David Bellamy loses it

In April, New Scientist published a letter from David Bellamy denying global warming and claiming:

Indeed, if you take all the evidence that is rarely mentioned by the Kyotoists into consideration, 555 of all the 625 glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich, Switzerland, have been growing since 1980.

It’s not hard to go to the WGMS web site and see that his claim is not even close to being true, as explained in subsequent letters. Now George Monbiot has tracked down the source of Bellamy’s claim. He got it from a crackpot web site (“The next ice age could begin any day”), which got it from Larouche’s 21st Century Science, which got from SEPP, which seem to have made it up. Plus he made a typo, turning 55% into 555. Monbiot concludes:

It is hard to convey just how selective you have to be to dismiss the evidence for climate change. You must climb over a mountain of evidence to pick up a crumb: a crumb which then disintegrates in the palm of your hand. You must ignore an entire canon of science, the statements of the world’s most eminent scientific institutions, and thousands of papers published in the foremost scientific journals. You must, if you are David Bellamy, embrace instead the claims of an eccentric former architect, which are based on what appears to be a non-existent data set. And you must do all this while calling yourself a scientist.

William Connolley has more on Bellamy.


  1. #1 jre
    May 11, 2005

    Bravo, Monbiot!

    Now begins the work of finding every climate-change denialist who stepped in this steamer, and humiliating him appropriately.

    A Google search for “555 625 glaciers” is a good starting point.

    Hmmm … I see that Tim Blair’s site is the second hit …

    Nah, I’d just get banned.

  2. #2 TallDave
    May 11, 2005

    LOL I gotta admit, there are some silly people on the anti-AGW side.

  3. #3 Chris Lightfoot
    May 11, 2005

    I note ‘%’ is shift-5, so that part of it could be a typo. There’s no way to tell whether it was, of course.

  4. #4 TallDave
    May 11, 2005

    This is what’s great about the Age of Internet: instant debunking!

    As skeptical as I about the causes and long-term effects of GW, you have to be blind to deny that GW is happening.

  5. #5 Pop Trot
    May 11, 2005


    you’re missing a word. Is it

    As skeptical as I am about the causes and long-term effects of GW…


    As skeptical as I was about the causes and long-term effects of GW…

    Just wondering where you stand.

  6. #6 Ender
    May 11, 2005

    Now I am not sure who Michael Janowoski is however he posted this at http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=196#comments in response to a question about the MWP and also the unbelievable claim that the Mann et al analysis of the proxy data could produce a ‘hockey stick’ from random data.

    Why I am posting this is because the idea that the Mediaeval Warming Period was hotter than today is yet another crumb from the mountain that skeptics use to try and discredit global warming. Yet to attack the ‘hockey stick’ they tried to discredit the data that it was based on. This is while they use the same data to ‘prove’ that the MWP was warmer.

    There is no real science in the skeptics position and the skeptics are doing no real science.

    Below is my conversation with Michael – his answer shows that if skeptics doubt Mann’s work they cannot have it both ways.

    “Michael – Fair enough however then you say “Lastly, and what is possibly most important of all, is that the reconstructions in Figure 8 lack statistical significance. Without statistical significance, drawing concrete conclusions from the data is next to impossible. In many cases, it’s actually not even publishable.” Ok so we are not drawing any conclusions from the data does that mean we are not drawing the conclusion that the MWP period was warmer than today?

    Comment by Ender – 5/7/2005 @ 4:49 am


    I agree, you can’t make the conclusion the MWP was warmer than today based on Fig 8. But it wasn’t meant to – it was simply done to show what Mann’s results would’ve looked like using proper computational methodology. Whether you should be able to draw any concrete conclusions from it due to its statistical nature is important to many scientific and mathematical people, but the vast majority of people just look at the hockey stick and don’t know/care about the statistics. When the hockey stick shows-up in a school book, Time magazine, an Earth Day pamphlet, a memo to a politician, etc, do you think there are any footnotes regarding statistical significance? Do you think the vast majority of readers know enough about statistics to even care?

    IMHO, we’ll never come to a significant conclusion regarding the MWP. The proxy information is too scarce and likely too imprecisely correlated with temperature on a global scale. Much of what we have concerning the MWP is anecdotal information, and even this is sporadic. There can certainly be regional conclusions that the MWP was warmer than today, but on a global scale, it may be impossible to prove one way or the other.

    Whether the MWP was actually warmer than today is also irrelevant, IMHO. But acknowledging it’s presence and approximating its magnitude goes a long way in determining how anamolous the 20th-century warming actually was and how much natural variability we’ve seen in the past 1000 yrs. The hockey stick implies the MWP basically didn’t exist (i.e., MWP evidence is simply regional variability), which makes the 20th century appear to be without question due solely to human GHG emissions and warming at an unprecedented and alarming rate. Most any layperson who looks at it and accepts the hockey stick to be true would easily be swayed. So I think you know why it appears in so many locations and has become the object of such fascination on both sides!

    I don’t remember exactly what the data was zeroed to in Fig 8. It’s probably mentioned on this site somewhere or in Mann’s paper.

    Re#11, there is no doubt humans affect weather on a local scale, and it’s possible there are climatic effects. But it’s difficult to tell how significant these climatic effects are.

    Yes, the IPCC acknowledges half of the 20th century warming to be natural – the warming which occurred in the 1st part of the century. That leaves the other half, but the IPCC doesn’t say ALL of that other half is anthropogenic. I don’t remember their exact wording (which also may be different in the Working Group vs Summary for Policymakers), but I think the IPCC stated that it was either likely or certain that some of the 20th century temperature rise was due to human activity. I don’t think it was ever quanitified. It could be 0.3 deg, or it could be 0.003 deg. Nevertheless, if the warming of the 1st part of the century is entirely natural, and if it is equal in magnitude to the warming of the 2nd part of the century, then one could rationalize that a large part (or almost all) of the warming of the 2nd part of the century was also likely natural.

    Comment by Michael Jankowski – 5/7/2005 @ 8:18 am”

  7. #7 Jim2
    May 11, 2005

    A couple years ago, I was listening to global-warming-advocates claim that global warming itself would lead to a new ice age (through a convoluted scheme involving changing rain patterns). From this site, I see that global warming advocates are back to claiming that the ice will melt.

    The one constant in all this is that disaster-is-coming advocates are fast with spin.

  8. #8 ed
    May 11, 2005


    Sorry folks but global warming is just plain bulls**t. You can try screaming about it but it’s just nonsense. Frankly whenever I come across people who are rabid about the issue, I just figure they’ve lost their minds.

    Or else lump them with the “by the year 2000 we’ll all be starving” crowd.

  9. #9 Louis Hissink
    May 11, 2005

    Gee Tim, your reference to the glacier data notes 30 glaciers.

    From these molehills, whoops moleglaciers, Mountglaciers are made.

    Not a very representative sample I suspect.

  10. #10 Louis Hissink
    May 11, 2005

    And for the rest, climate has always changed, which is why it is termed climate.


  11. #11 David Ball
    May 11, 2005

    Wonderful comment, Louis. Spoken like someone who knows absolutely nothing about how the atmosphere/ocean system really works. Of course climate changes. That is a given. What is important is why the climate changes. The reasons that it changed in the past are not the reason that it is changing today.

  12. #12 Louis Hissink
    May 11, 2005


    If we don’t understand the past climate changes, we cannot know the present ones. You obviously know why it changed in the past and can therefore distinguish past changes from the present.

    None of you factor in the mass of the earth itself as an input into the climate model. It makes the mass of the atmosphere, thermally, rather irrelevant.

  13. #13 Louis Hissink
    May 11, 2005

    For those interested:
    Mass of earth – 5.9742 * 10^24 Kg
    Mass of atmoshere – 5.3 8 * 10^18 Kg

    work it out from Physics 101.

    (looking forward to some of you walking on water, as you intimate from your posts here)

  14. #14 Tim Lambert
    May 11, 2005

    Louis, people live on the surface of the Earth, not inside it.

  15. #15 jet
    May 11, 2005

    Louis, Tim does appear to have a bad habit of cherry picking his data. 30 glaciers certainly would be suspect unless you could show those glaciers were representative of their regions. Tim already lost major creds with me when he picked 1950 as a starting point for data showing that the sun’s activity was slowing, in a debate over global warming.

    But how does the Earth’s mass figure into GW? I Would have thought that the interactions between the Earth the Earth’s atmosphere could be considered a constant and ignored. That seems kind of out there.

  16. #16 Tim Lambert
    May 11, 2005

    jet, your accusations of cherry picking are dishonest.

  17. #17 Jeff Harvey
    May 11, 2005

    Just to further dampen Jet and Louis’s Larouchian scepticism, following a record March, April was the second warmest on record: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/data/update/gistemp/GLB.Ts.txt Thus far, 2005 is turning out to be the warmest since records were kept. Fifteen years ago the denial lobby claimed that ‘anthropogenic global warming was a myth’. Now they’ve moved on. They admit its happening, but claim that its natural (solar forcing etc.). In a few years time, when this argument has been well and truly vanquished empirically, they’ll argue that humans are responsible, but that its too late to do anything about it, so we’ll just have to try and adapt. The contrarian crowd are effectively “lobbying for lethargy”, attempting to create and maintain just enough doubt to ensure that the status quo is retained.

  18. #18 Dano
    May 11, 2005

    jet, if you are going to accuse someone of cherry-picking, you have to show where it was done. You can’t just say it, else you look like you are making sh*t up.

    So, I say: show your work.


  19. #19 Eli Rabett
    May 11, 2005


    Surprisingly, except for water, the Earth’s mass does not figure very much into the global heat balance because the heat capacity of dry soil is very low AND because heat flow from the subsurface to the surface (and visa versa) is very slow. Louis (and other geological denialists) often fall into this trap. The heat flow from the subsurface to the surface is a very small fraction of the solar irradiation. We have had this discussion before here. Louis’ dragging it out again pretty much labels him as a prevaricator.

    The oceans are a very different deal. Interchange of energy between the first km or so of the ocean and the atmosphere is relatively rapid, but heat flow from the deep ocean to the surface is slow (centuries). The mass of the upper part of the ocean is higher than the mass of the atmosphere, which is why oceans have such a large effect on climate. The heat capacity of wet soil is complicated and which is why hydrologists are employed.

    A good rule for enthusiasts of all stripes is that if there is something obvious, and folk who study the subject appear to ignore it, you are missing some vital fact.

  20. #20 jre
    May 11, 2005

    For pure entertainment value, compare Louis, who has the comic’s instinct first to cite an irrelevant statistic and then to throw in an airy reference to “Physics 101”, with ed, who figures that mere barking will carry the day.

    I’ll pick Louis every time.

  21. #21 Tim Worstall
    May 11, 2005

    Whatever your views on GW and climate change Monbiot deserves congratulation for that article. Second decent thing he’s written this year.

  22. #22 jet
    May 12, 2005

    Tim, You never responded to my original claim, so I thought you had acquiesced the point 😛

    Dano, my original claim, since you are so interested, was that Tim had picked a graph of global cosmic ray measurements as evidence that indirect solar forcings should be going down since the sun’s activity was trending downward. Except, as evidence, he used a data set that started at 1950, which shows exactly what he wanted it to show. But since we don’t appear to have GCR measurements before 1950, we have to look at other things, like numbers of sun spots. So if you look at a graph of measured sun spots since 1900-2000, you see that the 1950 number was blatant cherry picking designed to “prove” the opposite of what was the truth. Over the last 100 years we have seen a significant increase in solar activity. So much so that direct solar forcings could be as much as 5-10% of GW.

  23. #23 David Ball
    May 12, 2005

    Louis, you’re not making much sense. Because I don’t know why the temperature where you live was +10C a hundred years ago today doesn’t mean that I can’t know why it is +20C today? That’s what you seem to be suggesting and it is complete rubbish. I don’t need to know exactly why it was warmer and drier during the Triassic to understand the impacts of pumping additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Climate changes, but it does so for a reason and those change over time. The cause of historical climate change need not be the same as the cause today, nor is it likely to be.

  24. #24 jet
    May 12, 2005

    Thanks for the pointer, and the ancillary lesson in civil discourse.
    Tim, sorry I called you a cherry picker (now that felt like 4th grade again). I could have misread your comment, and shouldn’t have judged you on a single trivial occurance.

  25. #25 TallDave
    May 12, 2005


    Put me in the “am” category for now, though I do think we’ll have a good enough predictive ability in ten years to make meaningful decisions on these issues.

  26. #26 Louis Hissink
    May 13, 2005

    In other words my critics cannot do basic arithmetic.

    Wonder how they cope in a Woolworths or Coles.


    Macs or the chicken equivalent I suspect.

  27. #27 Louis Hissink
    May 13, 2005


    Louis, you’re not making much sense. Because I don’t know why the temperature where you live was +10C a hundred years ago today doesn’t mean that I can’t know why it is +20C today? That’s what you seem to be suggesting and it is complete rubbish. I don’t need to know exactly why it was warmer and drier during the Triassic to understand the impacts of pumping additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Climate changes, but it does so for a reason and those change over time. The cause of historical climate change need not be the same as the cause today, nor is it likely to be.

    If I was living in the Triassic, you might have a point.

    I wos not, d’oh

  28. #28 Louis Hissink
    May 13, 2005


    of course you have some experimental data to back your case, or personal experience?

  29. #29 Louis Hissink
    May 13, 2005

    [Post insulting another commentor deleted]

  30. #30 jre
    May 13, 2005

    Who’s “jrl”?

  31. #31 Eli Rabett
    May 13, 2005

    Hi Louis, I assume you have beaches where you live. Go down there in the summer at noon and measure the temperature of the sand as a function of depth on the dry part of the beach. You will find that sand is a lousy heat conductor. Now do the same at the water line where the water has wet the sand to a fair depth (sand + water). You could even do this as your grade school science fair project maybe adding the ground in your garden.

  32. #32 Reid
    May 14, 2005

    I do not know for sure whether global warming is occurring or not. The buildup of CO2 seems pretty small percentage-wise and, if the Earth is that sensitive to small changes, I fear we are doomed in any case. Plus, I don’t really trust the advocates given the last century’s record of politicized science arguing for ideas of dubious merit (eugenics, ice age, etc…).

    But, not really doomed. If global warming is real, and let’s assume that it is, how are minor adjustments like Kyoto going to help? Especially when the world’s fastest growing nations are not a part and not likely to acquiesce to being a part anytime soon? How about when even the most gung-ho nations are not meeting their allotments right now?

    The opponents of the global warming juggernaut are fighting it because of the very real pain that current advocates would inflict on the world economy which would do very little to assuage the problem anyway.

    There is only one way to assuage the effects of global warming in which the treatment is A) effective and B) not worse than the cure, and that is to implement active control of the Earth’s environment through carbon sequestration and other means. Figure out how to do that and, the whole question becomes moot.

  33. #33 Eli Rabett
    May 15, 2005

    Dear Reid, the increase in non-condensible green house gases is quite significant. The pre-industrial value for CO2 was ~270 ppm, the current about 370. That is an increase of about a third. Percentage increases in other non-condensible greenhouse gases are even larger. Nitrogen, oxygen and argon, although the three main constituents of the atmosphere, do not absorb infrared light and play no role in the greenhouse effect. Notice the care with which I use the term non-condensible. Before you haul out the everbrown (technically this is a Godwin violation) water is the most important greenhouse gas, take a look at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=142 .

    Kyoto helps by buying time and setting up a framework within which more serious actions can be taken as needed. We recognize that perfect is not alway attainable and would rather start then sit about. As to your comments on pain, prove it. Depends on those untrustworthy economic models don’t it? Can’t trust those models.

    About ten years ago, those of us with a clue started saying things like now is the time to start taking no regrets actions about this problem. Doing things with net positive benefits like raising fleet mileage, using computerized controls to limit energy useage, installing more efficient and longer lived street lamps, and much more. In other words effective and BETTER than the problem actions were advocated. You guys whined and winged just as you are now doing, and as time passes the situation becomes worse and harder to handle. Thanks.

  34. #34 Reid
    May 15, 2005

    Eli – Started nice, then turned nasty. What gives? Are you confusing me with someone else?

    270 parts per million to 370 parts per million… yeah, that’s a full 0.01% increase as a fraction of atmospheric mass. Like I said, if the Earth is that sensitive, we’re in deep trouble.

    Kyoto is completely insignificant, even if targets were being met, which they aren’t, and even if China and India were to stagnate, which they won’t, and buys no time.

    Time for Plan B.

  35. #35 Reid
    May 15, 2005

    Eli – I read your article. Interesting. Thanks.

    I would advise, though that, “feedback” in this instance is a misnomer. The word they are looking for is “amplifier”. A true positive feedback would be exponentially unstable and, the Earth would have turned into a scalding ball of steam whizzing around the Sun eons ago.

  36. #36 790
    May 15, 2005

    Let’s see Lambert try and explain this lot as a bunch of “crackpots”?


    Really, the ideologically driven knee-jerkers (yes, I said “knee”) are irrelevant to rational debate yet still they get media coverage such is the poor standard of journalism these days.

  37. #37 Tim Lambert
    May 15, 2005

    Friends of Science? Hey, watch their video and play global warming sceptic bingo. Plus their myths section contains this howler “The CO2 increase was only 0.4% over the last 50 years, rather than the 5% per 100 years quoted by Kyoto.” Getting something this basic wrong shouldn’t inspire confidence.

  38. #38 790
    May 16, 2005

    You missed a bit Tim..

    MYTH: Temperature and carbon dioxide increases over the last century have been abnormally high?

    FACT: The CO2 increase was only 0.4% over the last 50 years, rather than the 5% per 100 years quoted by Kyoto. Temperatures have increased around urban areas (“heat islands”), but satellite, balloon and long-term mountain top observations have observed no increase at all.

    So, these eminent scientists and professionals (according to you, Tim) are so irrational that they actually go to the trouble of highlighting and pointing out this so called whopper lie and then apparently back it up with what could only be (according to you, Tim) bogus measurements and observations manufactured at whim? Somehow, I don’t think so. I think you’ll find that’s more suited to the new fundamentalist enviro-theology and it’s faith earth-healing congregation where he end always justifies the means.

    Who are Friends of Science ? :

    Friends of Science is a non-profit organization made up of active and retired geologists, engineers, earth scientists and other professionals, not to mention concerned Canadians, who believe the science behind the Kyoto Protocol is questionable. Friends of Science has assembled a scientific advisory board of esteemed climate scientists from around the world to offer a critical mass of current science on global climate and climate change to policy makers, and any interested parties.

    We offer critical evidence that challenges the premises of the Kyoto Protocol and present alternative causes for climate change.

    Friends of Science values your input, either on the science or policy of global warming. And, if you’re as concerned as we are about global policy based on weak science, please join us to spark a national and international debate on global warming.


    Dr. Tim Ball, Emeritus Professor Climatology; Consultant

    Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Research scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts

    Dr. Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Auckland

    Dr. Madhav Khandekar, Meteorologist retired, formerly with Environment Canada

    Dr. Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology and Paleoclimatology, Carleton University

    Sorry Tim, they don’t sound like liars, whackos or even people prone to “mistakes” to me. Just an extremely credible and formidable counter to a lot of the emotional claptrap and over the top rhetoric being spouted and promulgated predominantly by the leftwing counter culture industry and it’s irresponsible sycophants in Government, Universities and unfortuanately the ever sensationalist and ever more extreme and unreliable msmedia.

  39. #39 Eli Rabett
    May 16, 2005

    Reid, I suggest you consider medicines, which are often 99.99% filler and .1% active material. Increase that active material to .2% and you have a significant difference in the biochemical effect of the medicine. In the case of greenhouse gases, you start by noting that nitrogen (78.08%), oxygen (20.95%) and argon (0.009%) do not absorb infrared light and play the roll of filler in the atmosphere. Your statement about the increase by mass fraction of the CO2 in the atmosphere being insignificant is ignorant, and equivalent to saying that ingestion of .01% by mass of cyanide was insiginificant and had nothing to do with the patient’s demise.

    If you took a look at the link, you would understand that water vapor plays the roll of an amplifier in the greenhouse gas warming of the earth and that the most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, CO2, followed by methane, CFCs, etc.

    The problem, dear Reid, is that we have already wasted much time in meeting this problem thanks to folk like you who aggresively don’t have a clue. As we waste more time, the potential harm increases, and the ameliorations become more difficult and expensive. Many thanks.

  40. #40 Eli Rabett
    May 16, 2005

    MYTH: Temperature and carbon dioxide increases over the last century have been abnormally high? FACT: The CO2 increase was only 0.4% over the last 50 years, rather than the 5% per 100 years quoted by Kyoto.

    You sure about this bucky? CO2 increased from 315 ppm in 1958 to 375 today, that is a 19% increase in 50 years. http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/mlo144e_thrudc03.pdf They probably mean 0.4% per year, which is in agreement with current measurements, http://www.terradaily.com/news/climate-05zm.html , except that it was faster in the early part of this century. Then again, this is the gang that can’t even type straight.

    The 5% per hundred years attributed to Kyoto stinks of being ripped out of context. And, why yes, it was as in Kyoto targets a 5% REDUCTION below 1990 levels.

    And then we have

    Temperatures have increased around urban areas (“heat islands”), but satellite, balloon and long-term mountain top observations have observed no increase at all.

    Except that ALL the satellite measurements now show that temperatures have increased. They are RSS aka Mears et al, (+0.132 K/decade), Spencer and Christy (+0.085 K/decade), Fu, et al (+0.2 K/deacade) and Vinikov and Grody (~.024 K/decade) References at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_temperature_measurements

    The UHI stuff is again your usual flim and flam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island.

    But indeed, this is the gang who can’t type straight as in

    Myth 2: The “hockey stick” graph proves that the earth has experienced a steady, very gradual temperature increase for 1000 years, then recently began a sudden increase.

    Except that ALL the temperature reconstructions including Mann, Bradley and Hughes 1998, show a DECREASE for most of the past 1000 years followed by a sudden increase in the 20th century.

    Thanks for the FUD, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

  41. #41 Reid
    May 16, 2005

    Eli – I honestly don’t know what you are objecting to. My statement was “if the Earth is that sensitive, we’re in deep trouble”. Your contention is that the Earth is that sensitive and that we are in deep trouble. Where is it we are disagreeing?

    We also appear to agree that water vapor is an amplifier, not a feedback. Not that it changes any conclusions. But, we do appear to agree so, that’s a good place to start.

    But, you ducked the question of whether Kyoto would have a prayer of making a dent in the problem, didn’t you? It wouldn’t. If that’s the only bolt in your quiver, we are doomed.

    For any given engineering problem, it is always a good idea to have two or three alternate approaches because it is likely that one or more will not pan out. And, if you fail, it is not the fault of the system on which you are working, it is your fault for being insufficiently imaginative and insufficiently prepared to deal with all of the variables that have to be controlled.

  42. #42 Eli Rabett
    May 16, 2005

    Reid, your last statement shows again that you need to seriously study some atmospheric science, and stop with the aggressive cringe nonsense already.

    You could, for a start, look up climate senstivity, ususally stated as warming per doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial. It is what it is, somewhere between 1.5 and 5 K/doubling. It is also unlikely that the range can be significantly narrowed given the complexity of climate. The other point is that the risks are asymmetric, exponentially worse on the high end then the low, which you could argue would not be so bad.

    So you now have to make policy, are you going to make policy based on the worst case, the best case, somewhere in between or look for remediations that have external advantages or are you just going to kick your head into the sand and pretend that nothing will happen. Remember, the actions you take today, only will have an effect 10 -50 years in the future. The actions you take then will not take hold immediately, so you have choices to make today.

    Oh yes, there are a bunch of folk out there taking money from the Exxons and claiming there is no such problem.

    Your comments on Kyoto show that you have only been listening to the Exxonistas. We heard the same line of cant when the Montreal Protocols to reduce CFCs were first discussed and introduced, and guess what, they have worked. And guess what, they have significantly reduced greenhouse gas forcing of the atmosphere (CFCs are ferocious greenhouse gasses).

    Kyoto is a start and establishes a principal. It also buys time by delaying some effects. That is not a bad thing. As to the engineering problem bit, the first thing you have to recognize is that there IS a problem and that is a major contribution of Kyoto.

  43. #43 Ed Snack
    May 16, 2005

    Eli, you are unfortunate in your choice of pseudo science to defend. The Hockey stick graph depends almost entirely for its shape on the presence of a series of measurements of Bristlecone Pines in the NW of the USA. Unfortunately for the Hockey stick, those trees are not responding to temperature, as the local temperature records do not show increases of anything like the scale that the dendro records seem to show. Remove the BCPs, and no blade to the HS. Don’t take my assertion though, follow up yourself. Look at the very latest paper claiming to validate the HS, Wahl & Amman. They produce a tangled graph with one result from a series that omits the BCP records, perhaps you would comment on what that result is ? Or maybe you would rather defend the inclusion of the BCP records ? While you are about it, have a look at the source data behind some of the other dendro reconstructions, you might be amused.

    Oh, and add a few more of these sort of comments “Oh yes, there are a bunch of folk out there taking money from the Exxons and claiming there is no such problem” really helps in showing your religious affiliations and inability to actuaqlly think for yourself.

  44. #44 Eli Rabett
    May 16, 2005

    It is hard to keep up with the guy calling the bingo game here. First of all, the statement I was a lot wrong was


    The “hockey stick” graph proves that the earth has experienced a steady, very gradual temperature increase for 1000 years, then recently began a sudden increase.


    In fact the “hockey stick graph” shows no such thing. Assuming that the web site was referring to Mann, Bradley and Hughes 1999, it shows a gradual decline in temperature from about 1000 to 1800. That friend is just a fact as anyone who looks at the graph can see, and it is an obvious mis-statement by whomever set up the “friends of science” (with friends like that we don’t need enemies) web site.

    There are about 10 long term climate proxy reconstructions that have appeared since 1998, and they all show cooling since ~1000. http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.html
    (I think that there are a few more somewhat shorter ones that are not included in the graph at the link). The original paper (MBH 98 for short) is one with the lowest climate sensitivity. In other words, all of the others show a higher sensitivity to greenhouse gas increases. The inference is that using the temperature anomaly from MBH98 would underestimate warming from increased greenhouse gas concentrations. MBH 98 is the denialists best friend and they continually dis it.

    The bristlecone pine thing has been pretty well answered , both at realclimate.org http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=121 and in MBH 99 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/millennium-camera.pdf
    You would have to claim that all of the nine reconstructions in the first figure have the same problem. They don’t.

  45. #45 Reid
    May 16, 2005

    Eli – rather a number of cringe inducing assertions on your part there, too. But, I’m really getting tired of you throwing up strawmen and painting my face on them. I have not, at any point, disagreed that global warming is a potential problem. You have merely assumed it.

    But, you’ve got to engage reality, Eli. The Kyoto approach is unrealistic, not robust, isn’t working now and, has no chance of working in the future.

    The approach is unrealistic. The opponents of radical change, about whom you gnash your teeth in vain, are part of the system you have to deal with. They are not going to go away. There is no “if only they would agree” or “if only they would get on board.” If is a children’s game that you should have outgrown by now. You have to make contingency plans for “if not”.

    It is not robust. You may minimize the complaints of those who say it would cause significant pain (which reveals a great deal about you but, I’m trying to stay on topic here…) but, should their prognostications prove accurate and a significant global economic slowdown were to result from Kyoto, or even if it were to result from other sources entirely but could be blamed on Kyoto, the agreement would be breached faster than you can say “chlorofluorocarbon.”

    The system is not working now. How many countries of the EU are set to meet their targets under Kyoto this year?

    There is no chance of the system working in the future. Countries that are not a part of the Kyoto protocol, which are industrializing at a rapid clip and which have hundreds of millions of citizens living in rank poverty, are not going to sign on to a deal that diminishes their chance to catch up with the industrialized world. In the not too distant future, their output of greenhouse gasses will overtake the total production in the rest of the industrialized world. Eli, meet Futility. Futility, this is Eli.

    These obstacles simply cannot be wished away. You are either living in a complete fantasy world or, well, I choose to believe you are a person of good faith. But, really, you and others need to look around you and see what an untenable position you are in.

    But, you won’t. Who’m I kidding here? You’ve got too much invested in your own pet cause and, you’d rather go down with the ship than admit that plugging the leak might have been a better idea than bailing. Fine. I have better things to do with my time.

    – Reid

  46. #46 Louis Hissink
    May 16, 2005


    I notice that contrary posts here no longer identify the authors.

    Smarting a bit from last Saturday’s mischief are we?

  47. #47 Ian Gould
    May 16, 2005


    I’m not sure what you mean by “contrary posts” but I posted a few messages earlier today before realising that my details had somehow been deleted from my computer.

  48. #48 Dano
    May 16, 2005

    Excuse the interruption, but Reid’s argument would propose shutting down the New York Stock Exchange because 65% of the Fortune 500 didn’t meet their shareholder targets.

    And confident assertions in high dudgeon such as ‘there is no chance of X working in the future’ are not backed by evidence [that is, information from the future]. You might as well say ‘there is no chance of Eye-rack becoming free in the future’ because the situation is the same: large odds against, but lots of people are working toward a solution.

    The argumentation does not fly, sorry.


  49. #49 Reid
    May 16, 2005

    Dano – If Kyoto only achieves 35% compliance, are not the consequences a little more dire than a 35% rate of success predicting the stock market? Isn’t the climate regime more of a binary operation, pass/fail, light winds/wienee roast?

  50. #50 Reid
    May 16, 2005

    And, I keep running into this on liberal web sites. It is pronounced “Ee-ROK”. Only hicks say “Eye-rack”. You’d think people who claim to be more sophisticated would get the pronunciation right.

  51. #51 Ian Gould
    May 17, 2005

    Reid: “Fine. I have better things to do with my time.”

    Reid: “It is pronounced “Ee-ROK”. “

    Yes, that’s much more constructive.

  52. #52 Dano
    May 17, 2005

    Oh goody, a connection was made with a sterotype dumb hick pronunciation (no PC comments please, I did it to make a point) and the quality of a point. Excellent.

    And the point is, Reid, that adaptive management uses targets and re-directions the boat if indicators say the boat should be turned. Adaptive management is part of Kyoto, and adaptive management comes from business (biness for the hicky pronunciators). Biness that doesn’t ululate all over the place that all will fail because our targets weren’t met.

    Somehow, despite common examples to the contrary, we think that adaptation is OK in some circumstances (heye it’s warming people – adapt) but adaptation isn;t OK in others (hey, targets missed, adapt).



  53. #53 Reid
    May 17, 2005

    Sorry, Dano. No experimenting. You either have a realistic plan or forget it. The stakes are too high.

    Glad I could help you get the pronunciation of Iraq right. Nobody takes you seriously if you talk that way.

  54. #54 Tim Lambert
    May 17, 2005

    No experimenting? What the hell do you think we are doing by putting so much CO2 into the atmosphere?

  55. #55 Disputo
    May 17, 2005

    Tim — my thoughts exactly.

    It’s quite interesting how anti-environmentalists disregard the Precautionary Principal for actions that might harm the environment, but insist on applying it to any action that might harm the economy. To paraphrase a Native American saying, they haven’t yet learned that they cannot eat money.

    It is way past time that we place the burden of proof on those who wish to alter the biosphere for their own economic gain. Here in the US, we insist that drugs are proven safe before we allow them to be used on humans. Would that we had the same concern for our life support system that we have for our own lives.

  56. #56 Reid
    May 17, 2005

    It’s quite interesting how anti-environmentalists disregard the Precautionary Principal for actions that might harm the environment, but insist on applying it to any action that might harm the economy

    If you hurt the economy, you will end up degrading the environment. It is all connected. Unfortunately, leftoids cannot comprehend the concept of action and reaction, and never anticipate the secondary and tertiary effects of their misguided policy prescriptions.

  57. #57 Louis Hissink
    May 17, 2005

    I’m not sure what you mean by “contrary posts” but I posted a few messages earlier today before realising that my details had somehow been deleted from my computer.
    ???? Details been deleted from your computer? You have a firewall issue.

  58. #58 Louis Hissink
    May 17, 2005

    as for Kyoto, it exempts China and India.

    On a per capita basis, Kyoto is…………..onanism has been mentioned.

  59. #59 Peter Williams
    May 17, 2005

    Get back to work Louie, i want those samples on my desk tomorrow morning. :)

  60. #60 Peter Williams
    May 17, 2005

    PS Email me those figures at bocajandmac@nitruc.com

  61. #61 Eli Rabett
    May 18, 2005

    Louis, the Montreal Protocols exempted India and China at the beginning. Today world production and use of CFCs is WAY down, and India and China are also reducing their use and production of CFCs. You obviously have a problem with proven methods.

  62. #62 790
    May 20, 2005

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