Royal Society answers my inquiry

On April 7 I wrote to Dr Julie Maxton, Executive Director of the Royal Society, London, saying:

I’ve been hunting for evidence for several years without success and now I’m thinking that the Royal Society will surely not let me down. I do hope you can provide a succinct answer.

By what mechanism do our emissions cause dangerous global warming?

With enormous gratitude,

Today a reply arrived:

Dear Mr Treadgold

Dr Maxton has asked me to reply to your email of 7 April. In case it may be helpful to you, please see published by the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences in February 2014, and published by the Royal Society in November 2017.


David Walker

Executive Assistant to the Executive Director

The Royal Society

You’re all invited to help me find the answer to our famous question from those two sources. The famous question:

How do our emissions cause dangerous global warming?


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31 Thoughts on “Royal Society answers my inquiry

  1. Simon on 11/04/2018 at 8:14 am said:

    It’s all there. It might help if you actually read the information that someone has spend their valuable time in collating for you.

  2. Richard Treadgold on 11/04/2018 at 8:24 am said:

    Give me a chance. I’ve only just received it.

  3. Simon on 11/04/2018 at 9:39 am said:

    The science has been well understood for 120 years. Time for you to catch up. If you truly have been hunting for evidence for several years without success then you have been looking in the wrong place.

  4. Simon, tell us about your carbon footprint. Also, I have a question to put to you: if you really believe that the use of fossil fuels cause so-called global warming, and think that is bad, do you live according to this belief or do you expect other people to pay for your excessive lifestyle?

  5. Richard Treadgold on 11/04/2018 at 10:55 am said:

    Jacob, that’s definitely in the ad hominem zone. Simon’s irritating, but try to impress him with your knowledge and reasoning.

  6. Gary Kerkin on 11/04/2018 at 2:03 pm said:


    In the interests of trying to justify your contention that “all the information is there” I decided to look at the first reference in Richard’s note. That led me to a number of “Questions” with “answers”. Because we have been interested in the question of how scientists know that global warming has been caused by an increase in carbon dioxide, which is essentially the question we asked of the RSNZ, I thought it would be a good question to look at first. I was confronted by this statement:

    Scientists know that recent climate change is largely caused by human activities from an understanding of basic physics, comparing observations with models, and fingerprinting the detailed patterns of climate change caused by different human and natural influences.

    Fair enough, I thought, and then I encountered:

    Since the mid-1800s, scientists have known that CO2 is one of the main greenhouse gases of importance to Earth’s energy balance.

    Where is the knowledge of basic physics? Water is the main greenhouse gas. It is 50-100 times more prevalent in the atmosphere that CO2. Basis physics suggests that at best CO2 might be called a “leading minor greenhouse gas.” Co insider for example that if a photon of IR energy enters the atmosphere it is 50-100x more likely to be snapped up by water rather than CO2.

    And then I read, referring to “signature”

    The observed patterns of surface warming, temperature changes through the atmosphere, increases in ocean heat content, increases in atmospheric moisture, sea level rise, and increased melting of land and sea ice also match the patterns scientists expect to see due to rising levels of CO2 and other human-induced changes

    “Expect to see”? At this stage I almost gave up. I too have looked at relating NZ temperature to increasing CO2. If I plot temperature vs CO2 composition there appears to be a correlation but, looking at changes over consecutive 30-year periods no correlation is evident. I didn’t EXPECT to see any particular result. I was looking with genuine interest and would have been satisfied with results either way. (

    I didn’t quite give up at this stage even though paragraphs 1 and 2 appear to be circular. I have had look at some of the “answers” to other “questions”, particularly sea level rise. My thoughts on that is for another time.

    I am disappointed with the information I have thus far looked at the RS website. Simon, if you think the section I have looked at closely is final and complete I must conclude that you have not read the “information” presented critically. That is a pity.

  7. Of course it is ad hominem, and rightly so, otherwise the word hypocrisy we use from time to time would be meaningless. However, you make the rules, you object. Hence;

    Ok, Richard, I’ll withdraw the question directed at Simon and re-affirm the general observation. However, I do believe there is a dire need to question political motives behind pseudoscience and its promotors. The hypocrisy in this climate carry-on is insufferable, especially since it makes a mockery of representative democratic government. Either here or elsewhere, I will not let up exposing frauds, shysters and carpetbaggers picking my pocket.

    Then, to continue to argue on the science, as you know, is to let the warmistas get away with it. The show goes on, the money is wastefully spent, and the physics will be disputed until the cows come home for the last time and the chickens are done for dinner. We’re all having a fine time arguing science-Imo, a diversion.

  8. Richard Treadgold on 11/04/2018 at 3:01 pm said:


    You make good sense—you must have earned at least 50 points. But when I support debating the science, of course I don’t mean to ignore the political motives, hypocrisy and sheer bloody-mindedness of the opponent when appropriate. I know opponents can raise irrelevant issues, but it’s up to us to spot them through greater knowledge and get the debate back on track. I just don’t like the bare-knuckle stuff and I think burrowing into this complex subject can expose the warmsters’ arguments as empty of substance, hence they lose. But we can vanquish them with any tactic we like, so long as we uphold civilised rules and they leave the field of play. So what’s not to like?

  9. Richard Treadgold on 11/04/2018 at 3:05 pm said:


    I’m still working through the references, but thanks for your comments. You’ve largely echoed my own thoughts, except in quoting “expect to see”—I missed that. I hope to contribute more shortly.

  10. Simon on 11/04/2018 at 3:08 pm said:

    Water vapour is a greenhouse gas but the volume in the atmosphere is a function of temperature. It is a feedback, not a forcing. Outgassing of CO2 from oceans due to higher sea surface temperatures is also a feedback. Greenhouse gas emissions of CO2 and CH4 are the forcing.

  11. Gary Kerkin on 11/04/2018 at 4:05 pm said:


    Please define “feedback” and “forcing”.

  12. Simon on 11/04/2018 at 4:14 pm said:

    Forcing means a change which may “push” the climate system in the direction of warming or cooling.
    Feedback is the process in which changing one quantity changes a second quantity, and the change in the second quantity in turn changes the first.

    You need to ask yourself why you hold such a strong contrary opinion on a subject about which you know so little.

  13. Gary Kerkin on 11/04/2018 at 5:03 pm said:

    Good Lord Simon! I assume you are not an idiot. Why do you assume others are? It seems to me that your response to everything is similar to the one you aimed at me. You have used it several times in this thread.

    I asked because I felt it would be useful to understand what you understand by the terms. Thank you for stating them.

    Personally I wouldn’t use the terms. They have little meaning in engineering because they refer to perturbations from steady state. In a climate system steady state has little relevance because weather, and the long term expectations from weather and climate are chaotic. Certainly nothing is in equilibrium.

    If I were to embark on producing a “model” I would look at incorporating the mass, energy, and momentum balances. They are not necessarily easy to understand but I assume you do, or at least, I hope you do.

    Based on proper principles which do not initially involve assumptions as regards what you call “forcing” and “feedback” I would be contemplating a solution of the partial differential equations which describe the mass, energy, and momentum flows into and out of a discrete element. This is a monumental task and it does not surprise me that the GCM’s are somewhat easier to implement. Because of the size of the task I have no desire to embark on it. I don’t have enough life left to be able to complete it. But if I wished to do so I can write the PDE’s for each element. Can you? Before you call me an idiot, please demonstrate that you are able to. If you can’t, and I will not cast aspersions because you can’t, please don’t respond. For obvious reasons.

  14. Stephanie Hawking on 11/04/2018 at 6:48 pm said:

    It doesn’t matter what you call what, it is the non-condensing greenhouse gases (principally CO2) that are the key to the greenhouse effect.

    If Earth were frozen at (say) -18C then any water vapour present would not have sufficient greenhouse effect to raise the temperature above freezing.

    That needs CO2, which is both a forcing and a feedback. That is, some CO2 drives warming initially (forcing); that warming releases more CO2 that causes more warming (feedback). As the temperature rises and more liquid water is present then water vapour may have a greater greenhouse effect than CO2, (until it condenses out).

    Ultimately science is the art of explaining phenomenon using the evidence available.

    It’s more than some mechanical operation and the boundaries are not fixed.

  15. Stephanie Hawking on 11/04/2018 at 6:56 pm said:

    Here is one set of answers for the judge that summarises the greenhouse effect. There are others; with a discussion on

  16. As Einstein is reported to have said, the thinking which has created the problem can never solve that problem. AGW has so far been no more than an assertion without foundation. It’s promoters have been highly successful in getting this AGW idea accepted by a large minority of scientists and lay people alike. The very institutions which have traditionally been the arbiters of matters scientific wasted no time getting aboard the taxpayer-funded AGW gravy train. With some alacrity it was determined by the scientific great and good that AGW was a fact, despite the fact that AGW was definitely not a fact, as yet, and practically in no time it was also determined that AGW was, let’s say, dangerous, that something must be done about and no expense spared. That is not scientific.

    Some Royal Societies appear to be hedging their bets now, backtracking and prevaricating. Not only is the science of AGW not settled, it is as yet without a basis. Science, clearly, is not what it used to be. It has been overtaken by technology, the which itself has been trumped by corporate business and its recourse to a kind of commercial practice and political activism which has been justifiably described as total politics.

    The scientific community has a problem. The problem is science. Science has transmogrified into Religion. It has become an ideological enterprise. One can believe almost anything and, before breakfast (I’m going for at least a hundred points here, Richard), scientists will cobble together an almost impenetrable thicket of pseudoscientific gobbledygook to prove such belief, in the estimation of the adherents, as justified and warranted drastic action paid for by unrestrained forcing and the stonewalling of negative feedback.

    If weather patterns have been changing due to the use of fossil fuels, perhaps the clearing of forests with fossil fueled machines or the building of infrastructure including buildings by modern methods, it is local weather phenomena which can with some certainty be attributed to human society. Globally, as yet, no scientific theory worthy of being proven wrong, let alone of being proven right, has been presented to the public- the people who pay the scientists in question to determine these particular issues.

    As Einstein reportedly said, the thinking which caused the problem cannot solve that problem. To solve the problem of science created by false scientific thinking and pseudoscientific methods, new thinking is required. Since science itself is the problem, science cannot solve this problem. The problem posed by science can only be solved at a higher level of reasoning, a superior logic, a more encompassing truth.

    Since science has become akin to religion, the comparative study of religion is best suited, in the first instance, to tackle this problem. However, this particular conversation blog does not include Theosophy, I’m sure, though I’m happy to be contradicted on that score, hence the next level to deal with the problem of science is the love of wisdom, philosophy. By which I mean the real thing, not the western academic variety which is terminally ill with the same virus as science. Philosophy proper will deal with the problem of science.

  17. Stephanie Hawking on 12/04/2018 at 8:36 am said:

    Jacob Jonker. Tens of thousands of climate scientists and millions of other research scientists in a conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer.

    Many work in private institutions and some worked for the oil companies.

    Sceptics including oil billionaires Koch brothers financed Berkeley Earth, set up by Richard Muller to disprove AGW. Failed to do so.

    AGW is a sound theory. It’s stood the test of time.

  18. Climate scientists perform no useful function in society, quite contrary. The hapless taxpayers and consumers are lumbered with a cost which is becoming a huge economic burden on western society. This economic cost is directly attributable to the lies produced by academics who have, apart from an ideological agenda, a seat on the pseudoscientific gravy train. Climate scientists produce nothing but stale political air if they are on the warmist side, and if they are busy proving all the hype to be concocted academic fairy floss, they could be better employed if it weren’t for the shysters and ideologues fanning the flames of this scam.

    If you know anything about taxation and business, you would also be aware that whenever an academic, scientist, think-tank operator or spin meister is being paid in any way, it is the taxpayers who cannot afford fancy accountants and lawyers who pay the bill through taxation. This applies, of course, to protagonists beavering away on pay and free travel, accommodation etc., in both camps. It’s a racket which is exceedingly wasteful in terms of natural resources and burning extra fossil fuel to no useful or productive effect.

    Practically all other costs of the AGW carry-on not paid by taxpayers directly and indirectly are loaded on the consumers at the bottom of the financial-economic chain of production and consumption. Most of the people I know have a good understanding of how it works, but the AGW hype aupporters and repeaters do not, or do not care about the environment and the enormous sums being wasted on this AGW scam.

    Anyone who cares about the environment, civil rights, human rights and equal economic relationships, i.e., where people are not held over a barrel to be robbed of their proper and duty-bound contribution to a well-ordered and just society, should condemn this AGW scam loud and clear in the interest of all of humanity, democracy and good government, not to mention fair dealing and the recovery of scientific principles.

  19. Simon on 12/04/2018 at 11:30 am said:

    OK….. So basically there is either:
    a) A massive conspiracy hidden from the public where new entrants are co-opted into the conspiracy without spilling the beans, or
    b) You are privy to information and understanding that is denied to researchers who have spent their career studying the phenomena.
    Which is it?

  20. The massive conspiracy is not hidden. It is right out in the open obvious to people who can see it. That many people cannot see it is eminently explainable. It is a phenomenon of mass psychology known since the beginning of organised religion esoterically, that is, to the minority who know how human psychology and political ideology fit hand-in-glove. Exoterically, the phenomenon of mass psychology has been known more widely in the West since the beginning of the philosophy of psychology. By the time of Nietzsche, intelligent people not privy to esoteric knowledge had worked it out by themselves.

    If you’re interested, Wilhelm Reich wrote about this phenomenon and the psychosomatic basis quite knowledgeably. Conflict and, hence, diametrically opposing views, is a natural thing in human affairs, much taken advantage of by clever and conniving elites and their minions. As I have pointed out, many people are in it for the money. One has to earn a crust somehow-if you’re interested in statistics, find out how many more people have got some degree or other in recent times compared to fifty years ago. Read about the Roman Catholic priesthood and the institutionalisation of that religion from the time it merged with the dregs of the Roman empire, and, since, the rest of the religious institutions, and you can see the similarity with academia today.

  21. Stephanie Hawking on 12/04/2018 at 5:16 pm said:

    Jacob Jonker

    The conspiracy is under your bed.

  22. Considering the trillions of dollars wasted on this scam alone, never mind the others going, your comment bespeaks of inanity well past the boundary of insanity. Conspiracy is another word for networking, U no.

  23. Barry Brill on 14/04/2018 at 12:32 am said:

    Jacob: speaking of hypocrisy, what do you make of the fact that New Zealand has the second greatest number of vehicles per capita in the world (excluding mini-states). I read a blog post which reckons we passed USA in 2017. So why doesn’t PM Ardern earn her “nuclear-free moment” by banning the import of used cars?

    Given that we have more cars than anyone else, we obviously have a greater need for oil than others. So why are we the first country in the world to follow France’s grandiloquent gesture of banning oil exploration (France doesn’t have any)? Are we going to import more to stop others from burning the stuff? Could it be just rhetoric and spin, or will this decision actually reduce global use of GHGs somehow?

  24. Politics is the art of spin, and deception in all other possible ways. Politicians are only stooges and gofers, anyway. In all of the democratic West, with the possible exception of Denmark and Iceland, the same agenda rules, which is driven and controlled by the globalising corporates and dedicated to the destruction of the democratic nation-states. To divert people’s attention and keep them uselessly exercised, an unending stream of diversions is put up and out on the national and world stage.

    Politically, the majority are asleep and the rest is compromised, coopted, fully on board the corporate-controlled and taxpayer-funded gravy train, or huffing and puffing supporting radical politicians, some of whom may well be in the pay of the corporates from the start, or else bought and brought on board later.

    Infrastructure planning is for many more cars and a huge increase in population. Guess where the extra people wll come from? Money and power, they who seek control at all costs do so for that purpose. Look at the land between Howick and Manukau. I remember when it was all, under-utilised, farmland. Now it’s set up to make people travel far to go anywhere and waste their time and fuel while they do. It looks insane considering what it could be, unless it is envisaged that in thirty years time these houses will be replaced by high density high rise buildings. In the meantime, people waste huge amounts of time and money daily.

    Anyway, if I could write, properly, it would be worth a book or two, but they have been written already. I can recommend Nemesis-forget which author. Yes. Infrastructure in most of the West is crazy, politics corrupt.

  25. Richard Treadgold on 14/04/2018 at 12:12 pm said:


    Your view of the body politic is grim. Though I agree with some of your comments, I disagree that the transformation of Auckland’s margins in the last 40 years has been driven by nameless “globalising corporates” planning “for many more cars and a huge increase in population.” That’s just nameless conspiracy put about to frighten us. Oh, which is what you’re accusing others of. Nobody forced, or could force, people to uproot and move to an alien city. Instead, people head to the big city in search of better fortune than the tinpot town of their birth. Then the planners rush and scrape for funds to get the roads, houses, etc., to accommodate them.

    So put the horse before the cart, my friend. Leave the conspiracies to the nutjobs. Having said that, I agree the lefties (tyrants all) rub their hands with glee as they watch the people arriving and make plans to regulate those lives for their betterment, but they couldn’t produce a cooked egg in a pan of boiling water, much less make thousands of people rush to their undeveloped town.

    High-density high-rises have been tried all over the place and torn down. They don’t work. Forget about them in God’s own country, we won’t have them.

    That was significantly off-topic, my apologies. I discourage responses.

  26. Gwan on 14/04/2018 at 3:59 pm said:

    Richard T,
    What chance have small towns got when corporate s despise them .
    Take the town of Otorohanga .a nice friendly rural town south of Hamilton and the closest town to the Waitomo Caves
    .Munroe Caravans had a thriving business building camper vans and caravans .The owners had done their stint and sold to Tourism Holdings .The corporate thinking was that they had to shift to Hamilton ,more staff ,more publicity and hey the managers could not live in a rural town .
    What happened ,the staff that knew everything about caravans were not going to travel to Hamilton every day and and the skilled staff dwindled and a three million loss was recorded .The work force that the new owners thought that they could tap into were unreliable and mobile .
    We now have a similar scenario happening with a large freight company that was built up in Otorohanga Freight Lines .
    Jim Barker one of the founders said people would say to him” why don’t you shift your head office to Auckland from Otorohanga” and his answer was” Why ?”
    He had a loyal staff who understood the business and many worked there for years .
    With big Jim’s passing Freight Lines and Blue Bridge Ferries have been sold to Australians and they are now relocating the Freight Lines head office to Hamilton ,so even less employment for the town
    The plain facts are that city people cannot see the advantages of small towns and probably can.t spell or pronounce Otorohanga.

  27. Mike Jowsey on 14/04/2018 at 7:14 pm said:

    “That was significantly off-topic, my apologies. I discourage responses.”
    I might use that.

  28. Exactly, Gwan. You’re off-topic, but hey, could we not introduce GST on this blog. Richard wants science only, and of course, to keep the conversation going, the pseudoscience from Stephanie-Simon seems to have scarpered.
    Anyway, General Systems Theory ties everything together; Energy, information, dis-information, networking aka C-in-C, Collusion-in-Confidence, a shade(a fine shade) under and over and above Co-in-Co, which stands for Corruption-in-Commerce, not to be confused with Ca-Ca, which is a French scientific term denoting what is left when politicians, scientists, bureaucrats, career academicians and corporate carpet-baggers usurp the public conversation, hijack government and self-legislate, self-regulate, self-interpretate and do as they please, and lots more.

    General Systems Theory covers quantum physics and geopolitical philosophy, and everything. Leaves global warming protagonists gasping through straws.

  29. Barry Brill on 16/04/2018 at 1:19 pm said:

    Ke Hapaala discusses the above reply in The Week That Was

    His firm conclusion?
    “So, the quest for hard evidence is dismissed with bureaucratic science capped with circular reasoning and models that produce infinite solutions, while ignoring the atmosphere, where the greenhouse effect occurs.”

  30. Mike Jowsey on 16/04/2018 at 5:47 pm said:

    AGW is a sound theory. It’s stood the test of time.

    – Stephanie Hawking

    Quote of the Week, Steph! LOL. What” Test of Time”?

    Geological time? Nah.
    Civilisational time? Nah.
    Time since the LIA? Nah.
    Time since the Hockey Schtick? Not even.

  31. Barry Brill on 19/04/2018 at 2:18 pm said:

    After clicking-through the reference provided by the Royal Society, one discovers that the ‘human fingerprint’ has been apparent during the past 30 – 40 years since the “ozone hole” was discovered. The fact that the stratosphere is cooling while the top of the troposphere is warming is “broadly consistent” with human causation. This differential temperature change doesn’t happen in the case of warming by the sun or volcanoes and isn’t caused by natural events like ENSO.

    This lines up with the ‘smoking gun’ supposedly found by Ben Santer in 1995 – the tropical troposphere “hot spot”. BUT …. we have a problem, Houston! The “hot spot” isn’t there!

    The Society’s website offers no explanation. It just notes that, in the tropical troposphere, “models currently show more warming than has been observed”.

    Without the smoking gun there can be no conviction. Case dismissed!

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