Does the BBC have a hidden agenda on climate change?


11:10 am - July 13th 2010

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contribution by Hengist McStone

Some months ago I started my own blog to document a correspondence with the BBC as the result of a controversial documentary entitled “Are environmentalists bad for the Planet?”

It was about a lot of things but, oddly, put forward no evidence to justify the title. The BBC have now admitted that the title was to hook in the listeners , perhaps what journalists would call “sensationalist”.

But my contentions only start with the title. BBC editors extremely evasive in answering my questions around the documentary. But as I dug more, I started to get seriously pissed off with the way the BBC covers climate change in general.

So what was the documentary about. Well , one account from the producer of the documentary says it was lamenting the use of religious language in environmental campaigning. The BBC complaints department told me:

The original intention was to explore whether the assertion by some prominent environmentalists such as Jonathon Porritt that capitalist economic model and tackling climate change are (i) really justified and (ii) in danger of alienating some people who might be persuaded to take the issue of climate change more seriously.

And the presenter (Justin Rowlatt) says it was about “hidden agendas” in the environmental movement. So that’s four things that it could have been about. Which makes the focal point of the documentary hard to pin down.

In his conclusion Rowlatt delivers a monologue detailing improbable conditions, false allusions and fictitious premises to arrive at the words that will only serve to confirm their scepticism.

He asserts his credentials as someone who talks of “the urgency and scale of the climate issue”, but delivers a conclusion that takes us back to the skeptics point of view. The documentary’s claim to being impartial was a pretence. That is not impartiality.

I even takje issue with the phrase “hidden agendas”. By definition a movement (in this sense) is diffuse .  Of course there are many agendas in the environmental movement. But just because the BBC has chosen to ignore them for so long does not make them “hidden”. Pretending to endorse anthropogenic global warming whilst subverting public confidence in it would seem to fit that definition . Which is exactly what Justin Rowlatt has done.

Sadly it doesn’t end there .

Shortly afterwards, a Radio 4 documentary called peer review into question.

And only last month Stanford University demonstrated, via an important paper, that scientific expertise was lacking among ‘doubters’ of climate change.

The BBC’s science correspondent concluded with a quote that said: “It looks to me that the authors belong to an IPCC supporting group that must count as believers and belong to the beneficiaries of the man-made warming scare.”

In the BBC report these appear to be the words of an impartial observer from Hull University. Ten minutes of googling revealed that said pundit is retired from Hull University and is now a skeptical activist with links to the George C. Marshall Institute – which benefits from Exxon’s funds.

I could go on. But how long can the BBC’s output on climate matters carry on like this before the climate of ignorance is exposed?

‘Hengist McStone’ will soon offer more examples of the BBC’s ignorant reporting of climate matters. If you spot anything, get in touch

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Reader comments


1. Flowerpower

The BBC is obliged by its Charter and Agreement to report controversial topics in a way that reflects a wide range of perspectives and to allow every significant strand of opinion to have its say. What advocates of any one position say to/via the BBC doesn’t have to be accurate, truthful or right. It should, though, be challenged or balanced by opposing views over time.

To complain that some climate sceptics occasionally appear is as silly as complaining that Ming Campbell frequently appears, or Tariq Ali is sometimes on Any Questions.

If anything, climate sceptics got a raw deal from the BBC between 2006 and last year’s Climategate scandal. Since November there’s been a tilt in the sceptical direction but no-where near equal treatment with the AGW position.

As for “hidden agendas” – yes many remain hidden. Although the BBC is not shy of pointing out any Big Oil or energy interests behind the sponsorship of some sceptic conferences or studies, it has remained silent on the involvement of the re-insurance industry in funding high-profile warmist institutions.

Re: 1.

Wrong.

3. gwenhwyfaer

If anything, climate sceptics got a raw deal from the BBC between 2006 and last year’s Climategate scandal

…because a tiny minority of underinformed underqualified wingnuts obviously deserves something approaching equal weight and coverage with the vast and settled body of scientific opinion and practice?

Sorry, but if people want to be engaged in debate, they need to at least learn how to respond to their opponents’ positions with something other than a repetition of their opening statement. I’ve never once come across a climate change denier (the abuse of the term “sceptic” suggests that these people are open to persuasion with the right evidence, which is quite firmly contradicted by, you know, everything they say) who was capable of doing that. Whereas for all its practitioners’ tendency to fall back on academic snobbery when trying to handle idiots, science is all about that.

If anything, climate sceptics got a raw deal from the BBC between 2006 and last year’s Climategate scandal. Since November there’s been a tilt in the sceptical direction but no-where near equal treatment with the AGW position.

Why should they get equal or even near equal treatment? I’m not saying that the “skeptical” position should never be aired at all, but it is a minority position and should be treated as such.

I’m reminded here of “Okrent’s Law”

“The pursuit of balance can create imbalance because sometimes something is true”

“because a tiny minority of underinformed underqualified wingnuts obviously deserves something approaching equal weight and coverage with the vast and settled body of scientific opinion and practice?

No, because the BBC is bound by statute to be impartial, i.e present both sides of the argument with equal weight. It sounds to me like the warmists are annoyed that the BBC is finally taking some notice of it’s obligation rather than just churning out the latest press release from the IPCC, as they have done for the last 5 years.

In what sense are you “informed and qualified” BTW ?

@ 4 “Why should they get equal or even near equal treatment? I’m not saying that the “skeptical” position should never be aired at all, but it is a minority position and should be treated as such.”

By that argument all minorities should be ignored/marginalised by the BBC.

@ 3 – So predicting an unknown outcome at some indeterminate point in the future by extrapolating 150 years of data of uncertain quality on a system that has been in existence for millions of years, and then hysterically telling everyone that the end of the world is nigh is science ? In any other context that would be laughable. You are many things but a scientist isn’t one of them.

8. Flowerpower

@ 4

I don’t think the BBC is required to give “equal weight” to climate sceptics any more than they are required to give equal weight to Liberal Democrats or the Green Party. But they are required to give every significant strand of opinion a fair shout.

@ 3

underinformed underqualified wingnuts

I’m not sure that, say, Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, exactly fits your description. But even if I thought he did, I wouldn’t want the BBC to be making that sort of determination.

“I’m not saying that the “skeptical” position should never be aired at all, but it is a minority position and should be treated as such.”

Polling evidence?

#6
By that argument all minorities should be ignored/marginalised by the BBC.

Not neccessarily, there are different kinds of minorities and in some cases it is important to ensure they are represented. But where questions of science are concerned there is no duty to give exposure to any particular view unless there is actually a body of evidence to back it up.
That doesn’t mean that space shouldn’t be given to minority views or to research which is experimental or in the early stages of development but in order to provide proper context to the viewer it is right to distinguish between these things and the established scientific consensus (to the extent that such a thing exists on the issue in question).

#9

When I say “minority position” I’m not talking about popular opinion, I’m referring to the body of published scientific research on the subject.

@ flowerpower I’ve got no problem with skeptics appearing, but I will criticise BBC journalists constructing new skeptic arguments and failing to probe the skeptic position whilst ignoring the large scientific concensus on climate science and it’s implications . Please could you provide me with some supporting evidence for your claim that the BBC report’s Big Oil’s sponsorship of scepticism .

BTW ,the BBC Trust ( the BBC’s governing body) has a view that dissenters will still be heard but because of the weight of the scientific evidence this does not justify them getting equal time. Whether that takes place in practice is another matter.

13. Flowerpower

Polling evidence (to the contrary):

Climate change is happening & is now established as largely man made – 26%

Climate change is happening but not yet proven to be man made – 38%

Climate change is happening, but it is environmentalist propaganda that it is man made — 10%

Climate change is not happening – 25%

Source: Populus poll of 1001 adults; Feb 3rd-4th 2020; results weighted to be representative of all adults.

or, otherwise presented:

Warmists – 26%
Sceptics – 48%
Deniers – 25%

If, as @3 you want to treat sceptics and deniers as one….. then that gives them a clear majority (73%).

14. Matt Munro

@ 9 – It’s a minority position in Islington, and on LC, so what else matters ?

Does the BBC have a hidden agenda on climate change?

Probably not.

In its bumbling way it’s trying to reflect the move from the old zeitgeist (OMFG we’re all going to fry!!!!!) to the post-climategate new (maybe we should take another look).

16. Flowerpower

…..er…. that should have been 2010 not 2020!

17. Matt Munro

@ 11 The BBC is a public sector broadcaster, not an arbiter of scientific opinion. Most BBC staff are humanities graduates FFS.

It was about a lot of things but, oddly, put forward no evidence to justify the title.

And you’re complaining about that HERE.

There are a lot of lesbians out there still looking for the drug Sunny promised would cure them. 🙂

A ‘skeptic’ on climate change is someone who denies that man-made activity is influencing the climate.

Only a complete lunatic would deny that temperatures are rising. But saying that, there are those idiots too. How about you flowerpower? Which band of loonies do you fit into?

20. Shatterface

‘@ 11 The BBC is a public sector broadcaster, not an arbiter of scientific opinion. Most BBC staff are humanities graduates FFS.’

That’s an argument in favour of them employing more science graduates, not opening the door to every pseudoscientific opinion out there. They don’t give equal air time to those who believe in unicorns.

Do the BBC have a ‘hidden agenda’? No: their coverage is overwhelmingly in favour of the anthropogenic hypothesis – much more so than the public at large. In this case they’re right: whether most people believe in global warming or not makes no difference to the science.

But suppressing doubts – no matter how unreasonable – just plays into the skeptics’ conspiracy theories and is counter productive so the BBC is right to cover them too.

@ 13 Flowerpower , are you trying to say that that poll has some bearing on the veracity or credibility of climate science ? I suggest it is evidence that the public is being misled. http://bbcantigreenbias.blogspot.com/2010/03/bbc-poll-shows-bbc-biased.html

Still waiting for your evidence that the BBC reports Big Oil’s underhand influence in the debate

22. Flowerpower

Hengist

I think you’d find it hard to stand up the claim that the BBC has been ignoring the large scientific consensus on climate science and it’s implications.

Re: Big Oil… check out the complaint made by Roger Helmer MEP about the BBC’s Roger Harrabin’s characterization of the Heartland Institute as ‘substantially funded by oil interests’ {Fact: only 5% of funding comes from energy companies and 0% from Big Oil}.

23. Shatterface

‘A ‘skeptic’ on climate change is someone who denies that man-made activity is influencing the climate.’

No, a ‘skeptic’ *doubts* that human activity changes the climate. Unilaterally redefining your oponents’ position isn’t helping.

‘Only a complete lunatic would deny that temperatures are rising.’

Maybe so, but most skeptics aren’t arguing the climate isn’t changing, they are arguing that humans aren’t responsible. You aren’t engaging with their actual arguments, you are engaging with your own.

The only way to win this argument is to demonstrate that climate change is happening as a result of human activity and that it can be halted or reversed if remedial activity is undertaken, not to scream ‘lunatic’ every time somebody raises a question you personally cannot answer.

@flowerpower. Im not interested in reading some skeptics complaint, I’ve got enough of my own (which the BBC rarely answer) . Show me the original BBC report. In the meantime, I stand by my penultimate paragraph in the article to demonstrate that the BBC is failing in it’s duty to report the story even handedly. Big Oil money funds that particular skeptic , the BBC just report what the skeptic says , not where she got her money from. Which in the context of what she has to say is pretty sly.

The implications of the science are the real issue that is being drowned out by this ridiculous skeptic vs. proponent argument. I’ve never seen anything on the mainstream media that refers to the implications without first going over the same old territory of skeptic vs. proponent. Humanity’s efforts over the last 22 years have been spent debating whether 98% of the scientists are right. It’s time we now searched for a solution.

25. Flowerpower

Sunny @ 19

A ‘skeptic’ on climate change is someone who denies that man-made activity is influencing the climate.

No, that’s too narrow a definition. Many sceptics (like me) agree that man’s activity has influenced the climate but do not accept the warmists’ assessments of how much and/or how much it matters.

Only a complete lunatic would deny that temperatures are rising.

Need more care here. Only a complete lunatic would deny they have risen but there was no significant warming from 1998-2009 whereas according to the IPCC we should have seen a global temperature increase of at least 0.2°C in that period. We didn’t. That said, the trend is probably still a slight warming trend.

How about you flowerpower? Which band of loonies do you fit into?

I accept that average global temperatures have increased around 0.8 of a degree C during the past 120-150 years. Given that the last 150 years have seen mass industrialization, urbanization, the invention of railways, the automobile, the electric light, central heating, and more than a doubling of world population – then it would be amazing if such a huge change had made no difference at all.

How much of that 0.8 of a degree is attributable to greenhouse gases? I don’t know and don’t believe anyone else can be sure yet either.

What is clear is that for prolonged periods during that 150 years , temperatures have dropped while carbon emissions increased– so there is certainly no simple linear relationship. I suspect that the effect of the greenhouse effect is currently overstated by most climate science. The IPCC models may have overestimated the climate sensitivity for greenhouse gases, underestimated natural variability, or both.

According to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were pretty much identical…… suggesting the CO2 argument is over-hyped. During the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different. This suggests that recent warming is not exceptional.

Not much is known about natural variability – whether caused by solar activity, volcanoes or … more particularly…. natural cycles or oscillations….El Nino/La Nina etc. It may be that we will soon enter a slight cooling cycle and everyone will relax.

On the basis of the above lack of certainty and the small size of the change, I am alarmed that some people should seek to change our whole way of life, wind down our search for economic growth etc. over practically nothing. Strikes me that some former socialists have been casting around for a new reason to boss us all around.

In the country in which I live (the UK), the only noticeable change in climate has been a slight reduction in overnight frosts. Even the hottest summers and coldest winters recently have had their historical precedents. The slight reduction in night frosts has increased the average annual temperatures, but actually…..who cares about a few frosts most of us sleep through anyway?

if it comes to a straight policy choice between adaptation + technology fixes versus huge decreases in carbon emissions, then I’ll plump for adaptation and tech fixes anyday.

26. John Meredith

“If, as @3 you want to treat sceptics and deniers as one….. then that gives them a clear majority (73%).”

A little embarrassing that for Andrew Adams on this thread who is now committed, by his own logic, to the view that climate scepticism should be broadcast exclusively.

27. John Meredith

“No, that’s too narrow a definition. Many sceptics (like me) agree that man’s activity has influenced the climate but do not accept the warmists’ assessments of how much and/or how much it matters.”

I think this is the most common sceptical opinion, at least among people who take a serious interest. I would change the emphasis though to:

“… do not accept the warmists’ assessment that it is remotely possible to predict with any accuracy how much and/or how much it matters”

@John Meredith

You are obviously not very familiar with the “warmist” assessment of which you speak. There is no single “warmist” assessment of how much all this matters. Once you get past the anthropogenic causation question (which you have conceded) it is no longer merely a scientific issue or environmental issue. The balance of nature has been disturbed. If you think that’s no bad thing then I suggest to you that impinges on your credibility to argue further.

Once you get past the anthropogenic causation question (which you have conceded) it is no longer merely a scientific issue or environmental issue. The balance of nature has been disturbed.

Ah. It’s a religious issue.

@ cjcjc

No, in your case it’s a dogmatic issue.

Well, if it is no longer “merely” a scientific or environmental issue, what sort of issue is it?

32. Flowerpower

The balance of nature has been disturbed

If we didn’t disturb the balance of nature from time to time we’d be overrun by insects if we hadn’t been choked by weeds first.

Besides, the 0.8 of one degree increase (of which only part is attributable to AGW) isn’t really much of a disturbance. Nature throws up her own variations on a much larger scale with her Ice Ages, mini-Ice Ages, Medieval Warming Periods and so on.

Cheer up. Gaia is a resilient old soul who can take a few degrees of global warming without totally freaking out.

A little embarrassing that for Andrew Adams on this thread who is now committed, by his own logic, to the view that climate scepticism should be broadcast exclusively.

Not at all. Firstly I never said than any particular view should be broadcast exclusively, secondly AGW is overwhelmingly the majority position based on the published science and experts working in the field. Public opinion has nothing to do with the point I was making.

No, because the BBC is bound by statute to be impartial, i.e present both sides of the argument with equal weight. It sounds to me like the warmists are annoyed that the BBC is finally taking some notice of it’s obligation rather than just churning out the latest press release from the IPCC, as they have done for the last 5 years.

So perhaps they should give equal weight to flat earthers or people who believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old, and that dinosaurs and man coexsisted at the same time perhaps.

@ cjcjc

I’m not entirely sure, I don’t think you can box it all up and say this is a certain kind of debate. AGW presents problems we’ve never faced before. There’s certainly a moral dimension lacking in mankind’s behaviour. Future generations are going to have to live with the degraded environment and the depleted resources which we are knowingly creating for them today. And we don’t know how bad that is because of the positive feedbacks in the science, and the political failure to deal with it so far.

Take a look at the positive and negative impacts of climate change from peer reviewed literature:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-positives-negatives.htm

“0.8 of one degree increase (of which only part is attributable to AGW) isn’t really much of a disturbance”

Possibly not as yet, but you seem to be assuming that there is end in sight when in fact we are still putting greenhosue gases into the atmosphere and will be doing so for many years to come (especially given the lack of corrective action). Also, contrary to your previous post, most of the warming we have experienced has occurred in the past 50 years, and most of that is down to human activities.

I don’t like to pre-empt the annual data on global temperature, but as it stands 2010 is on course to be a record breaking year in terms of the instrument temperture records. We will have to wait until the end of the year for that to be confirmed, but claims that the warming has stopped or slowed are seriously misplaced.

Besides, the 0.8 of one degree increase (of which only part is attributable to AGW) isn’t really much of a disturbance. Nature throws up her own variations on a much larger scale with her Ice Ages, mini-Ice Ages, Medieval Warming Periods and so on.

Actually 0.8º is a much greater variation than occurred in either the LIA or MWP. Mind you if 0.8º was the end of it then we wouldn’t be too worried, but it’s going to be much more than that.

Gaia is a resilient old soul who can take a few degrees of global warming without totally freaking out.

Well Gaia has certainly adapted in the past, but in the process >99% of species which have existed on the planet have become extinct.

Of course there is nothing wrong with genuine scepticism, but those who are willing to accept any bogus and discredited argument against AGW without question are not sceptics, nor are those who keep coming out with the same arguments even when they have been shown to be wrong.
There is nothing wrong with questioning the consensus view, the problem comes when people refuse to listen to the answers.

2010 is on course to be a record breaking year in terms of the instrument temperture

That’s perfectly possible. In fact because I like nice weather I rather hope it is.

But why won’t the tree ring evidence for the year match the high temperature?

There’s certainly a moral dimension lacking in mankind’s behaviour.

Hey, tell me about it.

Extinction is probably what we deserve don’t you think?

One point about temperature changes in the past. The notion that recent changes in climate are caused predominantly by human activity is not some idea which scientists have conjured up in isolation either for political purposes, to try to get funding or just as a convenient way to justify recent warming. It follows naturally from the understanding of the way our climate works, which has developed and become more sophiscticated over many years and encompasses the study of the way our climate has changed in the past. That includes looking at and trying to understand the changes over the last 150 years as shown by the instrumental record, over the last 1-2,000 or so years (including the LIA and MWP) as evidenced by paleoclimate studies and going way further back by studying geological records.
All of these past changes are recognised and form part of our overall understanding of how our climate works. So to point to them as some kind of evidence that our understanding of climate change in the modern era is incorrect is just wrong and fundamentally misunderstands the scientific basis for AGW.

41. Flowerpower

Actually 0.8º is a much greater variation than occurred in either the LIA or MWP.

Really? Wikipedia says:

….sediments … show regular increases in the amount of coarse sediment grains deposited from icebergs melting in the now open ocean, indicating a series of 1-2°C cooling events recurring every 1,500 years or so . The most recent of these cooling events was the Little Ice Age. These same cooling events are detected in sediments accumulating off Africa, but the cooling events appear to be larger, ranging between 3-8°C.

…..{during the LIA}…. The freeze of the Golden Horn and the southern section of the Bosphorus took place in 1622. In 1658, a Swedish army marched across the Great Belt to Denmark to invade Copenhagen. The Baltic Sea froze over, enabling sledge rides from Poland to Sweden.. The winter of 1794/1795 was particularly harsh when the French invasion army under Pichegru could march on the frozen rivers of the Netherlands, while the Dutch fleet was fixed in the ice in Den Helder harbour. In the winter of 1780, New York Harbor froze, allowing people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island.

42. Matt Munro

@ 40 “That includes looking at and trying to understand the changes over the last 150 years as shown by the instrumental record”

I never understand why warmists can’t see what a big hole this 150 years blows in the science. Extrapolation of any kind is poor science (as the variables may not behave outside the known range in anything like the way they do within it) and extrapolating from a data set which is, in global climate terms, an eye blink, by defintion means you can only ever guess at outcomes.
Mixing data sources (temperture records with tree rings, ocean sediment, ice core samples etc etc is even worse because you are then piling inconsistent data sources (primary and secondary) on top of your guess.

43. Matt Munro

@ 34 “So perhaps they should give equal weight to flat earthers or people who believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old, and that dinosaurs and man coexsisted at the same time perhaps”.

No because hardly anyone believes in them. Whereas 73% of the population are sceptics.

andrew adams (and others),

The notion that recent changes in climate are caused predominantly by human activity is not some idea which scientists have conjured up in isolation either for political purposes, to try to get funding or just as a convenient way to justify recent warming.

Um. So, how did scientists come up with this explanation?

Let’s ask Phil Jones of the CRU, shall we?

Roger Harrabin: If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?

Dr Phil Jones: The fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing…

So, since Phil and his friends are unable to account for the warming in terms of volcanos or solar warming, then obviously it must be solely human induced?

What about this mysterious decadal Pacific oscillation that is now, apparently, “masking the warming”? What about cloud formation, or albedo or… or… so many other things, many of which we may not be aware of?

The climate is a pretty Chaotic system and we have, really, very little idea of all of the factors involved. Yes, it may be man-made forcings but, ultimately, it could be something else entirely. Or a mixture of both natural and human, of course.

What does Dr Phil think? [Emphasis mine.]

It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don’t believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.

Indeed.

A science that measures temperatures by proxies—especially given the problems with said proxies which have been widely detailed (including the tree ring divergence problem)—and then tries to predict future temperatures is not going to be a black and white issue: quite apart from anything else, the temperature has consistently failed to match the predictions of the climate models.

Now, people will say that this is because the climate is a very complicated system, and the models are still improving—but that is the point about a chaotic system like the climate, isn’t it?

The simple fact is that the evidence (that is, the actual, observed temperatures) has not matched the predictions.

Even if we accept that CRU and IPCC are right, then how should we deal with it? Well, luckily, the IPCC has been kind enough to run some models for us, to help us to decide this—they are known as the SRES models (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios).

There are a number of scenarios there but, for my money, the best outcome is produced by the A1 family.

The A1 storyline is a case of rapid and successful economic development, in which regional average income per capita converge—current distinctions between “poor” and “rich” countries eventually dissolve. The primary dynamics are:

Strong commitment to market-based solutions.
High savings and commitment to education at the household level.
High rates of investment and innovation in education, technology, and institutions at the national and international levels.
International mobility of people, ideas, and technology.
The transition to economic convergence results from advances in transport and communication technology, shifts in national policies on immigration and education, and international cooperation in the development of national and international institutions that enhance productivity growth and technology diffusion.

This may be the type of scenario best represented in recent literature (e.g., Shinn, 1985; UN, 1990; Schwartz, 1991; Peterson, 1994; Gallopin et al., 1997; Glenn and Gordon, 1997, 1999; Lawrence et al., 1997; Hammond, 1998; Raskin et al., 1998). Such scenarios are dominated by an American or European entrepreneurial, progress-oriented perspective in which technology, especially communication technology, plays a central role.

Now, others—those with ideological problems with markets or economic growth, for instance—may disagree; personally, however, I think that a course of action that eliminates poverty and keeps the planet going seems to me to be a pretty good option to go for.

And note, please, that these scenarios are collated and produced not by a bunch of oil-funded right-wing loons, but by the IPCC—the same organisation whose scientific evidence you accept.

DK

@ 34 “So perhaps they should give equal weight to flat earthers or people who believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old, and that dinosaurs and man coexsisted at the same”

They seem to devote quite a lot of time on a Sunday to conjecture with equally ill founded scientific basis.

“it has remained silent on the involvement of the re-insurance industry in funding high-profile warmist institutions”

Hmm. If the more apocalyptic AGW forecasts are anywhere near true, reinsurers will all go bankrupt – or premiums will have to rise to massively. I’d have thought their economic interest lay in climate alarmism to pump those premiums up. Odd.

“A ‘skeptic’ on climate change is someone who denies that man-made activity is influencing the climate. ”

As above in the comments. No.

A skeptic can be all sorts of things. Someone who thinks that Mark Lynas is a lying shit for example, trying to tell us all about 6 oC temp rises…..something which absolutely no scientist thinks is possible let alone likely in any reasonable timescale.

Or runaway warming. Or even someone who points out that it isn’t “just basic physics” (for it isn’t, the basic physics is a 0.7 oC rise for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, the rest depending upon feedbacks).

Finally, a skeptic can be someone like me who is insistent that most of what we’re told we must do about it all is counter-productive. Just as an example, we’re told endlessly that we must become more self sufficient, reduce globalisation, in order to beat climate change. Yet the very economics models which the whole IPCC is based upon assume entirely the opposite. Globalisation reduces, not increases, emissions.

Sorry, properly finally: if, as and when, some group comes along and says “we’ve got to change the entire world! The economics, trade, power, farming, just everything!” the only rational, the only possibly even sensible, reaction is to be a skeptic. For we’ve seen, in the last century, how that insistence that we have to change everything worked out, no?

@ 40 Matt Munro
Im not a scientist and neither are you but the instrumental record only goes back so far, so the scientists use proxy data. Without that the last two decades are still significantly warmer than the previous 150 years. Extrapolation is necessary in any kind of prediction. Of course it’s not perfect but its our best guess. The only valid opposition to the science is better science and skeptics are conspicuously short of that.

49. Richard Allan

DK posted: The simple fact is that the evidence (that is, the actual, observed temperatures) has not matched the predictions.

Source?

I have been keenly interested in this subject for many years. I have gone from happy to sad and shocked to amazed over the years.

I have just read something that I see as quite appalling and sinister.

I am bursting to share it widely.

The link is to The wall Street Journal–article by Patrick J Michaels—see paragraphs 12,13,14

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html

Devil’s Kitchen

Um. So, how did scientists come up with this explanation?

They didn’t “come up with an explanation” – they actually predicted it before it happened.

The climate is a pretty Chaotic system and we have, really, very little idea of all of the factors involved.

This really isn’t true. We know rather a lot about the factors which affect the climate.

@43 Matt Munro

I dont know where you get your figures from but heres a poll saying “Seventy one percent of people now believe the world’s climate is changing” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/10286057.stm

The scientific concensus is around 98% . I suggest the lower figure amongst the population means the people are being misled. Since scientists are by definition better informed about science.

54. Flowerpower

Seventy one percent of people now believe the world’s climate is changing

I’m amazed that 100% don’t agree the climate is changing. That’s what climate always does…. change.

But that doesn’t mean that 71% accept the alarmist/catastrophist predictions or agree with their policy prescriptions.

The problem with all this proxy data, adjusted for this and adjusted for that, weighted to take account of the other, extrapolated from here to there, not-perfect-but-best-guess stuff they call climate science is that it all becomes decidedly iffy when you’re only discussing a fraction of one degree over one and a half centuries. Just a teensy little mistake and suddenly you end up as far wrong as Al Gore.

The problem with all this proxy data, adjusted for this and adjusted for that, weighted to take account of the other, extrapolated from here to there, not-perfect-but-best-guess stuff they call climate science is that it all becomes decidedly iffy when you’re only discussing a fraction of one degree over one and a half centuries. Just a teensy little mistake and suddenly you end up as far wrong as Al Gore.

The temperature rises over the last one and a half centuries are based on actual measurements, not proxy data.

Matt,

Chris de Freitas, the editor of Climate Research, was by his own admission accepting papers on the basis of their scepticism of AGW rather than their scientific merit. This included the Soon and Baliunas paper mentioned in Michaels’ article, which has been completedly discredited and was so badly flawed that it prompted the resignation of the journal’s editor in chief. Several other editoral board members also resigned as a result of the whole episode. So yes, there was a subversion of the peer review process but not in the way Michaels suggests.

I never understand why warmists can’t see what a big hole this 150 years blows in the science. Extrapolation of any kind is poor science (as the variables may not behave outside the known range in anything like the way they do within it) and extrapolating from a data set which is, in global climate terms, an eye blink, by defintion means you can only ever guess at outcomes.

The argument for AGW is not based on the extrapolation of the trend for the last 150 years.

58. Matt Munro

@ 48 – I have a Bsc (Hons) but I’ll concede I’m not a scientist. As you admit, it’s a best guess – and guesses aren’t science, nor are they in my view sufficiently good evidence to justify mass hysteria and the complete change in lifestyle (a return to some sort of agrarian communism) that the buest guess implies.
In any scientific experiment it’s generally agreed that p (in laymans terms the probability of the result occuring by chance) should be less than 5%. In other words, 95% of the observed effect should be demonstraby due to the cause/effect hypothesis under investigation, in order to reject the null hypothesis (in laymans terms “prove” your hypothesis).
Applying that to climate change predictions, to support warming being attributable only to human activity, there should be a far stronger demonstrable relationship between human activity and warming, and, to justify the hysterical response, a 95% probability of the outcome both occuring and being catastrophic to human inhabitants of the planets. A “best guess” can never meet the criteria, and “we can’t explain the warming in any other way” is just risible, not an argument that would be used by any scientist worthy of the name.

59. Matt Munro

@ 55 “The temperature rises over the last one and a half centuries are based on actual measurements, not proxy data.”

@ 57 “The argument for AGW is not based on the extrapolation of the trend for the last 150 years.”

So they are based on more evidence than the 150 years – but the more evidence is proxy data ?

60. Flowerpower

The temperature rises over the last one and a half centuries are based on actual measurements, not proxy data.

So, for the centuries where proxy data are used, are we talking about more than a fraction of one degree per century or so? If recent warming is said to be exceptional, I assume that in most cases we are talking about an even smaller fraction of a degree.
Even more likely to be wrong then.

61. Flowerpower

Laban @ 46

I’d have thought their economic interest lay in climate alarmism to pump those premiums up.

Yep – that’s presumably why they sponsor alarmists.

62. rinky stingpiece

What on earth is wrong about being sceptical or calling peer-reviewed work into question?

Scientists are not gods, they make mistakes like anyone else; and if academic work is of sufficient rigour it will stand up to scrutiny.

Peer-review is a journey, not a destination; it’s a debate where ideas and arguments are tested, and sometimes refined; and sometimes shown to be wanting, or just plain wrong.
It’s absolutely unscientific to have a fixed view of the “facts”, and to resist any challenge of them. As there is an obvious political and economic dimension to this, it’s even more important that journalists do not follow the herd when something doesn’t add up.
Any academic worth anything follows the evidence, even if it contradicts strongly-held emotional beliefs.

It is also bigoted (not to mention logically fallacious) to reject the comments of people merely because of their associations. You have to look at what argument they are making, and what evidence there is to support it, and analyse it, discerning correlation from causality.

You really ought to look up what the word “ignorant” means, before spouting.

pagar: That’s perfectly possible. In fact because I like nice weather I rather hope it is.

The fact that deniers like you keep mixing up weather and climate shows the level of ignorance that the denier movement is involved in.

Can we get one thing clear? Denialists *call themselves* sceptics (meanwhile, only Septics call anyone ‘skeptics’). The worst thing we can do is equate the two.

A sceptic changes their mind when the evidence changes, whilst a denalist ignores the evidence and claims that all of the people who’ve discovered the evidence are bribed, lying, mad, crooked, etc. The pretending-AGW-isn’t-happening lobby are firmly in the denialist camp, not the sceptic camp.

“It is also bigoted (not to mention logically fallacious) to reject the comments of people merely because of their associations.”

Oh, okay. So I have to carefully consider a NAMBLA member’s position on child care?

“So I have to carefully consider a NAMBLA member’s position on child care?”

Yup. You might not need to consider it for very long, might be able to see very quickly that it should be rejected. But consider it, yes.

Just as you should consider carefully ideas from people whose general world view you agree with: specific ideas they come up with might well be entirely nuts.

To switch ideas for a moment: both the ASI and Ken Livingstone supported the congestion charge in London. Depending where you are on the socio-political spectrum of views you might reject the congestion charge precisely because the ASI (or Ken, to taste) support it.

But in order to work out whether it is a good idea or not you need to look at the actual idea, not who is supporting it.

55. andrew adams: “The temperature rises over the last one and a half centuries are based on actual measurements, not proxy data.”

That’s not strictly true. They’re based upon a heavily adjusted temperature record. Many of said adjustments have the effect of making the past cooler – which, in light of the encroachment of urbanisation with the UHI effect thereby introduced – rather flies in the face of logic. A quick look at the NCDC website http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ushcn.html where some of the adjustments are discussed, summarises:-

“The cumulative effect of all adjustments is approximately a one-half degree Fahrenheit warming in the annual time series over a 50-year period from the 1940’s until the last decade of the century.”. This isn’t a “wingnut” site, it’s the official National Climatic Data Center of the US Dept of Commerce.

Allowing for the rather quaint usage of Fahrenheit, half a degree is a shade under 0.3C over a 50 year period compared to 0.8C over 150 years… Add to this the tricky notion that temperature changes are being calculated that are well within the limits of accuracy of the thermometers being used and it’s not unreasonable to surmise that, in fact, we have no idea whether the long-term temperature is rising, falling, or just oscillating around a temperate mean.

68. John Meredith

“The fact that deniers like you keep mixing up weather and climate … ”

This is one of those tired half-truths that the scientifically nincompoopish routinely trot out in a desperate attempt to sound sophisticated. It is a near certainty that whoever uses it hasn’t got a clue as to what it might mean. File under ‘can’t prove a negative’.

Worstall in ‘answering rhetorical question, namedropping ASI’ shock.

Pogo,

That doesn’t contradict what I said, the temperature records are still based on measurements using thermometers rather than proxies. The fact that adjustments (including adjustments for UHI) are made is not a secret, hence it being discussed on the NOAA website. The point of course is to get as accurate a record of temperature changes over the years, not to artificially manipulate the records to show temperatures moving in one way or another so the fact that the net effect of all the adjustments is is one direction isn’t neccessarily evidence that the results are unreliable. And of course individual thermometers have a margin of error but there are enough of them overall for this to average out.

So, for the centuries where proxy data are used, are we talking about more than a fraction of one degree per century or so? If recent warming is said to be exceptional, I assume that in most cases we are talking about an even smaller fraction of a degree.
Even more likely to be wrong then.

Yes, the proxy temperature reconstructions for past centuries show less variation than in the 20th century. Of course there is an element of uncertainty which increases the further back you go but that is due to the nature of proxy reconstructions and our current level of expertise in the area, it doesn’t make any diference whether the amount of variation shown in a given period is high or low, so the logic in your last sentence is wrong.

72. Matt Munro

@63 “The fact that deniers like you keep mixing up weather and climate shows the level of ignorance that the denier movement is involved in”.

And the fact that warmists keep mixing up “strongly held opinion” with “science” shows the level of mass hysteria the warmist movment is involved in.

Climate is just long term weather, the difference is one of scale, that’s all.

73. Matt Munro

@ 67 “They’re based upon a heavily adjusted temperature record. Many of said adjustments have the effect of making the past cooler”

Indeed and, by definition, the present comparatively warmer………………

@59 So they are based on more evidence than the 150 years – but the more evidence is proxy data ?

We have instrumental records going back 150 years or so, before that we use proxies. But my point was that the argument for AGW is not based on simply extrapolating previous temperature trends, that would indeed be nonsense.

“the fact that the net effect of all the adjustments is is one direction isn’t neccessarily evidence that the results are unreliable”

True enough. However the fact that the net effect of adjustment is not in the direction that you might expect given urbanisation, heat island effects, etc does give rise to, dare I say it, scepticism.

I don’t think we understand enough about the climate and the various drives and feedbacks to act on anything more than a precautionary principle on the basis that pumping stuff into the atmosphere may well have undesirable effects, (the effects could be beneficial but given that change tends to cause difficulties this is less likely). However if this is all we’re acting on it’s foolish to take measures that cause more harm than are justified on a precautionary basis and until we have solid, falsifiable theories describing climate change rather than somewhat scientifically based wibble I don’t see that changing.

76. John Meredith

“We have instrumental records going back 150 years or so”

Not very good records though, and not global at all. The measured data doesn’t really get useful until after WW2. The proxies simply fail in the second half of the 20th century which should make us rather sceptical of them too.

77. Rhys Williams

John M and Matt are you climate physicists.

78. gwenhwyfaer

Matt Munro really shouldn’t have bothered saying:

No, because the BBC is bound by statute to be impartial, i.e present both sides of the argument with equal weight.

That isn’t impartiality. I can think of a dozen trivial examples of it being the precise opposite. So can you, if you’re honest.

In what sense are you “informed and qualified” BTW ?

I don’t have to be – the only position I’m taking is that the vast majority of climate scientists know what they’re talking about when they discuss their area of expertise. But you seem to be saying that the preponderance of scientific discussion is wrong. That is an extraordinary claim, because you are challenging experts in their own fields – and as such, you need to present extraordinary evidence, in order to convince them.

So where is it? Did you perhaps lose it down the back of the sofa? Maybe if you think about where you last saw it?

(And I note, with some amusement, you had to come back a little later to tell me that on the basis of the words you put in my mouth you had divined what expertise and training I had. I can only assume you felt you hadn’t made yourself look sufficiently ridiculous already. Well, don’t worry – you really did finish the job that time.)

79. gwenhwyfaer

Flowerpower, are you really contending that you can establish scientific facts about the world by taking a random poll of a representative sample of the populace?

Words… fail me. You poor lamb.

80. gwenhwyfaer

In any scientific experiment it’s generally agreed that p … should be less than 5%. In other words, 95% of the observed effect should be demonstraby due to the cause/effect hypothesis under investigation, in order to reject the null hypothesis.

…but that really isn’t what it means at all – in fact, it’s actually a grotesque distortion of what it means.

Evidently you aren’t a statistician either. Or, you know, honest.

81. gwenhwyfaer

if, as and when, some group comes along and says “we’ve got to change the entire world! The economics, trade, power, farming, just everything!” the only rational, the only possibly even sensible, reaction is to be a skeptic. For we’ve seen, in the last century, how that insistence that we have to change everything worked out, no?

Sceptical of their proposed solution, sure – I completely agree with you on that. But that doesn’t mean the problems they point to aren’t real and urgent; it might only mean that those problems are intractable.

82. Matt Munro

@ 80 That is exactly what it means p = probability of result occuring by chance, therefore if p = 5 the correlation is strong, higher and it is weak. I did simplify it a bit for the mostly non-scientific readership of LC

83. Matt Munro

@ 78 I don’t have to be – the only position I’m taking is that the vast majority of climate scientists know what they’re talking about when they discuss their area of expertise.

So you would have believed the expert (at the time) consensus that the earth was flat, that thalidomide was safe, that nuclear power would be too cheap to meter, that the ice age was coming, that by now the biggest problem facing humanity would be excessive leisure time, the “millenium bug” would see planes falling out of the sky, we would all die of flu last winter etc etc etc ?

84. Matt Munro

@ 77 No I’m not, but nor is anyone else on LC

@83

For at least half your examples you’re confusing “scientists” with “tabloid headlines”. An easy mistake to make.

86. Matt Munro

@ 74 “But my point was that the argument for AGW is not based on simply extrapolating previous temperature trends, that would indeed be nonsense.”

But the central argument of the warmists and the logic underpinning their catastropic predictions always boil down to “If current trends continue” so how, if not by extrapoloation, are those predictions made ?

I don’t necessarily disagree that the earth is getting warmer, and I could probably be persuaded (with convincing evidence) that we are to some extent responsible. My argument is with the idea that the outcome is predictable or that it can only ever be negative.

87. Matt Munro

@ 85 All predictions made by or endorsed by government scientists. Nu lab even set up a bloody millenium bug taskforce FFS. You can’t blame everything on tabloids

“Sceptical of their proposed solution, sure – I completely agree with you on that. But that doesn’t mean the problems they point to aren’t real and urgent;”

On this particular climate change thing I’m one of the very few who is actually accepting that there is a problem but then trying to look at the various proposed soultions and finding them appallingly wanting.

The IPCC itself says that globalisation is part of the cure, not the problem: not something that G. Monbiot or Caroline Lucas ever tell us now, is it?

But the central argument of the warmists and the logic underpinning their catastropic predictions always boil down to “If current trends continue” so how, if not by extrapoloation, are those predictions made ?

OK, let’s assume we agree that there has been over the last 35 years a strong warming trend. If we examine the known factors which affect our climate and decide that we can explain that trend by pointing to a particular cause AND there is reason to believe that this factor will continue to have an influence in coming years then it is reasonable to assume that the trend will continue and we can extrapolate accordingly.
However, that is different from simply saying that because we have had a warming trend for thirty odd years we must assume that we can extrapolate this trend to predict future temperatures. Thats is the distinction I was trying to make.

If it has got warmer over the last few decades why haven’t the tree rings been getting bigger?

This doesn’t make sense when tree rings are the main proxy for estimating what temperatures were in the past and are crucial to the evidence that underpins the whole AGW argument.

Simple question.

Answers please.

So you would have believed the expert (at the time) consensus that the earth was flat, that thalidomide was safe

Yes, of course I’d have believed the expert consensus on these two; I’d have been right to do so, and a non-scientist who disputed them without first understanding the reasons for the expert consensus would have been an idiot.

that nuclear power would be too cheap to meter, that by now the biggest problem facing humanity would be excessive leisure time

These are more complicated, as they’re not actually claims about science. In both cases, the science was right, but the economics was wrong: nuclear advocates underestimated the cost of the engineering required to reduce risk to a socially acceptable level; leisure time theorists failed to understand the human capacity to want more and more random stuff that we don’t really need rather than taking time off.

that the ice age was coming

Yay denialist fiction! The idea that there was ever a serious expert consensus (rather than the ravings of a few cranks) that the ice age was coming is simply made up.

the “millenium bug” would see planes falling out of the sky, we would all die of flu last winter etc etc etc ?

The Millennium Bug didn’t cause major problems *because* we invested major resources into fixing it. On the flu, there was only ever a small possibility that the flu pandemic would reach the death rates seen in previous flu pandemics, and nobody outside of tabloid-land pretended otherwise – however, a small possibility of something that *kills 5% of the population* is still worth preparing for…

91…you do know that Hansen the AGW expert believed that we were facing a new ice age in the 70s…and you have looked at the temperature charts and seen the flattish/declining trend in the 70s, haven’t you.

No, I know that he *didn’t*, and anyone claiming that he did is a crook and a liar. See here.

Devils’ Kitchen @ 44,

I have a simple philosophy.

It serves me well.

Whatever you say is wrong.

You are a controversialist and a complete utter fool.

You only read one side of the discussion, and refuse, with that certaintity that all Libertarians have, that, whatever you say is right.

The evidence that stacks up against you never effects your arrogant idea about self, or selfishness.

For that is what all libertarians are, children that believe that their own fairy tales will protect them from reality. For Devil’s Kitchen, it hasn’t worked too well.

So, go away and grow the fuck up.

@95 Get out of the wrong side of bed this morning did we?

Is it the case that the BBC pensionfund is invested in a company which trades in carbon credits>

Is it the case that the BBC issued its staff with guidance on the BBC “line to take” on Global Warming

Hidden agenda? Good grief

98. Alexander Davidson

Your premise that the BBC has adopted a policy of pandering to ‘climate sceptics’ misses the mark. BBC journalists have a duty to be objective. They now know that the so-called ‘consensus’ in the IPCC’s AR4 document was a mirage. Because the debate has degenerated into a shouting match between competing claques it’s a mistake to get involved in the trench warfare. Far better to go for the scientific jugular.

By 1996 it had become clear that the climate models, based on assumed high AGW, over-predicted temperature rise by a large amount when hindcast to real data. The decision was taken to assume a large cooling effect via man-made pollution, directly and indirectly via increased cloud albedo. The former had long been proven. However, the latter, a tenet of climate science at the time but with little general proof, had to be proven.

The research has shown no such effect. There is no difference between cloud albedo in the polluted Northern and the unpolluted Southern hemispheres. The theory used to justify the claim only applies to thin clouds. If you read the literature, insiders probably knew this long before AR4. One, Kiehl, write a paper on the corrections: the data are damming. His co-worker in one of the ClimateGate e-mails, pleaded how the models weren’t predicting reality. Either the models are wrong, they’ve been calibrated wrongly or it’s both.

Now the control on access to journals has been exposed, contrary views are being published. A new consensus is emerging. It seems quite likely that AGW has been responsible for about a quarter of recent warming with the rest from natural processes, probably astrophysical . If true, the main premise in the IPCC models was wrong from the start.

On the 9th April, the Presidents of the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences published a letter in the FT eulogising climate science but adding the need for more research on ‘feedback processes’. I think the mainstream scientific establishment has pulled the choke chain on those in climate science who had threatened the reputation of science in general. About time too.

PS this kind of fight is common. A previous example was the ‘phlogiston theory’ of heat. It took over a century to establish the truth and in so doing, the modern science of quantitative chemistry was born.

@ 98. Alexander Davidson et al

I haven’t said the BBC have such a policy. I’ve drawn attention to a couple of egregious examples, further reasoning can be found in my blog.

You say “Far better to go for the scientific jugular.” The only opposition to the science is better science. You quote conspiracy theory, a bit of conjecture and a view that makes no pretence to be impartial . It can’t be evaluated because you provide no references. But it’s irrelevant here anyhow. The verity of AGW does not boil down to the ill-informed opinion to be found on internet message boards. There is a huge scientific consensus and there has been since at least the early 1980s. The mainstream media report an entirely different story. I rely on the work of Dr. Naomi Oreskes , and reccomend you read her new book “Merchants of Doubt”

100. Alexander Davidson

Reply to hengist mcstone: “The only opposition to the science is better science. You quote conspiracy theory, a bit of conjecture and a view that makes no pretence to be impartial . It can’t be evaluated because you provide no references. But it’s irrelevant here anyhow.”

Here’s the Kiehl reference: Geophysical Research Letters, VOL 34, L22710,doi:10, 1029/2007GL031383, 2007. The models depend on an assumed cooling effect via polluted clouds for which there is no evidence. Kiehl is one of the main modellers: when he is worried the rest should be too. The variation of the assumed cloud cooling is so wide as to be laughable even if it were justifiable.

I worked for 20 years on technologies to counter global warming, should it accelerate, and I’m very annoyed that the modellers did not do their job! That they all agree in public is irrelevant because science does not weigh votes. The key is the climate sensitivity. In their GRL paper last year, Lindzen and Choi estimated it to be 0.5 K compared with the 3 K [temperature rise for doubling [CO2]], the central IPCC projection. There are other groups coming to the same conclusion.

In 1988, Lindzen warned the modellers that their assumption of high positive feedbacks via clouds wasn’t experimentally verifiable.. Many other serious scientists, e.g. Lovelock, are openly contemptuous of the claimed ability to predict the behaviour of a chaotic system up to a century ahead, particularly when the lack of confidence in key parts of the physics is an order of magnitude higher than the claimed precision of the model outputs!

The problem is that you have to have a good hard science PhD to understand the vastness of the subject; I do and what I have identified is a key error made 50 years’ ago in the optics of cloud aerosols – an approximation was made which is far too simplistic and no-one in climate science had the wit to think that what they bet the farm on in 1996, when the models were shown to be wrong, had no credibility. It’s called science – bad science will be outed.

Hi Alexander Davidson

Ive done a couple of internet searches for your name and PhD and haven’t found any reference to you. Can you tell us the name of the University that awarded your doctorate, the year, the title of your doctoral thesis , anything to help verification. Thanks.

102. Alexander Davidson

Reply to mcstone: “Can you tell us the name of the University that awarded your doctorate, the year, the title of your doctoral thesis , anything to help verification. Thanks.”

My PhD was at one of the three top UK institutions in the ’70s. I’m not going to give any personal details but if you want to confirm my ideas, rope in a physicist.

In summary, many IPCC models assume much of the difference between predicted AGW and reality is man-made cooling via clouds: aerosols reduce droplet size, more droplets = more optical scattering, more energy to space. However, the theory [Twomey, 1974] only applies to thin clouds. The modellers applied it to thick clouds apparently without appreciating that was an extrapolation, fine if there was experimental verification, but that’s not the case.

So, the predictions in AR4 are unjustifiable: the models are wrong, they’ve been wrongly calibrated or both. It needs to be sorted, soon.

103. Alexander Davidson

As an addendum, I’ve just seen a paper from an ex NASA scientist who left when he was prevented from publishing his work. In 2006, he published a paper in Hungary which analysed the atmosphere in terms of fundamental radiative physics and concluded that greenhouse warming is thermodynamically impossible.

His new paper analyses 61 year’s data: http://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B74u5vgGLaWoNDFjODAwMWMtNmNmYS00NDhmLWI3NjItMTE0NGMwNWMxYjQ2&sort=name&layout=list&num=50

The data show no significant change in greenhouse gas optical thickness, the fundamental cause of AGW. Water vapour concentration has fallen as CO2 increases. The mechanism has to be through weather systems. Other scientists have pointed out the fall of stratospheric water vapour concentration. The Univ. of Alabama and MIT groups are publishing satellite data proving the negative feedback that the above paper predicts. There may be a very low perhaps zero amplification factor. The implication is that most if not all recent warming has been natural.

For a good analysis of the pros and cons, see: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/my-global-warming-skepticism-for-dummies/

Reply to Alexander Davidson

So your claim to have a PhD cannot be verified. And there is no Alexander Davidson PhD on google or findaphd.com. There is no point in evaluating what you say about the science because your credentials don’t check out.

I realise you feel that what you have written above is important but I’ll skip over it thank you, because , if there is any scientific value in it, those ideas ideas will prosper , but in this context they are being presented by an obvious fake doctor fantasist.

105. Alexander Davidson

As I said, take what I have written to a professional physicist. I’m not going to reveal my identity. Also, understand that there are many retired scientists like me who are observing with great concern the collapse of standards in climate science and have the power to correct the problem.

Alexander Davidson, you are John Titor and I claim my £5.

Mr mcstone and Mr Pill…

Your response to Alexander Davidson is so pathetically typical of that of the fanatical, scientifically-illiterate, CAGW enthusiast… Straight to the ad hominem, always “play the man, not the ball”.

Whether it’s “Mr” or “Dr” Davidson is immaterial. Why not try reading the papers that he cites (always assuming that you can understand them – and if you can’t, you have no authority to pontificate on the subject)?.

I don’t need to take it to a professional physicist, the flaws in your argument are hidden in plain sight. The name on the link ‘Dr Roy Spencer’, raises my suspicions. It’s a name I am familiar with but haven’t bothered to research before. Thanks to you Alexander Davidson I have now done so. Of course he is a well known skeptic but I find that he is also on the board of the George C. Marshall Institute. Heard that name before? You should have, I mention it towards the end of my article, above. For more information about the George C. Marshall Institute try this lecture : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio&NR=1

Your expert is linked to political activism sponsored by oil money. You can quote him to your heart’s content but ultimately this ought to be a search for truth, rather than a search for scientists who will tell you what you want to hear.

109. Augustus McTyrant

Hengist, I’m sorry, but thank you for playing. You’re never gonna convince people like me. The only people in this thread that have given any hard data have pretty much been the sceptics. While all you’re side has given is emotionally based ad hominem attacks. “SHOW ME YOUR ID CARD!!!!” and “LUNATIC!!!” are not valid counter arguments. Alexander Davidson and Roy Spencer could eat babies for breakfast and that still would have no bearing on the validity of the data they presented. Again Hengist, sorry but FAIL. FAIL FAIL FAIL.

Response to Augustus McTyrant

Your methodology is all wrong. The article at the top of the page is not about science, and doesn’t pretend to be science. Successive trolls and sceptics have brought their preconceptions along and attacked the science. But this is not a science blog. If you had a sensible coherent challenge to the science you would take it to someone who could evaluate it fully.

Your suggestion that what people eat for breakfast has no bearing on the validity of their data (and hence their credibility in climate science) is the usual climate denier practice of making an irrelevant statement to advance an ignorant argument.

As for which side is producing the hard evidence, you aren’t really a decent judge of that since you need it pointed out to you why it matters whether Alexander Davidson has PhD or not. Alexander Davidson says so himself in post #100.

For the record, one of the climate sceptics on this webpage falsely claims to have a science PhD.

Your position is founded on the dogma of ignorance ,irrelevance,and dishonesty which is why I agree I’ll never be able to persuade people like you.

But that doesn’t mean people like you are right.


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