Adam Fleming : BBC Complaint

Dear BBC

I am writing to complain about a short news article presented as online video, narrated by Adam Fleming, which contains a number of inaccuracies regarding the operation of Climate Change science and the results of inquiries into it.

The piece that I am referring to is here :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11574503
“Doubts over scientists’ climate change debate claims”

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TEXT ON WEB PAGE

19 October 2010
Last updated at 13:48

Press coverage has cast further doubt on climate scientists’
claims that man-made global warming is real and adversely
affecting the planet.

Polls show that the public are becoming increasingly confused
about the issue. Adam Fleming reports.

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TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO IN FILM PRESENTATION

It’s the year that “uncertainty” became the buzzword in the
climate change debate, even for scientists who are convinced
that human activity is warming the planet.

Last year saw the publication of private e-mails written in
these buildings, the Climatic Research Unit at the University
of East Anglia. Experts spoke of doing “tricks” with numbers.
They hinted at the deletion of data that didn’t fit their
theories.

This summer, an inquiry, the last of three, left the
scientists’ reputation intact, but told them that they had to
be more honest about how they reach their conclusions.

Then came “Glaciergate”. In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change, the group of international scientists that
inform global environmental policy, had written a report
saying that most of the glaciers in the Himalyas could melt by
2035, but that was proved to be wildly inaccurate.

The head of the IPCC, the Indian academic Rajendra Pachauri
came under pressure to quit. In future [the] chairman will
serve just one term, and again the academics were told to be
more honest about the question marks in their research.

Back at home, David Cameron has pledged the “greenest
Government ever”, but there are limits. This week the Coalition
announced it wouldn’t fund tidal power in the Severn Estuary
because the bill was too high.

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Firstly, and most importantly, Adam Fleming repeats not once, but twice, the erroneous view that scientists were instructed by the “Climategate” inquiries and the IPCC review to be more “honest”.

That is not only a poor choice of word, it completely undermines the results of the inquiries and the review, which recommend more “openness” about data and methods, whilst at the very same time vindicating scientists of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Much of Climate Change science is very public already. Many data sets are totally within the public realm, and all the research papers are widely available. There are moves to publish more of the data and more of the methods for the models and computer programming. Some of the data and methods have been proprietary, or countries, universities or even individual researchers have placed restrictions on their use. The basic problem is that a non-expert cannot look at some of the data and understand it without background information (“metadata”) on how the data should be treated, how it was assembled and which adjustments should be made to make sense of it in a variety of frames of reference. For example, if I were to give you a database about road traffic accidents at a variety of blackspots and I didn’t tell you what the data measured, the parameters for how data was included, or how information was collected, how could you understand what it really signified ?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to undergo reform in order to deal more effectively with the public, including the media, as it appears that the media consistently get the messaging wrong. The IPCC is not going to undergo reform in order to change its basic discoveries from the science. The science still stands, and the scientists are still right. The implications of the synthesis of Climate Change science is that there are very real risks of very serious disruption to the Earth’s climatic regime, and the evidence is constantly accumulating to back up this projection.

Uncertainty did not become a “buzzword” last year. Way back in 2007, the IPCC published (for free, on the Internet) their Fourth Assessment Report, which contained very clear summaries of which parts of Climate Change Science are robust and where the uncertainties are.

The use of the phrase “even for scientists who are convinced that human activity is warming the planet” suggests that there is a significant portion of scientists who are not convinced that human activity is warming the planet. This is misleading. Of those scientists who have researched Climate Change, the overwhelming majority accept that human activity is warming the planet. Global Warming from humankind’s emissions of Greenhouse Gases is basic Physics, and it’s ridiculous to even suggest otherwise.

The “Climategate” e-mails were not put to “publication” last year. It would be more accurate to say that they were “leaked”, but the actual process of how they came to be in the public domain is more complicated than that. It appears that a number of people had access to the material well before it was broadcast as the e-mails were released with additional material alongside suggesting all manner of nefarious goings-on that could not be drawn from the e-mails themselves, when read in their proper context. A more accurate description would be to say that the e-mails were “stolen” and their contents “hacked” with unfavourable commentary before they were released onto the Internet in a carefully staged campaign to create maximum disturbance to the Copenhagen UNFCCC conference.

“Experts spoke of doing “tricks” with numbers.” This sentence is incorrect. The “tricks” were not to change the numbers in the data, but ways to present the data to reveal certain trends.

“They hinted at the deletion of data that didn’t fit their theories.” That claim is “wildly inaccurate”.

“…told them that they had to be more honest about how they reach their conclusions.” This is incorrect. The three inquiries sought to persuade Climate Change science as a whole to share more data and methods than they currently do, so that others can understand how the data is used to come up with the conclusions. It is a call for full disclosure, not a reprimand over deception.

“Then came Glaciergate.” That is incorrect. The typographical reproduction error regarding the fate of the Himalayan glaciers was discussed in the media before “Climategate” unleashed badly commented confidential e-mails on the world. If you don’t know that, you haven’t done your research properly.

“…that was proved to be wildly inaccurate.” The use of the word “proved” is contentious, as it suggests that somebody did some science that contradicted what was in the IPCC. Not a bit of it. There are still ongoing discussions as to the speed of glacier melt, and its extent, and data collection is continuing. “Glaciergate” was an error in transmission, with an unsupported source. It was like a genetic coding error that leads a cell to a cancerous state. But the medicine is now available – the IPCC will be much more rigorous in future in double-checking what they report from.

“[the IPCC] had written a report saying that most of the glaciers in the Himalyas could melt by 2035”. It was not the IPCC who wrote the original error. Since Adam Fleming does not appear to know, it needs to be said again – the IPCC only reports on other peoples’ work – it doesn’t do any scientific research of its own. Minor mistakes in IPCC reports do not break Climate Change science.

“…the Indian academic Rajendra Pachauri came under pressure to quit”. The so-named “pressure” has only from the Climate Change sceptics and the dogbark media. I do not know of any person in the Climate Change science community who is applying “pressure” of any kind for Rajendra Pachauri to quit.

“…again the academics were told to be more honest about the question marks in their research.” This is incorrect. The IPCC are already very open about the “question marks” in their research. If Adam Fleming were to take the time to actually read the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, (note well, Richard Black, senior environmental reporter has admitted that he has not yet done this), you would discover the normal academic presentation of both sides of every argument about every facet of the science. They could not be more “honest” about how they arrive at their conclusions. What will change is that they will start to be more “transparent”. There is a major media initiative going on in the IPCC management to use modern communications techniques to present the findings to the public in a more structured, accessible way, in order to restore public confidence in the work of Climate Change science.

I don’t expect the BBC to answer this complaint in the time period that they pledge, and I don’t expect them to answer correctly.

I don’t expect the BBC to start getting their Climate Change information right at the moment, but when the IPCC media team get to work, I can assure you the BBC will be changing its tune.

The BBC has proved consistently that it cannot report accurately on Climate Change. It would be far better if they outsourced their reporting on Climate Change to people who actually know something about it, instead of repeating Climate Change sceptic arguments as if they were the truth. This article by Adam Fleming is a revision of history and the current state of play and is not only “wildly inaccurate” to use his own phrase, it is “informationally contentious” in a manner that is misleading and ultimately incorrect.

BBC : Licence to Manipulate ?

Another Earth-shatteringly ridiculous piece on the practice of Climate Change science has dribbled from the loudspeaker of the BBC :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11574503
“Doubts over scientists’ climate change debate claims”

Why am I surprised that they seem content to repeat falsehoods and rehearse a patronising tone ?

Where’s the proper investigative journalism ? Why get somebody so young and fresh-faced as Adam Fleming to tear up his good reputation so soon into his career ? I mean, he’s only done kids’ TV before now, as far as I know. Why was he only briefed with Climate Change “sceptic” fantasy nonsense ? And what will the University of East Anglia Press Office do to react ?

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Date: Tue 19 Oct 2010
From: Jo Abbess
Subject: The BBC Gets It Completely Wrong Once Again
To: Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia Pres Office

Dear Press Office at CRU UEA,

I am completely astonished at the paucity of the latest
offering from the BBC on so-called “Climategate” (see
forwarded e-mail I have sent to Professor Phil Jones).

I would see this as a prime moment to correct the BBC
publicly, and you could be the people for the job, which is
why I am drawing this to your attention.

I’m sure you don’t need me to pinpoint the inaccuracies in the
BBC piece, but I can offer comments if you would like to hear
them.

Regards,

Jo Abbess

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Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2010
From: Jo Abbess
Subject: The BBC Gets It Completely Wrong Once Again
To: Professor Phil Jones
Cc: Dr Ben Santer, Dr Gavin Schmidt

Dear Professor Jones,

I can’t help asking myself why it is that the BBC has got
Climate Change science so, so wrong yet again.

Can’t they read ? And who have they been listening to ?

This is a really appalling re-write of recent history from the
BBC (see below). It’s insulting, judgemental and just plain
inaccurate.

They couldn’t have done worse if they had been deliberately
trying to be annoying, in my view.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11574503
“Doubts over scientists’ climate change debate claims”

I counted at least 10 “revisions of history” in a piece of
film shorter than an ad break.

Surely some of your colleagues have the energy left to
complain ?

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TEXT ON WEB PAGE

19 October 2010
Last updated at 13:48

Press coverage has cast further doubt on climate scientists’
claims that man-made global warming is real and adversely
affecting the planet.

Polls show that the public are becoming increasingly confused
about the issue. Adam Fleming reports.

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO IN FILM PRESENTATION

It’s the year that “uncertainty” became the buzzword in the
climate change debate, even for scientists who are convinced
that human activity is warming the planet.

Last year saw the publication of private e-mails written in
these buildings, the Climatic Research Unit at the University
of East Anglia. Experts spoke of doing “tricks” with numbers.
They hinted at the deletion of data that didn’t fit their
theories.

This summer, an inquiry, the last of three, left the
scientists’ reputation intact, but told them that they had to
be more honest about how they reach their conclusions.

Then came “Glaciergate”. In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change, the group of international scientists that
inform global environmental policy, had written a report
saying that most of the glaciers in the Himalyas could melt by
2035, but that was proved to be wildly inaccurate.

The head of the IPCC, the Indian academic Rajendra Pachauri
came under pressure to quit. In future [the] chairman will
serve just one term, and again the academics were told to be
more honest about the question marks in their research.

Back at home, David Cameron has pledged the “greenest
Government ever”, but there are limits This week the Coalition
announced it wouldn’t fund tidal power in the Severn Estuary
because the bill was too high.

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Met vriendelijke groeten,

jo.

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

Richard Black : “Bad Boy” ?

Richard Black takes the subject of Climate Change as far away from the actual science as possible, by apparently giving in to resentment over his treatment at the hands of Joseph Romm :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/09/something_new_and_not_altogeth.html

“‘Warmist’ attack smacks of ‘sceptical’ intolerance : Richard Black | 16:42 UK time, Wednesday, 22 September 2010 : It seems that something new, and not altogether welcome, may be happening in the politicking over climate change. I have written before of the orchestrated villification that comes the way of climate scientists from some people and organisations who are unconvinced of the case for human-induced climate change – “sceptics”, “deniers”, as you wish. Journalists, including your humble correspondent, receive our fair share too. This week, for the first time, I am seeing the same pattern from their opponents. Joe Romm, the physicist-cum-government-advisor-cum-polemicist, posted a blog entry highly critical of the Arctic ice article I wrote last week. Headlined “Dreadful climate story by BBC’s Richard Black”, it takes me to task, essentially, for not mentioning human-induced climate change explicitly. He then gives my email address and invites his readers to send in complaints. Many have, perhaps swayed by judgemental terms in his post such as “spin”, “inexcusable”, and “mis-reporting”, with several citing his interpretation as gospel truth. He is as entitled to his views as anyone else. But this is, at least in my experience, the first time that “warmers” – those who, like Dr Romm, believe climate change is taking us to hell in a handcart and who lobby for more urgent action on the issue – have resorted to the internet equivalent of taking banners onto the street in an attempt to influence reporting of the issue. At least, that is the surface complaint; what my omission hides, he hints heavily, is an agenda aimed at downplaying the impacts of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions…”

What makes Richard Black, or his editor, think it’s a good use of his time to cover this matter ?

He has admitted, in my direct hearing, that he hasn’t really read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, so maybe he should start there instead of covering the A, B, C of normal BBC “environmental reporting protocol” ?

Continue reading Richard Black : “Bad Boy” ?

Rajendra Pachauri Must Stay !

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, you know, he’s like everybody’s grandfather.

Some report he’s a bit irritating, awkward, even, but that’s only when he has to respond to deliberately riling Media questions and smear campaigns.

His heart’s in the right place, he’s good at motivating people, he can see the big picture, he’s actually a very good communicator, and he’s done a lot to take the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forward.

That’s no reason for various voices in the Media to start a new round of calling for his head. “Resign !” cry the so-called “libertarian” commentators, those voices that perversely reason that if Pachauri resigns, or gets tipped out, that it will set the IPCC back five years.

What we desperately need now is stability in the organisation of the IPCC – the Fifth Assessment Report will be monumental enough without the organisation having to adapt to a new leader that needs to learn how to corral everybody into good and productive working relationships.

Continue reading Rajendra Pachauri Must Stay !

Christopher Booker : Reheated Tosh ?

Looks like Christopher Booker may have fallen from the safety net of sanity, judging by his latest output, which appears to be a jumble of trick-of-the-light semantics, plays on words, reheated half-errors and unwarranted accusations :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7981979/A-cunning-bid-to-shore-up-the-ruins-of-the-IPCC.html

“A cunning bid to shore up the ruins of the IPCC : The Inter-Academy report into the IPCC, led by Rajendra Pachauri, tiptoes around a mighty elephant in the room, argues Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 6:38PM BST 04 Sep 2010 : A report on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on behalf of the world’s leading scientific academies, last week provoked even some of the more committed believers in man-made global warming to demand the resignation of Dr Rajendra Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC. But is the report all that it seems? Last winter, the progress of this belief – that the world faces catastrophe unless we spend trillions of dollars to halt global warming – suffered an unprecedented reverse. In Copenhagen, the world’s leaders failed to agree a treaty designed to reshape the future of civilisation. This coincided with a series of scandals that blew up around the IPCC’s 2007 report. Since then several inquiries, including three into the leaked “Climategate” emails, have tried to hold the official line, all following a consistent pattern. Each has made a few peripheral criticisms, for plausibility, while deliberately avoiding the main issue. Each has then gone on to put over the required message: that the science of global warming remains unchallenged…”

“…demand the resignation of Dr Rajendra Pachauri…” ? Why ? Just because the world’s media are hounding him ?

“…a series of scandals…” ? What, the non-scandals puffed up into “news” that several newspapers have had to print retractions for ?

And they pay him to write this stuff ?

Clearly, the Daily Telegraph have money to burn.

Why is Christopher Booker’s opinion piece so poor (in my view) ?

For a start, read this web log post from Bart Verheggen :-

http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/ipcc-troubles-context-media-coverage/

“…most IPCC mistakes were minor or even imaginary, and most were in working group 2 about (regional) effects of climate change; they did not concern the physics of climate and why it is changing…”

He quotes the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant :-

“On the one hand climate scientists are expected to keep themselves to the facts only. At the same time their results and understanding are also arguments in the societal discussions about climate change. But as soon as they participate in this discussion accusations of bias come up. A more professional IPCC should not only work on the internal weaknesses and make and present itself as scientifically solid as possible. It will also have to make clear that its work has political implications, but that that doesn’t mean that it’s engaged in doing politics…”

This shows up the possibility that Christopher Booker’s writing is probably strongly biased as well as likely inaccurate.

How can it be that Christopher Booker (in my humble opinion) portrays the real situation so erroneously ?

Where does he get his views from ?

What is he trying to fight, here ? And why is he using rusty, broken weapons ? How is it that journalists and commentators have become so mistaken about an issue that’s so important to get right ?

Daily Express : Complain to the PCC

Yes, I’m inviting you to complain to the United Kingdom Press Complaints Commission regarding what appears to be a failure of accurate journalism in the Daily Express.

The question is, for you, have they “gone too far this time” ?

Here’s some e-mail traffic :-


from: Bob Ward
sent: 31 August 2010
subject: Express Denial

If you want to have a good chortle, have a look at this ‘Debate’ just launched on the website of the ‘The Daily Express’:

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/196681/DEBATE-Is-global-warming-just-a-con-

Apart from its one-sided title (‘Debate: Is ‘global warming’ just a con?’), I particularly enjoyed the illiterate reference to “LOSS OF CREDIBITY”. Well, after all, ‘The Daily Express’ should know about loss of credibility!

Bob Ward

Policy and Communications Director
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham


from: James Pavitt
date: 31 August 2010

Have you seen the headline and front page??? This is the worst case of climate misrepresentation I’ve ever seen. I have made a complaint to the Press Complaints Committee, and urge others to do so too.

Continue reading Daily Express : Complain to the PCC

Fred Pearce : Knocking Rajendra Pachauri’s Pedestal

I’m sorry to report that Fred Pearce has joined the clamour for the very famous scalp of Rajendra Pachauri :-

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19380-why-its-time-for-change-at-the-ipcc.html

“Why it’s time for change at the IPCC : Updated 01 September 2010 by Fred Pearce”

In the print edition of New Scientist magazine, the second part of the editorial for 4 September 2010 has the headline, “Climate panel deserves a new leader”, and was presumably also written by Fred Pearce.

This is a highly disappointing opinion from Fred Pearce. It looks like he is making the same mistake as was made earlier in the year, when various commentators called for the head of Professor Phil Jones on a plate after e-mails were “liberated” (and incorrectly annotated) from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Continue reading Fred Pearce : Knocking Rajendra Pachauri’s Pedestal

IPCC : Could Do Better ?

[ UPDATE FROM JOABBESS.COM : GOOD LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION : http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/08/ipcc-report-card/ AND http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100831/full/467014a.html AND http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/ipcc-review-by-interacademy-council-iac/ AND http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2010/100830_IPCC.doc.htm AND THE SLIGHTLY NEGATIVE http://www.economist.com/node/16941153?story_id=16941153 ]

Entropy versus Order – the central battle of the Universe.

Also the struggle within the realm of Science, trying to make global sense out of a very disparate, creative spectrum of study on Climate Change.

Here, at the very hub, we find the bubble of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC – a wide variety of people with a wide variety of knowledge and viewpoints all trying to establish a common perspective.

The management of this enterprise has been under review, and thought to be found partially wanting :-

http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/ReportNewsRelease.html

“InterAcademy Council Report Recommends Fundamental Reform of IPCC Management Structure : UNITED NATIONS — The process used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to produce its periodic assessment reports has been successful overall, but IPCC needs to fundamentally reform its management structure and strengthen its procedures to handle ever larger and increasingly complex climate assessments as well as the more intense public scrutiny coming from a world grappling with how best to respond to climate change, says a new report from the InterAcademy Council (IAC), an Amsterdam-based organization of the world’s science academies. “Operating under the public microscope the way IPCC does requires strong leadership, the continued and enthusiastic participation of distinguished scientists, an ability to adapt, and a commitment to openness if the value of these assessments to society is to be maintained,” said Harold T. Shapiro, president emeritus and professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University in the United States and chair of the committee that wrote the report. Roseanne Diab, executive officer of the Academy of Science of South Africa and professor emeritus of environmental sciences and honorary senior research associate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, served as vice chair of the committee, which included experts from several countries and a variety of disciplines…These assessment reports have gained IPCC much respect including a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. However, amid an increasingly intense public debate about the science of climate change and costs of curbing it, IPCC has come under closer scrutiny, and controversies have erupted over its perceived impartiality toward climate policy and the accuracy of its reports. This prompted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and IPCC chair Rajendra K. Pachauri to issue a letter on March 10 this year requesting that the IAC review IPCC and recommend ways to strengthen the processes and procedures by which future assessments are prepared…”

http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/OpeningStatement.html

Continue reading IPCC : Could Do Better ?

Naughty Fiona

It may seem pedantic and unsisterly to have to point it out, but despite her usual high and good level of correctness, Financial Times journalist Fiona Harvey seems to have stumbled in yet more lurid green swamp mire, and quoted “ogres” once again :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/72993406-b398-11df-81aa-00144feabdc0.html

“Climate change: Lingering clouds : By Fiona Harvey : Published: August 29 2010…”

Most of us really do not want to know the opinions of Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (and his collaborator Nigel Lawson), because neither of them are expert in the field of Global Warming, only, apparently, Glib Warring.

And again, most of us are really not partial to the views of Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who seems to think there’s nothing wrong in releasing large amounts of Carbon Dioxide into the Atmosphere, even though the last times this happened in Earth history, entirely naturally due to extensive magma eruptions due to super-violent Tectonic plate movement, it ended in global megadeath.

Continue reading Naughty Fiona

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

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)

Let’s Read the IPCC (1)

If there’s one thing about Climate Change nobody could be able to disagree on, it’s that there’s a huge amount of literature on the subject.

I figure it would be impossible for any one person to have a good grounding in the totality of the Science, spanning, as it does, most of humankind’s discoveries about the physical world.

It would be hard too to have an exceptionally well-rooted understanding even of the Synthesis of the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

A human mind is surely not capable of remembering all the facts and figures and how everything relates. My personal forgettery is quite active in selecting what to drop after not using it for a while, and I’m sure others experience the same thing.

For example, I’m sure Dr Judith Curry, accomplished as she is in Earth Sciences, does not remember the entire field, and does not have the tools to look everything up quickly. Which is why she gives shorthand vague, answers on web logs which annoy other people so much :-

http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/08/curry_jumps_the_shark.php

I reckon, though, people should give her a break for a while to let her compose herself, and get over the shock of the Anthony Watts “tribe” eating her heart out with steak knives after she published a proper piece of Science.

Continue reading Let’s Read the IPCC (1)

Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

Here follows an extract of a conversation I have had with members of the Claverton Energy Research Forum, which I have cut-and-paste into a more easy-to-read fashion below the fold :-

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/59dfb3351bb432ec?q=abbess&lnk=ol&

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/bfec36913d002b91?lnk=gst&q=abbess#bfec36913d002b91

As you can see, there are Climate Change sceptic-deniers everywhere, even in the most knowledgeable and respectable circles.

Countering Climate Change denial from so-called “sceptics” takes a lot of time and energy, and is a bump-in-the-road nuisance/irritation distraction from the main priority for human civilisation, which is how to stop being addicted to Fossil Fuels.

Continue reading Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

On Consensus

The problem with several Climate Change denier arguments is that they are “meta” arguments – philosophical arguments about how people behave, what they intend and how things are done.

One such issue that they take is with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “consensus” method of operation. They seem to view the IPCC consensus as “blurred lines” – their conclusion is that the IPCC’s unified interpretation of the evidence is suspect.

When the Police want to interview eye-witnesses, and when a judge wants to hear witness evidence, the standard practice is to keep the witnesses apart, so that the lines of evidence can be as independent as possible.

By contrast, in Climate Change Science, there is a certain amount of collaboration between researchers during the course of their work, so you could say that no observations are made independently. However, this should not be labelled as “malicious collusion”, although many Climate Change deniers do do that.

Continue reading On Consensus

Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Dr Judith Curry insists, quite correctly, that we should take uncertainties into account when deciding Climate Change policy.

Yet I think our respective positions probably strongly differ on which way we weight the uncertainties.

I strongly favour the Precautionary Principle, implemented Early, making it the “Early Precautionary Principle”.

One of the reasons I come down on this end of the spectrum of possible responses to uncertainties is that there are quite a spectrum of unknowns that form the pillars of those uncertainties.

After all, if we don’t know a term in an equation, how can we possibly calculate anything meaningful with any kind of confidence ?

How can anybody feel safe and secure not knowing for certain what the actual equilibrium Climate Sensitivity amounts to ? The response of the Earth’s Climate system to extra airborne Carbon Dioxide-forced temperature rise is a number that is becoming firmer, but there are error bars. Surely this points to conservatism in emissions ?

Moreover, we could be well advised to cut back on Fossil Fuel burning not just to protect the Climate, but to save the Economy. How can we pursue our normal everyday Carbon-emitting lives not knowing how much Fossil Fuel there is left in the ground that can be inexpensively mined ?

How can we know the order of magnitude of Fossil Fuels left to extract ? And how can we know what kind of impact this will have on the Climate ?

Continue reading Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Jaw-droppingly, the BBC have apologised for the contents of a Today Programme. Not the one that caused poor, deceased Dr David Kelly so much embarrassment, God rest his soul. No, the one that featured the breaking of the “Climategate” e-mail scandal :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/bbc_apologizes_to_university_o.php

The BBC picked the wrong scandal story to run with, it appears.

The real scandal of Climategate is how the scientists’ e-mails were “liberated” from the University of East Anglia, and then annotated to give heavily biased interpretation, then released to the general public via the Internet, and how the Media were taken in.

Certain people at the BBC chose to go with the fake scandal, it seems – the narrative fabricated and dictated to them by Climate Change deniers.

Anyway, now the BBC have made an apology, of sorts. Better late than never, but all the same, it would have been better earlier rather than later.

Thankfully, despite the late apologies, this particular alleged witch-hunt didn’t end with a suspected suicide. Although it did include reports that Professor Phil Jones had, in fact, contemplated suicide; the reporting of which just added to his completely groundless public humiliation at the hands of the Press. Which they should apologise for, in my humble opinion. Just as good (old) George Monbiot had the good grace to offer some regret for :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/russell-inquiry-i-was-wrong

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7180154/Climategate-Professor-Phil-Jones-considered-suicide-over-email-scandal.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece

http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/johnhumphrys

“BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for “incorrect” remark”

“The BBC has apologised for an “incorrect” remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had “distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be”.”

Continue reading Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

James Delingpole Has Kittens

Poor, dear James Delingpole has been passing kitten-sized anxieties and angry thoughts again; fear and accusations all completely unfounded :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100046150/how-come-we-now-have-to-go-to-the-chinese-for-the-truth-about-global-warming/

A number of indignant inaccuracies and strident claims I will pass over, but here are a few I think I shall contest. Just to show that I do bother to read his work (even if I smirk about it most of the time).

Continue reading James Delingpole Has Kittens

Roger Harrabin : One Degree Is Not Enough

I’ve been letting my peers know of my displeasure regarding the article in New Scientist by the BBC journalist Roger Harrabin :-

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Hi Guys,

Just thought I’d run the flag up for the fact that an allegedly sceptical journalist, Roger Harrabin, has written a poor opinion piece in the popular science magazine New Scientist.

Annoyed ? We could perhaps be :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/06/25/roger-harrabin-two-degrees-short-of-accuracy/

jo.

Continue reading Roger Harrabin : One Degree Is Not Enough

Unpicking Kyoto (1)

Unpicking Kyoto
Jo Abbess
20 June 2010

PART 1

Introduction

The governments of the world are, by and large, well-informed about Climate Change by their trusted scientific advisers and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, there is a disconnect between this knowledge and concrete policy action. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has not been successful in achieving control of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions through the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Plus, annual negotiations have not reached a form of an agreement to succeed Kyoto, as evidenced by the inconclusive round of talks in December 2009 in Copenhagen. Suggestions of a way forward include a radical re-think about the formulation of the Kyoto Protocol, and the connection of Climate Change to other global concerns.

Kyoto Isn’t Working

For a period during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the world economy appeared to reach a stable point, whereby Carbon Dioxide emissions per person (per capita) levelled off. Many of the world’s major economies were switching fuels – from coal to Natural Gas. And some heavily industrialised countries were going through revolutionary change, and reducing their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions as a result of the ensuing loss of industrial output.

Continue reading Unpicking Kyoto (1)

The Much Maligned Mike Hulme

Professor Mike Hulme is far too clever for most other people to understand.

He has spent many years trying to challenge dogmatism, undermine polarised extremes, create a broader church for Climate Change.

Trouble is, people tend to misuse his words.

Here he was, back in 2006, trying to unpick some alarmist tendencies :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6115644.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5236482.stm

His intention, presumably, was to avoid the “doom and gloom” trap of people placing too much urgency on an apparent emergency, then being disappointed by political failure to rise to speedy action.

But, of course, his approach was picked up, warped, and propagated by those who want to delay action on Climate Change by pouring doubt on the Science.

Most famously perhaps, last year he went public on his view that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had run its course, (when of course it’s more necessary now than ever, and a Fifth Assessment Report has been commissioned) :-

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/27/uea-climate-scientist-possible-that-i-p-c-c-has-run-its-course/

Seems the world wants Mike Hulme to slip up.

Here’s a little something I concocted last year, when trying to get inside Mike Hulme’s mind :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2009/12/06/untidy-minds-6-mike-hulme/

His personal statement on what he believes about Climate Change is here :-

http://www.mikehulme.org/wp-content/uploads/the-five-lessons-of-climate-change.pdf

It seems he is an obvious target for the Skeptical Brotherhood, as this week’s hyperbolic reaction to one of his publications has shown :-

http://deepclimate.org/2010/06/15/mike-hulme-sets-solomon-and-morano-straight/

http://scienceblogs.com/classm/2010/06/the_climate_consensus_how_to_t.php?utm_source=networkbanner&utm_medium=link

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2010/06/hulmes-contents-on-ipcc.html

Another trouble is, Mike Hulme’s own correction to the fabricated stories being carried by the Climate Change denier-sceptic websites doesn’t really clear anything up :-

http://mikehulme.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Correcting-reports-of-the-PiPG-paper.pdf

“The IPCC consensus does not mean – clearly cannot possibly mean – that every scientist involved in the IPCC process agrees with every single statement in the IPCC! Some scientists involved in the IPCC did not agree with the IPCC’s projections of future sea-level. Giving the impression that the IPCC consensus means everyone agrees with everyone else – as I think some well-meaning but uninformed commentaries do (or have a tendency to do) – is unhelpful; it doesn’t reflect the uncertain, exploratory and sometimes contested nature of scientific knowledge.”

This is just going to heap fuel on the fire.

There are a number of websites that have covered this story along the lines of “IPCC insider says consensus was phoney”. If I were you, I’d anti-bookmark all these sources, as they are clearly unreliable :-

http://www.thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1092-the-ipcc-consensus-was-phoney-says-mike-hulme.html

http://www.climatedepot.com/a/6894/Climate-Scientist-Mike-Hulme-Claims-such-as-2500-of-the-worlds-leading-scientists-have-reached-a-consensus–are-disingenuous

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/06/13/the-ipcc-consensus-on-climate-change-was-phoney-says-ipcc-insider/

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/6/11/quote-of-the-day.html

http://anhonestclimatedebate.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/the-ipcc-consensus-on-climate-change-was-phoney-says-ipcc-insider/

http://www.climatechangefraud.com/

http://opinion.financialpost.com/tag/thomas-kuhn/

And of course, since the story is picked up by David Icke, it must be true and we should all believe it (irony alert) :-

http://davidicke.com/headlines/35121-the-ipcc-consensus-on-climate-change-was-phoney-says-ipcc-insider-

Climate Change : Robust Findings

Image Credit : SkepticalScience.com

It should come as no surprise that the United Nations (under UNFCCC) commissioned a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), way back in 2007.

The revelation is that very few people appear to have read any of it.

So I thought I would present just a little about the “robust findings” of Working Group 1 (WG1 or WGI) of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). I think the IPCC’s science needs a wider public readership, and so I hope that this post in some way enables that.

The unpacking of the Working Group 1 report “Climate Change 2007 : The Physical Science Basis” could begin by looking at the Technical Summary, or the overall AR4 Technical Summary, or the Synthesis Report, or their respective Summaries for Policymakers.

Continue reading Climate Change : Robust Findings

The Rain in Sudan

The account of extreme weather continues to mount up, but some Climate models have not been distinguishing between rainfall (precipitation event) changes in tropical regions and mid-latitude regions.

Here’s one piece of research that goes some way towards a new understanding of increased serious flooding in Tropical countries :-

http://www.pnas.org/content/107/2/571.abstract?sid=b9c6c8bb-ee22-4729-a154-5ab4423127cf

“Precipitation extreme changes exceeding moisture content increases in MIROC and IPCC climate models : Masahiro Sugiyamaa, Hideo Shiogama, and Seita Emori”

Flash flooding is not only rising in the Tropics, it’s happening more frequently, elsewhere too :-

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=72458&CultureCode=en&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

James Delingpole : Cruel Jester

Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters (and those who are hermaphrodite, or in other ways gender-alternative) when you face trials and tribulations of many kinds, from those who have not recognised in you the Light, the Truth and the Way.

James Delingpole is doing his very best-worst to be annoying, or even insulting, I’m not sure, by levelling some personally negative comments towards me. But I have responded in friendliness and lovingkindness, although I might get moderated off the comments page, so I’ve included my words here :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100032622/inside-the-seething-green-roach-pit-where-they-eat-their-own

Continue reading James Delingpole : Cruel Jester

Roger Pielke Jr : “Sloppy Work”

Just when you thought it was safe to read The Guardian again, they only go and publish an opinion piece by none other than Roger A. Pielke Jr, justly famed for Climate Change scepticism :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/04/ipcc-major-change-needed

“Major change is needed if the IPCC hopes to survive : Well before the recent controversies, the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was marred by an unwillingness to listen to dissenting points of view, an inadequate system for dealing with errors, conflicts of interest, and political advocacy. The latest allegations of inaccuracies should be an impetus for sweeping reform : Roger A Pielke Jr : guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 March 2010 10.58 GMT : It has been a rough couple of months for the climate science community. Last November someone stole or released over 1,000 e-mails from the University of East Anglia. The e-mails revealed that some scientists were so entrenched in battle with their scientific and political opponents that they lost their perspective, going so far as to suggest improperly influencing the scientific process of peer review and evading legal requirements to disclose their data upon request. Climate science took another hit soon thereafter when it became apparent that the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contained a number of embarrassing errors and an unacceptable amount of sloppy work, such as its erroneous prediction that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, rather than in several centuries or more. The IPCC’s handling of the allegations of errors have compounded its problems…”

Continue reading Roger Pielke Jr : “Sloppy Work”