Hot Old Forests

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/12/global_warming_good_for_rainforests/

The Register reports that way back, way back, when the rainforests were good and hot, they prospered and life proliferated.

“Global warming is actually good for rainforests, say boffins” reads the headline from Lewis Page, “plus 3 degrees C, 1000 parts per million Carbon Dioxide did jungles a world of good last time”.

Not quite, Lewis old chap. Not quite.

1. The change in global temperatures at the Paleocene-Eocene border was only “rapid” in geological time – at around 20,000 years for the whole event. Plenty of time for rainforests to adapt. Not like now.

2. “There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics”, says the Abstract of the research paper “Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation” by Jaramillo C. et al., in Science, 12 November 2010, Volume 330. Number 6006, Pages 957 – 961, DOI: 10.1126/science.1193833

Yet evidence of severe droughts in the Amazonian rainforest area today makes the analogy with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum rather thin. With the current incredibly fast rate of warming in South America, it’s unlikely that regular, intense, droughts are going to reduce in the rainforest area.

Added to the current data, there is every reason to believe that the climate in the tropics was very different at the time of the PETM – the Americas had not yet met, and no Gulf Stream northwards existed.

3. “”It is remarkable that there is so much concern about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests,” says Jaramillo’s Smithsonian colleague Klaus Winter”, write Lewis Page. Klaus, who ? He’s not even listed on the research paper author listing. Does Mr or Dr Winter have anything to do with this research ? Why does Lewis Page quote hiim ?

4. Have you seen the organisations that contributed to this research ? They include “Colombian Petroleum Institute”, “Petróleos de Venezuela S.A.” and “Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos, Bogotá, Colombia” and a number of mining companies. What do they want out of research into rainforest productivity 55 million years ago ?

5. Have we talked about the massive extinction of animal life that took place at the PETM ? Well, perhaps we should…

I wonder what Dr Simon Lewis, rainforest expert, will make of this latest “atrocity” from The Register ?
[ UPDATE : The Daily Mail reported Dr Simon Lewis’ views some way down in an article on the subject here. By e-mail, Dr Simon Lewis wrote to me, “[One] obvious point is they are happy to extrapolate 56 million years to now from three points in a tiny corner of South America, which is a bit different from their usual views about historical proxy data…” ]

When I get the access to this report, I will need to delve deeper into the reasons why Lewis Page has proved, once again, that he doesn’t understand current Climate Change science, and doesn’t understand why the climates of yesteryear often have very little to say about the climate of today and tomorrow.

Homo Disruptus

Image Credit : FerdiEgb

Some straight-talking in the New Zealand Parliament (see below). But just what does he mean by “…[a]fter 10 millennia, especially the past two centuries, it is the moment of truth” ?

Our species is not “Home Sapiens”, it is “Homo Disruptus” and we’ve been interfering with the Climate for about 10,000 years.

This speech was made by [Green] Dr Kennedy Graham in the New Zealand
Parliament within in the last few hours.

To send him some appreciation his address is: –
kennedy.graham [at] parliament.govt.nz

C&C on the growing record: –
http://www.gci.org.uk/endorsements.html


“As the Minister made clear recently in question time, the state of play
is the Copenhagen Accord, with voluntary commitments to national cuts.
These are demonstrably inadequate to the science-based judgment of what
is required to avert failure, but we pretend that it is a useful start
to greater things. We are told that global emissions must peak within
about 7 years, and we know that the Accord is way short of achieving
that, so we mumble about bigger cuts later and avoid looking into our
children’s eyes.”

“Let us address some facts. To achieve a 2 degrees Celsius threshold, we
must reduce our global carbon budget from 50 gigatonnes today to 36 by
2020, and seven by 2050. The rich countries must cut from about 40 today
to 11 by 2020 and one by 2050. That is correct: we in the rich world
must emit only one gigatonne in 2050, out of the seven emitted by the
world that year. It is called contraction and convergence, and it is the
only way humanity will successfully deal with climate change. That is
when our moral and political standards will merge at the global level.”

http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/un-climate-change-negotiations-cancun-and-new-zealand-dr-kennedy-graham

“I rise to address the issue of climate change and this Government’s
failure to develop adequate national policy to combat it. Climate change
has slipped below the threshold of daily media focus and that is the way
that this Government seems to want it.”

“The failure at Copenhagen to tackle the global threat head on has sent
the international community into a state of collective catatonia. We see
this in the lack of leadership from the UN itself, in the actions of
national Governments around the world, and in the attitude of much of
the public around the world. The problem we have is that Nature is not
disposed to wait for humanity to iron itself out morally and get its
political act together.”

“The poor countries rail against us for historical responsibility and
insufficient reduction targets. The rich countries fear the projected
population growth among the poor and insist that they enter binding
commitments before we sign on to medium-term cuts.”

“Humanity probably faces only two global threats: immolation through
nuclear conflict, or suffocation through global warming. The first is
the product of traditional enmity; the enemy was the other tribe or the
other nation. Climate change is the product of a new enemy: it is us.”

“We try to cut nuclear arsenals by changing the enemy’s behaviour; we are
required to cut carbon emissions by changing our own behaviour. It is no
surprise that we are not succeeding. Most Governments lack the political
courage to convey the magnitude of the climate change threat to their
peoples, and they lack the political insight to prescribe the required
global and national policies that are necessary.”

“Before, during, and since Copenhagen the threat of serious unpredictable
climate change has grown. Our scientists do not know when non-linear
change might occur, but they warn that tipping points exist. If the
precautionary principle is to mean anything, we must all move with
speedy purpose and resolve. Translated politically, that means we must
act not as an international community of states, but as a global
community of peoples who are represented by Governments. If the
difference seems vanishingly small, then we do well to act on it none
the less, lest our prospects of survival prove to be the same.”

“Our professional negotiators are rearranging the deckchairs,
contemplating whether we shall have one or two legal agreements, and
whether it will be next year or 3 or 10 years from now. Our political
leaders dampen our expectations with appeals to realism. We all suffer
from cognitive dissonance. Every so often we see the magnitude and
imminence of the threat, and it is simply too frightening to accept
individually and politically, so we basically return to business and
government as usual.”

“As the Minister made clear recently in question time, the state of play
is the Copenhagen Accord, with voluntary commitments to national cuts.
These are demonstrably inadequate to the science-based judgment of what
is required to avert failure, but we pretend that it is a useful start
to greater things. We are told that global emissions must peak within
about 7 years, and we know that the Accord is way short of achieving
that, so we mumble about bigger cuts later and avoid looking into our
children’s eyes.”

“Let us address some facts. To achieve a 2 degrees Celsius threshold, we
must reduce our global carbon budget from 50 gigatonnes today to 36 by
2020, and seven by 2050. The rich countries must cut from about 40 today
to 11 by 2020 and one by 2050. That is correct: we in the rich world
must emit only one gigatonne in 2050, out of the seven emitted by the
world that year. It is called contraction and convergence, and it is the
only way humanity will successfully deal with climate change. That is
when our moral and political standards will merge at the global level.”

“After 10 millennia, especially the past two centuries, it is the moment
of truth. For our part, New Zealand has to agree through treaty or by
voluntary declaration in advance to cut our national emissions
proportionately. That means we must cut from 78 million tonnes today to
56 million tonnes in 2020, down to 1.6 million in 2050.”

“That is the scale of the challenge before New Zealand. It is as well
that we face up to it now, not when it is too late.”



Hunter’s Moon

Image Credit : iammarlon

Gazing up at the Full Moon this evening in Central London, I noticed the strong corona as light, high clouds wafted across its face.

Later in Outer London, I looked up again, and saw the Moon Ring was wider, and perhaps more brown.

I saw a man eating an apple on the train platform who also looked up.

“It’s going to be a cold night tonight”, I ventured, “there’s ice clouds around the moon.”

“It’s not ice”, he intimated, “…it’s the gases….”

An exceptionally chilly English October, and yet still the Earth is heating up, on average :-

  

  

More pictures of lunar corona :-

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/2010.01.31_Lunar_Corona.jpg
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/p_VGEENd_iAfpwK4K9sNig
http://www.astronet.ru:8104/db/varstars/msg/1201568
http://epod.usra.edu/blog/2010/06/aureole-around-full-moon.html

Pete Ridley : Three Strikes

In a spirit of complete transparency, I share with you an e-mail from Peter Ridley CEng MIEE (see below), a moving, rambling feast of what some would call complete irrelevancies.

Pete, if you’ve got something to share that’s positive, productive and progressive, then please do so. However, this recent e-mail from you (see below) ticks none of those boxes and I shall not waste my time by replying to your e-mail or taking it seriously.

You have three more strikes and then you’re out, unless you stick to the subject of this web log in your communications to me.

This web log is about keeping the Climate stable – it’s about the problems already being caused by Global Warming and about efforts to address those.

Yes, it’s also about hearing different views, and about working out what to accept and ignore.

Most of the comments made here by Climate Change sceptic-deniers are pure entertainment for those who know what’s really going on.

It’s rare to read something that’s free from irrational argument from Climate Change sceptic-deniers.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to have your efforts become ridiculed, so please start being serious about the science of Climate Change instead of complaining about perceived political bias.

Climate Change is not a polarised political argument as you seem to think judging by your web log. Policy thinkers and workaday politicians of all stripes and none are engaged on a common agenda to tackle the root causes of excess Carbon Dioxide emissions.

The reason that politicians and diplomatic missions take part in the United Nations process on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the reviewing of the IPCC reports, is because the environmental and economic impacts of global warming are likely to have serious consequences.

It’s lazy to dismiss all politicians as selfish, money-grabbing and power-hungry without a moral duty to the truth. There are many politicians who are genuine, upright and want what’s best.

You must be able to work this out – it can’t be that every last Member of Parliament is on the take or working for backhanders, as some commentators continue to insist, can it ?

And what about Climate Change Science ? How could people survive unchallenged in academia if they cut-and-paste or fabricate ? Upholding the good reputation of the academic institutions is why I will not enter into general discussion about my course of study on this web log, so please don’t press me on that issue any further. Surely you could have worked this out ? You’re smart enough.

Please drop the conspiracy theories and start thinking logically about the Science of Climate Change and the implications it holds.

Slightly tangentially, I am currently reading a book by Gwynne Dyer called “Climate Wars”. Although I don’t like some of the attitudes and some of the views of some of the people he mentions in the field of national and international security, at least they take Climate Change scenarios seriously, and are willing to try to navigate the future in the best way.

You would earn my respect if you could do the same.


from Peter Ridley
to Jo Abbess
date Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Jo, please excuse me for contacting you by E-mail uininvited but I wanted to respond privately to one of the comments on your “The Messia: With us …” thread.

Ref. the comment bt “Stormboy” on October 18th at 03:13, the original comment was posted by the real Stormboy (AKA Phil – who runs the evangelical Bloodwoodtree blog at http://bloodwoodtree.org) on 14th February at 08:23:48AM following months of exchanges between us on Australian Senator Steve Fielding’s blog. Despite repeated requests Phil was unprepared to reveal any evidence of having demonstrated scientific expertise regarding global climate processes and drivers, e.g. through peer-reviewed papers. Phil had said that he used a false name because of previous threats against him and his family.

Towards the end of our public exchanges Phil persistently called me a con man, which I did not appreciate, coming as it did from someone who I considered was cowering behind a false name, so I decided to try to track him down. I was astounded that I was able to find out, in only four hours on the Internet using Google, who he was, where he worked, his E-Mil address and details of family and friends. This was from information that he had put into the public domain. One source of much of this information was Facebook, which brought home to me the importance of heeding repeated police warnings of the dangers of the Internet. I immediately warned members of my family about taking great care on Facebook. I also contacted Phil, through Facebook, by E-mail and on his own blog, about how easy it had been to track him down but in the process frightened his wife and of course gave Phil a scare too. He didn’t know what kind of a person I am and was understandably concerned. That was why he posted that comment on Steve Fielding’s blog.

I quickly apologised to Phil for frightening his family and since then we have resolved any differences that we had (other than about the causes of global climate change) and have exchanged numerous friendly E-mails. Phil confirmed to me a few days ago, after that comment of his appeared recently on the Greenfudge blog, that he has only posted the comment once, on Senator Fielding’s blog in February.

That comment of Phil’s has been posted repeatedly by another person who hides behind numerous false names. These include Cooloola, Guess Who, Lord Monkton, Phoenix and JA. She has also pretended to be me and fellow sceptics PeggyB and Colin. Now she has started posing as Stormby himself. She is a thoroughly nasty, dishonest, cowardly, bullying Australian from Queensland who has been hurling vile abuse at any sceptic who upset her on Senator Fielding’s blog. Now that it has closed (he’s no longer a Senator) she is looking for anywhere else to spit her invective. I’ve tried very hard to track her down and expose her but could only get as close as the Maroochidor/Noosa/Cooloola area of Queensland.

If you are interested you can pick up those repeats by Googling “he spent four hours on the net hunting down my last name”. The ones on Steve Fieldings blog are cached versions.

Best regards, Pete


Dearth of the Oceans

An incomplete recording of the BBC Horizon programme “The Death of the Oceans ?” narrated by David Attenborough is below.

It’s about Global Warming, of course (and overfishing, and sonar making whales deaf – which is the bit that’s missing at the end). But it’s also about Global Warming’s evil twin – Ocean Acidification.

Believe what you will about the Anthropogenic component of Global Warming, and I know some of you resist the Science as if it were a hairy, sweaty, alcoholic dentist threatening to pull your teeth without Novocaine, but there’s no way you can deny that the increasing concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, most of it a direct result of humankind’s burning of Fossil Fuels, is turning the Oceans into a giant bucket of fizzy soda, and is threatening marine life, which is a huge risk to the whole of Life on Earth.

The only solution is to stop burning so much Coal, Oil and Gas. Really, that’s the only way.

Oh, you can fight this inevitability with every brain circuit you have, trying to force others to believe that everything’s still OK, that the Earth is not dangerously heating up, that Life on Land and in the Oceans is not on the cusp of mass extinction, and that Progress is just fine, and Economic Recovery, or Shiny New Technology, or Geoengineering will save us, but one day you will understand. You will accept. The global systems of production, transport and agriculture have to change. The Carbon-based Industrial Age will be gone in only a few decades, only a couple of hundred years after it started.

You can relax. Everything will be fine – eventually. When we have Wind Farms on every ridge top, Solar Power plants in every desert, Geothermal stations in our Town Halls, Combined Heat and Power running on Biomass in every street, Marine Power-gathering machines, Organic food, small electric cars, useful 24 hours-in-a-day networks of electricity-powered public transportation. The time is coming for the new human world to be born – and it will be green, clean and less energy-hungry than before.

It’s going to be a bit of a traumatic birth and the Climate Medics are working hard in the delivery suite, but soon, very soon, Green Investment will see the light of day – those who are wealthy will, as one, put their finances towards Renewable Energy and Energy-efficient machines and Energy Demand Management, real assets, with real returns on investment, and the future will be secured.

Part 1/4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4rloPBrA6w

See at top for video.

Part 2/4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdn1RpqKziE

Part 3/4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKPNcQyljds

Part 4/4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIKOKG3L3zo

The Register : Can’t Read, Won’t Read ?

Is something ailing The Register’s Lewis Page ? Despite having access to the text of a recent research paper about the Sun’s recent output, and its short-term impact on surface temperatures on Earth, and having had plenty of time to read plain English reviews of the paper’s findings in everyday language, he still writes it up poorly (in my humble opinion). Could this be due to internal bias, I ask myself ? Or is Lewis Page being wilfully contrarian ? Who can say ?

Continue reading The Register : Can’t Read, Won’t Read ?

All Quiet On The Policy Front

Where’s Climate Change at ?

Behind closed doors. Swept under the mat.

I think a number of people are coming to terms with the fact that carbon pricing cannot possibly sort the problem of emissions. The only way forward is regulation, legislation, rules, laws.

So, where are the policymakers ? And what are they saying ?

Continue reading All Quiet On The Policy Front

Michaelmas Gracie

Welcome to little Gracie, born at Michaelmas.

By the time this child is five years old, the world should have agreed to control Carbon Dioxide emissions.

Net greenhouse gas emissions to air should have peaked, and be on the decline by the time this child starts school.

It’s up to us to care for our children.

If we don’t take steps to stop the ocean becoming increasingly acidic, we will have destroyed part of the food chain, and people will go hungry in greater numbers than they do now :-

http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=F50CF08B-237D-9F22-E86BA2E071920760

“August 2010 : Scientific American Magazine : Threatening Ocean Life from the Inside Out; August 2010; Scientific American Magazine; by Marah J. Hardt and Carl Safina : …As researchers, we were concerned about the underappreciated effects of changing ocean chemistry on the cells, tissues and organs of marine species. In laboratory experiments at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Havenhand had demonstrated that such changes could seriously impede the most fundamental strategy of survival: sex. Ocean acidification—a result of too much carbon dioxide reacting with seawater to form carbonic acid—has been dubbed “the other CO2 problem.” As the water becomes more acidic, corals and animals such as clams and mussels have trouble building their skeletons and shells. But even more sinister, the acidity can interfere with basic bodily functions for all marine animals, shelled or not. By disrupting processes as fundamental as growth and reproduction, ocean acidification threatens the animals’ health and even the survival of species. Time is running out to limit acidification before it irreparably harms the food chain on which the world’s oceans—and people—depend.”

And global warming will only make the problem worse :-

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n2/full/ngeo420.html

Letter : Nature Geoscience 2, 105 – 109 (2009)
Published online: 25 January 2009 : doi:10.1038/ngeo420

“Long-term ocean oxygen depletion in response to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels”

Gary Shaffer, Steffen Malskær Olsen & Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen

“Abstract : Ongoing global warming could persist far into the future, because natural processes require decades to hundreds of thousands of years to remove carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning from the atmosphere. Future warming may have large global impacts including ocean oxygen depletion and associated adverse effects on marine life, such as more frequent mortality events, but long, comprehensive simulations of these impacts are currently not available. Here we project global change over the next 100,000 years using a low-resolution Earth system model, and find severe, long-term ocean oxygen depletion, as well as a great expansion of ocean oxygen-minimum zones for scenarios with high emissions or high climate sensitivity. We find that climate feedbacks within the Earth system amplify the strength and duration of global warming, ocean heating and oxygen depletion. Decreased oxygen solubility from surface-layer warming accounts for most of the enhanced oxygen depletion in the upper 500 m of the ocean. Possible weakening of ocean overturning and convection lead to further oxygen depletion, also in the deep ocean. We conclude that substantial reductions in fossil-fuel use over the next few generations are needed if extensive ocean oxygen depletion for thousands of years is to be avoided.”

Royal Society : Progress By Degrees

The Royal Society today publishes its latest layman’s summary of Climate Change, and thankfully manages to avoid several representational pitfalls that sceptic-deniers could have leapt on and said “See ! We told you !”

http://royalsociety.org/climate-change-summary-of-science/

Unfortunately, to my mind, it still has a few chinks in the door that should have slammed shut and permanently sealed off the sceptic-denier “contributions” on the subject.

Let’s look at the Royal Society narrative of progress by degrees, for example.

In section 28, “Aspects of climate change on which there is wide agreement : Climate forcing by greenhouse gas changes”, it reads :-

“…Application of established physical principles shows that, even in the absence of processes that amplify or reduce climate change […], the climate sensitivity would be around 1 degree C, for a doubling of CO2 [Carbon Dioxide] concentrations [in the atmosphere]…”

The related material in section 36, “Aspects of climate change where there is a wide consensus but continuing debate and discussion : Climate sensitivity”, goes on to talk about how global warming causes changes in the hydrological cycle, and how water vapour builds up in the atmosphere because of global warming, leading to further global warming :-

“…The more complex climate models, supported by observations, allow climate sensitivity to be calculated in the presence of processes that amplify or reduce the size of the climate response. Increases in water vapour alone, in response to warming, are estimated to approximately double the climate sensitivity from its value in the absence of amplifying processes. There nevertheless remain uncertainties in how much water vapour amounts will change, and how these changes will be distributed in the atmosphere, in response to a warming. Climate models indicate that the overall climate sensitivity (for a hypothetical doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere) is likely to lie in the range 2 degrees C to 4.5 degrees C; this range is mainly due to the difficulties in simulating the overall effect of the response of clouds to climate change mentioned earlier…”

Continue reading Royal Society : Progress By Degrees

George Marshall : The Dying of the Light

In the orange light-filled advertising corner : the oil and gas companies proclaiming new, untold riches beneath the melting Arctic. Technology will make us stronger, less polluting and improve the lives of the countless poor.

In the blue chain-smoking activist corner : Climate Change and Peak Oil are really, really serious, destabilising and horrible and we should all get depressed and go and lie down in a darkened room for a while.

On the other hand, most people don’t fall in one camp or the other. We worry about Climate Change some days, but we’re too pre-occupied with trivia on other days.

We have a natural in-built “happy button”, according to recent research mentioned in New Scientist magazine, so we can’t sustain feelings of doom and gloom for too long unless we’re clinically unwell :-

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727791.000-how-to-be-happy-but-not-too-much.html

We’re born to be sunny, optimistic (Teddy Miliband’s favourite word) and relaxed, only reserving adrenalin and noradrenalin for times of stress.

So why does George Marshall try to convince us that everyone is dangerously susceptible to “apocalyptic” language ?

http://climatedenial.org/2010/09/29/collapse-porn/

People can cope with being given bad news as long as they have some strategy with which to combat the problem.

It’s not wrong to tell people the truth about Climate Change just in case they get scared and worried.

Alarm is a good thing – I’d rather a fellow pedestrian shouted at me to “look out !” if I’m about to be mown down by a car as I cross the street, rather than just watching on and wincing at the crunch moment.

Continue reading George Marshall : The Dying of the Light

Undue Optimism

We learn from Caroline Spelman, care of Fiona Harvey, that Climate Change could be good for British farming :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4e2c238e-c276-11df-956e-00144feab49a.html

“Climate change could benefit UK farmers : By Fiona Harvey and George Parker : Published: September 17 2010 : Climate change and global food shortages could bring unexpected benefits for British farmers in the next two decades, ultimately relieving taxpayers of the burden of subsidising them, Caroline Spelman, environment secretary, has claimed. Ms Spelman said the UK was unlikely to suffer the severe water shortages that scientists predict will afflict other parts of the world, and that British farmers should be able to exploit greater demand for their produce…”

Note that the argument is not that Climate Change will create better conditions for growing food in the UK.

Instead, the logic is that because we live in North Western Europe, which will see less Climate Change than other parts of the world, our agricultural produce won’t be affected as badly as, say, Asia, so, suddenly British food production will have stronger commercial value as export.

That’s rather perverse, isn’t it ? Profiting at others’ expense never looked so…existential, so morally challenged.

I think that what will happen is that British food production will be increased in order to give it away, in the form of international disaster aid.

The Common Agricultural Policy could become the Crisis Agricultural Subsidy.

In a never-ending rolling disaster, the ethics of meeting basic human needs will surely take precedence over business competition.

Roger Harrabin : Potentially Alarming

I have been rather, erm, critical, of Roger Harrabin’s approach to reporting the “Climate Change narrative” in the past, but I have to say, I think he has pulled up his socks somewhat with a two-part Radio 4 presentation “Uncertain Climate” :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00tj525/Uncertain_Climate_Episode_1/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00tmcz3/Uncertain_Climate_Episode_2/

But of course, the BBC has to keep people sweet, and obviously continues to “play both sides”, don’t they ? How else did Roger get to interview Steve McIntyre of the truly annoying Canadian whine (it’s not his fault, I have to add, that I find his voice unbearable) and Nigel Lawson ? And Judith Curry ?

Or maybe not. Roger Harrabin admits to a stand-up row with Al Gore. Hopefully he’s still welcome in the United States of America.

There seem to be about 50 mentions of the word “uncertainties”, and an obsession about temperature rise projections – with no focus on the melting Arctic – which is not at all uncertain as it is a demonstrable fact.

Wake up ! The Arctic’s melting !

Spoilt for Choice

September 2010 is turning out to be a veritable over-stuffed cornucopia of Climate Change- and Energy-related events.

This week, 15th September 2010 breaks the record for the number of useful things I could be doing. I am effectively quintuple-booked, and something’s got to go (well, nearly all of them, actually).

Continue reading Spoilt for Choice

Science Politics for Classics Students

Image Credit : Mil (Dan Woods)

Like my anti-hero, James Delingpole, I am going to make a capitalised comment : THIS IS SO ABOUT THE SCIENCE, JAMES DELINGPOLE :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100052655/im-funny-official/

“I’m funny: official…the same tired old smears and inaccuracies. Sceptics are funded by Big Oil; they’re a weird, swivel-eyed minority; Climategate was “a storm in a tea cup” which did nothing to shake the underlying science; etc. Am I bothered? More weary than anything, for we have all heard these canards many, many times before (and no doubt will do again in some of the comments below), and I’m not sure it’s a game I can be bothered to play any more…The debate on CAGW, I’ve come to realise, is as futile as the one about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Which isn’t to say I don’t hugely respect the work done by the likes of Watts Up With That and Climate Audit and Bishop Hill to expose the flaws in the Warmist scientists’ dodgy theories. We need such indefatigable seekers-after-truth in this war but what we also need to realise is that this is never an argument that is going to be won on the science alone. That’s because the CAGW craze is and never was about the science, any more than the Eighties “Acid Rain” craze was about the science, or the Nineties BSE craze was about the science. They’re all just branches of political activism…THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE SCIENCE.”

Oh yes it is, Jems dear. It is 100%-a-mento about the Science. And it’s also about the de-Scientising of the Science.

Continue reading Science Politics for Classics Students

Cuccinelli : Want Fries With That ?

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli appears to be permitted to pursue in the law courts his alleged “witch hunt” of everything liberal, free-thinking, freedom-loving, tolerant and open-minded that ever breathed – just because he can – this time kicking at the pit-props of intellectual freedom in research in Climate Change Science :-

http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/228460-ruling-on-global-warming-professor-coming

“24 August 2010 : Ruling on global warming professor coming : BY JESSICA M. KARMASEK : CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Legal Newsline) – A ruling is expected in a week on a demand by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli that the University of Virginia release research records of a well-known climate change researcher, according to The New York Times. Cuccinelli has demanded that the university produce information relating to grant applications by Michael E. Mann, who the Times calls a “prominent climate scientist.” It was Mann who produced the widely publicized “hockey stick” graph showing a sharp increase in global average temperatures in the industrial age. Mann worked at UVA from 1999-2005 and has since taught at Penn State University. His work was called into question in the investigations into the so-called Climategate scandal following the unauthorized release of hundreds of e-mails from a British climate center last fall. Several investigations, including an extensive review of his research by PSU, have cleared him of academic misconduct. Cuccinelli, a Republican and climate change skeptic, has already sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency to try to prevent it from imposing regulations on carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases. Now, the attorney general has demanded that UVA release documents relating to Mann’s grant applications at the university. According to an article published in the Times on Tuesday, Cuccinelli suspects Mann may have violated the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act by manipulating data in applications for more than $450,000 in research grants. But Mann and the university contend the attorney general is engaged in a “witch hunt” and is violating both academic freedom and the First Amendment…”

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli appears to be wasting a lot of the State’s time and money on this derelict non-scandal. One wonders whether the citizens of Virginia will continue to require the services of Cuccinelli in future – if so, would he be reducd to serving in roadside diners at some point in the future just to make a living ?

Continue reading Cuccinelli : Want Fries With That ?

Hello Again, Rupert Wyndham

I always know something’s afoot (ametre ?) in Climate Change Denial Fantasy Land when Rupert Wyndham (as known as “wind em up Rupert”) writes one of his scornful, crumb-full little e-mails and sends it on to me, even if it’s only in “Carbon” copy :-

re: Odysseus felled by climate change. Royal Society report‏
from: Rupert Wyndham, rupertwyndham AT gmail DOT com
to: Brice “Boz” Osnich, bosnich AT rsc DOT anu DOT edu DOT au

“Brice : Your reference to The Royal Society triggers this. There’s an intriguing clip in the Today programme, the BBC’s flagship radio news roundup. One Roger Harrabin, a pusillanimous toad masquerading as the BBC’s “Environmental Analyst”, who alters reports under 3rd party pressure – even from the terminally pathetic such as religious propagandists, is to run a climate change series, in which is asked the question: “Has the pudding been over egged?” or words to the like effect. I’m not sure that I shall be able to summon the mental resources actually to listen to this garbage (after all, it never changes), but it’s interesting that the BBC should even be asking the question. What seems clear is that they must have been driven to it. Has the RS yet reported? Is there any chance that something might have been leaked? Interesting times! In the meantime, in the same news roundup is the story of a WW1 Italian soldier discovered in the Dolomites, a find attributed to glacier retreat – well, naturally!”

Oh dear. I do hope Roger Harrabin doesn’t feel peeved by Rupert’s description of him. Seems ungentlemanly to me.

Flogging a Dead Non-Scandal

Despite the fact that Robin McKie killed off Climategate on 1st August 2010 in his article for The Observer (thankfully, Will Hutton was away, allowing Robin McKie to venge forcefully) :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/01/climate-change-robin-mckie

it seems that the Climate Change deniers simply cannot let go of the dead story and bury it. Benny Peiser of the adroitly named “Global Warming Policy Foundation” (suggested motto “We want policies to guarantee Climate chaos” ?), is to publish a report at the end of the month written by Andrew Montford, of Bishop Hill web log fame :-

http://www.thegwpf.org/climategate/1204-investigation-into-climategate-inquiries-announced.html

Sorry to say, but this will be a “we told you so” affair :-

1. We told you so here first – it will be roundly criticised by those who are expert in the subjects of Climate Change and environmental policy.

2. We told you so here first – it will contain a number of significant Scientific claims that will not stand up to close scrutiny.

3. We told you so here first – it will sell.

Continue reading Flogging a Dead Non-Scandal

Newsnight : Complain to the BBC

I don’t expect much from it in terms of any kind of sensible, relevant reply, but here’s my two eurocents’ worth, as loaded at :-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

The BBC are undergoing a review on balance in Science reporting. They need to get Climate Change right, and that could start by one of their programme editors actually trying to understand what programmes like this do to an unprepared or semi-prepared audience.

The Newsnight audience have been left with the view that “maybe Climate Change is not so bad after all”, which is the worst take-home message they could be given.

See further down the post for e-mail traffic related to the Newsnight broadcast of 23rd August 2010.

Continue reading Newsnight : Complain to the BBC

What a Disaster (2)

By now, astute readers of the “research paper that kills off Climate Change damages” will have noticed the classic Roger Pielke Jr-ism contained within its inner sanctum rationale :-

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/study-finds-no-link-tying-disaster-losses-to-human-driven-warming/

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2010BAMS3092.1

Let’s spell it out :-

What do you get when you compare an exponentially rising trend (economic losses from Climate Change damage) with another two exponentially rising trends (human population growth and economic development), and use the last two to factor away the first ?

That’s right – no trend at all !

Continue reading What a Disaster (2)

What a Disaster !

Apparently, there’s no link between mounting insurance losses from natural disasters and manmade Climate Change :-

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/study-finds-no-link-tying-disaster-losses-to-human-driven-warming/

Well, that’s alright then, I can just forget all about Global Warming and go and focus on something more important instead.

Thanks Andy Revkin for lightening my load, and releasing oceans of deep joy into my life :-

Continue reading What a Disaster !

We Just Don’t Know

Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) appears on BBC Newsnight, the flagship British widescreen influential TV show for those who work until super-late o’clock and want to watch something serious after having a few beers, and all he can say is “we just don’t know” to the Kirsty Warkian question of whether Climate Change is (a) happening or (b) problematic.

Come on Andrew ! It’s not “too early to say” or even “too early to call”. It’s in black and white and online. It’s called the IPCC report, and has been followed by American and European government studies, and a mountain of academic research analyses which back it up : the world is warming, the reports are that change is already significant, and the prospects are risky.

There is still something that “we just don’t know” about. We just don’t know if Andrew Montford has read the Science. If he were to put his virtual nose between some of its digital pages he might well learn a thing or two. He seems fairly intelligent. So, here’s hoping.

Oh, and by the way, will he feel he has to disguise himself if he wants to come and talk to the freethinking carbonbusters at Climate Camp ? No need, Andrew. Peace-loving people will welcome you for a vegan curry over at the RBS Royal Bank of Scotland Headquarters, no worries, mate. But can you please take off the earnest brown tweed jacket ? It makes you look so much like Nicholas Stern, love.

Let’s Read the IPCC (2)

“Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis : Foreword” :-

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/frontmattersforeword.html

“The report confirms that our scientific understanding of the climate system and its sensitivity to greenhouse gas emissions is now richer and deeper than ever before.”

Who is meant by the ownership word “our” ?

It cannot mean the whole of humanity, since there are still a large number of people who have no idea about the Science of Climate Change, or who deny it.

I suspect that most Climate Change deniers would stop reading this report right there – as they don’t want to be included in the group of people who accept that Climate Change is real, happening and serious, too.

Notice that there’s no question that the Climate is sensitive to Greenhouse Gas Emissions accumulating in the Atmosphere. There’s no “likelihood” associated with that statement.

Continue reading Let’s Read the IPCC (2)

Where We Come From

I never met my maternal grandmother, and family history has not been stitched well enough for me to understand what kind of person she was, until today.

Sorting through some of her keepsakes with an older relative, I found a piece of lace knotting, a small irregular sampler in a larger collection of much more accurate work.

Nobody ever saw its pattern before, but I saw it, and I show it here : the Cross of St George of England on a light background juxtaposed with a Swastika on a dark background.

It is a statement from the heart. A demonstration of the overshadowing, constant, brooding threat of its time – the War with Germany.

If reflects the war being waged in the body and soul of the person who laced it – as she neared the end of her life, losing her fight against tuberculosis.

Continue reading Where We Come From

The Earth as Atom

Most people over the age of 35 years old will probably be able to agree with the statement that “you learn a lot of things in life, and you also forget a lot too”.

Things get replaced in your active memory as you move from phase to phase of your life, meet and lose people, as you change careers, take up new hobbies and interests.

For instance, I used to be able to speak German passably well, but this got replaced by Dutch, and now I don’t practice speaking Dutch at all, it’s faded from my skillset.

A lot of experiences cast shadows and are best totally forgotten. Others, which we consider valuable, we tend to summarise for ourselves and retain at least the outline of what we have known.

Continue reading The Earth as Atom