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 !

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 !

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.

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

The Media Cannot Be Trusted

When the BBC’s Roger Harrabin arranged a set of questions recently for Phil Jones, the unjustly smeared head of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), I just wish he had asked for advice from an expert on countering Climate Change denier tactics before answering :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm

The questions made my Public Relations nerves twitch with embarrassment for Phil Jones. The trajectory of events was entirely predictable.

A friend or colleague with experience of having to face down the Climate Change deniers would have strongly advised Phil Jones to answer the questions with extreme care, especially the first one, and demand that anyone who quoted his answer quote him in full, in context.

Continue reading The Media Cannot Be Trusted