen it for yourself. And no doubt, what I witnessed was only a shadow of its former glory. Just memories now.

Tom Bennion October 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Steve

You said: “Another desperate attempt to hang any problem of the Pacific Is on AGW.”

If you read my original post I was careful to say “There appears to be a reasonable probability that there is a causal link between the drought and water scarcity affecting the islands and climate change.”

I cited 2 lines of evidence. I agree that we need to be cautious about attributing too much of the current drought and loss of underground freshwater to climate change. There are a lot of other causes as literature makes clear. Indeed, some academics are beginning to ‘rebel’, if that is the right word, against the simplistic view of ‘global warming means the end of Pacific Islands’ on the basis that this tends to be defeatist and downplays the resilience of the people living there.

Nevertheless, global warming has been on the minds of Pacific communities since at least 1997 as the article from the Economist demonstrates. So the tag of ‘desperate’ goes a bit far I think.

Carol Cowan October 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Is it really a coincidence that so many of the men who come here denying the results of decades of scientific research have names beginning with J?

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