Matt Drudge recently linked to a web site claiming that climate experts disagreed with Al Gore about global warming. Hundreds of blogs uncritically swallowed the claim.

One of the few skeptics was Bruce Perens who wrote

We ran a pointer to a global-warming-doubter story this morning. Here’s the link. I decided to pull the story after reviewing the author attribution (he’s from a paid political PR agency), and the venue’s other coverage on this issue. Sorry.

Hey, I’ve got my doubts about global warming too. But it does seem that the “con” side of the argument often comes from people who are paid to have those opinions.

Is Perens correct about the author? It seems so. The author of the article, Tom Harris, works for the High Park Group, a consulting firm that “focuses largely on energy issues” is “retained by the Canadian Electricity Association”. The Canadian Electricity Association appears to oppose Kyoto and has help fund a Canadian anti-Kyoto astroturf group.

Of course, this doesn’t prove that Harris is wrong, but unless you have the time to go through and carefully check his claims, it would be unwise to believe him.

I’ve examined Harris’ claims and he’s wrong. The genuine experts in the field say that Gore, basically, got it right.

Harris writes:

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.”

But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of “climate change skeptics” who disagree with the “vast majority of scientists” Gore cites?

No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. “Climate experts” is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore’s “majority of scientists” think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.

Hundreds? Really? Earlier they could only come up with sixty scientists who denied that global warming was a problem. And most of them were not actual climate scientists. Harris hasn’t found anyone new either. All the scientists he quotes happened to be on that list of deniers.

He is right about one thing — what is really important is the opinion of the experts who actually work in the field. If you want to find out what they think, I recommend the IPCC Third Assessment Report. Harris doesn’t seem to have talked to any of these experts.

And the people he did talk to got the science wrong. For example:

Concerning Gore’s beliefs about worldwide warming, Morgan points out that, in addition to the cooling in the NW Atlantic, massive areas of cooling are found in the North and South Pacific Ocean; the whole of the Amazon Valley; the north coast of South America and the Caribbean; the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Red Sea; New Zealand and even the Ganges Valley in India. Morgan explains, “Had the IPCC used the standard parameter for climate change (the 30 year average) and used an equal area projection, instead of the Mercator (which doubled the area of warming in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Ocean) warming and cooling would have been almost in balance.”

Look at the picture. Firstly it’s not a Mercator projection, but a plate carrée projection. And pretty obviously there are not massive areas of cooling and the dominance of warming (in red) is not because of the map projection.

i-55c06ac7f822625dfd2e1b209b8add35-fig2-9d.png

Or this:

Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, “There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.” Patterson asked the committee, “On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s modest warming?”

Well yes, over hundreds of millions of years, things like continental drift and long term changes in the sun are more important to climate than CO2. I’d keep that in mind if I was try to predict what the climate would be like in 100 million years. What about over the last 400,000 years? Study the graph below.

i-25ccec7f030c7374d138bcc6a4c1ebf6-fig2-22.png

Harris winds up with:

Carter does not pull his punches about Gore’s activism, “The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.”

Yeah, they’d speak out but George Deutsch is stopping them. Oh no, that’s right, he was censoring scientific results that supported global warming. And Bob Carter is an embarrassment to Australian science: his propaganda campaign is based on blatant cherry picking and getting scientific “facts” from Fox News.

See also: Canadian Cynic
and William Connolley.

Comments

  1. #1 jp
    June 15, 2006

    We expect disinformation from industry shills like Ted Harris and it is alarming that so many can be mislead by such obvious tripe. Unfortunately many Canadians have been exposed to these topics by luminaries such as McKitrick, McIntyre, Essex, Paterson, and Ball through a variety of media (including undergraduate and graduate university courses!). When it comes to misinformation on climate science Canada is king. Beat that Australia.

  2. #2 lars
    June 15, 2006

    jp, could you give us some examples of global warming denialism being taught in graduate and unergraduate courses in Canadian universities? Just wondering how extensive the contrascience rot had become.

  3. #3 Dano
    June 15, 2006

    Tim, I think you are unfairly lumping him as a scientist.

    If I may, can I suggest you rename your post to:

    A Paragon of Australian Contrascience

    Best,

    D

  4. #4 jp
    June 15, 2006

    Lars

    Overall I would say there is little rot in the Canadian University system but there are several key individuals that use their affiliations (present or past) as currency in a variety of media (Ball, McKitrick, Essex and Patterson are the worst offenders). A good indication is the now famed letter of 60. The list includes the following academics: Dr. Ian D. Clark (University of Ottawa), Dr. R. Timothy Patterson (Carleton University), Dr. Fred Michel (Carleton University), Dr. Paul Copper (emeritus, Laurentian University), Dr. Ross McKitrick (University of Guelph), Dr. Tim Ball (formerly of University of Winnipeg), Dr. Christopher Essex (University of Western Ontario), Dr. Gordon E. Swaters (University of Alberta), Dr. L. Graham Smith (University of Western Ontario), Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten (University of Victoria), Dr. Keith D. Hage (emeritus, University of Alberta). I have left off the adjunct professors from this list. Interestingly there is not one active atmospheric scientist in this group. They are largely geologists, economists, mathematicians and one human geographer. Swaters (University of Alberta) has stated that he was misled in signing that particular letter and his record would tend to support that position.

    Tim Ball taught climatology for decades at the University of Winnipeg (those poor students). Clark and Patterson still teach courses in Quaternary Environments, Paleoclimatology, Climate Change and Environmental Issues. Patterson used to make his course notes available online, no longer can I find them. Clark also had some very ‘strange’ graphics on his site, most of those are now 404. He still has a lecture online where he uses materials that have been discredited by RealClimate in their post: Veizer’s Celestial Climate Driver.

    Although it is a small group, they form part of an effective lobby. Our current Federal Government is more than pleased when they can make the claim there is substantial debate over any aspect of climate change. Perhaps you have heard we Canadians have no intention of living up to our obligations under Kyoto.

    Now on a scale of 1 to 10, Ball and McKitrick are 11. Carter is only a 9.

  5. #5 Mark Paris
    June 15, 2006

    These deniers’ claims are working their way into the common perception of global warming, just as I presume they desire. I find citations of these people in the strangest places.

  6. #6 William Hyde
    June 15, 2006

    Patterson’s comments are worse than you think. His comment about the climate 450
    million years ago seems to be a reference to
    the Ordovician ice age. This glacial event
    was brief, and the relatively small ice sheet was near the south pole, as the Antarctic sheet is today. By comparison the Permo-Carboniferous
    ice age lasted tens of millions of years
    with a huge ice sheet which extended into
    upper midlatitudes. This despite the solar
    constant being at least 1% higher than in the Ordovician. I do not see how Patterson can confidently refer to
    450 Ma as “the absolute coldest period in
    the last half billion years.

    For that matter estimates of paleo-CO2 levels are still subject (at least) to
    considerable uncertainty. The CO2 esimate Patterson is referring to is probably the
    GEOCARB III estimate of Robert Berner, who
    provides wide error bars. CO2 was almost
    certainly high in the Ordovician, possibly
    very high, but to say “10X” without any
    qualification gives a false
    sense of our degree of confidence in this
    matter.

    And as it happens, the far more intense
    Permo-Carboniferous ice age is associated
    with a huge drop in CO2, according both
    to GEOCARB and various proxy CO2 estimates.

    The icing on he cake, of course, is the omission of any mention of the solar constant of that era. A reasonable medium
    estimate for solar constant change is growth of 1% per hundred million years. At
    450 Ma, then, and assuming a planetary albedo of .7, this is about 11 watts per square meter of cooling – roughly equivalent to the warming we would get by an 8X CO2 increase from the Myhre et al
    formula. I suspect that if the sun were
    to cool by 4.5% and CO2 to increase to
    10X preindustrial, the East Antarctic ice sheet would survive.

    On a side note, I was one of a group modelling the Ordovician ice age some years
    ago. While our models were primitive compared to today’s, the general result was that the lower solar constant and favourable continental configuration made it possible to grow a small ice sheet, even given very high levels of CO2.

  7. #7 Babbler
    June 15, 2006

    I was accepted to Carleton University for Earth Sciences.

    Should I be worried?

  8. #8 John McCormick
    June 15, 2006

    The Sceptics will always be with us. Climate change denial pays their mortgage. And, they are becoming irrelevant.

    I read Ted Harris’ piece and a quick search told me another bag man had scored a bit of vacation money from (now)the Canadian Electricity Association.

    Folks, we recognize trolls when they come onto reputable climate science blogs and we are tempted to respond because we fear the reading public will be swayed further towards the denialists point of view. Trust me when I say the denialists will NEVER EVER, NOT EVER yield on the science of climate change.

    So, for every Ted Harris mole we whack back into his hole, there is another bagman ready to take the easy money and run with more trash talk about global high temperatures running ahead of global high CO2 concentrations 450 million years ago. Does anyone really think the typical reader is going to learn anything from that verbage? No!

    We are saddled with a highly complex scientific discussion neither the public nor policy makers can readily follow and process. But, most of us (I say all of us) know the “weather” the “climate” we were accustomed to has changed; is changing; is unfamiliar; is becoming “freaky”.

    When elected officials finally get the climate changing message, the world stage can quickly change with an international monetary crisis caused by superpower oil confrontations (US vs China), a pandemic flu outbreak, or collapsed world grain trade as North America’s grain basket suffers continuous drought.

    Since I track closely the Mauna Loa CO2 hourly measurements and late summer Arctic ice meltback, I conclude the Northern Hemisphere is already experiencing a positive feedback of land-ocean CO2 to the atmosphere.

    What was supposed to be a climate problem my senior years would not experience has now become a climate problem I will have to help my children adjust to and remedy. But, my three decades of tracking climate change bring me no vision of how the developed and developing nations will turn down the energy knob. And, that is not because the sceptics have poisoned the discussion. We might likely have to wait until we three billion who have cars, homes and food one day look back to see our children and do what we will have to do to save them from our destruction.

    John McCormick

  9. #9 Ian Gould
    June 15, 2006

    “Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts…”

    Except, of course, that Carter is not “non-governmental” and is not a global climate expert.

  10. #10 Ian Gould
    June 15, 2006

    “When it comes to misinformation on climate science Canada is king. Beat that Australia.”

    I’d say that when it comes to the “quality” of the misinformation, not even Australia’s Louis Hissink beats the glorious insanity of New Zealand’s Ken “Earth is one light-year from the sun” Ring.

  11. #11 Eli Rabett
    June 15, 2006

    Actually we call him Barbie Ring now.

  12. #12 Uncle Mikey
    June 15, 2006

    Climate change denial pays their mortgage.

    Bullshit. The real money’s in climate change hysteria.

  13. #13 Robert McClelland
    June 15, 2006

    This story keeps getting better and better. Tom Harris is a former tobacco industry shill.

    Tom Harris, who in the last week has published articles in The Vancouver Sun and on the Canada Free Press news service, is listed in a tobacco lawsuit as having been an APCO Worldwide strategist for Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds Tobacco. According to documents released as part of the Master Settlement Agreement, a $206-billion settlement involving seven major tobacco companies and 46 U.S. states, Harris was part of an APCO team making recommendations on how to fight against the anti-tobacco lobby.

  14. #14 Stephen Berg
    June 16, 2006

    Re: “I was accepted to Carleton University for Earth Sciences.

    Should I be worried?”

    No. Take classes, challenge these morally-vacant scumbags, and slaughter their arguments with the facts. See the following sites for information to destroy the deniers’ lies:

    http://www.realclimate.org/

    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/
    specifically:
    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-to-talk-to-global-warming-sceptic.html

    http://www.climateark.org/

    http://www.desmogblog.com/

    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/

    http://www.heatisonline.org/

    Also, see Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and read his book of the same title. It is scientifically accurate and will help you out.

  15. #15 lars
    June 16, 2006

    Thanks for the exposition, jp – sorry not to get back to you sooner, had an exam to deal with. I thought that I had missed something – even in Calgary, I hadn’t heard much evidence of contrascientific inroads into academia at the undergraduate level. It looks as though the Canadian climate contrarians are still hewing to the business/mass media/politics side of things. Mind you, as you point out, with the CP in power, this is a pretty fruitful row to hoe.

  16. #16 Tim Lambert
    June 16, 2006

    I don’t think it’s the same Tom Harris. I found this [old about page for Harris](http://www.iosphere.net/~tharris/About-Tom.htm) and in 1993 (when that [tobacco document with his name on it](http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2048597442-7530.html?zoom=750&ocr_position=above_foramatted&start_page=1&end_page=89)was published) he was “working as a full-time professional speaker and freelance writer in space exploration, presenting to audiences of all ages and backgrounds ranging from aerospace professionals and science teacher associations to groups of young children.”

  17. #17 Jeff Harvey
    June 16, 2006

    Uncle Mikey,

    Evidence please. As a senior scientist, I can assure you that I am not a part of the political and economic elite. I have a reasonable salary and no more. But most of those in the denial lobby have bottomless pits of money at their disposal (either in salary or in money used for lobbying purposes). These are the corporate shills who receive six figure (and more) salaries to twist and distort the empirical evidence. I suggest you compare my salary with that of the luminaries in the Competitive Enterprise Intitute, and see who gets paid a lot more. So its you who is espousing utter, complete, authentic bullshit.

  18. #18 Tim Curtin
    June 16, 2006

    Perhaps it is time to take stock.

    1. The so-called climate change denialists do not for the most part claim that climate change may not be happening, what they do say is that this is nothing new. The authentic measured temperature change is over too short a period, +/- 150 years, to yield any valid trends over a period longer than Bishop Usher’s few thousand or so. Ironically, the AGW team are in this respect much closer to Bishop Usher than to Bob Carter.
    2. Even within the measured period since 1850, the anti-denialists rely too much on erratic measurements around the world. There are enormous gaps in measurements, e.g. in Siberia since 1990, in Africa and the South Pacific since 1965, that are simply papered over. There are NO published temperature records by station in Excel or Lotus format for those that are claimed to produce the “global” mean since 1900. By default, it is fair to assume that stations that do not fit the paradigm are expunged (as by John Hunter at Tuvalu, and by Bradley et al. for all dendrochnology that does not fit their model).
    3. The anti-denialists used to claim that the urban warming effect was irrelevant. They now admit that it is significant, but do not publish in Excel or Lotus either the resulting adjustments or the new stations they rely on.
    4. The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide reportage used to include various stations elsewhere, but although most of these are no longer functional, Mauna Loa is still deemed to represent the “World”.
    5. Climate change activists assert some direct relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and “global” (sic) temperature trends, even though the known growth rate of CO2 emissions is 1.38 per cent p.a. (1980-2003, and falling, according to the IEA) while the Mauna Loa statistic for CO2 in the atmosphere is less than 0.5 per cent p.a. since around 1960. Elementary calculus (a methodology totally unknown to ALL authors of the IPCC Reports) implies that CO2 growth will decline to zero without any Kyoto nonsense sooner rather than later).
    6. The same activists claim that the minimal evidence for ANY global warming since say 1000 AD will be catastrophic – but rely on the fatally flawed “hockey stick” claims of Bradley, Mann, Hughes & co, which simply expunge the vast evidence for the medieval warm period and the later little ice age.
    7. Their claims that AGW will lead to rising sea-levels are devoid of any empirical support, which is available to show that Venice and Tuvalu are sinking rather than that the sea is rising.
    8. Even if true believers in AGW are right, they have yet to demonstrate that their predicted climate change will be harmful, while there is credible evidence for claims that enhanced CO2 and longer growing seasons are beneficial (eg Mendelsohn, American Economic Review, 1994).

  19. #19 Stephen Berg
    June 16, 2006

    Tim C, that was full of garbage! Absolutely none of that is true.

    First of all, if the “hockey stick” is so “fatally flawed”, how the heck could it pass the rigorous peer review process? If it is so “fatally flawed” as you seem to hallucinate, how is it that the criticism of it by McIntyre and McKitrick cannot pass the peer review test? There’s some sort of problem with your “reasoning”.

    As for this:

    “The anti-denialists used to claim that the urban warming effect was irrelevant. They now admit that it is significant, but do not publish in Excel or Lotus either the resulting adjustments or the new stations they rely on.”

    Complete BS. Parker (2004) and Petersen (2003) have argued the opposite, that urban stations are not significantly different from the temperature record. See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/the-surface-temperature-record-and-the-urban-heat-island/ for more information. (Parker’s study is expected to be published at any time in Journal of Climate.)

    There’s much more to debunk in the post above, but I do not have the time right now.

  20. #20 Uncle Mikey
    June 16, 2006

    Tim Curtin, it’s about time someone put an irreparable hole in this ridiculous boat. Ignoring the main issue at hand, did humans cause and can they reverse global warming, is par for the course I suppose, but don’t shame yourselves further by endorsing that idiot Al Gore’s movie. Anyone who’s surprised glaciers move over time is beneath contempt intellectually. and if you have to mislead people to make your case, you’re no better than Michael Moore.

    And yes, there is a lot of money in blaming global warming on human beings. Pretending mysterious and evil corporate entities are the only ones with a stake in this game is a contemptible lie, and an obvious one. Labelling those who disagree with you “corporate shills” is the oldest and most shameless trick in the world, and if you think it releases you from an intellectual duty to engage your opponents in an actual debate you are sadly mistaken.

    If the science is solid, you don’t have to resort to such nonsense.

  21. #21 JB
    June 16, 2006

    Tim Curtin said “There are NO published temperature records by station in Excel or Lotus format for those that are claimed to produce the “global” mean since 1900.”

    Well I guess that means there ARE none. Proof by “file format”.

    PS: I didn’t think Excell and Lotus went back to 1900, but obvioulsy, I was just mistaken. You learn something new every day.

  22. #22 Mark Shapiro
    June 16, 2006

    Tim Curtin –
    If global temperature and CO2 levels are, in your words, so erratic, with enormous gaps that are papered over, perhaps you can help those poor scientists responsible improve their work in some way, but I certainly don’t get the impression that that is your goal.

    Your discussion of CO2 mixed not only emission growth rates with concentration growth rates, but also length of timelines, and all in the same sentence wherein you make the grand claim that “Climate change activists assert some direct relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and “global” (sic) temperature trends…”

    Anyone, yourself included, who cares to look at these trends, in all their glorious uncertainty, with consideration of all the other factors such as aerosols, can study the material at http://www.realclimate.org. It does take time, but I recommend it highly.

  23. #23 JB
    June 16, 2006

    Uncle Mikey: “it’s about time someone put an irreparable hole in this ridiculous boat”

    Isn’t that the problem in a nutshell? That we have put a hole in the only lifeboat we have?

    Why would we want to put any MORE holes in it — and irreparable ones at that?

  24. #24 Dano
    June 16, 2006

    For the Timmy Curtins of the world, it always comes back to what we fetishize: Tim likes to fetishize the Hockey Stick. Is it a shape you liked when a young boy?

    And this whole auditing bit sounds like the type of fetish that panty-sniffers have when they root thru underwear drawers. Or the fetish short men have when they question how the plumber is doing his job.

    Really, Tim. Try idolizing people who collect data of their own, or create models of their own, or make testable hypotheses of their own. Those idolizing panty-sniffers make
    the true skeptics look bad.

    You know, the true hard-working, data-collecting, model-making skeptics like…well, the intrepid skeptics such as…such as…um…like…erm…

    Oh, never mind.

    Best,

    D

  25. #25 Ian Forrester
    June 16, 2006

    “I don’t think it’s the same Tom Harris. I found this old about page for Harris and in 1993 (when that tobacco document with his name on itwas published) he was “working as a full-time professional speaker and freelance writer in space exploration, presenting to audiences of all ages and backgrounds ranging from aerospace professionals and science teacher associations to groups of young children.”

    Tim, I think the Tom Harris you refer to is someone different. Tom Harris is listed as one of the organizers of the Canadian “Friends of Science” group. APCO Worldwide was the group doing the organizing – see here

    All the well known deniers were present at this meeting or were available for “phone and e-mail interviews.”

  26. #26 Tim Lambert
    June 16, 2006

    Yes, our Tom Harris of APCO helped organise the astroturf “Friends of Science”. But it was a different Tom Harris who was a tobacco shill.

  27. #27 Meyrick Kirby
    June 16, 2006

    Tim Curtin:

    The authentic measured temperature change is over too short a period, +/- 150 years, to yield any valid trends over a period longer than Bishop Usher’s few thousand or so.

    So what? Two hundred years of global warming at 4 centigrade per century will I’d imagine be enough to create problems.

    Even within the measured period since 1850, the anti-denialists rely too much on erratic measurements around the world. There are enormous gaps in measurements, e.g. in Siberia since 1990, in Africa and the South Pacific since 1965, that are simply papered over.

    I suggest you search The Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN). The following map clearly shows stations in Siberia, Africa, and a few in the Pacific.

    The anti-denialists used to claim that the urban warming effect was irrelevant. They now admit that it is significant, but do not publish in Excel or Lotus either the resulting adjustments or the new stations they rely on.

    It’s not significant: read this

    More to the point, where do the anti-denialists “admit it is significant”? Assertions without evidence are not likely to be taken well around here!

    The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide reportage used to include various stations elsewhere, but although most of these are no longer functional, Mauna Loa is still deemed to represent the “World”.

    Apparently “various stations elsewhere” you can’t name.

    The same activists claim that the minimal evidence for ANY global warming since say 1000 AD will be catastrophic – but rely on the fatally flawed “hockey stick” claims of Bradley, Mann, Hughes & co, which simply expunge the vast evidence for the medieval warm period and the later little ice age.

    They don’t rely on Mann, Bradley, & Hughes (1999). There are several reconstructions, which do show the medieval warm period and later ice age, but still indicate todays temperatures are higher than they have been for 2000 years.

    Climate change activists assert some direct relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and

    “global” (sic) temperature trends, even though the known growth rate of CO2 emissions is 1.38 per cent p.a. (1980-2003, and falling, according to the IEA) while the Mauna Loa statistic for CO2 in the atmosphere is less than 0.5 per cent p.a. since around 1960. Elementary calculus (a methodology totally unknown to ALL authors of the IPCC Reports) implies that CO2 growth will decline to zero without any Kyoto nonsense sooner rather than later).

    Well at last one point I don’t know the answer to, but I’m not a scientist. At a guess I’d suggest the oceans may be acting as a carbon sink, thus explaining the contrast between the exponential growth of CO2 emissions and the linear growth of atmospheric CO2 levels. I suspect if Dr Connelley turns up he’ll explain.

    In the mean time, perhaps you could check up on your facts before making wide and unsubstantiated assertions. Here’s a hint, go to Google or wikipedia and they provide an excellent place to start researching.

  28. #28 Joel Shore
    June 16, 2006

    Uncle Mikey says: “and if you think it releases you from an intellectual duty to engage your opponents in an actual debate you are sadly mistaken…If the science is solid, you don’t have to resort to such nonsense.”

    However, the debate has already been undertaken and won in the peer-reviewed scientific community…And basically all reputable scientific organizations, like the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, have weighed in on this point. Hell, even several corporations with a stake in fossil fuels, like B.P., Shell, and Ford, have abandoned the (now-defunct) industry-front-group Global Climate Coalition and accepted the scientific consensus on AGW.

    The problem is that, as in the case of evolution, there is a strong motivation by some to deny the scientific realities and thus to try to re-open the debate outside the scientific community where they have a better chance of scoring points because their arguments can sound convincing to people without the proper background to tell fact from fiction.

  29. #29 Joel Shore
    June 16, 2006

    Uncle Mikey says: “And yes, there is a lot of money in blaming global warming on human beings. Pretending mysterious and evil corporate entities are the only ones with a stake in this game is a contemptible lie, and an obvious one.”

    Just to expand on my last post in regards to this point, believing that there are a few scientists (many of them emeritus professors no longer…or never…active in the field) allied with those with self-interest in denying AGW takes no great leap of faith. However, believing that those who say AGW is a serious issue are somehow doing so out of some sort of self-interest means believing in a vast conspiracy theory involving the hijacking of scientific organizations (like the IPCC and the National Academies set up by scientists specifically to advise governments on science as well as the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society), premier scientific journals like Science and Nature, and (as I noted in my last post) even corporations like B.P., Shell, and Ford who would seem to have a lot of incentive to be in the denialist camp (and were until the science became so overwhelming that they jumped ship).

  30. #30 Dano
    June 16, 2006

    One. Let us not forget that this is propaganda and Timmy is a willful misleader:

    the fatally flawed “hockey stick” claims of Bradley, Mann, Hughes & co, which simply expunge the vast evidence for the medieval warm period and the later little ice age…

    A. MBH98 doesn’t go back to the MWP and thus Timmy mind-numbingly parrots propaganda,

    B. MBH98 was a first paper and the rubes mindlessly repeat the constructed narrative.

    C. ‘Fatally flawed Hockey Stick’ is a FUD phrase that is astroturfing its way around the Gore-invented Internets right now.

    Two. even though the known growth rate of CO2 emissions is 1.38 per cent p.a. (1980-2003, and falling, according to the IEA) while the Mauna Loa statistic for CO2 in the atmosphere is less than 0.5 per cent p.a. since around 1960.

    Say, Timmy, what’s the current growth rate (and at Mauna Loa?)? What is the % change in forcing? Why do you choose to sow doubt rather than argue from evidence? Why do you mix time periods? What do you have to hide?

    Three. Elementary calculus (a methodology totally unknown to ALL authors of the IPCC Reports)

    I call bullsh*t.

    Best,

    D

  31. #31 Meyrick Kirby
    June 16, 2006

    Oops, my GHCN link seems to be wrong. Here’s the correct one.

  32. #32 Ian Gould
    June 16, 2006

    “Uncle” Mikey – if you genuinely want an “actual debate” why are your posts peppered with terms such as “bullshit”; “hysteria”, “comtemptible lies” and “nonsense”?

  33. #33 Tim Curtin
    June 17, 2006

    Stephen Berg: Parker’s argument (if it ever sees the light of day) is circular, and he provides no data sets for rural vs urban effects. The Realclimate references to wind in this context are exactly that. The context is measured temperatures, not proxies. Urban measurements are what measure global warming. All cities are hotter at all times than their nearby countryside of same altitude. “Global” warming is actually urban warming. The Realclimate texts to the contrary are laughable.

  34. #34 Stephen Berg
    June 17, 2006

    Re: “Stephen Berg: Parker’s argument (if it ever sees the light of day) is circular, and he provides no data sets for rural vs urban effects. The Realclimate references to wind in this context are exactly that. The context is measured temperatures, not proxies. Urban measurements are what measure global warming. All cities are hotter at all times than their nearby countryside of same altitude. “Global” warming is actually urban warming. The Realclimate texts to the contrary are laughable.”

    Tim, you neglect to mention the Peterson article. Is this because it blasts your argument to smithereens? I’ve read it and the Parker Nature article and together they throw your argument into question.

    For Pete’s sake, Tim! Rural stations do show a significant increase in temperatures, and this increase is not significantly different from that of the urban stations.

    There are rules and regulations governing weather stations, you know! It’s not like a WMO-recognised station is going to be located in the middle of a congested city intersection! These people have brains!

  35. #35 John Hunter
    June 17, 2006

    Tim Curtin:

    What on Earth do you mean by:

    “By default, it is fair to assume that stations that do not fit the paradigm are expunged (as by John Hunter at Tuvalu, and by Bradley et al. for all dendrochnology that does not fit their model).” ?

    Justify this statement or withdraw it.

  36. #36 Tim Curtin
    June 17, 2006

    Stephen Berg: I have now read Peterson in full, he has really done well to reverse the findings of ALL the papers he cites in his literature review, simply by removing “inhomogeneities” in the weather data. Wow! The same methodology would doubtless remove ALL global warming over time longer than the 2 years in his study. But it is a comfort to know that the heat put out by my car’s engine when stuck at urban traffic lights and by my house when the reverse cycle aircon is on has no local warming effects other than the CO2 molecules which blanket the earth all on their own despite being only 380 ppm.

    John Hunter: Tim Lambert’s citation said you adjusted for ENSO and the sinking of the measuring station. If you did not so adjust then I am glad to withdraw.

  37. #37 Tim Lambert
    June 17, 2006

    Tim Curtin: I suggest you feel the air coming out of the outside unit of your reverse cycle aircon. Is it hot or is it cold?

  38. #38 Meyrick Kirby
    June 17, 2006

    Tim Curtin:

    Wow! The same methodology would doubtless remove ALL global warming over time longer than the 2 years in his study.

    Are you trying to win some award? How many unsubstantiated statements can I make in one set of comments.

    Petersons study is in principle quite simple, simply correct for the “biases caused by differences in elevation, latitude, time of observation, instrumentation, and nonstandard siting”. In otherwords, the differences found in temperature readings between rural & urban sites are down to these biases, not because of urban heat islands.

    he has really done well to reverse the findings of ALL the papers he cites in his literature review

    Perhaps that’s because Peterson’s “adjustments were the most rigorously evaluated and thoroughly documented of any large-scale UHI analysis to date.”

    But it is a comfort to know that the heat put out by my car’s engine when stuck at urban traffic lights and by my house when the reverse cycle aircon is on has no local warming effects

    Peterson does not deny there are urban warming, that is “Industrial sections of towns may well be significantly warmer than rural sites”. However he does hypothesise that “urban meteorological observations are more likely to be made within park cool islands than industrial regions”. In otherwords, there are urban heat islands, but urban heat islands do not significantly impact the temperature measurements because the urban meterological stations are not actually in the UHIs.

  39. #39 Tim Curtin
    June 17, 2006

    Meyrick Kirby: if instruments and sites etc are inhomogenious between rural and urban stations between 1989 and 1991, what are they like for all stations between 1900 and 2005?

    Tim Lambert: I was referring to the external heat effect when the air con is on, not the reverse when the heating is on obviously. Anyway it’s great to know from Peterson that when I walk our dog in the bush behind our house that really it’s hotter than in the wake of the air con in the garden whatever my dog’s views on the matter (even though he has Year 12 Physics from NSW). I see that one of Peterson’s co-authors is a McKitrick, that explains everything!

  40. #40 Meyrick Kirby
    June 17, 2006

    Tim Curtin:

    if instruments and sites etc are inhomogenious between rural and urban stations between 1989 and 1991, what are they like for all stations between 1900 and 2005?

    Exactly what is your point? That station measures can’t be relied upon? If you note none of the biases are likely to be trended over time, therefore it is unlikely they are creating a false impression of warming over time. Lets look at the biases again: “elevation, latitude, time of observation, instrumentation, and nonstandard siting”. I don’t see how any of these could create an upward trend. Or are you claiming that meteorologists have been building stations at lower elevations, etc. over the years. Don’t suppose you have any evidence of this?

    I see that one of Peterson’s co-authors is a McKitrick, that explains everything!

    Ah yes, you basically can’t find anything wrong in the paper can you?!

  41. #41 Tim Curtin
    June 17, 2006

    Tim Lambert; I have taken your advice and am about to sit outside next to our reverse cycle unit in order to cool off from the indoor heat. No wonder Canberra is having its coldest winter since 1984. That’s actually good news – all we Canberra greenies can now bask in our reverse cycle warmth knowing that we are reversing the external global warming by factors way above the trivial increases in CO2.

  42. #42 Meyrick Kirby
    June 17, 2006

    Tim Curtin:

    The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide reportage used to include various stations elsewhere, but although most of these are no longer functional, Mauna Loa is still deemed to represent the “World”.

    I noted before you couldn’t name any stations that had been closed. You seem to be suggesting that Mauna Loa is the only one. Well here are some other stations (including Mauna Loa), which all seem to still be operating. The dates go upto 2004, including Mauna Loa, and I’m guessing that none have closed in the last 2 years.

    To further demonstrate my point here’s what the British Atmoshpheric Data Centre, part of the Natural Environment Research Council, has to say:

    The modern period of precise atmospheric measurements began during the International Geophysical Year (1958) with Keeling’s (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) pioneering determinations at Mauna Loa, Hawaii and at the South Pole. Since that time the number of sites that measure atmospheric gases has grown to over sixty sites on both the land surface and ocean.

    The page is a bit out of date (2002). Does this mean you are going to suggest that over 60 stations have all been closed in the last 4 years?

  43. #43 Joel Shore
    June 17, 2006

    Tim Curtin: Apparently, you haven’t gotten the memo. Trend denialism is passe. Almost all of your colleagues have at least moved on to attribution denialism.

    Even the satellite data is now in agreement with the rate of global warming over the last 25 years.

  44. #44 Dominion
    June 17, 2006

    I was referring to the external heat effect when the air con is on, not the reverse when the heating is on obviously.

    I realize that this could be parsed as a personal attack, and as such I will gladly accept the ruling of the host but…

    This statement is so mind boggling dumb I can’t imagine why anyone takes Curtain seriously for one second!

  45. #45 Dano
    June 19, 2006

    I can’t imagine why anyone takes Curtain seriously for one second!

    No one does, never fear.

    Tim Curtin is a made-up character for comment board amusement – it’s the new thing: comment boards as media. Next up: Broadway actors testing their chops on Atrios.

    Best,

    D

  46. #46 Don
    June 19, 2006

    Your graph on Antarctica shows that Co2 and temp are related but it also seems to show that what we see in the weather today is a naturally occuring cycle.

  47. #47 Eli Rabett
    June 19, 2006

    Don, current CO2 mixing is 380 ppm, current CH4 mixing is 1780 ppm. Now go look at the vertical scales on Tim’s graph above. http://tinyurl.com/q7fa7 for graphs of current concentrations vs. time.

  48. #48 Dano
    June 19, 2006

    But Eli, humans are natural. Their injecting unprecedented amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is natural, see.

    Best,

    D

  49. #49 Meyrick Kirby
    June 19, 2006

    humans are natural

    So’s extinction.

  50. #50 Don
    June 20, 2006

    I can see that the next peak will be higher than before. But still, looking at the pattern of the plot it seems logical to predict that the temperature will start coming down soon.

  51. #51 Dano
    June 20, 2006

    it seems logical to predict that the temperature will start coming down soon.

    Sure, if you don’t bother to look at CO2 ppmv.

    And geological scale soon or human scale soon? Failure to understand scale is a problem.

    Best,

    D

  52. #52 Don
    June 20, 2006

    Ok, I get it. Each tic is 25000 years!

  53. #53 J. Althauser
    June 20, 2006

    Re: the claims of paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson (4th set of quotes) are outdated. The work below strongly suggests the Ordovician paradox which he describes has been explained.

    Study Bolsters Greenhouse Effect Theory, Solves Ice Age Mystery

    Jan. 2005 – “Critics who dismiss the importance of greenhouse gases as a cause of climate change lost one piece of ammunition this week. In a new study, scientists found further evidence of the role that greenhouse gases have played in Earth’s climate. In Thursday’s issue of the journal Geology, Ohio State University scientists report that a long-ago ice age occurred 10 million years earlier than once thought. The new date clears up an inconsistency that has dogged climate change research for years.”

    http://www.physorg.com/news2844.html

  54. #54 Brian Gordon
    June 22, 2006

    After reading articles by the likes of Tom Harris, and comments by people like Tim Curtin, it occurs to me that reason will not prevail in the discussions about climate change, peak oil, and any other possibly preventable global catastrophe. People like Harris, Curtin, and the people ‘in power’ (politicians of all major parties in Canada and the US, and large corporations) have a vested interest in us maintaining our current beliefs.

    Who will we turn to when times get tough (probably very tough) when declining oil supplies or the effects of GW cause large-scale social disruption? Tough-talking and acting ‘leaders’ who sound confident and promise protection. Not reasonable, rational scientists. Not people who suggest we cooperate and help each other.

    Bush in the US and Harper in Canada are early-stage warlords. Harris, Curtin, and others are simply responding to this new reality. Those of us with some vision must DO things to prevent this.

  55. #55 John
    June 25, 2006

    I’m trying to make sense of all this. So if I look at Tim Lambert’s graph above, I see that, 125,000 years ago, before cars and SUVs, CO2 and temperature were higher than they are now.

    What was going on then?

    Thanks,
    John

  56. #56 Tim Lambert
    June 25, 2006

    John, current CO2 levels are way off the top of that graph.

  57. #57 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    John said: “I see that, 125,000 years ago, before cars and SUVs, CO2 and temperature were higher than they are now.”

    The highest value plotted for CO2 in that graph is about 325.

    Real quick now, John:
    What is the atmospheric concentration of CO2, in ppmv, this year?

  58. #58 John
    June 26, 2006

    Lee, I don’t honestly know what the level of CO2, in ppmv, is this year. Sorry for my ignorance. And if those explicit numbers are stated earlier in the thread, again my apologies. Is there somewhere I can see actual numeric datapoints for CO2 along key points in time on the grid?

    Tim, I appreciate your more polite answer. And I would like to know what happened 125,000 years ago.

    Lee, please calm down…I don’t have a hidden political agenda here.

    Thanks,
    John

  59. #59 Lee
    June 27, 2006

    John, my apologies. You got swept into the responses reserved for another John who sometimes posts here – he has earned that kind of response. Since you apparently arent him, you havent, and I’m sorry.

    CO2 this year is at 381 ppm, after an increase of 2.6 ppm in 2005 alone. Concentration for recent decades are off the top of that chart; its happened so fast that the resolution of that chart doesnt capture it.

  60. #60 z
    June 27, 2006

    “CO2 this year is at 381 ppm, after an increase of 2.6 ppm in 2005 alone.”

    And the rate of increase is increasing; as Lee stated, 2.6 ppm last year, compared to an average of 1.9 ppm for previous decade.

  61. #61 Ian Gould
    June 27, 2006

    Lee,

    Climate has varied over the course of Earth’s history – no-one is disputing that.

    The idea that climate scientists believe the Earth’s temperature to have been constant and are seekign ot prortray the current warming trend as unique is simply another dishonest straw-man rpoduced by the “skeptics”.

    We know that at various points in the past, Earh’s atmosphere had higher concentrations of CO2 than currently and that temperatures at those times were higher than now.

    The record show a clear correlation between CO2 levels and global temperature.

    Thinking that the current build-up WON’T result in a temperature increase means assuming that CO2 and methane from human activities will somehow have a different effect on the atmosphere than CO2 and methane from other sources.

  62. #62 John
    June 27, 2006

    Ian,

    Your point is well-taken, certainly the correlation is clear. I’m still curious, though, what is the root-cause of the climatic changes that occurred at around 125,000 years ago? It seems like the increase was rather dramatic, over a “short” period of time (again, my layman opinion based on looking at the low-res chart above).

    thanks,
    John

  63. #63 H. Nelson
    April 17, 2008

    Now that CO2 has been shown to lag, rather than lead temperature shifts, the entire anthropogenic global warming now goes down the tubes. The future cannot influence the past, and CO2 is a product of, rather than a result of, global warming or cooling.

    And that’s the last word. The Cart is not pulling the Donkey

  64. #64 sod
    April 17, 2008

    Now that CO2 has been shown to lag, rather than lead temperature shifts, the entire anthropogenic global warming now goes down the tubes.

    “now”. lol.

    The Cart is not pulling the Donkey

    ever tried to move your cart down a very steep hill?

  65. #65 guthrie
    April 17, 2008

    I assume you failed basic logic at school? The mechanism by which CO2 follows warming when coming out of an ice age is striaghtforwards, and also not applicable in this case. Moreover, in the ice age scenario, the CO2 leads to further warming, i.e. is a positive feedback.

  66. #66 Chris O'Neill
    April 17, 2008

    The future cannot influence the past

    The only claim is the future can affect the future, i.e. temperature may have changed before CO2 changed but that doesn’t stop the CO2 change from affecting temperature after the change in CO2. The vast majority of temperature changes in the past occurred after the changes in CO2.

    BTW, H. G. Nelson is an Australian comedian.

  67. #67 raymondb
    May 15, 2008

    In the above graph it looks like times of rapid warming (ie. jumps from -9 to +2) have occurred at fairly regular intervals (roughly every 100,000 ) over the past 400,000 years. According to this trend, aren’t we due (or overdue in fact) for a period of rapid warming now? Of course this doesn’t discount the possibility that anthro-emissions are exascerbating the warming. The question is how much of the warming is natural and how much is due to us, no?

  68. #68 Stu
    May 15, 2008

    Raymondb, as I understand it being on one of those regular peaks just means that we’re not in an ice age. Note however, that our current concentration of CO2 is way off the scale of that graph (about 380 ppm) and we are set to go well in excess of 400 even if we implemented some fairly drastic steps to reduce emissions.

  69. #69 raymondb
    May 15, 2008

    Stu, the graph seems to show there are periods of rapid warming between ice ages. Is it not possible that we going through that natural spike in temperature right now?

    Also, as you say, our CO2 concentration is way off the scale of that graph yet our temperature is not. In fact it’s similar to those other inter-ice age peaks so could it be that temperature is somehow not so closely tied to CO2 this time around?

  70. #70 Chris O'Neill
    May 15, 2008

    times of rapid warming.. have occurred at .. roughly every 100,000 years. According to this trend, aren’t we due (or overdue in fact) for a period of rapid warming now?

    What? Read the graph again. The last rapid warming ended about 11,000 years ago. This would mean the next one isn’t due for another 90,000 years.

    BTW the last “rapid” warming took 6,000 years.

  71. #71 Stu
    May 15, 2008

    Thanks Chris, that’s pretty much what I want to say. The increases are “rapid” only on geological timescales, and the next change due to the natural cycles shown in the graph would be a decrease, not an increase. Also these natural cycles are understood in terms of orbital variations, which would not be causing an increase now.

    As for why the temperature is not off the scale – adding C02 to a world in an interglacial climate is a different process to a world coming out of an ice age. The forcings and feedbacks are quite different. As I understand it the rapid warming post-ice age involves major changes in albedo as well as C02 concentrations which amplify the warming effect of orbital changes, and also contributing to this difference would be the fact that the temperature/CO2 response is not linear.

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