How to be a denier: lesson #1 (shrivel and die)

One of Hot Topic’s favourite sceptics is NZ C”S”C member Roger Dewhurst, best known for turning up from time to time to unload links to the denier meme du jour (and for his carefully cultivated grumpy old man persona). Yesterday morning he sent me a link to this “interesting” document prepared by Dr David Evans, one of Australia’s more active cranks (he’s Joanne Codling aka Nova‘s partner, for a start). Evans’ latest assault on reason is a series of papers asking Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? His answer’s easy to guess…

Let’s ignore the main paper (it’s nonsense) and examine Evan’s promotion of his conclusion. In an email to a climate sceptic list he wrote:

The climate corruption paper is finally finished:

It’s simple and pictorial, with a minimum of words, perfect for lay
people. It answers the usual objections of warmists, and focuses on the
corrupt behavior of the climate establishment.

Actually it makes heavy use of pictures of US weather stations culled from Anthony Watts “Surface Stations” project, and pretends that they prove the temperature record’s being fiddled. It isn’t, of course, and Watt’s own data proves it (pdf).

A “breakthrough”, says Ray Evans of Australia’s Lavoisier society.
Christopher Monckton: “trenchant paper saying exactly what needed to be
said about the corruption of the scientific process”.

Trenchant? More of a trencher, I’d say…

If this material gets widely distributed, support for man-made global
warming would shrivel and die within a year because no one will trust
the climate “scientists”.

Now there’s a hostage to fortune. Within a year, eh? But Evans has the perfect get out of jail clause — his paper will not (conceivably under any circumstances) have been widely enough distributed to have had its full effect. I am therefore pleased to aid his cause, because, well, it would be great if global warming would shrivel and die. Nobody would want to “support” that, would they?

There is also a “what you can do”, instigating an email campaign, at

If you like it, please spread it around.

And Dewhurst duly did his bidding. Now we’re getting to the crux of the matter — Evans wants the world to send his falsehoods to politicians. The NZ C”S”C offer more from the author explaining his motivation for publishing this magnum opus.

To win the political aspect of the climate debate, we have to lower the western climate establishment’s credibility with the lay person. And this paper shows how you do it. It simply assembles the most easily understood points that show they are not to be entirely trusted, with lots of pictures and a minimum of text and details. It omits lots of relevant facts and is excruciatingly economical with words simply because the lay person has a very short attention span for climate arguments.

The strategy of the paper is to undermine the credibility of the establishment climate scientists. That’s all. There is nothing special science-wise, and there is nothing in it that most skeptics haven’t heard before. It’s aimed squarely at lay people, and answers the usual objections they have to listening to us or believing us.

In other words, it’s a straightforward smear campaign. No science involved. No reasoned argument. Pure, unadulterated PR, with lots of willing little Dewhursts out there to spread the message. One year on from the release of emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, it seems that the stooges of inaction are not afraid of revealing their true face.

Politics is everything. The truth is worth nothing to the ideologues of denial. I hope the ghost of disasters yet to come haunts them all this Christmas.

88 thoughts on “How to be a denier: lesson #1 (shrivel and die)”

  1. Words are not the only things this lot are ‘excruciatingly economical’ with!

    How many of our resident ‘skeptics’ will proudly rally to this tawdry little pennant, I wonder?

  2. Perhaps scientists should counter this with photos of prominent deniers alongside pictures of packets of cornflakes – as that’s where most of them probably obtained their degrees.

  3. … or compile a catalog of them with their actionable rants nicely prepared as court evidence to be used once these scoundrels will be readily convicted by their peers for treason against the prospects of future generations to inherit a livable planet. Evans apparently has just provided his own admission of guilt by openly admitting to being the originator of a smear campaign designed to pervert the course of action to prevent predictable harm to our planet and the prospects of future generations.

    How about we hand his file to the courts in Islamabad (among others) so that the early victims of climate change may find some satisfaction in going after those knuckleheads who tread their prospects with so much disdain and bad will. A fatwa by an Ayatollah might look like a walk in the park compared to the understandable anger of the survivors of Pakistan’s floods, heatwaves and starvation in the coming decades.

    The time will come when the rants of these people will no longer be filed under crankery but under actionable malice.

    1. Well? What are you waiting for? Do it. Compile your little STASI dossier. Trundle off to a Pakistani madrasseh and deliver your paleo-Marxist fulminations. I’m sure the assembled will be amused at such an entertaining distraction from Koran recitation.

  4. “Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt”
    Aimed at people with an IQ of around 80 I would guess. No reasoning, just pictures, which could be from anywhere, and no explanation of any adjustments that may be made, just pure utter drivel.
    Unfortunately this is the sort of PR that minority, cultist, fundamentalists produce all the time. With increasing income inequality, in almost all Developed Countries, those in the lower socio-economic strata are proving only to willing to grasp any “conspiracy”, or straw that they can. (See “The Spirit Level” – Why Equality is Better for Everyone. By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett). That is where this sort of rhubbarb is focussed.

    1. Yes, history is replete with examples of scared, powerless people being willing to swallow simplistic messages blaming the most unlikely parties for their (relative) misfortunes, and elite manipulators of all stripes taking advantage of this. The rise of the Tea Party is another manifestation of this – what the Marxists would refer to as ‘false-consciousness’, albeit in a generally higher demographic.

  5. Evans is a classic crank.

    But it’s not just his view on climate science that is an issue. He believes the world is run by small group of “banking families” who want to usher in an age of hyper-inflation.

    Re the above document, I’ve reviewed it… same old, same old. It simply collects the very same arguments that Nova posts, reposts and posts again on her blog. They’ve been dismissed multiple times. Boring stuff actually.

    However, Evans presented this paper at a think tank funded event in Sydney (Heritage and Institute of Public Affairs) in early October.

    Noted “conservative” columnist Miranda Divine then recycled his talking points in an article in the Melbourne Herald Sun (tabloid with the largest circulation figures):

    “…As the brilliant Perth-based mathematician David Evans, who wrote the Government’s carbon accounting program when he worked at the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) told a climate seminar last week, the temperature record is based in part on suspect readings.At a seminar by the American climate sceptic think tank, the Heartland Institute, in Sydney on Friday, Evans displayed images of temperature measuring stations around the world, including in Melbourne and Sydney, which stand next to heat-generating air conditioners, freeways and asphalt runways.”

    It isn’t “science”, the document is fodder for lazy/uncritical journalists and deniers. For me a perfect example of how the denial machine works.

    Still, my favorite Evans paper is his one on the secret global conspiracy that wants to usher in an age of hyper-inflation:

    This is Evans own words:

    “…There are a small number of families who, over the centuries, have amassed wealth through financial rent seeking. They are leading members of the paper aristocracy.

    For example, the Rothschild’s are the biggest banking family in Europe, and were reputed to own half of all western industry in 1900. That sort of wealth doesn’t’t just dissipate, because unless the managers are incompetent the wealth tends to concentrate.

    The banking families don’t work for a living in the normal sense, like the rest of us. They avoid scrutiny and envy by blending in and make themselves invisible. Since they own or influence all sorts of media organizations, it isn’t’t too hard. There are unsubstantiated rumors and conspiracy theories, but nobody can really credibly say how much wealth and influence they have…

    …Perhaps today’s fiat currencies—the US dollar, pound, yen and so on—will go up in smoke in an inflationary crescendo in the next few years, perhaps as planned by the paper aristocracy. Maybe they will reintroduce an asset backed currency.

    And guess who has all the gold?

    Those banking families have been salting it away for years. Possibly a global currency, so one cannot escape the predations of the paper aristocracy. This is not just about money, but about power, of course. Anyway, these are only unsubstantiated rumors. We shall see.”


    Evans believes that:

    – “Maybe” (like all conspiracy theorists he heavily qualifies his statements so as not to appear too crazy) a cabal of families that have been running the world for the last few centuries.
    – That “maybe” they want to usher in an age of hyper-inflation to impoverish everyone else.
    – That “maybe” they’ve been hording gold in order to ensure they retain control of the world economy.

    Evans and Nova operate a gold selling company called “Gold Nerds”, no doubt convinced of the need to horde the yellow staff and protect themselves from the predatory “bankers”.

    Honestly, it all smells of extreme right-wing/paranoid conspiracy mongering. Nova and Evans have – to say the least – an “interesting” view of the world.

    We need to pay more attention to the beliefs and public statements of the likes of Evans – clearly these people are delusional.

  6. I`ve been away a while attending another form of natural disaster in Christchurch and its no comfort to see the Dewhurst Drivel being perpetuated. Personally I would desist from promulgating any form of the intellectually deficient garbage Dewhurst and his ilk produce.
    He and his kind are akin to suicide bombers to whom I have no objection. More than happy for them to blow themselves up and would buy the explosives for them to do so as long as they stop killing innocent people in the process.
    So deny if you must Dewhurst but do it in Pakistan or Moscow (or a hundred other climate change induced disaster centers) where more than likely you will be introduced to some real life undeniable fact on the effects of climate change on the human populous.
    That is the legacy you are sanctioning for future generations.

    1. So R2, are you happy to support Evans’ call for a campaign to label all climate scientists as corrupt? Or are you going to turn a blind eye to that, just as you didn’t for the CRU emails.

      The troposphere is warming. Evans analysis is well past its use by date.

      “Looking at observed changes in tropospheric temperature and climate model expectations over time, the current evidence indicates that no fundamental discrepancy exists, after accounting for uncertainties in both the models and observations,”

      Source: NOAA

      1. Gareth, a recent paper suggests the troposphere is warming as expected:

        Changes in the sea surface temperature threshold for tropical convection

        “The change in tropical upper atmospheric temperatures has been a controversial topic in recent years because of discrepancies between reported temperature trends from instruments and the expected trends under global warming according to global climate models. The measurements from instruments have shown less warming than expected in the upper atmosphere. The findings of Johnson and Xie, however, provide strong support that the tropical atmosphere is warming at a rate that is consistent with climate model simulations”.

        “This study is an exciting example of how applying our knowledge of physical processes in the tropical atmosphere can give us important information when direct measurements may have failed us,” Johnson notes.

        1. Hi DW,

          Is this where you hide when not posting over at Coby’s site? and no i not going to talk about the rugby (my God we are bad).

          I would like to ask you to clarify the last paragraph though if you dont mind. What do they mean by “when direct measurements may have failed us” ?



    2. I will have a go R2D2,

      Page 33, tells us that the troposphere (TS) has been extensively measured by radio sondes (RS) (sat aswell) and the data tells us the TS has not warmed.

      Page 34, shows us the climate model predicted warming of the TS and compares this to the actual real world (lack of) warming.

      You must include page 35 R2D2,

      This result however has been refuted. Santer 08 claims the temperature readings from the RS are incorrect. Santer claims he can use wind shear data to show the hot spot does indeed exist.

      Sherwood 08 claims he also found the hot spot but if you look at his graph he in fact found no hot spot at all because to him fire engine red mean a 0C trend.

      A bit extra.

      Paltridge 09 used a reduction in humidity to show the hot spot does not exist but Dressler & Davis 10 dissmissed this data as spurious.

      MMH10 used sat data to show the models exaggerate warming from 200 to 400% ie no hot spot will ever exist. To the best of my knowledge this study has not been refuted.

      Thorne 10 is the latest attempt to find the elusive G sorry hot spot. However this study does not produce any new evidence but simply rehashes past work.

      In summary we have RS and SAT data that on face value show that the hot spot does not exist, if the hot spot does not exist then the affects of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere are exaggerated ten fold or more by the models.

      All studies that refute this are simply re analyses of the same data, they do not introduce new evidence so in the end it comes down to who can manipulate the data best and get away with it.

      By the way the quote from Gareth (5:35pm) comes from Thorne 10, therefore it does not hold much weight.

      1. Thorne reviews the peer-reviewed literature. You list a lot of stuff that hasn’t been peer-reviewed.

        In any event, the “hot spot” is not diagnostic of CO2 forcing — it occurs with all warming. Stratospheric cooling is, and has been observed.

        1. Gareth,

          Which studies listed are not peer reviewed i was under the impression they all were.

          The hot spot is a fundemental part of the theory. As i understand it the theory states that as CO2 levels increase they trap more OLR which raises the temp slightly. This slight rise in temp causes an increase in evaporation. The resultant water vapour rises up into the atmosphere and brings about a large increase in temps (+ve feed back). The increase in water vapour will be seen mostly in the tropics between 8 and 12K’s up which is why it is called the hot spot.

          You are right when you say the hot spot is not diagnostic of CO2 forcing, if the sun doubled its output we would get a hot spot, if CO2 doubled or quadrupled we would get a hot spot (if the theory is correct). The hot spot merely gives us an indication that there is more water vapour present in the atmosphere but it does not tell us what put it there.

          So if there is a hot spot then it MAY have been caused by extra CO2 however if there is no hot spot then there is no warming and thus the predicted warming by the IPCC is looking a little shaky.

          So we move on to Ben Santer, in 1995 he claimed to have found the hot spot which lead to the now infamous statement made by the IPCC “…..a discernible human influence on global climate”.

          And yet when we look at Santers study we find that he did not act appropriately (see link), so whilst you may claim that the hot spot fact of fiction means nothing to the AGW theory it means a hell of a lot to the IPCC.

          Now dont get me wrong Gareth i am not trying to incite a riot but when you look at the evidence you have to really look at it and if the hot spot does not exist then it does have some ramifications in regards to the predictions of future climate.

      2. Crakar, Good to see you’re learning a bit. But not enough.

        Paltridge 09 used a reduction in humidity to show the hot spot does not exist but Dressler & Davis 10 dissmissed this data as spurious.

        Yes, well how does Paltridge & company account for a short term positive water vapor feedback, but a long term negative water vapor feedback in their reanalysis?.

        Climate cherry pickers: Falling humidity

        1. Did you watch us beat Italy, my God the all blacks are going to flog us. As long as we beat the poms in the cricket all will be OK though there is no guarantee of that.

          “Yes, well how does Paltridge & company account for a short term positive water vapor feedback, but a long term negative water vapor feedback in their reanalysis?.”

          Here is the paper i found online:

          Have a read for yourself, they highlight there might be rpoblems with humidity readings with the RS data and also state the problems with the Sat data.

          They also highlight the difficulties with trying to model this type of thing. So in summary both the RS and Sat data could be wrong and the models are worth the paper they are written on.

          Maybe you can get a bit more out of it than me if so please share your thoughts.


  7. I have my own expose – denialist sites delete comments from people who post outside the party lines! Shock, horror!! I tried it myself on a few sites this week (I feel so dirty).

    So there may be moaning from the denialists who visit here, about the comments and ‘votes’ they receive, but at least their comments usually get left for all to see.

  8. At the risk of disrupting the “we won, you lost, eat that!” triumphalism of this thread I’d like to point out that the advertising community and Fox news and numerous politicians have been very successful by being economical with the truth. Ridiculing a bunch of fruitcakes (I sooo miss Jon Stewart) is always fun but I don’t see CO2e levels falling either. The facts about smoking are well known but it is still kills 5.4 million people every year and is forecast to kill a billion people in the 21st C if behaviour doesn’t change.

    Truth is a slippery concept and it is worth listening to Lord May at a Royal Society conference in March 2010 about Handling Uncertainty in Science. His topic is “Science as organised scepticism” and you can find the podcast on this page along with much other interesting material if you have the time.

  9. You will label me a denier for sure. So I am laying my skeptical cards on the table.

    All I want to know is “What is the evidence of anthropogenic climate change due to increased CO2 concentration?” I don’t want “The models predict…”, “The floods in Pakistan…”, “The melting ice sheets…”. I want an explanation of the science, quantified and to not have to suspend all my prior understanding of thermodynamics.

    While you are explaining that here is an example of the kind of observation that makes belief in CO2 as the driver of global warming hard to swallow. Diurnal variations in CO2 concentration over a crop e.g. of wheat, are huge. Overnight the concentration can rise to 1000+ppm (about 3 times the global average). And yet the temperature over that crop will drop by as much 1 degree an hour after sunrise. If I was CO2 I’d want the early morning advantage, when there were lots of my mates around to do my planet frying best.

    1. So your basically using an example of short term effects and local conditions to discount 150 years of global CO2 emissions?

      What’s that quote about missing the forest for the trees?

      Well, lets start with shrinking Arctic ice, melting glaciers, a decline in phytoplankton by 40% science the 1940s, increased coral reef bleaching, record temperatures around the globe, the fires in Russia…

      Yep, all just co-incidences.

      Here’s an idea: the science is free, easily accessible and can be googled in less than five minutes.

      Go to NOAA, Skeptical Science, journals such as PNAS, bodies such as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Go to Real Climate.

      Heck, read the last four IPCC reports and you will see how our understanding of the issue *evolved* over the last twenty years.

      Walk into a book shop and get a basic text on climate change.

      It’s not a question of not having information: there is a range of sources that cater for a general audience to the most sophisticated technical papers/publications.

      We have all the information. People need to decide if they trust science, of the word of unqualified cranks, bloggers and think tanks.

      1. Well, lets start with shrinking Arctic ice, melting glaciers, a decline in phytoplankton by 40% science the 1940s, increased coral reef bleaching, record temperatures around the globe, the fires in Russia…

        Where is the causal link? These are events, that do not necessarily provide proof of AGW. There has to be a cause:effect relationship for these to be evidence.

        Even if temperatures are rising does not implicate anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

        Establish for me the link.

    2. “What is the evidence of anthropogenic climate change due to increased CO2 concentration?”

      1: Observed increase in atmospheric CO2 (40% in 150 years), and evidence that this is anthropogenic (fossil fuel combustion, forest reduction etc).

      2: Radiation physics of CO2 (understood since Tyndall, but worked out in detail in the 1950s) means that more in the atmosphere changes planetary heat balance, causes warming.

      3: Observed warming (all temp series, ice mass reductions etc & etc)

      With respect to the wheat: yes, local concentrations of CO2 vary hugely, but the background level is what is important on a planetary scale. And night temperatures do show more warming than daytime…

      1. Gareth, you have cited examples of observations, which are not necessarily caused by anthropogenic release of CO2. In fact the observations you make are not actually, as far as I am aware, yet shown to be directly caused by, but merely correlated with CO2 concentration.

        1. When you cite a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 you should also point out that that corresponds to an increase from 0.036% to 0.04% of the atmosphere (quite deceptive those statistics aye). Mankind’s contribution to that increase being 1.7% of the 40% increase – nature doing all the rest of the work. Such observations also fail to explain past periods of history (the Roman Warm Period and Medieval Warm Period) which we warmer than present, but without the same CO2 concentration.

        2. Radiation physics of CO2. Here’s where I have the greatest difficulty with the theory of AGW. Rather than the IPCC being given Nobel prizes, they should be writing treatises contesting the well founded laws of thermodynamics, because indeed if CO2 was to be able to impact the climate in the manner claimed, it would have to act in exactly the opposite manner to what is postulated by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

        3. Observed warming. It is really unfortunate that you raise this one. There have been so many unexplained adjustments to the “records” held by NIWA that it is very difficult to say whether the cited warming has or has not occurred. The unexplained downward revision of measurements on sites like the Thorndon station does not exactly instil confidence in the ‘official trends’. It almost seems like the measurements were changed to match the model, rather than vice versa. Hokitika’s re-siting and adjustments made for no apparent reason is a travesty as well. Overall, with NIWA and the Australian BOM the adjustments to the raw data have been shown to exacerbate a warming trend.

        Nice try. But you need evidence to convince me.

        1. 1: What matters is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which has increased from 280 to 390 ppm. The “warm periods” you mention were not warmer than now, globally.

          2: If you want to quibble with the radiation physics of CO2, please explain why heat-seeking missiles work if we don’t understand how radiation passes through the atmosphere… Seriously, if you want to demonstrate that it’s wrong, you’ll need to rewrite physics down to the quantum level and a Nobel Prize awaits…

          3: Oh dear, you seem have swallowed the Treadgold Kool-Aid. The NZ record is pretty much irrelevant to the global picture, but the data demonstrates clear warming (even when you use sites with no adjustments of any kind). You may not be aware that I have covered this issue in detail here. You may wish to follow the NIWA tag to do some background reading.

          From your comments, it does seem as though you get your information from pseudoscience sites. I would recommend you start by reading Spencer Weart’s excellent history of climate science. It’s free, comprehensive, and gives a clear exposition of how we learned about the problem we face.

          1. Saying that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from 280 to 390 ppm is a bit like saying that McDonald Corporation’s consumption of canola oil increased by 1 litre in 2009.

            This is where units of measurement are being used in an unhelpful manner. An increase from 280 to 390 looks big when expressed in ppm. But if you express it as a % 0.028 to 0.039 then most people look at it and say “What changed?”.

            1. Would that be 1mg or 1 kg of the substance that is 0.01% arsenic? Is it organic or inorganic arsenic?

            2. How is that “dodging the issue”? It is highly relevant what units of measure are stated.

              At 0.01% a.i arsenic 1mg dose is not going to be toxic.

            3. Still dodging. The World Health Organisation upper limit for arsenic contamination of water supplies is around 10 parts per billion (10ppb). Small quantities…

            4. Oh! You were meaning “drink” when you asked me if I would be prepared to eat something that was 0.01% arsenic. What a troll I am for reading and responding to the question you were asking.

              There is a significant difference between eating one dose of a potential poison and the cumulative effect of drinking something over time.

              Yes. I would eat something that is a 1mg portion of something that is 0.01% a.i. arsenic. No. If you are offering me 1kg of the same stuff.

              Units of measure, and quantities make a big difference.

            5. Then ‘most people’ – a basic projection we can only assume – are idiots.

              You’re clumsily attempting to skip the obvious point Gareth was making.

              Grant to police officer; ‘What are you carrying on about? You get all excited because you say my blood alcohol has doubled but it’s only really gone from a puny 0.04 to 0.08! A ha! How clever am I?’

              (Not very.)

            6. The mass of the atmosphere is about 5 trillion trillion (that’s 5 with 18 zeroes) kg –

              390ppm might not sound much to you, but when we know a tiny amount of CO2 has a significant effect then it seems obvious that an increase in that amount has an increased effect.

              And we are not “most people” here, we are ones who make the effort to become educated about global warming.

          2. Yeah bill. Maybe if I had been drinking I might be in a state where I would think that was a reasonable argument. But as I am currently sober, I can tell you that the difference between 40mg/100 millilitres and 80mg/100 millilitres is significant in the case of blood alcohol.

            Now, because the base units grams (for weight) and litres (for volume) are different, my biometry lecturer won’t let me render this as a percentage.

            1. Ho ho! What Mike said! Perhaps you might also like to inform your ‘biometry lecturer’ how Australian’s measure BAC!

              And because I’m sober – in the broadest sense – I can tell you in turn that the difference between 280 ppm and 390ppm is significant in the case of C02 concentration in the global atmosphere.

              And that your ‘argument’ is nonsense. But you knew that already.

        2. Absolute tripe – your comments on the NZ temperature record. You even raise the Thorndon “issue” again! “Unexplained”? – a downright lie or a manifestation of wilful ignorance. Are you idiots incapable of learning or remembering anything at all about meteorology? All that junk was refuted long ago, but you and your mates keep recycling it.

          Your remarks about adjusting the data to fit the theory are actionable, and mark you as just another clone in the production line – offensive trolls the lot of you.

  10. 1. The increase from 0.028% to 0.039%. Sounds like a pretty volatile highly unstable system to me. Excuse me – the MWP and RWP were global and quite sustained periods. (Who’s been swallowing the Kool-Aid.)

    2. There is no need for me to publish anything. The burden of proof is not with me. The burden of proof is on those who want to subject CO2 to such unnatural convolutions as the AGW theory requires. The must either abandon the theory or challenge thermodynamics.

    3. I suggest you get hold of the raw data and run a least squares regression through it and see which way the trend goes. The look at the R-squared of the regression.

    1. However, Grant, I’m interested in your views on the subject matter of this post. Do you think that the entire edifice of climate science is corrupt? Do you support Evans’ in his dramatic contention?

      1. I shouldn’t take the bait until you have answered my question, but then if I do so politely, maybe you will oblige.

        I don’t know whether Evans is correct or not. For there to be corruption there has to be malice of intent.

        However, my experience within the NZ business community tells me that there are many who are desperately hoping that “the science is settled” and who dare not examine the evidence or any arguments that are counter to the establishment view.

        Their fear, I believe, is driven by the prospect that there is a lot of money to be made in carbon trading via the ETS and they don’t want to have on their consciences the possibility that the whole thing is a scam.

        1. Grant, Gareth has already answered your questions with the links he gave. It is now up to you to read them and post reasoned rebuttals. Bald assertions about “unnatural convolutions”, “I believe”, etc, will not do.

          The Spencer Weart site is excellent. When you have read, pondered, and inwardly digested this,, e.g. come back and we can have a more intelligent conversation.

          1. Actually, turnages, Gareth has not answered my question. He has failed to show the supposed causal link between increased atmospheric CO2 and the supposed effects of AGW.

            I have heard everything from record low temperatures in the Central Plateau last winter, snowfall on the 4th of October, early snowfall in Copenhagen 2009 through to the calamitous floods in Pakistan being attributed to AGW, But the mechanism has never been explained.

            None of my reading, and I have read widely on the subject, has turned up anything that adequately explains the supposed effects.

            And while New Zealand remains a democracy I am free to state my beliefs. I used that phrase because I do not have hard evidence of what I stated, but from the line of discussion I have had with people who support the ETS I have concluded that their only rationale for supporting it is that it represents an opportunity to make money. Again, this is my conclusion – not an empirical fact.

            1. Grant,
              Warming more at night than day.
              Warming more in winter than summer.
              Warming more at poles than tropics.
              Warming in troposphere but cooling in stratosphere.

              These are the four big indicators that warming is caused by increasing concentrations of GHGs and not by the sun or another generalised cause.

              You say the “mechanism has never been explained”. I rather thought the GHG process had been explained pretty well. You’ll have to be precise or explicit about the explanation you’re looking for. Is it the theory or the observations or the relationships between extreme weather events?

            2. As I said, just about any weather event is attributed to AGW. But there is not explanation as to how.

            3. Well, that reply fits well with demanding that Gareth ‘…show the supposed causal link between increased atmospheric CO2 and the supposed effects of AGW. ‘ In 25 words or less. As if he – Gareth – hasn’t gone over this in detail repeatedly.

              Look around the bloody blog, boy!

              This demanding to be spoonfed schtick is a pretty reasonable indicator of trolldom to my mind. If you claim not to be one, have the basic courtesy to research the information you (cough) seek in the thousands of words Gareth has already posted on the site before playing the oaf and loudly demanding answers to your clearly loaded questions.

              And which of us really believes you have the slightest – sorry, I should say ‘supposed’, shouldn’t I? – intention of being persuaded anyway?! Not I, for one…

              Adelady gave a very specific list of phenomena consistent with AGW rather than any other mechanism, Grant clings to his ‘any weather event’ strawman like a security blanket. Doubtlessly he is very busy with his R-squared analyses of regressions, but the unkind might conclude that we’re dealing with someone only marginally more sophisticated than Joe Fone here.

            4. Bong! Adelady gives a specific list of consistent phenomena, you cling to your convenient strawman!

              In general, if we are expected to credit that you are not just another troll, have the decency to browse the extensive writings on this site – it has a perfectly workable search facility – before turning up loudly demanding answers to your highly loaded questions. We have to assume your supposed (I can do it to!) sincerity, after all.

              Then have the bloody plain courtesy to actually deal with the substance of the responses.

              There’s an excellent case to attribute the phenomena Adelady describes to AGW rather than any other cause; now you tell us – if you can – why your alternative hypothesis is better.

            5. Warming more at poles than tropics.

              Don’t mean to pick nits, but that’s not a phenomenon peculiar to an enhanced (increased) Greenhouse Effect.

              Of course Grant is still totally wrong, and doesn’t know what he’s on about.

            6. It appears that your previous reading has not served you well in spite of your previous scientific training. You mention above that you have the greatest difficulty with the basic radiative physics of CO2. May I suggest you start with: (or the notes from the first several lectures on Earth’s climate available at You should come back much better informed, if you are prepared to learn.

    2. I suggest you get hold of the raw data and run a least squares regression through it and see which way the trend goes. The look at the R-squared of the regression.

      You’re just cutting and pasting here, aren’t you?

      Watch out you don’t end up like our regular Joe, who’s amply demonstrated that when it comes to the ‘science’ he keeps squawking about he’s just playing blindmans b(l)uff!

      1. Heroic assumption, bill. I do not need to cut and paste. I have a better then average understanding of statistics. Too many hours spent on developing multivariate regressions for my Master thesis.

        1. And so what results did you get when you did as you suggest others do?

          Or, as I said, was this merely a regurgitated cut-and-paste meme, along with ‘the MWP was global’ – which puts you well out on the fringe even of deniers – and your crank claims about the laws of thermodynamics, which even get a caning at WUWT!

    3. Departing from my normal behaviour, I clicked there to see.

      Which kooky theory do you subscribe to in support of your second point, specifically thermodynamics? I’ll ignore the other two for now.

      1. I wondered if you would refer to something like this. G&T is carp from start to finish. It has been thoroughly eviscerated, a process that was both protracted and very public. I see GP and Gareth have posted links, but simply typing Gerlich and Tscheuschner into Google would have given you a clue, not doing so speaks volumes about your research.

  11. Gareth,

    I get a bit confused with point 1 & point 3,

    Any skeptic worth his salt would respond to point 1 saying the Antarctic ice cores show historically CO2 lags temp by 800 years as it rises so how can the addition of CO2 now cause the temp to follow in contradiction to the past and also in such a short time period.

    I have seen responses to this which state “that was only in the Antarctic but in other areas the two may rise in unison” and yet in point 3 you say ice loss is an example of temp rising in a quick response to CO2 rise.

    My question is how can we reconcile with the historic relationship with temp/CO2 in the Antarctic with the past 30 year ice loss due to CO2 increases?

    Point 2 is an interesting one, in what year did they discover the logarithmic response CO2 has with OLR? Also if there is in fact a logarithmic response does this mean increasing CO2 will have less and less effect? At what point on the log curve are we? for example are we at a point where we could double CO2 (700ppm) and have very little effect or are we still approaching the curve where very small doublings have an effect.


    1. 1: The physics of CO2 is what it is. The fact that atmospheric levels may have lagged global temperature rises at glacial/interglacial transitions doesn’t mean that adding CO2 now won’t cause warming. The “lag” is well explained here. By way of contrast, you may wish to consider (for example) the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, when a period of extreme warming was associated with a pulse of carbon into the atmosphere.

      2: Ice mass loss is evidence of warming.

      3: I suggest you read the Weart history I linked above. He has a chapter explaining how our understanding of CO2’s role developed. The CO2 and other GHG “windows” in the atmosphere are not saturated, and so while CO2’s effect does decline at increasing concentrations, there’s still plenty of “room” left for increased heating. And its worth noting that 390 ppm is enough to cause plenty of further warming, as the system approaches equilibrium (assuming we stop adding more).

  12. Thanks Gareth,

    I read your link in 1) If i have this right as we come out of an ice age the Sth Hemisphere warms then 800 years later CO2 rises due to ocean warming etc. So we have a situation where temp is rising due to Malkovitch cycles (more sun light on the ice etc) and also due to CO2 etc. The whole planet warms and we are in an interglacial.

    When we go back into an ice age the temp begins to drop (M cycles with less sunlight) and CO2 etc begins to drop. The temp drop takes longer to drop then it rises due to the GHG’s that are present but eventually they drop aswell and we go into another ice age.

    So we know that in the past basically a change in temp causes a change CO2. Its the bit between the ice ages that i am stuck on.

    For example we know that once CO2 begins to rise 800 years after the temp it did have an effect on the temp and here today we have the CO2 rise and it has an effect on the temp.

    Today we apply the AGW theory to this rise and postulate a future world of dire climate extremes but we know that this did not happen in the past. Why did the not Earth continue warming (as we predict it will now) when CO2 was rising?

    Just so i am clear, when the CO2 began to rise 800 years after the temp and this CO2 began to contribute to the temp rise why did the process stop? Why was there not an accumulation of water vapour in the atmosphere (hot spot), Why was there no complete melting of ice mass thus releasing more water vapour, CO2 amd methane?

    1. Why did the process stop? Simple enough. The primary forcing was the Milankovitch orbital changes in insolation, and as those waned ice sheets were able to start growing again. No “tipping point”, such as the release of large quantities of methane from sea floor hydrates, were passed. Eventually, ocean cooling would begin to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Rinse and repeat.

      The current level of CO2 (390 ppm) is higher than at any time in at least the last 4 million years, since the current glacial/interglacial sequence began. Look to the PETM if you want an analogue for where we’re heading.

      1. Thanks Gareth,

        So what you are saying is as the temps rose out of an ice age the process began temp rise/CO2 rise etc but before any tipping points were reached the next ice age came along and the temps dropped again.

        This time is different because we are adding CO2 so the process will be accelerated beyond where it has gone before so by the time the next ice age gets here (whenever that is) we would have already reached and past the tipping point.

        I find this explanation hard to swallow, i find it hard because the AGW theory if correct can only send temps up barring any unforeseen volcanic eruptions and the like but even they would add methane and CO2.

        Lets look at the PETM a bit closer:

        The hypothesis is that a massive amount of methane was released by the oceans into the atmosphere which then caused the temp to rise by 5 C in 10Kys. If we apply the AGW theory to this then the temps should have kept rising, more WV/CO2/Methane from ice melt and warming oceans but it did not. The temps stabilised and this warmth lasted for about 100,000 years or so.

        After this the temp dropped again back to pre PETM levels only to rise again over the next few millions back to PETM levels in what is called the Eocene Optimum.

        The temp gradually declined again as we moved towards the Oligocene epochs. So i am not sure why you bring up the PETM, yes there may have been an increase in methane that caused the temps to rise but the temps also dropped, rose and declined again afterwards.

        So i get back to my original question if the AGW theory is correct then why did we see so many fluctuations in the temp after the PETM?

        To Gavins Pussycat,

        Can explain “unity” and how it stopped the temp rise dead in its tracks and then caused the temps to drop please?

        1. You need to define what you mean by “AGW theory”. I’m talking about the total earth system response to a given event. In the normal glacial cycle, orbital variations in the amount of solar radiation reaching different latitudes set in train a sequence of interactions between all the factors influencing the system (of which CO2 and methane are only two) that deliver the flip-flop between ice age and warm period. In other words, it’s not a one-way process — and the fact that it can be triggered by relatively small changes in insolation ought to give you pause for thought.

          The PETM’s relevance is that is shows that the system responds to large inputs of atmospheric carbon by warming rapidly. What happens afterwards is interesting, but only shows that given millions of years the system can remove atmospheric carbon (by weathering of rocks, for instance). That’s of little relevance to our present situation, because we’re still “on the way up”, as it were.

          1. The PETM shows that the Earth responded to something that may have been an increase in methane, lets assume that it was. The PETM then showed us that the Earth warmed by 5C in 10,000 years then stopped warming for a while then cooled again i dont see how that strengthens the case for AGW now.

            Lets state a few facts:

            The Earth has warmed over the last 300 years.
            Co2 has increased over the past 100 years.
            CO2 can add to the temp.

            Lets state a few assumptions:

            If CO2 increase is not abated and reaches 700 odd ppm by 2100 the temp will go up by 6 to 8 degrees and we will see climate disruption even though a large pulse of methane could only give us 5C in 10,000 years.

            What i am trying to do is work out how the above assumption was arrived at.

            If the PETM was real then why did the temp drop back down? There must have been a -ve feed back that caused this to happen, do we know what this -ve FB is?

            If CO2 levels were 1000, 2000 or 8000 ppm in the past then why did the temp and CO2 levels drop, once again what -ve FB caused this to happen?

            All these events happened during interglacials and were not the beginning or ending of ice ages so there must have been something else acting on the climate do you know what that could be?

            1. Hang on a bit. You’re saying that during the PETM the temp rose by 5C. Then it stabilised at that level and then it reduced again after umpty thousand years.

              5C!!! For thousands of years? Are you mad?

              Anyone know just how many people were around for the PETM? Oh, that’s right, not a lot – more precisely – none.

            2. What i am saying is that the temp rose by 5C in 10,000 years.

              Adelaidy if you want to make hysterical statements that do nothing but cause angst to the respondent then i suggest you stick with Skip and the boys at Coby’s.


            3. crakar24-
              Have a look at this readily accessible article from 2006 by Ellen Thomas and coworkers ( In particular, look at Figure 1 and check when polar ice sheets became persistent features on Earth. Yes, that’s right, they didn’t exist prior to the mid-Oligocene when the Drake Passage opened. Do you think their loss may have something to do with the potential effects of AGW now as compared to the changes after the PETM?

              Now, carefully read the article and see if you can find another very important difference in how the rate of temperature response to the GHG input at the PETM is recorded. (Hint: think temporal resolution.)

              Understanding these matters may take some time and effort, but be assured, your emptiness can be filled.

            4. Thanks for the artical Mike it was very interesting.

              After looking at Fig 1 i am at a loss to understand the point you are trying to make. The authors state the S18o was computed for an ice free ocean which would have occured during the early oligocene or earlier.

              Antarctica remained ice free for millions of years even though it was in polar position, there are many theories as to why this was so and also why it suddenly began to accumulate ice. One theory is when the Tasman gateway and Drakes passage opened it brought about thermal isolation another is global cooling from volcanoes or reductions in GHG’s. No one knows what caused the Tasman gateway to open nor when Drakes passage opened. Basically this is all conjecture and i will finish with a statement by the authors “There are doubts whether the initiation of the ACC could have been a major causal factor in the glaciation of the Antarctic continent”

              “Do you think their loss may have something to do with the potential effects of AGW now as compared to the changes after the PETM?”

              Their loss? I assume you mean the ice caps? The latest figures show the Arctic has reduced in size/volume since 1979 whilst the Antarctic is at record high levels and i doubt the tasman gateway or the Drake passage will close any time soon. The CO2 content was about 1120ppm or more when they formed so i dont see the current or immediate future levels of CO2 being a problem.

              “Now, carefully read the article and see if you can find another very important difference in how the rate of temperature response to the GHG input at the PETM is recorded”

              After carefully reading the document i found page 101 describes the PETM quite well, to summarise they beleive it was a increase in GHG’s CO2 was already over 1000 ppm but for CO2 to cause a 5C increase it would require a massive amount of extra CO2 to accomplish. This is followed by a large number of theories about where the CO2 came from one more implausible than the next. The authors sum up by saying (page 102) “Extreme short GW at the beginning of the Eocene was probably caused by rapid emission of GHG’s, but we do not know the source or process of emission.” In other words they dont have a clue and just to reinforce this point i refer you back to page 101.

              They state “Global cooling began in the early Eocene to the early middle Eocene, what triggered that cooling remains an unsolved question”.

              I have no idea what you mean by “temporal resolution”.

              “Understanding these matters may take some time and effort, but be assured, your emptiness can be filled.”

              I understand the authors have completed a very good study of the early Earth climate however they themselves acknowledge that simply knowing is not understanding. If you honestly believe this supports climate disruption by 2100 (as Gareth and i were discussing) then you are sadly mistaken.



            5. crakar24-

              You are most welcome. Thank you for having a thorough and thoughtful look.

              The Drake Passage and Tasman “Gateway” both opened due to the slow movement of Earth’s tectonic plates. The timing is constrained by plate reconstructions and isotope tracer studies.

              The potential loss of significant amounts of ice at polar latitudes represents one of the important “tipping points” of AGW. It is one reason why projected changes may be much faster and of larger magnitude than those at the PETM.

              The “temporal resolution” hint was directed at the source of the PETM temperature records – from oxygen isotopic measurements of carbonate fossils. There are now other proxies as well. The point is that these records come from deep sea sediments laid down relatively slowly so that there is a limit to our ability to resolve the rate of warming and cooling. The record may look a bit smoother than what actually happened.

              So, for multiple reasons, you can now appreciate that the idea that future warming should proceed at a rate similar to that recorded for the PETM is not justified.

  13. Why did the process stop? Simple enough. The primary forcing was the Milankovitch orbital changes in insolation, and as those waned ice sheets were able to start growing again. No “tipping point”, such as the release of large quantities of methane from sea floor hydrates, were passed.

    More precisely, because the total feedback factor — produced by everything together, albedo, CO2, methane, dust, … — did not exceed unity.

    This hasn’t always been this way: in the Precambrium, there have been several occasions where the land ice extended down to 45 degrees latitude, causing a total feedback in excess of unity, leading to a runaway glaciation, or ‘snowball Earth’.

    You may compare it to a microphone that’s too close to a loudspeaker: when it’s not too close, you just get amplification. When too close, you get “singing around”, runaway amplification.

  14. There is an unstated assumption here by some that physical laws are only true or useful if they can be explained. This is a logical fallacy.

    Try this thought experiment: “Explain Gravity”. That’s right, you can’t because no human has yet expressed a coherent theory which includes both Relativity and Quantum effects… But do you still believe in Gravity? Even without a thorough explanation? And you can yourself a Skeptic!

    However, most reasonable people DO believe in Gravity. We use Math to describe it’s effects, without knowing what ‘it’ actually is. We predict it with sufficient precision to travel in Space with confidence. The point is, current Science is good enough to take actions that risk Human life, all without waiting for a ‘better’ theory of Gravity.

    Science always progresses through these three stages: 1. Description; 2. Prediction; 3. Understanding. We can measure the effects of CO2 on Climate, and we can predict future effects due to increased CO2 concentration. These two alone are sufficient to make informed Policy choices on Climate change.

    Instead, we are now on an carbon emissions path that will take us into Terra Incognito, where even Computer models fear to tread. There is no precedent for where we are going, nor any good reason to go there.

    Rhetoric foisted by greedy Corporations and enabled by Corrupt Politics has led us away from the simple fact that adding trillions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere is warming it. We must turn away from that future. And that means we must ignore the Siren song of the Skeptics, Disinformers, and Inactivists. Science shows us with confidence that they are wrong.

    P.S. Thoughts and Hope go out to the Miners trapped in the Pike River Coal Mine, and to their families.

    1. Similarly we almost all know the colour yellow exists without being able to in any way define on a spectrum precisely where it ends and orange or green begins, or whether other people see what we call yellow as what we’d call yellow!

      We know all sorts of things without ever being able to ‘prove’ them to the pedantic satisfaction of the likes of Grant.

      So does Grant.

      Asking ‘how can you prove CO2 contributes to the warming of the atmosphere’ is very much like asking ‘how you can prove God didn’t create the world in 6 days’, and is every bit as much the wrong question as asking whether yellow exists if you can’t define it’s boundary with green. We know CO2 heats the atmosphere because it does. Check around and you’ll find even Lord Monckton having to defend this most basic reality from the zombie hordes he himself has called into being! We might well debate the extent and duration of the resulting temperature impact – not always usefully – but debating the basic physics dumps you squarely onto the off-ramp of the freeway of ideas.

      (I live with someone whose particular take on Aspergers frequently leads him to challenge the very possibility of the very existence of the very something that just bit him on the knee. A lot of ‘skeptics’, while I am scarcely in a position to diagnose a similar affliction, certainly manifest much the same perverse logic!)

      We also all just accept that other people know how it works. All the time.

      Further; it’s a logical fallacy that any degree of doubt necessitates inaction. We all have insurance policies. We’d almost all take the advice of the 9 specialists who recommended immediate surgery to stave off death within weeks over the one who says ‘ah, but it hasn’t actually grown for a week and a half now; just let the tumour go to see what it does for a couple of months – who knows, perhaps it will heal itself?’

      And we’d almost all run for cover if someone was to start lobbing mortar rounds in our direction, rather than arguing the toss over whether the MKII Stinger S13 has the required range, can be aimed with the right degree of accuracy, or is even lethal at this distance…

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