A wee debate

free speech

Free speech in New Zealand?

Everyone claims the right to free speech, but not necessarily for ‘others’. All talk of curbing free speech is for ‘other’ people, never for oneself.

What is a debate? It’s just a few people talking to each other. Who could be afraid of a little debate? Well, when vested interests are concerned, any number of people.

Andy mentions in comments that readers at Hot Topic are talking about emailing PRINZ to stop the climate debate with Christopher Monckton. They say the debate is “unethical” because it spreads confusion.

They complain about Monckton’s use of the phrase “Hitler Youth”. He used this at Copenhagen when a group of youth activists tried to shut down his debate.

Doesn’t anyone do irony any more?

Ironic indeed, but it’s a sinister trend. We live in a free country. We champion free speech everywhere. We were leading activists for freedom from apartheid in South Africa. Now look what’s happening to us.

Hot Topic’s vested interest? Probably their green religion. Certainly Renowden’s book sales depend on the existence of a belief in CAGW.

The Greens use freedom, but won’t share it

The Green Party is against free speech for others. Andrew Campbell, their enlightened “Political Director” advises us that a debate on global warming (and this is a direct quote from his email):

sends a message to viewers that the science is uncertain, and that is a position that we do not wish to convey.

Though there is uncertainty as to why our emissions have failed to drive temperatures up for the last 15 years, they don’t want to tell us. There’s a great deal they don’t want to tell us, including:

  • The uncertainty about the failure of sea level rise to accelerate.
  • The uncertainty about the magnitude of the greenhouse effect.
  • The uncertainty about humanity’s contribution to global warming over the last hundred years.
  • The uncertainty about the undetectable reduction in global warming to be expected over the next 50 years from our expensive ETS.

The only truth they want us to know is what they decide to tell us.

Their vested interest? They feel a deep urge to control us for the good of everything.

These are modern times — in fact, the most modern of all. It is 2011 and these sentiments are, frankly, shocking in their abridgement of basic freedom. We’re not promoting child abuse, rape or armed robbery, but science. We shall persevere with that and let our opponents mark themselves for all to see with the distorted opinions they spew forth.

Let them ask themselves would they want to silence all opposition if the discussion concerned the proper use of 1080 poison? Or the rabbit calicivirus (RCD)? Or the usefulness of predator-free offshore islands? Or the best means to rehabilitate repeat offenders? Or the proper place of women at Maori public functions?

Well, perhaps they would. But they wouldn’t have a dog’s show of getting away with it on those issues. What’s different about science?

Hot Topic are hot under the collar, claiming ethical principles require Monckton to be silenced. The so-called ethical issues are distracting them (deliberately) from the factual issues, such as why global temperatures have failed to rise for about 15 years.

To nail Monckton all they must do is explain that inconvenient fact, with a few others, and then we’ll all believe once more in their cosy CAGW.

No ethics is required, only science. Plus a wee debate — but that depends on free speech.

50 Thoughts on “A wee debate

  1. We should be slightly concerned about this.
    Following on from the appalling tragedy in Norway, there are those who would brand all “dissenters” as dangerous and needing to be controlled.

    Autonomous Mind has a good piece on this

    The European Commission is building a security system to issue early warnings on threats of extremism, xenophobia and other forms of radicalism

    http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/putting-the-threat-to-our-freedom-into-context/

    We can expect “climate dissent” to fall into this category as well, as Breivik had a large part of his “manifesto” devoted to AGW, and referenced blogs such as Bishop Hill, Delingpole, Climate Audit etc.

    You will see people start to use phrases like “dangerous and deluded” against climate sceptics.

    We live in scary times.

  2. We should also note that those freedom loving types at Greenpeace also stopped Richard Lindzen from coming to NZ, for the same reasons

    Hansen, of course, gets treated like a rock star. This is the man who takes time out as a US government employee to support criminal activities, such as the Radcliffe power station attack in the UK

  3. Clarence on August 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm said:

    A little web surfing reveals hundreds of papers on the sociological causes of climate change denial, and the psychology of those who would deny this threat.

    There’s no conspiracy. Governments have offered the funding, and social scientists naturally want to be in on the act.

    Some of the largest PR firms in the world (similarly funded) then disseminate these findings and organise endless conferences to discuss the best ways of dealing with deniers/sceptics. Outcomes are reported on blogs like Hot Topic.

    For several years now, the best professional advice has reiterated the need to ensure sceptics are deprived of oxygen. No debates, no discussion of science, no attempt to produce evidence. Just constant reiteration of “science is settled” and fierce ad hominem attacks.

    All this makes sense for committed evangelists. The Gaia cause is much more important than free speech. But why does the mainstream media join in and reinforce this game?

  4. At the centre of this is social engineering/cultural marxism, whatever you want to call it.

    Essentially, they have created a “social construction of scientific reality”, which aims to put public policy before scientific reality. Some of this may be a genuine concern that the effects of climate change need to be mitigated before it actually occurs, but others may interpret this as a trojan horse to impose a more totalitarian vision for society.

    For any person brought up on hard science or engineering, or of a conservative disposition, this all sounds like claptrap.

    However, to the social scientists of our Universities, this language is naturally transposed into the subject of climate change, and the language appeals to the brainwashed young graduates coming out of the “softer disciplines” of our educational institutions.

  5. Mike Jowsey on August 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm said:

    “positive feedback”, “confirmation bias”, “group think”, “peer pressure”, “end justifies means”, “must save planet”, “don’t eat meat” (except when Dad is paying at the restaurant), “must sound good at Monday morning’s meeting on Ecovalidation”, “Feeling guilt for my kids waking up to sunbathing in winter”, “OMG – where do I pay? (Quick! Before the penalties are applied!)”

    There are none so blind as those who cannot see.

  6. Mike Palin on August 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm said:

    What evidence do you have that the young graduates of the “softer disciplines” are brainwashed? What are the “softer disciplines” anyway? Public relations surely must rate highly, an “institute” of the same near the top of the list?

    The principal claptrap is from people like you who are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the scientific evidence for AGW because they automatically assume that policies to deal with it must involve a more totalitarian society. The reality could be the opposite. For example, the logical way to deal with the twin problems of AGW and peak oil is to develop distributed renewable energy generation – let every household be a provider. Another good step would be to remove all government subsides for coastal development – no more bailouts if the next storm wipes out your beachside house.

    [Mike, you’re making some good arguments, but please stay on the argument and away from the person or your hard work will be spoiled. I’m talking about saying “people like you” and assigning motives like “unable or unwilling to acknowledge” — the truth is you know nothing about the people. Your arguments don’t need it and this blog doesn’t want it. Thanks. – RT]

  7. Hi Mike
    I have a beachside property in ChCh. we will have to abandon it because of a real problem, namely 3 6+ earthquakes within 9 months

    It’s a shame that there is no funding to predict any of this (seismic surveys only started after the first quake), when there are millions going into super-computers to model climate, an activity that Prof Martin Manning described in Scientific American as “crystal ball gazing”.

    Funny too, that there is no empirical evidence of anything usual happening to sea level, yet the RSNZ come up with a “worse that we thought” paper based entirely on computer models.

    I would love to continue to live in my beachside property. “Climate change”, however, isn’t driving me away.

  8. Mike Palin,

    You say people like us are “unwilling to acknowledge the scientific evidence for AGW because they automatically assume that policies to deal with it must involve a more totalitarian society.”

    It happens quite a lot that those defending AGW attack the sceptic, not the sceptical argument, and the attack often takes the form of assigning to the sceptic motives which bear some fault. The fault always explains why the sceptic cannot “acknowledge the scientific evidence for AGW.” Here, you’re saying that knowing the likelihood of disagreeable policies makes a sceptic refuse to agree with the evidence.

    But there are observations that lead the sceptical mind to question the dominant doctrine, and they have nothing to do with motives or consideration of policy.

    The facts are that global temperatures have not risen in about 15 years, sea level rise is decelerating, there’s clear evidence of a tropical thermostat (thunderstorms), recent evidence that the earth emits far more heat to space than thought possible, the atmosphere cannot radiatively heat the ocean, the hockey stick graph was a folly from the beginning, modern temperatures are not unprecedented, polar regions are not shedding ice and there’s no dangerous “feedback” from water vapour.

    Facts, my friend, which make nonsense of your vague claims to have evidence. What is the evidence, by the way?

    The reality could be the opposite. For example, the logical way to deal with the twin problems of AGW and peak oil is to develop distributed renewable energy generation – let every household be a provider.

    This is almost interesting. Yes, the reality of policies to control the climate could be the opposite of totalitarian. Trouble is, what you propose is no example of the opposite. You see, if anyone tells me I have to “be a provider” that’s totalitarian. How would you do that without force?

    I don’t want to produce electricity, any more than I want to grow my own vegetables. I have better things to do with my time and talents and I’m happy to pay you to grow veges or generate electricity for me. See how it works? We each provide what we’re good at and society gets richer. That’s the natural way — sometimes, for some reason, called capitalism, which is a misleading name for it (just ask the Chinese).

    I notice that you’ve called AGW a problem without explaining why it’s a problem. I don’t believe so-called peak oil is a problem. We’ve had so many peaks we should call them pikelets. As the price gradually increases more difficult reserves become economic to exploit, and technology keeps advancing, so now we’re even having a go at the notoriously difficult oilsands. Wahoo! More decades of oil left, during which time (as now!) smart minds and smart money plan and scheme for the day when we run shorter still of exploitable reserves.

    No central intervention is required, and certainly no carbon tax, to “make” people achieve these advances. They want to do it because they can see the need to do it. Now that people have affordable personal transportation they don’t want to give it up so there will always be someone prepared to build it for them, whatever the fuel source and as long as the cost is reasonable.

    Promoting CAGW on no evidence is no way to run society.

  9. Richard C (NZ) on August 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm said:

    “The principal claptrap is from people like you who are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the scientific evidence for AGW”

    I’m able and willing to acknowledge the scientific evidence for AGW Mike, where is it?

    The AGW hypothesis (what we can gather from the smattering of documentation, nothing falsifiable required apparently but I see G&T came up with 13 different versions) posits that CO2 and the other trace gasses are relatively impotent on their own and requires the amplification of water vapour levels in the upper troposphere to get the warming going.

    This is where the problems start for AGW. Turns out that the much hyped CO2 “forcing” really is impotent, it’s been overridden by natural variability this century (even Trenberth’s acknowledging the sunspot cycle now, what next?). So now we are watching the scramble to explain the hiatus and its not pretty. Lots of contradictory stuff coming out but the gist seems to be that a warming lull should be expected for anything up to 20 years (see Easterling and Wehner 2009) or perhaps 30 years (see Loehle and Scafetta 2011) due to “natural variability” but the “warming is expected to resume soon”. Seems to me that if natural variability was able to force a hiatus in warming, we will have to wait for the same natural drivers to kick in again for warming to resume and anthropogenic GHG emissions will have nothing to do with it. That’s looking aways off now (about 70 years at least) given the astrophysicists predictions of a solar grand minimum.

    Which brings me back to the water vapour issue. TPW has been decreasing in the GHG critical 300 hPa altitude Mike, contrary to the AGW hypothesis. That means the AGHG forcing is being offset rather than amplified (contrary to AGW) and Miskolczi’s theory of semi-transparent atmospheres is looking better by the day.

    BTW, I see Trenberth’s “missing heat”has been found – it was dissipating to space all along, what a surprise that is huh? I’m curious though, as to why AGW proponents thought it had “found its way” into the ocean. What possible physical mechanism would permit that (and what were they thinking?)?

  10. Doomed on August 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm said:

    “The principal claptrap is from people like you who are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the scientific evidence for AGW because they automatically assume that policies to deal with it must involve a more totalitarian society. ”
    Mike Palin..please explain how you justify the rantings of a certain John P Holdrem in his eco fascist book that suggests forced abortions and sterilizations etc for draconian world population control to force the worlds population to 1 Billion. FACT there is a new world order and the likes of you will soon feel the brunt of it.! THEY are even ON RECORD as admitting it!

  11. Mike Palin on August 2, 2011 at 2:46 am said:

    Richard-
    If you read Andy’s comment that I was responding to, you will see that he said, “others may interpret this as a trojan horse to impose a more totalitarian vision for society.” My reply was intended mainly to that point, although, like you, I fancy expanding the bounds.

    Heaven forbid, I would never seek to require you or anyone else to produce electricity. You can sit comfortably on the sidelines yelling instructions, just as you do with climate science, or you can invest effort in becoming a player. It should always be your choice. In the meantime, I agree completely that we should depend on the best suited among us to provide our goods and services, be that electricity or science.

    I prefer the term “market” and I am a firm believer that it is the best way to distribute capital and goods – when unhindered by large institutions, public or private. I also believe in “capitalism” – enjoying the benefits or enduring the losses of ones investment choices. Politically motivated bailouts, whether in response to failed financial institutions or natural disasters, destroy the market’s ability to accurately transmit risk and lead to poor decision-making for future investment.

    It is good to see you acknowledge that smart minds plan for the future. That’s what scientists are doing in the case of peak oil and AGW. I make my investment choices in light of the best information available. You are free to make yours in light of fantasy.

  12. “They say the debate is “unethical” because it spreads confusion.”

    True, it spreads confusion because climate denier Monckton almost never loses climate debates. This confuses the public, especially in places like Oz and NZ, where the public has been compleltly mislead by politicians and the media. They still think there is a climate debate in other parts of the world, in reality AGW has been put to bed, the rest of the world has moved on.

    Cheers

  13. If there are so many smart minds working on solutions to peak oil, why are we building windfarms and ignoring serious energy contenders like Thorium?

    I see very little evidence of any form of smart thinking whatsoever. The UK climate change bill, for example, is expected to double power prices over the next few years, driving millions into fuel poverty.

    The wind industry has admitted that they cannot produce power when the wind doesn’t blow, and needs 100% backup from gas, costing billions. This is from a country with one trillion pounds of sovereign debt.

    How is this smart?

  14. BTW, I have recently worked on some software to enable extraction of oil from marginal fields, so naturally (*coughs*) I exclude myself from my comments above (he says – tongue in cheek – arrogantly)

    My point is not that there are not smart people with smart ideas, but that our glorious leaders appear to be following a policy path to disaster.

    Another example: Australia’s “carbon tax” will see half of its “reductions” in emissions come from credits bought from overseas sources.

    Examples of these “offsets”? Maybe the Chinese who are manufacturing CFCs with the sole purpose of destroying them to claim the carbon credits? Or perhaps the billions that the WWF have locked up in the Amazon, which they kindly bought for us at a bargain basement entry price. These are all examples of a system where subsidies and taxes have skewed the market into stupid solutions. One might think that some of this is a deliberate scam.

    We could actually solve the energy/climate problem in a few years with a clever mix of nuclear and other technologies, but I don’t see that the activists who are driving this want to solve the problem at all.Their motives are entirely political and somewhat concerning.

  15. PRINZ have now backed out of sponsoring the debate on Thursday, due ostensibly to a “lack of interest by PRINZ members”

    The debate is now being organised by “climate realists”.

  16. Mike Palin on August 2, 2011 at 9:30 am said:

    I’m sorry that you will have to abandon your property, but your assumption that there has not been previous scientific research on seismic risk in Christchurch and throughout NZ is incorrect. GNS Sciences and various universities have undertaken research funded by the EQC among other agencies. Of course huge amounts of information are becoming available with each new earthquake (a silver-lining of sorts). Nonetheless, the general risk, particularly of liquefaction due to the underlying geology, has been known for many years. Property owners and others may have been reluctant for such negative information to be spread about for reasons now obvious.

    Predicting large earthquakes (or especially smaller ones in bad places) may never be possible. That is why a prudent course of action is to minimise exposure to risk. (Re)building cities on flood plains (Christchurch) or straddling faults (Wellington) in a tectonically active country is not smart thinking. It was done in the past due to ignorance, and now the mistakes are being repeated in the name of politically expediency. So, I agree that smart minds and politicians are mutually exclusive groups.

  17. Many of the commenters opposing Monckton’s debate are using terms like “Gish Gallop”, anti-vaxxers, creationists etc.

    Monckton’s arguments are, in general, quite straightforward. He is arguing that climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 has been overestimated.

    I believe that this argument is central to the whole debate.

    If the case for high climate sensitivity is so good, why can’t we have a debate on that alone, and present the paleo and measured data that supports this case?

  18. Mike Palin on August 2, 2011 at 11:22 am said:

    Andy, that is an excellent idea. I doubt Chris would agree to the limited scope.

    Knutti & Hegerl (2008) “The equilibrium sensitivity of the Earth’s
    temperature to radiation changes” is the best source of peer-reviewed science on the subject. It is available from http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf. With regard to the paleo record, I can highly recommend Royer et al. (2007) “Climate sensitivity constrained by CO2 concentrations over the past 420 million years” available from: droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/climate_sensitivity.pdf. Both of these papers were published in the Nature group of journals, widely acknowledged as the premier source of peer-reviewed science in the world.

  19. Mike Palin on August 2, 2011 at 11:26 am said:

    Andy, still waiting for your evidence that the young graduates of the “softer disciplines” are brainwashed and a list of those “softer disciplines”.

  20. “Brainwashing” is probably a bit harsh. Perhaps a better term would be a certain lack of critical thinking.

    The “soft” disciplines I refer to are primarily social sciences and humanities. I see very little evidence from these fields that anyone is prepared to challenge anything from “authority”. My evidence, such as it is, is anecdotal, in the form of verbal and written discussions I have had.

    Given the political nature of the climate landscape, where anyone who questions the orthodoxy is vilified and branded as a “denier/crank/flatearther” etc, it is hardly surprising that this occurs.

    You might be interesting in this article entitled “Climate Thuggery” that expresses some of these views.
    Check out some of the mouth-foaming comments on this article

    http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/climate-thuggery

  21. Mike Palin on August 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm said:

    Andy, I tend to share your view of the “softer” disciplines. They never held nearly as much appeal for me as the “harsh” world of math and physical science. That’s why I stick to the peer-reviewed published scientific evidence on climate change rather than Monckton’s silly ramblings or Wegman’s analysis of “social networks”.

  22. Thanks for the links Mike. I don’t know that CM would not debate these. You could always ask him.

    With regard to the PRINZ involvement in the Auckland date, I got this response from the person coordinating the event.

    Hi Andy,

    Yes – we had only three registrations from members and about 12 from non members (mostly involved with the Climate Realists group) for the AKL event so it made sense to hand over the venue to climate realists to run their own event. We have had quite a few emails and comments from people who have been very critical of the decision to host Monckton but this was not the reason for cancelling.

    We are still hosting a Monckton event in Wellington and have 25+ members registered for this.

    PR practitioners must deal with strongly held opposing views on a wide range of issues. Climate change is just one of these – which is why we accepted the offer for Monckton to speak at a PRINZ event. PRINZ does not support Monckton’s views and PRINZ has not paid for his New Zealand visit.

    Kind Regards,

  23. Alexander K on August 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm said:

    In the decade since I left NZ to live in the UK, the NZ political landscape seems to have taken a a lurch leftward and become more authoritarian, with less willingness to debate actual issues. Mike Palin’s initial salvo here is an excellent example of this trend. Years ago, our country prided itself on fairness and even-handed treatment of all parties, but now those who fervently believe Man is changing the environment in a disastrously negative fashion by our current collective lifestyle seem to have forsaken the first principle of making judgements; show the evidence.
    The law may not convict where a jury sees reasonable doubt, but those arguing for the ‘decarbonistaion’ of our economy have not even begun to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but have turned the crusade for decarbonisation into a religious one, where they decry any person who does not share their faith. Those wanting to shut down debate are supporting and encouraging Fascism, whether they know this or not.

  24. Mike Palin on August 5, 2011 at 7:43 am said:

    Science has predicted the following consequences of loading Earth’s atmosphere with anthropogenic CO2 emissions: global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification, ice cap loss, and stratospheric cooling. Hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published detailing observations of these phenomena over the last several decades. Why do you and others here refuse to acknowledge this evidence?

  25. Alexander K on August 5, 2011 at 8:23 am said:

    Your language is not terribly scientific and objective, Mike, but extremely alarmist in tone. I accept that you are alarmed, but many of us are not. Hand-waving and shouting at us is not an effective debating tactic. I cannot speak for anyone else, but your arguments and selective quoting of papers you approve of do not impress me at all.

  26. Mike Jowsey on August 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm said:

    global warming, not for the last 10+ years
    sea level rise, decelerating
    ocean acidification, the ocean is alkaline
    ice cap loss, Antarctica ice cap: growing, Greenland ice cap: thickening
    stratospheric cooling, large uncertainties in data

  27. Mike Palin,

    Whatever the state of evidence of those things you list (and I’m not in touch with the very latest of it) there is also evidence of recent lack of warming, recent lack of sea level rise acceleration and recent Arctic ice cap recovery (concerning the Antarctic, there’s been consistent cooling through the period of record — about 30 years, and it’s misleading to assert any of the ice cap has been lost). Ocean acidification affects surface waters in a few places and could be considered minor, though I don’t know its recent state. I’m not informed about alleged stratospheric cooling.

    Your assertions are at least debatable, and the science on them is not settled as far as I’m concerned. As well, whatever validity they have as observations might establish warming but do not testify to the cause of that warming. All of those things have other potential causes than our CO2 emissions. When you say “loading” the atmosphere with CO2, you reveal a certain bias, because it’s measured in parts per million and is called a trace gas because it’s so hard to detect. Our emissions account for about 0.25% of all the “greenhouse” warming that occurs. That’s not significant and there’s no surprise the IPCC is uncertain about it.

    As far as your comments relate to “scientific predictions”, they may or may not come to pass, but you should not call them evidence until they do, if they do.

    Finally, I want to hear your references of refusals here to “acknowledge this evidence.” I suspect that the refusals relate actually to acknowledging a human cause, not any fact of recent warming, as anyone knows it is true who has glanced at a graph of global temperature during the last 20 years. Though there has been no significant warming, let it be said, for about the last 15 years. But then, we’re discussing that right now, aren’t we? More scientific unsettledness. 🙂

  28. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm said:

    global warming: a natural phenomenon
    sea level rise: a natural phenomenon
    ice cap loss: a natural phenomenon
    stratospheric cooling: a natural phenomenon (AGW cooling depends upon tropospheric warming but it isn’t – no cigar, sorry)
    ocean acidification: a natural phenomenon

    Facts about The Kermadecs

    The Kermadec region is unusual for its mix of tropical and temperate species of crustaceans (crayfish, crabs, prawns and shrimps). Altogether, 88 species of crustacean are known here, of which 17 are known only in the Kermadecs. Some are new to science and some are specialised for Kermadec habitats – for example, two species of ‘vent crabs’ have adapted to survive one of the harshest environments imaginable, including searing temperatures, high acidity and toxic chemicals.

    http://www.thekermadecs.org/the-kermadecs/facts

  29. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm said:

    Mike P, there’s a big problem with this:-

    “…..loading Earth’s atmosphere with anthropogenic CO2 emissions”

    Apparently all the “loading” maintains CO2 at 0.039% of the atmosphere, meanwhile the predominate GHG (water vapour) fluctuates to accommodate the CO2 “loading”. WV is ~0.40% over full atmosphere, typically 1%-4% at surface and total column WV has been declining while CO2 has been rising.

    What has happened then, to the overall GHG effect? There’s no increase in DLR (why’s that?) Could it be that WV levels offset any CO2 level increase in terms of GHG effect?

    See:- The Saturated Greenhouse Effect

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/The_Saturated_Greenhouse_Effect.htm

    Or you could adopt the Ostrich defense strategy. Maybe even a 2nd Wise Monkey approach. But the outcome will not change, AGW is………BUSTED.

  30. Mike Palin on August 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm said:

    The quality your argument leaves me dumbfounded.

  31. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm said:

    Dumbfounded? Is that a variation on the 3rd Wise Monkey approach?

    Care to take your head out of the sand long enough to actually address the argument?

  32. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:

    Mike P (to labour the point),

    The “consequences” that you identify were occurring prior to attribution of anthropogenic influence and the only phenomena that science (late 80s, IPCC AR1) was able to “predict” was post AR1. It would have been a no-brainer at that time to predict global warming for example, at a time when the 70s cooling phase had ended and the planet was in the throws of a warming phase. Equally, predicting sea level to rise when it was rising monotonically does not take a great deal of skill.

    A prediction could have been made in 1990, that the globe would warm and seas would rise based on a correlation with US postal rates and it would have been correct on the face of it – until the turn of the century.

    Those two examples cannot be cast as “consequences” solely as a result of anthropogenic emissions when there was a similar pattern of natural occurrence post LIA. You may be able to propose that there has been an amplification of the natural occurrence (but not with sea level) but you cannot claim the phenomena in entirety to be anthropogenically forced.

    Predictive skill arises when points-of-inflexion in a previously constant trend are successfully predicted. The CO2-forced GCM’s have proven unskillful in this regard as has the AGW hypothesis in general. The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that the apparent 70s – 90s temp/CO2 correlation was misinterpreted i.e. correlation does not prove causation.

    The fall-back position for AGW now seems to be that prolonged periods, even a couple of decades, of trendless climate and even cooling can be expected in “a warming world”. This is the official position of the Ministry for the Environment (Climate Change) communicated to me by Dr Vera Power, Manager, Science and Evaluation. So much for catastrophe.

    An AGW sceptic can equally claim natural attribution to the post LIA “warming world” (even that it’s “undeniable” and “unequivocal”), as they can an expectation of prolonged trendless climate and even cooling. AGW sceptics though, are not one-trick-ponies like AGW proponents; we have a far greater arsenal of climate driver hypotheses and correlations to draw on for explanations of observed phenomena and that includes the predictions by astrophysicists of an impending solar grand minimum based on past events and current understanding of the phenomena involved.

    The old AGW one-trick-pony is looking a bit sway-backed and mangy nowadays and the much vaunted IPCC “gold standard” report now resembles an old tin can – hollow, dented and going rusty. Time to bring in a thoroughbred methinks (sans blinkers of course), with a new set of livery.

  33. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm said:

    BREAKING NEWS, STOP PRESS, HOLD THE BUS, CANCEL ENGAGEMENTS etc.

    Blockbuster: Planetary temperature controls CO2 levels — not humans

    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/blockbuster-planetary-temperature-controls-co2-levels-not-humans/

    Carbon cycle questions

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions/

    Supports my contention that the underlying quadratic trend in temperature leads the rise in CO2 1850 – 2010 (arrived at simply by normalizing and plotting both curves on the same graph).

  34. Mike Palin on August 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm said:

    It is the range of otherwise disparate observations, which you apparently accept, but dispute the origin of, that support the case that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are effecting global climate (and oceanic) change. I am not claiming that such change will be catastrophic (at this point), simply that the phenomena have been observed and that anthropogenic CO2 emissions provide a unifying theory for their cause.

  35. Mike Palin on August 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm said:

    This is embarrassing – for the fellow making the claim. It also shows how little Nova and Curry know about the subject, although Curry admits, “The Earth’s carbon cycle is not a topic on which I have any expertise.”

    Tracing the source of CO2 in the atmosphere is not just about 12C and 13C. Radioactive 14C is important as well. Fossil fuels have no 14C because it all decayed away millions of years ago (14C half-life is 5730 years). Living things – including you and me – contain 14C that is continuously generated in the upper atmosphere (and from above-ground nuclear tests in the 50s and 60s). All CO2 released from respiration or decay of living tissue has 14C in a precise proportion to the 13C/12C ratio. So CO2 generated from fossil fuels can be easily distinguished from that of more recent biologic origin. In fact, atmospheric CO2 has exhibited a decrease in 14C that is exactly balanced by the amount of 14C-dead fossil fuels that have been burnt. Look up “Suess effect” on Wikipedia. Good god, someone give me a (14C-bearing) beer!

  36. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm said:

    Except that the range of disparate observations (I call them key climate metrics) has turned against the hypothesis this century.

    The hypothesis can only become a theory if a sustained period of observations matches faithfully the theorized result. We only have to look as far as the OHC metric (where the greatest amount of heat is by far) to falsify the hypothesis and the GCM simulations (especially Hansen’s GISS ModelE) that employ it.

    That’s one disparate observation down but I’ve got six more to go on my watch list. None of those however are exhibiting the performance expected under the assumption that AGW is a theory i.e. the empirical results of the full scale experiment are not matching the theorized results.

    In other spheres, say an industrial or business environment, the equivalent of the key climate metrics are termed key performance indicators (KPIs). There is no way that a planned operation or process (the AGW theory equivalent) would be allowed to continue in a configuration that returned KPIs that diverged from expectation as much as the real-world climate diverges from AGW theorized and CO2-forced GCM simulated climate does. In management terms KPIs are the feedback in the planning and controlling loop, if managers don’t react immediately to rectify a glitch that the KPIs are communicating to them, they’re not doing their job.

    AGW-based climate science does not act with the same precision, control and rigour. Their approach is: the KPIs haven’t been up to expectations for the last 10 years or so but it doesn’t matter because we “know” our process theory is correct and the KPIs 20 years before that were great. We’ll carry on regardless and report to our stakeholders that everything’s fine, We’ve been surprised by the recent unplanned slump in performance and quality but that’s to be expected from our mode of operation because external factors override the input parameters to our process plan for years on end, even decades. Our process theory though, is our prized asset. We need to stick to it thick or thin, even if that means degradation of our product and unhappy customers. Besides, we’ve got a monopoly so they’ve got no choice anyway.

  37. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm said:

    I have no expertise in the Earth’s carbon cycle either so I’ve duplicated your comment across to JoNova to see if anyone who is will respond accordingly.

    Meantime, from reading the following (from the post at JoNova), I can’t see that your comment is relevant to what Salby is expounding:-
    —————————————————————————————————————————-
    Tom Quirk showed that while most man-made CO2 is released in the Northern Hemisphere, and the southern Hemisphere stations ought to take months to record the rises, instead there did not appear to be any lag… (ie. the major source of the CO2 is global rather than from human activity).

    Over 95% of [man-made emissions of] CO2 has been released in the Northern Hemisphere…

    “A tracer for CO2 transport from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere was provided by 14C created by nuclear weapons testing in the 1950’s and 1960’s.The analysis of 14C in atmospheric CO2 showed that it took some years for exchanges of CO2 between the hemispheres before the 14C was uniformly distributed…

    “If 75% of CO2 from fossil fuel is emitted north of latitude 30 then some time lag might be expected due to the sharp year-to-year variations in the estimated amounts left in the atmosphere. A simple model, following the example of the 14Cdata with a one year mixing time, would suggest a delay of 6 months for CO2 changes in concentration in the Northern Hemisphere to appear in the Southern Hemisphere.

    “A correlation plot of …year on year differences of monthly measurements at Mauna Loa against those at the South Pole [shows]… the time difference is positive when the South Pole data leads the Mauna Loa data. Any negative bias (asymmetry in the plot) would indicate a delayed arrival of CO2 in the Southern Hemisphere.

    “There does not appear to be any time difference between the hemispheres. This suggests that the annual increases [in atmospheric carbon dioxide] may be coming from a global or equatorial source.”

    Tom has done a lot of work on this:

    The constancy of seasonal variations in CO2 and the lack of time delays between the hemispheres suggest that fossil fuel derived CO2 is almost totally absorbed locally in the year it is emitted. This implies that natural variability of the climate is the prime cause of increasing CO2, not the emissions of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels.

    ‘Sources and Sinks of Carbon Dioxide’, by Tom Quirk, Energy and Environment, Volume 20, pages 103-119. http://www.multi-science.co.uk/ee.htm

    More info from Tom Quirk: SOURCES AND SINKS OF CARBON DIOXIDE [17 page PDF]

  38. Alexander K on August 6, 2011 at 4:42 am said:

    Mike Palin is convinced. Nothing can shake his very obvious faith, and he demands that only scientists who ‘matter’ in warmista circles are to be listened to and given credence. It is very sad to see a good mind steeped in toxic nonsense to the point where he displays all the attributes of a classic troll.

  39. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 6:30 am said:

    Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are not a factory floor. Your expectations for what it takes to recognise and deal with risk are truly extraordinary. If your logic had been applied to earthquake risk in Christchurch, building codes would have never been upgraded and many more lives would have been lost.

    But back to the subject of CO2 in the atmosphere, any reason that changes in the rate of rise seem to track economic activity and the price of oil?

  40. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 6:32 am said:

    A troll, a troll!

    Such reasoned conversation.

  41. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 11:40 am said:

    Mike P, let’s try to ratchet up your understanding here:-

    Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are not a factory floor.

    I didn’t say they were. What I describe is the application of a planned process (AGW theory analogy) and the feedback (KPIs) from operation of it (simulated climate system using theory vs actual climate system using observations) and the reaction of mgt to divergence from what was planned (process mgt vs AGW-based climate science mgt).

    The plot (KPI) that Andy put up demonstrates this perfectly:-

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Since20011.jpg

    The divergence between the planned process (Multi Model Mean SRES A1B) from actual performance (13 month smoothed data) should ring alarm bells to the operators (AGW-based climate science).

    Your expectations for what it takes to recognise and deal with risk are truly extraordinary.

    Risk? Now you’ve conflated an entirely different notion (another story that deserves its own thread) with management of a planned process going awry.

    If your logic had been applied to earthquake risk in Christchurch, building codes would have never been upgraded and many more lives would have been lost.

    Again, my logic in this case has nothing to do with seismic risk. It does however have much to do with economic risk (an unnecessary punitive tax) but that is a topic for a different discussion.

    But back to the subject of CO2 in the atmosphere, any reason that changes in the rate of rise seem to track economic activity and the price of oil?

    So what? What’s the problem? The overall greenhouse effect remains the same thanks to hydrologic modulation. CO2 is not a pollutant (non toxic) so relax, there’s many other real toxic nasties being emitted by industry that we need to be concerned with (I know, I live and work in an industrial location) but we are fortunate to have a regulatory regime that keeps on top of that, other countries are not so fortunate or concerned.

    If you want to talk about the economic risk of unnecessary carbon taxes vs an unsubstantiated application of the precautionary principle Mike P, bring it on.

  42. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm said:

    Richard,

    I was born, raised and lived most of my life in the USA – the land of the never-ending tax revolt. It now has the lowest overall tax burden in it’s history. Are you jealous?

  43. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm said:

    “Are you jealous?”

    Not in the slightest, the little problem of USAs maxed out credit card has been in the news lately. Something to do with the need to fund a nonproductive federal system. Similar event occurring in Greece from what I can gather (too many public servants that go on strike at the drop of a hat, not enough people actually producing).

    BTW, I see around 29 USA States reclaiming their sovereignty via the courts, why’s that? Doesn’t seem very “United”.

    I am jealous of USAs reluctance to impose an unnecessary tax on economic activities (as NZ has and AU is proposing) in order to placate a certain sector’s whims, in economic terms an opportunity cost.

    What is the point of imposing an unnecessary tariff on shipping containers carrying our products to overseas markets? Isn’t this the most brain-dead regulation ever devised (leaving aside the “fart” tax for now)?

    And who has modified their driving behaviour in response to a carbon tax on fuel (and who actually knows they are paying it and the flawed reasoning behind it?)?

    I realize that there is a certain amount of political pragmatism involved, there are benefits to be had from acceding to the wishes of the governing bodies of those overseas markets (Air NZ escapes the long arm of the Euro law) but China? India? USA?

  44. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm said:

    Richard,
    You really need to get dump some of that ideological baggage. “Too many public servants that go on strike at the drop of a hat, not enough people actually producing”? The last federal labor union – air-traffic controllers – was busted by Ronnie back in the 80s. In the meantime, there have been 3 undeclared wars that broke the bank. But in a way you are correct, after all the military are “public servants” and they certainly “strike at the drop of a hat”.

  45. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm said:

    “You really need to get dump some of that ideological baggage”

    I travel light, “Too many public servants that go on strike at the drop of a hat, not enough people actually producing” was in respect to Greece.

    “….there have been 3 undeclared wars that broke the bank”

    And “stimulus packages”.

    “….after all the military are “public servants” and they certainly “strike at the drop of a hat”.

    Mike, I find the USA fascinating and dichotomic and have both affinity and aversion myself since reading “The Ugly American” at an early age, watching the “strike[s] at the drop of a hat”, touring there and studying cases of American business, financial markets and their domestic and international affairs etc.

    The rest of the world benefit a great deal from USA and take for granted free, ready access to data that their space and science programs accumulate, but I don’t. I’m extremely grateful that the American taxpayer has footed the bill for it and is generous enough to share it with the rest of the world.

    The US military-industrial machine is something that boggles my mind (I think military spending is 60% of the budget) and to be honest I don’t know the economic rationale but I get the impression that USA needs wars to sustain it. What seems to have happened is that they have indulged in war overload and are maintaining confrontations that they can’t afford and are out of proportion to the industrial spinoffs that the military generate. NZ company Rakon is one of those that benefit by providing components for cruise missile guidance systems. GPS surveying is another example thanks to Clinton (I think) releasing it from military-only use.

    Meanwhile China is quietly building a formidable fighting force. I’m amazed that USA has not slapped tariffs on Chinese imports to make up for their pegged exchange rate advantage that has been the root of their massive investments. The US pings NZ sheep meat and steel I think (probably more) but why? The US professes free market but when it comes to the crunch practices protection.

    It also runs on coal and so does China. What sense does it make for USA to inhibit economic growth using their massive natural resource by shutting down coal-fired power stations at a time when they really need the growth and China is all gung-ho with coal. Would it not be more sensible to shutdown old stations but replace them with the latest coal technology (China has stolen a march there)?. Wouldn’t that satisfy all sectors?

    Same goes for AU and NZ, there’s no way you can raise steam (dairy industry) from wind. There’s been giant strides in the treatment of flue emissions (think Kinleith) that resource management agencies are happy to see implemented and society trusts will protect them from harm, so why kill the goose that lays the golden egg?

  46. Mike Palin on August 7, 2011 at 3:16 am said:

    Richard C,
    I share your mixed feelings of my birthplace. For me, the bad – military adventurism and religious fundamentalism – has drowned out the good aspects you note.

  47. Alexander K on August 7, 2011 at 4:42 am said:

    Mike P, looking back over this thread, you have constantly changed the topic rather than sensibly respond to questions. As a tactic, it is not terribly original as most young children, who generally see themselves as the centre of the universe and correct about everything, do it when they are found to be in error, but frustrating when one is dealing with an adult believer. It is obvious your faith transcends your reason and I am sorry for you, but I cannot be bothered continuing this pointless discussion with you..

  48. Mike Palin on August 7, 2011 at 10:11 am said:

    AK, I agree. Although I seem to be able to engage in reasonably rational discourse with some here, with you, it has been pointless.

  49. Richard C (NZ) on August 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm said:

    Lifted this from the JoNova comments thread:-
    —————————————————————————————————————————-
    There is a new comment on the post “Blockbuster: Planetary temperature controls CO2 levels — not humans”.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/blockbuster-planetary-temperature-controls-co2-levels-not-humans/

    Author: AllanMRMacRae
    Comment:
    Coincidentally, I wrote this note to Roy Spencer and Danny Braswell on July 28, 2011.

    Hi Roy and Danny,

    Congrats on your recent paper “On the Misdiagnosis Of Surface Temperature Feedbacks From Variations In Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” By Spencer and Braswell 2011.
    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/8/1603/

    Roy, you may recall we corresponded in early 2008 on this subject, and we both wrote papers on the subject. Mine is at
    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/carbon_dioxide_in_not_the_primary_cause_of_global_warming_the_future_can_no/

    While I am not certain, I still really wonder if the mainstream debate (human fossil fuel combustion primarily drives atmospheric CO2, which primarily drives temperature – the two camps just argue about how much warming will result) is mostly wrong.

    I think there is more real-world data to suggest that temperature primarily drives atmospheric CO2, not the reverse, although it is possible that humanmade CO2 emissions have a significant influence (or not).

    I realize that putting forward such a heretical hypothesis is high-risk, tin-foil hat stuff. Nevertheless, it would not surprise me if this becomes the conventional wisdom in less than a decade.

    Best, Allan MacRae

    Regrettably, I cannot upload the podcase of Dr. Salby’s paper, so cannot comment.

    Summary of my paper:

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Carbon Dioxide in Not the Primary Cause of Global Warming: The Future Can Not Cause the Past
    Paper by Allan M.R. MacRae, Calgary Alberta Canada

    Despite continuing increases in atmospheric CO2, no significant global warming occurred in the last decade, as confirmed by both Surface Temperature and satellite measurements in the Lower Troposphere. Contrary to IPCC fears of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, Earth may now be entering another natural cooling trend. Earth Surface Temperature warmed approximately 0.7 degrees Celsius from ~1910 to ~1945, cooled ~0.4 C from ~1945 to ~1975, warmed ~0.6 C from ~1975 to 1997, and has not warmed significantly from 1997 to 2007.

    CO2 emissions due to human activity rose gradually from the onset of the Industrial Revolution, reaching ~1 billion tonnes per year (expressed as carbon) by 1945, and then accelerated to ~9 billion tonnes per year by 2007. Since ~1945 when CO2 emissions accelerated, Earth experienced ~22 years of warming, and ~40 years of either cooling or absence of warming.

    The IPCC’s position that increased CO2 is the primary cause of global warming is not supported by the temperature data. In fact, strong evidence exists that disproves the IPCC’s scientific position. This UPDATED paper and Excel spreadsheet show that variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration lag (occur after) variations in Earth’s Surface Temperature by ~9 months. The IPCC states that increasing atmospheric CO2 is the primary cause of global warming – in effect, the IPCC states that the future is causing the past. The IPCC’s core scientific conclusion is illogical and false.

    There is strong correlation among three parameters: Surface Temperature (“ST”), Lower Troposphere Temperature (“LT”) and the rate of change with time of atmospheric CO2 (“dCO2/dt”). For the time period of this analysis, variations in ST lead (occur before) variations in both LT and dCO2/dt, by ~1 month. The integral of dCO2/dt is the atmospheric concentration of CO2 (“CO2”).
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    CO2 seems to be a retroactive “backforcing”.

  50. Richard C (NZ) on August 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm said:

    Which Causes which out of Atmospheric Temperature and CO2 content?

    Posted on 2011/06/23 by Ray Tomes Cycles Research Institute

    http://cyclesresearchinstitute.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/which-causes-which-out-of-atmospheric-temperature-and-co2-content/

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