Anti-warming nonsense neutered

For some reason, Saint decided to include an anti-global warming rant in today’s Missing Link.  It’s part of an “interview” between warming denialist Institute of Public Affairs shill/scientist Jennifer Marohasy and denialist pundit Michael Duffy:

Duffy asked Marohasy: Is the Earth still warming?

She replied: No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what youd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.

You can see how Marohasy manages to utter at least the first two sentences with a straight face by examining the graph at right.  1998 is the peak of a very large El Nino spike, but global average temperatures kept climbing both before and after it.  Picking 1998 as the commencing year is also blatantly dishonest.

You can, however, see that the last two years have registered very slight falls in average temperature.  Does that mean Marohasy has a genuine point?  In fact, if anything it reinforces the fact that human-generated greenhouse gases continue to exert a significant upward impact on global climate.  The last two years have seen the combination of a significant La Nina event (which has a downward impact on global temperature just as an El Nino has an elevating impact) and the bottom or solar minimum of the 11 year sunspot cycle.   These are two major drivers of climatic fluctuations, so you would expect to see a major fall in global average temperatures back towards the 1960s average if, as the denialists assert, increases in human-generated atmospheric greenhouse gases are having little or no impact on climate. 

Instead, the fall has been tiny and the cumulative increase caused by the increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 and the like remains starkly evident.   Indeed it was the undeniable reality of the miniscule scale of the flattening and drop, when it should have fallen markedly if the denialists were right, that two or three years ago convinced me personally of the reality and scale of global warming having previously been moderately skeptical of major warming claims. 

People like Marohasy, however, are unconcerned with making objective assessments of the evidence.  Their game is to use whatever superficially plausible arguments they can in an attempt to mislead people who can’t or won’t examine the evidence for themselves and prefer to see the broad scientific consensus (that human-generated warming is a reality and a serious threat) as merely the self-interested exaggerations of a small group of unprincipled grant-seeking scientists being touted by a sinister conspiracy of lefties and greenies intent on undermining capitalism (or some such bizarre fantasy). 

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About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.

188 thoughts on “Anti-warming nonsense neutered

  1. Shorter Marohasy:

    I was on the radio and I put one over Michael Duffy, Christopher Pearson wrote about me in his column and I got lot lots of praise from other bloggers.

    Hope you’ve retired to a safe distance now that the blue touch paper is lit, Ken.

  2. People like Marohasy, however, are unconcerned with making objective assessments of the evidence. Their game is to use whatever superficially plausible arguments they can in an attempt to mislead people…

    She does it deliberately, with the full support of the IPA and a few ventures into astro-turf green groups funded by mining and timber companies. Also, she isn’t dumb and rarely (if ever) responds to debunking efforts on her own blog. It’s a campaign of corporate sponsored misinformation. I suspect she doesn’t believe any of the bullshit she espouses, but it pays the bills. Where someone like Tim Blair or Andrew Bolt push out garbage for contrarian reasons, Marohasy is a different animal altogether.

  3. Duffy’ll give anyone who disputes global warming uncontested air time. I think he’s more like Bolt that Marohasy, though (assuming DR is correct about her motivation).

  4. Gummo’s words are not a direct quote – I did not write that.

    Ken seems to not have a very good understanding of the available global temperature data. My interview was about the latest satellite data and I put this in context again here: http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002863.html

    As regards the other comments, including from Ken, personal attacks won’t progress your understanding of this important issue.

    In conclusions, I am continually amazed at the extent to which some of the supposidely ‘wise old men’ of the Australian blogosphere are so superficial and unnecessarily nasty when it comes to issues on which they have strong opinions.

    We can all have our own opinions, but not our own facts.

  5. Jennifer, dear, Gummo’s words were not intended to be a direct quote, but rather a precis.

    Oh, and I’d bet Ken’s understanding of the data is deeper than yours, or at least deeper than that implied by your stated position.

  6. Gummos word appeared as a quote and may have been intended as a smear.

    As regards the temperature data, lets discuss – but first I would like an apology. Indeed I see little point in having any discussion if those who read this blog consider me nothing more than a shill and denialist.

  7. (This is fun.) I doubt you’ll get an apology from anyone, Jennifer. You’re widely perceived as either a fool or a rogue, and thus not entitled to an apology in either case. Try reading some of the peer-reviewed climate science literature with an open mind (or even looking at Tim Lambert’s blog, or Real Climate) to understand why so many people have this perception. If you’re incapable of that, you’re correct – there’s no point in discussing anything with you.

  8. I think I’ll bookmark this page as a useful reference for when the annual temperature averages spike upwards again – noise in long-term trends being what it is – and we start hearing about all the short-term natural influences on the climate that might be responsible for the increase.

  9. I don’t think apologies as such are really relevant given the heat this sort of issue generates from all sides (read almost anything by Bolt or Blair if you want to see ad hominem sledging at its best/worst). Nevertheless, if Jennifer asserts that she sincerely believes all that she has written on this subject and is happy to argue the science, then I would be churlish not to accept at least her sincerity. Therefore, and speaking only for myself, I’m happy to withdraw the word “shill” if that will assist in any way in encouraging a genuine exchange of information and arguments on this critically important issue. I frankly doubt that that’s what we’ll get, but I live in hope.

  10. rog,

    All of those El Nino effects would have been factored into the annual averages already shown in the graph, wouldn’t they? They would have had the same effect on the five year average too – the line would have wobbled a bit without significantly altering the long-term trend.

    Funny thing about trends – you don’t know where they’re going until they’ve already got there. Especially in the short-term. That’s not always the best time to find out.

  11. If all the ENSO events had been factored in – what explains the sudden variation post 1944ish?

    ENSO records start 1950 – what if they had started 1880?

    Its a can of worms, NOAA predict a continuation then weakening of the current la Nina and some discussion as to its extending thru 2008. The US are usually ahead of Australia with their predictions

  12. Actually Ken you should have done your homework, 1998 is the point of reference that the head of the IPCC remarked on as being the start of the temperature “plateau”

    The fact is – it hasnt warmed since 1998 (see above graph).

  13. As regards the other comments, including from Ken, personal attacks wont progress your understanding of this important issue.

    True, but neither will paying attention to you.

  14. rog

    The graph shows a clear continuing warming TREND post 1998 (that being the appropriate way of examining the data). It’s true (as the primary post indicated) that if you cherry pick the commencing date for a graph and ick the peak of the 1998 El Nino then you can say, as Marohasy does, that there has been no warming since 1998. But that is a spurious/meaningless/dishonest point. It’s the trend line that counts.

    I’ll be interested in what Jennifer has to say about satellite records, because my understanding is that they now largely mirror the surface record. OTO there is some recent data indicating that ocean temperatures haven’t risen as one would have expected over the last decade (or however long they’ve been measuring them). That would actually be quite a valid point for Jennifer to make, because it actually isn’t explained by the current state of scientific knowledge whereas the surface record is exactly what one would expect (contrary to what Jennifer claims). OTO all it really says is that there are still lots of things we don’t fully understand about the way earth systems interact; it certainly doesn’t cast doubt on the reality of human-generated globalw arming. Similarly, my reading suggests that the role of cosmic rays on cloud formation is a remaining area of some uncertainty that Jennifer could legitimately deploy (although the research is heavily disputed). Thus there certainly are some remaining areas of uncertainty, but they’re not the ones Jennifer claims.

  15. I think Jennifer Marohasy is irresponsible for making these claims which provide doubt about the case for the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis where none are suggested by the data. It is irresponsible because it fuels the passions of denialists who are looking for doubt.

    If you have a story Jennifer you should present it and otherwise retract the initial suggestion. On the face of it it seems erroneous.

    I still don’t understand why you choose a spike in 1998 and then referred to a trending downwards from that spike. The series has had quite high variance of its history since 1860 and picking a particular spike as a base period for comparisons over a 10 year interval is difficult to understand.

    An excellent clearly-presented and well-written post Ken.

  16. I find these ‘debates’ endlessly fascinating, while also being monotonously boring. One believes what one believes. Science, in the matter of global warming, has been prostituted both by the UN and by those who claim to deny. For mine, I believe because fifty years on this planet tells me climate has changed. Winters are not as cold, summers are frequently warmer and storm activity which used to occur with clockwork-like regularity, no longer happens. Sure, my bit of the globe is very small, but my perceptions are all that matter to me. Isn’t that what this issue is all about anyway? Perceptions?

  17. Information putting Rog’s points about La Nina in some more context can be found here: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Correlation_Last_Decade.pdf . Scroll down to second last graph.

    As regards the issue of satellite data raised by Ken, well our ability to measure global temperature is improving all the time because of the satellites. The interview I gave with Michael Duffy was prompted by my attendance at a climate conference in New York where Roy Spencer told us about the latest findings from the NASA Aqua Satellite. This satellite was only launched in 2002 and collects data not only on temperatures but particularly on temperature anomalies and the hydrological cycle – including water vapour and cloud formation and evolution (so relevance here to the cosmic ray theories – an issue Ken also raises).

    In short, the currently accepted theory is:
    1. The most prevalent greenhouse gas is water vapour
    2. As temperatures rise, the oceans warm up and release extra water vapour
    3. This water vapour then absorbs energy and radiates some of it to the ground, thus helping global temperatures to rise even more.

    So the idea is that the warming effects of carbon dioxide will be amplified by increasing water vapour.

    But this is NOT what the latest data from the Aqua satellite shows, it shows that water vapour and high altitude cloud cover dont necessarily increase when there is warming. Rather weather processes limit the total greenhouse effect in proportion to available sunlight. This can happen in a variety of ways through the hydrological cycle, for example low level clouds release water vapour from the atmosphere when it rains.

    The new data from the Aqua Satellite was probably the most important issue discussed at the conference. The findings were part of a presentation by Roy Spencer who leads the team analysing all the data from NASAs Aqua Satellite.

  18. Ken,

    I found this NPR story on those ocean temperature findings via a post on one of those Bolted on denialist sites.

    What’s missing from the reporting of these findings there – and in other places where they’re being hailed as evidence that the IPCC got it wrong, is usually this bit:

    In recent years, heat has actually been flowing out of the ocean and into the air. This is a feature of the weather phenomenon known as El Nino. So it is indeed possible the air has warmed but the ocean has not. But it’s also possible that something more mysterious is going on.

    That becomes clear when you consider what’s happening to global sea level. Sea level rises when the oceans get warm because warmer water expands. This accounts for about half of global sea level rise. So with the oceans not warming, you would expect to see less sea level rise. Instead, sea level has risen about half an inch in the past four years. That’s a lot.

    Willis says some of this water is apparently coming from a recent increase in the melting rate of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica.

    “But in fact there’s a little bit of a mystery. We can’t account for all of the sea level increase we’ve seen over the last three or four years,” he says.

    Summary: the ocean temperature hasn’t risen enough that we can account for sea-level rises entirely through thermal expansion of the water, ergo we’re getting increasing levels of meltwater from somewhere, but buggered if we know where.

    That doesn’t sit too comfortably with the oft repeated cry that the glaciers aren’t really melting.

    The other nuance that’s ignored is that this might point to a slow down in the rate of warming, which is nowhere near the same as no warming at all.

  19. There she goes again. More graphs, more obfuscation and cherry picking. What really irks me about the whole denialist manifesto is that it continues to muddy the debate about what (if anything) should be done – about the right and wrong approaches to the problem. If they weren’t all so busy denouncing the vast leftist conspiracy, they might have something interesting to contribute to a solution (or better yet, propose a market so they can bet against it so we can get some liquidity). No, obviously it’s much easier to simply deny and when caught, point to the extreme green solutions as unworkable Stalinist plots to steal your car. Scientific skepticism is fine and more than helpful, These amateur theatrics are just making the nuttier solutions get more air time than they deserve. i.e. Jennifer, it’s just counter productive – give it up while you still have a shred of credibility left.

  20. From Terje’s link. … very interesting.

    Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says it’s probably going back out into space. The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.

    That can’t be directly measured at the moment, however.

    “Unfortunately, we don’t have adequate tracking of clouds to determine exactly what role they’ve been playing during this period,” Trenberth says.

    It’s also possible that some of the heat has gone even deeper into the ocean, he says. Or it’s possible that scientists need to correct for some other feature of the planet they don’t know about. It’s an exciting time, though, with all this new data about global sea temperature, sea level and other features of climate.

    “I suspect that we’ll able to put this together with a little bit more perspective and further analysis,” Trenberth says. “But what this does is highlight some of the issues and send people back to the drawing board.”

    Trenberth and Willis agree that a few mild years have no effect on the long-term trend of global warming. But they say there are still things to learn about how our planet copes with the heat.

    Dave:

    Cut it out.

    What really irks me about the whole denialist manifesto is that it continues to muddy the debate about what (if anything) should be done – about the right and wrong approaches to the problem.

    How the hell do you have a debate if everyone agrees?

    And how exactly do you know it’s more economically worthwhile to mitigate with a sledge hammer rather then do other things, such as reforest, remove height restrictions in cities, price the road system on a usage basis, allow the introduction of nuke without the zealot like restrictions, remove subsidies on smelting industries such as aluminum, or introduce a carbon tax in lieu of an income tax. How about moving income taxes to a land tax arrangment making the use of land more efficient. It’s not obvious that we need to suffer any pain in the process of pricing carbon. In fact, with effective policies we could raise our standard of living with less carbon by implementing sound market based policies.

    There are a lot of us who are legitimately concerned this issue is being abused from a financial point of view. Pricing carbon ought to be a revenue neutral action, but it doesn’t look likely so excuse us for thinking it’s a con…. not the science but the actions being introduced.

    And by the way I think Jen is doing a decent job even if you dont agree with her.

  21. #21 Jennifer Marohasy said:
    “In short, the currently accepted theory is:
    1. The most prevalent greenhouse gas is water vapour
    2. As temperatures rise, the oceans warm up and release extra water vapour
    3. This water vapour then absorbs energy and radiates some of it to the ground”

    The hell it is. The currently accepted theory is that increasing concentrations of absorbing gases – CO2, water, whatever – will warm the earth.

    Here’s the thing. The only gas increasing in concentration is CO2, in large amounts, about 50% over the last century. Water vapour? Not so much.

    You elide too much Jennifer. Just enough to avoid me accusing you of blatent dishonesty, but too much nonetheless.

  22. What JC said. I’ve never entered into any of the various global warming threads, either here, at Catallaxy, or at Blair’s. I’m making an exception in this case because the level of vituperation is unusual for Club Troppo. Much of the animus directed at people like Jen seems to come about not because people disagree with her science, but because they disagree with (a) her politics or (b) her sources of funding (all of which are disclosed).

    Now I may be one of Ken’s ‘moderate libertarians’, but as far as I am concerned, attacks on funding sources are either neither here nor there. How many people here are paid by the state? If you are, may I call you a state sponsored shill?

    For those of you who’ve never taken risks, attacking a corporation for funding denialists undoubtedly makes you feel good about yourselves. You don’t imagine that you could ever be in the position of the corporation, either as an owner, director or major stock-holder, let alone as an employee.

    There is another issue, which JC raises, and on which I don’t have the expertise to comment in any detail. That concerns our response to global warming. Many of the responses seem to be in the form of empty symbolism, like Earth Hour. Blair and Jason are spot on about this – it’s like peeing in a dark suit, feels good but doesn’t show. Other responses seem to come from people who are simply opposed to economic progress – the ‘hairshirt crew’ as Jason calls them. To my mind, that’s an entirely separate issue, and worth debating on its own merits.

  23. Ken,

    You are not being very honest by using the graph that you used in your post but then again what does honesty have to do with climate alarmists?

    So let’s look at a better graph shall we which focuses on the two satellite records which are the most reliable sources of temperature data available:

    http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/MSUvsRSS.html

    It certainly appears to support Jennifer’s assertion and contradicts the claims by alarmists of an “accelerating warming!

    The shame of it all is that the lies being propagated by the alarmists are diverting focus and resources away from legitimate environmental and humanitarian problems! You should be ashamed of yourself!

  24. My comments are here here

    An extract:

    Ken Parish criticised Marohasy for her misrepresentation of the temperature record. In her response, Marohasy pointed to this article to support her assertion that the claim that global warming had ended was not even controversial. The second paragraph of the article states:

    “Global warming has not stopped,” said Amir Delju, senior scientific coordinator of the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) climate program.

    This seems to me to be both hard to miss and easy to understand. Marohasy surely knew that her assertion was false.

  25. Pingback: Deltoid

  26. What skepticlawyer said.

    Jennifer may have any number of reasons for writing what she does, including sincere belief. After all it seems more likely to me that the average socialist twerp is writing for a socialist magazine because of the convergence of opinion, rather than that the average socialist twerp is putting on an act.

    Likewise with Jennifer.

    So I don’t see why her arguments have to be attacked with such venom. I am rather suprised to see Ken offering ‘they did it first’ as pseudo-justification!

    And I emphatically second skepticlawyer’s (and Tim Blair’s and Andrew Bolt’s and Instapundit’s and everyone else’s) concerns about the impossibility of believing people whose actions are almost wholly irreconcilable with their stated beliefs. Most prominent global warmeninists strike me as being like Elliot Spitzer, or like a Catholic priest with a harem, if you prefer.

    So whilst I am happy to assume that there is a risk, and even a significant one, I cannot possibly endorse a ‘we should do everything within our power’ approach to combating what remains, to me at least, merely a risk. Nor can I understand such assuredness that the risk is so incontrovertible that it is offensive merely to dispute it.

  27. And I emphatically second skepticlawyers (and Tim Blairs and Andrew Bolts and Instapundits and everyone elses) concerns about the impossibility of believing people whose actions are almost wholly irreconcilable with their stated beliefs.

    On that basis I’ve decided to reject the heliocentric, Copernican view of the solar system: I’ve noted that even avowed heliocentrists are wont to speak of the sun rising and setting, when really they should speak of the rotation of the earth bring the sun into view on the eastern horizon and then the opposite happening in the evening if they’re to remain consistent with the beliefs they profess.

    Hell, I might even go the whole hog, and join the Flat Earth Society – I’ve noticed that people who avow a belief that the Earth is spherical, speak and behave in daily life as if it were flat. Obviously these people are not so convinced on this point as they profess.

  28. If we kept the time span selected by Ken but instead charted the absolute global temperature rather than the temperature anomaly and if we put the left hand scale in Kelvin rather than in Celcius and if we put the origin in it’s proper place, then wouldn’t it look a lot like temperature platued around 1850. I’d love to see a chart drawn from that somewhat broader perspective. It would really annoy the chicken littles but surely thats half the point of putting things in perspective.

  29. It is very interesting to see how Tim Lambert approaches this issue a man who once accused me of academic misconduct. He has changed the diagram that he uses to illustrate his point. In his commentary on Jennifer Marohasy he uses this diagram
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/the_disinformation_cycle.php
    It looks a bit cluttered.

    Previously he had used this uncluttered diagram
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/12/a_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_2.php
    He used it more than once
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/04/a_picture_is_worth_a_thousand.php
    Here is what that picture looks like now
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

    Looks like a plateau to me consistent with the ABC story.

    ++++++++++++++++
    Ken – can you provide a source for your diagram in the main post please?

  30. JC wrote:

    How the hell do you have a debate if everyone agrees?

    There are a lot of us who are legitimately concerned this issue is being abused from a financial point of view. Pricing carbon ought to be a revenue neutral action, but it doesnt look likely so excuse us for thinking its a con. not the science but the actions being introduced.

    I know JC – why you took 3 paragraphs to agree with me is strange though. The problem isn’t with arguments over approaches (that’s fine), the problem is with those who refuse to engage in the debate over approaches as they are too busy denying there is a problem in the first place. You might agree with Ms. Marohasy’s approach, but it goes well beyond scientific skepticism and clearly she isn’t the usual kind of knee-jerk contrarian idiot that espouses this rubbish.

    skepticlawyer wrote:

    How many people here are paid by the state? If you are, may I call you a state sponsored shill?

    If you have to. “Following the money” is a perfectly legitimate exercise in the case of people involved with blatantly dishonest astro-turf groups. The Australian Environment Foundation is a case in point. Are the skepticlawyer and JC defending this kind of “ends justify the means” dishonesty simply because they don’t agree with the anti-development arm of the green movement?

  31. f we kept the time span selected by Ken but instead charted the absolute global temperature rather than the temperature anomaly and if we put the left hand scale in Kelvin rather than in Celcius [sic] and if we put the origin in its proper place, then wouldnt it look a lot like temperature platued around 1850.

    Well, that’s my day planned for me. I’ll just take all those old university textbooks on microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and immunology, pile them up in the backyard and toss a match into the middle of the pile. After all, if something isn’t visible on the largest possible scale – if you actually have to do some investigation and analysis to find it – it’s clearly of no significance whatsoever.

  32. Sinclair Davidson wrote:

    Looks like a plateau to me consistent with the ABC story.

    So does 1880, 1900, 1940, and 1960 Sinclair. Does that mean the graph will magically flatline now? How did you discern that?

  33. global warming may be a problem … who really knows? But what we do know and what scares the heck out of me is the massive extinction phase we are currently experiencing. Beats the extinction phase that saw the dinosaurs (and 80% of other species)go west. Most due I suspect to habitat destruction. Global warming gets the press and diverts our attention from what is a real problem for the very basis of life itself.

  34. Are the skepticlawyer and JC defending this kind of ends justify the means dishonesty simply because they dont agree with the anti-development arm of the green movement?

    No, because you have absolutely no way of judging a person’s motivation in these circumstances. Jen and other people like her could actually believe what they are saying.

    Furthermore if you apply your argument to one side you ought to be honest and do it for the other side too. Government funding on climate research has gone up by multiples since the scare. Climate science departments that were once the nerdiest of the nerdy are suddenly cast into the limelight. Why is oodles of government money less corrupting than money from Exxon say that may be supporting people who actually believe their own stuff?

  35. David – plateau is consistent with the facts as Jen stated on ABC radio. I cannot say if magic is involved or not, I don’t want to pass judgement on your religious beliefs.

  36. JC wrote:

    No, because you have absolutely no way of judging a persons motivation in these circumstances. Jen and other people like her could actually believe what they are saying.

    Flat earthers and young earth creationists seem to have sincere beliefs too JC – that doesn’t make them right or worth listening too.

    Why is oodles of government money less corrupting than money from Exxon

    What makes you think that government (which one? the US government?) has any interest in the outcome? Clearly, the Lavoisier group for example have a vested interest in delaying any action on global warming as it directly affects their clients businesses (hence the efforts at greenwashing). As far as I can see, there isn’t a government in the world who will benefit from global warming being some kind of elaborate and vast conspiracy. Who could believe that governments are so competent and capable that they could instigate and continue something like this?

    Are the green groups competent, capable and sufficiently funded to pull the wool over our eyes in a vast global conspiracy instead? Is Bob Brown secretly pulling the strings of research institutions across the globe?

  37. 1880, 1900, 1940, and 1960

    These dates don’t show plateaus. They show temporary trend reversals. However it would have been a little too much if Jen had suggested that we were witnessing a temporary trend reversal. Plateau sounds a lot more conservative and appropriate.

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

    Ill just take all those old university textbooks on microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and immunology, pile them up in the backyard and toss a match into the middle of the pile.

    How much CO2 would that release?

  38. David – plateau is consistent with the facts as Jen stated on ABC radio. I cannot say if magic is involved or not, I dont want to pass judgement on your religious beliefs.

    Let’s clear this up right now. Marohasy says “plateau” and Sinclair says “yep” and what exactly does that mean when, pretty clearly, the global average temperature fluctuates but is clearly trending up. Does this latest plateau indicate that global warming has now officially stopped? Does is indicate that Marohasy, while not exactly telling porkies, is allowed to be a little liberal and extremely selective with the facts?

    What, if anything, is the significance of this much vaunted plateau Sinclair, given the overall trend in the graph and the undisputable fact that the same “plateau” has occurred multiple times, with each recovery indicating a new high? Here’s a hint: read Ken’s post again.

  39. How much CO2 would that release?

    Nowhere near enough to have a significant impact on the 4.5 billion year cooling trend in global atmospheric temperatures, Terje. Don’t sweat it.

  40. I don’t understand what ‘officially stopped’ actually means. Sounds very strange.

    Ken took exception to what Jen said

    If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued.

    and provided a graph. Tim Lambert also took exception and provided a graph – but if you look at an updated graph that Tim has previously shown you can see a plateau – which is what Jen said. Her statement is consistent with the facts as they now stand – a scientific approach to things I might add. Now we can debate what will happen in future – but that is opinion and not fact.

  41. OK, perhaps “shill” is too harsh, given that her funding sources are known.

    But I’ve read her stuff on occasion. Either she is simply too dumb to realise that she’s talking nonsense – which I don’t believe – or she’s dissembling.

  42. Sinclair, you didn’t answer the question. If that graph was of the SPI futures, would you say overall that the “plateau” had any significance whatsoever, or would you say rising trend?

  43. Flat earthers and young earth creationists seem to have sincere beliefs too JC – that doesnt make them right or worth listening too.

    I never said it makes them right, Dave. I said it doesnt make them autmoatically corrupt in the cash for comment sense. It certainly doesn’t make them any more corrupt than universities seeking government dollars for climate research.

    What makes you think that government (which one? the US government?) has any interest in the outcome?

    Depends what you mean by the US Government. The administration seems to talk through both sides of its mouth and isnt that sincere for the most part. However they are throwing oodles of cash towards research. They have no real way of controlling where the cash is going. Lots of money goes to groups the US administration doesnt support. The Goddard institute is one example.
    Then there are state governments funding state run universities. The private universities aren’t exacly short of cash either. Harvard’s loot is about 30 billion for example.

    Clearly, the Lavoisier group for example have a vested interest in delaying any action on global warming as it directly affects their clients businesses (hence the efforts at greenwashing).

    Really? I saw Hugh Morgan leading a syndicate trying to influence the previous government on giving away nuke power licences to a group he and a few others support. And since when is this group the be all and end all of the right wing? Does the Australia Institute speak for all the left? Hope not.

    As far as I can see, there isnt a government in the world who will benefit from global warming being some kind of elaborate and vast conspiracy.

    Listen to Garnauts comments recently? Hes advocating selling carbon credit licences at an auction and the government pockets the cash. He calls this revenue and hes suggesting ways the 20 bill can be spent. So saddling the economy with $20 billion of costs suddenly morphs in a revenue gain. Excuse me while I laugh. If the government was sincere in its efforts the overall consequence ought to be revenue neutral.

    Who could believe that governments are so competent and capable that they could instigate and continue something like this?

    Well no one seems to be too worried about 20 billion bucks hitting the government coffers over the next few years. I havent seen anyone raise this as an issue.

    Are the green groups competent, capable and sufficiently funded to pull the wool over our eyes in a vast global conspiracy instead? Is Bob Brown secretly pulling the strings of research institutions across the globe?

    900,000 people voted for the Green party at the last election, dave. Every single one of its polices every single one of their economic policies would have a negative impact on living standards. Until they got heat they were even after cancer sufferers as the party platform advocated banning all imports of nuclear isotopes, finding alternatives to nuclear medicine (possibly hot rock therapy?) and closing down nuclear waste dump sites that hospitals use to dispose of such waste. That policy was mysteriously removed from the Green partys website. However I assume it is still active as I never saw any evidence that policy has been retracted..

  44. If it was SPI futures, or temperature anomalies, since 2002 I would say plateau (or even falling – certainly down from 1998) if it were 1980 to 2007 I would say rising, but coming off a peak. Jen said “If you take 2002 as your reference…”. What Jen has said is consistent with the graph Ken posted and the series of graphs I linked to – now you want to argue that it’ll get worse in future. That is an interesting argument, yet there is little evidence that humans are any good at forecasting the future.

  45. “Listen to Garnauts comments recently? Hes advocating selling carbon credit licences at an auction and the government pockets the cash.”

    He’s saying nothing of the kind. In fact Garnaut proposes that revenue from sale of carbon licences be used to compensate low income earners and other vulnerable losers from the price increases that will (designedly) result.

  46. “if it were 1980 to 2007 I would say rising, but coming off a peak.”

    Precisely, which is why Marohasy is being misleading and deceptive in trying to get people to focus on the extreme short term when both the 1998 peak and the slight fall of the last 2 years are entirely consistent with current scientific orthodoxy on global warming (contrary to what Marohasy asserts).

  47. JC wrote:

    Listen to Garnauts comments recently? Hes advocating selling carbon credit licences at an auction and the government pockets the cash. He calls this revenue and hes suggesting ways the 20 bill can be spent. So saddling the economy with $20 billion of costs suddenly morphs in a revenue gain. Excuse me while I laugh. If the government was sincere in its efforts the overall consequence ought to be revenue neutral.

    I don’t hear that argument when we’re talking about other things the government manages on our behalf (like, say, radio spectrum). Garnaut might be influential, but he isn’t evidence of a global conspiracy. This is all starting to sound like that “who killed the electric car?” thing, only it’s a right wing version.

  48. Hm,

    Could we have that graph re-plotted over a 400,000 year timescale please? (Or 5,000 years for Creationists)?

    Seems to me that looking at a 150 year snapshot (out of your choice of the above), is less statistically meaningful than taking a ten year snapshot out of 150 years. Specifically, it does not address what may or may not have been warming/cooling periods in the past. For example, if the present roughly .5 degree anomaly is the highest over the long term, it supports AGW, if it is not, then we can go back to looking at things like habitat destruction as having a higher priority. imho.

  49. Sinclair Davidson wrote:

    yet there is little evidence that humans are any good at forecasting the future

    We’re not talking chicken entrails here Sinclair. Humans are actually extremely good at forecasting the future where a reasonable model can be constructed. You don’t land on the moon with guesswork and selective statistics. i.e. it isn’t economics we’re talking about, it’s science.

  50. Hes saying nothing of the kind. In fact Garnaut proposes that revenue from sale of carbon licences be used to compensate low income earners and other vulnerable losers from the price increases that will (designedly) result.

    But that’s exactly my point, Ken. Revenue neutral that is equitable would be looking to compensate everyone who loses out as a result. I wouldn’t have thought the idea was to make this thing into another welfare funding base.

    Revenue neutral would mean that the pricing mechanism is used to move us away from carbon and compensate everyone while attempting to dissuade carbon emissions. No one should be better or worse off.

    And why is a 20 billion heist considered a revenue raiser? 20 billion reflects added costs burden to the economy. Its not revenue: its a cost.

    What happens to the rest of the money that isn’t used to fund the not se well off?

  51. I dont hear that argument when were talking about other things the government manages on our behalf (like, say, radio spectrum).

    Who says? Not from me or any other LDP supporter. The spectrum ought to be open to anyone.

    Garnaut might be influential, but he isnt evidence of a global conspiracy. This is all starting to sound like that who killed the electric car? thing, only its a right wing version.

    1. Garnaut was tasked with handing out a report to align the economics with the science. We seemed to have ended up with Garnaut giving us his science views and a new redustribtion scheme.

    2. The government wants to make petrol cheaper by introducing a new prices watchdog but wants to make it more expensive at the same time.

    Am I being too cyncial here, Dave?

  52. Operative term being ‘where a reasonable model can be constructed’.

    I’m just not convinced that landing on the moon is an equivalent problem to forecasting the climate in 2200 or even next week.

  53. JC wrote:

    Am I being too cyncial here, Dave?

    All I’m saying JC is that wherever conspiracy is mooted, it’s usually incompetence instead. I’d agree that the mixed messages on petrol pricing are confusing although that’s evidence to me that the government is acting like a startled bunny in the headlights.

    The spectrum ought to be open to anyone

    That’s the kind of thinking that got us into trouble in the first place. Not everybody can use the radio spectrum all at once without interfering with other users, and apparently the atmosphere can only take so much released CO2 without problems occurring. What happened to property rights?

  54. Sinclair Davidson wrote:

    landing on the moon is an equivalent problem to forecasting the climate in 2200 or even next week.

    Are you talking about the weather or the climate Sinclair? The “reasonable model” is well open for debate, but unfortunately that’s not what Marohasy is attacking here. She’s selectively taken a small part of a much larger graph as some kind of evidence that the temps. have reached a plateau, with the implication being that we don’t need to worry about the future and that climate change is therefore a sham.

    If I was long SPI futures, that graph would give me absolutely no reason to panic if I intended to keep them for 20 years. If I only intended to keep them for 6 months, I might be worried. In this case, we’re not talking 1 year or 20 years, we’re talking 100 and in that case, my long SPI futures are looking pretty damned good.

  55. Who says that opening the spectrum to market forces would adversely effect property rights. Whay is the current system of rent seeking offering a better outcome?

  56. It does seem just a bit disingenuous to want to focus on a single peak in ’98 to construct an argument for cooling. Or do some people really not understand trends?

  57. “Revenue neutral that is equitable would be looking to compensate everyone who loses out as a result.”

    But that would completely negate the purpose of an impost intended to send a price signal and induce people to change their behaviour. There would be no point whatever in a carbon tax or emissions permits if everyone (not just the most vulnerable) was fully compensated for their price effects. Why would anyone then change their behaviour at all? Permits/carbon taxes are intended to push up the price of products/services generating atmospheric CO2, thereby giving consumers an inducement to shift to cleaner products/services and producers the incentive to change to cleaner production methods.

  58. JC wrote:

    The spectrum ought to be open to anyone

    to which I replied:
    Not everybody can use the radio spectrum all at once without interfering with other users

    then JC wrote:

    Who says that opening the spectrum to market forces would adversely effect property rights.

    Do you want to restrict access somehow or not i.e. should the radio spectrum be usable or just a big mess? Why don’t I organise a party in your front room while you’re trying to watch the TV?

  59. David you’re going OT. You have failed to demonstrate that what Jen said is incorrect, so let me leave you with this thought, “Scientific skepticism is fine and more than helpful …”. That’s advice I intend to take.

  60. Ken
    Think of what a carbon tax would do rather than a cap and trade/carbon license system in terms of behaviour.

    Putting a price on carbon through a carbon tax (c)would be revenue neutral if the tax was offset through income tax cuts. The expectation would be that people would begin to move away from carbon intensive energy as new tech was introduced (think nuke).

    In other words you wouldn’t have to make people less well off overall. You are only trying to change behaviour.

  61. Sinclair

    As I’ve explained (but you’ve repeatedly ignored, presumably because you know it’s right), it is (barely) possible to defend the first two sentences of Marohasy’s quote in the primary post, though only if you confine your gaze rigidly to the very short period after 1998. However, even you concede that the bigger picture shows an ongoing warming trend. And the last sentence of Marohasy’s quote is misleading on any view:

    This is certainly not what youd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.

    In fact it’s exactly what you would expect given the large El Nino in 1998 coming on top of solar maximum and the La Nina in 2006-7 coming on top of solar minimum. This in no way contradicts or undermines current scientific understandings. Marohasy seems to rely on the ignorance of people who don’t (or more accurately won’t) understand that global warming science doesn’t deny the existence of a range of other influences on climate, notably including solar activity and the ENSO cycle. The fluctuations of those cycles cause short term peaks and troughs in the temperature graph, but the trend is inexorably upwards as even Sinclair reluctantly acknowledges. And there is no plausible explanation for that general upward trend than human-generated atmospheric CO2 (because neither the solar cycle nor ENSO have been getting more intense).

    I should add one small caveat to that, which is the possible effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation. That research is hotly disputed but has not on my reading been completely discredited. It could conceivably be a factor that might indicate than the proportionate influence of increasing CO2 levels on the evident ongoing warming trend is a little less than the current mainstream IPCC view assumes.

  62. Sinclair Davidson wrote:

    David youre going OT. You have failed to demonstrate that what Jen said is incorrect, so let me leave you with this thought, Scientific skepticism is fine and more than helpful . Thats advice I intend to take.

    “I did not have sex with that woman” – B. Clinton – technically it was correct because the vagina wasn’t used.

    Same deal for Bubba, Sinclair?

  63. Dave:

    The specturm could allow rather players more than restrict entrants. Sell the various parts of the spectrum but certainly don’t restrict it to a bunch of rent seekers.

  64. Ken,

    You don’t appear to have listened to my radio interview, read my blog, or my contributions to this thread – your post and continuing comments are a rehash of what ‘the warm-aholics’ might have been talking about some time ago. You need to do a bit more reading – and get yourself up to date, including with the latest in ENSO trends. I’ve already provided a link – see above.

    You, and some of your readers, might also ponder “Ignorance isn’t what you don’t know – its what you do know that aint correct”. ;-)

  65. Ignorance is what you don’t know. What you don’t know that ain’t correct is something else.

    Let’s not further confuse the issue with facile attempts to extend ordinary usage through folksy proverbs.

  66. Ken – your point seems to be that Jen should take a longer time frame. That is your opinion. You are entitled to that opinion. Your argument is that she said something wrong in the sentences that you quoted – in particular the first two sentences. Nothing in those two sentences is factually incorrect. Your argument is that there are other reasons for what we observe than Jen suggests. That’s fine. It is up to you to make those arguments (and to be fair you have suggested some and David suggested others – David, I do think he had sex with that woman even though her vagina wasn’t involved) but I don’t think your graph illustrates that point. It seems to me you’re annoyed because someone has the gumption to question the AGW dogma.

  67. Jennifer

    I have certainly read the material you linked. All you have done is provide graphs which focus on the short term temperature changes since 1998 and stretch out the horizontal axis in order to minimise the evident ongoing warming trend since 1998 (and slight cooling in the last two years). To be fair, the graph I used (not with any intention to bloster the pro-warming argument but simply because it was the one most readily available on the ready reference site Wikipedia) could fairly be argued to err in the opposite direction and thereby almost obliterate the slight cooling of the last couple of years). Your stretched, short term graph in no sense negates the accepted science, nor does a quote from Rajendra Pachaudri treating denialist canards far more politely than they deserve.

    I must, however, express grudging admiration for the extraordinary ability of the miniscule group of denialists to muster a chorus of approving comment box voices when someone like me dares to publish a post which merely presents the almost universally accepted state of scientific understanding on global warming. From reading this thread, someone without any background in the issues might well gain the utterly misleading impression that these are controversial and hotly disputed propositions about which no-one can know which side has the correct story. No doubt that impression isn’t accidental.

  68. I quite like that last para, Ken.

    This sterile debate has been quite amusing. Thankfully, irrelevant.

    The worst problem with denialists is that I really really wish they were right.

  69. “AGW dogma” is in fact the broadly accepted international scientific understanding based on 30 years of painstaking research and observation. We’re not talking here about a tiny group of self-interested ratbag scientists (at least not on the mainstream side) but of generally accepted scientific orthodoxy. That doesn’t necessarily mean that orthodoxy is never wrong (viz Galileo etc), but to be taken seriously (except appaently by “libertarian” wingnuts) when challenging heavily-researched scientific orthodoxy you actually need hard rigorous analysis, not the sort of spin, flim-flam and cherry-picking graphs in which Jennifer specialises.

  70. Yes, I agree the AGW dogma is the scientific consensus and all that. But I’m intruigued by your response – if this all about ‘libertarian wingnuts’, a miniscule group – why do you care so much? As wilful suggests all we denialists are ‘thankfully irrelevant’.

  71. Perhaps it’s a mental illness on my part. Perhaps too, I’m both fascinated and bemused as to why people like you and some other libertarians who manifest in other respects a highly developed and entirely rationalistic ability to assess facts and reason to a supportable conclusion, exhibit such an extraordinary blind spot when it comes to AGW.

    The best explanation I can find is that you see AGW as such a potentially powerful weapon in the hands of socialist nanny staters (who I agree need to be closely watched) that you would rather deny the force of the scientific evidence and grasp at any straw that might allow you to deny reality, than to look constructively for ways of addressing the problem that don’t threaten individual freedoms or the market economy.

  72. Sinclair Davidson wrote:

    if this all about libertarian wingnuts, a miniscule group – why do you care so much?

    I’m not going to speak for Ken, but the problem here isn’t so much libertarian wingnuts, it’s powerful vested interests who are deliberately spreading disinformation. That you and your ilk are mindless cheerleaders for these people is neither here nor there, other than to demonstrate your mindlessness on this issue. Like Ken says, what’s making it impossible to engage your rationality on this issue Sinclair? I suggested earlier than it’s pure reactionary contrariness to Greens. Get over it.

  73. Ken,

    You are being disingenuous.

    I have provided two links. I suggested again, click on the following and scroll down to the last and second last graphs. http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Correlation_Last_Decade.pdf

    Given you have made me the butt of this blog post I suggest you at least put some time aside to study the graphs and read the accompanying text. There is no cherry picking and the last and second last graph extent to 1900 and 1950 respectively.

    I will now provide a third link
    http://www.weatherquestions.com/Roy-Spencer-on-global-warming.htm
    Again no cherry picking. Just an explaination as to why there has been no warming over the last 10 years given carbon dioxide levels have been rising. Again information provided by a climate scientist and in this case the fellow incharge of analysis of data from the NASA Aqua Satellite.

  74. I’ve just noticed a new trend that disproves the rising sea-level theory being put about by the AGW alarmists and warm-oholics.

    Since mid-morning, here in Darwin, the sea-level has dropped 2-3 metres.
    I confidently predict, that if this trend continues, the oceans will be empty by sometime next week.

  75. Since mid-morning, here in Darwin, the sea-level has dropped 2-3 metres.

    Any more and I would be quick to get to higher ground if I were you, Michael. Fast!

  76. I’ve probably come too late to give my usual speech about civility and administrative viiiiolence. But please consider yourselves so lectured at and try to remain as polite as possible.

    Love,

    The Local Oppressor.

  77. Amazing to me that an ABC interview on Michael Duffy’s program should arouse such a debate!
    We should all be grateful to Michael Duffy. With the ABC being consistently accused of left-wing bias, Michael Duffy’s show gives the opposite bias.

    No surprise that he gets people like Jennifer Mahorasy on – with her links to the Institute of Public affairs, and her devious ant-environmental bias.

    I didn’t realise that anyone took her seriously. I thought that listeners to Counterpoint, such as myself, enjoyed the bit of light relief from the facts.
    At the same time, Michael Duffy has a pleasant manner, and plays wonderful jazz.

    Why don’t we all relax, and let the right wing have its ABC time?

    After all, when it comes to global warming, the denialists are having a hard time getting anyone to take them seriously. So – let em rave on. More jazz please, Michael.

    Christina Macpherson http://www.antinuclear.net

  78. Like Ken says, whats making it impossible to engage your rationality on this issue Sinclair?

    Before I read the IPCC Summary for policymakers I was agnostic on the issue, not really caring about it all. There are good reasons not to despoil the environment totally unrelated the AGW and even good reasons to tax carbon and the like unrelated to AGW. The evidence in the Summary is poor and the presentation is poor – yet a lot of socialist nanny staters will (metaphorically) die a ditch to preserve the AGW story.

  79. I was only joshing around, if that was directed to me.

    It was directed at everyone. It’s more fun that way.

  80. Ken

    “Miniscule group of denialists”? [74]

    Hie yourself down to your local power generator (Trevor Horman might be your man), and have a look at the dials spinning round. Then graph that trend. On the basis of what people actually do, it is believers who comprise the miniscule group.

    Then consider that the only reason water consumption is flattening out in most cities is because of mandatory water restrictions – not because anybody believes in AGW. In fact, Perth, Mel, Syd, Bris, Adel are all building desal plants requiring lots of lovely energy to power up! In Darwin and Alice Springs, people are using huge amounts of water (no restrictions!).

    Skepticlawyer has it absolutely right, people are quite happy to say that they believe in AGW since it somehow makes them feel good. However, ask them to give up their trip to Bali, or Buenos Aires next year, and see how far you get.

    Next, you bag people for looking at ten years out of one hundred and fifty and claiming ‘Aha! A trend!’ Yet that one hundred and fifty years is such a small teensy itty bitty microscopic (ok, Marks, we get it) of even modern geologic time, that the same argument you use against others can easily be directed backwards. 150 years out of a few hundred thousand is an interesting minute slice, but not a statistical proof you could hang your hat on in a serious debate. No way. That is not related to denial, merely to adequacy of data.

  81. … people are quite happy to say that they believe in AGW since it somehow makes them feel good. However, ask them to give up their trip to Bali, or Buenos Aires next year, and see how far you get.

    Rome will never need a fire brigade as long as it has an Emperor who can play the fiddle!

  82. “Your crowd never had any evidence in the first place. And now the dream is over.”

    That’s obviously correct, because a single article in the popular press (which you obviously have not read — try reading the last few paragraphs before jumping to such strong conclusions) based on a single source of data told you so.

  83. Sinclair Davidson claims:

    Before I read the IPCC Summary for policymakers I was agnostic on the issue, not really caring about it all.

    Unfortunately, Davidson seems to lack the mathematical background to understand the SPM. Details here.

    (Note to moderators: you need to delete comments from Bird and his sock puppet AJ Nock, or he will wreck the discussion.)

  84. I had alread deleted Bird’s comments (because he’s permanently banned from troppo and knows it very well) but I hadn’t realised that AJ Nock was one of his pseudonyms.

  85. Davidson seems to lack the mathematical background to understand the SPM.

    But the average policy maker doesn’t?

  86. #51 “That is an interesting argument, yet there is little evidence that humans are any good at forecasting the future.”

    Geez, that’s good. Think of all the money we’ll save on things like the ABS or any research that starts from trends, thanks Sinclair you’re a life saver.

  87. SL says:

    ” … as far as I am concerned, attacks on funding sources are either neither here nor there. How many people here are paid by the state? If you are, may I call you a state sponsored shill?”

    You are being disingenuous, SL. Jen Marohasy would be kicked into the gutter by the IPA if she didn’t engage in generic denialism such as she does, on issues ranging from the state of our river systems to climate change. Public servants- for the most part- have far greater independence.

    Marohasy’s routine largely consists of leaping on any piece of supposed evidence that supports her denialism then failing to retract her assertions once the evidence is discredited, as with this case- http://allocasuarina.blogspot.com/2007/05/marohasy-gets-it-wrong-again-once-again.html

    Jen Marohasy is generally as predictable and reliable a source of information as Lord Haw-Haw.

  88. From reading this thread, someone without any background in the issues might well gain the utterly misleading impression that these are controversial and hotly disputed propositions about which no-one can know which side has the correct story.

    Ahem. Are you talking about me again Ken? :-)

    No doubt that impression isnt accidental.

    No doubt that’s because I don’t bother reading too much on this.

    So here are(honest but dumb) questions:
    a) what is currently the most accepted theory?
    b) on what basis has this been identified as the most accepted theory?
    c) who are its main supporters and who are its main critics? Are they people that matter/should know/have influence/have interests to protect…?

  89. It is very interesting to see how Tim Lambert approaches this issue a man who once accused me of academic misconduct. He has changed the diagram that he uses to illustrate his point. …

    No one answered this yet?
    Surely Sinclair Davidson realizes that these are graphs from two independent research groups? He found one – CRU. The other is NASA GISS. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

    Sinclair wants to imply that using two graphs from different sources is equivalent to academic misconduct? Perhaps Sinclair should study up a bit to come up to speed on this subject before making silly comments.

  90. Ken says

    The best explanation I can find is that you see AGW as such a potentially powerful weapon in the hands of socialist nanny staters (who I agree need to be closely watched) that you would rather deny the force of the scientific evidence and grasp at any straw that might allow you to deny reality, than to look constructively for ways of addressing the problem that dont threaten individual freedoms or the market economy.

    And for bloody good reason too , ken.

    Canadian Broadcasting Corp was reporting the other day that there are food/grain shortages developing in Europe because the world’s largest food exporter- the US- is offering more incentives for US farmers to grow corn for ethanol instead of growing crops for food in the quest to increase the use of biofuels.

    This alone could turn out to be one of the biggest human disasters this century as a result of badly thought out policy that was made to demonstrate the US government amongst other things was doing something to cut down emissions. A severe drought in one of the food growing areas could actually drive our food supply over the cliff over the next few years as we’re actually hanging in there by a thread at the moment

  91. I’m not at all claiming this constitutes academic misconduct – I’m simply disclosing the history between Tim Lambert and myself.

  92. Only if by “disclosing” you mean “misrepresenting”. Sinclair knows full well that I did not accuse him of academic misconduct. As for the graphs, neither GISS nor CRU shows global warming ending in 1998. It doesn’t matter which one you use. I put the GISS one in my post because I’d already uploaded it for an earlier post.

  93. This alone could turn out to be one of the biggest human disasters this century as a result of badly thought out policy that was made to demonstrate the US government amongst other things was doing something to cut down emissions.

    US agricultural policy is about winning elections through buying off agricultural states through utterly bananas subsidies, programs, grants, buy ups, sell downs and other Congressional hijinks. Corn-for-biofuels is just the latest episode. The environment has nothing, whatever, to do with this policy. Australia’s “biofuels” industry policy is just vote-buying in marginal sugar-growing constituencies.

    I don’t mind bashing bad policy, JC, but let’s agree that the motivation isn’t AGW.

  94. I couldn’t agree more Jacques. Andon the wider point of Sinclair’s and other contributions, I think the most constructive suggestion to come out of thei fairly pointless exchange came from commenter Steve on Tim Lambert’s thread:

    This is so sad and frustrating. Whoever is running the IPA should be fired immediately.

    I’ve tried discussing this with Jennifer Marohasy on her blog, but she isn’t interested.

    The IPA refuses to move past this lame science denial. They put all their resources into challenging the science. This means that their articles discussing the actual means of mitigating climate change are few and far between – no more advanced than the odd alan moran article saying ‘every climate policy will hurt the economy, though nuclear power is best’ kind of stuff.

    The political climate in Australia wrt climate change has progressed markedly in the last year. And now, Australia is in desparate need of some credible, intelligent and informed conservative thinkers and opinion writers to participate in public debate about policy creation. They need to catch up.

    In the last few months, the Australian govt has banned incandescent lightbulbs, and the opposition has committed another idle $50mil to photovoltaic power. There is also the spread of energy efficient housing regulation, which though commendable, is to an extent poorly targeted and less than effective – it could use a strong and intelligent critique, with suggestions for alternative approaches.

    We need some conservative writers to be critiquing this kind of populist, heavy handed, yet ineffectual fluff policies.

    Banning incadescent lightbulbs is a peripheral policy that targets the emissions of individuals at the exclusion of the emissions of the big emitters – power stations. And it curbs individual liberty – a nanny govt policy. (in any case, everyone will switch to halogens, which are worse).

    Its politically acceptable to do that, to target green policies at households, but it isn’t effective or efficient.

    While the IPA is hung up on arguing the science, they have no legitimate voice in participating in discussion of new policy measures to mitigate emissions.

    The least bureaucratic, heavy handed means of mitigating climate change that is widely regarded as one of the least cost approaches, is emissions trading. the IPA should be slamming all these inefficient policy measures like banning light bulbs and promote the policy measures that sit best with their free-market pro-individual ethos.

    But instead, they keep spinning this anti-science crap, and painting themselves as mining industy shills and extremist anti-science goons. They need to grow up and get new leadership.

    If only people like Sinclair would take it to heart, we might get a lesser number of the silly biofuels subsidy policies and many more policies that will address the real problems in a way that is economically literate and freedom-enhancing. Mere mindless opposition is indeed mindless when the problem is a real one.

  95. Jacques:

    I didn’t say the push for Biofuels has only comes from the desire for less emissions (as though that could be possible with corn) I said ”

    amongst other things was doing something to cut down emissions.

    It’s not possible to suggest that this bad policy wasn’t given the light of day partly as an emissions saver. It was. Ethanol produces something like 30% less carbon in mv’s. Unfortuantely the trade off is less food.

    Furthermore it proves my point that libertarians are right to have a real concern about stupid government policy being dangerous to our health. in this case it could end up killing through starvation.

  96. And Ken , fair enough in terms of what that dude is suggesting, but why shouldn’t left leaning think tanks and voices to the government also adopt that approach. The right doesn’t have a monopoly on decent policy. Good policy is free to anyone to apply.

    The least bureaucratic, heavy handed means of mitigating climate change that is widely regarded as one of the least cost approaches, is emissions trading

    Well , it’s actually not. Humphreys wrote a decent paper on the carbon tax.

  97. Actually yes, Humphreys’ carbon tax suggestions are very impressive, and fit in with what Steve said above in Ken’s quoted excerpt – with which I agree, by and large.

    That doesn’t neutralise the economic concerns Sinclair has with aspects of the environment movement; nor does it excuse the constant accusations of corporate shilling directed at people outside the state-funded establishment.

  98. “nor does it excuse the constant accusations of corporate shilling directed at people outside the state-funded establishment.”

    This is a classic strawman. The accusations have nothing to do with whether or not people are outside a state-funded establishment but with the nature and/or sincerity or otherwise of their arguments. In Sinclair Davidson’s case it’s conceivable that he’s entirely sincere and just hasn’t taken the time to comprehend the strength of the scientific case (being an economist) and is reacting against (arguably) dubious economics in some pro-warming materials like the Sterne report. Moreover, he isn’t “outside the state-funded establishment” at all. As for Jennnifer Marohasy, having read her arguments (i.e. evasions) on this thread and her own blog I’ll just let them speak for themselves. Whatever some of the wishful thinkers on this thread may try to assert, it just isn’t possible to maintain the argument either that warming isn’t occurring or that it isn’t caused to a significant extent by human agency. There is no longer a scientific controversy about this, just a miniscule group of very loud (and in some cases well funded) deniers some but not all of whom are perfectly reasonably described as corporate shills. They seek to maintain an aura of doubt about the fundamental propositions where none exists (as opposed to matters of detail about the exact interaction of climatic systems etc and therefore the precise proportionate contribution of human activity to measured and ongoing warming). There are certainly many things (e.g. “feedback” effects including in some cases whether they are positive or negative in sign) still not well understood that may affect the picture in a positive or negative direction, perhaps even dramatically, but the existence of both warming and a degree of human agency really is not now a matter of scientific dispute despite what some on this thread seem determined to continue believing.

  99. For saint

    a) what is currently the most accepted theory?

    That there is ongoing warming and that there is a very high probability that human agency is a significant (but not the only) causative factor.

    b) on what basis has this been identified as the most accepted theory?

    A huge range of research by many thousands of climate scientists throughout the world. It is the accepted and undisputed scientific orthodoxy (just as evolution is, except amongst a tiny group of “intelligent design” ratbags). In particular much of the measured ongoing warming (as described in the primary post) can have no other cause than human agency because no other influencing factor (e.g. solar activity, El Nino/La Nina) is increasing in a manner that could even conceivably explain it. No-one (not even denialists) disputes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that the greenhouse effect exists (otherwise earth would be like Mars), or that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing rapidly as a result of human activity. The denialists rely on an ever-changing selection of arguments/theories to deny what would ordinarily seem to be the logical consequence of these facts that they don’t deny.

    c) who are its main supporters and who are its main critics? Are they people that matter/should know/have influence/have interests to protect?

    There are (as I understand it) no anti-warming papers being published in any reputable peer-reviewed scientific publication anywhere in the world. The denialists self-publish or publish in non-peer-reviewed fringe publications. The existence of warming and its human agency is a long way beyond the point where you can meaningfully refer to “supporters” and “critics” as if there was actually a contest. There isn’t. All there is (as I observed in the comment to Helen) is a miniscule group of very loud (and in some cases well funded) deniers. A few are superannuated scientists, others are driven by fundamentalist christian beliefs while still others are indeed funded by oil and mining companies to maintain an aura of doubt. In some cases (e.g. the recent “conference” that Jennifer Marohasy attended) they are funded by “thinktanks” which actually not only generate their funding from oil and mining companies but also from tobacco companies who pay them to maintain arguments that smoking isn’t harmful.

  100. Pingback: Club Troppo » Missing Link Daily

  101. Ken – thanks. OK in a real hurry this morning so some thoughts out of order

    From what I understand on this thread alone is that there is disagreement on
    (a) “ongoing warming” and how it is measured/how we determine what is a “norm” or acceptable range of variation
    (b) whether any variation – assuming one has agreed on (a), is a cause for alarm or part of a natural cycle of warming and cooling over time (where we can expect the odd ice age etc here and there)
    (c) the extent to which humans are a causative factor (note: noone but a tool would suggest humans have no impact on “the environment” in some way but I am not about to stop breathing to eliminate my contributions of CO2 and water vapour to global warming)
    (d) whether the key contribution to global warming is CO2, water vapour etc (surely that is important if we are talking responses, policy etc. If, for example it’s water vapour that’s the key culprit should we be pulling all stops to reduce CO2?)
    (e) the impact of global warming on climate change (will we burn in hell or freeze like hell etc etc) I don’t think even scientists are near understanding what is a very very very complex and in some ways still unpredictable set of processes

    Frankly, whatever consensus there is (and I don’t expect unilateral agreement on all minutae) seems a bit fluid. And yes I was hoping for some names of institutions, people, etc.

    Anyway, I am glad you raised the topic of “fundamentalist christian beliefs” etc because I think this topic generates the same sort of nonsense in popular circles and sometimes also in academic and science circles as weel.

    Those who know me (or have read my blog) know I have a pathological distaste for “creation scientists” and also the “science disproves there is a god”: both a guilty of extremely bad theology and bad science. And both are lunatic fringe IMHO, who thanks partly to their self-promotion and a stupid MSM have had a disproportionate amount of attention. Much of the same dynamics apply to this topic.

    However, what that nonsense and the nonsense over climate change do is also raise some particular questions about “the philosophy of nature” for want of a better term, and in my opinion, also exposes a lot of neo-pagan thought.

    Anyway, work beckons.

  102. OK Saint. I erroneously assumed that your questions were an honest request for information rather than a mere rhetorical device from a right winger with a closed mind and no interest in the facts. I won’t make the same mistake again. After all the nonsense posted on this thread, and given the seriousness of the issue, I have no remaining patience or even civility with this sort of game-playing.

  103. Jennifer is not alone, Bolt started this rubbish again on Tuesday 25th as well..

    Listen to: http://www.mytalk.com.au/aspx/pages/mediaplayer.aspx?t=audio&w=7709

    At the 4:50 minute mark, we hear the following exchange about whether The Age has published the “fact” that global temperatures have not gone up since 1998:

    Ross Stevenson: “Has it only been reported in your newspaper in your column? Has it been reported outside of your column?”

    Bolta:”No, no there’s a letter in the letters page today making the point as well… I think. Ah, look, maybe ahhh, I, I, I don’t know… maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t. But as least it has been reported in the Herald sun- the worlds temperature has not risen since 1998…”

    Awesome.

  104. Ken writes:

    No-one (not even denialists) disputes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that the greenhouse effect exists (otherwise earth would be like Mars)

    The greehouse effect or the chemical compostion of the Martian atmosphere has very little to do with the temps. at the Martian surface. The thinness of the atmosphere, the low atmosp. pressure, and the low heat capacity of the Martian soil has everything to do with.

    Now, having got this point very wrong, how should we judge your other remarks on the science?

    Also, why concentrate on the strawman ‘denialist’ and avoid confronting the considered sceptics of the current scientific orthodoxy?

    Ken continues:

    There are (as I understand it) no anti-warming papers being published in any reputable peer-reviewed scientific publication anywhere in the world.

    It may be fun hiding behind qualifiers like ‘anti-warming’ but no one familiar with the literature can say that there have been no papers published in respected journals that are either explicilty or implicitly critical of the scientific orthodoxy and say this without uttering a lie. I can think of recent papers in the last three to four months by Spencer, Douglass, Scafetta & West, Burger, Schwartz, McKitrick & Michaels of the top of my head and this is no way exhaustive.

  105. proteus,

    If it’s not too much of a burden on the top of your head, perhaps you could point us all in the direction of the journals where these papers were published so that we can check them out for ourselves.

  106. No-one (not even denialists) disputes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that the greenhouse effect exists (otherwise earth would be like Mars)

    Actually, they have. Dr. Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner have claimed something very similar to this.

    Unsurprisingly, lots of global warming skeptics have uncritically lapped their BS up.

  107. It may be fun hiding behind qualifiers like anti-warming but no one familiar with the literature can say that there have been no papers published in respected journals that are either explicilty or implicitly critical of the scientific orthodoxy and say this without uttering a lie. I can think of recent papers in the last three to four months by Spencer, Douglass, Scafetta & West, Burger, Schwartz, McKitrick & Michaels of the top of my head and this is no way exhaustive.

    You’re either “uttering a lie” or just have no idea if you are including Gerd Burger (and to a lesser degree, Schwartz) in this list with global warming skeptics.

  108. As far as I’m aware, people like McKitrick, Michaels etc generally publish in “respected” journals that are non-refereed (e.g. Energy and Environment) because their material would never pass any authentic peer review process. However, I don’t claim an encyclopedic knowledge, so it might be that a handful of their papers have snuck into some refereed publication.

  109. “We seemed to have ended up with Garnaut giving us his science views”

    No he’s not. I understand he is mainly using the science from the IPCC report. He wasn’t on that panel.

  110. Ken P, they have published some papers in journals that aren’t EE. The big problem is that their papers just aren’t that good. Their mix up between degrees and radians is probably the most well known example.

  111. Among the quality journals that publish anti-AGW “science” is conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche’s 21st Century Science magazine. Some of you may remember how the LaRouchites stacked the audience in last year’s ABC Global Warming debate hosted by Tony Jones.

    Incidentally, Lord Haw Haw’s website features 21st Century Science articles via regular guest poster Paul Williams. See here for instance- http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002176.html

  112. “Bolta: No, no theres a letter in the letters page today making the point as well I think. Ah, look, maybe ahhh, I, I, I dont know maybe it has, maybe it hasnt. But as least it has been reported in the Herald sun- the worlds temperature has not risen since 1998″

    Well, that’s settled then, the Herald Sun has reported it so it must be true. Let’s all go home.

    Bolt has had the scientific reasons why that view is plain wrong explained to him many times. He is well past just being ignorant and ill-informed, and well into blatant dishonesty over this stuff.

    “Some of you may remember how the LaRouchites stacked the audience in last years ABC Global Warming debate hosted by Tony Jones.”

    And they still lost the debate. LOL.

  113. Miles writes:

    “Youre either uttering a lie or just have no idea if you are including Gerd Burger (and to a lesser degree, Schwartz) in this list with global warming skeptics.”

    I’m referring to recent papers that are implicitly or explicitly critical of the scientific orthodoxy; I’m not making-up a list of ‘deniers’. Nevertheless, so you admit there are ‘degrees’ of scepticism regarding the ‘scientific orthodoxy’? I never implied they were all of one piece.

    Miles elsewhere writes:

    “Ken P, they have published some papers in journals that arent EE. The big problem is that their papers just arent that good. Their mix up between degrees and radians is probably the most well known example.”

    And your list of publications is obviously dazzling, Ken? You like sligging mud don’t you.

    Also why does my previous list of references, as requested by Gummo, remain in the spam filter?

  114. Proteus;

    That’s OK, you just had a lot of links which set off the filter.

    Just remember our civility policy while you’re here, please.

  115. Thanks proteus. Only one broken link so far.

    Now let’s take a look at what we’ve got.

    Spencer et al

    We explore the daily evolution of tropical intraseasonal oscillations in satellite-observed tropospheric temperature, precipitation, radiative fluxes, and cloud properties…

    [Our] observations should be considered in the testing of cloud parameterizations in climate models, which remain sources of substantial uncertainty in global warming
    prediction.

    and right at the end of this very technical paper:

    Since these intraseasonal oscillations represent a dominant mode of convective variability in the tropical troposphere, their behavior should be considered when testing the convective and cloud parameterizations in climate models that are used to predict global warming.

    I get the impression from these less technical statements that the authors are discussing a phenomenon that they think needs to be better understood and accounted for in climate modelling. Nothing there that I’d call explicit criticism of “current orthodoxy”? Is there an implicit criticism that I missed?

    Schwartz: self published web page of one paragraph, probably submitted as a technical note or comment on another article in the J. Geophys. Res.

    Burger: technical comment on a previously published article.

    Do you ever actually read these papers, or do you just keep the names of the authors on the top of your head for occasions like this?

  116. proteus:

    Isn’t there quite a bit of Climate work done in places like Russia and former eastern bloc including China that don’t seem to make their way into western journals? At least that’s what io read some while ago.

  117. JC wrote:

    Isnt there quite a bit of Climate work done in places like Russia

    “The Journal of Lysenkoism and Abiotic oil”.

  118. David:

    They had the wrong economic system, but Russians aren’t dumb people if that is what you’re suggesting. Even if they had enormous headwinds from their economcis system they still were first in space.

    I think you ought to take back your assertion.

  119. Gummo, the explicit/ implicit cricitism has to do with the timescales observed and their effects on our understanding of whether clouds act as positive/ negative feedbacks.

    “During the composite oscillations rainy, tropospheric warming phase, the longwave flux anomalies unexpectedly transitioned from warming to cooling, behavior which was traced to a decrease in ice cloud coverage. This decrease in ice cloud coverage is nominally supportive of Lindzens infrared iris hypothesis.”

    This change is only observed at shorter timescales. The nominal suport to “Lindzen’s ‘infrared iris hypothesis’ is another implicit criticism.

    Gummo writes:

    “I get the impression from these less technical statements that the authors are discussing a phenomenon that they think needs to be better understood and accounted for in climate modelling. Nothing there that Id call explicit criticism of current orthodoxy?”

    Well, of course, we can describe the current orthodoxy as widely as possibly so that even noted sceptics (though not denialists) who are openly critical can nevertheless be counted as orthodox. What purpose, however, would this serve?

    The choice, as far as I’m concerned, is not between the orthodox position, widely or narrowly conceived, and extreme denialism and alarmism. It is about a more or less coherent understanding of the climate system. I don’t think our current understanding is bunk, nor do I believe it is significantly coherent. I think our current understanding over-estimates climate sensitivity to CO2 and under-estimates the radiative forcing of land-cover change and solar. And it appears that a most recent paper indicates that the AR4 seriously under-estimates the readiative forcing of black carbon. I also think GCMs are only currently useful in sensitivity studies and their projections should be accepted with great reservation if not at all ny politicians, citizens, and policymakers. This is not to say that they cannot be improved.

    The Schwartz paper is here, it has been published and it is not a technical note.

    Let me know which is the broken link and I’ll see what I can do.

  120. The effect of cloud formation generated by increased evaporation arising from global warming remains an issue of considerable uncertainty in my understanding (although I admit I haven’t kept up my reading of journals over the last couple of years so I might be wrong). AFAIK they don’t even yet know whether cloud formation will result in net positive or negative feedback effects let alone their likely quantum.

    My lay understanding is that it depends on the proportional formation of high reflective clouds (which will aid cooling) versus low fluffy ones which act like blankets and keep the heat in. If it turns out that more of the former than the latter are formed then clouds will constitute a negative feedback which will dampen the temperature rises that would otherwise flow from increasing atmospheric CO2, and vice versa. Either way, all that the clouds will do is dampen or amplify the effects of human-caused warming, they won’t eliminate it.

    Again from memory, the IPCC range of probable/projected temperature increases make allowance for at least some of the uncertainties about the sign and quantum of feedbacks. That’s one of the reasons why they give a “low” range projection of 1.1 to 2.9

  121. Ken,

    I was so confused after reading your post of March 28, 2006 at 6.26 am, that I thought I should find something out about you. I found this at OLO:

    “Ken Parish is a Darwin-based lawyer and former Labor member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. He now teaches (mostly public law subjects) at Charles Darwin University, where he founded Australia’s first fully online external law degree program. Ken is no longer associated with any political party, describing himself as a “committed sceptic”.”

    And I had a good laugh.

    So I have been corresponding with a lawyer and a former politician who I am guessing didn’t study any science, not even in High School.

    My advice is that you stick to politics and law – as I stick to politics and the environment. ;-)

  122. My lay understanding is that climate sensitivity is more than likely to fall on the low-side of that range. I don’t think its anymore than 1.5 degrees C and half of this has already occurred. So this century is likely to see no more than 0.7-0.8 degrees.

    I agree that this does not mean that a BAU approach should be preferred; I would however prefer the majority of our effort being focussed on adaption rather than mitigation. One of the many reasons for this is argued amply for here. Mitigation is simply not value for money.

  123. Ken:
    In reality we will never run out of oil, as substitutes would kick in. The other “problem” with oil is that it’s ( are you ready for this?) so cheap! Mid East oil costs about 5 bucks to extract, which makes it friggen hard for substitutes such as tar sands etc to kick in when the cost of production is about 40 bucks a barrel (for substitutes). We have seen many times what the Saudi hammer can do to those who get uppity. North sea had to be mothballed on several occasions when the Saudis took the price down below 10 bucks in the 80′s and 90′s. And don’t forget that in real terms especially against SDR (and not the dollar) oil is actually not that expensive: so much for expensive oil despite China and India kicking in. Firms are loath to back substitutes with that kind of cost differential. A plant costs about $5 billion to put up which makes it a risky proposition with the Saudis potentially growling at you with 5 buck oil. Canada has started to produce oil from tar sands but it’s a small amount and needs US support through legislation to keep it going.

    What were seeing with oil is an optical illusion as it is priced in Fed debased dollars along with unexpected kick up in demand form Asia etc. The world grew at around 5% over the past 5-6 years, which is not an insignificant rate putting pressure on the demand side. How and why do I think a big part of the problems has been US monetary disequilibria? The Gold/ oil ratio has been reasonably stable over the past decade trading between 7 and 12 barrels per ounce. Its slap bang on the middle of that range at the moment trading at 9.15 barrels to an ounce of gold. If oil was really in short supply it ought to have broken the top of the range heading to the moon. So people need to relax about peak oil etc. Oil is not in short supply.

  124. Ken, they were an honest request/honest questions. I have stated both on and off blog that I haven’t paid attention to the climate change debate (sacrilegous I know) but I am fascinated by other facets of that debate.

    But those questions are honest.

    So open to those who have followed this issue/know the debate to answer: simplest most basic question (and one to which I honestly don’t know the answer).

    When one speaks of global warming, etc what “temperatures” are we referring to? Air temperatures? ocean temperature?, temperatures in some part of the earth’s crust? Someone remembering the weather was different when they were a kid (as we read above)? All of the above? I’ve heard references to all.

    Given that there is some sort of consensus on global warming, is there consensus on how the warming is measured?

    Serious.

  125. Obviously nobody has a clue, as Gummo and Proteus prove by eternally parsing various scientific studies (how you going with that ENSO factor Gummo?), so lets just all admit its a proxy war.

    Ken, if it was medicine “the existence of such unknowns” would be sufficient to consign the study to the storeroom – such evidence would sink any case in a court of law.

  126. rog said:

    “Ken, if it was medicine the existence of such unknowns would be sufficient to consign the study to the storeroom…”

    Not true. The vast majority of med sci studies have unknowns in them. (I work with peer reviewed med science studies all week.)

    Every day in clinical practice you have to make decisions based on woefully inadequate immediate facts and background science. But those decisions still have to be made. So it is with making real world public policy decisions on the basis of the current state of climate change science.

  127. The problem with Spencer’s paper, now made globally famous in the blogosphere by Jen’s interview, is extrapolation. And the assumption that the results from Spencer’s MJO analysis apply globally. It may not be the case, however, that the cloud response to warming on intraseasonal time scales is representative of the cloud response to greenhouse global warming. For example, intraseasonal variations in cloud properties may be substantially driven by dynamical processes that will not occur with large-scale and long-term warming. In that case, one cannot infer the cloud response to global warming from intraseasonal processes.

    Do we really know. So this is where you would refer to the literature on cloud monitoring which is complex and somewhat inconclusive.

    And so often with contrarian approaches it is what isn’t said – what’s left out. The implication is that there is no validation of water vapour behaviour in the atmosphere. There is a sizeable literature. Held, Soden, Santer for some examples. Have we been briefed on prior work?

    So there is no context to the dumping of Spencer’s paper into the blogosphere. No background on water vapour modelling. Nothing on global cloud trends.

    Lastly what options could one tender for a statis in temperature growth – - reduction in solar energy, decadal oceanic influences, changes in upper or lower level clouds, or aerosols. They are all testable. Does it mean CO2 is not working as a greenhouse gas among all this.

    As for the cold waves this year – indeed the models still simulate cold outbreaks in a greenhouse world. Greenhouse warming will not extinguish all variation. Why would you suppose it would?

    While we debate this we have still had record Arctic melt, accelerating flow from western Antarctic glaciers, accelerated melt in many glaciers across the world. There are other signs that things are changing.

    So disappointing – a total lack of context for dropping Spencer’s paper unescorted into the blogosphere. Unqualified. No background.

    The temperature time series will eventually show who is right and who is wrong. All or nothing strategy by Jen. Quite a few punters out there betting on enhanced warming from future El Ninos. We’ll see …. someone will be leaving town …

  128. Here is an interesting discussion of a problem with the science of modelling and forecasting climate arising in the IPCC TAR that also receives a few choice words from Ian Castles.

    BTW, Just Me, I agree that decisions inevitably involve some level of uncertainty. The problem is the science does not, cannot, indicate the only public policy decision that is available; just as it does not, cannot, do so, in medical practice, since there are invariably alternative policy/ medical diagnoses and course of treatment available to the medical/ political practitioner.

  129. Me too “just me” – all my medical contacts prove to be ultra conservative and cautious.

    Of course there are parallel universes and the terminology in these studies needs to be understood, but medicine is essentially evidence based.

  130. Unknowns are normal in studies, and virtually impossible to completely eliminate (at least in a single study). The issue is to make them explicit, and limit the conclusions accordingly. That does not make a study invalid, just one piece of the solution to a greater puzzle. I never take a single study as proof (or disproof) of anything.

  131. Just to tie it down for anyone who may be a genuinely dispassionate observer in this discussion. Go back over Jennifer’s contributions to this thread, as I have just done, and have a look at her rhetorical technique. On every single occasion she fails to engage with the discussion but merely says (with minor variations): “I know all about this and you don’t. Go and read my stuff and other stuff that I’ve linked (although I won’t tell you eaxctly which stuff or what points you should be looking for). You’re just a fool who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

    In fact, the mark of a genuinely expert person in any area of endeavour (including law, science and politics) is that they have an ability and willingness to explain the technical aspects of their discipline in a comprehensible manner that allows others to engage and discuss it without being patronised. Not one of Jennifer’s comments does so. As much as their misleading and deceptive content, it is her arrogant refusal to engage in real discussion that marks Jennifer out as insincere. They are not open-ended in any sense, but carefuly constructed to foreclose discussion. Her last comment is a classic of the genre, but every other comment has been in similar vein. OTO although I wrongly commenced with an insulting (though subsequently withdrawn) reference to Jennifer (which no doubt got things off on the wrong foot), I’ve been perfectly prepared to spell out my own inexpert understanding of the scientific issues, realising that some of what I say will certainly be wrong or simplistic, on the basis that other commenters of good faith will engage and correct any serious misunderstandings. Jennifer simply does not engage in discussion on a good faith basis. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m a congenital optimist until proven wrong.

  132. Ken, don’t ban Marohasy – she was well on her way to tying her own noose. I’m sure with a little more gentle goading she’d have mockingly admitted to misrepresenting facts on behalf on clients. She’s a hair away from being a Scooby Doo villain with last comment. Slowly, slowly catchee monkey and all that.

  133. Gummo, there is also a recent paper published in Hungary that would I think seriously upset the current scientific orthodoxy without overturning it. It is indeed a highly technical paper that modifies the current greenhouse model. The effect of the modification severly constrains climate sensitivity to CO2, and finds that a doubling would increase GMST by only 0.24K.

    You can find the paper here and a brief discussion of it by David Stockwell at Niche Modelling here.

    We will just have to wait and see how convincing the climate science community finds it.

  134. Graeme, you know you’re not welcome on this blog, and yet you’ve turned up and left the sort of droppings that we try to moderate out over at Catallaxy.

    Ken has erected the electronic equivalent of a large ‘Keep Out’ sign, and yet you’ve turned up again.

    This blog is Ken’s property. To the extent that you’re a libertarian (and sometimes I wonder), surely you grasp that. Enough with the trespassing.

    (Feel free to delete this comment as well, Ken. This thread is acrimonious enough without Bird guano)

  135. Ken – I would leave it. I think Birdy has provided a valuable addition the quality of the denialist argument. Classic examples of the genre.

    Strange that if the planet does a bias for on way catastrophic cooling it does seem strange that after millions of years it hasn’t stayed permanently cold. Snow-ball Earth. But let’s not let such trivial observations detract from our colleague’s philosophical position.

    And it is most unfortunate when you’re right in the middle of laying astroturf and a huge chunk or Antarctica shears off.

  136. If you want to see how shoddy science and hastily prepared papers can detrimentily influence policy I give you exhibit A, Rahmstorf et al and its detrimental influence on the Garnaut Interim Report. We can only hope this changes sometime between now and its final submission.

  137. Luke says: “it is most unfortunate when youre right in the middle of laying astroturf and a huge chunk or Antarctica shears off.”

    Obviously you haven’t been reading Marohasy’s blog. She has a post up on how really, in the grand scheme of things, it was quite a small piece. I am not making this up.

  138. Youm mean this , Tim?

    Excerpt:

    Then of course there are the blogs, including some which actually provide data and background information to put the collapse of the icesheet in some context:

    “In reality it and all the former shelves that collapsed are small and most near the Antarctic peninsula which sticks well out from Antarctica into the currents and winds of the South Atlantic and lies in a tectonically active region with surface and subsurface active volcanic activity. The vast continent has actually cooled since 1979…

    “The full Wilkins 6,000 square mile ice shelf is just 0.39% of the current ice sheet (just 0.1% of the extent last September). Only a small portion of it between 1/10th-1/20th of Wilkins has separated so far, like an icicle falling off a snow and ice covered house. And this winter is coming on quickly. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere winter and 6 months ahead of the peak. Wilkins like all the others that temporarily broke up will refreeze soon. We are very likely going to exceed last years record. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarcticas ice sheet is also starting to disappear.”

    So a piece of ice sitting in the middle of the south Altlantic which is about .4% of the current ice sheet that sits on unstable formation is huge by your estimate? Furthermore this is unikley to be a natural event in your assertion?

  139. Thanks Proteus, other dumb questions for you or others:

    If we are looking at surface temperature (can I assume that is the generally accepted way of assessing global warming; is there consensus there?) and have to calculate it over long periods of time and/or for places where we didn’t keep the sort of records be can and do now (and I have no problems with the idea of temperature proxies)

    (a) if so, how does one measure (proxy or otherwise) surface temperature over areas of sea mass?

    (b) does global surface temperature depend on the amount of land mass/sea mass and also pattern of vegetation?

    (c) if so,

    (i) do models take into account the changes in the earth’s geotectonic structure (e.g, would we expect the same sort of surface temperatures/weather patterns in the days of Pangaea?), vegetation patterns over the millenia,

    (ii) if so, how does that compare with say the impact of humans in terms of the way they have changed the environment?

    (iii) or are those changes irrelevant because we are talking temperature change/global warming over much shorter time periods?

    (d) in fact, what sort of time span does the generally accepted theory, whatever it is (does it have a name? Is there a commonly accepted model?) use to determine global warming has occurred. How does one determine the norm and an acceptable variation?

    If anyone knows of a good basic resource(s) on the whole topic – which also has a bit of a history of the development of climate change theories/models etc and current state of play, feel free to let me know.

  140. JC wrote (quoted material):

    The vast continent has actually cooled since 1979

    It’s interesting to google that phrase and see just what a closed loop the global warming skeptics have made of themselves. That particular phrase is everywhere (heartland institute being a standout example).

    Antarctica is an interesting case, there’s not a lot of temp. data apparently (“it’s cold!” is probably good enough in most cases, right?). This link is probably suspect from your point of view, but it says in part:

    It is important to recognize that the widely-cited Antarctic cooling appears, from the limited data available, to be restricted only to the last two decades, and that averaged over the last 40 years, there has been a slight warming (e.g. Bertler et al. 2004. At present, it is not possible to say what the long term change over the entire last century or more has been. The lesson here is that changes observed over very short time intervals do not provide a reliable picture of how the climate is changing.

    i.e. nobody knows, but while overall the continent *has* slightly cooled since 1979, we just don’t know what happened in comparison to the data we do have from reliable temp. records. It’s hardly a smoking gun and it’s definitely nothing the skeptics should be particularly excited about, despite breathlessly repeating it ad nauseum through their usual channels.

  141. They are a bunch of assholes who deny our property rights, amongst which is the right to have access to cheap energy.

    What are you suggesting now, Graeme? Retail price fixing? Price controls?

    I give up.

  142. How is Bird getting through the system? Is he visiting every Internet cafe in NSW? I wouldn’t put that past him :-)

  143. Dave:

    The reference you make is incidential to the point I was getting at. Sorry if I over copied.

    I was geting to the point about that ice sheet braking off.

  144. JC, I teed off on that particular phrase to make a point: it isn’t just the greenies going off the deep end with exaggeration (and the ice sheet breaking off could be just that). The point was every little sliver of hope is held onto, repeated and tacked onto each bit of ambivalent evidence of global warming. It’s a repeat of the technique used by the Discovery Institute aka “teach the controversy” about evolution, and it’s basically dishonest. That link you provided, and all the others, *never* mention that the “1979″ factoid is tenuous or give any background information, ever. In comparison, the real climate explanation was both rational and provided decent references. Which one are you going to trust?

  145. How is Bird getting through the system? Is he visiting every Internet cafe in NSW?

    My fault. He’s on the useless WordPress blacklist, but wasn’t on the you-beaut Bannage plugin blacklist. It should stop him from here on.

  146. Ken Says:

    In fact, the mark of a genuinely expert person in any area of endeavour (including law, science and politics) is that they have an ability and willingness to explain the technical aspects of their discipline in a comprehensible manner that allows others to engage and discuss it without being patronised.

    That was well written, Ken. Dunno how well that works in practice though. If you have people who lie about the technical aspects of their discipline in a seemingly comprehensible manner, it’s hard to spot the liar.

    I’m not criticising you, of course, I’m just sayin’.

  147. Im referring to recent papers that are implicitly or explicitly critical of the scientific orthodoxy; Im not making-up a list of deniers.

    Proteus, if you think that a paper criticising some technical aspects of another paper counts as being “implicitly or explicitly critical of the scientific orthodoxy” then you’re taking your lines straight out of the creationist playbook.

    I’ll let you in on a little secret about science. Just because scientists argue over aspects of evolution climate change, it doesn’t mean that they are in denial about the basics of evolution climate change.

    You’re also confusing me with Ken Parish.

  148. Good lord, it looks like Birdy will comment from an Internet cafe in Wagga Wagga if he has to. Either that or he’s an autistic savant with a flair for IT.

  149. A suggestion. Why doesn’t everyone just ignore Bird’s comments? In the first place, it’s obvious he craves the attention. Ignore him and you reduce the probability of comments. Secondly, it increases the burden on Jacques and Ken if, in addition to deleting Bird’s comments, they have to delete the comments about Bird’s comments, or at least spend time deciding whether to delete them or not.

    If you see an obvious Bird dropping, just alert Jacques by email and he’ll wipe it off.

  150. Ken Miles, were do I or noted sceptics like Pielke Snr, Linzden, Spencer, etc.(not denialists) deny ‘climate change’?

    I suppose if your going to suggest that the scientific orthodoxy is simply the reasonable belief that the climate changes and nothing more, then yes, no paper could reasonably be explicitly or implicitly critical of the orthodoxy. The reason being that you have defined it so broadly as to be entirely meaningless.

    BTW, in which comment do I confuse you with Ken Parish?

  151. I suppose if your going to suggest that the scientific orthodoxy is simply the reasonable belief that the climate changes and nothing more, then yes, no paper could reasonably be explicitly or implicitly critical of the orthodoxy. The reason being that you have defined it so broadly as to be entirely meaningless.

    Proteus, you would do a lot better if you could stop making stuff up about my arguments. I haven’t defined climate change at all on this thread. If you want to know my opinion on something, ask. Don’t assume that you know what it is. However, score two for aping creationist tactics.

    BTW, in which comment do I confuse you with Ken Parish?

    I assumed this because you asked me why one of your comments was in the spam filter. As a mere commenter on this blog, how should I know?

  152. Proteus – thanks. I was looking of something even more basic first up, but thanks (presently skimming the book on Google books and will have a trawl through the weblogs in due course)

  153. KM, keep your shirt on.

    You wrote earlier:

    “Ill let you in on a little secret about science. Just because scientists argue over aspects of evolution climate change, it doesnt mean that they are in denial about the basics of evolution climate change.”

    It was fair for me to infer from this that you were suggesting something like what I suggested above. BTW, do you think that little secret is known only by scientists? Do you think those engaged in other discplinary studies are unaware of this? Do you think my reply unjustified considering your rather patronizing response?

    But let me ask you this (and lets avoid these tired, old references to creationists and keep this exchange civil), what would you regard as implicitly or explicitly critical of current belief regarding climate change?

  154. BTW, that last question at #130 was to Jacques (who I had been corresponding with over Thurs/ Fri re my commenting problems, which are now solved due to his sage advice), not to you or KP. Sorry, but I thought a new paragraph and my comment which follows immediately at #131 would have made that clear.

  155. Bird’s stuff keeps coming through because he is supplying false email addresses, all of them ending with mac.com. I am going to place his IP address on the blacklist for a while.

  156. Bird usually respects the ban that Ken has leveled against him, but the merest whiff of discussion about global warming brings him running. I’ve generally used quite specific bans to avoid false positive banning of unsuspecting third persons, but Bird has pushed me to use an IP range ban.

  157. Hello,

    I apologise if my words are appearing in the incorrect location for the topic. I am unfamiliar with these forums.

    Simply, I feel that I must say something after first reading the Jennifer Marohasy article on Global Warming and then, by surfing, to an article about the Great Barrier Reef (http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/articles119.html)

    You see, I have some training in biology (BSC & Honors) but more importantly a strong interest in coral reefs and most important a job that allows me daily access to the Great Barrier Reef.

    To be quick, I wish to make the following comments on this woman’s article:

    1. Sea Level Rise is not the issue for the reef, it is temperature.
    2. Corals need stable warm water, not spikes of hot, so will not expand south.
    3. Corals found in warmer areas have adapted over millennia for those conditions.
    4. Corals as a group persist but have had major extinctions due to climate change.
    5. The 1998 and 2002 bleaching events by definition WERE severe and frequent.
    6. Calm clear days enhance the effect and will occur randomly even with higher trending temperatures.
    7. The GBR is best protected from destructive fishing & tourism practices but NOT from main reef killing actions (agricultural runoff).
    8. Despite best protection, GBR fisheries are in major decline hence the new no-take zones.
    9. Despite major projects & funding, pollution from farms still occurs visibly every day with zero observable change in sediment loads – entire trees make it out the outer reef so does nutrient.
    10. There in no evidence that coral reefs are resilient to climate change – quite the opposite – only the group as a taxonomic level persists.
    11. I visit the reef north of Cairns EVERY DAY and Ive never seen or heard of this “localised fall in sea level”. Further, how can a localised area of sea actually fall ?
    12. Yes, the next ice age in thousands of years time will leave the reef high and dry. And in 5 billion years our sun will explode and destroy the solar system… whats her point ?
    13. The fundamental paradigm of coral reef nutrients is that corals persist instead of algae BECAUSE of the lack of nutrients – increase nutrients and corals are out-competed: the reef dies to becomes a sea-weed field.

    The only positive thing I can say is that she is right in this: Global Warming is not currently the biggest killer of the worlds reefs or the Great Barrier Reef and effort therefore should be spent on the current killer (coastal deforestation & agriculture in tropical island nations) but with a view that global warming IS real and WILL begin wiping out the worlds reefs soon so we should give the coral reefs of the world the best chance to survive by reducing every other impact upon them in preparation for the bleaching events of the coming decades.

    I feel better for getting my opinion out I just hope its in the right area.

    Sincere apologies if this is totally out of order.

    Regards to all,

    Chris Jones.

  158. The claims by Marohasy about global temperature leveling off or dropping are unfounded. A simple email to her source, Roy Spencer at NASA, can clear it up. Which is what I did. Roy says that Marohasy is confused. He states that the data is not from the much vaunted Aqua satellite project as Marohasy claimed, and is not global average but a much smaller sample of 20 degrees either side of the equator.

    Paper published by Roy Spencer can be found here:
    http://www.weatherquestions.com/Spencer_07GRL.pdf

    Now for some clearly needed Ad hominem. Marohasy, the scientist who has misrepresented the information in the interview, appears to have published only a dozen scientific papers or so in areas such as biological control. Her expertise is clearly not climate. She has had a long association with banking, industry and anti-conservation environmental groups that advocate actions like whale hunting. Not the person I would be quoting on climate change.

    Check out Marohasy’s web site:
    http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/about.php

  159. Nonsense Simon. Prove what it is you are saying. You’ve made it up. You claim to have emailed Roy Spencer. And you claim that he said that Dr Marohasy got it all mixed up.

    I say you are lying. Lets see some backup to these extraordinary claims.

  160. Like the activists at RealClimate.org and the activists here, you depend on repetition and character assasination to express your views.

    Did or did not environmental activists misuse the temperatures of 1998 and blame that on manmade global warming?. Answer: Of course they/YOU did.

    Unlike the hockey stick theorists, Spencer, Christy and Co published their raw data and made it available to all scientists. Not one pro AGW alarmist even attempted to use that data to prove Spencer, Christy and Co wrong. In addition not one pro AGW alarmist has suggested that the data Spencer, Christy and Co used was manipulated or wrong.

    The Iris Infrared effect proven by Spencer, Christy and Co is now a known natural event in our atmosphere.

    Why smear it especially with arguments totally unrelated to science?

    The AGW Alarmist religion really needs to be held accountable for their/YOUR behaviour. While there will be some very mild temperature increases from the increased CO2 we humans are emitting, it will be nothing like what the AGW alarmists propose of hundreds of millions refugees fleeing from powerful cyclones/hurricanes and rising oceans.

    Does anyone know if the medieval warming period was caused by increasing CO2 and ended because of decreasing CO2?

    Does anyone know if the Little Ice Age was caused by decreasing CO2 or ended because of increasing CO2?

    Surely there must be enough “pine cone data” to prove each of these events. LOL

    What is known is that CO2 follows temperature, not the other way around!

    Has anyone found the “smoking gun” actually proving CO2 increases has been the cause of recent global warming? Answer: No! Climate Models are a poor guesstimate ONLY, and have never been a source of proof. Not factoring the Iris Hypothesis into climate Models is an example of that proof.

    Cheers

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