Chin Up, George Monbiot !

George Monbiot looks back in regret at Copenhagen :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/20/climate-change-negotiations-failure

“…The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December’s climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don’t want to be associated with failure, they don’t want to pour time and energy into a broken process. Nine years after the world trade negotiations moved to Mexico after failing in Qatar, they remain in diplomatic limbo. Nothing in the preparations for the climate talks suggests any other outcome…”

Copenhagen was never seriously going to deliver, and I don’t think most of the protesters on the streets in Copenhagen thought so. Activist demands, including from activist nations, were always going to be ignored, The solutions really didn’t come to the conference, and the problems really lay elsewhere.

But there’s no need to utterly despair, George !

Continue reading Chin Up, George Monbiot !

Richard Black : Reports Inconclusive

[ UPDATE : REUTERS GETS THE KEY POINT THAT RICHARD BLACK APPEARS TO HAVE MISSED : http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS253216740320100923 : “Global Warming May Have Slowed in the 1970s Due to Suddenly Cooler Oceans…the article also suggests that the cooling coincided with an unexpected influx of freshwater, most likely from melting ice, that flowed from the Arctic Ocean into the North Atlantic.” ]

Global Warming May Have Slowed in the 1970s Due to Suddenly Cooler Oceans”Richard Black seems to have been told to raise the level of uncertainty over Climate Change Science :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11391238

“23 September 2010 : Oceans divide over 1970s warming : By Richard Black : Environment correspondent, BBC News : The surfaces of the oceans went through a short period of rapid temperature change 40 years ago, scientists have found – but the cause is unknown. Top layers of Northern Hemisphere water cooled by about 0.3C; the south saw roughly the same degree of warming. Writing in the journal Nature, the team suggests that air pollution cannot be responsible for the changes, as has been suggested for mid-century cooling. They do not suggest a cause. It is not clear what could link all the oceans…”

Hang on a minute !

What does the Nature Letter actually say ?

I asked for a PDF from David W. J. Thompson, which he kindly provided :-

“…The resulting regression map reveals that the drop is reflected throughout much of the world’s ocean, but has its largest amplitude over the northern North Atlantic. The spatial concentration of the drop can also be seen in residual SST [sea surface temperatures] time series calculated for select Northern Hemisphere ocean areas; it is evident in area averages for the entire North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans, but has its largest amplitude in data averaged over the northern North Atlantic, above 50 degrees N [North]. This region is marked by large exchanges of heat between the ocean and atmosphere that are considered capable of influencing hemispheric-mean temperature. The timing of the drop corresponds closely to a rapid freshening of the northern North Atlantic in the late 1960s/early 1970s (the ‘great salinity anomaly’)…”

“…The suddenness of the drop in Northern Hemisphere SSTs is reminiscent of ‘abrupt climate change’, such as has been inferred from the palaeoclimate record, but is inevitably obscured in analyses of twentieth century decadal variability based on low-pass filtered versions of the SST data…”

“…The timescale of the drop is important, because it is considerably shorter than that typically associated with either tropospheric aerosol forcing or oscillatory multidecadal SST variability. The horizontal structure of the drop is also of interest, because it indicates that the drop might reflect atmosphere–ocean interaction in the dynamically active northern North Atlantic…”

So, contrary to what Richard Black summarises, the authors are effectively suggesting a cause.

[ Citation : “An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970”, Thompson D. W. J. et al. Letter in Nature. : doi:10.1038/nature09394 : Vol. 467, 23 September 2010 pp 444 – 447 ]

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 !

Dutchwash

In a scandal taking in virtually the entire mainstream Media, hordes of public commentators and powerful opinion-formers, and multitudes of social discussions at watercoolers, school gates, corridor junctions and dinner parties, a pack of Climate Change self-styled “sceptics” have run rampant, roughshod over Climatological Science, unhearing fingers jammed in their ears, baying for the blood of researchers over non-errors in the United Nations reports on Global Warming.

Now of course, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has cleared the Science of all wrong-thinking, and naturally enough, the pseudo-scandaleers have retorted with foul cries of cover-up. As an example of the Media infection/infarction – note how different the following two newspaper articles are about the non-scandal non-whitewash report everyone’s not calling “Dutchwash !”.

(1) Daily Telegraph

This report is rather confused, I find. The journalist, or their editor, do not seem to have a full handle on what is accurate and what is assertion :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7872791/IPCC-climate-change-report-played-down-positive-impacts.html

(2) The Guardian

I think more balanced – but a bit frayed at the edges :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/05/dutch-support-ipcc

Are they deliberately taking “sides” on this ? Creating an artificial “debate” ?

Summary : a few minor adjustments would have made the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report better, but there’s no need to change the report conclusions.

In other words – strong concern (not destabilising alarm) about the risks of dangerous Climate Change is an appropriate reaction.

How can Society express greater, now properly validated, concern about Climate Change without it degenerating into outright panic ?

And is Richard Black at the BBC, surprisingly, pleasingly, pitching it about right in his appraisal of “Dutchwash” ?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10506283.stm

Roger Harrabin : Two Degrees Short Of Accuracy

A journalist with a history of Climate Change scepticism writes an opinion piece for a poplular science magazine. The result ? The propagation of error.

Now, I have spoken to Richard Black at the BBC and offered to try to be more conciliatory towards Roger Harrabin in future, but I can’t let this one pass me by.

Here he is, writing in New Scientist, about his trip to the Heartland Climate Change sceptics conference :-

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627645.300-take-the-political-heat-out-of-climate-scepticism.html

There are some statements of unquantifiable waffliness, and some dubious conclusions, but the one sentence that stood out for me as pernicious enough to comment on was this one :-

“Most [sceptics] agree with the scientific consensus that basic physics means [Carbon Dioxide] CO2 will warm the planet by about 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels.”

It is to be welcomed that Climate Change sceptics are finally beginning to accept that the world is warming, and that mankind’s activities are the majority factor.

What I don’t like is Roger Harrabin’s assertion that the “consensus” on Global Warming is that the planet will warm by “about 1 degree”.

Continue reading Roger Harrabin : Two Degrees Short Of Accuracy