Our children’s world – don’t touch

Abandoned houses

We voice some counter-arguments to the mythical and ideological “pristine state” nonsense advanced by extreme environmentalists to prevent exploitation of natural resources. Then we show how much we agree with the environmental Taleban.


They compare every change to imagined past conditions of “perfection” and their policy proposals are aimed at returning to that pristine state.

It’s nuts, really. Just a moment’s reflection shows how idiotic it is, for the welfare of our children, to avoid changing the world, and instead attempt to pass on to them a world unchanged, still pristine — a fragile wilderness in all its untouched splendour. How wonderful. How sentimental. How useless.

For that is precisely what the Inuit, the Bushmen, the Maori and the Korowai, of New Guinea, along with all other primitive peoples, actively practised for thousands of years until more advanced races happened along.

Because nothing changed, there were no improvements. There was no modern medicine, no engineering breakthroughs, no good dentistry, no deep knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy or metallurgy. The history of most tribes was unreliable, as they had no writing. They hadn’t invented the wheel, so even land vehicles were unavailable.

No pristine state left

Those limitations didn’t stop them from destroying native forest by fire and making many creatures extinct by killing them for food or fashion, it just took them longer than it would take now.

Our grandparents didn’t leave the world in a pristine state for us, nor did theirs for them. If we extend that argument logically, we should still be living in caves, and the caves should be in exactly the same state as when they were first occupied.

But, since parents all want a better world for their children, we really can’t leave it the same, can we?

Our extreme environmentalists are fond of praising the natural environment, but they’re not alone. Reasonable people admire the world and appreciate the resources it gives for our welfare and our pleasure without hankering for a dream of the past. There’s nothing wrong with the unity, it’s just the policy that’s wrong.

Changing the world needn’t make it worse. In fact, it frequently gets better. Mining iron and smelting steel produces unpleasant holes in the ground, noise, irritating or noxious fumes, toxic fluids and waste deposits, but the availability of steel allows for sea defences, dramatic flood prevention works, bridges and machines.

We improve agriculture, introduce universal education and wage war to crush the vandals who wantonly destroy and pillage the constructions of the educated. Some of them are called skinheads. As society becomes prosperous, citizens begin to insist on cleaning up the mess that’s been made because nobody likes living in a mess. With our help the earth soon recovers; it’s tremendously forgiving.

Maintaining and improving the natural environment requires the use of natural resources developed by human ingenuity. The modern chemicals, materials, machines and processes we create, used with insight and kindness, let us get more from nature with less damage.

The motive at our heart

We call ourselves humanity, which has come to mean an emotion and a purpose that sets us unmistakably apart from other animals, regardless of how strongly modern biology teaches us that we’re animals first, last and always. In other words, we have no dimension but physical. No law, no ethics, no religion. You’d almost think we had no language.

It’s been so successful that even here at the Climate Conversation, in this liberal air, I expect opposition to “religion” – it’s now so deeply misunderstood.

But our species name – “humanity” – also exposes the authentic harmony with Nature required in demonstrating humanity – a true harmony; unambiguous and beyond simulation.

It’s not possible to be fully human by somehow withdrawing from Nature, by some incredible separation. For to be human means to be everything.

Now there’s a religious concept.

Visits: 553

59 Thoughts on “Our children’s world – don’t touch

  1. I am not sure plastering your country in 30,000 wind turbines is leaving the world in a pristine state.

    Some of the pictures you can see from my tumblr site http://windmad.tumblr.com
    Gareth snipped links I posted from this site, claiming they were “misrepresentative”

    I suppose they are, when the UK only has a tenth of the turbines proposed for the country.

    • I am not sure plastering your country in 30,000 wind turbines is leaving the world in a pristine state.

      I agree. The idea’s impossible. The extremists carefully choose which “perfect” bits to bequeath.

      claiming they were “misrepresentative”

      Heh, heh. Gareth talks sense occasionally.

    • Within 10 years, every single Munro (3000ft hill) in Scotland will look over a windfarm. Scotland will have destroyed its iconic landscape for no environmental or economic benefit whatsoever.

      The interesting thing is that I am not allowed to post pictures of rare and endangered birds kills by birdchoppers, because they are “mis-representative”, yet how many Polar Bears do you see on any article about “global warming”, and how is their population doing exactly?

      I suppose when the “Environmentalist” position is based entirely on hypocrisy and lying, then it is not to be surprised

    • Andy on 27/01/2013 at 8:42 am said:

      James Lovelock, of Gaia theory fame, has written a long letter to his local council objecting to wind farms in the area.


      Also, a convoy of truckers trying to deliver wind turbines to Scotland have been stuck in the snow for a week near Dundee


    • Andy on 27/01/2013 at 10:40 am said:

      And the Irish are excelling themselves by building hundreds of 600 feet hi turbines across its countryside.

      They are building them on peat bogs, so as a result will emit more CO2 than they will ever save, not to mention the issue of keeping a six hundred foot tower standing in a peat bog.

      Why do they build them so big, one might ask. Because it is a relatively windless area.

      Only in Ireland


  2. Australis on 22/01/2013 at 12:08 am said:

    We are told we should leave iron, copper, lead, coal, gas, etc in the ground for our grandchildren rather than digging them up for selfish wealth creation. It is a matter of inter generational equity.

    But if it is wrong for us to use the earth’s resources won’t it also be wrong for our grandchildren. They, too, will be urged to leave everything be for the benefit of their grandchildren … and so ad infinitum.

    We are so much better off in consequence of our grandparents having the initiative and resolve to convert resources into wealth (infrastructure, education, inventions, etc) which we inherited.

  3. Alexander K on 22/01/2013 at 10:40 am said:

    Why are intelligent and well-educated folk even considering this topic as fit for discussion?
    More hubristic nonsense from the incredibly silly Gaia-worshippers.

    • If we don’t reject it, who will?

    • Obama will sort it out.

      He is the messiah. He will “take action on climate change” and empower our “gay brothers and sisters”.

      No mention of the $16 trillion debt, but heh?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 8:53 am said:

      Specifically on climate change:-

      “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”


      The second sentence is a non sequitur. The only phenomenon that he (or his speech writer) presents as evidence of the “overwhelming judgment of science” of climate change that could be attributed to humans is “more” powerful storms but where’s the evidence for “more” powerful storms let alone “overwhelming” evidence for human cause?

      So although in my case I may dispute (not “deny”) “the overwhelming judgment of science”, I certainly don’t dispute, deny or avoid “the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and […] powerful storms”.

      Climate change in Obama’s world is just a statement of normality except one highly questionable state ascribed to storms – “more powerful”.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 9:03 am said:

      TVNZ has regurgitated a Reuters article full of the usual rubbish:-

      ‘Climate change the star of inauguration show’


      No commenting unfortunately.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 9:18 am said:

      Dellingpole has spotted the same disconnect and junk science as above:-

      “The second sentence is a devious combination of the junk factoid and the non sequitur.”


    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 9:29 am said:


      “What Obama is presumably trying to slip into that weasel sentence is the notion that “science” is overwhelmingly of the view that raging fires, crippling drought and more powerful storms are increasing as a result of “climate change” (note incidentally how he’s careful not to say whether or not it is man-made, thus enabling him to cover all eventualities). But if this is the case, I’d dearly love to see the evidence that this is a) anthropogenic b) controllable or c)historically unprecedented. Certainly, according to this graph at Watts Up With That?, there is nothing particular weird or alarming about recent weather activity. On an index of “Extreme Weather” in the US since 1910, last year – 2012 – ranks a very modest 54th.

      Still, for all that, I applaud the President’s chutzpah and ingenuity. If you want to expand the size of government as much as he obviously does, there’s really no better way than to declare war on reality. Reality is a slippery foe; it has many heads – and no sooner have you cut off one than a thousand more grow in its place; it’s everywhere, at all times, and there’s no escaping it, meaning you have to mobilise unimaginably large resources if you are to have a hope of defeating it. Which, of course, you never will. Obama’s glorious war on reality will be a war without end. Bad luck, America.”

      # # #

      The case for big federal centralized government in Obama’s speech was here:-

      “Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

      But we have always understood that when times change, so must we;”


    • The NYT is ramping up the hype, presumably capitalising on the speech

      “The Climate Change Endgame”
      by the amusingly named James Lovejoy

      WHETHER in Davos or almost anywhere else that leaders are discussing the world’s problems, they are missing by far the biggest issue: the rapidly deteriorating global environment and its ability to support civilization.

      The situation is pretty much an endgame. Unless pressing issues of the biology of the planet and of climate change generated by greenhouse gas emissions are addressed with immediacy and at appropriate scale, the matters that occupy Davos discussions will be seen in retrospect as largely irrelevant



    • ““the overwhelming judgment of science”
      sounds very Biblical to me.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 9:56 am said:

      >”the overwhelming judgment of science” sounds very Biblical to me.

      Biblical or Papal decree?

      ‘Papal Condemnation (Sentence) of Galileo (June 22, 1633)’


      Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vaincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615 denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves, and also with a diurnal motion; for having disciples to whom you taught the same doctrine; for holding correspondence with certain mathematicians of Germany concerning the same; for having printed certain letters, entitled “On the Sunspots,” wherein you developed the same doctrine as true; and for replying to the objections from the Holy Scriptures, which from time to time were urged against it, by glossing the said Scriptures according to your own meaning: and whereas there was thereupon produced the copy of a document in the form of a letter, purporting to be written by you to one formerly your disciple, and in this divers propositions are set forth, following the position of Copernicus, which are contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture:


      And in order that this your grave and pernicious error and transgression may not remain altogether unpunished and that you may be more cautious in the future and an example to others that they may abstain from similar delinquencies, we ordain that the book of the “Dialogues of Galileo Galilei” be prohibited by public edict.

      We condemn you to the formal prison of this Holy office during our pleasure, and by way of salutary penance we enjoin that for three years to come you repeat once a week at the seven penitential Psalms. Reserving to ourselves liberty to moderate, commute or take off, in whole or in part, the aforesaid penalties and penance.

      And so we say, pronounce, sentence, declare, ordain, and reserve in this and in any other better way and form which we can and may rightfully employ.


      F. Cardinal of Ascoli
      B. Cardinal Gessi
      G. Cardinal Bentivoglio
      F. Cardinal Verospi
      Fr. D. Cardinal of Cremona
      M. Cardinal Ginetti
      Fr. Ant. s Cardinal of. S. Onofrio

      [Three judges did not sign the sentence: Francesco Barberini, Caspar Borgia, and Laudivio Zacchia.]
      Source: Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo (University of Chicago Press 1955), pp. 306-310.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 10:05 am said:

      >”the overwhelming judgment of science” sounds very Biblical to me.

      ‘Obama Brings God Into the Climate-Change Fight’


      “If Obama were just paying lip service to climate change to please his backers on the left—as he has sometimes been accused of doing—the reference to “science” would have been quite sufficient. By bringing in God, he’s attempting to reframe the issue as one that transcends not only partisanship but the divide between those who believe in science and those who doubt science but believe in God. Left or right, atheist or creationist—either way, Obama is saying, we’ve got to do something.”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 11:03 am said:


      “That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God”

      Hmmm, “preserve”? “commanded to our care”? Here’s a synopsis of the theological problem with that:-

      ……..we’ll start “in the beginning”, looking at what Genesis has to say about the environment. I’ve written before about what Genesis 2 has to say about taking care of creation. The truth is, though, that most people don’t care what Genesis 2 has to say. Most people in modern western industrial civilization have heard a lot more about Genesis 1:28: “God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth‘” (NRSV). This is the verse that people will frequently, and with good intentions, cite in describing how we are called to relate to the environment.

      First the word “subdue”. In Hebrew this is kabash. You can’t get around it; it does mean “subdue” or “enslave”, and even in the harshest instances “molest” or “rape.” But here’s the catch: it only means this when the party being subdued is already hostile.


      What the theologians don’t tell you in their interpretation of Genesis is that at the other end of the bible, environment care of the earth we know – what is simply just sensible – is somewhat moot for “future generations”:-

      Revelation 21:1
      And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

      That’s at least a thousand years off at the end of the millennium according to Revelation. Before the millennium though, bad things happen to this earth:-

      Revelation 6 (KJV)
      12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

      13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

      14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

      # # #

      If I were a Democrat or environmental activist, I would stay well away from invoking God or anything biblical to support my cause because there’s not much “preserving” to point to there.

      The Evangelical-Environmental voter block that Obama is pandering to doesn’t like to spent too much time on that biblical fine print. It doesn’t fit the pristine earth concept.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/01/2013 at 1:05 pm said:

      Also inherent in “…our planet, commanded to our care by God” is belief in divine creation (not to mention divine destruction). I’m sure there is some unease among secular evolution-aligned Democrats over that element of the speech.

      Not that Democrats, Leftists, Evangelical-enviros (think Hayhoe), and Obamaphiles-but-secular-evolutionists will highlight the incompatibility of course.

      A little unfair because similar inconsistencies could be found in Republican/Conservative positions. Republican President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1953 inauguration speech makes an interesting comparison to Obama’s:-


      “At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers. It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws.

      This faith defines our full view of life. It establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man’s inalienable rights, and that make all men equal in His sight.”

      “Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, the power to erase human life from this planet.”

      “Oceans and land and sky are avenues for our colossal commerce.”

      “Love of liberty means the guarding of every resource that makes freedom possible—from the sanctity of our families and the wealth of our soil to the genius of our scientists.”

      Less policy more principle than Obama but similar in many ways, Obama’s infinite “Today we continue a never-ending journey” wasn’t as timeless back then “The world and we have passed the midway point of a century of continuing challenge” .

      Climate change wasn’t a specter in 1953 either.

    • “betraying our children” would also include reckless government spending that consigns those children to a life of poverty, as will happen when they start printing their way out of this mess.

  4. California Girl on 22/01/2013 at 12:20 pm said:

    Well I just think that, wow, … I just love nature. I love animals and everything too. I also don’t peel potatoes or pour the potato water down the drain. Someone told me that every cell needs to be loved, so I try to love everything. And I love being in the forest. But not in winter. I don’t like burning firewood so I turn on the heat pump in winter because it’s better for you know, the environment and everything. Because burning wood puts too much carbon into the air and like, global warming is just crazy. Like wow man what about our grandchildren?

  5. Andy on 23/01/2013 at 9:29 pm said:

    New textbook via Springer on Climate Change, suitable for undergrads

    Written bupy John Cook and Tom Farmer


    Unlike most conventiwl textbooks, however, there is a special chapter on denial. Ie those that deny the consensus on climate change.

    Students can learn how to spot a denier, talk to him ( they are almost invariably male, white and middle aged) .
    students will learn how to ridicule the denier, use patronizing and abusive laguage, etc.

    I just made the last bit up but you get the drift.

  6. Alexander K on 24/01/2013 at 4:01 pm said:

    Americans don’t seem too overtly religious individually, but as a group their knee-jerk reaction to anything of import is to reach for the God stuff.
    It is very difficult for Kiwis, who have a fairly open and liberal view of religious matters (even those among us who have a genuine religious belief), to understand how religious concepts hold sway in Main Street, USA.
    In my view, Obama is not overly religious, he is just enunciating clearly that religious fear is an ever-present factor in American life and politics, no matter how strange those views sound to most Kiwis. Americans would not understand him if he did not express the ideas that he has thus far.

    • Mike Jowsey on 24/01/2013 at 5:16 pm said:

      Imagine there’s no heaven,
      It’s easy if you try.
      No hell below us,
      above us only sky.

      Imagine there’s no countries
      It isn’t hard to do
      Nothing to kill or die for
      And no religion too.

      Imagine no global warming
      It’s clear if you look
      No need to carbon tax us
      No need to cook the books

      (apologies to Lennon)

  7. Richard C (NZ) on 25/01/2013 at 9:33 am said:

    Bjorn Lomborg: Climate-Change Misdirection

    For starters, let’s address the three horsemen of the climate apocalypse that Mr. Obama mentioned.

    Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that even with global warming proceeding uninterrupted, the level of wildfires will continue to decline until around midcentury and won’t resume on the level of 1950—the worst for fire—before the end of the century.

    Claiming that droughts are a consequence of global warming is also wrong. The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.” The U.N. Climate Panel in 2012 concluded: “Some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”

    As for one of the favorites of alarmism, hurricanes in recent years don’t indicate that storms are getting worse. Measured by total energy (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), hurricane activity is at a low not encountered since the 1970s. The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest absence of severe landfall hurricanes in over a century—the last Category 3 or stronger storm was Wilma, more than seven years ago.



  8. A nice example from Tallbloke on how to mislead the public (with respect to solar cycles and Boris Johnson’s recent comments about the “ice age”)


    • Richard C (NZ) on 25/01/2013 at 1:46 pm said:

      Haigh is spamming drivel every time solar needs a put-down. I’ve seen that latest snippet in other places and so has Scute at TallBlokes:-

      Scute says:
      January 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this letter from Haigh is one of her desktop icons because she’s clicking and sending it out elsewhere, probably all over the net……….


      Also from Scute,

      Haigh is a serial offender. She has been at it before, quite recently, when she weighed into the Alec Rawls AR5 leak along with Stephen Sherwood. They set up straw men so as to whisk Rawls’ cogent arguments on the GCR-cloud link into a vortex of spin


      Here is Rawls’ summary in that blog post [at WUWT]:

      “Sherwood and Haigh are flat lying to the public………

      # # #

      “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 25/01/2013 at 6:39 pm said:

      Haigh was repeating what she said to The Carbon Brief:-

      “….actually the Sun is more active now than it has been since 2009, and about the same as it was in 2004 and 1998”


      A reliable go-to for Carbon Brief writer “fact-checks” along with Stott and Rapley apparently:-

      Our writers

      Christian Hunt heads up Carbon Brief and writes about science and energy in the media. He previously worked as an editor for Greenpeace and as a researcher for the Public Interest Research Centre. He holds an MA in Conflict Resolution, and a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of York.

      Robin Webster covers energy policy and analysis. She holds an MSc in Conservation from University College London (UCL) and previously studied biology at Bristol University. She worked for Friends of the Earth for six and half years, including as a Senior Campaigner on Climate and Energy, and has worked as a freelance environmental researcher.

      Ros Donald covers energy and politics. She holds an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the London School of Oriental and African Studies. She specialised in global energy and climate policy, applying advocacy network theory analysis to understanding policy formation in her dissertation. She has five years’ experience as a competition law journalist and analyst.

      Dr Roz Pidcock writes about new research in the climate sciences and media coverage of climate change. She has a PhD in physical oceanography from the University of Southampton. Her research examined how the complex three-dimensional circulation in mesoscale eddies – the ocean equivalent of atmospheric storms – supplies the surface of the ocean with nutrients, which drives an important part of the marine carbon cycle.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/01/2013 at 9:28 am said:

      Reply to article: Piers Corbyn: Bishop of warmist delusion called in to attack Boris

      Piers Corbyn says: “Prof Joanna Haigh, head of Physics of Imperial College and a leading Bishop of the CO2 warmistas religion, has made misleading statememts in the Telegraph (link below) which are easily refutable by any student in Imperial College Physics1.

      One might find it curious (but I don’t) that she finds the time to attack a politician for seeking a more open approach on the issue yet was unable to find the time to walk 100 yards to actually debate by invitation the matters at our WeatherAction – Climate Realists conference which included international speakers by video links and was attended by the BBC, in Imperial College October 2009 (the first Climate Fools Day event).

      In The Telegraph she misleadingly implies Boris Johnson believes in a direct correspondence between solar activity amounts and London weather and then says he should be wary of drawing such conclusions – which he has never drawn. [There is of course a complex yet predictable relationship between modulated solar activity and weather patterns]. She knows and Telegraph readers (whom she takes for stupid) know that Boris made it clear he cannot comment on science details but has seen WeatherAction forecasts, which he receives on a regular basis, succeed again and again and again and is simply saying WeatherAction should be listened to, especially because of the economic implications of any coming mini ice age.

      WeatherAction being listened to is the Co2 warmistas great fear because it would bring in a new age of enlightenment of evidence-based science and poltics and would end the corruption of science expressed by the stranglehold of CO2 warmistas on UK schools and academia from year one in Primary schools to the Royal Society (a door upon which Prof Haigh is knocking).

      She claims Greenhouse gases are driving world warming and “We dont need to invoke mysterious solar particles to understand long term trends”. As any student in IC Physics1 (and I along with Brian May was such in 1965) will point out her CO2 claims are negated by observational fact and it is only solar activity including magnetic sun-earth connection that can explain the ~22yr – the strongest of all – variation in world temperatures and other climate parameters. Further the longer term observed correlation between smoothed solar activity and world temperatures is well known and has never been refuted.

      I challenge Joanna Haigh to:

      1. Produce observational evidence with real observed data (or accepted proxies thereof) from the last hundreds, thousands or million years that CO2 changes in the real atmosphere drive world temperature changes.

      2. Produce observational evidence and physics-based argument that refute our knowledge that the ~22yr cycle of variation in World temperatures is driven by the ~22yr magnetic (‘Hale’) cycle of the Sun


      Haigh’s letter to Telegraph re Boris commentary:-


    • Mike Jowsey on 27/01/2013 at 11:31 pm said:

      (a door upon which Prof Haigh is knocking).

      Yup, just follow the money, prestige, calling or all three.

      BTW, I have been reading C. Monckton’s
      Expert Reviewer’s Comments on the Second-Order Draft
      of the Contribution of the Climate Science Working Group
      (WG1) to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5, 2013)
      of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


  9. Andy on 26/01/2013 at 8:32 am said:

    Fascinating post at BH for the maths geek, on priors in climate sensitivity.


    In short, many papers on CS are high balling values for CS because they use an inappropriate stats technique.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/01/2013 at 10:23 am said:

      And that’s taking place at RC – not turning out well for gavin. Wonder if it will be resolved for AR5 final or we’ll get the BH outcome?

      Just shows what happens when outsiders take a look at climate science goings on. This issue was largely resolved by Jeffreys 1930 – 1946 from what I can gather from Steve Jewson.

      BTW, the next post is just as interesting:-



      “”The Earth’s mean temperature rose sharply during the 1990s. This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity.

      We are most likely witnessing natural fluctuations in the climate system – changes that can occur over several decades – and which are coming on top of a long-term warming. The natural changes resulted in a rapid global temperature rise in the 1990s, whereas the natural variations between 2000 and 2010 may have resulted in the levelling off we are observing now.”


      “I wonder how much more evidence we need of low climate sensitivity before policymakers are forced to take notice?”

      And what if the “long-term warming” has peaked?

  10. Andy on 26/01/2013 at 8:12 pm said:

    Al Gore has a new book out.

    the Future, Six Drivers of Global Change


    Strangely I don’t see any mention of climate change. Did I miss it?

  11. Richard C (NZ) on 29/01/2013 at 8:20 pm said:

    Much confusion at Hot Topic re ‘Slaying the Skydragon’ e.g.:-

    Gareth January 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    As far as I can tell, the Skydragon “position” seems to be that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, but each Skydragon has a different idea about why that is the case. You might want to consult that most voluminous of commenters at Treadgold’s place, because he seems to have swallowed that nonsense wholesale.


    Unbelievably clueless about the spectrum of “sceptic” understanding of climate and radiative energy transfer but wrt Gareth’s comment specifically, one look at the title should tell Gareth that the Skydragon is enhanced GHE and those subscribing to the book “position” are known as “Slayers” and not Skydragons for what should be obvious reasons.

    For the record, I haven’t “swallowed that nonsense wholesale” as Gareth erroneously believes because although I subscribe to a number of concepts common to the Slayers I certainly don’t subscribe in toto. I’m persuaded by the experimentally verified properties of atmospheric gases commonly and conventionally but fallaciously referred to as “greenhouse” gasses as determined in this paper for example:-


    N. Lallemant*, A. Sayret and R. Weber


    Found in this thread at CCG starting with this paper:-

    R. VISKANTA and M. P. MENGO, 1987


    None of this will ever be found in climate science and will be unheard of at Hot Topic. That experimental work gives rise to this graph by Professor John Eggert:-


    The following might be helpful to resolve the confusion (most commented at luke-warm JoNova), [I’ve added a my contra views]:-

    A discussion of the Slaying the Sky Dragon science: Is the Greenhouse Effect a Sky Dragon Myth?


    * The atmosphere is warmed primarily by conduction, not by radiation; and so the major atmospheric gases (nitrogen and oxygen) are more likely to warm the trace IR-absorbing gases than visa-versa. The major gases also absorb and emit some IR radiation. [this omits top-down warming of water vapour by incoming solar]

    * The IR-absorbing gases simply scatter IR radiation or otherwise pass any absorbed energy on immediately. [after thermalisation]

    * These trace gases absorb more solar radiation than OLR and thus cool Earth’s surface; so they are not greenhouse gases; it is water vapour that makes tropical rainforests cooler than tropical deserts.

    * The glass on a greenhouse works only by limiting convection, not by back-radiation.

    * There is no such thing as back-radiation (no empirical evidence for it) and the postulated recycling of energy between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere is a non-physical ‘amplification’. [A negligible effect by a very uncertain source in my view. Spectroscopy of water here http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/water/gif/hale73.gif Effect is determined by EM radiation-material “tuning”]

    * Atmospheric IR radiation cannot affect Earth’s surface temperature because heat cannot flow from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer surface in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

    * Every planet with an atmosphere has a surface temperature higher than predicted; and the surface temperature of such planets rises in direct proportion to atmospheric pressure.

    * The lapse rate (declining temperature with altitude) is determined by gravity and the specific heat of the atmospheric gases, not by their ability to absorb IR radiation.

    * The GHE is supposed to increase lapse rates, but Earth’s lapse rate (6.5K/km) is lower than predicted (9.8K/km), so the greenhouse theory is wrong.

    * Since emissions occur at the TOA at a mean altitude of 5km (where it is -18⁰C), the lapse rate alone explains the fact that Earth’s effective blackbody temperature is 33⁰C below its surface temperature (15⁰C).

    * Based on a surface emissivity of ‘about 0.7’, a GHE is not needed to balance Earth’s energy budget.

    * Averaging Earth’s energy budget over day and night in flat earth climate models is fundamentally flawed, and this invalidates all climate models.

    * Human emissions of CO2 are not a problem since more than 98% is absorbed within a year. [I don’t know anything about this]

    * Historically, temperature rises precede atmospheric CO2 increases; so global warming produces more CO2, released from warming oceans, never the opposite.

    * Increased geo-nuclear activity is warming the oceans from below and causing global warming. [Not my view in toto but the clueless say it is of course, I’m only interested in seismically active climate-critical areas at 2500m depth]

    * Global temperatures have been going down rapidly. [Down since about 2002 but not rapidly]

    * The critical issue is not climate sensitivity (to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels) or how much global warming is due to CO2, because none of it is.

    * There is no empirical evidence for a GHE but ample evidence against it, as provided in SSD and at their website: Principia Scientific International.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 29/01/2013 at 8:42 pm said:

      Also had a chuckle at the Hot Topicers suddenly finding themselves uncomfortably close to Monckton (not to mention their not understanding Andy’s mode of reasoning either).

      It’s taken them a while to figure it out but the situation seems to be sinking in at long last. They’ve been so busy denigrating that they haven’t got around to actually considering what he’s on about.

      Must be an unsettling discovery for them.

    • Andy on 30/01/2013 at 7:29 am said:

      My comment at SkS on climate sensitivity seems to have fallen on deaf ears too


      Plus my remarks on why methane is a non problem at HT gets snipped, so I then go on to suggest a way to solve this non problem is to kill all our cattle, and I am congratulated.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 30/01/2013 at 8:43 am said:

      Dana’s SkS post equates quantity of CS papers with quality. The suggestion is that the quantity is spurious because statistical quality is in question. That deflates Dana’s bubble so I’ll be surprised if there’s any response Andy.

      A difficult situation to address without giving those CS issues an airing (they wouldn’t want that) but they’ll have to confront them eventually. I suspect though that as with the IPCC the lid will be firmly on anything that erodes high CS for as long as possible.

      Would be interesting to read subsequent internal SkS communications as to how to deal with your comment Andy.

    • The comments at HT are getting more bizarre since I dared to mention the Hansenite “pause” in warming.

      Apparently I deny the causal link between our consumer society and the hot house planet that will ensue because of my (non-existent) Act party allegiance.

      Unfortunately, any replies (which are pointless anyway) are in moderation.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2013 at 8:48 am said:

      Don’t mention the stand-still Andy, it’s not happening at Hot Topic.

      Bizarre from what I can see in the contortions required to sustain AGW: GAT stand-still isn’t a measure of “warming” and Hansen wasn’t referring to 16 yrs stand-still in temperature-only anyway, there’s “plenty” of other metrics to show accumulating heat – apparently.

      The fall-back is ice mass loss (how is that proof of continuing anthro heat “accumulation”?) and OHC but the IPCC hasn’t established an anthro mechanism for OHC rise that is only now occurring 700 – 2000. There’s a shorter standstill 0 – 700 similar to GAT in the NCDC OHC dataset but no mention of that.

      Gareth’s recourse to models is a desperate stretch too. The now redundant AR4 ensemble “covers” the (out-of-date) GAT trajectory apparently, and because someone noticed the UK Met downgrade sceptics now regard HadGEM3 as “reliable”.

      There’ll be plenty more of this over the next 5 yrs so I suppose we should get used to it and enjoy it while we can (I’m alluding to the disparity between 3 C ECS/HT/SkS contortions and the new-found near-realism of UK Met and sensibility by the likes of Judith Curry re natural variation and cycles).

    • I am still trying to figure out how paleo evidence is used to “validate” models. I am sure there is some circular reasoning in there somewhere

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2013 at 9:15 am said:

      I tried to get my head around that but gave up. Even got as far as the Annan and Hargreaves abstract but no joy except for:-

      “When instead reasonable assumptions are made………”


      Might read the entire paper when I get the inclination.

    • From that abstract

      We show that the popular choice of a uniform prior has unacceptable properties and cannot be reasonably considered to generate meaningful and usable results

      yet many papers on CS use a uniform prior. Furthermore, Forster and Gregory had a uniform prior applied by the IPCC after publication of the paper.

      In general terms, a prior assumption was made that CS had an equal probability of being being any value between 0 and 18.5 degrees C. This then increased the central estimate of CS and increased the “volume” of the tail of the original work by F&G, whose CS value came out at around 1 degree or so.

      (as reported by Nic Lewis)

      So the IPCC are applying invalid techniques that are deemed invalid by papers that they cite

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2013 at 2:03 pm said:

      No takers at SkS yet.

      Now I will have to read Annan and Hargreaves or Forster and Gregory because the notion that “CS had an equal probability of being being any value between 0 and 18.5 degrees C” doesn’t sit well with me.

      Seriously, 18.5 degrees C?

    • The 18.5 figure is from the uniform prior applied by the IPCC, not in the original paper.

      Described here:

      . On that basis, Figure 2 shows what the PDF of Y looks like. The graph has been cut off at a lower limit of Y = 0.2, corresponding to the upper limit of S = 18.5 that the IPCC imposed when transforming the data, as explained below.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2013 at 4:33 pm said:

      Very helpful link Andy, I think I recall seeing that post but the significance of it in the scheme of things didn’t register then. It’s concerning that something identified in 2011 (or earlier) is having to be revisited, or in other words, what progress has been made since then?. The Hot Topicers are acting as if this some new statistical trick by sceptics but it is neither new nor is it a sceptic trick (actually an unjustified and invalid IPCC tweak). I see:-

      Posted on July 5, 2011 | 633 Comments

      I see too now that it is the shape of the S and Y PDs rather than the upper and lower bounds on S or Y that is the radical feature as per:-

      Figure 4


      Figure 6



      “Far from being an uninformative prior distribution, a uniform distribution in S has a powerful effect on the final PDF – greatly increasing the probability of S being high relative to that of S being low – even when, as here, the measurement data itself provides a relatively well constrained estimate of S. That is due to the shape of the prior, not to the imposition of upper and lower bounds[ii] on S – or, equivalently, on Y. Since the likelihood function is very small at the chosen bounds, they have little effect.”


      “What the ‘uniform prior distribution in S’ transformation effected by the IPCC does is scale the objectively determined probability densities at each value of Y, and at the corresponding reciprocal value of S, by the square of the particular value of S involved. Mathematically, the transformation is equivalent to imposing a prior probability distribution on Y that has the form 1/Y2. So, the possibility of the value of S being around 10 (and therefore Y being 0.37) is given 100 times the weight, relative to its true probability on the basis of a uniform prior in Y, of the possibility of the value of S being around 1 (and therefore Y being 3.7).”

      This CS issue (“applies to almost all of the Figure 9.20 PDFs” – Lewis) has to be addressed and resolved in AR5, no ifs or buts.

    • Richard – other comments worth reading are from Steve Jewson (statistician) at comment 85 and onwards:


      Yes, using a flat prior for climate sensitivity doesn’t make sense at all.
      Subjective and objective Bayesians disagree on many things, but they would agree on that. The reasons why are repeated in most text books that discuss Bayesian statistics, and have been known for several decades. The impact of using a flat prior will be to shift the distribution to higher values, and increase the mean, median and mode. So quantitative results from any studies that use the flat prior should just be disregarded, and journals should stop publishing any results based on flat priors. Let’s hope the IPCC authors understand all that.

      Nic (or anyone else)…would you be able to list all the studies that have used flat priors to estimate climate sensitivity, so that people know to avoid them?

      and then from Nic Lewis, comment 89

      Secondly, here is a list of climate sensitivity studies that used a uniform prior for main results when for estimating climate sensitivity on its own, or when estimating climate sensitivity S jointly with effective ocean vertical diffusivity Kv (or any other parameter like those two in which observations are strongly nonlinear) used uniform priors for S and/or Kv.

      Forest et al (2002)
      Knutti et at (2002)
      Frame et al (2005)
      Forest et al (2006)
      Forster and Gregory (2006) – results as presented in IPCC AR4 WG1 report (the study itself used 1/S prior, which is the Jeffreys’ prior in this case, where S is the only parameter being estimated)
      Hegerl et al (2006)
      Forest et al (2008)
      Sanso, Forest and Zantedeschi (2008)
      Libardoni and Forest (2011) [unform for Kv, expert for S]
      Olson et al (2012)
      Aldrin et al (2012)

      This includes a large majority of the Bayesian climate studies that I could find.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2013 at 7:52 pm said:

      Of those, the last 3 went ahead from 2011 onwards probably in the knowledge – if they had been paying attention – that their methodology was controversial if not irretrievably flawed – why?

      Those were:-

      Libardoni and Forest (2011) [unform for Kv, expert for S]
      Olson et al (2012)
      Aldrin et al (2012)

      L&F might have known about the controversy at least going by their modified approach (looks like a compromise) but not necessarily that validity would be questioned. They may even have considered the risk of breaking ranks.

      I suspect that the 2008 authors saw AR4 and decided, well, that’s how we’ll do it because that’s what’s expected and acceptable to the IPCC. They probably had no cause to consider the risk of breaking ranks at that stage. But there should have been no such risk for Olson and Aldrin if there is to be any regard for scientific and statistical integrity in climate science.

      Olson and Aldrin have no excuses, why did they persist if not for their perceived risk-less basis of the expectation and acceptability of the IPCC to papers using that method?

      But now as it stands, they face having their 2012 papers shunned in 2013 by a switched-on statistical community that transcends the IPCC.

    • Andy on 02/02/2013 at 7:15 am said:

      Interesting blog post from James Annan on sensitivity


      Who thinks that high sensitivities are very unlikely.

      He also mentions a scientist, unnamed, who deliberately lied about high sensitivity to motivate political action.

    • Richard C,

      Much confusion at Hot Topic re ‘Slaying the Skydragon’ e.g.:-

      Man, what a summary! Nice work.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/02/2013 at 8:32 am said:

      Once you get away from the dominant dangerously-warm vs luke-warm and high-CS vs low-CS debate the discussions become increasingly fraught RT. And given the likes of Gareth can’t even get to grips with luke-warm/low-CS arguments then it’s inevitable that confusion reigns at HT re Slayers arguments and anything in between (or non-committal as per Andy).

      Just realized I have a contra view to this from ‘Slaying the Skydragon’ too:-

      * Averaging Earth’s energy budget over day and night in flat earth climate models is fundamentally flawed, and this invalidates all climate models.

      My reservation: the energy budgets are flawed but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate GCMs. For example, ocean modules mimic ocean heat uptake in the tropical zone where incoming solar is perpendicular and penetration is greatest.

      I’ve probably got other contentions but the point is that I don’t subscribe “wholesale” to the Slayers as Gareth says (and wants others to believe too).

      More pertinent to the overall GHE issue is 21st century observations and how GAT plays out over the next decade or so I think. If it turns out that GHE isn’t enhanced by rising GHG levels, does that invalidate GHE totally or does that mean GHE is only valid up to certain levels of GHGs?

      I’m more inclined to the latter (limited GHE validity but in different terms than “greenhouse”) but the details of the washup will probably be moot in that event.

    • Hansen acknowledged that CO2 absorption bands were getting saturated in his state of the temps paper. So the GH effect is getting weaker. If China keeps growing though, then the rate of emissions growth will counter the decrease in CO2 forcing.

      On a slightly tangential note, Pointman has an interesting essay on the reduction of alarmist papers and the propaganda machine


    • From Pointman

      The tone and intensity of these studies is becoming increasingly aggressive. The word denier is now appearing in published papers and the vileness of the stereotypes we’re accused of being, is getting worse. At face value, the reason for this would appear to be frustration at the lack of success in using them, but the truth is a bit more subtle. They’re fighting a losing battle with public opinion and they know it. Their support is melting away more rapidly every day and most frighteningly, they can’t seem to find a way of stopping that, never mind slowing it down.

      Simplistically, it’s just name calling and they need to do it for reasons of catharsis. Psychologically, it’s a form of self-indulgent displacement activity. Giving us what they think is a bloody good kicking, makes up for their feeling of helplessness in the face of the grim reality of their situation. We’re their hate objects, the ones they totally blame for the collapse of their cult. They’re in the second stage of the death of their belief system; anger. Calling us bad names is a release of that anger and it’s going to get worse, considerably worse.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/02/2013 at 9:58 am said:


      “To an interesting extent, the climate alarmists were influential in creating the shape of the skeptic community, but the irony is, they still have no fundamental understanding of it.”

      Exactly what I was getting at about Hot Topic’s confusion.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/02/2013 at 11:00 am said:

      >”Hansen acknowledged that CO2 absorption bands were getting saturated”

      Yes but there’s more to it than that and also where a great deal of misunderstanding starts (mine too probably) e.g. the Slayers say:-

      * There is no empirical evidence for a GHE

      Firstly, but off my main point, “greenhouse” is a misnomer and that’s not an observation confined to Slayers exclusively because a greenhouse effect is actually convective not radiative. I would prefer something like water vapour effect (WVE) given WV is by far the most effective of the conventionally known GHGs. However a radiative GHE (if it exists – Slayers say no empirical evidence) is not the same as the non-radiative WVE which certainly does exist (think humid vs arid).

      Secondly, and my main point, an enhanced GHE relies on sustained thermalization in the already saturated bands but what is the most significant effect of that? I maintain, and I think the Slayers might too (not sure), that thermalized GHGs become a very efficient energy transfer medium so that the effect is actually to cool (i.e. to move energy to space) rather than to accumulate heat. This phenomenon is adequately proven by the rejection of massive amounts of energy back to space by GHGs in the thermosphere during CME events in my view. Incoming CME energy makes aGHG forcing look triflingly minute by comparison.

      And that’s not discussing whether thermalization is permanently sustained in saturated bands or not. I suspect not but I really don’t know except for Nicol08 showing most OLR interception occurs near the surface.

      BTW, John O’Sullivan must have noticed that we were looking at Slayers arguments here because I just got an email from him pointing to a new article by Prof Claes Johnson among other things:-

      New: Lapse Rate by Gravitation: Loschmidt or Boltzmann/Maxwell?


      “Will an atmosphere under the action of gravity assume a linear temperature profile with slope equal to the dry adiabatic lapse rate? Loschmidt said yes, while Boltzmann and Maxwell claimed that the atmosphere would be isothermal. Graeff (2007) has made experiments supporting Loschmidt and so it is natural to seek a theoretical explanation. ”

      Don’t ask me to interpret this article in terms of Slayer arguments though except that it pertains to these points of theirs:-

      * The lapse rate (declining temperature with altitude) is determined by gravity and the specific heat of the atmospheric gases, not by their ability to absorb IR radiation.

      * The GHE is supposed to increase lapse rates, but Earth’s lapse rate (6.5K/km) is lower than predicted (9.8K/km), so the greenhouse theory is wrong.

      * Since emissions occur at the TOA at a mean altitude of 5km (where it is -18⁰C), the lapse rate alone explains the fact that Earth’s effective blackbody temperature is 33⁰C below its surface temperature (15⁰C).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/02/2013 at 11:22 am said:

      A further differentiation.

      The thermalized transfer medium effect (TTME for want of better term) that I describe is radiative as is GHE but the respective effects are almost opposite – TTME transferring, GHE accumulating).

      As the Slayers (and luke-warmers like Jo Nova) point out, there is no evidence of energy accumulation in the atmosphere – particularly a tropospheric hotspot.

      But neither of those effects (whichever is closest to reality) are in any way comparable to the WV effect (arid vs humid) that modulates high and low temperatures.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/02/2013 at 12:07 pm said:


      One of the 20th century’s greatest physicists, Richard Feynman, observed about science that:

      In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works.

      It’s that simple statement that is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong.

      None of the five tests above supports or agrees with the predictions implicit in the greenhouse hypothesis as stated above. Richard Feynman is correct to advise us that therefore the hypothesis is invalid, and that many times over.


      I think sceptics outside the luke-warm/low CS paradigm have concluded as Carter has that the greenhouse hypothesis is invalid either in whole or in most part and are now on a quest of investigating what really is happening.

      It is easy to be a sceptic now that temperatures are at stand-still but I admire the courage of those sceptics convinced by their understanding of climate drivers that AGW was invalid at the time temperatures were rising rapidly in the 80s and 90s. I’m thinking of Daly and Landsheidt here who would have been very lonely at the time I would have thought but still very much to be reckoned with (as evidenced by the Climategate emails).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/02/2013 at 1:07 pm said:

      Gareth takes issue with Carter of course but only on the hotspot test (v) I note and then with some dubious reasoning after declaring a “false test”:-

      Nope. Because that’s a false test. If you were a credible climate scientist, Bob, you would know that a tropospheric “hot spot” is a “fingerprint” that would result from warming from all sources, not just greenhouse gases


      Sorry Gareth, CO2 forced models employing IPCC RF methodology, those from AR4, exhibit a tropospheric hotspot not observed in the real world that the IPCC ascribes to heating by GHGs. Lucia Liljegren has a post on this ‘WHO Expects a Tropical Tropospheric Hot Spot From ANY and ALL Sources of Warming?’:-

      Well, this is an interesting accusation! Because if we believe claiming the hot spot is a fingerprint is silly, it think by after reading my post, we will be required to conclude , the authors of the AR4 are not only silly, but twice as silly!


      Moving on. Katherine Hayhoe is a “real climate scientist” apparently, one who contradicts another presumably equally real climate scientist Joanna Haigh. The former saying we should be looking at our own backyards, the latter saying scientists have moved on from looking out the window at backyards Boris Johnson style.

      As Lucia puts it “not only silly, but twice as silly!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation