How the BBC manufactures ignorance on climate change


12:01 pm - September 11th 2010

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contribution by Hengist McStone

In “Manufacturing Consent” Noam Chomsky laments that the attention span of television news reporting is so short that only conventional thoughts can be expressed. He calls it ‘concision’.

Global warming advocates are particularly susceptible to concision because of all the uncertainties and unravelling decades of misinformation.

The narrative goes that the scientists present a dire prediction then the skeptical mass media ask how bleak? When the scientists express uncertainty the media move on. The effect is one of uncertain scientists rather than the bleak outlook.

This trick was skilfully played when Kirsty Wark on Newsnight (23rd August 2010)  asked are the floods in Pakistan due to climate change?  James Hansen fairly observes essentially changing the climate is like loading a dice. 

A more unstable climate is more likely to give us extreme weather events and hence there will be more extreme weather events. But nailing a specific extreme weather event and asking if it is down to climate change is a different ball game*, and whilst the science, and effects of climate change are so hotly disputed one has to ask what purpose does such a question serve?

BBC news programmes habitually present climate related matters as two sided , a duel between skeptics and everyone else. For expert opinion the BBC chose Dr. Ghassem Asrar, a man with academic credentials in climate science as long as your arm who was cited as from the World Climate Research Project but is also from NASA.

A doctor with membership of five professional societies and numerous awards was not enough for the BBC so they called on Andrew Montford a chartered accountant from Kinross. An odd choice for the question at hand because Montford’s credentials are that he cannot agree on what the climate has been over the last millenium. Montford largely agreed with the eminent doctor, so was he on the programme for balance or for concision?

A chilling theme of the debate was that now that climate change is upon us, mitigation is obsolete and the question becomes how to adapt. Wark suggested proacive work be done in the form of local levees. But carbon was not mentioned once.

The consensus inevitably reached was that you can’t say that these particular floods in Pakistan are due to climate change.

At the end of the debate Wark asked after climategate are scientists becoming more cautious in pronouncing on what could be aspects of global warming? Montford was asked “do you accept climate change is a grave risk facing us all,” to which he blustered “errm from my perspective I think the answer is I don’t know. I think mankind is affecting the climate but whether it’s a little or a lot , I think , in reality we really just don’t know.”

‘We really just don’t know’ is the so called informed opinion they would like to leave you with on climate change.

You’ve got to hand it to those folks at the BBC  – they are skilled propagandists.  Wark deserves particular opprobrium for fronting this angle, which seems trivial with two million homeless and thousands dead . Of course it’s anything but trivial , such is the twisted nature of the media’s reporting of our changing climate. 

‘Hengist McStone’ runs a blog monitoring the BBC’s ignorant reporting of climate matters. If you spot anything, get in touch

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Reader comments


The effect is one of uncertain scientists rather than the bleak outlook.

If you want a balanced presentation of the current state of climate change analysis, that sounds about right.

You could, of course, add a bit about the utter foolishness of constructing doomsday scenarios from data extrapolated from dodgy computer models based on dodgy temperature measurement proxies.

“‘We really just don’t know’ is the so called informed opinion they would like to leave you with on climate change. ”

Err, given that the consensus estimate is 1.5-4.5 oC by hte end of this century, that’s accurate as well. 1.5 oC isn’t a large problem, 4.5 is a helluva large problem.

Computer models are far from perfect, but they are the best way of predicting future weather patterns now that we live in an uncertain climate. Actually the BBC did an experiment a couple of years back using the audiences computer time. It suggested 4 degrees by 2080.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6268595.stm

Actually the BBC did an experiment a couple of years back using the audiences computer time. It suggested 4 degrees by 2080.

No doubt the hundreds of thousands of us predicted to have died of CJD by now will be duly alarmed.

5. Chaise Guevara

“No doubt the hundreds of thousands of us predicted to have died of CJD by now will be duly alarmed.”

Ah, yes:

1: People have been wrong in the past.
2: Climate scientists are people.
ERGO: Climate scientists are wrong.

That is the logic of what you’re attemting to imply, right Pagar?

What would you like from the BBC, Hengist? How can they make you happy?

“Computer models are far from perfect, but they are the best way of predicting future weather patterns now that we live in an uncertain climate”

You say “best”, but what do you mean by this? How do we distinguish a good model from a bad model, given that none of the models can actually be validated? The accuracy of a model appears to depend purely upon the reputation of the institution that created it, rather than any qualitative measurement. And as we all know, some climatologists have (deservedly) awful reputations.

“You could, of course, add a bit about the utter foolishness of constructing doomsday scenarios from data extrapolated from dodgy computer models based on dodgy temperature measurement proxies.”

Quite. Computer models can be dodgy – and I was never convinced at the time about the doomsday predictions of the Club of Rome in 1972: Limits to Growth. As I recall, according to the Club’s computer models, the world was due to be running out of raw materials about now.

As for climate change, never mind for the present the modelling and try instead accounting for what’s been visibly happening to glaciers in Europe over the last few decades:
http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/environment/global-warming-environment/glacier-melt.html

The scientific challenge is explaining what is known as the “Medieval Warm Period” c. 950 – 1250 AD and the “Little Ice Age”, from the 16th through 19th centuries, which are both pre-industrialization and can hardly be argued to have been man-made:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period

Hi Vladimir,
The BBC generally are a very good broadcasting institution, they are trusted more than just about any other in the world. They make me happy, but they could improve , some of their reporting on climate change lacks the honesty found elsewhere on the BBC.

Climate models are about predicting the future, an uncertain pastime . I dont know which climate models are good and which are bad, and I don’t know why you think I should . Although I would prefer computer modelling to tea leaves or crystal balls.

It amuses me that skeptics are so keen to lambast climate models. The case for making computer predictions of future climate is founded on concerns we have today. If the models are inaccurate (and it would be miraculous if they weren’t) that would generally suggest a wider range of weather events and a more unstable climate. It seems to me that the destination point of critics of computer models would be to be less skeptical of AGW.

Always remember that computer models do not generate actual experimental data as such. They are NOT experimental evidence of what occurs in the ‘real world’. They are simulations of a system. They have inbuilt biases and can never be correct. Would you for instance, using the best financed computer models money can buy, those used in the stock market, have put your money into the American property market 4 yrs ago ?

Models could not predict the global stock market crash because they cannot account for all variables in a chaotic system such as the stock market. Economists know this, thats why automatic trading systems have limited use. If this is true for such, a relatively simple system, how can they possibly get it right for a system like the climate.

You cannot use these things as though they are perfect. The climate modellers react to criticism like all programmers/scientists do..they get defensive and take it very personally.

I think it would be more productive however if you focussed your attention on the fact that a peer of the realm was ‘economical with the truth’ to a parliamentary committee last week. He not only exaggerated the time he spent looking at whether the people at the CRU in East Anglia falsified data, but got paid £40,000 for less than 2 days work!. He did not ‘know’ that the committee he formed was made up of supporters of the CRU, he didn’t declare that he himself is a member of several companies that actually benefit from the belief in climate warming and support CRU..

Its like asking the bankers to look at how their own bonuses should be affected in the light of their failure in the global crash.

Talk about an expenses scandal in parliament ! Where’s the main stream media on that ?

Your comments about computer models are so dumb it is clear you are a ***wit. If the computer models are inaccurate it is because

i) We do not understand the dynamics of clouds, the biomass and its tendency to absorb CO2, we cannot explain the lack of existence of the atmospheric hotspot predicted by AGW, ocean dynamics and ocean biomass etc…

ii) Even if we did know all of the answers to (i) the climate is a complex chaotic system – as a result we cannot model it using computers since our numerical rounding will cause the numerical errors to grow exponentially.

iii) The equations that the computers solve which are basically differential equations do not because of time and spatial discretisation respect the laws of conservation of energy by an amount similar to the CO2 forcing.

Basically the models are meaningless and predict nothing. They should not be used for anything. Climate science is in its infancy. These models are basically rubbish.

Your comments about computer models are so dumb it is clear you are a ***wit. If the computer models are inaccurate it is because

i) We do not understand the dynamics of clouds, the biomass and its tendency to absorb CO2, we cannot explain the lack of existence of the atmospheric hotspot predicted by AGW, ocean dynamics and ocean biomass etc…

ii) Even if we did know all of the answers to (i) the climate is a complex chaotic system – as a result we cannot model it using computers since our numerical rounding will cause the numerical errors to grow exponentially.

iii) The equations that the computers solve which are basically differential equations do not because of time and spatial discretisation respect the laws of conservation of energy by an amount similar to the CO2 forcing.

Basically the models are meaningless and predict nothing. They should not be used for anything. Climate science is in its infancy. These models are basically rubbish.

12. Political_Animal

Montford was asked “do you accept climate change is a grave risk facing us all,” to which he blustered “errm from my perspective I think the answer is I don’t know. I think mankind is affecting the climate but whether it’s a little or a lot , I think , in reality we really just don’t know.”

Quite honestly, this is the only appropriate response that anyone can have about man-made climate change (née global warming). How can we hold beliefs as strong as the fervently religious, in something where we could only be agnostic at best, considering the “evidence” is poorly made, poorly understood computer models, based on relatively little scientific or historical data?

The glacier argument is very weak. While alpine glaciers have been retreating since the 1600s we find organic material beneath their retreating leading edges that is not all that old. That suggests that the glaciers are not all that old and have retreated in the recent past when people were not driving SUVs and using coal to generate electricity.

The big problem for the AGW is still the lack of evidence. Most of the raw temperature data shows no material warming in non-urban areas since the 1930s. The historical record shows that China, England, Germany, Italy, Greenland and other places have been warmer in the past 2000 years than they are now. That makes it difficult to argue that humans are the primary driver of temperature change and points to natural factors that have been ignored by the IPCC. An honest review of the evidence would point to the main driver of short term trends; solar activity. That is something that we can’t do much about.

I can only follow the course of climate change from news reports as best I can and lack basic education in the underpinning sciences.

From sources such as this, I understood that solar activity had been assessed and discounted as the cause of our warmer summers:

“However, between the 1960s and the present day the same solar measurements have shown that the energy from the sun is now decreasing. At the same time temperature measurements of the air and sea have shown that the Earth has continued to become warmer and warmer. This proves that it cannot be the sun; something else must be causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.”
http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

For me, this seems to be a balanced and detailed assessment of the retreat of glaciers since 1850:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850

From the evidence, there is no doubt that glaciers are retreating but that fact does not resolve the question as to why glaciers are retreating.

“If the models are inaccurate (and it would be miraculous if they weren’t) that would generally suggest a wider range of weather events and a more unstable climate.”

That can’t be what you meant to say? Surely???

If the models are inaccurate, that would generally suggest that drastic action should not have been based upon them.

One of the difficulties faced by proponents of CAGW theory is surely in dealing with the “weather isn’t climate” issue. CAGW postulates a “tipping point” ( the “C” in CAGW) whereupon the pace of climate change would accelerate at such a pace that “climate” would indeed begin to vary on a timescale similar to “weather”. Deniers have no such difficulty. When they point to Trenberth’s recent “lack of warming” they are not necessarily arguing (the null hypothesis – remember that? – does not require them to) for a cooling trend, or indeed any particular trend at all, they are merely pointing to the fact, which Trenberth called “a travesty”, that these predictions of accelerated warming have so far failed, and should not encourage confidence in the skill of the models that generated them. That Trenberth goes on to assume that “the data are faulty” says much about the state of climate science. See what Michael Kelly, of the Oxburgh Committee has to say on this mindset:

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/storage/kelly%20paper.pdf

“(i) I take real exception to having simulation runs described as experiments (without at least the qualification of ‘computer’ experiments). It does a disservice to centuries of real experimentation and allows simulations output to be considered as real data. This last is a very serious matter, as it can lead to the idea that real ‘real data’ might be wrong simply because it disagrees with the models! That is turning centuries of science on its head.”

He concludes with

“My overall sympathy is with Ernest Rutherford: “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.””

I leave it to readers to reconcile the Oxburgh Report as published with Kelly’s contribution to it as best they can.

Incidentally, Lord Oxburgh of Wind has just told the House of Commons Committee that the terms of his enquiry did not include reviewing the CRU’s science, as the UEA Chancellor had earlier assured them it would. Yet Kelly’s notes, which Oxburgh chose to leave to others to air, makes it clear that one committee member, at least, had the science squarely in his sights. What a deceitful lot these CAGW folk are!

Hengist,

As a retired systems engineer/programmer I find Andrew Montford to be diligent and committed to the scientific method. He seems to be able to justify all he says and is apparently free of conflicts of interest. By dismissing him as you did, you are implying you have not read the Hockey Stick Illusion or any of his site.

Do you also dismiss Dr Judith Curry who suggests that whether or not you have read the Hockey Stick Illusion is a litmus test of an open mind. You don’t need to agree with the HSI but if you haven’t read it you can’t really comment on Bishop Hill.

see: http://judithcurry.com/2010/09/02/test/#comment-78

“From sources such as this, I understood that solar activity had been assessed and discounted as the cause of our warmer summers:….”

Actually, when you are talking about increasing average temperatures you do not necessarily say much about summer temperatures. Most of the warmest years did not have exceptionally hot summers; their status came from mild winters and an earlier spring or later fall. And if you were familiar with the science you will find that much of the reported warming comes from warmer nights, mostly due to the UHI effect that is not properly being discounted by CRU and the other gatekeepers.

“”However, between the 1960s and the present day the same solar measurements have shown that the energy from the sun is now decreasing. At the same time temperature measurements of the air and sea have shown that the Earth has continued to become warmer and warmer. This proves that it cannot be the sun; something else must be causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.”
http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

This is nonsense.

http://www.oism.org/pproject/Slides/Presentation/Slide3.png

http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/solar/lassen1.html

The AGW crowd has been playing games of deception on this issue because they ignore the argument. The proponents of the solar driver of temperature trend propose a verifiable mechanism where increased activity reduces CRF and by doing so decreases CCN concentrations and cloud cover. All we need is a 1% change in cloud cover to explain all of the reported warming. The evidence for this mechanism has been established.

http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2009/2009GL038429.shtml

“For me, this seems to be a balanced and detailed assessment of the retreat of glaciers since 1850:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850

From the evidence, there is no doubt that glaciers are retreating but that fact does not resolve the question as to why glaciers are retreating.”

First, Wikipedia has been shown not to be balanced. Its climate change articles have been dominated by an editor who helped establish RealClimate, the site started to fight the charges against the Hockey Stick fraud.

Second, if you look at the article you cited you will find a it noted that, “Researchers reported Kilimanjaro’s glacier retreat was due to a combination of increased sublimation and decreased snow fall.” There are plenty of papers supporting this conclusion but for some reason the AGW movement keeps ignoring the evidence because they want to claim that temperature change due to CO2 emission increases is the primary driver.

http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2007/11307/EGU2007-J-11307.pdf

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.1008/abstract

http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2006/2006GL027084.shtml

If increased solar activity can cause glaciers to shrink in Kilimanjaro why not in other places. In fact, studies in Europe show that glaciers responded to changes in solar activity long before humans were burning significant amounts of fossil fuels or having an impact on CO2 levels.

http://tinyurl.com/22n3h6p

As a member of a family of strong supporters and contributors to the Liberal cause in UK over many years I am appalled at the illiberal attitude expressed by Hengist McStone here. I think it is incumbent upon everyone with an interest in how our taxes are spent to review all aspects of the anthropogenic global warming issue. We are being asked to spend eye wateringly huge amounts of taxpayers funds on what appears to be a chimera with very little evidence to support the cause.

Please, therefore, Hengist, point me to the definitive piece of research that demonstrates that human beings are responsible for the late 20th century warming. Please note that such data should be accessible to the ordinary people who are having to pay for this and also please remember that correlation does not demonstrate causation and that computer models are not evidence – that is why they are called models.

I’ve just been out to the garden to see my roses in their third summer bloom. If I’d believed what those scientists said when I was a kid about how Acid Rain would have killed every living plant by 2010, I’d never have bothered planting them.

Fred nee Dominic….you obviously didn’t read what I said before you exploded….who’s a ****wit now? You plonk**

Basically the models are meaningless and predict nothing. They should not be used for anything. Climate science is in its infancy. These models are basically rubbish.

Right – no wonder most scientists are saying that Global Warming is not only happening but going to be catastrophic.

We should ignore them and believe RANDOM IDIOTS ON THE INTERWEBZ.

Funny how every article on climate change reveals a bunch of new visitors:

1) posting under different names

2) talking about how some other piece of media scare-mongering is exactly related to global warming

3) How they went to their garden and how everything looked nice THEREFORE YOU’RE ALL SCAREMONGERING LIARS.

sheesh.

#10 and 11 Dominic AND Fred , nice to see you guys agreeing with each other
#12 We dont need to believe as strong as the fervently religious. We do need to assess whether what is important to us, our life suppport and our economy are in conflict.
#13 Vangel, there are so many errors in your second paragraph Im not sure where to start. Could you cite your sources for this please.
#15 Chris S. You are assuming the inaccuracies will all be overestimating climate instability and chaos. What do you base that assumption on? The models are all tending towards a more chaotic climate system than we have enjoyed up to now ie in the opposite direction to your assumption.
#17 PJB-253 You’re quite entitled to your view about Montfords way of working but if he was really committed to the scientific method he would publish something in peer reviewed ISI publications. He is , after all, trying to overturn work that has been done to that standard . On the face of it HSI is commentary , whereas Mann et al is science.

Have you considered the possibility that, following expert scientific advice, the BBC is manipulating public opinion to minimise adverse reaction when the truth about AR4 comes out?

Gosh, so many experts. We’re saved!

#20 Hi Stuart, There are multiple lines of evidence now all indicating anthropogenic causation. http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-global-warming.htm is a good place to start. Try googling “6th Mass extinction”. There is a consensus of 97% of climate scientists http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm I hope that helps, but if not , please remember I’m not a scientist, I can’t define the one piece of research you’re asking for. Is your scientific enquiry a search for truth or a search for answers to your ideological concerns?

” what appears to be a chimera with very little evidence to support the cause. ” That is your opinion ,but it is not fact.

Yes how our taxes are spent is an important issue. I refer you to the Stern Report which concludes that mitigation will be far cheaper than adaptation.

Global warming, as defined by oceanic heat capacity [1,100 times that of the atmosphere], stopped in 2004.

Let’s stop with the misrepresentation: Were the floods in Pakistan due to climate change? Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Were the floods in Pakistan caused by “global warming”? Why do we have to play this masquerade?

Your obvious conclusion is “Yes”.

If there is a weather event that somehow “might” be attributed to “global warming”, then it proves global warming. If there is a major event on the cold side, then it’s “unstable weather” due to global warming. It’s all propaganda in my book.

By the way, December 2009 through February 2010 was the coldest winter on record where I reside according to the local NWS station records.

#29 Dr Crinum, please do not make stuff up and then attribute it to me. That’s a straw man argument , its not fair, I have not made any such obvious conclusion that you attribute to me , and you are being dishonest in your suggestions .

Dr Trenberth does seem to think these weather events are linked to ACC though http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id379692066 audio 4

31. Roddy Campbell

Montford was asked “do you accept climate change is a grave risk facing us all,” to which he blustered “errm from my perspective I think the answer is I don’t know. I think mankind is affecting the climate but whether it’s a little or a lot , I think , in reality we really just don’t know.

Can you explain to me what is objectionable in this comment?

If you don’t know ( and like it or not, humanity does not know if or how much it is affecting climate ), the correct answer is to say, “We don’t know.” That’s the only honest answer I’ve heard. Montford has the integrity to say precisely that.

33. JohnOfEnfield

@hengist mcstone

The BBC ran 10 models but rejected 2 because the answers were “too low”!

How scientific.

Thank you Hengist for your response at 27.

I followed the link you mention and find correlation but not causation – ‘The assertion ‘A implies B’ says that if A occurs then B also occurs, but it does not prove that B is always caused by A. If we observe B, we cannot be sure that the reason is A.’ as one commenter puts it…

Re the Stern report I went his lecture last week in a spirit of enquiry and found hyperbole:

‘The picture’s not good – concentrations of greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere that give us around a 50-50 chance of being 5C warmer relative to the mid 19th century.

That’s a temperature increase the earth hasn’t seen for 30 to 50 million years and something humankind, around for just 200,000 years, is unlikely to be able to adapt to.’

And very little hard data to justify such a statement.

Re my ideological concerns, I have a visceral dislike of ideologies but I do believe that if we are being asked to pay such huge sums to mitigate ‘global warming’ we should be very, very sceptical indeed – simply good business practice.On the other hand the AGW ‘movement’ has definitely morphed itself into an ideology.

34 – it must be an ideology – otherwise why would Sunny Hundal espouse it so enthusiastically!

‘Global warming advocates are particularly susceptible to concision because of all the uncertainties and unravelling decades of misinformation.’

What’s a ‘global warming advocate’?

37. Chaise Guevara

“What’s a ‘global warming advocate’?”

Someone who thinks we should be working as hard as possible to encourage global warming, obviously. Like those anti-evolutionists (who are fed up with evolution and want it to stop).

I like most people do not understand or fully appreciate the science. Therefore, we can only form a view based on the credibility of the scientists involved. That does not mean the ‘ consensus ‘ view will be correct but it is currently all we have. Asking people to impoverish themselves today to ward off some future danger is always going to be difficult because human beings rarely think like that. The simple reality is it is difficult to ask people to care about future generations when those future generations do not exist. Our dead ancestors are more a reality to us than our unborn descendants.

Even if our emissions were not causing AGW it would still be a good idea to reduce the emissions we emit into the atmosphere. The absorptive capacity of the atmosphere must be finite. All resources on earth are finite but our capacity to adapt and innovate those resources is infinite. However, the atmosphere apart from some regulations is non-excludable. I can prevent someone from setting up camp on my land because I have property rights. However, I cannot prevent someone from using the atmosphere. Until we can come up with a system of global enforceable property rights for the atmosphere we will not reduce emissions.

‘Someone who thinks we should be working as hard as possible to encourage global warming, obviously. Like those anti-evolutionists (who are fed up with evolution and want it to stop).’

I thought those were devolutionists. It’s so hard to keep up – why are so many Scots against evolution?

why are so many Scots against evolution?

Because it hasn’t happened there yet, it’s just a Sassenach type of thing.

#34 Hi Stuart

” if we are being asked to pay such huge sums to mitigate ‘global warming’ we should be very, very sceptical indeed – simply good business practice.”

I think that sums up what’s wrong with the skeptical case. Like many, you seem to be tailoring your approach to a scientific question to suit your circumstances. I could offer an opposite approach: bearing in mind the catastrophic possibilities shouldn’t we be very very careful indeed – simply good risk management.

A search for truth needs to be objective . Which is a big ask, but we are not there yet. So if you are comfortable with your high level of scepticism good luck, but I wonder if that’s a view you’ll be able to sustain over time . The costs will rise the longer we delay action, so your position is holding out for a miraculous volte face by the scientists.

One only has to look at McStone’s blogroll for other blogs showing a clear bias towards global warming alarmism and a closed mind towards evidence that has contradicted the views of the IPCC.

Dr. Judith Curry recommends that people read Montford’s book The Hockey Stick Illusion and lays the challenge down for the defenders of the IPCC to discuss the issues raised by Montford.

“Like many, you seem to be tailoring your approach to a scientific question to suit your circumstances. I could offer an opposite approach: bearing in mind the catastrophic possibilities shouldn’t we be very very careful indeed – simply good risk management.”

Ah, but when we come to what we do about it all (that’s the “risk management” bit) then we’re into the realms of economics. You know, things like the Stern Review, Marty Wiesman’s ruminations on uncertainty and all that.

And there’s a very good case to be made that we’re already doing too much….as, for example, Richard Tol says (and, yes, he is one of the scientists who worked on the IPCC reports, all four of them actually).

Thank you for responding so courteously and helpfully Hengist. My response would have been the same as Tim Worstall – 43 – the precautionary principle is not risk management and ‘possible catastrophes’ can cover an enormous range of things – asteroids, solar flares, super volcanoes, etc., etc. Why only focus on AGW?

I do not think that the case has yet been adequately made for catastrophic AGW but there is a very big case for energy efficiency, environmental protection and so on – it would seem that the AGW scare has greatly harmed the environmental movement and your rather rude dismissal of a very careful, rational and reasoned comment from Andrew Montford does great harm. Can I suggest that you actually read his book? – it is very revealing of climate science…

“Right – no wonder most scientists are saying that Global Warming is not only happening but going to be catastrophic.”

Actually, most scientists admit that they have no idea about the uncertainty and can’t tell you what portion of any trend can be attributed to CO2 emissions. They have no idea how high temperatures will get or if the recent cooling trend will continue and create another ice age scare as it did the last time the PDO was in a negative phase.

The warmers have backed off their previously misleading statements. After claiming that particulate emissions cooled the earth NASA has admitted that much of the warming being reported in the Arctic comes from soot.

http://tinyurl.com/ck6hqo

And after many years NASA has finally found out that solar activity has been increasing for more than a century, explaining why temperatures went up.

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/sun_output_030320.html

All of a sudden, factors that had been dismissed previously are now being seen to have been contributors to the natural trends that we have been observing.

Even the modelers, who have the luxury of ignoring inconvenient real world events, have finally admitted that the AMO and PDO are quite significant to decadal trends and have admitted that there may be no observed warming for three decades. Add to their discovery the admission by Phil Jones that the rate of warming that has been observed recently is not unusual when compared to the recent past and that there hasn’t been any statistically meaningful warming over a 15 year period and the warmers’ case is having trouble holding up.

In short, each of the claims made by the warmers have failed to hold up to scrutiny. Now that the public has been exposed to some of the facts it is turning against the liars and frauds who made statements that could not be justified by empirical evidence.

“Even if our emissions were not causing AGW it would still be a good idea to reduce the emissions we emit into the atmosphere.”

I agree that we should reduce the emissions of soot, sulphates, and other pollutants. But CO2 is not a pollutant.

The absorptive capacity of the atmosphere must be finite.

Not relevant. We could burn every bit of coal, oil and natural gas and we would still not increase the amount of CO2 by much. The world has had more than 10 times the current levels of CO2 while temperatures were cooler than what we are experiencing today.

“All resources on earth are finite but our capacity to adapt and innovate those resources is infinite. However, the atmosphere apart from some regulations is non-excludable. I can prevent someone from setting up camp on my land because I have property rights. However, I cannot prevent someone from using the atmosphere.”

Your point is not relevant when it comes to CO2 emissions because CO2 is not a pollutant that does harm.

asteroids, solar flares, super volcanoes, I don’t know about solar flares but serious asteroid strikes are millions of years apart; supervolcano events are hundreds of thousands of years apart. They are not imminent dangers. AGW observations are happening now. The catastrophic scenarios might be decades off or a couple of centuries, some say the events happening now are AGW observations. In the geological timeframe that’s a blink of an eye.

The atmosphere’s capacity for absorbing the carbon we pump into it must be finite. Likewise the ocean. Agreed ? The AGW case is basically saying we’ve reached (or rather surpassed) those points. If you can point me to a skeptic who can give me some science that says no those points are way off then I’ll reconsider my position. Until then I’ll contemplate the end of the oil age.

BTW I believe the anthropogenic bit can be proved by isotopes in the atmospheric carbon ,as well as the relentless rise in the Keeling Curve.
Id certainly concede there are uncertainties in the AGW case, but the uncertainties don’t bolster the skeptic case. Everyone agrees sea level is rising it’s just a question of how much, how soon.

We live in the most fortunate times, between the invention of penicillin and the depletion of the oil, and you have to fix the roof while the sun shines.

“I think that sums up what’s wrong with the skeptical case. Like many, you seem to be tailoring your approach to a scientific question to suit your circumstances. I could offer an opposite approach: bearing in mind the catastrophic possibilities shouldn’t we be very very careful indeed – simply good risk management.”

But we can reverse your argument. By wasting resources on something that may not happen you could be increasing the risk of damage due to a cooling trend. You may not remember this but some scientists and journals were advocating that governments spend money to prepare for the coming cooling trend in the mid 1970s. Your position is weak because it requires that we waste scarce resources before they are needed or to fight a trend that is not real and may not do any harm.

#43
Richard Tol is primarily an economist he is not a climate scientist .

“Climate is defined as the 30 year average weather. Statistics is therefore at the core of climate science.” R. Tol
You can take him or leave him, I wrote his sourcewatch, I’ll leave him

#48 Vangel get real, youve not cited any of your claims
Try this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU_AtHkB4Ms&feature=related
which specifically deals with that skeptic meme.
Please do not dress up your opinion as facts. Diverting “scarce resources before they are needed” The temperature rise lags the rise in CO2 by about 40 years,

But if it is true that carbon emissions are causing global warming, then the solution is already in our hands:

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/EE-Record_drop_in_US_energy_related_emissions-1105104.html

“Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the USA dropped by 7% in 2009, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This represents the largest fall since the EIA records began in 1949”.

It’s easy, isn’t it? If they can do it, so can we. Trouble is, the standard view of this is negative. We are constantly told we are “in recession”, have to “maintain our prosperity/living standards” and so on. Sooner or later lefties are going to have to come off the fence and settle either for economic growth or the future of the earth.

#46 Vangel I assume youre on about the ordovician, 400 million years ago, http://www.skepticalscience.com/CO2-levels-during-the-late-Ordovician.html
rebutted
CO2 is not a pollutant meme – the heat trapping capacity of CO2 has been in the scientific literature since Svente Arrhenius about 150 years ago, no one has overturned it. Except for Vangel Here and Now. Without citations.

“#48 Vangel get real, youve not cited any of your claims”

I guess that you don’t read very well. I cited papers on the link between European glaciers and solar activity, a paper on how solar activity effects cloud cover, a paper showing that the Kilimanjaro glaciers did not melt because of global warming but were effected by reduced precipitation and sublimating due to solar activity. I cited a NASA release that claimed that Arctic warming was driven by soot emissions, and a NASA statement that admitted that solar activity had been rising for over 100 years and that it could be used to explain some of the observed warming.

What you have done is cited a youtube video that makes claims that are not supported by the facts. In fact, it is easy to show that the video is bullshit by looking at the Newsweek story, which cited scientists that were making the cooling claims.

http://denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

Clearly, there was no consensus that we were heading into an ice age but many scientists were pointing out that the Earth had been cooling since the 1940s and argued that the cooling trend would have a major negative effect on food production. That was the time of the Club of Rome and Ehrich predicting that there would be mass starvation as growing populations ran into the limits imposed by falling agricultural yields and running out of resources. But, as the AGW has reminded us, there is little doubt that some scientists were calling for warming.

We are not in a very different position now. We have had scientists notice that the warmer PDO phase has caused temperatures to go up since 1975 and some, like the IPCC, are projecting the trend into the future. But we have many people who have argued that we will not have much more warming and that we are actually heading into another Dalton minimum scenario. Even some of the louder warmers have called for a three decade period without warming.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7191/abs/nature06921.html

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001

“Please do not dress up your opinion as facts. Diverting “scarce resources before they are needed” The temperature rise lags the rise in CO2 by about 40 years,”

I assume that this is some attempt at humour. A guy who is supporting his argument with youtube videos and tells others to provide references does not support his obviously incorrect statement with references of his own. Well, let me be a good sport and provide you with a reference that might teach you something. The ice core studies show that temperature trends lead (not follow) changes in CO2 concentration by 800 years or so.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1143791v1

54. gallopingcamel

Vangel,
Thank you for being so patient in your efforts to sweep away the CAGW nonsense. While the Alarmists cannot produce convincing scientific arguments I find their ignorance and denial of history to be shocking.

You have pointed out that there have been much warmer climates many times before. Even in historic times there have been several warm periods with well documented prosperity.

For people who fret about extremely hot weather in Russia this summer I suggest they study the summer of 1540 in Europe when major rivers ran dry.

“Richard Tol is primarily an economist he is not a climate scientist .”

Yes, that’s my point. The entire IPCC rests upon economic projections (the SRES) and what we do about the results is also a matter of economics.

So, having economists around seems like a good idea. So does listening to what they say seem like a good idea.

To the author of this piece: You must have been expecting that climate deniers would swoop in, but all the same I’m sorry your main point has been completely ignored.

It’s not just AGW that the BBC messes about with, it extends its ignorance into all areas of scientific reporting.

Just this morning I heard Sarah Montague of the Today programme attempting, Chris Morris-style, to engineer an argument between Gina Rippon and Robert Winston on neurological gender-determinism – despite the fact they’re both professionals and were broadly in agreement.

It’s honestly depressing how bad some of their news content is, because I want to be able to defend the BBC and this kind of thing makes it very hard to coherently do so.

Vangel there are no citations on post 48 .
If you genuinely had a case that overturned the greenhouse effect you would take it to the scientific press and publish there , and claim your Nobel prize. When you do that I will congratulate you, until then I have to say , you’re not actually debating this in good faith.

Quite clearly you are cherry picking your arguments. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and there have been lots of climates and it’s been in a lot of states over that very long time. There are a number of things that can force a change in climate , not just CO2. Over that 4.5 billion years the climate has been changed by other forces at times. That is not evidence against the greenhouse effect of CO2.

Stott et al is an observation about southern hemisphere temp rises , ie not global. The authors say in the abstract “nor can its early onset between 19-17 ka B.P. be attributed to CO2 forcing.” That contradicts your summary ” The ice core studies show that temperature trends lead (not follow) changes in CO2 concentration ” You are implying with the word ‘leads’ that temperature is the cause and CO2 is the effect, is that your hypothesis? No. Don’t tell me I don’t want to know.

Hengist, you write
“If you genuinely had a case that overturned the greenhouse effect you would take it to the scientific press and publish there” and thus perpetuate the misunderstanding among lay commenters (and among too many scientists, for that matter), that it is the job of the sceptic to present counter-theories to their own, and that those who “merely” falsify, or disconfirm, contribute no value. What matters is whether AGW survives proper scrutiny, not whether those scrutinising it can do any better. As Einstein said “no amount of experimentation can ever prove me right – a single experiment can prove me wrong”. It is up to the proponents of AGW to present their theories in the form of falsifiable argument. The liberated CRU emails (and code!) reveal the excruciating efforts of the high priesthood of AGW to do just that, their continuing failure, and the lengths to which they went or were prepared to go to conceal their work, with all its inadequacies, from proper peer review.

And for that matter I don’t think Vangel, or any other sceptic of CAGW doubts the Arrhenius effect, as you imply. We also know, however, that it is nonlinear, declining logarithmically, and that much academic opinion holds that at present concentrations of CO2 further additions contribute negligibly to its greenhouse effect.

“Vangel there are no citations on post 48 .
If you genuinely had a case that overturned the greenhouse effect you would take it to the scientific press and publish there , and claim your Nobel prize. When you do that I will congratulate you, until then I have to say , you’re not actually debating this in good faith.”

Correct. My citations are in all of the other posts and not repeated in 48. I have not said that I have overturned the ‘greenhouse effect’. I merely point out that the scary predictions have little to do with human emissions of CO2 because the greenhouse effect suggests only a minor warming from a doubling of CO2 that would likely be beneficial. The scary predictions come from assumptions of feedback that have never been shown to be valid empirically. In fact, the reported warming falsifies those assumptions.

From what I see you have no intention of relying on empirical evidence to support your case. If you did, you could cite a paper that shows that human emissions of CO2 are drivers of temperature. As I have argued elsewhere on this thread, the empirical evidence actually shows that changes in temperature trends are the driver of CO2 concentrations, not the other way around. In short, you have the cause and effect mixed up.

“Quite clearly you are cherry picking your arguments. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and there have been lots of climates and it’s been in a lot of states over that very long time. There are a number of things that can force a change in climate , not just CO2. Over that 4.5 billion years the climate has been changed by other forces at times. That is not evidence against the greenhouse effect of CO2.”

That is my point. There are many factors that can cause temperature changes. There is no empirical evidence that CO2 is a material factor. But you have a problem with supporting your predictions of catastrophic warming due to large positive feedback. If the assumption were correct the times when CO2 levels could not have had equatorial glaciation. And the warming after the 1930s would have been much higher because that was the beginning of the explosion in emissions. But that has not happened. The raw data shows that current temperatures are not much higher than what we were measuring in the 1930s. Most of the so-called warming has come due to ‘adjustments’ plus the UHI effect and land use changes that have changed the distribution in the type of stations.

“Stott et al is an observation about southern hemisphere temp rises , ie not global. The authors say in the abstract “nor can its early onset between 19-17 ka B.P. be attributed to CO2 forcing.” That contradicts your summary ” The ice core studies show that temperature trends lead (not follow) changes in CO2 concentration ” You are implying with the word ‘leads’ that temperature is the cause and CO2 is the effect, is that your hypothesis? No. Don’t tell me I don’t want to know.”

Stott points out that temperature changes caused the level of CO2 in the atmosphere to follow. That means that temperature change is the cause and that the change in CO2 solubility in the oceans is the effect. Why you don’t want to know that is only something that you can explain.

Hengist: ‘The AGW case is basically saying we’ve reached (or rather surpassed) those points. If you can point me to a skeptic who can give me some science that says no those points are way off then I’ll reconsider my position.

I think you display a perfectly natural response to what has been claimed. However, to anyone with sufficient knowledge, it’s clear that to justify high predicted future warming, AR4 makes a totally unjustified major assertion.

It’s in Figure 2.4. The -0.7 W/m^2 ‘cloud albedo effect’ doesn’t exist: no theory, no experimental proof [NASA funded research to find why]. To be fair, when ‘global dimming’ was proposed to fill the gap between prediction and reality, cloud science which seemed to supply a major part of what was needed was available. But it only applied to thin clouds and its originator had made this clear.

After the failure, it seems there were two choices: retreat to a sustainable position or bluff it out. The ‘originator’ was given a prize. NASA puts out a scientific explanation which whilst superficially similar to the original and claims to predict key observations, is entirely false yet apparently believed by many.

This could of course be evidence of monumental scientific incompetence. However, falsely to claim there was a good theoretical justification to incorporate in AR4 an assumed ‘cloud albedo effect’ would be scientific fraud.

And the bottom line? Predicted AGW must first be nearly halved then, because of the ‘gap’, the models revamped: assumptions and calibration. I’ll be surprised if the final level is more than a third of present, with a quarter being more likely.

The real physics points to a second process at the air/cloud boundary, a reversed ‘cloud albedo effect’, ‘global brightening’. Has the light dawned on the BBC?

#58
Hi TomFP
“What matters is whether AGW survives proper scrutiny, not whether those scrutinising it can do any better” Yes but what is the proper scrutiny ? It’s not ‘try and smuggle your skeptic memes past Hengist McStone on LC’. I’ll try to help but I’m not a scientist, I’m just someone airing my thoughts about what I see on the telly. If I fail to persuade or address a skeptic here that doesn’t mean the skeptic point is proved. I have to say to all of the skeptics who are using this space to attack the science – what you lack is a sense of relevance !!!!
There are now thousands of peer reviewed papers supporting AGW , the basic tenets of it have survived proper scrutiny. I do think Vangel doubts the Arrhenius effect , he also misrepresents Stott.

You say ” It is up to the proponents of AGW to present their theories in the form of falsifiable argument.” the science yes, but my observations are about the commentary, they are largely opinion and don’t have to be falsifiable. I start out with a canon of science already established by eggheads. My observations will prove groundless if the science were to be proved incorrect but that doesn’t mean I have to prove the science, the science has already been held . Skeptics are forgetting that.

“I like most people do not understand or fully appreciate the science. Therefore, we can only form a view based on the credibility of the scientists involved. That does not mean the ‘ consensus ‘ view will be correct but it is currently all we have.”

I think this sums up the problem exactly.

Debates on AGW always devolve into two tribal groupings going through a mysterious ritualised form of combat, the outcome of which is always known in advance, namely, that there is no outcome.

Conservative people say that we can’t be sure, because they’re conservatives and that’s what gets them off. Liberals say waddya mean we can’t be sure, this godverdomme science! And what’s more, we are sure. They’re liberals so arguing with conservatives is what gets them off.

The fact that these people believe these things tells us nothing about the validity of the things themselves. Am I, as a liberal, going to vote with my lizard brain and let my tribal affiliation decide the matter for me? Hell no.

I find the liberal party line unconvincing in this instance. I find the OP pretty ridiculous, TBH, but I don’t think it really requires comment. Re AGW in general, the messianic liberal certainty is misplaced in this instance. Think of the economy–do you still trust the rocket “scientists” and their once vaunted economic models? No, of course not, because you’re sitting in their ruins right now.

Let me quote Columbia’s Prof Edward R. Cook:

“Without trying to prejudice this work, but also because of what I
almost think I know to be the case, the results of this study will
show that we can probably say a fair bit about <100 year
extra-tropical NH temperature variability (at least as far as we
believe the proxy estimates), but honestly know fuck-all about what
the >100 year variability was like with any certainty (i.e. we know
with certainty that we know fuck-all)
.”

#60 alistair
Sorry hate to admit this to you but I haven’t actually rad AR4. So it can’t have influenced my thinking. It’s science for policy makers, not for me. Nice try.

Let me redefine my challenge. 350ppm is that point, we are currently past that at 390ppm and rising by close to 3ppm a year. I say that means we have to contemplate getting that figure down, and the time for citizen scientists skeptically influencing policy is past.

#2 Tim Worstall et al

” 4.5 is a helluva large problem” – so there is a risk. Kirsty Wark didn’t ask if there was a certainty. He answered “I don’t know” which is fair enough, but to then go on to say “we don’t know” is not right, we do know there are very serious risks involved in a climate change, to suggest otherwise is dishhonest or ill-informed. The opinion that the risk might not be grave is Montford’s and I defend his right to express it, but at the same time I expect him not to supplant the collective knowledge of the risks being faced by humanity with his own opinion.

“so there is a risk.”

Sure there’s a risk. There’s a number of risks involved with this thing called life. You know, no one leaves alive?

The interesting and important question is: not just what risk of something awful happening, but what of something awful happening if we do this, that, or the other about that risk?

Which brings us right back to economics.

I’m fine with the idea that climate scientists have identified a potential problem. I even agree that they have.

All I insist is that we then move on from the climate science to the science which is about balancing risks: economics.

Re: #58

“Yes but what is the proper scrutiny ?”

Full access to empirical evidence and the methodology that are used to make conclusions would be a good start. I don’t know about you but when CRU says that it can’t provide some of the raw data because it destroyed it but that we are welcome to use its adjusted, ‘value added’ data set the alarm bells begin to go off for me. And when GISS stops using thermometers in many places and instead imputes the temperatures to claim record warming I stop seeing it as a responsible body, particularly when it keeps readjusting the data to make certain past periods look cooler and adds a warming signature to the data from the recent period.

“There are now thousands of peer reviewed papers supporting AGW , the basic tenets of it have survived proper scrutiny. I do think Vangel doubts the Arrhenius effect , he also misrepresents Stott. ”

Actually, there are no papers that can show that the human emission of CO2 is a primary driver of temperature. If there were any they would be clearly cited and we would have empirical evidence to support the AGW claims. But that is not what is happening. Instead of talking about the actual science we are told that there is a consensus of scientists and thousands of papers that are hardly ever referenced directly or when they are referenced, are found not to support the AGW cause as claimed.

I do not doubt the Arrhenius effect. I am saying that given the atmospheric composition and the starting levels of CO2 a doubling does not accomplish much unless there is an observed feedback mechanism to support the conclusions made by the modelers. (The scary stories do not come from observations; they are entirely made up by the models.) From what I have seen, whenever any light was shed on any of the claims the AGW cause melted away very rapidly.

The polar bears were not going extinct. When the data was evaluated it was found that their overall population had increased during the most recent period of warming. It was also found that their greatest enemy was not CO2 or warming due to CO2 but hunters.

The hurricanes that Trenberth and other IPCC authors predicted did not materialize. In fact, the dissenter, Christopher Landsea, who was the only expert in the group who resigned because he was ignored, turned out to be right and the hurricane hype seems to have ended for now.

And let us go back to Stott. His opinion is secondary to his empirical evidence. As a researcher looking for funds it makes sense to spin the AGW angle any chance he gets but no matter what narrative he chooses to use the data shows that the temperature trend changed first and that CO2 followed around 800 to 1,000 years later. We all know why that is? Most of us who have taken basic physics and chemistry know that when water cools it absorbs more CO2 and that when it warms up it gives off CO2. A warming ocean will give up some of its CO2 to the atmosphere and a cooling ocean will absorb some of the CO2 from the atmosphere. (For the record, I do not buy the ice core methodology because I do not believe some of the claims being made and some of the assumptions. But I am not the one who brought up the ice core data. Gore and the warmers did when they tried to confuse the public about what was cause and what was effect.

Right now the AGW movement has a problem. Its surface data is suspect. Its ice core data shows the opposite of what it claims. And the ocean data shows that the predicted heating is not taking place. Sorry but there is nothing there.

“The opinion that the risk might not be grave is Montford’s and I defend his right to express it, but at the same time I expect him not to supplant the collective knowledge of the risks being faced by humanity with his own opinion.”

Montford is not trying to impose anything on anyone. He simply says that you need empirical evidence before you try to make everyone pay to control carbon emissions. And the last time I looked, his book was not about risk but by the very bad methodology and data that led to the fraudulent conclusion that the IPCC used to spread fear.

I’m fine with the idea that climate scientists have identified a potential problem. I even agree that they have.

All I insist is that we then move on from the climate science to the science which is about balancing risks: economics.

Why compound the error? First of all, we need to figure out what we know, and how we think we know it. Climate science is does not appear to be any more scientific than economic science. And we all know how that turned out. To paraphrase Harry Enfield, Modellers: know your limits. To everyone else: keep buying that paper–don’t you know house prices have never gone down!

hengist: “Let me redefine my challenge. 350ppm is that point, we are currently past that at 390ppm and rising by close to 3ppm a year. I say that means we have to contemplate getting that figure down, and the time for citizen scientists skeptically influencing policy is past.”

Fine, but the point I’m making is that the case for high negative feedback reducing the heating effect of CO2 is becoming very strong, so CO2 is unlikely to cause runaway heating.

To emphasise this, most people, even those who haven’t read AR4, know that the claimed greenhouse heating of the Earth is 33 K [posh name for degrees C]. But if you do the science bit, the theoretical heating is c. 60 K. A bit less than half that is lost by heat transport to the upper atmosphere by convection [‘weather’].

So, to find the effective rise in temperature for a given greenhouse gas effect neglecting weather, you must halve the result. So, the temperature rise we’ll get from doubling CO2 will probably be a few tenths of a degree. No problemo.

I’m not alone in putting all this together, In my view there’s been calculated disinformation, even within climate science.

And if you care to listen to one of my heroes, James Lovelock, he’s of the same view: the carbon trading/wind lobby will be a disaster for Europe – nuclear power and solar thermal is the answer, so don”t fall for the CO2 propaganda. In 60 years’ time it’ll be on the way down and your grandchildren need a functioning society!

#66 Vangel, I don’t want to be rude but your contribution is worthless because you are not arguing in good faith. You claim not to doubt Arrhenius yet you also say there are no papers that can show that the human emission of CO2 is a primary driver of temperature, well that’s Arrhenius. You are contradicting yourself . Listen to Harrabin’s broadcast on Radio 4 last week, he says if you dont accept CO2 is a forcing you are way out on the fringe. You are just arguing from a position of ignorance, and expecting others to go along with it .

Hengist, you are, by your own description, not a scientist. It shows, particularly in your simplistic, kindergarten-level interpretation of the Arrhenius effect, which Vangel has dealt with, but which I suspect remains beyond your intellectual grasp.

However my comment was directed more at your misunderstanding of the Scientific Method, which you reveal in your comments on the BBC/Montford. Anyone who believes, as you appear to, that “merely” disconfirming a theory, without having some “science” of their own to put in its place deserves to be disregarded simply doesn’t understand, not merely the science, but the method by which all science is advanced. You are not alone in this – ignorance of the Scientific Method is shockingly widespread, and in climate science not confined to the laiety. Indeed most of “climate science” (as opposed to good old climatology/meteorology/paleontology etc) seems to be built on a persistent and wilful neglect of the null hypothesis (I don’t expect you to understand this, but others will, and you could, too, if you took the time to read up). But you have chosen to blog on a subject you are manifestly ill-equipped to deal with, and now find yourself sparring with people way out of your league. My advice would be to cut your losses and move on to a topic you understand.

“hengist mcstone
Comment:
#66 Vangel, I don’t want to be rude but your contribution is worthless because you are not arguing in good faith. You claim not to doubt Arrhenius yet you also say there are no papers that can show that the human emission of CO2 is a primary driver of temperature, well that’s Arrhenius.”

Before you accuse me of not arguing in good faith try figuring out what I mean by primary driver. Let me be clear that I have no doubt that greenhouse gasses make the planet warmer than it otherwise be. But if you understand the greenhouse effect effect you will know that most of the warming comes from the largest GHG components in the atmosphere, water. You will also know that the largest effect comes from the first molecules and that additions to the original amount are not material. (It is a lot like painting a window. The first coat manages to reduce the light coming in the most. While other coats will lead to a further reduction, each new coat has a smaller and smaller effect.)

The warmers know this and do not claim that the doubling of CO2 concentration will lead to a huge increase. They leave that to the assumptions of a strong positive feedback system, even though most feedback systems in nature are negative.

“You are contradicting yourself . Listen to Harrabin’s broadcast on Radio 4 last week, he says if you dont accept CO2 is a forcing you are way out on the fringe. You are just arguing from a position of ignorance, and expecting others to go along with it .”

Your ignorance of the empirical evidence, the theory, and the modeling assumptions are your problem and cannot be corrected by appealing to a false authority. As I wrote before, it would be easy to prove that the AGW theory is correct by providing empirical evidence that the radiative imbalance that is supposedly created by CO2 emissions is heating up the planet. Hansen, Ruedy, Willis and others claimed that that thanks to CO2 emissions the planet was absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 watts per square meter more energy than it is emitting to space. They supposedly ‘confirmed’ this imbalance by precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content throughout the 1990s and predicted an additional global warming of about 0.6°C if the atmospheric composition stayed the same.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308/5727/1431

The problem for them was that they wrote their paper just as accurate ocean data because accessible for the first time. That data, gathered by the ARGO system, showed that the oceans began cooling around 2003 and have been cooling since.

http://www.ncasi.org/publications/Detail.aspx?id=3152

I found it interesting that Willis has now admitted that there is a great deal of uncertainty in observational data during the 1990s because the XBT data set had a known warming bias. That invalidates the 2005 paper that I cited above, which was used by warmers as the ‘smoking gun’ proving their case. Now the game is about over and questions are beginning to be asked about where the ‘missing heat’ went.

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/42356

My answer is very simple. There wasn’t any missing heat to begin with. The pre-ARGO data quality control was terrible and people who were looking for a specific pattern ensured that their ‘adjustments’ and fill-ins of missing data provided us with the exact conclusion we were hoping to find. But that is not science and if we really want to act as scientists should we have to ask for all of the raw data, metadata, and adjustments made by the researchers so that we can find how and why they made their errors.

“I say that means we have to contemplate getting that figure down”

Perhaps we do.
Though I am a “denier” myself, before Sunny jumps in and points that out.

“Sorry hate to admit this to you but I haven’t actually read AR4. So it can’t have influenced my thinking. It’s science for policy makers, not for me. Nice try.”

But what is that supposed to mean?
It’s clear you have a strong view on policy: mitigation.
Yet you haven’t read AR4 on the grounds that it is, erm, “science for policy makers”?
Strange.

#71 TomFP

What exactly does ” disconfirming a theory” mean? If it means disproving a theory , then please make it clear what theory has been disproved? AGW, I dont think so , except in the minds of yourself and Vangel et al. The science of climatology is already in the scientific literature. I’m entitled to rely on it . And take it as a given . If you want to quibble with it go to University, get yourself a PhD in climate science and start publishing in the ISI peer reviewed literature. I will congratulate you when you pick up your Nobel prize.

Until then you have a thing to learn about discourse. My article at the top of this page is about the coverage on TV, not the science. Im not a science teacher. So the trolls who expect me to explain away their ignorant attacks on the science have lost their sense of relevance. I’ll stand up for the science but I don’t have to explain every little bit of it, Please do not address me as if teaching the science was my responsibility. And please do not pretend that not knowing everything about AGW disqualifies me from having something to say about climate change. If it did, it would disqualify you and Vangel and 99.99% of WUWT readers too.

I find your construction that there is a minimum entry level of understanding about climatology which somehow you and your fellow deniers have reached, and I have not to be offensive, as well as absurd. There is , I think , a minimum standard of civility which you have now fallen below in post #71

#69 Alistair, I appreciate that you’re the only sensible sceptic here. Ive done the OU Learning zone course in climate change (and I reccomend it) and they say yes we are approx 34k warmer than we would be without an atmosphere. I understand GHGs are good in moderation. But the science is saying this isnt moderation . All things being equal we are looking at a rise in temperature and a rise in sea level.

What you are arguing I think is that climate sensitivity is low. Because of negative feedbacks. Well we don’t even know precisely at what point the positive feedbacks will kick in so I don’t feel its right to gamble the future of civilization on negative feedbacks and the reflective effect of clouds.

Lovelock, another man I must read. But I doubt that he is arguing that the CO2 line is propaganda. I agree we have to go nuclear.


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    How the BBC manufactures ignorance on climate change | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/reoVxWU via @libcon

  5. EarthAdapt

    #ClimateChange : How the BBC manufactures ignorance on climate change | Liberal … http://bit.ly/c5is8v ; ) EarthAdapt.com

  6. Paul Tran

    How the BBC manufactures ignorance on climate change | Liberal …: A chilling theme of the debate was that now th… http://bit.ly/aX4eGo

  7. George Roberts

    BBC Manufactures ignorance on climate change via Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/cmQVhD

  8. Alex Naysmith

    Why does reactionary graffiti appear immediately on left blogs? All the comments here http://bit.ly/cDEUxk are from climate change deniers.

  9. Tom Phillips

    How the BBC manufactures ignorance on climate change http://j.mp/9ft7wU

  10. Dilwyn’s top links – Tuesday « Aled-Dilwyn Fisher

    […] at Liberal Conspiracy, Hengist McStone (author of The BBC Climate Files) scrutinises the way in which the BBC presents […]





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