Climate change

I am not a scientist, but then neither are most of the media commentators and ersatz gurus like Lord Monckton. Here in one place I am giving you prophylaxis against climate change denialism** — which has been rampant the nearer we get to actually doing something about it.

The Ultimate Climate Change Denial Refutation Site

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming.

… a complete listing of the articles in "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic," a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

  • Stages of Denial,
  • Scientific Topics,
  • Types of Argument, and
  • Levels of Sophistication.

** There is an alternate Q&A at Skeptic Arguments and What the Science Says.

The top two books you should read

1. Bob Henson, The Rough Guide to Climate Change (2nd edition 2008)

2. Gabrielle Walker and Sir David King, The Hot Topic (2008).

Some traditional greens will be a bit shocked by some of what Sir David says.

Response of an American reader:

See also New Scientist: Review: The Hot Topic by Gabrielle Walker and David King.

IN THE debate over global warming, many have claimed to have found a middle ground and charted a third way between the extremes of denialism on the one hand and utter despair on the other.

Consider a few recent examples. For the Danish environmental apostate BjØrn Lomborg, the middle ground means coping with moderate climate change while striving to help the world’s poor – but Lomborg ignores or downplays worst-case climate scenarios, which hopelessly undermines his argument. Meanwhile, US environmental renegades Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus have claimed that a third way can be charted if we de-emphasise mandatory emissions caps, and instead stress immediate and heavy investment in new energy technologies – but of course we really need both approaches to escape from the current mess.

So you can imagine my scepticism at the claim by science writer and New Scientist consultant Gabrielle Walker and the UK government’s former science adviser David King that their book, The Hot Topic, will at last navigate us carefully between the extreme views on global warming and offer a compromise. Haven’t we heard this promise before?

By the end, though, Walker and King have not only lived up to their promise, but vastly exceeded it. Their overview of the science and policy of climate change is a model of clarity, comprehensiveness and, above all, sanity. It truly does find a middle ground in the climate debate – and in the process, probably counts as the single most important book on the subject to read between now and December 2009, when the world will, we must hope, negotiate the successor to the Kyoto protocol.

It is ironic that, at least in the US, King has been depicted as some kind of climate radical. Sceptics have pounced on King’s undeniably impolitic claim that global warming poses a greater risk to the world than international terrorism and used it to frame him as an unhinged extremist.

The Hot Topic demonstrates otherwise. Walker and King mount a reasoned defence of several environmental heresies, such as the need to rely upon nuclear power in the future and the idea that some people and some parts of the world will surely benefit from having a different climate. They also don’t shrink from discussing the importance of efforts to adapt to climate change – another potential heresy, in that many environmentalists believe that highlighting adaptation distracts from efforts to ratchet down emissions. In the hands of Walker and King, though, adaptation becomes an essential part of the climate policy story.

With exemplary even-handedness, Walker and King debunk scientific misinformation from both sides with grace and concision. If the book has a weakness, it is in dismissing the notion of geoengineering as too radical. Geoengineering – purposely modifying the atmosphere to help mitigate the damage we have done – is an option many scientists have begun to discuss as a possible part of the solution. It’s a tool in the toolbox, and can’t be treated as taboo any longer. We’re past that luxury.

Ultimately, The Hot Topic reads as a primer for the next two years of climate-related political battles, which will culminate, it now seems certain, at the UN’s Copenhagen meeting in late 2009. The book examines the specific political situations of the top dozen or so polluting nations and discusses how to get them all to cooperate. In this, it is just as useful to a policy-maker as to an average citizen.

My posts

Here’s a rare beast indeed: a politician who in fact was also a scientist:

…Mr President, the environmental challenge which confronts the whole world demands an equivalent response from the whole world. Every country will be affected and no one can opt out.

We should work through this great organisation and its agencies to secure world-wide agreements on ways to cope with the effects of climate change, the thinning of the Ozone Layer, and the loss of precious species.

We need a realistic programme of action and an equally realistic timetable.

Each country has to contribute, and those countries who are industrialised must contribute more to help those who are not.

The work ahead will be long and exacting. We should embark on it hopeful of success, not fearful of failure.

I began with Charles Darwin and his work on the theory of evolution and the origin of species. Darwin’s voyages were among the high-points of scientific discovery.

They were undertaken at a time when men and women felt growing confidence that we could not only understand the natural world but we could master it, too.

Today, we have learned rather more humility and respect for the balance of nature.

But another of the beliefs of Darwin’s era should help to see us through—the belief in reason and the scientific method. Reason is humanity’s special gift. It allows us to understand the structure of the nucleus. It enables us to explore the heavens. It helps us to conquer disease. Now we must use our reason to find a way in which we can live with nature, and not dominate nature.

At the end of a book which has helped many young people to shape their own sense of stewardship for our planet, its American author quotes one of our greatest English poems, Milton’s "Paradise Lost".

When Adam in that poem asks about the movements of the heavens, Raphael the Archangel refuses to answer. "Let it speak", he says,

"The Maker’s high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and his line stretcht out so far,
That Man may know he dwells not in his own; An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodg’d in a small partition, and the rest
Ordain’d for uses to his Lord best known."

We need our reason to teach us today that we are not, that we must not try to be, the lords of all we survey.

We are not the lords, we are the Lord’s creatures, the trustees of this planet, charged today with preserving life itself—preserving life with all its mystery and all its wonder. May we all be equal to that task.

Thank you Mr President.

Didn’t like her social philosophy much, but three cheers to Margaret Thatcher for those prescient words from 9 November 1989: "Speech to United Nations General Assembly (Global Environment)".

NOTE: The most credible figure on the side of criticism of the majority view is Freeman Dyson. See also this interview. You will find many of his points addressed in the resources above.

However, see Foreign Policy: The FP Guide to Climate Skeptics. Or, The FP Guide to Climate Skeptics _ Foreign Policy — PDF, opens in same window.

** I have added the word "change" as Kevin from Louisiana deduced, ignoring the rest of the post, that without "change" I might be seen to be in an absurd position. No-one else has pointed this out, or even noticed, but I have taken Kevin’s point nonetheless.

Professor Iain Stewart, geologist.

Some more resources

  • Climate Literacy Booklet — download from their site
  • Greenpeace are so 70s in many ways, I admit. I don’t admire everything they do. However, this little dossier is for my money a much more likely conspiracy scenario than the nasty-UN-IPCC-OneWorldGovernment one run by the denial industry. dealing-in-doubt — less than 1 MB. Opens in same window.

Anthony Watts

US TV weatherman Anthony Watts hosts a very successful group blog called Watts Up With That. See Sourcewatch and the following corrective posts.

Diagnosing a victim of anti-science syndrome (ASS)
“FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled Daily Mail article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of Mojib Latif and NSIDC”
“Hits charade: WattsUpWithThat hypes itself with dubious webstats, while lowballing other blogs”
Watts Up With That’s ignorance regarding Antarctic sea ice
Watts Up With That’s continued ignorance regarding Antarctic sea ice
On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record
Global cooling: the new kid on the block
watts up with that search

    Additional resource from the Australian Institute of Physics

    Added 9 April 2009.

    Q_and_A on Climate Change pdf.

    56 thoughts on “Climate change

    1. Humans tend to not focuses on the things that its effect is not immediately. This is similar with the effects of smoking.

      Mr. Neil, I admire you highlighting this issue.

    2. I have inspired by you creating a special sub-page for this issue. That’s why I also create a special sub-page entitled “Warning” for the same issue and a post just to link to this page.

      Hopefully this page will be updated continuously.

    3. Wow, you lost me after only the second sentence! “I am giving you prophylaxis against climate denialism…”

      There is not a single person on the planet who denies that there is a climate. Who are you arguing against? And why do you use the word ‘denialist’ to describe people who do not accept the data deficient and unproven studies of ‘scientists’, heretofore only used to describe people who don’t believe the nazis murdered millions of Jews?

      When you say ‘denialist’, do you mean ‘skeptic’? Because ALL scientists are skeptics. It’s our nature. It’s a basic part of how we prove things to be true or false. I’ll agree with you on one thing though. You are not a scientist.

      I used to enjoy reading your unenlightened positions on things, Neil. Every once in a while you made a great point. Now it’s painful to read your comments. It’s like you can’t tell the difference between a mostly proven theory (ex. theory of relativity) and a 100% unproven theory (ex. man is causing the Earth’s temps to increase).

      It makes me so sad because Australia is one of the world’s last great hopes for greatness. But it’s clear that they aren’t going to blossom, since you as a typical Aussie teacher don’t even understand science, and teach (er taught) global warming alarmism as if it were fact. So sad.

    4. While people like Lord May, and more recently, the combined talents of the CSIRO (our peak science body) and the BOM (Australian Bureau of Metereology) agree that human-induced global warming is a mostly proven theory I think I am wise to go with them rather than you, Kevin. See my latest post Open Letter from U.S. Scientists on the IPCC.

      To quote from the only just released item from CSIRO/BOM:

      It is very likely that human activities have caused most of the global warming observed since 1950. There is greater than 90% certainty that increases in greenhouse gas emissions have caused most of the global warming since the mid-20th century. International research shows that it is extremely unlikely that the observed warming could be explained by natural causes alone. Evidence of human influence has been detected in ocean warming, sea-level rise, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns. CSIRO research has shown that higher greenhouse gas levels are likely to have caused about half of the winter rainfall reduction in south-west Western Australia.

      Climate change is real

      Our observations clearly demonstrate that climate change is real. CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will continue to provide observations and research so that Australia’s responses are underpinned by science of the highest quality…

      Go to http://www.csiro.au for the brochure “The Science of Climate Change” and our web page “Climate Questions, Climate Answers” and other information about adaptation and mitigation. Telephone 1300 363 400 or email enquiries@csiro.au

      CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology use scientific modelling based on the laws of physics and thoroughly tested against recorded observations. Models make
      assumptions about future events such as CO2 emissions, and are designed to paint a picture of a series of possible future states based on known facts.
      Because models are representations of the future based on a range of emission scenarios, they tend to produce a range of results, as opposed to observations
      which are accurate measures of an event that has already occurred. Models are based on an understanding of fundamental science and increased computer
      capacity allows us to make projections with increased accuracy.

      I am now much more confident that mainstream scientists are right and that the denial industry, allowing for sincere followers like yourself agreeing with them, are the ones indulging in group think and junk science.

      The people referenced in this comment most definitely are scientists, Kevin, and while I am not I do know scientific method 101 and know what falsifiability is and what hypotheses are. As a matter of fact as an ESL teacher I had to.

      You are the one who needs to think again, Kevin. Did you pursue any of the links in the post? Did you watch any of the videos?

      I think I know the answer to that question.

    5. “I think I am wise to go with them rather than you, Kevin.”

      You speak as if I am the only person who doesn’t buy the AGW theory. That’s quite untrue. There are many more scientists who disagree with it than support it. And if you remove the scientists who’s livelihoods depend on AGW being a valid theory, very few scientists indeed support it.

      Since you claim to understand the scientific method, perhaps you can explain why the theory has failed rather dramatically in the last decade, with CO2 concentrations slightly increasing and temps slightly decreasing. Even the purchased scientists at CRU and NASA can’t.

      Meh. I don’t want to have this argument again, but there HAS to be some way to get you to stop believing one side or another’s proponents, and do the reasoning for yourself. I’m fairly confident that if you do this, you’ll end up siding with the global warming realists. We’ll see.

      • Does CO2 always correlate with temperature (and if not, why not?)

        And from New Scientist: Climate myths: Ice cores show CO2 increases lag behind temperature rises, disproving the link to global warming.

        See finally from Yale Recent Lower Global Temperatures Do Not Undercut CO2/Warming Relationship.

        So while the past five years have been decidedly below the long-term trend, one cannot say that it is particularly unusual given the past variability in the data. Further illustrating this point, the figure has a 12-month running average of the residuals shown in red (which we would expect to exceed the 95% confidence interval only once every 20 years or so), and this 12-month running mean is still within two standard deviations of the trend. The declining temperatures and rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the past two years is best understood as the result of the natural variability of temperature, without casting any doubt on the underlying long-term relationship between CO2 and temperature.

        Considerable uncertainties remain regarding the actual climate sensitivity (whether it is on the low or high side of the uncertainty range), and also the magnitude of short-term cyclical natural variability. Further studies will help diminish remaining uncertainties over the next few years, but for now the evidence of a fundamental long-term positive relationship between atmospheric greenhouse gases and the Earth’s temperature remains strong. (April 2009)

        Stop reading Watts the cherry-picker and try some real scientists.

        There are many more scientists who disagree with it than support it is bullshit, unless you count the fake Oregon Petition**. The cynical reading (Oh they’re only in it for the money) won’t wash; the truth is “In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement” about global warming. May that not be that the people who actually know most about it are the ones whose opinions most count? Play the video. I think that answers you rather well. Here it is again to save scrolling back.

        Truth is the reality out there doesn’t give a shit about our political views, our ideologies, our economic systems, or even our welfare. It just does its thing: except that what has been proven 90-95%, say the most knowledgeable scientists in the field, is that what we do can affect the reality out there far more than we used to believe, and more quickly than we once thought. In the same way what we do now can have an effect down the track in reducing the worst scenarios, buying time for us to catch up in terms of adaptation and technology.

        I agree with this comment from a BBC news site.

        Anyone in any doubt as to the reality of Climate Change/Global Warming (it doesn’t matter what you call it – Global Warming was first mentioned at the end of the 19th Century and Climate Change has been officially used since, at least, the IPCC was set up in 1987), should have a look at the website of any national scientific organisation, e.g. The Royal Society in the UK, the US National Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Network of African Science Academies, the World Meteorological Organisation, the InterAcademy Council, etc., etc. In fact, check the National Science Association/Academy/Society of whatever country you like or happen to live in. They all agree, contain all the science and evidence you could possibly need, and will explain it all to you. If you don’t accept what they say, or prefer to get your information and beliefs from blogs, then you don’t WANT to accept reality. — JMurphy, LONDON, UK

        That is not “evidence”; it simply reflects my own position rather well. I think that position is an eminently reasonable one for a reasonably well-informed layman to take. The evidence in its favour comes from sources far less tainted than most of those associated with the contrary camp.

        Doing nothing is the worst of all possible choices.

    6. Also, could you please pick a single name for your website and stick with it? you are making it difficult to read your silly opinions. Ok, to be fair, some of your opinions are well thought out and quite reasonable. I’m specifically speaking about your opinions on global warming though, which are not reasonable in the slightest.

      Regarding your latest comment, yes, we get it. You can add numerous videos of people who would not have a job if the world knew that AGW didn’t really exist. Whoop de friggin’ doo. We just don’t believe you. The world’s not going to end. The planet’s not giong to become Venus. Species aren’t going to die because of global warming. Quite simply, we don’t believe your hippie crap, much like we didn’t believe you when your type suggested that the destruction of the rainforests was going to end the world.

      Give it up, it’s over. You’ve been had, and we know it. This is just the latest envirowhacko theory to bite the dust. The fact that an English teacher is suggesting that a chemical engineer is ignorant or unbelieving of science is just icing on the hilarious cake. As I said, I don’t want to argue anymore. So here’s a site that makes fun of your silly beliefs. Heh.

    7. Just in. Michael Ashley is a professor with the Department of Astrophysics at the University of New South Wales.

      An open letter to Mr Maurice Newman, Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

      Scientists are fairly measured in their public statements. Years of training instils a care with words, and avoidance of value judgements. Well, sod that, I’m angry.

      What has me fuming is your speech last week to ABC staff in which you accuse your senior journalists of “group-think” in favouring the scientific consensus on climate change. You refer to “a growing number of distinguished scientists [that are] challenging the conventional wisdom with alternative theories and peer reviewed research” and you claim that these poor folk are being suppressed in the mainstream media.

      Who are these distinguished scientists? I don’t know of a single credible climate scientist who doubts human-induced climate change.

      The “skeptical scientists” who are quoted in the media almost invariably have few to no publications in the field and are often in the twilight of their careers. Their “theories” are illogical, incoherent, and inconsistent. Yet far from being suppressed by the media, they are given extraordinary access and are regularly asked to comment. Worse, they are usually portrayed as experts – regardless of their lack of expertise in climate research.

      You can easily prove me wrong, all you have to do is name just one scientist who has published a viable alternative theory in a credible science journal, that hasn’t since been debunked. I bet you can’t do it.

      You quote your own political reporter Chris Uhlmann as saying:
      “Climate science we are endlessly told is ‘settled’ … But to make the, perfectly reasonable, point that science is never settled risks being branded a ‘sceptic’ or worse a ‘denier'”.

      Sorry again, but this is a classic straw man argument. Science, by its very nature, is never 100% settled, and no scientist would criticise someone for making this obvious point. That said, there are times when the basic facts in a scientific field become so well tested that, for all foreseeable purposes, they are settled. Examples are the physical laws of gravity, the basic theory of evolution, and also the fundamental physics of greenhouse gases that lead to significant climate change in response to unmitigated emissions.

      Rather than criticising your ABC for “group-think”, you should be praising them for being one of the few media organisations in the English-speaking world that has largely avoided being suckered in by the pseudo-science being pushed by the climate change skeptics.

      The only black spot is when the ABC is forced to provide “balance” to the “debate” by giving publicity to people who aren’t skeptical in the good sense of “healthy skepticism”, but who are basically deniers of incontrovertible scientific evidence.

      To provide true balance, the ABC should instead be giving airtime to where there is truly informed disagreement: the many expert climate scientists who think that the IPCC has seriously underestimated the likely future rate of climate change.

      You see, Mr Newman, that’s actually the real “debate” going on in climate science right now. The rest is all huff-and-puff and grubby politics and – unlike the journalists and program-makers you criticise for “group-think” – it is you who have been fooled.

    8. I enjoy reading your update and the hot discussion in it. At least you, Neil, have a concern for environment that support our life at the good side, no matter the evidence of global warming is true for now or tomorrow. This is a matter of choice on which side we follow, sceptic or not. I’m for one not sceptic.

    9. I admire you persistence Neil. I wrote a satirical reply to the sceptics that are rattling on here and then thought that they might believe me so I deleted it. It’s best to adopt your approach.

      One of the basic problems is the paucity of scientific education in may countries, particularly the USA.

    10. What’s important is that, HOPEFULLY, the world will continue to ignore your climate alarmism, as politicians did on your own island country just a few months ago. What’s scary is that politicians might try to do something about CO2, as if carbon dioxide was a bad thing. They could really screw up the west if they actually tried to control the production of CO2. As if we don’t have enough problems already.

      I know that you are scared for the planet. Environmentalists are always scared about something or other. They’ve been frightened about something since environmentalism was created around 1850. And that’s fine, I guess. If you want to be scared, I’m ok with letting you. What I’m NOT ok with is your fears costing me money via some lame legislation.

      Scientists not paid to believe in AGW DON’T BELIEVE IN AGW. That should tell you something. But even if it doesn’t teach you anything, get the hell out of my wallet, hippie.

    11. Thanks, Tikno in Indonesia and geographer Russell.

      Kevin, you’ve just nailed your own coffin there by showing the true reason you are a denier, and it isn’t science: get the hell out of my wallet, hippie!

      Lord May is a hippie? Professor Ashley is a hippie? Professor Iain Stewart is a hippie?

      Your argument about “paid scientists” is just the flip side of the one that says all denialists are in the pay of big mining and oil corporations — except that it is rather less believable. Further, not one of the people and institutions I have cited has ever said C02 as such is a “bad thing”. You haven’t been paying attention, Kevin. Iain Stewart, for example, in his first BBC documentary on Climate Wars goes out of his way to explain why CO2 is a good thing; the argument is that we have been getting rather too much of this good thing with results that are detectable and detected.

    12. Yikes what was that!?! I just heard a noise! Let’s all spend a $trillion or so to check it out, just in case it’s something bad.

      Yup, that’s what global warming fright mongers sound like to the normal people. You people are frickin’ gay. And I don’t mean that in the homosexual sense. I mean it in the derogatory sense. You know, similar to ‘lame’, but slightly gayer. I hope and pray that your type will continue to not have any sway in politics. Imagine how quickly your ideas could destroy industry if things you deemed important were passed.

      Lord May is a hippie? Professor Ashley is a hippie? Professor Iain Stewart is a hippie?

      Yes, without doubt they are hippies. At this point you may be wondering what a ‘hippie’ is. A hippie is a person who is a useless individual who protests things that they are not willing to take the time to understand or the effort to comprehend something. Neil, you are also a hippie based upon this simple rule. I know that you think hippies just like to smoke weed and bang on drums, and it’s true for a lot of hippies, but hippie-ness goes much deeper than that. It’s an unwillingness to learn that’s at the heart of being a hippie.

      Lastly, your ‘flipside’ argument. It’s an important argument, and I’ll address it tonight (it’s working hours here in the states and I’ve got to make three more calls before the day is done). Short answer: your ‘flipside’ argument is ‘weenie’.

    13. Lord May is a hippie? Professor Ashley is a hippie? Professor Iain Stewart is a hippie?

      Yes, without doubt they are hippies. At this point you may be wondering what a ‘hippie’ is. A hippie is a person who is a useless individual who protests things that they are not willing to take the time to understand or the effort to comprehend something. Neil, you are also a hippie based upon this simple rule. I know that you think hippies just like to smoke weed and bang on drums, and it’s true for a lot of hippies, but hippie-ness goes much deeper than that. It’s an unwillingness to learn that’s at the heart of being a hippie.

      That is so unbelievably arrogant and self-serving it is not worthy of a reply. Readers will no doubt see that for themselves.

      Lord May of Oxford is undoubtedly one of the top ten scientists in the English-speaking world. I would be extremely surprised if he has failed to comprehend the science of climate change.

      May was born in Sydney and educated at Sydney Boys High School and then the University of Sydney, having studied chemical engineering and theoretical physics (BSc 1956) and receiving a PhD in theoretical physics in 1959.

      Early in his career, May developed an interest in animal population dynamics and the relationship between complexity and stability in natural communities. He was able to make major advances in the field of population biology through the application of mathematical techniques. His work played a key role in the development of theoretical ecology through the 1970s and 1980s. He also applied these tools to the study of disease and to the study of biodiversity.

      He was Gordon MacKay Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Harvard University (1959-61) and returned the University of Sydney (1962) as Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor (1969-72) in Theoretical Physics. From 1973 until 1988 he was Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology at Princeton University, serving as Chairman of the University Research Board 1977-88. From 1988 until 1995 he held a Royal Society Research Professorship jointly at Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, where became a Fellow of Merton College and a Master of Arts. He was Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and head of the Office of Science and Technology (1995-2000) and President of the Royal Society (2000-5)…

      He even knows about Chemical Engineering!

      Kevin, before you reply — if you do — read What an exciting blogging week it has been!.

    14. “That is so unbelievably arrogant and self-serving it is not worthy of a reply,” said the unbelievably arrogant and self-serving person.

      I read your other post, and I don’t know that I’m ‘angry’ with you. I consider myself ‘disgusted’ with you, but you may be correct that there is some anger too. And normally it wouldn’t make a bit of difference what you thought. Everyone has irrational fears (mine for example is an extreme disdain for islamofascism) that possibly can’t be taught away.

      The point where it becomes a problem is when someone tries to impose changes on the world because of their irrational fears. And the AGW fear mongers have come to that point, as you know firsthand. They came dangerously close to destroying Australia’s economy just a couple of months ago. The point is, AGW fear mongering can do real and serious damage to people.

      I understand that you, like every other environmentalist, thinks that mankind is bad for the environment. And I don’t even care. It gives you something to do, and that’s a great thing for people who don’t work for a living. You get to run around saying how evil man is, and we get to continue doing our jobs. But you’re starting to affect those of us who DO still work for a living – and in a bad way. These CO2 laws could be the final nail in the west’s coffin. Your beliefs weaken us as a group.

      I’m going to give up now. As I said, AGW believers disgust me.

      Good to speak with you again, though.

    15. I still think it’s possible that we can come to an agreement, Neil. for example I too think that the beliefs attributed to environmentalists are painfully silly. I’m not sure that they are inaccurate as you believe, but we can certainly debate that. There’s no reason to be uncivil, right?

      Out of fairness to you Neil, I should mention that I think environmentalists are even worse people than hippies, if you can believe that. They are without doubt the lowest form of human life on the planet, even worse than an islamonazi. Even you with your limited understanding of science can see that they don’t understand science, right? Almost to a person. It’s incredibly annoying to the scientific mind.

      I said previously that I was disgusted with your opinions. I don’t think that’s accurate anymore. I’m ‘frustrated’, not ‘disgusted’. Apologies – science flows through my veins. Words, not so much.

      To sum up, AGW is just another example of an envirowhacko theory that will be destroyed much like every other envirowhacko theory has bitten the dust. As long as no silly laws are passed, it will ride off into the sunset as all hippie ideas do. Let’s hope and pray that no one passes a law to destroy our respective countries based upon this silly concept.

      Hey, remember THESE envirowhacko concepts?

      -destruction of rainforests will cause a reduction in atmospheric oxygen
      -overfishing of the oceans will cause mass starvation
      -nuclear power plants will destroy all life on the planet
      -Ozooooooooooooone!

      Yeah, environmentalists suck. Bigtime.

    16. Except that just about everyone I have quoted in the page and comments here is a scientist rather than, say, a member of Greenpeace…

      I am inclined to accept new generation nuclear power, unlike any Australian government thus far.

      I do not regard destruction of the rainforests as a harmless activity. Neither did John Howard’s government who did take measures to reduce destruction in our neighbourhood — Indonesia in particular.

      I do believe that overfishing is also a big problem. Perhaps that’s partly because I have always lived close to the ocean, and fishing is rather in my blood — though I haven’t done much lately.

      So does our Chief Scientist.

    17. Neil. for example I too think that the beliefs attributed to environmentalists are painfully silly. I’m not sure that they are inaccurate as you believe, but we can certainly debate that.

      Sorry, I should have written “Shame that so many of the beliefs you attribute to environmentalists in your comment are more than a bit inaccurate though…”

    18. Heh. The last comment was inappropriate, but we all feel that way at one time or another. Apologies for the rudeness of that statement.

      I know we typically take adversarial viewpoints on pretty much everything, Neil. So let me buck that trend and be the first to say how overwhelmingly and fantastically great it is to hear you say that you support nuclear energy. If I weren’t one of those creepy cold-hearted conservatives you read about or see on the ABC, I’d be weeping tears of joy right now.

      Sadly, I AM one of them, and as you know, we don’t have tear ducts :(. Still, regardless of how this discussion turns out, you should know that you’ve impressed someone with your support of nukes. A lot.

    19. Quote from Lovelock: “I fear that the worst may happen and our survivors will have to adapt to a hot and uncomfortable world. To retain civilisation then, they will need more than ever a secure and reliable source of energy to power the adaptation and for this there is no sensible alternative to nuclear energy.”

    20. Ack. You know you’re on the wrong side of an argument when you agree with the non-scientist James Hansen. Regardless, I’m sticking to my nuclear guns. Oh, and it’s ‘zation’. Civilization.

      Heh.

    21. Let’s come to some sort of agreement, Neil. I agree with you that people who call themselves ‘green’ are horridly retarded (by which I mean ‘uglily’, not ‘massively’, as would be the case if I had said ‘horribly’).

      And it’s palpable (meaning: I can almost taste it) that you understand that the AGW fearmongers are idiots. Almost! What can I say or do that will make you come over from the dark side? I’m stumped :(.

    22. Hansen: B.A. in Physics and Mathematics with highest distinction in 1963, an M.S. in Astronomy in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Physics, and not a scientist?

    23. Unrelated, but it appears that you don’t know the difference between a worthless degree (a B.A.) and a real one (a B.S.). I find it very hard to believe that Hansen got a masters in Astronomy. I mean, I’ve heard him lecture in Philadelphia. Twice. I would believe you if you said he had a degree in numerology, or some crap about ghosts, but not astronomy. The guy is a bleeping idiot. Very good at mongering fear though!

    24. Ack. Apologies for disparaging your BA. It was not my intention. I forgot that you leaned towards the English side of brilliance, instead of the science side.

      But c’mon. Even you have to admit that a BA is the degree colleges give out to hippies to get them to stop visiting their universities.

      Don’t take that as a personal attack because it’s not. I consider you to be quite intelligent. But you’re terribly wrong on this AGW non-thing. Meh. I’ll stop talking about it now. Hope all is well with you and yours.

    25. I believe it, Martin, as I have come to know Kevin quite well over the past few years — despite our being chalk and cheese.

    26. I meant it, Marty. Despite what Neil thinks of me, its clear from his writings that he’s mostly a thoughtful individual, and quite caring. Especially for the people he’s close to, but also for people in general. And that’s why he pisses me off to no end.

      If you think that something like global warming is going to harm/destroy the planet, the LEAST you can do is learn the science behind it. It’s your WORLD, for cripe’s sake. But Neil won’t do that. Instead, he relies on the information of someone that some other person told him is trustworthy. That’s Ff@#$’d up.

      Someone told Neil not to believe people like Watts from WUWT, so he doesn’t! End of story. How creepy is THAT! I can’t get him to listen though, so I’m bowing out :(. He and you can argue about your whacky armageddon theory for a few more years until it becomes obvious that it’s a joke, and as long as you don’t try to tax regular people, I don’t care. Whine away. But when you try to take our money for your fearmongering beliefs, it gets personal.

    27. Author – David Biello. Why do you trust his opinion? Perhaps you should read the comments on the article, Neil. Why don’t you trust them as much as you trust the previously unknown author, David Biello?

      An even better question – why don’t you do some research on your own? There are two very distinct sides to this ridiculous discussion and both of them have very sciency-sounding (to the layman) reasoning. The believers have massive and awesome climate modeling software that predicts doom and gloom. The skeptics (yes, it’s spelled with a k) have raw data predicting no worries. Look at the results of those models. Consider why they have yet to predict anything accurately.

      Consider the data that hasn’t been tainted by CRU or GISS’s Hansen. Why doesn’t it show a warming trend in any place except cities? Or does it? Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t want to lead you. Make up your own mind. By which I mean, make up your OWN mind. Don’t let your mind be made up by others, such as David Biello, or even some of his brilliant commenters :).

    28. If, among other things, you are referring to the Urban Heat Island effect, then you’ll be happy to know I am aware of it. See On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record. Professor Iain Stewart referred to it and the placing of weather stations in his documentary series around a year before Watts Up With That made a song and dance about it.

      Here in Oz we are not actually overrun with cities. Further, Sydney’s principal weather station at Observatory Hill is notorious for being cooler on average by sometimes 5C than the rest of the city. Here’s a chart from our Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO.

      As for my doing research, I don’t think either of us is likely to do any more than apply our own respective bullshit detectors to what we read from others. My detector is differently calibrated to yours, Kevin, that’s all.

      And if you refer to your hip pocket in response, remember that is an ideological or political argument, not a scientific one.

    29. You must all visit Lambert Monckton debate on Youtube! See also Monckton’s McLuhan Moment.

      …You know that famous scene in Annie Hall where a bore is going on and on about Marshall McLuhan’s work and Allen produces McLuhan who tells the bore that he got McLuhan all wrong? Well, that’s kind of what happened in my debate with Monckton. Based on what he had identified as his most important argument in previous talks I was pretty sure he would argue that climate sensitivity was low based on his misunderstanding of Pinker et al Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?. And sure enough, he did.

      If you read the title of Pinker’s paper, you’ll see that it’s about changes in surface solar radiation, not climate forcing as Monckton would have it. In ideal world I could have had Rachel Pinker appear from behind the curtain to tell Monckton that he was wrong about her paper, but I was able to do the next best thing. I first played a recording of Monckton’s building up Pinker as good scientist who was not interested in the global warming debate, and where he got her gender wrong again and again. Then I played a recording of a female colleague with an American accent reading out Pinker’s message to me on how Monckton had misunderstood her work. It was as if she was there.

      I finished off by correcting his climate sensitivity calculation by comparing the current climate with the last Ice Age. The fun bit here was that I got all the information about the Ice Age from “Heaven and Earth”. Plimer’s book + Monckton’s calculation proves climate sensitivity is about 3…

      The only new argument he had was that Snowball Earth proves that climate sensitivity is low because it was really cold despite high CO2 levels. Apparently Plimer had shown some rocks from that period earlier in the week. I think that if you showed Monckton a duck, he would argue that because the duck’s quack doesn’t echo, climate sensitivity must be low. I wasn’t ready for this argument (the Snowball Earth one, not the duck’s quack one), so I didn’t have the best counter. I pointed out that it didn’t make his case because the cooling from the huge ice sheets countered the warming frm the CO2. I should have pointed out that it proved that CO2 must have a strong warming effect, otherwise we would never have escaped from the snowball state.

      The second part of the debate, questions from the audience, was, err, less focused. It wasn’t until well into it that I realized that answering the questions concisely was not the best tactic and you could get away with a wave at answering the question and then a speech on whatever you could connect with it.

      The last part, our closing arguments is also available as video. Monckton went back to Pinker and claimed that her graph showed forcing and solar radiation. Fortunately, we each had a screen that we controlled, so I put up my slide of a direct quote from Pinker contradicting Monckton’s claim.

      The folks I talked to afterwards (which may, perhaps, be a biased sample) say that I wiped the floor with him. Which is a pretty good result since I’ve never done anything like this before…

    30. “And if you refer to your hip pocket in response, remember that is an ideological or political argument, not a scientific one.”

      Sadly, I don’t understand the ‘hip pocket’ reference. Is that an Aussie colloquialism? I’m uncomfortable responding to it until I know. Please inform my ignorant self about the meaning of that statement.

      For the record though, I agree with you. This is not scientific at all. It’s an effort to impose controls on people. I, for one, won’t stand for it.

    31. Sorry, Kevin. A “hip pocket response” is one that puts one’s wallet at the centre of the issue. Didn’t know that was an Australianism. We talk about politicians targeting “the hip pocket nerve.”

      That debate between Lord Monckton (famous travelling climate change sceptic brought to Australia to support the opposition to carbon pricing) and UNSW computer scientist Tim Lambert is really good.

      I downloaded five of the fifteen parts — that is all but the audience questions. I have played Lord Monckton’s opening presentation, which you will love, Kevin. :)

      Then Tim Lambert starts carving him into very small pieces, all with logic, actual science, better than average knowledge of how statistics works — and great politeness. The whole thing is in fact very civil.

      The chair of the debate is Alan Jones, Sydney’s best known right wing broadcaster.

    32. Oops, you misspelled ‘skeptic';). Thanks for the info about ‘hip pocket response’. I’m guessing that it’s a Australia/Britain/NZ thing. At least, I’ve never heard it in America. Anyway, if you talk about Obama to me, you’ll get a hip pocket response!

      Just tryin’ out the new slang :). Is that using it right? No wait, lemme try again. Oy! Mate, ‘fore we put that rooting joey on the barby, grab me a tinny and let’s discuss Obama’s healthcare. I’ll be spewin’ hip pocket responses!

      As you can tell, I don’t get down to Australia much (or, so far, ever). Thanks for finding that video. I look forward to watching Mr. Monkton debate your guy. Hopefully I’ll get to watch it tonight. He’s usually pretty good at debate, and I’ll be quite surprised if your opinion is accurate.

    33. You sound as if you’ve seen Crocodile Dundee too many times, Kevin. ;)

      I have mentioned the US Health Care thing a couple of times, here and here. But:

      I’ll leave that to Americans to decide — preferably somewhere else, if you don’t mind. We in Oz have been there and done that thanks.

      The US has managed health care, however. We don’t. This is a very important difference. I refer interested people to Kanani Fong for some strong critique, not based on the “socialism” meme, of the current US reform package.

      Since health care is not really one of the two main topics in my post I will be deleting any future comments on US health care — whether for or against — from this post.

      I would still rather that Americans conduct the debate on their own turf, but Kanani (who regards the US Health Care reform as something of an abortion – pun not completely intended) quite rightly noted on Facebook that the Oz health insurance system and the US system are not comparable.

    34. Heh. No need to use your draconian methods to stifle discussion about US healthcare. I was just mentioning it in passing to learn my new-found Australian slang. There’s no need to delete comments like a liberal fascist would. Oy!

      I’m up to part 4 of 15, and I’m wondering, where does the skewering of Mr. Monkton happen? He seems to be winning the debate so far. Side note/question: In part 3/15, a lady deemed a scientist by Lambert said some things. Forgive me if I say this rudely. It’s not my intention, but as you know, I’m not in Australia often, or ever. So, here goes. HOLY CRAP IS THAT WOMAN FOR REAL? Do Australian people really speak like that?

      I live in southern America (though I spent my life and ‘uni’ (as you guys say) years in the northeast), and I’m sure you’ve seen countless American films suggesting that we’re all stupid, proven by many southerner’s drawl. Just a head’s up – that woman granted Australia the same diadem that has been mistakenly laid upon the south. It’s REALLY tough to look through the dialect to see the data. I keep thinking, “No WONDER those guys are afraid of k’s and z’s. They’re fricking retards!”

      It takes considerable conscious effort to dispel that belief. There’s no doubt that it’s not true. Aussies are as smart as anyone on the planet. But hearing her talk – it’s just frightening. Australian colloquialisms be damned. And this is from a person who lives in a place where y’all is a common contraction.

    35. Dangit, I have to stop watching now, but it’s very clear as of 5/15 that Monkton is the accurate one. When does the pudgy bald guy start winning the debate? I’d rather just watch that, since I’m crushed for time next week and pretty much already know what Mr. Monkton is going to say.

      In which number does Monkton get beat?

      Thanks in advance for your information.

    36. About the health care debate you say:

      No need to use your draconian methods to stifle discussion about US healthcare. I was just mentioning it in passing to learn my new-found Australian slang. There’s no need to delete comments like a liberal fascist would. Oy!

      My point was to encourage discussion of the US issue on US blogs rather than on mine. I said I would delete ANY comment, for or against. It’s not a world issue of immediate interest to Australians.

      Climate, on the other hand, is a world issue.

      So you are not impressed by Lord Monckton’s egregious misinterpretation of Pinker’s paper and his wrong maths? Really? As Tim Lambert and Lord Monckton both said, the ground of this debate was this very issue. Monckton did rather more than turn Pinker into a man, amusing as that is.

      She is the “lady deemed a scientist by Lambert” — and Monckton. In fact she is from the University of Maryland and holds an M.S. in Physics from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel and a Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Maryland. So she is undoubtedly a scientist and definitely not an Australian. But the voice we heard wasn’t her:

      …You know that famous scene in Annie Hall where a bore is going on and on about Marshall McLuhan’s work and Allen produces McLuhan who tells the bore that he got McLuhan all wrong? Well, that’s kind of what happened in my debate with Monckton. Based on what he had identified as his most important argument in previous talks I was pretty sure he would argue that climate sensitivity was low based on his misunderstanding of Pinker et al Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?. And sure enough, he did.

      If you read the title of Pinker’s paper, you’ll see that it’s about changes in surface solar radiation, not climate forcing as Monckton would have it. In ideal world I could have had Rachel Pinker appear from behind the curtain to tell Monckton that he was wrong about her paper, but I was able to do the next best thing. I first played a recording of Monckton’s building up Pinker as good scientist who was not interested in the global warming debate, and where he got her gender wrong again and again. Then I played a recording of a female colleague with an American accent reading out Pinker’s message to me on how Monckton had misunderstood her work. It was as if she was there.

      I finished off by correcting his climate sensitivity calculation by comparing the current climate with the last Ice Age. The fun bit here was that I got all the information about the Ice Age from “Heaven and Earth”. Plimer’s book + Monckton’s calculation proves climate sensitivity is about 3….

      The only new argument he had was that Snowball Earth proves that climate sensitivity is low because it was really cold despite high CO2 levels. Apparently Plimer had shown some rocks from that period earlier in the week. I think that if you showed Monckton a duck, he would argue that because the duck’s quack doesn’t echo, climate sensitivity must be low. I wasn’t ready for this argument (the Snowball Earth one, not the duck’s quack one), so I didn’t have the best counter. I pointed out that it didn’t make his case because the cooling from the huge ice sheets countered the warming frm the CO2. I should have pointed out that it proved that CO2 must have a strong warming effect, otherwise we would never have escaped from the snowball state.

      Quoted that earlier but it saves scrolling down.

      Monckton was much the worse for wear, in my opinion, after this particular speech in Videos 3 and 4. But he is the more polished performer on a stage.

    37. “It’s not a world issue of immediate interest to Australians.”

      It probably should be, since most medical breakthroughs happen in America (or Israel or Germany, but that’s neither here nor there), and will certainly be stifled by Obama’s latest power grab. But I take your point.

      So you are not impressed by Lord Monckton’s egregious misinterpretation of Pinker’s paper and his wrong maths? Really?

      I don’t have enough info to say one way or another. Perhaps I should restart the debate from the start tonight. Are you sure that the woman we heard on the tape wasn’t Australian? Whomever we heard talking was certainly NOT American born and raised.

      In any event, I can’t give your videos the time and concentration they deserve right now, but I want to make sure that you understand that I’m extremely grateful that you’ve made them available. More tonight, if you can stand my babbling.

      Let’s all work together so that there are no more swagmen and we all become tall poppies! That’s my new Aussie slang. Pretty good, huh? Huh? G’Day.

    38. And lastly, wth is ‘maths’? I had to work this afternoon, but all I could think about was your ‘maths’ comment. It was so bad that I finally had to mention it to a client. Luckily, she was an engineer and thought it sounded as silly as I did.

      Maths? There’s more than one math? What the hell is wrong with you? Math is a singular concept and not open to pluralizing. Sheesh, when you speak of someone’s speech patterns, do you comment on their ‘Englishes’? No WONDER the US rocks you guys in all things mathematic (which is another way of saying ‘all things’… you guys make some pretty good cheap wine though…).

      I’ve got thirty other non-fun things to do so I can’t watch your videos now, or at least I can’t watch them and give them the attention they deserve. I just want to restate that I’m very grateful that you’ve linked them. This kind of thing is exciting to me (because I’m a engineer REtard), so forget half of the bad things I’ve said about you. No, three quarters.

    39. OK. Just a brag now about Australia (most medical breakthroughs happen in America (or Israel or Germany, but that’s neither here nor there):

      Australians have a particularly strong record of achievement in the life sciences. … Howard Florey shared a Nobel Prize in 1945 for the discovery of penicillin. Five more Australians have become laureates for Physiology and Medicine: Frank Macfarlane Burnet (1960); John Eccles (1963); Peter Doherty (1996); and Barry Marshall and Robin Warren (2005). John Cornforth shared a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975 for work related to the structure of living matter.

      Professor Graeme Clark has developed a bionic ear that electrically reawakens the silenced hearing nerve of the profoundly deaf. Some Australian innovations are relatively low in technology but high in humanity. The late Dr Fred Hollows developed cheap corneal replacements to cure types of blindness common in developing countries. His work is being carried on through a foundation led by his widow.

    40. Yes yes, Australia plays a great second violin to the world’s great scientists as you’ve shown in your examples. Why don’t they play ‘first fiddle’? I suspect that it has to do with their thinking of ‘math’ as a group of things rather than a single object, but your opinions may vary.

      Anyway, I certainly don’t want to malign you. I LOVE Australia and Australians. Most of them don’t want to kill Americans, and I find that to be an endearing quality.

      Hehe, looks like we’ve gone way off topic here. I apologize for my part in skewing the discussion away from climate change.

    41. So I ran into a hoon on my way to taking the kids to kindie. I gave him a lolly to get him off my back, but he kept pressing me until I gave him enough money to buy a stubby. “Holy dooley,”, I exclaimed, “this dipstick won’t be grinning like a shot fox until I give him something more. He hasn’t got a brass razoo!”

      Oh yes, I speak Australian. Oi, mate!

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