The boring climate

Why you won’t see headlines as climate science enters the doldrums

Posted on November 4, 2013, at Watts Up With That

Guest post by Dr. Robert G. Brown, Physics Department of Duke University (elevated from a comment on a WUWT thread: RSS Reaches Santer’s 17 Years).

This (17 years) is a non-event, just as 15 and 16 years were non-events. Non-events do not make headlines. Other non-events of the year are one of the fewest numbers of tornadoes (especially when corrected for under-reporting in the radar-free past) in at least the recent past (if not the remote past), the lowest number of Atlantic hurricanes since I was 2 years old (I’m 58), the continuation of the longest stretch in recorded history without a category 3 or higher hurricane making landfall in the US (in fact, I don’t recall there being a category 3 hurricane in the North Atlantic this year, although one of the ones that spun out far from land might have gotten there for a few hours).

We (the world) didn’t have an unusual number of floods, we don’t seem to have any major droughts going on, total polar ice is unremarkable, arctic ice bottomed out well within the tolerances slowly being established by its absurdly short baseline, antarctic ice set a maximum record (but just barely, hardly newsworthy) in ITS absurdly short baseline, the LTT temperatures were downright boring, and in spite of the absurdly large spikes in GASTA in GISS vs HADCRUT4 on a so-called “temperature anomaly” relative to a GAST baseline nobody can measure to within a whole degree centigrade, neither one of them did more than bounce around in near-neutral, however much the “trend” in GISS is amplified every second or third month by its extra-high endpoint.

A virgin’s kiss

The US spent months of the summer setting cold temperature records, but still, aside from making the summer remarkably pleasant in an anecdotal sort of way (the kind you tell your grandchildren when they experience more extreme weather: “Eh, sonny, I remember the summer of ’13, aye, that was a good one, gentle as a virgin’s kiss outdoors it was…”) it was unremarked on at the time.

Let’s face it. The climate has never been more boring. Even the weather blogs trying to toe the party line and promote public panic — I mean “awareness” — of global warming are reduced to reporting one of GISS’s excessive spikes as being “the fourth warmest September on record” while quietly neglecting the fact that in HADCRUT4, RSS and UAH it was nothing of the sort and while even more quietly neglecting the fact that if one goes back a few months the report might have been that June was the fourth coldest in 20 years. Reduced to reporting a carefully cherry-picked fourth warmest event? Ho hum.

So, good luck in getting any news agency to report reaching 17 years in any or all of the indices — this isn’t news, it is anti-news. It is old. It is boring.

It is also irrelevant. If GASTA (Global Average Surface Temperature Anomaly) stubbornly refuses to rise for five more years, stretching the interval out to 20 to 22 years in a way that nobody can ignore, does this really disprove GW, AGW, or CAGW? It does not. The only thing that will disprove GW or CGW is reaching 2100 without a climate catastrophe and without significantly more warming or with net cooling. A demonstrated total climate sensitivity of zero beats all predictions or argument. The “A”(nthropogenic) part is actually easier to prove or disprove in a contingent sort of way, although it will probably take decades to do so. Contingent because if there is no observed GW at all, AGW seems difficult to prove. But since we are in the part of the periodic climate cycle observed over the last 150 years where the climate remains neutral to cools around an overall warming trend, we might well see neutral to very slow warming even if AGW is correct, if there is an anthropogenic component to the long term trend and oscillation that we can observe but not really explain over the last 150 years.

The models suck

The one thing the 33 years of satellite measurements and increasingly precise surface temperature measurements have been able to prove is the one thing that the 17 year interval is truly relevant to. The GCMs used to predict CAGW suck. The GCMs in CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) that contribute to the conclusions of AR5 are almost without exception terrible predictors of the Earth’s actual climate.

This conclusion is unavoidable. Even if they all cannot be rejected at the “95% confidence level”, almost none of them are close to predicting even GASTA alone, let alone RSS/UAH, global rainfall, frequency and violence of storms, etc. As we leave 2013′s hurricane season behind with almost no chance for an Atlantic storm this year, which GCM predicted the paucity of hurricanes and tornadoes over the last few years? Where are the droughts and floods? Which GCMs actually got the temperature distribution right (when they didn’t get the average or average anomaly right, the answer is almost certainly “none of them”)?

We are told “Catastrophic warming is coming, it is just around the corner”. We ask why and without exception we are told “Because the 30 or more GCMs we carefully built in the 1990s in response to the CAGW threat and normalized with the warming data from the 70s and 80s (not to mention Hansen’s initial model report from the late 1980s) all say so.” We then quite reasonably ask what they predicted for the last 20 years, and of course we can see that they all did indeed predict shockingly rapid warming. We then compare this to what actually happened, which is almost no warming over the last 20 years — a single warming pulse associated with the 1997/1998 ENSO event and then neutral ever since. We note that the warmest of the models that are still included in the CMIP5 data because nobody ever rejects a model just because it doesn’t work are a whopping 0.5 to 0.6°C warmer than reality — they are the models with a total sensitivity of 5 or 6°C by 2100, so they have to warm at 0.5°C a decade to get there.

Bad science

This really is shocking. Shockingly bad science, shockingly dishonest political manipulation of policy makers on the part of scientists who participated in the creation of AR5 and permitted their names to give the report its weight.

As I’ve pointed out once and will point out again, by failing to be honest in AR5, by removing words that expressed honest doubt from the earlier draft and redrawing the figure to obscure the GCM failure, the IPCC has now gone far out on a limb that will end the career of many scientists and politicians before AR6 if there is no significant warming by that time. Not only significant warming, but a resumption of some sort of regular upslope to GASTA. Even if there is another ENSO-related burst of warming (which I’m sure is what they are hoping for) if it is only 0.2°C — and it is difficult to imagine that it could be much more given evidence from the past — it will barely suffice to restore the warming trend to 0.1°C/decade give or take a hair, roughly half of the lowest estimates of climate sensitivity. And they run the very real risk of getting to 2020 with GASTA basically the same as it was in 2000.

At that time, the hottest GCMs are going to be almost a full degree C too hot compared to reality. The people who contribute to the IPCC reports aren’t fools — most of them know perfectly well that the high sensitivity models are trash at this point, and they know equally well that it will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2020 if there is no statistically significant warming by that time. Because it is an open secret that there was a cover-up that deliberately concealed this, effectively lying to policy makers—there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.

An idiot could figure out what’s wrong

The only way the IPCC can possibly avoid this as it proceeds is to issue a correction to AR5. Go back in and eliminate the GCMs with absurdly high sensitivity, the ones that obviously fail a hypothesis test when compared to the actual climate record. Personally I would advise eliminating at a much more generous level than 95% — a complete idiot with experience in computational modelling could go into these models and figure out what is wrong, given an additional 16 years of data — simply retune the models until they can manage both the warming of the late 20th century AND the warming hiatus since. Models for which no tuning can reproduce the actual past go into the dustbin, period — ones that can manage it will all have a vastly lowered climate sensitivity and will produce a much larger fraction of warming from “natural” variability, and less from CO2. Finally, insist that all models use common numbers for things like CO2 and aerosol contributions instead of individually tuning the largely cancelling contributions to reproduce an interpolated temperature change.

I’m guessing that over half of the participating models will simply go away at this point. They can then reconstruct figure 1.4 in the SPM, note the good news that even though the remaining models will all still predict more warming than actually occurred the warming that they project by 2100 will be between 0.5 and 1.5°C, not 2.5°C or more. This is almost precisely in line with what was observed in the 19th and 20th century without CO2, and will grant a far larger role to natural variability (and hence a smaller one to CO2).

Is the failure of a model difficult to detect?

Why should they do this, even though it is near-suicide to do it at this point? Because it is suicide not to do it. Because it is the right thing to do. Because they have a queasy feeling in their tum-tums every time they look at figure 1.4 in the AR5 SPM and realize that the dent that they made in the car isn’t going to go away and Dad is going to be even more pissed when he finds out if they lie about it. After all, everybody knows that the worst models in CMIP5 are wrong at this point. The people that wrote the models and ran the models know that their models are broken at this point. It’s not like the failure of a model is difficult to detect or something.

If it were “just science”, all of this would have been happening in the literature for some time anyway. People would jump all over models that fail, because in the usual realm of science there is little money on the line and because trial and error and try, try again is the normal order of business and what keeps you getting paid. Not so in climate science. Here it is all political. Hundreds of billions of dollars and the directed energy of the entire global civilization ride on the numbers. Here there is a real risk of congressional hearings where a flinty-eyed committee chair grills you by showing you GCM curves selected from figure 1.4 of the AR5 SPM and asks you “Sir, at what point was it obvious to you that this curve was not a good predictor of the future climate?” Because if the answer was “2012″ — and given the REMOVED TEXT from the earlier draft of AR5 everybody knows that it was 2012 at the latest — that’s contempt of congress right there, given that AR5 directs billions of dollars in federal research money and hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies and misdirected governmental energy at all levels from federal to state to local to personal.

Worth sacrificing these children?

We pay, pay, and pay again in the form of taxes, higher energy prices, neglect of competing services and goals — and what we pay pales to nothing compared to the terrible price paid by the third world for the amelioration of hypothetical CAGW. Millions of people die every year from respiratory diseases alone brought about because they are still cooking on animal dung and charcoal because coal burning power plants are now “unclean” and have artificially inflated price tags at every level.

If CAGW is a true hypothesis, then maybe — just maybe — it is worth sacrificing all of these people, most of them children under five, on the altar to expiate our carbon sins. But given this sort of ongoing catastrophe, this ongoing moral price we pay on the basis of the “projections” of the GCMs, how great is the obligation of the scientists who wrote AR5 towards “mere honesty”, to put down not their own beliefs but the objective support for their beliefs given the data?

For some time the data has been sufficient to prove that the tools that claim the biggest, scariest AGW are simply incorrect — broken, in error, failed. Yet their predictions are still included in AR5 because without them, the “catastrophe” disappears and we are forced to rebalance the cost of gradual accommodation of the warming while continuing to civilize and raise the standard of living of the third world against the ongoing catastrophe of adopting measures that everybody knows will not prevent the catastrophe anyway (if the extreme models are correct) at the cost of a hundred million or more lives and unspeakable poverty, disease and human misery perpetuated for decades along the way.

Views: 199

106 Thoughts on “The boring climate

  1. Richard C (NZ) on 07/11/2013 at 3:21 pm said:

    CdF has livened things up for us:

    Chris de Freitas: Our humble cows help make the world a cooler place


    The lack of knowledge of the role of aerosols in cloud formation is well established as the major source of uncertainty in predictions about global warming. The fact that amines are produced by pastoral activity means that humans are responsible for a previously unknown global cooling effect. This may mean that, once greenhouse gases are taken into account, human-caused global warming may actually be less than thought.

    What all this means for the future climate is as yet unclear; but these new findings could change the way we see New Zealand’s environmental performance. New Zealand agriculture likely is, in relative terms, one of the largest sources of amines among developed countries. And rates of change of emissions are increasing. Between 1990 and 2009, emissions from agricultural activities increased by about 8 per cent. The implications are tremendous. For instance, one might reasonably argue New Zealand farmers should be entitled to far more carbon credits than foresters receive.

  2. Australis on 07/11/2013 at 7:36 pm said:

    Dr Brown has the gift of expressing hazy notions clearly. The point that hit me was that the IPCC models can obviously be ranked – in order of performance.

    Insiders must know which models cause incredulous gasps at every run. Some of them have run hundreds of simulations of early-21st-century temps and been wrong every time by a factor of 300%+. Knowing that, why would you continue to select them for any further ensembles? Why would anyone?

    I know the graphs show that nearly all (97%?) of the simulations were over-heated. But not equally so. Some are clearly programmed with an ECS near the very top of the allowable range (4.5°C) and consistently perform badly, even relative to the rest of CMIP5.

    As Dr Brown says, even Blind Freddie knows that those models require surgery. I like his suggestion that they be given one shot at re-tuning, then see if they can tolerably well reproduce past history. If they can’t stoop down to that level, they are clearly unusable.

    I have no idea why this obvious step wasn’t taken years ago. But IPCC credibility will continue to erode until it is done and WG1 produces a new set of projections.

  3. Headlines somewhat tamer than we are used to:

    Talks seek modest UN climate deal for 2015

    Global average temperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and are set to exceed 2C – a target ceiling agreed at a previous UN summit – on current trends, despite a hiatus in the pace of warming so far this century.

    So, on “current trends” which are zero, how are temperatures set to exceed 2C? More doublethink from Reuters.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/11/2013 at 6:14 pm said:

      >”So, on “current trends” which are zero, how are temperatures set to exceed 2C?”

      Rhetorical I’m assuming but it actually goes like this Mike. The pause is only temporary and warming will come roaring back anytime soon because the science is sound and the models project trajectories on target to exceed 2C.

      Therefore, the “current trends” are linear regressions starting back at 1950ish when climate change began which when extrapolated (?) through the last actual data that the trends coincide with (2010 El Nino peak) demonstrates that warming is still on track. This is confirmed by peer-reviewed papers like Foster and Rahmstorf of course.

      The fact that there’s been no data on or above the trend lines (or anywhere near either) since 2010 is immaterial as is the 17 year “pause” because it’s the “long-term trends” that matter i.e. 63 years in this case (and we all know that nothing at all happened to climate before 1950 don’t we).

      I hope this helps.

    • “I hope this helps”
      Yes indeed it does, thank you RT. Your logic is infallible. However, I apologise for an obtuse mind, but humour me if you will…. One question: What is the timescale upon which one can discern (distinct from statistical noise) an anthropogenic signal within global climate? I refer of course to the term “current trends”.

    • Methinks you mean RC, Mike.

    • methinks I am obtuse. Apologies for mixing Rs.

    • Hmm. Obtuse perhaps, but nicely obtuse.

    • Hmmm. Nicely perhaps.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2013 at 9:56 am said:

      >”What is the timescale upon which one can discern (distinct from statistical noise) an anthropogenic signal within global climate?”

      According to the Santer et al paper it has to be greater than 17 years:

      “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”


      ‘RSS Reaches Santer’s 17 Years’

      So since there’s been no discernible anthro signal for 17 years but that was not sufficient timeframe, now that the timeframe of 17+ years has been entered there MUST be a discernible human effect (warming consistent with predictions) from now on or the AGW hypothesis is busted.

    • Ahh! upon re-reading your comment RC, I see you have preempted my question, thusly: “and we all know that nothing at all happened to climate before 1950 don’t we”. The position of the rhetorical question was within parentheses and naturally an obtuse mind neglects such.

      So “current trends” are since 1950! Which is mostly plateauing or cooling upon a baseline of recovery since LIA.

      ((Was the LIA before the SUV?) (Rhetorical))

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2013 at 8:58 am said:

      Turns out there’s no pause anyway:

      ‘UK Met Office Data Underestimates Global Warming by Half’

      “A lack of Arctic temperature readings in the HadCRUT4 data, compiled jointly by the UK Meteorological Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK, means that the global warming in the period since 1997 may be as much as two and a half times greater than the current HadCRUT data implies, according to the research [Cowtan and Way].”

      Curiously, Cowtan and Way compare to UAH and “fill in the gaps” with UAH data which has the greater trend since 1997 but not to RSS, which doesn’t:

      “This approach would bring the HadCRUT temperature trend into line with the satellite record compiled by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) which shows a warming trend of 0.140C per decade since 1978”

      RSS (the system set up to “correct” UAH) has been thrown under a bus in favour of the previously “incorrect” UAH.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2013 at 9:24 am said:

      Also thrown under the same bus – deep ocean heat”

      ‘Missing Heat Has Left The Deep Ocean – Last Seen In Arctic!’

      By Paul Homewood

      “There is a new paper out (Cowtan and Way) that has apparently found all the missing heat. (It was not hiding deep down in the ocean after all, someone lied to us about that!).”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2013 at 9:38 am said:

      More on Cowtan and Way at WUWT and Climate Etc”

      Curry on the Cowtan & Way ‘pausebuster’: ‘Is there anything useful [in it]?”

      ‘Uncertainty in SST measurements and data sets’ [Second paper down in post]

  4. Andy on 12/11/2013 at 4:32 pm said:

    From the taxpayer funded State Broadcasting Apparatus

    “Climate deniers ordered to pay court costs”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/11/2013 at 5:51 pm said:

      Cretins. JC has a piece on this:

      Posted on November 11, 2013 | 444 Comments

      by Judith Curry

      The extension of the “denier” tag to group after group is a development that should alarm all liberal-minded people. One of the great achievements of the Enlightenment—the liberation of historical and scientific enquiry from dogma—is quietly being reversed. – Edward Skidelsky


      Also from the post – A different perspective from David Burgess………:

      Denialism, anti-denialism, and anti-anti-denialism (this article) are part of politics and journalism, not part of science.

      # # #

      That RNZ title should be submitted to the Ombudsman. No-one, let alone NZCSET, denies climate.

    • I have lodged a formal complaint with OMSA as follows:

      Standard 4 states: “Publishers of news and current affairs content should not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the New Zealand community on account of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief.”

      The article’s headline refers to a section of the New Zealand community as “climate deniers”, as if this group is denying something. Like climate. Huh?

      Use of the word “deniers” is a deliberately derogatory term. The smug conceit of “denier” implies that the answer is so obvious it’s not even worth discussing. Thus it’s main purpose is to stop people talking about the finer points, the pros and cons, the weight of the evidence. It’s a form of censorship and has no place in balanced reporting.

      Anyone who uses it ought be shamed, even more so, any scientist who doesn’t protest at it’s vacuous use ought be shamed too.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/11/2013 at 11:54 am said:

      Way to go Mike, my first thought was the Ombudsman but on reflection Media Standards is the avenue. You’ve nailed it !

      My submission:

      The standard(s) you think have been breached and the reasons why?

      Standard 1 Accuracy

      Publishers should make reasonable efforts to ensure that news and current affairs content is accurate and/or does not mislead in relation to all material points of fact.

      Breach 1: The title of the material “Climate deniers ordered to pay court costs” is inaccurate and misleads in relation to all material points of fact. A factually correct title would be ‘New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust ordered to pay court costs’ or an appropriate abbreviation used e.g. NZCSET. The Plaintiff’s are/were not “Climate deniers” (no-one is), the case was nothing to do with climate whether changes are man-made or natural but in essence about NIWA’s statistical methodology, and the correct title of the Plaintiffs has been substituted with a factually incorrect and derogatory term (see Breach 2).

      Standard 4 Discrimination and Denigration

      Publishers of news and current affairs content should not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the New Zealand community on account of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief.

      Breach 2: As for Breach 1, the correct title of the Plaintiffs (NZCSET) who have made a “legitimate expression” has been substituted with a discriminating and denigrating term (“Climate deniers”) which categorizes the Plaintiffs as heretics of religious dogma (that climate change is man-made and no dissent allowed in society).

      The use of this term is a disturbing trend especially by the state funded broadcaster and could be construed as a form of propaganda. The use is also becoming the subject of international debate e.g. see this article:

      ‘Denial’ by Judith Curry [climate scientist]

      From the article:

      “The extension of the “denier” tag to group after group is a development that should alarm all liberal-minded people. One of the great achievements of the Enlightenment—the liberation of historical and scientific enquiry from dogma—is quietly being reversed. – Edward Skidelsky”

      Radio New Zealand is one of those groups.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/11/2013 at 12:11 pm said:

      Remedies sought.

      In accordance with Remedy Principles, Radio New Zealand will publish OMSA’s decision, or a fair summary of it, on its website with similar prominence to the original publication.

      In addition, these specific Remedies in accordance with Principles 1, 2, and 4:

      1. Errors should be acknowledged and promptly corrected by amending or removing the relevant content.

      The error (“Climate deniers”) should be acknowledged and promptly corrected by amending or removing the relevant content (NZCSET).

      2. Corrections should be clearly labelled, dated and given appropriate prominence having regard to the original publication.

      Corrections as for 1.

      4. Apologies should be offered and published where justified in the circumstances.

      An apology for misleading and factual inaccuracy, discrimination and denigration, offered and published by Radio New Zealand.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/11/2013 at 1:27 pm said:

      Dang, just realized I’ve stuffed this up. I’ve submitted a correction:

      “Radio New Zealand is one of those groups” should read “Radio New Zealand is one of those [making the extension to a group]”

    • Well said Sir. Very well said. I’ll be interested in their response, and will share whatever response I get.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/11/2013 at 8:31 am said:

      Mike, why couldn’t this material (highlighted today) have been up at Climate Depot yesterday when I made my submission to OMSA?

      ‘Super’ Typhoon Haiyan: Suffering and the sin of climate change denial

      By Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

      Christian theology distinguishes between “natural evil,” that is, destruction and suffering that can be caused by natural phenomena like earthquakes or storms, and moral evil, the kind of evils that result from the interlocking effects of human sin.


      There is moral evil to be seen in these “superstorms, I believe, on two levels. First, there is the moral evil of continuing to pump fossil fuels into the atmosphere, producing global warming. Second, however, is the moral evil of climate change denial, that is, those who would continue to deny, in the face of mounting evidence, that violent climate change is upon us and it is accelerating.


      There is a theological prescription, in a classical sense, for what we must do: confession, repentance and change. In the case of what we are up against in terms of planetary destruction, those theological directives look like this:

      Admit human caused, violently destructive climate change is happening. The harm to God’s creation is real, it is happening and human beings bear enormous responsibility for it.

      Repent for what we have already lost by inaction. Those who talk about “reversing the effects of climate change” are also engaging in a form of denial. There is no reversing, but that does not mean the climate change is unstoppable at current levels. But action to stop what we have already done, and slow down future changes, is urgent.


      Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, M.Div., Ph.D., is Professor of Theology and Immediate Past President of Chicago Theological Seminary. She is the author of many books, including Dreaming of Eden: American Religion and Politics in a Wired World, a work that examines theologies of climate change, war and economics.

      # # #

      My Breach 2 was:

      Standard 4 Discrimination and Denigration

      Publishers of news and current affairs content should not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the New Zealand community on account of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief.

      Breach 2: As for Breach 1, the correct title of the Plaintiffs (NZCSET) who have made a “legitimate expression” has been substituted with a discriminating and denigrating term (“Climate deniers”) which categorizes the Plaintiffs as heretics of religious dogma (that climate change is man-made and no dissent allowed in society).

      Now, if OMSA throws out the above on the grounds that there is no religious aspect to the use of “Climate deniers”, I will appeal, submitting the above article by Brooks Thistlethwaite in support.

      I cannot find a specific Appeal section on the OMSA website but there is a Contact OMSA page that I will use here:

    • Yes, RC. Saw that, from Climate Depot and followed the link. Amazing. Visceral response from my autonomic system, but then I read the comments. Lightened me up somewhat. Most thinking readers have an opinion, and it is definitely not hers! Many were thanking her for definitively placing CAGW in the Religion category once and for all.

      The thing about the complaints we have lodged is, we could each write a book on why the Radio NZ article was flawed, but one must be pithy. More material abounds of course, and more is revealed every day. I think you made your points very well. We will see what happens. I received a response today from some secretary saying thank you, it has been forwarded to the Big Dude.

    • btw, we did not cite religious grounds, but denigration.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2013 at 8:35 am said:

      >”we did not cite religious grounds, but denigration”

      The problem is Mike, Standard 4 Discrimination and Denigration states:

      “….on account of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief”

      The breach only fits “religion” or possibly “political belief”. In this case the breach is applicable to “legitimate expression” (NZCSET’s legal recourse) but the use of the term “Climate denier” then forces that expression into the realms of “religion” (religious dogma) OR “political belief”. The latter a more difficult case to make and not actually applicable IMO.

      Neither of those (religion or political belief) is the position of NZCSET but the terms of the Standard requires a submission in accordance with those terms. I did actually allude to “religion” in my submission:

      “……which categorizes the Plaintiffs as heretics of religious dogma (that climate change is man-made and no dissent allowed in society)”

      The alternative (“political belief”) is not applicable in this case, or at least not a case that I can make, but I can make a case that use if the term “Climate denier” forces the dispute into the category of “religion” (Brooks Thistlethwaite) and the subject has no choice or influence on that (NZCSET in this case).

      I think it’s worth thinking this through for when the OMSA decision is delivered in case our Standard 4 Discrimination and Denigration submissions are thrown out on the grounds they don’t meet the terms of Standard and we have to appeal the decision some how.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2013 at 10:37 am said:

      ‘Global Warming Activism And Christianity: Beware Of Modern Inquisitors Toting Bibles’

      By James Taylor

      In the latest iteration of the mainstream media fawning over left wing activists disguised as conservative or mainstream Christian leaders, Tuesday’s Washington Post published a bizarre Op-ed by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, identifying herself as the past president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, saying it is “morally evil” for skeptics to disagree with her on global warming. For people of faith who may take a quick glance at Thistlethwaite’s asserted credentials and assume that she speaks for conservative or mainstream Christians and a Biblical point of view, beware of Thistlethwaite in sheep’s clothing.

      For those who haven’t read Thistlethwaite’s editorial, it defines the terms incendiary and bizarre. In an editorial titled, “ ‘Super’ Typhoon Haiyan: Suffering and the sin of climate change denial,” Thistlethwaite claims Typhoon Haiyan was “evil” and the typhoon was caused by the twin “moral evils” of fossil fuel consumption and global warming skepticism. Affixing the deliberately insulting word “denial” to skeptics of the asserted global warming crisis, Thistlethwaite says this “denial” is a sin against God that requires confession, repentance and penance.

      Inquisition, meet the twenty-first century.


      Thistlethwaite’s greatest claim to fame is authoring the book “Occupy the Bible,” in which she claims Jesus was anti-capitalist. She urges present-day anti-capitalists to “occupy” Christianity the way the socialist Occupy movement took over street intersections and public parks. For people of faith who witnessed the rapes, drug abuse and trashing of public property at the sites taken over by the Occupy movement, this is a frigthening thought.

      Thistlethwaite’s revisionist theological assertions in “Occupy the Bible” are astounding. Mark 11:17 states, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” According to Thistlethwaite’s book promo, however, this was designed to be anti-capitalist political agitation: “Jesus occupied the Temple in Jerusalem—effectively the national bank of his time—and threw out those who were exploiting the poor.” In the gospel according to Thistlethwaite, Jesus was less concerned about preserving the religious purity of prayer at the Temple and more concerned about making a statement about the moneyed classes sticking it to the poor through capitalism. (And even if you believe that religious whopper, don’t socialist nations have money exchanges, too?)

      Similarly, Thistlethwaite downplays the religious meaning of Jesus calling Andrew, Peter, John and James to be his disciples and invents an anti-capitalist agenda. According to her book promo, “Jesus organized fishermen whose industry had been wrecked by the Roman Empire Empire.”


      Not that Thistlethwaite’s Chicago Theological Seminary is any more representative of conservative or mainstream Christian thought. In the Seminary’s 564-word “Philosophy” webpage, there is not a single mention of spreading the good news about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Instead, the Seminary’s Philosophy webpage provides a long and detailed manifesto of leftist liberation theology, castigating our nation for being “a society riven by racism” and “threatened by new forces of division under the banner of homophobia.” Apparently division and name-calling under the banner of global warming activism is nevertheless desirable.

      In short, Thistlethwaite may be a past president of a seminary that advocates leftist liberation theology, but this doesn’t give her any semblance of leadership or representation of conservative or mainstream Christian thought. Moreover, her condemnation and insulting rhetoric directed at skeptics of her asserted global warming crisis have no religious, scientific or moral weight.

      # # #

      “left wing activists disguised as conservative or mainstream Christian leaders”

      So, “Climate deniers” category – religion, or political belief?

      I say religion on the face of it but political belief is the root. Perhaps there’s a case for denigration under BOTH categories after all.

    • RC, I don’t really expect the prestigious Radio New Zealand to accept our complaints on the letter of the law. Apart from the word “denigration” being in the heading of Section 4, there is little explicit in the wording of the section that we can call on. However, being an optimist, I wonder if they might not agree that in the spirit of Section 4 the use of the term “climate denier” is unprofessional, vacuous and derogatory. It is also overtly biased and clearly demonstrates the bias of the journalist, if not the organisation. Unbalanced therefore. I wonder if they will get that. Perhaps we can help them in their understanding, through due process.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2013 at 8:24 pm said:

      >”Perhaps we can help them in their understanding, through due process.”

      Yes, that is my hope too.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 29/11/2013 at 5:56 pm said:

      OMSA 13/003

      Dear Richard

      We advise that the Chairman of the OMSA Complaints Committee has considered the complaint and has ruled to accept (in part) the complaint with regard to Standard 1 Accuracy. The Chairman has ruled No Grounds to Proceed in regards to Standard 4 – Discrimination and Denigration.

      The complaint is to be heard by the Committee next week and you will be notified of the result by email shortly after the adjudication. In due course a formal Decision will be emailed to you. We ask that you do not communicate the result to the media as the Decision will be released to the media in due course.

      [Some other stuff]

      Kind regards
      Clare Jackson Wright
      OMSA Administrator

    • Chairman’s Ruling:
      The Chairman viewed a copy of the content, the complaint, the preliminary response from Radio New Zealand and the relevant Standard from the Code, Standard 4 Discrimination and Denigration.
      The Chairman noted that Mike Jowsey considered the term “Climate deniers” to be derogatory and discriminating. The Chairman accepted that the range of views on climate change could be considered under Standard 4 as a matter of political belief however, in his view, the threshold to affect a breach of this Standard had not been met in this instance.
      The Chairman noted the story clearly referred to the facts of the case, which challenged the science behind work undertaken by National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research. While the use of the word “deniers” in the headline may be seen as somewhat provocative, the Chairman found the Complaint had no grounds to proceed.
      Chairman’s Ruling: No Grounds to Proceed

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/12/2013 at 3:47 pm said:

      OMSA 13/003

      Dear Richard

      Your complaint has been placed before the OMSA Complaints Committee who has ruled that the complaint be [deleted, see below].

      Please find attached a copy of the written Decision. We request that you do not communicate the result to the media. Our usual procedure is to publish the formal Decision on our website after we have forwarded it to you. This will be made public on the OMSA website on 11 December 2013.

      [Other stuff]

      Yours sincerely

      # # #

      I’ll post the link to Decision OMSA13003 tomorrow, 11 December. There are indications in the decision that the exercise was of some use to, as Mike J puts it, ”help them in their understanding, through due process”. But not by much unfortunately.

    • Andy on 11/12/2013 at 10:01 am said:

      In terms of the OMSA response, this swings both ways in my opinion.
      Whilst I would expect Radio NZ to be slightly smarter than using the nonsensical term “climate denier”, the OMSA also seem to dismiss quite a few complaints (looking at their recent case list on their website)

      Personally, I’d rather see a free and open media (including Twitter, Facebook and blogs) not subject to censorship and take the occasional slur from the MSM, than have a lockdown as seems to be happening in the UK these days.

      Just the other day, a British shop owner was held for 8 hours by the police, and DNA swabbed and fingerprinted, after writing a rather lame joke on his personal website about Nelson Mandela, that received a complaint from a member of the public.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/12/2013 at 1:27 pm said:

      Yes Andy, the OMSA uses the term “threshold’ in respect to the standard that needs to be met before a breach of the identified standard was to occur and that has to be balanced against what RNZ describes as “a greater harm, in the long term, of unnecessarily restricting a publisher’s freedom of speech” (see below).

      However, turns out that having a complaint upheld in those terms is somewhat problematic given the rationale of my complaint decision (see below). Unfortunately OMSA13/003 has not been posted at the OMSA website yet so I can’t link to it but it is the 11th now so I can quote from it:

      The Chairman ruled to accept (in part) the complaint with regard to Standard 1 – Accuracy of the OMSA Code of Standards. The Chairman ruled No Grounds to Proceed for the part of the complaint relating to Standard 4 – Discrimination and Denigration

      The “in part” part (see my emphasis in the last paragraph of the deliberation below) is progress and worth the effort of the complaint IMO.

      Standard 1 Accuracy


      Radio New Zealand’s ….. response said:


      Radio New Zealand observes first that the “thrust” of the story was that court costs had been awarded against the unsuccessful legal challengers to NIWA and the methodology which they employed. The point being that the focus of the story was the awarding of costs against the challengers, and not the identity of the challengers per se. The wording of the headline would not have affected a reader’s understanding of the fact that costs had been awarded in favour of NIWA and against the challengers.

      The second point to observe is that regardless of the wording used in the headline, the very first words of the first sentence of the story make it clear that the challengers were in fact “a group of climate change sceptics”.

      Radio New Zealand has previously made the point that “climate deniers”, “climate change sceptics” and “climate sceptics” are terms which in the past have been used interchangeably. While there may be a more nuanced understanding of the different interpretations of those terms which have evolved over time. The impact on our readers remains negligible in this particular context when the term “climate deniers” was used.


      Radio New Zealand acknowledges that while there would be a harm to society in breaching OMSA’s standards, there can also be a greater harm, in the long term, of unnecessarily restricting a publisher’s freedom of speech.

      Previous decisions by the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council would suggest that a high threshold needs to be met before a breach of the identified standard was to occur. That, coupled with the balancing exercise referred to above, would suggest that there was no breach of the standards on this occasion.

      As the terms “climate deniers”, “climate change sceptics” and “climate sceptics” have been used interchangeably in the past, if the OMSA Complaints Committee was to recommend an alteration to the headline, Radio New Zealand would be pleased to change the wording from “climate deniers” to either “climate change sceptics” or “climate sceptics”.

      And the deliberation concurs (see below). Apparently it doesn’t matter that the descriptive term doesn’t actually describe the subject faithfully, and that term is “interchangeable” with other equally dubious descriptive terms – that’s OK.

      So according to the rationale of the deliberation (see below), to have a complaint of this nature upheld one must complain at the very first instance of the term appearing in the media because after the precedent has been set it’s all OK. This IMO is the dumb-down approach that does no-one’s enlightenment any good, but that’s how modern media does it.


      The Chairman noted that Richard Cumming considered the term “Climate deniers” to be derogatory and discriminating. Mr Cumming said “The use of this term is a disturbing trend especially by the state funded broadcaster and could be construed as a form of propaganda.” The Chairman accepted that the range of views on climate change could be considered under Standard 4 as a matter of political belief however, in his view the threshold to affect a breach of this Standard had not been met in this instance and he ruled this part of the complaint had no grounds to proceed.

      The Chairman then directed the Committee to consider the part of the complaint that related to a possible breach of the Accuracy standard.

      The Complaints Committee viewed a copy of the content, the complaint, the preliminary and further responses from Radio New Zealand and the relevant Standard from the Code, Standard 1 – Accuracy.

      The Committee noted the concerns of Mr Cumming about the accuracy of the use in the headline of the term “climate deniers”. Mr Cumming said “The Plaintiffs are/were not “Climate deniers” (no-one is), the case was nothing to do with climate whether changes are man-made or natural but about NIWA’s methodology …”.

      The Committee discussed the term “climate deniers” and its use in the context of the news story before them. The Committee agreed the term was one of common usage and was used to describe those who disagreed with the established view on climate change. It noted that the term was often interchangeable with “climate sceptics”.

      In the Committee’s view, the headline of “Climate deniers ordered to pay court costs” was not in breach of Standard 1, “requiring publishers make reasonable efforts to ensure that news and current affairs content is accurate and/or does not mislead in relation to all material points of fact”. In reaching this decision the Committee noted the story clearly referred to the facts of the case, which challenged the science behind work undertaken by National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research and agreed that in this instance the reference to “climate deniers” had not meet the threshold to affect a breach of the Code.

      While the Committee ruled to not uphold the complaint, it noted for future reference that it was important that headlines conformed to the Code of Standards along with the text in news and current affairs content. In the Committee’s view, the need for care with headlines is particularly relevant in an online environment, where those browsing news and current affairs content may only view the headline in the first instance.

      [My emphasis last paragraph]

      Fine by me.

      I’m also encouraged by this:

      “The Chairman accepted that the range of views on climate change could be considered under Standard 4 as a matter of political belief…”

      I thought of making that political belief case in my submission but decided to go with religion instead just to see what happened. But because political belief is what is really behind say, Liberation Theology (which uses “climate deniers” liberally – ha!), it didn’t matter in the end because the Chairman saw the underlying dynamic and made the political belief case for me anyway.

      Interesting that RNZ was testing the “threshhold” of the political belief standard (4 Discrimination and Denigration) because the deliberation goes on:

      “…however, in his view the threshold to affect a breach of this Standard had not been met in this instance and he ruled this part of the complaint had no grounds to proceed”

      Worth knowing that in future, a political belief case would have the understanding of the Chairman at least.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/12/2013 at 1:50 pm said:

      I note that the wording of the deliberation in regard to political belief is exactly the same for my decision as it was for Mike J’s i.e. this part of each respective submission was considered in tandem.

      I think the OMSA has been quite astute in this respect – watch your step media from now on because the OMSA has thought this through.

    • Andy on 11/12/2013 at 3:19 pm said:

      Perhaps we can expect Radio NZ to refer to people who take their insurance companies to court in ChCh as “Earthquake Deniers”?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/12/2013 at 4:53 pm said:

      Exactly Andy. RNZ, even after consideration, still haven’t grasped the notion that they’re using nonsensical (therefore non-factual) terms. They say:

      “Radio New Zealand would be pleased to change the wording from “climate deniers” to either “climate change sceptics” or “climate sceptics”.”

      “Climate sceptic” is equally nonsensical to “climate denier”. No-one is either sceptical of climate or denies climate (why is it necessary to state the obvious?). These are loose and lazy abbreviations that convey the wrong impression.

      No chance then, of delving into the nuances of “climate change sceptics”, or even “man-made climate change sceptics” with them. I for example, certainly acknowledge that climate changes have occurred in the past and will occur again in the future but have not found the hypothesis that fossil fuel emissions being the cause of any change climate to be proven. I have however found that human land use and land use change (LULUC) has been proven to change climate, especially precipitation.

      Even if I were to accept the IPCC’s Radiative Forcing methodology (which I don’t because, among other things, it hasn’t been validated in any literature) there are far greater natural climate “forcings” than anthropogenic as evidenced by climate change over the last 1000, 10,000, 100,000, etc, years (i.e. longer than the IPCC’s 1951-2010 attribution period), and also the non-change over the last 17 years or so and from 1951-1980 (i.e.within the IPCC’s attribution period).

      JoNova picks up on the lack of validation here:

      ‘IPCC spin translated – the leaked Synopsis admits 97% of models fail’

      [IPCC] “….. its [warmings] largest contributor, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ….”.

      Translated: Co2 is the largest contributor because our broken models say so. Shame there is no accepted, replicated paper that gives a quantitative link between CO2 and atmospheric temperature. This is where we would mention that paper if we could find it. Instead we give a broad range of possibilities, and actually CO2 might have no effect, it has not been disproven. But we don’t need to spell that out.

      So I have a dilemma. As above I accept “the reality of climate change” (as it is being stated so often nowadays) but there is nothing in RNZ’s alternative terms “climate change sceptic” or “climate sceptic” to set me apart in respect to the fossil fuel emissions aspect (let alone that being catastrophic or not) vs LULUC. I therefore must insist that I am actually an “acceptor of climate change reality but fossil-fuel-emissions-driven climate change sceptic” and NOT of the overarching, general, loose, lazy, non-differentiating, “climate change sceptic” (which I detest for its inaccuracy) persuasion as the ignorant (including RNZ and subsequently many of their listeners/readership) would characterize me.

      And that’s just me. I’m sure most of the inherently sceptical minds applying themselves to the climate change proposition would have their own customized variation of my self-assessed categorization.

      Of course, even though accurate and factual, no media of any type is ever going to use the descriptive term “acceptor of climate change reality but fossil-fuel-emissions-driven climate change sceptic”.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/12/2013 at 6:59 pm said:
    • Andy on 14/11/2013 at 3:12 pm said:

      Dutifully regurgitated by Climate Progress

      “Climate Deniers must pay $90,000 for “not acting reasonably”, court rules

    • Andy on 14/11/2013 at 4:02 pm said:

      The comments on the Think Progress (sic) article are a good laugh.
      The mouth-foaming climate Nazis are out in force.

    • Andy on 13/11/2013 at 12:26 pm said:

      Nice work Mike

    • Evil flourishes when good men do nothing. – Edmund Burke

  5. Alexander K on 15/11/2013 at 12:51 pm said:

    in following the case that was brought against NIWA for shonky methodology, it seemed obvious to me that the action NZCET ‘deniers’ are to be charged costs for is that, in the mind of the presiding judge, a breach of the natural order of the way the world is run by the establishment was caused by the NZCET employing experts who just happened to have the wrong professional classification in that their qualifications and reputation in the area of statistical manipulations was not connected with or sanctioned by the parallel universe of officially-accepted Climate Science.
    A wonderful example of the old saw ‘the law is an ass’ if I ever saw one, and it seems fair to assume that the said judge is an even bigger ass. That RNZ should apply the ‘Denier’ tag to the NZCET is an example of mindless journalists and their employers feeling safe to use the kind of nasty semantic tactics our country embroiled itself in two world wars to eradicate. Sadly, my experience of the current generation of journalists is that many are ignorant of history but there is little excuse for sub-editors, if that occupational group still exists.

    • Andy on 15/11/2013 at 2:03 pm said:

      I suspect the headline on the website was written by a junior. Terms like “climate denier” are quite acceptable amongst the youth who have been fully brainwashed with eco-fascist propaganda since leaving the cradle.

      Speaking of that, I see from HT that the NZ parliament is “infested” with climate denial. Similarly, I watched a video of Baroness Worthington referring to the “rat problem” in the House of Lords, referring to Nigel Lawson

      Presumably, some extermination of said problem by gassing will be in order.

    • Alexander K on 16/11/2013 at 10:21 am said:

      Andy, I watched la Worthington (thanks to Bishop Hill) and found the watching very difficult indeed. She is the very model of an Airhead, to think that the Brit Labour hierarchy created her a Baroness really bothers my antipodean sensibilities on all sorts of levels, but the years I spent teaching in the UK prepared me for never being surprised by how utterly unprincipled politicians and political aparatchiks there can be and how close the threat of Facism remains.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 19/11/2013 at 9:26 am said:

    Eugene WR Gallun says:
    November 18, 2013 at 5:59 am


    There was a crooked Mann
    Who played a crooked trick
    And had a crooked plan
    To make a crooked stick

    By using crooked math
    That favored crooked lines
    Lysenko’s crooked path
    Led thru the crooked pines

    And all his crooked friends
    Applaud what crooked seems
    But all that crooked ends
    Derives from crooked means

    Eugene WR Gallun

  7. Andy on 20/11/2013 at 1:42 am said:

    “Rocks hold the truth about climate change”
    Geologists are the only scientists who can look back to the last time greenhouse gases warmed the Earth – and it wasn’t pretty

    This article is basically a slur against Bob Carter. It gets seriously trolled for what it is worth in the comments section. I think a legion of Bishop Hill commenters left their mark.

  8. Brandoch Daha on 20/11/2013 at 12:56 pm said:

    Speaking of boredom, this site has become moribund and boring.

    Massive loss of faith and face, perhaps?

    • Boring, yes. We say the end is not nigh, which is not very interesting, sorry! But no loss of face. It’s not our predictions which are failing.

    • Magoo on 21/11/2013 at 11:22 am said:

      C’mon RT, surely some of the predictions must be right … maybe just one?

      Help me out here Brandoch, which one of the predictions are backed up by the empirical data? Surely you must know of at least one, one tiny little solitary prediction that’s backed up by the empirical data? No?

      I don’t comment much anymore as I see the alarmist ’cause’ is lost already. All the sceptics have to do is wait a little longer for the predictions to fail some more. The UN are showing their desperation now as they ignore their own AR5 report that shows no increasing trends or intensity of extreme weather but try to blame typhoon Haiyan on AGW – the whole AGW crowd are a laughing stock and watching them try to justify their failed predictions reminds me of the village idiot choking on a chicken bone – funny and sad at the same time.

    • Andy on 21/11/2013 at 12:31 pm said:

      According to research, our mental condition can be characterized thus

      “epistemic scepticism’ (where people doubt the reality or causes or climate change) and ‘response scepticism’ (where people dispute the efficacy of acting to tackle the problem).”

      This groundbreaking result was the response from various focus groups.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/11/2013 at 6:12 pm said:

      I’m more inclined to characterize my condition as “IPCC climate model scepticism” and “IPCC radiative forcing methodology scepticism”, biased heavily by empiricism and scientism.

      I suspect none of which was front-of-mind in those focus groups.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 22/11/2013 at 7:54 am said:

      I should add “DLR heating effect scepticism”, making me:

      IPCC climate model sceptic
      IPCC radiative forcing methodology sceptic
      DLR heating effect sceptic

      Obviously some indoctrination study needed before I can move on to being an “epistemic sceptic’ (where people doubt the “reality” or causes of [anthropogenic] climate change).

    • Andy on 20/11/2013 at 8:37 pm said:

      Feel free to invite some Hot Topic trolls over to lecture us about “denialism” and other claptrap

    • What a scintillating and insightful comment, full of wisdom and encouraging advice! Thank you, Mr. Daha!

    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/11/2013 at 8:17 am said:

      Faith in what?

      Blind justice?

    • Alexander K on 21/11/2013 at 8:54 am said:

      Well, Brandoch, how about saying something interesting if you are unhappy with the current level and content of debate here.
      I know! How about discussing “Green idiots attempting to stop oil exploration in our offshore waters are attempting to roll back civilisation to the era of early European settlement in NZ.”
      To get the ball rolling, I really don’t want to go back to using a wood range for cooking because they are very bad for health on all sorts of levels, no matter how nice they can be in a cold Winter. And here in suburban Auckland, burning wood for most of each day would be so very expensive as well as doing horrible things to our air quality.
      We need relatively cheap energy to lift the poor from poverty and stopping the surveying of possible sources of energy seems counter-productive to the point of idiocy to me.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/11/2013 at 9:53 am said:

      Here’s some other “Green idiots” (socialists in disguise – suits in this case) at COP19 AK:×353.jpg


      Catchy huh? Also via Tom Nelson:

      “Radoslav S. Dimitrov is a professor at the Department of Political Science at Western University. What’s interesting is that he’s also been a delegate for the European Union at the UN climate change negotiations since 1990!”


      • In particular, the EU has managed to persuade many countries that climate change is worth tackling now. They do this with economic, not environmental arguments. For example, they argue that countries who take the initiative will have an advantage in future employment, getting most of the “green jobs”.

      But (also from the same Tom Nelson post):

      ‘Hundreds Of German Industry Firms Face Bankruptcy, EU Energy Commissioner Warns’ | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)

      “Hundreds of German industrial firms risk insolvency if the country does not fundamentally revise its renewable energy law (EEG) to avoid a probe by the European Union, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Tuesday.”

      I think my points (if I have any) is that Green idiots aren’t exclusive to Greenpeace, and Green isn’t necessarily environmental anymore.

    • Andy on 21/11/2013 at 11:37 am said:

      There’s quite a lot of irony hosting a COP in Poland, getting sponsored by oil service companies etc.

      The Polish PM has sacked his environment minister and replaced him with someone more keen to accelerate shale gas development.

  9. Richard C (NZ) on 20/11/2013 at 3:16 pm said:

    ‘Global cooling: When the climate changed astonishingly fast’

    By David Frum, CNN Contributor


    How harmful is climate change? How rapidly is the change coming?

    Some wisdom on these questions may be found in an important new work of history, “Global Crisis.” It’s Geoffrey Parker’s examination of the last great climate shock experienced by human beings: the Little Ice Age.

    After a half millennium of very benign temperatures, the Northern Hemisphere began gradually to cool after about 1550. Slow cooling plunged into deep freeze in about 1620. Over the next half-century, the peoples of the Northern Hemisphere suffered climate catastrophe after climate catastrophe:

    • Over the winter of 1620-21, the Bosporus dividing Europe from Asia (in modern-day Turkey) froze for the one and only time in recorded history.

    • The summer of 1627 was the wettest recorded in Europe for 500 years, followed in 1628 by one of the coldest summers recorded.

    • In 1641, the Great Canal that connected Beijing — the planet’s greatest city — to its food supply in southern China dried up for lack of rain, again for the only time in recorded history. China suffered repeated crop failures through the 1640s because of patterns of drought and excessive rain.

    • 1641 saw the third-coldest summer recorded in the Northern Hemisphere; 1642, the 28th coldest; 1643, the 10th coldest. Crops failed across the British Isles and central Europe three harvests in a row.

    • The winter of 1649 was the coldest recorded in China.

    • In 1657, Massachusetts Bay froze solid, and farther south, people could walk across the ice of the Delaware River.

    • The next year, 1658, the Danish Sound froze so hard that a Swedish army and all its artillery could march over what is usually ocean water the 20 miles from Jutland to Copenhagen.

    • Poland recorded 109 days of frost in 1666-67, compared to an average of 63 days in recent years.

    • England’s Thames River froze so hard that thousands of people could use it as a walkway for six weeks during the winter of 1683-84.

    These extreme events are just a few of the hundreds of individual examples cited in Parker’s deeply learned history of the period. “Global Crisis” was published this spring by Yale University Press.


    Parker hammers home the lesson again and again: What matters most about climate change is not how it is caused, but how fast it takes place.

    Our contemporary debates over climate all seem to take for granted that change will unfold gradually over the next century, granting us all plenty of warning and time to react.

    In the 17th century, the catastrophe arrived astonishingly fast — in one human lifetime — and human beings adapted by dying in droves.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/11/2013 at 3:39 pm said:

      ‘Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ says leading scientist’

      By Paul Hudson

      t’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe.

      The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum.

      Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.

      I’ve been to see Professor Mike Lockwood to take a look at the work he has been conducting into the possible link between solar activity and climate patterns.

      According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985.

      Since then the sun has been getting quieter.

      By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, he has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years.

      Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.


      # # #

      Worth noting that Mike Lockwood is CO2-centric, co-author of IPCC AR5 Chapter 10: Detection and Attribution, and cited by Chapter 8: Radiative Forcing as a co-author of Jones, Lockwood and Stott (2012). Lockwood knows his stuff (gets silly with CO2 but hey), in a report to the Royal Society he made the point that historically the build up of warming is relatively slow compared to very abrupt cooling, which is as described by Parker’s “Global Crisis” (see previous comment).

      I wonder if anyone in any government world-wide (anyone at all) that is in a position to plan for such contingencies, is paying attention to this scenario possibility?

    • “I wonder if anyone in any government world-wide (anyone at all) that is in a position to plan for such contingencies, is paying attention to this scenario possibility?”

      That would be no.

      You can’t tax cold, mate.

    • Andy on 21/11/2013 at 11:25 am said:

      My friends in Scotland advise me that skiing has already started. Mid November is quite early for this rare and exciting event, which according to some might be the harshest winter in 60 years.

    • My son is managing a dairy farm in Dumfries, just north of the English/Scottish border. He wrote in an email yesterday:
      The weather is holding up well with only a few frosts so far this month and looking into the next 3 weeks, it should be much the same, perhaps with a skiff of snow here or there, but as of yet, the forecasts that I follow are not showing anything to be concerned about (fingers crossed).

    • Andy on 21/11/2013 at 12:45 pm said:

      My friends are in the North East, ie Aberdeen. They are skiing up on the Cairngorms. My parents used to live in Wigtownshire, near your son. The area is becoming full of wind turbines, I am advised.

  10. Andy on 21/11/2013 at 12:01 pm said:

    The deep sea drilling protest and associated activity is interesting. Gareth Morgan is anti. I think he has some points. Apparently Anadarko liability is only for $100,000 which may be true.

    • The message I hope we in New Zealand are slowly coming to is that protection of our environment requires but good government of our activities, not prohibition. It’s not rocket science.

    • Andy on 21/11/2013 at 12:47 pm said:

      Most of the people I converse with are anti all oil in NZ
      They are also anti all seismic work, even for geological mapping of earthquake risks

      100% Pure Luddite

    • Perhaps they forget that we don’t manufacture oil, the earth does; it leaks out in vast quantities, tonnes of it every year, on land and in the sea, and the earth quickly takes care of it. Sure, we burn oil in much larger quantities than nature does, so the atmosphere is gaining CO2, but that makes plants flourish and supports more animals. Everyone wins — carnivores and vegetarians alike. Still, there are none so blind as they who will not see.

    • Andy on 21/11/2013 at 3:29 pm said:

      You don’t need oil as a reason to undertake seismic work.
      However, the anti-deep sea oil group on Facebook were claiming that seismic exploration kills marine life. Maybe it does, but I have never encountered this (I have worked as a marine geophysicist in a former life)

      When I pressed them, they stated that they were anti-seismic, full stop. Yet seismic exploration gives us data on fault lines which is valuable scientific information when making earthquake assessments.

      Apparently, any threat to wildlife at all is unacceptable, unless of course it comes from the beloved wind turbines, in which case any amount of carnage to birds is OK.

  11. Alexander K on 22/11/2013 at 12:36 pm said:

    I had a brief look at most of the craft in the so-called flotilla via the internet, and most of them have an engine of some sort. Even those without engines are totally dependent on oil-based technology for sails, waterproof clothes, cordage, the plastics their communications units are manufactured from etc.
    They are not Luddites, who had a justifiable fear of losing their means of making a living through the application of technological progress and change which would destroy their hard-won cottage industries, but by their own statements these ‘flotillistas’ are ill-informed cranks who somehow believe that any more of anything that makes life better on this planet is somehow wicked.
    I find it hard to imagine the depths of personal self-delusion that justifies the ownership and usage of a motor yacht of any size to prevent oil exploration businesses from going about their lawful business in finding more sources of oil that will ultimately fund a better life for the world’s poor.

    • …that will ultimately fund a better life for the world’s poor.
      Like most New Zealanders!

    • Andy on 22/11/2013 at 3:35 pm said:

      There are legitimate concerns over deep sea drilling, in my view, and I don’t think the government has done a particularly good job at PR towards the public in allaying fears over these issues.

      Nevertheless, when the campaigners are demanding an “oil-free” ocean, are they against all offshore oil? Are they against all oil exploration, period? Maybe they are more concerned about deep-sea drilling, which carries higher inherent risks

      If they are against all domestic oil exploration and production, are they prepared to import oil from middle eastern countries?

      If they are against all oil, do they use a car, travel by bus or plane, or use plastic products?

      Experience has taught me that asking these questions is usually fairly futile.

    • I agree with your sentiments and admire the way you resort to reason in countering blind ignorance. But the fact remains that nature itself does not provide an “oil-free” ocean. Nature constantly eats the oil the earth pours into the ocean. Only a few months went by before the terrifying Deep Horizon spill was undetectable in the deep (I think that’s correct, though the inconvenient tar balls persisted on the shore). The simple reason was that the population of oil-consuming bacteria exploded in the presence of food. The final result was an increase in food for the entire food chain. Brilliant. Let’s do it again! More marlin!

    • Andy on 22/11/2013 at 4:55 pm said:

      It is true that oil is “natural” and that organisms eat it. There is some argument that the dispersants actually cause more harm than good.

      However, you are pushing the proverbial uphill if we suggest that oil spills are somehow OK. Everyone has mental images of oil coated sea birds and it is wise to concede that these are generally not a good outcome.

      The unfortunate image of “cowboy operators” is not really fair on the oil industry as a whole. There are some dodgy companies around, but the big operators like BP and Shell are completely obsessed with “Elf n Safety”.

      For example, in BP, it is against company policy to use the staircases without holding onto the handrail, and staff can be reprimanded for not adhering to this rule.

    • Andy on 26/11/2013 at 11:27 am said:

      Some impressive prose from Jeanette Fitzsimons writing at Hot Topic

      Imprisoned within one square kilometer of water, two hundred kilometers from land, our only point of reference in a black ocean the brightly lit deathship. Confined within an invisible line we must not cross. Missing our friends who must stay outside the same invisible line.

      The brightly light deathship? Too much SciFi maybe?

    • Magoo on 26/11/2013 at 12:40 pm said:

      Sounds like she’s been at the mushrooms again.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/11/2013 at 2:08 pm said:

      The “deathship” basically drilling a hole without the need for moorings i.e. minimal seafloor disturbance, possibly dry i.e. no oil/gas or uneconomic, and taking core samples. Something that is hardly a first offshore NZ e.g from GNS:

      ‘Reservoir Quality in the Taranaki Basin, NZ’ [includes offshore]

      This product has been developed to provide an introduction to reservoirs and reservoir quality within the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. It comprises a wealth of information from available conventional cores, side wall cores (SWC), cuttings, and key outcrop sections.

      Apparently, a CRI (GNS) has been dealing in “death” – who knew?

      The govt did. Taranaki Basin alone:

      Wells – Over 400 onshore and offshore exploration and production wells drilled since 1950. No wells beyond the continental shelf.

      It seems “death” becomes an issue worth a protest flotilla when the hole is “deepwater” or on the edge of the continental shelf as Anadarko’s first one, “Romney”, is:

      ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ – Exploration Permit 38451 [includes Romney]

      Page 11, Project area extends to the northwest of the Taranaki shelf edge.

      Page 29, Water depth 1520m

      A full Reader search for “death” returns 5 instances; 2 in regard to human workers, 2 on birds, and 1 on fish.

      To what “death” is Jeanette Fitzsimons alluding to then?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/11/2013 at 3:05 pm said:

      Global “deepwater” (below 400m) drilling map 2010 (9 entire fields, not wells):

      There are approximately 600 individual deepwater oil and gas wells (production, not exploration) in the combined Gulf of Mexico fields (12 oil, 112 including gas – see BBC map above and inset) alone:

      Drillships like the Noble Bob Douglass (sixth generation) employed by Anadarko off Raglan have been involved in much of this but the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was from a semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), not a dynamicaly positioned drillship (aka “deathship” according to Jeanette Fitzsimons).

      Comparison of deepwater semi-submersible and drillship:

    • Andy on 26/11/2013 at 4:13 pm said:

      I suppose “death ships of oil” are also from the same Evil Force that gave us “death trains of coal”

      We (in NZ) have plenty of those too.

    • Andy on 26/11/2013 at 4:36 pm said:

      Since methane accounts for 50% of NZ’s GHG emissions, I also like to refer to Daisy and her friends munching grass in the paddocks as the “Cows of Death”.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/11/2013 at 5:36 pm said:

      USCG reports Deathyachts. “smackdaddy” (see link) observes:

      “…out of 709 total deaths, 25 of those happened on sailboats (10% of total sailing accidents involved a fatality). And 40% or so of these deaths were by means other than drowning (the thing we all associate as the most likely threat to our lives) – knocking that number down to 15”

      This may be of some concern to the yacht (and aux-sail) flotilla but they could mitigate the statistical risk (or not?), smackdaddy again:

      “[IRONY ALERT] statistically speaking, any sailor’s best chance at survival is to get 10 or so hours of some informal training on how to sail, take a 40′ vessel into the open ocean in rough to very rough conditions, wear a pfd, don’t drink, stay on the boat (regardless of make or year), sail REALLY fast, and, in all probability, you’ll be just fine?

      It seems the most dangerous sailing out there is sailing a small boat on a sheltered body of water in calm conditions. Could that be right?

      Surely that’s not it.
      [/IRONY ALERT]”

    • Andy on 26/11/2013 at 8:04 pm said:

      I think Greenpeace have spared us a few deaths by sailing their boats back home in the face of an incoming storm.

      They are now going to take on DeathBoat ™ in a court of law. Justice Venning?

    • Magoo on 27/11/2013 at 10:48 am said:

      Bovines of genocide.

    • Andy on 27/11/2013 at 12:01 pm said:

      Magoo –

      Apocalypse Pony

    • Richard C (NZ) on 27/11/2013 at 5:53 pm said:


      Ocean rips kill more people in Australia on average each year than tropical cyclones, bushfires, floods and shark attacks combined.

      Read more:

  12. Richard C (NZ) on 23/11/2013 at 1:08 pm said:

    ‘Austrian Meteorologists Stupefied Into Silence! Data From Alps Show Marked Cooling Over Last 2-3 Decades!’

    By P Gosselin

    [Dominik Jung] “We are obviously very far away from milder winters. The trend actually is moving in the opposite direction! A few years ago climatologists advised winter sports locations in the Alps to reduce their investments in winter sports facilities – because of the ever increasing mean temperatures, they soon would not be worth it. So we ask ourselves, which increasing temperatures are the ladies and gentlemen even talking about?”

    Jung then informs readers that he asked the Austrian meteorological experts on site what they thought of the results. According to Jung, the reaction was either dead silence induced by shock, or attempts to downplay the results. Had the data shown warming instead, then of course we would be hearing just the opposite of silence and downplaying…we’d be hearing the hysterical screams of bloody climate murder!

    Cooling “in a warming world”? – impossible!

  13. Alexander K on 24/11/2013 at 12:13 pm said:

    Gareth Morgan’s opinions, despite his regard for his own opinions, are merely opinions and not expert commentary. The same gentleman has very strong opinions with regard to Global Warming and its causes which he has the financial clout to disseminate vigorously and extensively, but that still does not render his opinions correct. As all who follow the scientific method acknowledge, empirical observations trump opinion every time and there is sufficient evidence to deny the validity of the notion that anthropogenic activity is leading inevitably to climactic disaster.
    The amount of oil that naturally seeps into the Gulf of Mexico and the richness of that Gulf’s fisheries should provide a clue as to the presence of organisms that thrive on oil.
    I am not attempting to justify the possibility of massive oil spills and the obvious harm they do to wildlife, but the variations of “let’s not do anything lest we offend Gaia” needs to be seen for the hysterical anti-progress nonsense it is.

    • I am not attempting to justify the possibility of massive oil spills and the obvious harm they do to wildlife, but the variations of “let’s not do anything lest we offend Gaia” needs to be seen for the hysterical anti-progress nonsense it is.

      Certainly, it’s hysterical, anti-progressive nonsense, and I would be more specific about oil spills and their damage: some damage, some wildlife destruction and some harm to the environment is absolutely acceptable, provided we have taken strong measures to prevent it, to repair the damage as soon as reasonably possible and to prosecute any wrongdoing.

      But let me spell this out: The mere existence of damage is no justification for prohibiting the activity so long as it is repaired in a short time. Yes, the judgement of what constitutes short is one of wisdom and is to be considered negotiable.

      Again, for clarity, I disagree with you on this wise: I do justify the possibility of massive oil spills and the obvious harm they do to wildlife—on the grounds that the good that balances that harm benefits millions of people and because the damage from even massive oil spills ends in mere months, as demonstrated in the Gulf of Mexico disaster. There’s nothing permanent about an oil spill, never was. If a few tar balls last for years afterwards, it’s only because the ecosystem couldn’t get at them.

    • Alexander K on 24/11/2013 at 2:35 pm said:

      Thanks Richard, excellent reply. I don’t think we actually disagree about anything but a matter of scale.
      I do get tired of numpties who carry out dangerous and stupid acts, such as the vigorous woman who playacts as a legendary heroine in front of cameras and has lots of clout among her breathless followers, who tells us stridently that they are ‘protecting the environment’ when she and her ilk are doing anything but.

    • Yes, good. Yes, the media play-acting is about sentimentality alone.

      Stay tuned, Alexander: I’m about to reveal a major NIWA failure.

  14. Andy on 27/11/2013 at 3:10 pm said:

    I did get some good news last night, in the form of an email from RWE Renewables to advise me that the Atlantic Array windfarm project had been cancelled

    Also reported at Jo Nova and Bishop Hill

  15. Richard C (NZ) on 28/11/2013 at 8:04 am said:

    This isn’t boring (too much fun):

    Some highlights from Michael H. Kelly’s Dec. ’09 ClimateGate writeup

    The CRU Mails [hotlinked]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/11/2013 at 8:49 am said:


      [Kelly] I say above ‘they genuinely believe’ but I really think that subconsciously at least they know it’s a crock. Because if the theory was true, the above [constant flying] would be the equivalent of people working for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children writing mails saying, ‘Hi, sorry for the delay in reply, I was just punching a baby in the face.’

    • Hilariously, McIntyre has pointed out Mann has inserted a big stretch of data upside down. Hilariously, they will say this doesn’t really matter. Hilariously, they are essentially right, which should tell you all you need to know about the models.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/11/2013 at 1:15 pm said:

      2003 [from the original linked below]

      They are still curious and inquiring, try to resolve the problems; but it genuinely never seems to occur to them that the answers may lie outside the theory of man-made greenhouse warming, or that they may not be problems at all without it. Every apparent contradiction must be fitted into that paradigm with crowbar or blowtorch.

      More, it never occurs to them that anyone else could question the theory in good faith. Any scientist who raises doubts is automatically dismissed, and slandered, as having been paid to do so by big oil.

      This is ironic when in fact… well, see for example 0962818260, 0973374325, 0968367517, 0968691929, 0947541692, or the separate Shell_Memo document, for illustrations of how CRU themselves are only too eager to accept oil money. Or the article quoted at the bottom of 0965750123, for an indication of how many years ago (1997) the oil companies started to jump on board the AGW bandwagon.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/11/2013 at 2:05 pm said:

      [Delingpole] This essay is gold, I tell you, gold. What makes it so is the way it combines close textual analysis with a broader appreciation of the overarching narrative; the way it employs witty analogies, tropes, digressions, asides, high and low cultural references, complex structure, colourful turns of phrase to lure the reader in and make the argument more attractive, readable, comprehensible, enjoyable, worth pursuing right to the end…

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/11/2013 at 2:38 pm said:

      Climategate for Dummies – happy anniversary!

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/11/2013 at 4:23 pm said:
    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/11/2013 at 8:55 pm said:

      Reading through Harry’s travails again, Australia in particular prompts some nagging questions I’ve had for a while that I’ve posted here:

      Excerpt from 32 (

      I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations, one with no WMO and one with, usually overlapping and with the same station name and very similar coordinates. I know it could be old and new stations, but why such large overlaps if that’s the case? Aarrggghhh!
      There truly is no end in sight.

      Some of those stations in “the rest” are the NZ stations used by CRUTEMP, ….if you see what I’m getting at i.e. what NZ data goes to CRU? CliFlo raw? WMO? What?

      And what happens to it at CRU so that it goes final in CRUTEMP?

  16. Andy on 29/11/2013 at 9:10 am said:

    The IPCC have issued a propaganda video about WG1.
    Lot’s of scary music and serious looking scientists

    Unfortunately, it falls flat on its face at 2:00 mins into the video when the claim is made that CO2 and temperature are correlated in the ice cores (technicaly correct but misleading), and that this correlation is reflected in the current temperatures.

    If you freeze the video at 2:05 you can quite clearly see the temperatures lagging CO2 in the ice core series, when they bring the series together,

    (Video also posted at Hot Topic)

    • Ugh! I have a headache from all those subliminal flood/drought/tornado pictures flashing at me. What a load of bollocks. Notice they have disabled ratings and comments on the video. I wonder why….

    • Andy on 29/11/2013 at 4:11 pm said:

      It seems the IPCC use Al Gore as a role model for their communication. They dis share a Nobel Prize, I suppose.

  17. Andy on 04/12/2013 at 9:12 am said:

    Nice that the skulduggery of the wind lobby has made it to the front page of the Daily Telegraph

    Also good news last week was the cancellation of the Atlantic Array windfarm project.

    • Andy on 04/12/2013 at 9:35 am said:

      The comments section on the Telegraph article is well worth reading. The lunacy of Britain’s wind energy policy is hard to describe.

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