Communicating science across cultural divides

A recent study in Nature Climate Change by Dan Kahan and others has attracted interest for its findings on public apathy over climate change.  It’s not incomprehension of the science that is the problem, the article finds, but the strong influence of the cultural environment and philosophical inclination of individuals, predisposing them to downplay the science even when they are well-equipped to understand it.  It’s not my purpose in this post to communicate the substance of the study – there’s a very good short piece in the Economist which will do that for you – but I want to offer some reflection on its conclusions.

The claim that there are severe limits to the effectiveness of relying on simple communication of the science is not a new one. Social scientists have been declaring for some time that cultural and economic perceptions are what prevent the climate message from making headway in significant sectors of the community. This paper is further confirmation.

I don’t think there is any message here for climate scientists. They do science. Their work is to understand what is happening to the biosphere as greenhouse gas emissions continue to mount and to try to work out what it portends for the future. If some of the public say they don’t believe it, or they don’t believe it’s as serious as the science suggests, then there’s little  more scientists can do than to reiterate that it’s real and it’s serious and to keep adducing the evidence  which  leads them  to that conclusion. The evidence is mounting. There is nothing in sight to suggest the science has got it wrong.

But if the science is not sufficient to persuade those who resist it for cultural or ideological reasons what alternatives are there?  This is where the observations of social scientists tend to run out in the sand. Kahan’s article does its best by suggesting different communication strategies. He envisages a new science of science communication, which I presume falls in the domain of the social sciences.

First the problem:

A communication strategy that focuses only on transmission of sound scientific information, our results suggest, is unlikely to do that [ie. overcome resistance to the science]. As worthwhile as it would be, simply improving the clarity of scientific information will not dispel public conflict so long as the climate-change debate continues to feature cultural meanings that divide citizens of opposing world-views.

Then how to address it:

It does not follow, however, that nothing can be done to promote constructive and informed public deliberations. As citizens understandably tend to conform their beliefs about societal risk to beliefs that predominate among their peers, communicators should endeavour to create a deliberative climate in which accepting the best available science does not threaten any group’s values. Effective strategies include use of culturally diverse communicators, whose affinity with different communities enhances their credibility, and information-framing techniques that invest policy solutions with resonances congenial to diverse groups. Perfecting such techniques through a new science of science communication is a public good of singular importance.

The problem with this is that the best available science demands a realignment of many of our practices. There may be disagreement over how best to manage the transition, but there’s no getting round the fact that we can no longer treat fossil fuels as a cheap source of energy. Whether we do it by cap-and-trade mechanisms or a carbon tax or by regulation or other means can be debated, and political groupings can divide and seek electoral support for their preferences. But the irreducible central requirement to stop using fossil fuels long before they run out cannot be avoided. If that crosses some ideological divide there’s no way the requirement can be softened. The ideology has to give. The enormity of climate change puts our ideological differences into perspective. They pale into relative insignificance in the face of the threat to human society and civilisation posed by such planetary-scale disasters as large sea level rise or greatly increased desertification.

If there are communicators who can gather the “hierarchical individualists” into a corner away from the “egalitarian communitarians” and gently persuade them of the seriousness of the risk of climate change by all means let them do it. But when the resisters emerge from that huddle convinced, they are still going to have to join forces with the rest of the community to battle against the common threat. Which means paying due attention to climate science.

And one of the messages from the science is that we don’t have much time left to begin the process of emissions reduction. Enough time for a new science of science communication?  For that matter has the full impact of the science been recognised by those who say they are respectful of it? The government of New Zealand doesn’t scorn the science or accuse the scientists of hoax. But it resists its full impact. It dilutes the scientific message in what it sees as the interests of today’s economy. It hankers after wealth from fossil fuels. I guess there’s some sort of ideology tied up there, albeit not as rabid as that exhibited by many current Republican legislators in the US. Do the milder ideologies also need communicators with special affinities? What science communicator could prove congenial to the course the New Zealand government is currently pursuing and at the same time faithfully represent the science? There must be some sort of challenge even from the most sympathetically attuned communicators.

The terrifying possibility exists that nothing, neither the unadorned science nor the best efforts of culturally diverse communicators, will persuade societies to abandon the fossil fuel habit. But any form of scientific communication has to be adamant that nothing less will do, however sensitive the communication is to the cultures it addresses.

151 thoughts on “Communicating science across cultural divides”

  1. Good to see you taking up my suggestion for doing a post on this issue Bryan.

    This topic goes to the heart of my problem with the debate around dealing with the negative impacts of climate change.

    If you frame the argument, as many here have done, as a TINA scenario where zero growth de-globalised socialised society is the only solution then you won’t make much progress at getting resolutions in the immediate term.

    Any problem has potentially mulitple solutions, each with positive and negative outcomes. There is no one right way of viewing the world.

    1. Thanks for directing attention to the Economist article which helped me decide to write about the issue. I don’t regard myself as a purist when it comes to ways of tackling climate change. I think I’d happily cooperate with any approach which produces the drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required. But you’ll presumably admit there’s not much on offer from either of our major political parties as yet.

      1. “The government of New Zealand doesn’t scorn the science or accuse the scientists of hoax. But it resists its full impact. It dilutes the scientific message in what it sees as the interests of today’s economy. It hankers after wealth from fossil fuels. I guess there’s some sort of ideology tied up there, albeit not as rabid as that exhibited by many current Republican legislators in the US…”

        Nor is the situation much different in Australia. Its simple the current paradigm for politics, society and economics post WW2 and the reform era of the 1980s.

        Both the Liberal and Labor parties at state and Federal levels are committed to increasing coal exports (stating “CCS will take care of it” to try and make it more palatable) as a path the economic growth.

        Our energy systems and notion of growth are inextricably tied to fossil fuels. A hard habit to break.

  2. I’ve also just read the Nature paper, and I was struck by several thoughts which I’ll also post on.

    Firstly, it struck me that the climate change “debate” is a debate conducted by elites on how to both respond and manage the crisis. I would contend the debate is at it’s most fiercest amongst the business, scientific and political elites. The general public is sidelined or indifferent – either deterred by the intensity of the debate or unconcerned.

    However because the ramifications of climate change are so profound – impacting economies, energy sources and even values – it requires a hitherto unimaginable systems approach to address the challenge.

    Climate change will require the work of literally millions of highly trained technical specialists to understand, devise and implement solutions across the globe.

    This may sound “elitist” but I’ve always thought a reliance upon the general public adapting a sense of urgency about climate change and demanding action from elected officials is naive and overly optimistic.

    Consensus needs to happen at the elite levels of business, science, politics and the military – the broad spectrum of disciplines and special interests with the greatest insight and social fulcrum to effect change.

    In essence, a climate alliance that spans left/right/government/private/activist/military/science.


  3. We should not overlook humour as a means of opening up debate. It might just be me, but I think this is brilliant on lots of levels:

    I agree with the comment that “Consensus needs to happen at the elite levels of business, science, politics and the military – the broad spectrum of disciplines and special interests with the greatest insight and social fulcrum to effect change. ”

    But you have to act that out. For example, which universities have declared really aggressive greenhouse gas reduction plans, including a ban on all but essential flying, and major investments in very high end teleconferencing – combined with a new global outreach for their teaching?

    Lets say Cambridge or Harvard or even a NZ university did that tomorrow. The ripple effect worldwide would be significant.

    Currently, elites are too often engaged in a ‘do what I say not what I do’ approach. It doesnt take a lost of analysis to see why that doesnt work as a communication strategy.

    Elites have taken up hybrid/electric cars. Prius is now the world’s third best selling car this year.

    Is this really so hard?

    1. Who are these “elite” that you talk of?

      The paper talks of “hierarchical individualists” vs “egalitarian communitarians”

      If you are truly “egalitarian communitarians” (i.e “left wing”) then the concept of an “elite” seems foreign to this mindset.

  4. Speaking as a citizen and former resident of the USA, I can make the following prediction: fossil fuel consumption in that nation will never be reduced significantly until a lower cost becomes available. I am confident that applies to New Zealand as well. This unfortunate fact has little to do with well-funded deniers and ignorant politicians (although there are more than enough of both to go around) and everything to do with the basic human desire to avoid pain. Fortunately, Kiwis are, by our nature, uniquely positioned to lead in the development of alternative energy sources. That is because we are linked, across generations and cultures, by a common deposition to turn away from the safe and familiar and search for a better way of life.

  5. The nature article has begun what may be an approach to ‘thinking together’ with one denialist. It began with him sending me a link to a Register article putting a denialist spin on the Nature story.
    “A US government-funded survey has found that Americans with higher levels of scientific and mathematical knowledge are more sceptical regarding the dangers of climate change than their more poorly educated fellow citizens.”

    My reply:
    “Now answer this: did you go to the source, the study itself, to
    discover what was actually said? …If having done that you are prepared to raise a real question I would be happy to check it out if I can.”

    He did that and responded in part:
    “Well, there is obviously a cut off point for this — climate scientists know a few things about science and are still worried about climate.”

    To which I made long answer.

    I found the psychologists article on uncertainty and risk somewhat fascinating:
    Minimum uncertainty and risk = mitigate now,

    Nulling cultural divides seems to come easier each time one takes a step in mitigation: each step creates an example that can be examined without going into beliefs, it starts a conversation.


  6. If you want to communicate the science, then provide the evidence for positive feedbacks from water vapour that apply to basic CO2 radiative forcing that lead to high climate sensitivity to CO2.

    If this evidence is so overwhelming, then it can’t be so hard to communicate, surely?

    1. Successful communication requires a sender and a receiver……

      If the intended recipient of a message stick his fingers in his hears and shouts “LALALALAL” of the top his lungs and then demands that nobody ever told him anything then obviously there is no communication possible.

      1. Well then you have successfully failed in your “communication’ efforts Thomas since all you have provided is eco-babble and evidence that you are a 100% hypocrite since you yourself admit that you have made your pile through the capitalist system and are now pulling the ladder up after you so that us mere serfs can wonder at your “success”

      2. This is laughable coming from you Thomas when any discussion involving solutions to tackling AGW tend to follow the same path.

        You – “We are all doomed unless we abandon our exploitative ways”

        Me – “So what’s you solution then?”

        You – “Some socialised generic vision of utopia expressed in eco-babel”

        Me – “All very good I’m sure, but how would any solution work practically?”

        You – “There is heaps of articles on the web. Check out this link to another site which reiterates my view of a socialised solution expressed in generalised eco-babel terms.”

        Me – “That’s just general eco-babel and doesn’t contain practical examples of how your solution will work”

        You – “It’s not might fault if you ignore my evidence”

        In essence you are committing the same sort of “lalalala I’m not listening approach” you accuse your opponent of doing.

        1. It’s easy to criticise someone else, but I don’t see you contributing anything beyond labelling any proposed solutions as ‘Eco-babel [sic]’ or a ‘socialised generic utopia’.

          Your problem, Gosman, is that your side of politics has created this problem, and has no solutions to it whatsoever. It’s you that is actually offering nothing beyond sneering and derogatory language. Oh, and endlessly restating ‘that won’t work’.

          Ultimately, other people’s stupidities are not my responsibility. I will endeavour to find a way to communicate with those who don’t want to hear, but the problem is that they don’t want to hear. You included. This is a rather significant stumbling block. I refuse to don a hair shirt because of it.

          For this to then be turned on its head into a ‘it’s all your fault I’m not listening to you’ tantrum/power-trip – this will eventually become ‘it’s all your fault we didn’t listen to you’ – just demonstrates how irresponsible and adolescent your whole approach is.

          If we have to wait for a Social!st revolution to solve the climate problem we’re fried. To quote the contemporary world’s most well-known Marxist cultural critic – Slavoj Žižek – ‘it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of Capitalism. ‘

          As I’ve said before, we may yet find out which is more likely. On historical evidence and current trends you’d have to be an idiot to back the second option.

          So if Capitalism really cannot adapt – or, as I’d argue we’re seeing now, refuses to adapt simply because it’s inherent nature is the bring short-sighted ‘smart idiots’ into positions of power – then we’re squarely rolling towards the cliff of the Club of Rome’s ‘civilizational collapse some time after 2050’ scenario.

          (But as another famous Marxist thinker said ‘pessimism of the intellect: optimism of the will’!)

          So despite the hysteria what we’re actually proposing are changes within our existing frameworks, within both liberal democracy and more specifically their recently massively de-regulated market economies. The onus should actually be on you, as a defender of these economies, to put the case that such ‘tinkering’ will actually make any difference, because all the evidence actually suggests that a more solid intervention now will forestall the necessity of serious interventions – ones that even threaten the political structure of the liberal democracies – later.

          And in the West, given the increasingly massive wealth-disparity and corporatisation of the state I’d frankly be much more concerned about our devolving into something resembling a kind of ‘Friendly’ Fascism fine-tuned by the public relations industry, rather than tilting at the windmills of ‘Social!sm’ because you’ve never let go of the Cold War.

          One obvious point sticks out. Carbon taxes are good, Precisely because they cause the least disruption to our existing system.

          And renewable power systems, and the associated decentralization of generating capacity are good. Theoretically ‘Libertarians’ should whole-heartedly approve, but ‘Libertarians’ are actually self-deluding Authoritarians – we have our own resident example to prove the point – and what they really hate is the idea that the world might no longer be run by selfish rich white men at the helm of mega-conglomerates.

          A notion I suspect you share, if not in such a noxious form.

          You can keep on moaning about ‘eco-babble’ and ‘utopias’, or you can pull your finger out and make a useful contribution. Because at this stage you’re only one notch above andyS…

          1. Lost one to the ridiculous WordPress ‘Good Think’ filter here.

            What does it say about the world that this American software is perfectly comfortable with ‘Nazism’ and ‘Fascism’, but automatically censors ‘Social!sm’ out of a discussion?

          2. “…your side of politics has created this problem,…”

            What complete an utter nonsense. In case you missed it there was massive amount of polution generated out of societies following collectivised policies during the 20th Century. It is the reason why Russia’s CO2 emissions actually fell after the fall of Communism.

            Human activity causes environmental impacts not systems. Your ignorance of this fact is astounding.

    2. Put simply, Andy:

      The intensity of the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is also altered through various feedback mechanisms that can amplify or moderate the system’s response to the changes in radiative forcing.
      For example, the warming influence caused by increases in the concentrations of CO2, CH4, and other anthropogenic
      greenhouse gases can be significantly amplified by a
      positive water-vapor feedback mechanism. This positive feedback occurs because more water vapor can be present in a
      warmer atmosphere, and an increase in atmospheric water
      vapor enhances the greenhouse effect and causes a further
      warming that in turn allows more water vapor to be present in
      the atmosphere.

      Source:The Encyclopedia of World Climatology, p.105

      In more detail:

      Observational Validation of the Water Vapour Feedback in AOGCMs
      The water vapour feedback is a consistently strong positive
      feedback in AGCMs, with absolute humidity increasing
      with warming by an amount that roughly holds relative humidity (RH) constant.
      This matches observations. Observed trends in both surface (Dai, 2006) and lower and middle tropospheric (McCarthy et al., 2009) humidity are very close to what is required to maintain constant RH… Another indication of the reliability of water vapour processes in AGCMs is the excellent agreement found between model-simulated and observed variations in emitted radiation at wavelengths sensitive to the amount
      and distribution of water vapour in the troposphere (the
      6.3 mm brightness temperature) following the eruption of
      Mount Pinatubo in 1991 (Soden et al., 2002)….
      Comparison of AOGCM or AGCM simulations with a variety of observations (or with re-analysis data) indicates that models either slightly overestimate or slightly underestimate the strength of the water vapour feedback compared to the real climate system, depending on the observational dataset used and time period considered

      Source: The Future of the World’s Climate, Second Edition, p.106

  7. Here’s the executive summary then:

    (1) The evidence for dangerous and potentially catastrophic climate change/global warming is overwhelming
    (2) we are too busy to provide that evidence to the “deniers” (50-60% of the world population, possibly)
    (3) we need to form an “elite” that will control the world
    (4) We do not believe in elites, being “communitarian egalitarians”, except in unusual circumstances such as the “climate crisis”
    (5) we don’t have evidence for the “climate crisis”. The evidence is “overwhelming”. But we are too busy to provide this evidence to the serfs, who are of course our equals as “communitarian egalitarians”,,


    1. Yep indeed. AndyS has according to his resume on his website a solid science education and a PhD too. He is here not at all to look for education on matters of climate science since he is perfectly able to access and read all the original science and, given his stance as a blogtivist (activist spreading climate change denial and endless repetitions of old, tried and refuted denier myths on many blogs), is probably about as deeply entrenched in his position across the cultural divide as it gets. Communicating on the matter of AGW with somebody like him is as futile as attempting to communicate evolution, radiometric dating or cosmology to a pentecostal pastor with any hope of opening or changing minds….

      But pathological cases such as this aside, I am convinced that money and economic considerations are the inevitable avenue right to the heart of the AGW denial machine. The effects of AGW are costly and will become a multi-trillion dollar matter in due course. Once people can not find insurance cover for their millionaire holiday castles near the beach or their subdivision proposal for the next mac-mansion development in low lying lands, and once it becomes obvious that the energy revolution we must undertake offers actually the largest business opportunity of the century, the remaining hard core denial will simply become a fringe corner of society not unlike the flat-earther’s societies of the past that we can happily ignore.

  8. So not one person is able to step up to the plate and explain “the science” to the great unwashed.

    What a surprise. It’s hardly surprising that the public are turning off in their droves is it?

  9. I was puzzled by the Kahan paper.It all sounds much like Irving Janis’s Groupthink from 1970.This was well explained as “Collective optimism and avoidance” (Hart)! We’re still very good at this:take a long look at every economic and social crisis–the ongoing EU stuff-up,for instance.While from one dimension only the ‘elites’ can ‘save the world’; from another,the ‘saving’ will go badly because the ‘elite’ is so fallible,especially at across-boundary ramifications.Nonetheless,we will make progress only when we put AGW and economic growth into the same envelope;they’re mates,and get on wth the humongous job of mitigation.

    Peter Cummins

    1. “Nonetheless,we will make progress only when we put AGW and economic growth into the same envelope;they’re mates,…”

      What does this actually mean?

      1. Thank you,Gosman for responding.And, you’re not andyS–heartfelt thankful sigh! AGW and economic growth are mates because fixing (even just trying to in the very short term) the former will lead to the latter,which ever way you test things.My simplest thought experiment is the re-afforestation/biochar/syngas model.Employment opportunties will abound because it’s labour intensive.And,while there are provisos (I’m still trying to pin down pulling the N out of the syngas and making use of it),our balance of payments and GDP will leap as our reliance on oil falls.Plus,the productivity of remaining farmland will soar as we plough the carbon in.We’ve just got to be bold and brave!I’m sure this is not enough for the skeptics but life is lived in the future,not the past.And,I’ve got some tentative ideas about paying for it,too.

        Peter Cummins

        1. Simple answer to your problem about getting your biochar idea accepted. Simply start doing it yourself. If it is economically benefical then others will see this and follow.

      2. Gosman: You are in favor of maintaining the economic growth path. Well, let us assume for a moment that that was sustainable in a one-planet biosphere and get on with the AGW topic on this matter:

        You will agree that the consequences of a 4 Deg warmer world with CO2 levels south of the doubling level will be highly detrimental to the economy. This scenario will see us loose vast and highly populated areas and mega-cities to sea level rise, it will condemn us to enormous disruptions in food supply, migrations of hundreds of millions of desperate people, regional wars over essential requirements to survival and will turn many current fertile lands into wastelands besides acidifying oceans, collapsing ecosystems, causing wide spread increase in fire and weather related insurance losses etc.. and might turn a growing amount of today’s high value lands uninsurable and therefore unable to attract mortgages.

        Now if the main focus of your arguments here is one of maintaining a successful, productive and growing economy in which your descendants will find a great environment in which to run successful and profitable businesses and accumulate great wealth, can you explain how would that aspiration be compatible with the implications of a 4 Degree warmer world?

        Or would perhaps your descendants find a better environment for their private profitable businesses if humanity had succeeded in averting a 4 Deg warmer world scenario and invested instead in a rapid expansion of alternative energy, a fossil fuel free transport and energy system and a sustainable use of our ecological resources?

        In which of the two scenarios would you rather see your children and grand children attempt their take at becoming entrepreneurs of their time?

        1. Just pure eco-babble Thomas. We can solve the “climate and energy crisis” overnight (relatively speaking) by investing in modern nuclear technology such as Thorium

          You are not interested in this because your tedious left-wing nihilist view of the world doesn’t allow for any creativity or hope for humanity

          You and your fellow authoritarians only see endless regulation and the dismantlement of any democratic institutions so that you can satisfy your fetishistic urges to control everyone else’s life.

          By the way, Thomas, since you “teach” AGW to schoolkids, maybe you’d be in an ideal position to explain “the science” to those doubters. Can’t be hard can it? After all, the evidence is “overwhelming”.

          Why don’t you post your class notes here?

          1. We are going in circles Andy. You know that I know that you have according to your website the science education and therefor the ability to read first hand research papers that underlie our current understanding of the climate system and the role our our civilization in it. And since that has left you unconvinced that we are facing a problem due to our actions, how could a condensation of this for high school students impress you or have a remote chance of perhaps changing your mind? Please explain!

            Also with your persistent request to be educated by others on the role of CO2 in our climate system, a search you must have undertaken a review of the literature using first hand research and once again came out unconvinced of the role of CO2.

            It is a pointless exercise for me or anybody else to repeatedly post links to the science you ask for.
            So how about we turn this around: tell us precisely which part of the role of CO2 in the climate system you disagree with and show us the paper that you think got this so wrong.

            1. I am not asking for you to convince me Thomas. I know enough about “climate science” to realise that it is driven by political activists and vested political interests.

              However, this thread is about communicating the science to across the divide.

              Convince them, not me

            2. andyS whined:

              However, this thread is about communicating the science to across the divide.

              Convince them, not me

              There is an old saying:

              You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink

              This perfectly describes andyS and his knowledge of climate science and probably science in general.

              Methinks andyS is facing the wrong way at the water trough, all his so-called knowledge went up the horse’s ass.

            3. AndyS: “Convince them, not me”…

              Finally its out! What difficult birth it has been!

              Thank you Andy for you open admission. It has all been rhetorical time wasting by you then as we all suspected anyway. Thanks for confirming that. We don’t need to actually respond to you anymore…! How great!

              I and many others here will gladly post suitable links to excellent science material to anybody who genuinely asks where to go in the search for climate science.

              In fact one of the best links on the web proper for the searchers might be: where for a long while now some of the best opinion pieces and science summaries and especially the excellent climate shows have provided free education to the public thanks to the huge and excellent effort undertaken by our host!

              Perhaps time to thank Gareth again for all his work!

              So long Andy, its been a great time waster all right with you!

            4. Thomas June 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

              AndyS: “Convince them, not me”…

              I am open to be convinced that climate sensitivity to CO2 is high and dangerous, if that evidence should avail itself to me.
              However, I am unlikely to be ever convinced by anything you say Thomas. My statement that the post-industrial warming of 0.8 deg C occurred in two main periods in the 20th century is factually correct, I believe.
              By making this statement, you claim I have “failed the class”, yet the IPCC says this

              The global average surface temperature (the average of near surface air temperature over land, and sea surface temperature) has increased since 1861. Over the 20th century the increase has been 0.6 ± 0.2°C5, 6 (Figure 1a). This value is about 0.15°C larger than that estimated by the SAR for the period up to 1994, owing to the relatively high temperatures of the additional years (1995 to 2000) and improved methods of processing the data. These numbers take into account various adjustments, including urban heat island effects. The record shows a great deal of variability; for example, most of the warming occurred during the 20th century, during two periods, 1910 to 1945 and 1976 to 2000.
              (my emphasis)

            5. For the rest of the visitors: AndyS got a failing grade as he did not realize that the IPCC page he linked to only considered data until 2000 and not yet the last decade and his observation is obvious and meaningless in the debate.

              And yes the warming since 1910 was interrupted by a period from 1940 to 1970 where partially due to high SO2 emissions of coal firing power stations before the clean air acts CO2 forcing was overcome by other factors.
              For an up-to date temp graph until 2012 GISTEMP here:

            6. Thomas June 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm

              For the rest of the visitors: AndyS got a failing grade as he did not realize that the IPCC page he linked to only considered data until 2000 and not yet the last decade and his observation is obvious and meaningless in the debate.

              I got a failing grade because I forgot to mention the 21st Century warming that, according to the UK Met Office accounts for 0.051 degrees of warming over the last 15 years.

              Ok, so if I resubmit with the caveat that the world has warmed by 0.051 degrees over the last 15 years, do I still get a passing grade?

        2. I have no idea what a 4 degree warming will be on the economy and, with respect, neither do you. Scientists don’t even know what it will mean. They can postulate some theories but much of what they do in this area is little more than guess work. That is not to state there won’t be some major negatives, however there are likely to be some positives as well.

          Regardless of this, I see no problem with relying on largely market based solutions to the challenges of AGW and moving the economy towards a low carbon energy system.

      3. A bona-fide switch to a renewable economy will be the greatest economic driver since the Silicon Revolution of the 80s, but, given its scale and reach, its impact is actually more likely to be akin to an Industrial Revolution (Reprise).

        Why any economic ‘conservative’ wants to stand in the way of all this – as they virtually all do – is beyond my comprehension. Unless, of course, the real issue is aging white males wishing to retain the unprecedented control of the planet they’ve maintained for more than a century.

        Only now are we becoming aware of the extent to which that power has been to the detriment of us all in the long term, whatever benefits the accumulation process may have provided to some – even many – along the way.

        We are now witnessing the culmination of the Great Reaction that began with the ascendancy of Saints Margaret and Ronnie in ’79. One of the apparent founding principles of the Great Reaction is that in the 50 years between the Wall Street Crash and that Great Ascension nothing happened; at least, nothing Reactionaries choose to comprehend, anyway.

        So we have Zombie Economics devoted to turning Recessions caused by idiotically deregulated Markets into Depressions because, um, angry white men, the GOP become Tea Party because angry white men, Climate Change Denial because angry white men, etc..

        If you want a glimpse of the kind of future the accumulated weight of all this Denial – of history, science, biological reality, economic reality, even our common humanity – is delivering us to, look no further than here. Things fall apart… coming to a nation near you before the Century’s end…

        1. What you fail to understand is if you frame this transition in terms of “Collectivised economy good, individualalistic economy bad” you will get the opposition that is being experienced now. If insetad you acknowledge that there is more than one way to skin a cat then you will find it much easier to get movement towards this ‘new’ economy.

  10. That is a good question: “elites” is a very loose definition. Re-badge this group as those with a partisan interest in the debate and who have been most active. Take that to mean leaders in business, science, politics and other disciplines.

    One of the points made by the paper was that an information deficient is not the problem: what matters is the values and peer groups of the most active participants in the debate. Those most active are those with the most partisan interests.

    How to bridge the cultural divide? One approach may be to bring together a broad coalition of those partisan interests (call them “elites” or what ever).

    I suggest this because campaigns to enthuse the public have failed, and will most likely continue to fail. What is needed is “leadership”.

    1. One approach may be to bring together a broad coalition of those partisan interests

      Like the rent-seeking “renewable energy” companies, the carbon trading scam artists, the tranzi politicians sliding their way up the greasy pole, etc etc.

      Yes I can keep these people out of my pockets thank you very much.

      1. And you don’t think that the fossil fuel industry is taking rent out of your pocket then? Or out of the pocket and the well being of future generations? Do you love seeing Exxon profits against the poverty that a 4 Deg warmer world will cause for your descendants?

        1. Thomas, can you tell me what the IPCC think the probability of a 4 degree warmer world is?

          After all, this thread is about “communicating the science”. All I have seen so far are outrageous claims that not even “consensus” climate scientists are making.

        1. I enjoy the fact that someone who has a creepy sounding name like “watching the deniers” thinks he is adding anything to “communicating the science”

  11. Returning to the question at hand, I think the post and paper prompted a range of thoughts form me, in particular what is an effective strategy – or set of strategies – that a) effectively conveys the risks climate change poses to a audience with left/right/liberal/conservative values b) cuts through cultural and cognitive barriers and c) motivates groups to address the issue in a meaningful way.

    My own intuition is:

    There is a limited window to act – at best we have 10-15 years to mitigate the worst aspects of climate change.
    The public is disengaged and/or indifferent – public education campaigns aren’t working. We can’t expect them to magically work in the future.
    There are limited resources – in the current economic era funding, resources and personal will be scarce.

    Thus where should efforts be concentrated?

    What audience needs to be targeted as those in the position to effect the greatest change in the shortest time frames? Exhorting average individuals to turn off light switches and change globes is not a meaningful response to a planetary emergency. If this was a conspiracy to raise taxes and enslave the world’s population and enforce Gaia worship, it’s a woefully inept one (/wink).

    In the back of my mind I’m thinking of the failure of COP15, the fact that CO2 emissions are at record levels and despite all the sound and fury of the debate nothing concrete has been achieved.

    1. There is a limited window to act – at best we have 10-15 years to mitigate the worst aspects of climate change.

      Remind me how much “global warming” we have had in the last 10-15 years and why you think the next 10-15 years will be the “last chance”

        1. How much warming has there been in the last 10-15 years Thomas? It is a really simple question. Use any dataset you want. The Met Office claim a figure as close to zero as makes no difference.

          The world has warmed by 0.8 deg C since pre-industrial times. This warming has occurred in two distinct periods in the 20th Century.
          Do you disagree with this?

          If we cannot agree on basic facts then how can you hope to communicate science to the general public?

          1. andyS asks:

            How much warming has there been in the last 10-15 years Thomas? It is a really simple question. Use any dataset you want.

            How many data sets would you like andyS? How about 5?

            Here is the warming for the past 15 years from 5 data sets:

            HadCrut4 – 0.13 degrees C
            GISS – 0.13
            UAH – 0.13
            BEST (land only) – 0.32
            UAH (land only) – 0.21

            Since most of our food is grown on land, continued rising temperatures will result in lower crop yields.

            What genetic or neuronal deficiency makes people like andyS so dishonest? I often wonder if potential clients of his might read this blog and what they make of his dishonesty.

            1. I was using data from the Met Office. You can check for yourself
              Besides, I backing up my claim that there had been 2 separate periods of gw in the 20 th century which Thomas claimed was wrong

              Which part of your genetic make up makes you call me a liar at every possible opportunity?

            2. What data from the Met Office? You don’t give a link, does this mean that it is a figment of your imagination as usual?

              I call you dishonest because you and the real world go in opposite directions. Do you know what dishonesty is? It is when you know of something (such as you should have read in the scientific literature) then tell the opposite when you report it in blogs.

              It would be nice to do MRI’s of all AGW deniers and see if there is a part of the brain which differs. I’m sure there will be since there are lots of reports of differences in brain scans of people with anti-social behaviour. Care to donate some time for a brain scan and prove my point?


            3. The figure I quoted was from hadcrut3 .
              If you can’t be bothered finding that out for yourself and continue with your incessant abuse then good luck with communicating across the cultural divide.

              As for your ridiculous comment on crop yields, I’ll tell the farmers to reduce the CO2 levels in greenhouses and turn down the thermometers, the exact opposite of what they do now.

              Do you actually work in this field? Incredible

            4. So andyS used HadCrut3 data. I wonder why he decided to pick that data source. Couldn’t be anything do do with cherry picking could it. No no, andyS is too honest to indulge in such dishonest tactics LOL.

            5. Forrester, I thought you’d enjoy that little moment of glory and give you yet another opportunity refer to me as dishonest.

              However, let us return to the original point of all this. I stated that there had been two distinct periods of gw in the 20 th century, separated by a cooling period. I was trying to establish at least some common ground.

              I was told by Thomas that I had failed climate school, and he provided an irrelevant piece of propaganda from skeptical science

              I assume Thomas knows what he is talking about, since he teaches children about this.

              Imthen provided a citation from the IPCC that backed up my claim. I was then told that this was irrelevNt.

              Is there something in the warmest mindset that makes you completely unable to accept anything from the skeptics at all?

              Perhaps we could post David Karolys letter to Steve McIntyre here after the Gergis paper was withdrawn. I note that one has been very quiet here.

            6. Ian, AndyS is a total time waster. He is here to tire out anybody who want to discuss the real issues. He seems to have endless time at his hand to drag people into ever repeating nonsense and this is not the only site he ‘works’ in this way.
              Andy’s sole agenda is to make inflammatory claims laying bait for others then trying to snare them into endless nonsensical tactical rhetoric. Best to leave him alone.
              After battling his stuff for too long I will not answer him directly anymore since he finally admitted that his presence here is not for any genuine purpose but pure rhetoric. Gareth might need to consider if this troll has a place or purpose on his site.

            7. Thomas June 10, 2012 at 10:18 am

              Ian, AndyS is a total time waster. He is here to tire out anybody who want to discuss the real issues.

              What utter garbage. I made a factually correct statement about temperature records for the 20th Century, and you dismiss me out of hand

              It is clear that you and your fellow trolls have no interest in discussing science or “crossing the divide” at all.

  12. Is it possible to get away from the Andy S and Gosman sideshow and focus on something real? How about this:

    “[Air travel] is THE single top personal, unnecessary contribution to Climate Change; killing the planet more in a few hours than all one could save in a year of recycling, bicycling, driving a Pius, … refusing to serve imported java in throw-away cups, etc. combined!”

    “That those who claim to care about fossil fuel abuse and climate will not give flying up, tells you all you need to know about why the other side doesn’t believe us and why we will never win. The right does what they want without shame; we do what we want with shame, and then kick dirt on it like a kitty that just went in its own backyard. It stinks and is destroying the world either way.”

    As I said above – elites have taken up hybrid/electric cars. Prius is now the world’s third best selling car this year.

    Lucy Lawless has done wonders for awareness about Arctic drilling.

    Is it really so hard to see how this works and what needs to be done?

    So consider this. Elites fly. A lot. So, why not even one university, hell, one department in a university, maybe even one prominent academic, one minor Hollywood star, one prominent green organisation – give up flying?

    If you think elites need to lead, and the planet is in peril, what is wrong with this idea? Discuss.

    1. Lucy Lawless has done wonders for awareness about Arctic drilling

      Lucy Lawless was used as a party piece by Greenpeace to drum up support for their campaign. Presumably they got a few to hit the “donate” button on the way through.

      I spent a bit of time looking into this issue. The area Shell are drilling in is about 40m water depth, about as shallow as you can get and an area where jack-up rigs are used. i.e about as safe as you can imagine as this is old and tried technology, a million miles from the Deepwater Horizon prospect

      Greenpeace had a helicopter buzzing around filming this “brave effort” at $1000 an hour, pumping out av gas. Meanwhile our Luce had to catch a flight to Queenstown the next day for a film shoot.

      Meanwhile us “evil deniers” conduct our evil selfish lifestyles by working from our spare rooms and using Skype to work with the rest of the world.

      If only I could be “elite” and afford a Prius and all those horrible batteries that pollute the planet.

      Oh the humanity…

      1. Suggestion to posters: ignore this dross. It’s classic troll baiting. We’ve spent too much time “debating” idealogues. Amusing at times, sure.

        One thing a troll hates: being ignored. They love to rage, insult and waste the time of others.

        Continue the discussion, ignore the static.

        1. WTD, this thread is about “communicating science across the cultural divide”. All you have given us is a circle jerk about how few business trips you take a year, and how you “set an example” by driving a hybrid car.

          Despite the fact that your carbon footprint seems to be somewhat larger than mine, you make these completely unfounded statements that we only have 15 years left to save the planet.

          For some reason I really can’t take you seriously.

        2. I agree. There has been a continuous stream of drivel from one source over the last few months, lowering the standards even further than might be considered possible, given the obnoxious tripe served up by earlier trolls.

      2. Andy, you have become so stupid and strident that you are now nothing but the very caricature of a Troll.

        No-one cares what you think. No-one is ever going to give you the attention you clearly feel you didn’t get as a child (all those decades ago). Nothing can recover the wreck you’ve made of your life, least of all playing ‘The Thing That Wouldn’t Shut Up’ on the internet. And to be consistent with your beliefs you should also promptly refund any public monies that may have gone into your education, not least because the community has not received any – let alone good – value from them.

    2. Spot on!

      I work as a senior manager that used to travel interstate a great deal, but made a conscious decision to cut down my flights considerably. I heavily use teleconferences and the web. Reduces the costs for my company and minimises by CO2 footprint. I may fly for business twice a year at best.

      I also bought a second hand hybrid car late last year that has saved me a great deal on petrol – I fill it up every 3 weeks. I also cycle to work, public transport and even walk (I’m 10km out of city so takes about an hour, lovely walk with an iPod!).

      I earn a very respectable professional salary an as someone who wants to lead by example, these were conscious decisions.

      It hasn’t cost me anything – from a business perspective, I’m reducing costs. From a personal perspective I’m saving money. The gain has been positive.

      I would love to see a major corporation explicitly preference teleconferencing over extensive travel as good for the business/share holder and good for corporate social responsibility.

      I’ve often mused on the creation of a network of professionals that agree to a simple set of goals to help reduce their impact on the environment and show *leadership* – lawyers, academics, scientists, accountants and all stripes of professionals showing the corporate world how to reduces costs and CO2 emissions.

      Committed too simple goals such as:

      – reducing airline travel and telecommuting (and costs)
      – investing their super/savings in ethical investments (redirecting investment)
      – using their considerable purchasing power to preference hybrid/EV vehicles over traditional cars (sending market signals).

      It would be about rejecting the “hirsute” version of environmentalism and promoting are role as early adopters of new technology and solutions that will help us transition to a less carbon intensive society.

      Personally, I’m happy to embrace market and technological solutions. Indeed, I rather like the advanced industrial civilisation that gives me the benefits it does.

      My concern is ensuring the lifestyle and opportunities we enjoy survive and can be enjoyed by even greater numbers of now impoverished people – this can only be down by a proper and realistic consideration of the costs and risks present patterns of resource consumption pose.

      Prudent risk management as opposed to obstinate denial of reality. Indeed, that makes me far more “conservative” than the ideologues at war with reality, science and prudent management.

  13. Excuse some of the typos above. My point is: make this less about recycling tin cans and turning off your lights once a year for “Earth Hour”.

    Let’s talk economics, government, wealth creation and business…

    Wealth creation
    You can talk about investment opportunities: I moved my superannuation and cash into ethical investment vehicles which are performing strongly. Individuals and business can invest, suggest ways to create wealth and “do good”.

    In a period of economic uncertainty and slow/negative growth why not focus on austerity measures to help a corporation’s bottom line and cut expenditure? Cut travel and other costs… cut energy, cut water bills. Reduce paper.

    Let’s make government lean and green: “You mean you want to reduce government expenditure and NOT make a one world bureaucracy?” asks the denier.

    Yes, yes we do.

    Why should we spend tax dollars on travel expenses for civil servants when there is a more cost effective solution in telecommuting?

    Govt. departments should invest in technology and systems that vastly reduce paper usage. That’s a cost to both government departments and the environment.

    We can reduce how much office space government rents, buys and manages at a cost to the taxpayer. Why can’t significant numbers of gov. employees work from home and/or rural “hubs” and telecommute and service their clients in that manner?

    Tell me their isn’t a conservative/fee market apologist who would argue against cutting government spending?

    Intra-city transport and office hours
    The 7-9am and 4-6pm peak hour travel is a burden on transport networks and we consume vast amounts of energy travelling to work, lighting and cooling/heating large buildings…

    Make work hours more flexible by letting people work staggered hours – working 10-6 or 11-7 instead of the traditional 9-5. This will help them chose a variety of transport options and reduce load at peak periods.

    Other thoughts
    Suggest individuals can create “smart” lifestyles” by installing solar, driving hybrids/EVs and even pottering with a small veggie garden.

    Again, just ideas for dicussion.

    1. A mate of mine has managed to become a net exporter of electricity now. A family of three, large vegi garden, selling produce at the local market, very sunny location, hot water solar and otherwise intelligent power use + about $10K in Solar PV and they are now a net producer of electricity on an annual average. This is the way to go!
      Minimization of energy requirements is the key as after that is accomplished supporting what is really needed with Solar is very much achievable.

  14. Thomas – would the $10k PV referred to amount to about 2KW grid tied?

    I have been trying to get interest in doing something about that size but using a certified inverter that would enable a certain proportion of the system to operate offline in the event of a prolonged grid outage which, with ongoing climate change becomes a higher risk than heretofore. I gather there is a suitable candidate built in Australia but have yet to discover which it is. I thought I would be there by now but seem to have some difficulty getting some action.

    However, the building inspector checking out the solar heating cheered me a bit with an ambition to build branded carbon zero homes, if I am not reading too much in what he is thinking.

    I have a plastic water tank but have managed to persuade the timber tank people to provide me a tank pretty well competitive with a good plastic tank in price but I am not sure they will be pushing it commercially, their normal minimum is about 9,000 litres. Mine is just over 4000 litres. A total capacity of 6500 litres is small compared to the drought duration of the 2010 el niño but my collection area is not big enough to justify a larger capacity.. Installation is not a one step process but it may be completed tomorrow. I was told of a project in the islands somewhere, they are part of, which involves substitution of wind and solar PV for diesel, with pumped water storage to provide hydro-power when the others are not performing. This requires two 9 million litre tanks, vertically separated by a hill,.to move water between,. I must find out more.


  15. On communicating climate sensitivity to the ‘great unwashed’.

    ‘Great unwashed’ implies fresh water shortage whether by desertification, aquifer exhaustion, disappearing glaciers or salt intrusion. People in that situation, millions, are already up against climate change, have no interest in the esoterics of climate sensitivity, just want a sustainable water supply.

    No, I suspect andyS is referring to the ‘well oiled’ who have lots they want to hang onto, so prefer not to know. Still, although I took it as a bit of grandstanding with the potential to introduce lots of doubt and misrepresentation, and despite having, with others here, spent years keeping a watch on matters of climate sensitivity, I decided to take another look at what is currently going down but with the thought of simplicity and a bit of wondering about definition of evidence.

    Esentially we have three elements in the equation, temperature change, sensitivity and radiative forcing (regardless of the sources of that forcing).

    We have two main ways (with variations) of evaluating sensitivity, empirical observation and physics based models.

    If two periods of some length where sea-level has been stable, i.e. the climate is in equilibrium, can be found with good data representative of global temperature, then climate sensitivity can be calculated without consideration of feedbacks, an advantage. It is more difficult when the observations are from a periods of climate change, but apparently still possible.

    If models are used then evaluation of feedbacks is important. Each basic approach constrains, illumines and is useful to the other. There are outliers in the results but, although the ranges offered can be several degrees either side the convergence is on 3 degrees for a doubling of CO2.with the greater differences among the models.

    But why not give more weight to the outliers? The closer to reality the sensitivity is taken to be, the better able the science is to model the known past and one infers, predict the future. Essentially the outliers fail when applied to known climate changes of the past. If the sensitivity is about one, say, as the professional denialists are claiming, it is not possible to account for the large climate changes that have occured in the past. They could not have occured.. About 3 has worked best recently so it is more than just an average.

    Of course a great deal of data has to be gathered in making the calculation, it has to be representative, where models are used, over-simple models tend to produce outliers and can’t claim to be more than indicative of the direction of change of some particular forcing being modeled, which is exactly why simple models giving quick results are used.

    So the evidence for a particular sensitivity adds up to an ability to account for known changes in the past although that requires consideable attention to the empirical data on those changes, a situation that appears to me to have improved considerably in recent years.

    Now the above seems somewhat simplistic compared to what I have been reading and as I have carefully avoided looking up texts while writing this I must enquire from those who know more, how close or far from the mark my take on climate sensitivity is.

    Maybe I could test it on the person I refered to earlier in this thread as a denialist although I do not equate him with those whose business is doubt and misinformation, particularly obvious whenever CO2 enters the conversation. Rather his experience is of a different culture, as he has claimed.


    1. Hi Noel,
      I appreciate your response as it addresses the core issue – i,e sensitivity to the climate to CO2 – without ad homs and random links to websites.

      My personal opinion (for what it is worth) is that the historical explanations of previous climate events to determine climate sensitivity to CO2 seems to involve a lot of circular reasoning. I don’t regard climate models as “proof” of anything as they have the assumptions of anthro forcing hard wired in.

      Fundamentally though, the “cultural divide” on climate comes down to risk perceptions, in my view. How likely is it that high climate sensitivity to CO2 will cause major damage to our environment.
      I believe that the cultural divide is split around this risk perception.

      I think some of this has been explored in Mike Hulme’s book “Why we disagree on climate change”, but I have yet to read this so really cannot comment further.

      1. Your ‘opinion’ is a fact. A false one.

        Do your own homework dammit. You’re not just dishonest, you’re lazy. Yes, those are all ad hominems. And true.

        1. I was trying to explain how the cultural divide worked in my opinion.

          I also thanked Noel for his input.
          Your abusive responses are much appreciated.

        2. You seem to be doing quite a good job at destroying yourselves Bill, without any help

          Is anyone going to post a response to the Gergis et al retraction anytime soon?

          Or are you hoping no one will notice?

          1. Woop-de-doo. Perhaps 1 to McIntyre, only putting him down about 300 or so. Earth-shaking stuff.

            Yours is the only side of the argument predicated on single papers that then turn out to be problematic, andy. But then you’ve always got Don Easterbrook and Lord Monckton… 😉

            1. At least David Karoly had the good grace to thank McIntyre. I’ll give him a plus for that.

            1. The paper has been removed from the journal and is undergoing revision following a methodological flaw that was exposed following work from several people including Nick Stokes of CSIRO

              Although it exposes flaws in the peer review, it shows how one can “cross the divide” by opening up data and methodology to external scrutiny that ultimately leads to better science

            2. mustakissa, so it’s removed (taken away) but not retracted (withdrawn). That’s a very fine distinction you make there.

              In any event, the paper was flawed and peer-review was useless in uncovering the flaw(s).

              Perhaps its time to review peer-review.

            3. Bog rot.

              Flawed papers make it through Peer Review all the time; science is a process for increasingly the likelihood of getting the right result, not a blanket claim to perfection. Crimes still happen all the time, too; let’s abolish the Police Force! Guilty people get off: the innocent get jailed – let’s ditch the Courts!

              Endeavouring to whip this one incident into a major event is an indicator of desperation on your part, and not much else.

              How much any revision is likely to affect the results to remains to be seen.

              What is certain is that any ‘retraction’ will have no / nil / nada / zip / zilch / zero effect on the overall science of climate.

              And even if a rethink yields essentially the same results it’ll only be locally confirming what the sane among us haven’t doubted for decades anyway.

              But it’ll be yet another nail in the coffin of Denial – which will also make little difference as you’re all effectively Zombies anyway! Dead but won’t lie down…

            4. McIntyre seems to think that the paper will re-emerge (presumably this is a big ticket item for AR5)


              He claims the following

              So my guess is that they’ll resubmit on these lines and just tough it out. If the community is unoffended by upside-down Mann or Gleick’s forgery, then they won’t be offended by Gergis and Karoly “using the same data for selection and selective analysis”.

              I am not quite sure how this plays out into “another nail in the coffin of denial” when it appears to be a methodological flaw in the statistical technique which has also been identified in medical science, and Prof David Karoly personally thanked Steve M and the others for their work.

            5. Gee, more anti-Mann bile from McI! What a surprise.

              Why the hell shouldn’t the paper ‘re-emerge’?

              Actually, I’m going to alter and extend my metaphor; you guys want to hand law-enforcement over to a combination of Neighbourhood Watch and suburban vigilantes.

            6. Bog rot? Fact remains that internet-based cooperative scrutiny led to the paper being retracted/withdrawn. Would Karoly have been as forthright without it?

              But that was just the first cursory look. The CA guys haven’t even got a look at the proxies yet.

              Then there’s the little problem Gergis et al, Melbourne Water etc have that the South-east Australia climate changed in the 3 yrs it took to compile the paper so that the initial water management project focus in a drought crisis region is now completely lost. From Gergis’ blog June 20, 2009:-

              South-eastern Australia is in the grip of a severe water crisis due to the worst drought in recorded history and increasing temperatures.

              This landmark project brings together a team of Australia’s leading climate scientists, water managers and historians with the common goal of reconstructing south-eastern Australia’s climate history.

              Greatly extended record of annual rainfall and temperature variability will allow better planning for water storage and use, and improved testing of climate model simulations.

              Improving our understanding of the historical impacts of climate extremes on society will assist with planning for life in a hotter and drier future.

              Partner organisations:

              5. Melbourne Water

              That “drier future” is now but the climate regime includes flooding of the Mitchell River where Melbourne Water resisted reservoir construction in favour of an AU$5.7 billion desalination plant.

              If you think the Gergis repercussions are purely about just another flawed paper making it through peer-review – think again.

            7. Discussion of Gergis et al is a million miles off topic in this thread. I’ll post an open thread shortly. Please take all such discussion there.

              Thanks. The management.

            8. > a very fine distinction

              No Richard C2, a huge difference — as you will notice when the corrected paper / corrigendum comes out.

              > peer-review was useless in uncovering the flaw(s)

              Peer review is not replication. It can only spot the obvious flaws, which this was not (though the described use of a non-standard procedure should have put bells ringing)

              But enough on an o/t subject.

  16. Whatever the reason, andyS behaves just like a rent boy doing the pollutocrats’ work…

    AndyS is a total time waster. He is here to tire out anybody who want to discuss the real issues. He seems to have endless time at his hand to drag people into ever repeating nonsense and this is not the only site he ‘works’ in this way.

  17. I concur with Thomas’s June 10 10.18am message.For,it does appear to me that andyS is a sock puppet for a denialist clique.I suggest his objectives are off the genuine,very concerned punter through combat,2.leave a trail of false doubts about the validity of Climate Science–laying road spikes– and 3.,by the combination of 1 & 2 minimising interest in the Hot Topic site.I also think he is paid for this work.The morality of removing his access is clear and overwhelming.
    Peter Cummins

    1. Sure, you can ban me from the site, Rob Taylor can call someone else a “rent boy” (a male who has sex with other males in exchange for board), you can post the personal details of “deniers” to your blog without their consent, and then you can all get back to congratulating each other on how many solar panels and hybrid cars you own.

      1. Poor Andy Scrase, always the victim of those nasty greenies and their totalitarian peacenik Prius-driving revolutionary cadres.

        Must be a nice little earner, tho’….

        1. You don’t need to feel sorry for me Rob. I don’t share your infantile obsession with Rent Boys.

          Is there something you want to tell us Rob? Something about your childhood or your personal life? It seems a recurring theme

          1. Enough trolling, thanks Andy. Please read the comments policy and reflect on the “good faith” clause. And this is a thread for discussion of the above post, not your take on the temperature record.

            1. My question on Hadcrut was in good faith. Asking why it is biased, after someone has claimed it is, seems like a reasonable question.

              Hadcrut is seen by many as a standard dataset. If it is flawed or biased then we should know about it.

  18. Further to climate sensitivity and current warming

    When writing my last post on this I was conscious of a notion that sensitivity may not always be the same but confirmation came rather suddenly this morning. I quote news re Nature paper ‘Late Miocene decoupling of oceanic warmth and atmospheric carbon dioxide forcing’:

    “The research shows that, in the last five million years, changes in ocean circulation allowed Earth’s climate to become more closely coupled to changes in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

    The findings also demonstrate that the climate of modern times more readily responds to changing carbon dioxide levels than it has during the past 12 million years.

    andyS – hardwired means the computers are made with that code permanently installed in their construction – I am being litteral of course – but the models are constructed on the physics, not assumptions. Nor would a scientist claim they prove anything – proof is for mathematics and claims of proof are used in courts along with evidence, science talks of evidence, errors, and uncertainties with measures of each. What is claimed and demonstrated is that models cannot be consistent with the current warming history without including anthropogenic warming via greenhouse gasses.

    You will have to explain exactly what you mean by circular reasoning. I find it hard to see how the formula for climate sensitivity can be circular. It only has three terms and two can be derived empirically.

    As to a question as to whether or not climate change will be dangerous: it already is and we are only just bordering on one degree of warming.

    Concerning the recent history of warming, you are on suspiciously weak ground quoting Hadcrut3 with it’s known cool bias and ignoring it’s replacement (still with a cool bias but less of it) and ignoring the other data sets. To the point however, although aerosols can temporarily bring about some cooling or more often slow down warming they do not somehow stop the accululation of CO2 which is what we are really discussing. So despite aerosols and despite a prolonged la niña, USA is experiencing all-time record spring temperatures and 2010, the last el niño year, despite it being only a moderate el niño, stands as the warmest year on record. I am preparing for the next el niño, and for the probability of extreme events coming my way sometime. I am not there yet but I am pleased whenever an wherever people are so doing regardless of the behaviour of politicians and their inability to set selfish short term interests aside and become responsible to humanity. Perhaps It is more on the question of responsibility – the ability to respond – that the cultural divide lies, not on the esoterics of climate science.

    OT but of interest re the above, the mini hydro/wind/solar project I referred to earlier is taking place in Rarotonga, an international aid project I gather. It is meant as a template for a number of other projects of a similar nature – Rarotonga may have 5 such installations later.


        1. Sorry bill. Temperature records are off topic.
          However, feel free to prattle on about solar panel, Prius cars, windmills and rent boys, as these are apparently on topic

  19. Noel – on Miocene climate: I haven’t read the paper, but the news blurbs I’ve read thus far seem a tad unconvincing. Lots of if, buts and maybes from the authors. Why was the climate only disconnected from CO2 during the Miocene? It certainly was prior to, and after, the Miocene.

    And as far as recent warming is concerned, don’t forget that despite an increase in pollution aerosols in the ‘noughties’ (accounting for some of the slower surface warming and global sea level trend), and the preponderance of La Nina in the last 6 years or so, the oceans continue to accumulate heat at the rate of around two Hiroshima bombs per second. That heat will come back to haunt us (so-to-speak).

    1. “the oceans continue to accumulate heat at the rate of around two Hiroshima bombs per second”

      Thanks, that is a ‘cool’ (pun intended) analogy. And yes, this is the elephant in the room that people don’t seem to take as serious as it is.

      1. Thomas – looking at the Australian BOM and NOAA, they both anticipate El Nino to develop later in the year – possibly August/September. This means some of that heat in the ocean is going to be given up to, and warm, the atmosphere. We might have a new global surface temperature record this year, or more likely next year. But what if this marks the beginning of an El Nino dominant period? A lot of fence sitters will find themselves aligning with the climate scientists in the next few years if this does happen, the consequences will be hard for rational people to ignore.

        1. Yes, I guess there will be a clear correlation between the the occurrence of El Nino / La Nina periods along the temperature incline and the communication indicators across the “cultural divide”… 😉
          From the data it look indeed that we should be due for a El Nino period.

    2. Dappledwater – I have been asking the same question; ocean currents just move things about rather than cause anything long term – still I’m always interested to learn more.

      On warming I should have explicitly added the point about ocean heat accumulation but in pursuing a point one often does not pause to make a fully comprehensive statement so thanks for that. It is important as we know, and is what the the next el niño will make plainer if it is not plain enough already.


  20. Dappledwater – I had some trouble making my last post and have only just read your reference to the next el niño which thought has often been raised recently in face to face discussions – I referred earlier to the way mitigation actions create conversations.


  21. andyS – you ask “Why do claim that the Hadcrut datasets have a cool bias?”

    Wow! where’ve you been? though maybe you have found out by now? The subject has been somewhat intensively discussed and reported on for some time, but I note you use a plural “datasets” and do not specifically mention hadCRUT3 The bias refers to the absence of arctic data sampling – where warming is greatest – from hadCRUT3. hence an increasing bias in this respect since about 1980. HadCRUT4 has added a number of stations around the arctic to the record so 1998 has been demoted as warmest year. That a bias remains is that they still do not include atmosphere sampling over the ice – I believe there is an altitude requirement, something like 1000 metres to avoid latent heat effects.

    There are a number of quite exhaustive articles on the subject of hadCRUT3 bias and it’s correction on the net. I’m not sure how hadCRUT4 goes with respect to the Antarctic but at the back of my mind is the thought that warming tends to decrease the temperature gradient between the tropics and the poles so statistical sampling has to incude the poles – difficult regions to get good data from.


    1. The lack of arctic data is caused by what? Lack of arctic stations perhaps?

      How does Gisstemp get the data? Does it have access to Stations that are not accessible to Hadley CRU? Or does it interpolate from other stations?

  22. Most people who refuse to accept climate change probably do so because they know that they’re just as dependent on fossil fuels as Exxon is, and can’t see any way out of it. ‘Brave New Climate’ blog has convinced me they’re right, if the only alternative is renewable energy sources; wind and solar currently supply less than a fifth of one percent of energy use worldwide, and in most places rely on natural gas ‘back-up’ which gives a lot more power over the year than they do. If it’s so hard to decarbonise electricity, what hope for transport and industry? Faced with a choice of climate Armageddon or back to the cave, people put on the rosy spectacles of denial.
    Blogs like ‘Brave New Climate’ and ‘Energy from Thorium’, and people such as George Monbiot and David ‘Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air’ Mackay, suggest that nuclear energy could power a modern civilization without wrecking the ecosystem or costing the earth, but the message doesn’t get much media time.
    AndyS – for a very erudite, and very courteous, discussion of climate science, try ‘Science of Doom’

    1. In terms of communicating science, I have seen many claims against renewables such as
      ‘wind and solar currently supply less than a fifth of one percent of energy use worldwide, and in most places rely on natural gas ‘back-up’ which gives a lot more power over the year than they do’
      but have to ask, in what way do you think that this is evidence to support a case against intermittent renewable generation?
      Wind and solar work on many grids around the world. If you are bothered that at present, as you claim, they are less than a fifth of one percent of energy use worldwide (Matt Ridleys Gish Gallop in the Spectator by any chance?), would you be happier if they continued to be built but only connected at some arbitrary higher penetration of your choosing?
      Gas Backup? If you add more wind power to a grid dominated by gas generation such as the UK, CO2 emissions are reduced as less fossil fuel is burnt. Check the UKERC, the only claims that wind increases gas consumption are laughable reports such as the recent one by Civitas. It is truly sad that so many endorse the fabrications such as those by Civitas rather than engage with the science. Communicating the scaremongering because thats what you want (wind NIMBYs) or thats more fun (the little papers).
      Mackay has been extensively quote mined for anti wind farm rhetoric, but go and read his work for yourself and there is no support for an anti wind stance.
      Remember, if you are not objective, you have little prospect of communicating science, and will be left like andyS grumbling ‘birdchoppers etc’ again and again.

      1. Beaker- I have read Mackay, and played around a bit with his CO2 reduction policy simulator. As might be expected, throwing in more nukes, with a similar CO2 footprint to wind but with a 90% capacity factor, mostly programmable, compared to a 30% capacity factor, available completely at random, and with a 60 year operational life compared to 25, comes out as a much more effective tool than wind.
        You have me pegged as an anti wind NIMBY. I actually quite like windmills, and have done a bit of work helping a friend assemble and erect one, but without plenty of dispatchable clean power, which realistically means hydro, they cannot lead to a zero carbon grid. Saying build them now and affordable storage or biomass will come along someday is little different from building gas plants with a few pious words about carbon capture in the sweet bye and bye.
        Before Germany shut down half their nuclear plants, some of the power suppliers were paying the nuclear generators extra to throttle back the reactors ( which run best at full power, with no extra CO2 emissions) to make room for the intermittent wind and solar generators when they were having a good day. The renewables would get a generous feed in tariff, courtesy of the consumer, without any real greenhouse gas reduction.
        Similarly with gas plants, which can be open cycle, just a jet engine with a generator, about thirty percent efficient, or combined cycle, with a steam generator included, about fifty percent efficient. It takes time to heat the water to boiling for the combined cycle, so if you’re building a plant to ramp up and down quickly to counterbalance a wind farm you choose open cycle. But if you’d built closed cycle, the more efficient operation would emit on a par with wind farm and open cycle combined; if you’d built a reactor, there’d be no operational emissions at all except the workers driving in.

        1. Argh Capacity Factor again, at least you are not calling it efficiency, but you seem to think it is some measure of wind turbine quality. Think about it, if you replaced the 2MW generator from a typical utility scale wind turbine with the hub dynamo from a bike, the energy capture of the turbine blades would remain unchanged, but the generator would be at maximum output 85%+ of the time. Tiny power output but a big capacity factor, would you think that was good? The things that matter are the power output, its marginal cost and CO2 emissions.
          I pegged your arguments as common to NIMBYs and the little newspapers, you identified yorself with the NIMBYs rather than the little papers and clientell.
          No one suggests that building wind turbines and having nothing else is a workable soloution. Wind turbines are being added to existing grids where they displace generation from the existing generators reducing fuel use – a good thing to do!
          Your claim that before germany shut down many of their nuclear plants they had to reduce their output to make way for wind power is just plain daft. In 2008, nuclear made up about 1/3 of german power generated, wind less than 10%. Germany is also repleate with interconnectors with its neighbours, and low spot price power is attractive to neighbours. Your claim is puffed up nonsence.
          CC v OC gas – You are ignoring that grids are built to respond to consumer demand, and rapid response plant such as OC gas are required to cover demand spikes until other slower responding but cheaper sources takeover. The CC and OC gas generators are already on the grid, and the variability of demand is more abrupt than variability of wind generation. Your arguments do not add up, there is no evidence behind them, no science to communicate.
          From your toying with Mackay’s policy simulator, did you find anything to suggest not adding onshore wind to the grid?

          1. The claim about German nukes being ramped down to make way for renewables was a quote from someone who heard it at an industry conference- I found it while trying to find how flexibly a PWR could be run. No idea how common a practice it was.
            Variability of demand may be more than variability of renewable supply, but adding the two together is going to increase the need for open cycle, and so gas consumption.
            New Zealand gets about fifty percent of electricity production from hydro, the UK less than three percent, so if you want to avoid gas lock in, the amount of wind generation should be commensurate with that.

            1. Dear John ONeil, on a post concerning Communicating Science, you have made extraordinary claims for which your source is “…a quote from someone who heard it at an industry conference” An anonymous 3rd party anecdote, not communicating science.
              Your claims are very similar to those I hear from the most petulant NIMBYs, determined to brandish any argument against wind turbines, with any evidence contradicting their reckless remarks only entrenching their commitment to this scaremongering activity. As an example you could follow the use of the term ‘birdchoppers’ on this blog by a regular.
              You and others may find this recent document of interest, It addresses many of the zombie arguments in a cool and objective manner.
              As for your connecting wind and hydro capacity together, does that mean that you think NZ should build lots more wind? You should read up on the plethora of balancing mechanisms that we have now (often in advance of any wind power) and in development. These include frequency response services where large commercial users temporarily cut consumption to smooth out spikes in demand. I understand that in NZ many homes have a ripple switch that acts the same way. Smarter consumption of power at low marginal costs is also on the way. For industries such as N fixing, this is the best way forward with small distributed plants displacing the massive oil and gas powered plants in the Gulf States.

            2. Beaker June 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm

              With respect to my “birdchopper” terminology, I use this as a general pejorative term to express my disdain – in a short compact fashion – for what I perceive to be an environmentally destructive energy technology that is intermittent, expensive, detrimental to human health, makes operators and landowners rich at the expense of the public resulting in fuel poverty, releases CO2 from peat bogs in Scotland that may be more than the CO2 “saved” by wind. uses expensive backup power from OGCT that may result in more net CO2 emissions overall than CCGT alone and may cost 10 times as much as CCGT (source: Prof Gordon Hughes Edinburgh University), kills endangered species of birds etc etc etc.

              I am sure you will agree that “birdchopper” is a more compact description that is used in a similar way that “denier” is used to describe anyone who deviates from the politically correct mantra on AGW, whether it be in paleoclimate, public policy, or which websites, newspapers and blogs you read.

              You may also use the term “NIMBY” to describe anyone who criticises wind energy in any shape form whatsoever, even if, like me, you live nowhere near a wind energy facility or are never likely to.

              I hope that clarifies matters, and you don’t need bother with my “zombie arguments”. Obviously you will have rebuttals and debunkings; I’ll take that as read.

              My post was for elucidation of the terminology used.

            3. andyS boasted:

              My post was for elucidation of the terminology used.

              Too bad that everyone of your uses of the terminology was completely wrong and insulting.

              They are not “birdchoppers” since there are ways to limit bird wind turbine interactions. Denier is an accurate description of people like you who supposedly should be aware of the science since you claim to be educated but deny it and claim that it is wrong. Dunning Kruger or just that you like to cash all the cheques you get from CO2 producers?

            4. They are not “birdchoppers” since there are ways to limit bird wind turbine interactions.

              The following ways can be used to limit these:
              (1) Build them away from ridges where raptors soar. Several species of Golden and Sea eagle have been killed, some close to the point of extinction, because of inappropriate siting

              (2) Don’t build them at all

              As for your accusation that I get paid for anything by CO2 producers, I can’t deny that since everyone is a CO2 producer. If you are concerned about this, then I suggest you give up any aspect of modern life that depends on fossil fuels completely. This included wind energy, of course.

            5. Perhaps you could add Birdchopper to your portfolio of usernames.
              Anyway, back to communicating science, a long list of the usual scaremongering with a few ‘what I perceive’ ‘may be’ and ‘may result’ caveats thrown in. Are you starting to show a little embarrassment with this regurgitating of standard NIMBY claims?
              environmentally destructive, expensive, detrimental to human health – Back these claims up please, particularly the detrimental to human health claim. Circulating health scares is odious even by your standards (See Bill’s catalogue of your activity on these pages).
              makes operators and landowners rich at the expense of the public resulting in fuel poverty – Would you prefer that the wind turbine operator did not pay the landowner a market rate? Evidence on wind power pushing people into fuel poverty please.
              releases CO2 from peat bogs in Scotland that may be more than the CO2 “saved” by wind – Please point to any proposed wind farms in Scotland on Peat Bogs that are not already seriously degrading, and that have no effective mitigation for peat erosion and/or draining.
              kills endangered species of birds – Please point to any consent for a wind power project that dismisses potential impact upon the population of an endangered species of bird (have you actually read up on that Oregon consent condition yet?)
              uses expensive backup power from OGCT that may result in more net CO2 emissions overall than CCGT alone and may cost 10 times as much as CCGT (source: Prof Gordon Hughes Edinburgh University) – hurrah, a source. One piece of work, an outlier result from which you use to gainsay the other academic work in the field and actual observation of wind generation on power grids. I suppose we should welcome the baby steps in the right direction.
              intermittent – just like power demand. this is a problem because…
              This is a post on Communicating Science, and you are recklessly flinging around scare stories. You are a twit.

            6. Beaker June 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm

              No I can’t be bothered backing up any of my claims

              I have done so repeatedly, but all you do is dismiss me out of hand

              I have learned not to bother arguing with wind developers, it is a waste of time.

            7. By the way, just a random link I clicked on(whilst looking for something else unrelated) had a poll


              Yes, wind farms do not work 91.93% (3,579 votes)

              No, we need to invest as much as possible in renewable energy 8.07% (314 votes)

              So it looks like someone needs to “communicate the science” to those 91.93% of “NIMBYs” that think wind is a waste of time.

            8. Here is another bit of evidence that I was just coincidentally reopening, that relates to one of your reckless claims above, the one on windfarms degrading peat.
              “No I can’t be bothered backing up any of my claims
              I have done so repeatedly, but all you do is dismiss me out of hand
              I have learned not to bother arguing with wind developers, it is a waste of time.”
              Priceless, we wind farm developers have the temerity to counter your scaremongering and reckless unfounded claims with evidence, thereby wasting your time. We truly are the scum of the earth! Thank you so much for putting that comment on the Communicating Science post.
              “So it looks like someone needs to “communicate the science” to those 91.93% of “NIMBYs” that think wind is a waste of time.” 91.33% of the small self selecting sample group of people who click voting buttons on a Telegraph web page. Enjoy the comments below the line, you will find yourself in agreeable company, just like at Bishops Hill.
              For anyone else still reading this, some of the comments in the Telegraph following any wind power of global warming article have to be seen to be believed, including the abuse of any journalist who does not share their strict Dellinpole dogma.

            9. Beaker June 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm

              By the way,I have noted the general degradation of comments on both the Daily Wail and the Failygraph, not just with regard to wind energy or climate change, but anything to do with the incumbent government whatsoever.

              A recent article by George Osborne (UK Chancellor of the Exchequer) in the Failygraph, suggested that the UK would not lend any more money to bail out EU banks or countries.

              This is of course ridiculous, as Spanish banks have just been bailed out to a tune of $100 billion EUD but potentially rising to $450 billion EUD we are told. This money comes from the IMF, which of course comes, at least partly from the UK

              The fact that the “government” of the UK is so thick that they actually believe the people of the UK think that their money is not being spent on bailing out failed banks and other crony capitalist projects is just amazing

              The specific article I a am referring to had various comments about Mr Osborne that passed moderation by the Failygraph mods that included one that he be “knifed to death and his head put on a spike”

              Welcome to the 21st Century folks, this is going to be a fun ride

        2. Eh, the rapid fluctuations (one day or less) are best taken care of by pumped hydro, which can respond fast (this is also the solution with nuclear, to shave the diurnal consumption peak).
          Gas turbines are for longer term intermittency.

            1. Data from one day, Andy? Can you really not do better?
              In the UK there’s the ‘Electric Mountain’ in Wales, originally built for nuclear peak shaving.
              I was wrong though in one respect: it isn’t just pumped hydro but all hydro that can respond to rapid fluctuations. And total power produced is an almost irrelevant metric for its usefulness in doing so.

            2. mustakissa June 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm
              Data from one day, Andy? Can you really not do better?

              I would be happy to cut and paste the entire years data into a comment if it made you happy.
              I go to this page quite a bit and the story is generally the same. The major variability in the UK grid is the share between coal, nuclear and CCGT. I have never seen OCGT above zero, and wind is usually below 5%

              I don’t think I have ever seen PS above zero

            3. > I don’t think I have ever seen PS above zero

              Then today will be a first for you Andy… go look quickly 🙂

              I see in the same link, table “Generation By Fuel Type (table)” “last 24 hours”:

              PS (pumped storage) 1.4%
              NPSHYD (non-PS hydro) 0.5%

              and the following graph “Generation By Fuel Type (graph)” shows that PS is indeed used for diurnal peak-shaving. That would be Electric Mountain, Wales. The non-PS hydro will be mostly Scotland.

              Yes, OCGT is at zero. Good. Hydro is doing that job.

            4. …and again, studying the graph (interesting!) I see that the highest value over the last 24 h for pumped storage is 1.7 GW (in half-hour no. 34 yesterday), almost the Electric Mountain nameplate rating of 1.8 GW . This is 5% of the total.

            5. mustakissa June 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm
              AndyS I forgot to thank you for linking to a very interesting website.

              You’re welcome. My snapshot today shows PS at 0.5% and wind at 0.5% Woohoo I got PS above zero!

              In terms of Pumped Storage, I saw some studies from the University of Strathclyde that the UK had enough PS capacity for 15% wind penetration into the grid.

              Beyond that and it might struggle to find any more PS in the UK. There are some existing hydro schemes that could be converted to PS maybe.
              Norway is the closest large hydro capability but the interconnector to Norway is still in the planning stage I think.

              Switzerland uses PS to buy cheap French nuclear at night and sell it back in the day when it the spot price is higher.

      2. People focusing on the supply side of power only miss the main point: The future of the electricity grid is a smart grid with smart appliances and smart meters. Your freezer will ‘know’ when power is cheap and abundant and ramp down its temperature to allow for a pause when power is expensive. Likewise your fridge, any sort of storage heating (water, home heating) etc. Demand flexibility is an important part of supply flexibility. In a smart grid solar, wind and tidal power will find a much better integration capability.
        Further demand reduction is a major component of the future grid. Many homes and industries still run inefficient appliances and lighting or waster power. And also in the end, some the conveniences of our time such as any-power when-ever out of the grid will simply become very costly. Smart meter can charge customers according to their ability or lack of the same to adapt their daily or weekly routines to the price – read availability – time variable power. And price will quickly drive behavior adjustments.

    2. The big and the small

      Inspired by John ONeil 🙂

      In just about every issue the illusion of futility of the individual, or of the few, is a drawback to action. Figures showing how small a part of the scene we are, are also illusions, ignoring potentials.

      Don’t kill off what can be done by denying the small because you see the power of something big. Even a rich kid might hesitate to include a thorium reactor in the portfolio of possibilities. That a US government actually killed off work in the direction of fourth generation reactors is a monument to silliness and lack of vision. I can see the need for this too.

      Yet change takes all sorts, and when it comes to energy, it should be clear action is required on all scales, fitting a huge variety of circumstances.

      Just to bring forward something in the range of the individual: I am struck by the fact that all major spiritual disciplines I’ve inquired into require in some way the end of the rule of desire, the end of attachments. Now there’s a culture change. What could be more fundamental to the issues of economy and climate change than such a change in the individual, more scary to advertisers, more threatening to greenhouse gas generating consumerism, and what could seem to be more futile?

      I once sent a poem to a lady in USA who was feeling futile in the face of the dire doings of the great:


      Oh insignificant individual
      If you have goodwill toward your fellows
      You are a most influential person.
      Do not trouble about important people
      Who are the product of the status quo.
      But seek to understand the parts all play
      And tend with loving care your own garden
      Your contribution of thought and goodwill
      Mingling with the scents of other gardens
      Perfumes the air we all breathe.

      © Noel Fuller, September 14, 2001


    3. John, thanks for the reading tips. I agree that SoD is a courteous discussion. There are those that don’t agree with the material presented, but at least it is well laid out.

      On your points on nuclear – I completely agree and have been following “energy from thorium” and other blogs for some time. Tom Fuller’s 3000quads is quite good too.

      However, I think it is possible to completely decouple discussions of CO2AGW science and energy policy. We need to plan for a rapidly going population, especially in China and India. Whether we have climate Armageddon, mild warming, cooling or nothing at all, we still need to plan for how we are going to achieve the energy needs without going to war or digging up every last part of our country (and that includes with plastering the country with concrete and steel windfarms) ,

  23. > Beyond that and it might
    > struggle to find any more PS in the UK

    But then there is gas turbines… PS should only be used for compensating high-frequency variability — like 1.3 GW in 12 seconds! CCGT handles anything from hours upward. Using those two together and there should be no upper limit to wind grid penetration…

      1. .

        Eh, this is Scotland, not the UK. But anyway… it says

        > It was also considered that a certain amount of ‘flex’ was
        > available from thermal generation and this was taken as 4%.

        Within this constraint I’m sure the conclusion follows 🙂

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