Debate with Monckton

SMH Online plan to put up a live feed of the debate. I’ll put up a link to the page if this happens.

The format is now settled: Monckton opens the batting with a 15 minute presentation. Then I go for 15 minutes. Then we put two questions to each other (alternating). Then its questions from the audience. And finally we each get five minutes each to close things.

Friday February 12th, 12:30 – 2:30 Grand Ballroom, Hilton Hotel, 488 George St Sydney

$30 at the door, preregister by emailing cool@exemail.com.au

Comments

  1. #1 FJM
    February 11, 2010

    Andrew and S.lindsey,

    We can handle, and tolerate (well, most of us) true scepticism. But what is becoming an increasingly common part of this whole debate is irrational conspiracy theory (all the scientists are fabricating the whole theory, the UN propagates AGW to establish global government, etc etc.), and simple misinformed (or conscious deception) arguments such as: It’s the sun; there’s no CO2 increase; CO2 increase is all natural; CO2 is good; warming is good; it’s cooling; CO2 has no effect; there isn’t enough CO2 to have an effect; etc etc. The list goes on and on, really.

  2. #2 Stu
    February 12, 2010

    s.lindsey, since you think humans can’t affect the earth at all, I take it you think that acid rain and the ozone hole have nothing to do with us either? What about desertification in regions that – just purely by coincidence, you understand – have suffered severe overgrazing by herds of animals put there by people?

  3. #3 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    The “deniers” as they call us are generally just dismissed..

    And general dismissal is generally because they are merely recycling talking points that don’t stand up to scrutiny, or rehashing discredited arguments, or relying on assumptions that have no evidence.

    I’ll grant you it’s possible for newcomers to the debate to be genuinely working through the questions for themselves for the first time, but it’s very difficult to distinguish that case via initial brief postings from the dedicated “I have my opinions and I don’t care what new evidence you expose me to” case.

    That said, it usually becomes clear after a little back and forth that most vocal people’s basis for rejecting AGW science is not scientific; it is generally rooted in other considerations or preconceptions. And that will move you from general dismissal to specific dismissal in my book.

  4. #4 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    Lotharsson..

    I think we can both agree that a large RAPID change would indeed do more harm then good.. but there’s the rub.. You see even the most doom and gloom predictions are only given us a 2C increase over a span of 50-100 years.. Humans are adaptive. As a species Global changes are generally absorbed.
    Will there be an extinction Level Event if temps rise over 100 years of 2-4C.. I doubt it.. Will there could there be stressors not yet revealed Maybe..

    But then again I could be wrong.. Who knows..?

  5. #5 foram
    February 12, 2010

    Let’s break this down:

    For one thing scientists are lousy at PR

    Let me see. Scientists spend their entire adult lives studying … um… PR? … oh yeah, no, wait… it’s on the tip of my tongue… that’s right: they study science!

    large companies with vested interests are necessarily very good at [PR]…

    OK, you’re right. Pure conjecture.

    … and journalists on the whole aren’t very good at covering science and are mostly working for other large corporations that have a point of view regardless of the science

    [For example](http://www.smh.com.au/business/how-the-carbon-lobby-blackens-media-coverage-20090609-c1fg.html?page=-1).

  6. #6 robr
    February 12, 2010

    Lotharsson,
    You cannot build a man of more straw than this:


    Move the temperature too rapidly and you cause massive stress to the ecosystem (let alone to human affairs) because it can’t adapt fast enough.

    Believe what you want but please don’t dictate those beliefs on the rest of us.

  7. #7 Alex
    February 12, 2010

    Shorter Andrew barnham: science should be conducted via public opinion

  8. #8 mb
    February 12, 2010

    It’s absolutely political what the spin of an elementary particle happens to be. Don’t try to tell me where to go to the bathroom.

  9. #9 frankis
    February 12, 2010

    Well done Tim you were even as well dressed as the opposition!

    Plenty of substance from Tim to encourage in the audience a little scepticism for easy lies and wishful thinking. If the audience member was half-smart and a bit motivated Tim’s given them a starting point to now go off and learn something.

    At one point Monckton has a slip of the tongue and accidentally admits that a mathematician he has sent some material to has told him that Monckton’s sensitivity result is “too low” – the opposite of what Monckton wants to hear – but he corrects himself later and gets back to spinning the nonsense about how unnamed others agree that his sensitivity calculation isn’t stupid. It is stupid, he’s out of his depth; this accounts for all his quacking away about how overly complicated the IPCC stuff is. Nature is more complex and messy than Monckton’s inadequate calculations can capture.

    I missed Tim’s best shot of all, having someone whose research Monckton’s abused rebut him directly via video. Look forward to watching that later on Youtube or somewhere. Well done Tim!

  10. #10 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    s. lindsey, getting back to your specific case. If pressed based on recent posts I would put you in the denialist camp until further evidence arrives. Why?

    Your comment at 186 indicates a preconception that denies the possibility of AGW before you start (namely that we simply can’t have influenced climate). If you’ve decided the answer ahead of time, why ask the question?

    You also say you’ve read the IPCC report and claim it doesn’t say (or perhaps your claim is it doesn’t *prove*) what it plainly says – that the only robust explanation we have for the observed climate is that anthropogenic CO2 played a significant part. You rest that claim on the preconception that models are not suitable evidence, when all of science in any complex field is finding the best way to explain what we know, including the use of models.

    You argue that climate has changed significantly in the past so we *can’t* be changing it today, a statement that is just not logical. (The temperature inside my house went up and down without me doing anything…so if I turn the air-conditioner on today that won’t affect temperature either?)

    Similarly that CO2 is a “resource which is created … by the Earth itself and used by every living plant” so it cannot possibly change the climate. (Aside: water is also a natural resource provided by the planet and used by every living plant. But don’t try drinking 5 litres at once – you will die from it.)

    This is not meant to insult or be a personal attack; this is my best assessment of where you’re coming from based on limited exposure to your posts. And I’ve spent enough time debating with people who have these types of thought structures to know that evidence and logic rarely brings about any change.

    But that doesn’t mean it won’t for you ;-)

  11. #11 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    With the recent events of Climategate and the corrections the IPCC have had to make and the general overall arrogance of the AGW crowd.. i.e. If you don’t believe you are simply to ignorant attitudes.. One can understand why average read..NON-Scientist..might get the idea that AGW is “cooked up”.

    The Science is anything but settled.. A recent petition being circulated by “Scientist, Climatologist and others” seem to dispute that fact..

    IS it possible that you could be wrong.. IF you say no then this is not Science.. Its Politics and Ideology.
    A RELIGON by any other name.

  12. #12 Mark S
    February 12, 2010

    s.lindsey # 203

    The doom and gloom predictions only 2c? What? We’ve already had .8c. Most doom and gloom predictions are 5c-9c by 2100 with more after that. To get the latest check out the Copenhagen report: http://climatecongress.ku.dk/pdf/synthesisreport

    Doom and gloom is business as usual and is the last line on page 19.

  13. #13 Phillip W
    February 12, 2010

    I was actually at the debate. Although I am a sceptic, and remain so after the debate, I thought Time Lambert handled it very well. It was an excellent debate on the science and economic issues without any of the name-calling you often see on the blogs. We need more of that.

  14. #14 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    You see even the most doom and gloom predictions are only given us a 2C increase over a span of 50-100 years

    2 degrees of climate change is pretty large.

    It’s probably worth looking at ecosystem research to see what sort of problems that might lead to. It’s not possible to merely migrate everything north or south (depending on your initial location) as the temperature changes, if only because other habitat attributes besides average temperature are important for ecosystems, and these are not constant as you move north/south.

  15. #15 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Believe what you want but please don’t dictate those beliefs on the rest of us.

    Sorry, I must have missed that I was in totalitarian dictator thought control mode when I typed my comment about ecosystem stress.

    Oh wait, I wasn’t.

  16. #16 robr
    February 12, 2010

    Phillip W

    Here here – let the debate begin.

  17. #17 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    Lotharsson..
    “You argue that climate has changed significantly in the past so we can’t be changing it today, a statement that is just not logical. (The temperature inside my house went up and down without me doing anything…so if I turn the air-conditioner on today that won’t affect temperature either?)”

    Correct climate changed without your effect.. It did so naturally..

    Climate changes occurs.. That’s a fact

    That Mankind is causing the rise in temps.. is debatable at best.

    CO2 is a contrived pollutant.. Methane and Sulfur dioxide are more in line with the generation of “Greenhouse Gas”.

    CO2 is beneficial to us.. We need it.. The Earth needs it.. Without it.. well we stop breathing and THAT’S NOT DEBATABLE..

    Let’s say we can affect the CO2 levels and we go too far.. What then?

    Massive plant life extinction?

    De-gassing of the Seas?

    I mean can you definitively tell me this COULD NOT happen..?

  18. #18 Fran Barlow
    February 12, 2010

    S.Lindsey is wrong when (s)he says:

    You see even the most doom and gloom predictions are only given us a 2C increase over a span of 50-100 years..

    Not at all. The worst predictions I’ve seen from reasonably plausible sources are about 6 degrees C by 2100. The 2 degree figure by 2100 is what is generally agreed we’d have a 50-50 chance of achieving if concentrations by 2050 did not exceed 450ppmv.

    It’s worth noting though that, even if that was what occurred, that does not mean everywhere on the Earth’s surface increases by 2 degrees C. Under that scenario parts of Africa and Latin America, especially those between the equator and 25 Deg S could warm by nearly twice that much. The poles are also warming faster than the bulk of the planet to the impacts there too could be closer to 4 degrees C. Increases of that magnitude would precipitate dangerous losses of snowpack and glacial melt water upon which hundreds of millions of people depend and change the pattern of flodding in large parts of the world. And remember, our chance of staying under 2 deg C at 450 ppmv is only 50-50.

    That’s why some think we need to aim to stablise as early as possible at about 400 and then immediately work back to about 350 ppmc. with the aim of keeping to 1.5 or less.

    You speak of human adaptivity and extinction level events. The fact remains that at the moment, we have 6.8 billion going on 9 billion people by 2050 to look after. The ability to adapt or maneouvre when virtually every piece of arable land is occupied and there is simply nowehre for people harmed by climate change to go or be supported is very limited. While an extinction event is a distinct possibility (see for example Peter Ward’s under a Green Sky a sudden and drastic decline in the living standards of the world’s people (especially its poorest) accompanied by mass deaths would still be something about which none of us ought to be relaxed.

    Sadly, all of our ports are built at sea level, and so is most of the infrastructure supporting them. Most of us live or depend on activities near the coast at the ocean and many of us who don’t depend on good quality farmlands serviced by predictable rainfall. A radical change in the availablility and usage of lands and the need to redesign and reposition the world’s ports would be a huge setback any way you look at it. Doing that at a time when the fossil store upon which we have built our infrastructure has become depleted and therefore very expensive and when there are 9 billion people to feed, water, clothe and shelter and who are fearful they might miss out is too horrible to contemplate.

    We don’t need to guess at this. We can be sure the path we are currently on bodes us ill and even worse, even if we were to change our policy right now and radically for the better, it’s not clear we would escape without major damage. The lead times for ocean warming and CO2 persistence are very long. But to continue doing what we are now because a handful of scientific illiterates with a cultural agenda and/or an interest in fossil fuel combustion are squealing would be utter folly.

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Shorter Andrew Barnham #2: the debate is inherently political, except when scientists take part in it!

    s. lindsey – “IS it possible that you could be wrong.. “?

    Yes, of course, as with any and EVERY scientific position or question.

    But as time goes on more and more evidence accrues, making it less and less likely that the key tenets are wrong. And it’s reached the stage where “the science is settled” is shorthand for “it now seems rather unlikely that major flaws will be found”.

    This does not discount the possibility (even the expectation) of minor flaws, and perhaps even fraudulent papers, being discovered. But fraud is pretty hard to sustain in any mainstream scientific field because it’s a combative vocation, and you can really make your reputation (which helps get things like future grants) by showing that some highly thought of result is wrong. (And you can even get grant money from organisations that want to disprove specific results they don’t like…)

    That’s why the “tens of thousands of scientists are engaged in a huge conspiracy” theory is a feeble joke.

  20. #20 Peter Pan
    February 12, 2010

    Well done Tim – unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch much except a couple of questions at the end due to work commitments.
    I thought you did well seeing as you appeared to be debating both Monckton AND Alan Jones who pretty much said “hear hear” every time Monckton spoke.

    So much for impartiality :)

  21. #21 arrogantscientist
    February 12, 2010

    Science is not decided by debate robr, and it’s “hear hear” not “here here”. You didn’t get anything else right in your self-impressed comments above either.

  22. #22 Mike
    February 12, 2010

    s.lindsay, I think you are absolutely correct in doubting the possibility of an extinction-level event if temps rise 2-4 degC in 100 years.

    However I await with baited breath to see how our “adaptive” human species goes about upping and moving London and New York City (among countless others) 30 miles inland, and what the economic cost will be. Now that will be interesting.

    I also harbor no illusions that the retiree and pensioner audience at the debate couldn’t give a stuff.

  23. #23 jakerman
    February 12, 2010

    Shorter Monckton:

    You can’t trust Trenberth and thus neither his [take-down](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/lindzen-and-choi-unraveled/) of Lindzen and Choi, because Trenberth is part of “climategate”.

    I.e. Monckton wants us to distrust Trenberth on the basis that someone hacked his emails, not because of anything he did or said.

    PS. this review by Curry of L&C just came to my attention < http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/18/curry-reviews-lindzen-and-choi/>

  24. #24 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    Fran..If one were to assume.. that this is actually occurring.

    We can all go the doom on us route.. What if this… What if that scenarios can literally go on forever.. Can you definitively state that this WILL happen?

  25. #25 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Methane and Sulfur dioxide are more in line with the generation of “Greenhouse Gas”.

    So if it warms up a few more degrees and the permafrost starts melting and releases a lot of (IIRC) methane, would that worry you? Because that worries a number of climate scientists precisely because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.

    CO2 is beneficial to us.. We need it.. The Earth needs it.. Without it.. well we stop breathing and THAT’S NOT DEBATABLE.

    Straw man coupled with black and white thinking. Slow down, try to check the nuance of the argument coming from the scientists and start again.

    Firstly, things that are beneficial at one level of concentration can be detrimental at another. Do you agree? Can you think of any examples?

    Secondly, there isn’t anyone who is saying “get rid of all CO2 from the atmosphere”. And quite rightly. They would be laughed out of the room! So why do you make your own position weaker by arguing as if there is?

  26. #26 robr
    February 12, 2010

    Lotharsson

    Sorry, I must have missed that I was in totalitarian dictator thought control mode when I typed my comment about ecosystem stress.

    I’m so sorry but when you espouse “totalitarian dictator thought control” whether you are stressed or not, you do so.

  27. #27 Peter Pan
    February 12, 2010

    Posted by: Andrew Barnham | February 11, 2010 11:36 PM

    “People here lament that the debate was of a political nature. But the issue is inherently a political one.”

    No it’s not Andrew but one side has done their very best to turn it into one. By doing this they avoid the science as much as possible and demand equal time when the scientific arguments themselves are far from equal and don’t deserve equal time.

    The place for that sort of debate is within the scientific community where the science can be judged on it’s merits alone rather than by who put on the best show.

  28. #28 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    Thanks all for the somewhat civil debate.. It has been informative.

    This producer class “denier” must make enough to surpport the recepiant class tomorrow.

    Life continues..

  29. #29 Jimmy Nightingale
    February 12, 2010

    I’d just like to echo others in here and say a big “Thank You” to Lotharsson for transcribing the debate. Watching it live at work wasn’t possible because of my employer blocking video feeds, so it was good to be able to keep tabs on what was going on.

    Congratulations on your performance Tim. Well done. You were always on a hiding to nothing with Alan Jones as moderator and a hostile crowd, so you’ve acquitted yourself very well. If you’ve managed to put even a speck of doubt in the mind of one person there so that they pick up a scientific paper on the subject (and not an E&E one), then it’s a worthwhile exercise.

    It’s also attracted more than the usual number of trolls. I think we should start a troll bingo card and just answer their questions/distractions with the relevant number off the Skeptical Science site: http://www.skepticalscience.com/

  30. #30 Steve L
    February 12, 2010

    Dear Tim Lambert, the first post on here tomorrow should be, simply, links to the portions of each of the first four IPCC reports on estimated climate sensitivity. They haven’t really changed, which puts the lie to Monckton’s conclusion that the IPCC is constantly revising downward, and shows how willing he is to say things that are demonstrably untrue.
    In posting these links, you’ll also have a simple answer for the claim (not by Monckton, but by a questioner and paraphrased by the ‘moderator’) that the label “Global Warming” has been deviously changed to “Climate Change”.

  31. #31 aminos acids in meteorites
    February 12, 2010

    Baton down the hatches Mr. Lambert. You don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into.

    But at least you’re braver than Al Gore who has been avoiding debating Monckton for years.

  32. #32 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    I’m so sorry but when you espouse “totalitarian dictator thought control” whether you are stressed or not, you do so.

    LOL! That’s priceless ;-)

    My comments about ecosystem stress that you quoted when alleging I was engaging in totalitarian thought control:
    (a) were not about me being stressed. The stress was on the ecosystem.
    (b) were not telling anyone they must believe what I believe (hint: it’s a blog post about a debate that is itself a debate; people are by definition going to disagree.)

    But I do love that you know what my intentions were better than I do. That would be a really handy resource – can I have your e-mail address so I can ask you for your insight in the future? ;-)

  33. #33 Andrew Barnham
    February 12, 2010

    @206
    Posted by: Alex | February 12, 2010 12:06 AM

    Artful strawman Alex.

    Here’s a more accurate short version which I cheerfully sanction you to use if you wish to quote me in future: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

    The extraordinary claim: is that the whole world economy and every person on the planet must radically and rapidly change in the coming few years in order to avert impending global disaster and resultant human suffering on an unimaginable scale.

    As is self evident from the way I have chosen the frame the claim at least – that the claim is largely a political/economic claim.

    The evidence supporting this claim is the fruits of climate science.

    I am not telling you or any other professional scientist on this Blog how to suck eggs and do science. But if you want to influence public policy and exert influence over how I choose to conduct my life – I demand better quality of evidence than what climate science has so far provided.

  34. #34 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    Correction @226
    “Thanks all for the somewhat civil debate.. It has been informative.
    This producer class “denier” must make enough to support the recipient class tomorrow.
    Life continues..”

    Don’t want to support the theory we deniers are all ignorant..

  35. #35 Anthony David
    February 12, 2010

    In response to the comment on 2-4 degree global changes in average temp:
    Megafauna extinctions happened during the ice ages with 10 degree changes in temperature (Rapid heating over a thousand years, slow cooling, both due to greenhouse effects). Two degrees in one hundred years would be twice that rate. An extra 4 degrees C will take global average temperatures to those the earth has not seen for about three million years. Extinctions happen. Extinction of species is the norm, not the exception for life on this planet. There is no knowing what will be the species mix. The extinctions will be exacerbated by other human pressures on habitat. The key issue, as I see it, is the rapidity of habitat change compared to the time for speciation to occur.

  36. #36 Mark S
    February 12, 2010

    s.lindsey says:
    Let’s say we can affect the CO2 levels and we go too far.. What then? Massive plant life extinction? De-gassing of the Seas? I mean can you definitively tell me this COULD NOT happen..?

    Well, we know that we can artificially increase Co2 levels by 100ppm within, say, 100 years, so if we overshoot it’s easy to put back in the atmosphere. But that is probably moot because we also know that Co2 stays in the atmosphere for a very long time. So even if we stopped Co2 emissions completely, today, we wouldn’t ‘overshoot’ as you put it, for about another 1000 years, maybe never. I think we can safely answer your question as ‘yes’.

    Also, your statement ‘CO2 is a contrived pollutant.. Methane and Sulfur dioxide are more in line with the generation of “Greenhouse Gas”.’ is wrong in a very basic way. Sulfur dioxide is NOT a greenhouse gas. In fact it has a cooling effect. Pretty basic stuff lindsey. You really need to go back to the IPCC summary and read it like five times.

    And saying that we need Co2 is a fallacious statement. You are either implying that more Co2 than we have now is better or you are railing against someone who has suggested we should eliminate all the co2. The latter person does not exist and the thought is patently absurd. And if you are suggesting the former how do you know this is the case? Have you seen and studies that show worldwide plant growth, including the temperature effects of increased co2, would benefit from additional co2? What if the temp kills more plants than the increased Co2 helps plants? Do you have ANY data to go off of? Also, remember that the world got by just fine on 180ppm of co2 during the ice ages. Trees still grew, all the plant life alive today somehow survived just fine, yet you know think those same plants need more than 390 ppm? Why?

  37. #37 Fran Barlow
    February 12, 2010

    S.lindsay said:

    Climate changes occurs.. That’s a fact

    Yes. Sydney is the capital of NSW. That’s also a fact. But is it relevant, and if so, what is the relevance? Although a great many phenomena qualify as climate change not all of them have the same significance for human life. Very slow climate change in the pre-human past is not as salient to humans as very rapid climate change in the present. It also matters how great the change is, what base it starts from and what drives it. Climate change driven by Milankovitch forcings are orders of magnitude slower and allow us humans to adapt. The period of the early holocene warming of 13,000BP was pretty significant for humans, and fairly rapid (though still less than today and off a lower base) but the small number of humans meant adaptation was possible.

    That Mankind is causing the rise in temps.. is debatable at best.

    No, it is not. The markers are very clear. But even if this were “debatable”, so what? If there is a reasonable prospect that we are altering the climate from that which allowed the least well equipped of our ancestors to prosper in circumstances where we have no margin for error, should we not stop altering it?

    CO2 is a contrived pollutant.. Methane and Sulfur dioxide are more in line with the generation of “Greenhouse Gas”.

    Wrong. While emthane (CH4) is a potent GHG, SO2 is not, and indeed, SO2 as an aerosol was the principal driver of the mid-20th Century warming hiatus. It is very short-lived.

    CO2 is beneficial to us.. We need it.. The Earth needs it.. Without it.. well we stop breathing and THAT’S NOT DEBATABLE..

    Specious. Nobody is suggesting we biosequester all CO2, or even try reducing it below pre-industrial levels. Even this most ambitious of aims will be neither cheap nor technically simple nor likely to be realised within the next 150 years.

    One should note though that the mere fact that Co2 at trace levels is beneficvial to us does not ential supposing that above trace level concentrations would be better for us. We humans need trace levels of copper and selenium and B12 and various fat-soluble vitamins in our diet, but if we went above trace levels we would be poisoned, in some cases lethally. Oxygen is vital to our lives. At 20% of the atmosphere we have an elegant sufficiency. At 25% we would probably suffer from elevated rates of cancer and at 35% even wet organic matter might spontaneously combust. Your reasoning is a composition error on both sides. You assume a desire to reduce concentrations is the same as a desire to eliminate them and assume that if something is good in one quantity it must be even better in greater quantity.

    What you miss is that ecosystems are complex and dynamic. Each of the elements shapes each of the others. messing with one messes with all of the others.

    Let’s say we can affect the CO2 levels and we go too far.. What then? Massive plant life extinction? De-gassing of the Seas? I mean can you definitively tell me this COULD NOT happen..?

    Yes, I can tell you definitively this can’t happen.

  38. #38 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Andrew Barnham, the key question is what sort of evidence you (and in general the population) would accept and whether you (and in general the population) are competent to analyse and weigh that evidence.

    Hence the IPCC…and hence why the efforts to discredit the IPCC (in part because discrediting the science has been fairly challenging).

    I’ve probably written enough on one thread for the moment. There may be a couple of comments of mine that got stuck in the moderation pipeline too (I’m pretty sure there is one section of the debate liveblog that is still missing.)

  39. #39 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    What if.. MarkS.. What if.. Isn’t that the question?

    What if is therefore not definitive.
    But I digress.. Later..

  40. #40 Revolution9
    February 12, 2010

    Congratulations Tim, you acquitted yourself well. It was always going to be difficult debating science, when the other side were using political ideology with a smattering of cherry picked data (often wrong)to convey their message. From a scientific standing you clearly outclassed Monckton.

    I have the feeling, given the standard of some of the questions, that there were a few “Bolt Stooges” in the audience. Could that have been El Gordo, asking the question about ocean based CO2 ????

    This is obviously a complex subject and most people would find a purely scientific discussion tedious. Given that there is no single defining event to confirm AGW, science is going to have a difficult time persuading the average person this is happening. Monckton is aware of this and plays on the Big Brother Government, and taxation bogeymen to carry his point, as most people will react to those. Interesting too that quite a few in the audience appeared to be “political refugees”.

    I would hope this will be the start of a sensible public scientific debate on the issue.

  41. #41 Michael
    February 12, 2010

    Well done, Tim.

    It’s a tough task when your opponent isn’t constrained by reality or the ethical use of persuasion.

    Fantastic with the Pinker video – stopped at least one of Monckton’s lies dead in its’ tracks.

  42. #42 Andrew Barnham
    February 12, 2010

    @225
    Posted by: Peter Pan | February 12, 2010 12:41 AM

    Respectfully I disagree with your point of view. Anything that deals with allocation, access, control and distribution of resources is fundamentally a political/economic issue – not a scientific one.

    So what you are essentially saying is that only the scientific community is allowed to contribute the development of human response to this perceived issue and that the rest of the public is to be politically excluded from the process?

    If my representation of your view is correct then this reminds me of the R.Heinlein novel whether only people who have performed military service are franchised citizens. So you, knowing nothing about me whatsoever other than my admission that I am not a scientist, I am not permitted to contribute at all to an issue that directly affects me unless I join your highly exclusive and highly respected fraternity?

  43. #43 lenny
    February 12, 2010

    Andrew,

    If you want to influence public policy and exert influence over my environment by continuing to conduct the extraordinary experiment of dumping 100s of millions of years worth of sequestered co2 into the atmosphere, I demand better quality of evidence that this is safe than what the deniers have so far provided.

  44. #44 Nils Ross
    February 12, 2010

    @240 Andrew Barnham;

    I think “Peter Pan” was talking strictly about the issue of whether AGW is a real effect; whether the globe is warming, oceans acidifying, etc, and whether the human species is responsible. That’s clearly a scientific question, and it’s a separate question from the political question of: “What should we do, if anything?”

    The fallacy that the denialist camp encourages is that the answer to the second question–that we may well not be able to do much–can influence the answer to the first.

  45. #45 lenny
    February 12, 2010

    Shorter Andrew, “The science is wrong because it’s undemocratic!”

  46. #46 Ilajd
    February 12, 2010

    Tim,
    You looked like you got hit by a Mack truck, no wonder so few want to take on Monckton. I mean he even had you on the simple maths. Respectfully suggest you get yourself to a few Toastmasters meetings to help with future bouts.

  47. #47 Michael Ashley
    February 12, 2010

    I was at the debate, and Tim was superb.

    His annihilation of Monckton’s central scientific argument – the CO2 climate sensitivity based on Pinker’s results – was brilliant.

    To anyone with a functioning brain able to understand just a bit of science, it was a slam-dunk win to Lambert.

    Jones, unfortunately, allowed rambling nonsensical questions from the floor that gave Monckton the opportunity to use his oratorical skills to bring the audience on side – which was easy: just mention taxes, totalitarian governments, and so on.

  48. #48 nathan_b_a
    February 12, 2010

    After Monckton’s speech the ‘moderator’ applauded; after Tim’s speech he just sat there.

    Get some balls Monckton and moderator.

  49. #49 Andrew Barnham
    February 12, 2010

    @241 Posted by: lenny | February 12, 2010 1:18 AM

    The way you frame the issue is very interesting “100s of millions of years worth of sequestered co2 into the atmosphere”. I can easily frame the issue as % of atmospheric content which is human generated CO2 and it will be an equally unimpressive and minuscule number. All this exercise does is reveal our respective biases. It is just a dull exercise in polemic and neither of us gets closer to the truth of the matter. But it touches on the core issue – is what we are doing now actually harmful? (to which your argument is no more impressive than the counter argument I just put forward). What are the consequences (intended and unintended) the proposed alternative – throttling back on CO2 emissions?

    In the debate Monckton touches on this issue with the issue of poverty. Having spent alot of time myself in rural Asia and witnessing the effects of grinding poverty directly, poverty and helping people move out of poverty is an issue very close to my heart. As such I am very sympathetic to Monckton’s arguments where he links the issue of AGW to the issue of poverty.

    @242 Posted by: Nils Ross | February 12, 2010 1:18 AM

    I agree they are separate issues, and presumably like yourself, I have little patience for people who try to join issues and confuse issues in order to advance their own point of view.

  50. #50 Bill O'Slatter
    February 12, 2010

    I only watched the final summing up , but for what it’s worth I think you won Tim. Fortunately the SMH video will be viewed by more than the RSL types in the audience at this forum. You’ll have to put up a discussion of [Pinker’s](http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~pinker/) paper to show how dissembling Monckton was.

  51. #51 jakerman
    February 12, 2010

    >*The way you frame the issue is very interesting “100s of millions of years worth of sequestered co2 into the atmosphere”. I can easily frame the issue as % of atmospheric content which is human generated CO2 and it will be an equally unimpressive and minuscule number. All this exercise does is reveal our respective biases.*

    Yes, one puts the amount of atmospheric CO2 into the context of history, the other obscures that comparison.

    One is biased towards clarity in terms of relative concentrations the other towards obscuring that context.

  52. #52 rocco
    February 12, 2010

    Andrew Barnham:

    “The extraordinary claim: is that the whole world economy and every person on the planet must radically and rapidly change in the coming few years in order to avert impending global disaster and resultant human suffering on an unimaginable scale”

    This is actually a strawman argument. First off, most people on this planet don’t need to change much, because their greenhouse gas output is already quite low. And even for the “rich” nations, there are major differences in CO2 emissions per capita between countries with similar standards of living.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

    For reasonable policy discussions, it is important not to get sucked into economic alarmism.

  53. #53 cbp
    February 12, 2010

    Well done Tim.

    Monckton does these debates for a living and has had decades to hone his presentation, whereas you had just a few days, yet you still wiped the floor.

    Congrats!

  54. #54 Andrew Barnham
    February 12, 2010

    @243 Posted by: lenny | February 12, 2010 1:23 AM

    Heh heh.

    I’ll make it easy for you : any of the following will get you on the path to providing proportional level of evidence to support your claims and expectations on the human race in its totality.

    a) A computer model that actually models the climate accurately restrospectively against all sensible metrics (temperature, precipitation etc) where near every constant in the model is empirically verified – from the radius of the planet to how clouds form and behave. Instead of just fiddling with constants in some sort of overly complex regression analysis, curve fitting, exercise.

    b) A methodology for measuring climate sensitivity that stands up to close scrutiny.

    c) A temperature record that has not been passed through a series of arbitrary and human selected filters, that acknowledges and correctly compensates for UHI and that clearly shows a correlating relationship between Co2 and temperature.

    Any of the above and I’ll consider throwing a U-Turn.

    Keep on trucking scientist guys.

  55. #55 PB
    February 12, 2010

    Congrats Tim. You slaughtered him on the science. However, you were hard pressed with a biased moderator, an audience stacked with LaRouche loonies and an opponent who felt he wasn’t constrained by such old-fashioned notions as truth or accuracy.

    Nevertheless, overall, I’d give the debate to you.

  56. #56 lenny
    February 12, 2010

    “I can easily frame the issue as % of atmospheric content which is human generated CO2 and it will be an equally unimpressive and minuscule number.”

    No, actually, it won’t be.
    But the point which went right over your head is, you suggest the the onus is on the science to prove without a doubt that continued unimpeded releasing of fossil co2 into the atmosphere is harmful. In fact, that isn’t any more necessary than you proving beyond a doubt that such behaviour is harmless. What is necessary is looking at what the balance of scientific evidence suggests. And that balance of evidence is pretty clear – including the fact that the suffering of the poor that Monckton sheds his crododile tears for, is nothing compared to the suffering that can be expected from unmitigated warming.

  57. #57 lenny
    February 12, 2010

    Alright Andrew, you come up with all those things showing co2 causes negligable harm, and I’ll throw a U turn and allow you to continue your experiment of drastically altering the earth’s atmosphere.

  58. #58 Andrew Barnham
    February 12, 2010

    @252 Posted by: rocco | February 12, 2010 1:58 AM

    Good point – I concede that my post does sound a little like economic alarmism. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

    You are assuming that most people though wish to live as they are and are willing to submit to living under a carbon glass ceiling – for the near to medium term at least, effectively cementing in the economic disparity that exists across the world today inspite of the leaps and bounds the emerging economies in the world has made in the past two decades. People aspire for better lives and under what circumstances is it appropriate for someone else to limit those aspirations to enjoy a quality of live that you and I take for granted?

    Your argument that the change to a carbon throttled world will not incur costs – either immediate costs or opportunity costs is something I will scrutinise in more detail – but my initial reading of this is that it is unlikely. As Monckton pointed out in the debate, all economic analysis of the cost of switching to a carbon throttled world indicate that it will incur economic costs – with one notable exception – the Stern report. Which as I understand it, is the foundation stone of Garnaut’s ETS.

  59. #59 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    If you were looking at my live blogging attempts rather than the video feed, the comment that was held up has now appeared (and in chronological order too).

    And one other thought came to mind.

    It was interesting that Monckton excised most of the more loony stuff from his normal slide deck (which I presume was designed for a much longer timeslot). Nothing on DDT or Al Gore, for example. Perhaps that’s a side benefit of an actual debate – harder for him to throw red meat to the faithful…

  60. #60 cce
    February 12, 2010

    GISTEMP acknowledges and attempts to compensate for UHI, and it finds that it isn’t worth much globally. All analyses show a “clear correlating relationship between CO2 and temperature.” e.g.

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/03/does-co2-correlate-with-temperature.html

    The following papers derive climate sensitivity using three independent methods: temperature change since Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), temperature change over 20th century from instrumental record, and recovery of temperatures after explosive volcanic eruptions. These estimates are used by Annan and Hargreave (http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf) to confine sensitivity between 2 and 4 degrees.

    20th Century Warming

    Knutti, R., T. F. Stocker, F. Joos, and G.-K. Plattner (2002), Constraints on radiative forcing and future climate change from observations and climate model ensembles, Nature, 416, 719–723.

    Gregory, J. M., R. J. Stouffer, S. C. B. Raper, P. A. Stott, and N. A. Rayner (2002), An observationally based estimate of the climate sensitivity, Journal of Climate, 15 (22), 3117–3121.

    Andronova, N. G., and M. E. Schlesinger (2001), Objective estimation of the probability density function for climate sensitivity, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108 (D8),22,605–22,611.

    Forest, C. E., P. H. Stone, A. P. Sokolov, M. R. Allen, and M. D. Webster (2002), Quantifying uncertainties in climate system properties with the use of recent climate observations, Science, 295 (5552), 113–117.

    Volcanic
    Wigley, T. M. L., C. M. Amman, B. D. Santer, and S. B. Raper (2005), Effect of climate sensitivity on the response to volcanic forcing, Journal of Geophysical Research, 110 (D09107).

    Frame, D. J., B. B. B. Booth, J. A. Kettleborough, D. A. Stainforth, J. M. Gregory, M. Collins, and M. R. Allen (2005), Constraining climate forecasts: The role of prior assumptions, Geophysical Research Letters, 32 (L09702).

    Yokohata, T., S. Emori, T. Nozawa, Y. Tsushima, T. Ogura, and M. Kimoto (2005), Climate response to volcanic forcing: Validation of climate sensitivity of a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model, Geophysical Research Letters, 32 (L21710).

    LGM
    Ballantyne, A. P., M. Lavine, T. J. Crowley, J. Liu, and P. B. Baker (2005), Meta-analysis of tropical surface temperatures during the Last Glacial Maximum, Geophysical Research Letters, 32 (L05712).

    Bintanja, R., and R. S. W. V. de Wal (2005), A new method to estimate ice age temperatures, Climate Dynamics, 24, 197–211.

    Taylor, K. E., C. D. Hewitt, P. Braconnot, A. J. Broccoli, C. Doutriaux, J. F. B. Mitchell, and PMIP-Participating-Groups (2000), Analysis of forcing, response and feedbacks in a paleoclimate modeling experiment, in Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project (PMIP): proceedings of the third PMIP workshop, edited by P. Braconnot, pp. 43–50, Canada, 1999.

    Crucifix, M., and C. D. Hewitt (2005), Impact of vegetation changes on the dynamics of the atmosphere at the Last Glacial Maximum, Climate Dynamics, 25 (5), 447–459.

    Claquin, T., et al. (2003), Radiative forcing of climate by ice-age atmospheric dust, Climate Dynamics, 20, 193–202.

    von Deimling, T. S., H. Held, A. Ganopolski, and S. Rahmstorf (2005), Climate sensitivity estimated from ensemble simulations of glacial climate, Climate Dynamics, (Submitted).

  61. #61 Andrew Barnham
    February 12, 2010

    @257 Posted by: lenny | February 12, 2010 2:16 AM

    Hi Lenny. No, I did not miss your point about burdon of proof. I just choose not to respond, but since you insist.

    Where you or I assign burden of proof is merely a reflection of our individual biases and opinions on the greater issue. There is no compelling data point that I am aware of that makes your point of view more compelling than mine – or vice versa. So there is no point debating this I feel. Lets just agree to disagree on this minor point.

    I feel we need to spend more money on this – more money on research. I assume that you don’t disagree with me at least on this point.

    What we do in the meantime is a question of politics and biases.

    BTW there is no false dichotomy at work here either. A interum middle path may be possible and this is exactly what Tony Abbott is suggesting – a policy to reduce Co2 that is cheap and has additional benefits should co2 turn out to be a non existent problem so the Abbot policy won’t be a complete waste of time and money should this turn out to be the eventual result. Whether or not the Liberal Party policy actually fulfils what it asserts is an entirely different matter.

  62. #62 Tony of South Yarra
    February 12, 2010

    Nice work with the live blog, Lotharsson. ;-)

  63. #63 Nick
    February 12, 2010

    # 254 “..a temperature record that has not been passed through a series of arbitrary and human-selected filters”. Priceless,A. Barnham. Don’t bother with the U-turn,just keep going. Please.

  64. #64 lenny
    February 12, 2010

    Obviously my parodying of your post is still flying over your head.

  65. #65 Peter Pan
    February 12, 2010

    Andrew Barnham | February 12, 2010 1:06 AM
    Hi Andrew – yes Nils is correct. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

    You said in your earlier post:-

    “If you tell me how I should run my life and the resources at my disposal without either providing me a utterly compelling, completely watertight, reason for doing so, then expect me to ask questions”

    With respect no scientists are telling you how to run your life – just that there is a serious and pressing issue and that we all have to work together to limit the damage. How we respond is what governments are for and of course you are entitled to have your say on their approach.

    Unfortunately lay sceptics want to have their say on the science too and have been encouraged to do so by vested interests and misinformation specialists in the media. Asking questions is fine but then disagreeing and refusing to accept explanations that you don’t really understand (or simply hurling unfounded accusations of corruption instead) gets tiresome very soon and yes of course scientists get frustrated and sometimes lash out.

    As for compelling evidence I think the reduction in long-wave IR escaping into space is pretty compelling empirical evidence myself and there are at least half-a-dozen papers which discuss this (although I haven’t had a chance to read them all).

    I am not a professional scientist working in a relevant field however so my opinion is just that – opinion. I am however qualified as a scientist (physics) so I have some hope of understanding the arguments involved. I only became seriously interested in the subject a few months ago when I stumbled across bloggers arrogantly posting mind-numbingly stupid and grossly incorrect statements about science.

  66. #66 Michael Ashley
    February 12, 2010

    Just a small correction to Lotharsson’s amazing live coverage in #104: Monckton’s apparent interruptions were audio recordings that Lambert was using to nail Monckton. Which he did. Superbly.

  67. #67 Fran Barlow
    February 12, 2010

    Andrew claimed above:

    A interum middle path may be possible and this is exactly what Tony Abbott is suggesting – a policy to reduce Co2 that is cheap and has additional benefits should co2 turn out to be a non existent problem so the Abbot policy won’t be a complete waste of time and money should this turn out to be the eventual result.

    No, this is not what Abbott is suggesting. Abbott’s policy is a figleaf for hiding his desire to do nothing at all. Abbott’s proposal on soil carbon, if implemented, would require covering (and maintaining) an area 4.25 times the size of Germany on non-agricultural land (because the farmers won’t give up agricultural land). There’s simply no way that could be cost- or even technically- feasible.

    Abbott of course is planning nothing of the sort. He’s talking about increasing the number of trees in Australia by by an amount equal to 0.013% of forested land. Food luch getting any signifcant amount of biosequestration out of that.

    And does anyone think the sums involved as incentives to industry will be of interest to anyone in industry at the margins? Of course not. People with greenwash programs will take the subsidy and that will be it. One giant pork barrell.

    Personally, I’d prefer Abbott were honest and simply said that as he believed climate change was “bulls**t” he wasn’t planning to take any action on it. Handing out lumps of money to polluters doesn’t fit into any middle path I can imagine.

  68. #68 rocco
    February 12, 2010

    Andrew Barnham:

    “You are assuming that most people though wish to live as they are and are willing to submit to living under a carbon glass ceiling – for the near to medium term at least, effectively cementing in the economic disparity that exists across the world today inspite of the leaps and bounds the emerging economies in the world has made in the past two decades”

    Ha! Did you know that Monckton actually claimed that: “The second purpose [of the conference in Copenhagen] is the transfer of wealth from the countries of the West to third world”?

    (the first purpose, by the way, was supposedly to “impose a communist world government on the world.” :-))

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/16/obama-poised-to-cede-us-sovereignty-in-copenhagen-claims-british-lord-monckton/

    “all economic analysis of the cost of switching to a carbon throttled world indicate that it will incur economic costs”

    Actually, I find the whole idea of quantifying the economic cost of AGW mitigation nonsensical.

    With all the uncertainties, how can one reasonably estimate the economic cost of global warming?

    And even if there was no global warming, it is not clear that we will lose wealth with mitigation, without knowing:

    – The future prices of fossil fuels
    – The cost of future wars for fossil fuels
    – The rate of technological development of renewables

    etc. etc.
    Might as well use tarot cards, really.

    As I have shown, massive CO2 emissions are not a prerequisite for decent living standards in the west.

    And from my perspective, it is much better to financially support the development of renewables in poor countries, instead of having them go into fossil fuels on their own. Especially if we consider the fact that fossil fuels can’t remain competitive for very long.

    http://www.oftwominds.com/photos08/coal-cost2.gif

  69. #69 cohenite
    February 12, 2010

    The reference to Pinker at al by Lord Monckton was the basis of his point that CS to AGW is much lower than IPCC estimates. Tim’s rebuttal was forensic to the extent that he obtained an opinion from the horse’s mouth, as it were, to state that the Pinker paper found nothing inconsistent with the IPCC estimates of 2-4.5C for 2XCO2. Unfortunately I feel Tim undermined his point by putting up an image depicting incoming SW blockage by cloud albedo and outgoing LW blockage by low level cloud. To impugn LM’s estimate of reduced CS relies on an equivalence between the reduced forcing from cloud albedo and increased forcing from cloud LW blockage; this is not the case:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/243/4887/57

    Ramanathan et al found negative SW forcing from cloud albedo to be 4 times forcing through SW/2XCO2; 4 times is not as much as LM’s 7-8 reduction of CS from 2XCO2 but well on its way.

  70. #70 duckster
    February 12, 2010

    One point of Monkton’s speech that no-one seems to have really picked on:

    He claims to want to lift the poor out of poverty. Nice idea. Who could argue against that?
    But how? What is his mechanism for lifting the poor out of poverty by not cutting CO2 emissions?

    Do we transfer the money that we would have spend on reducing our carbon footprint to poor nations? Wouldn’t that have the same drag on our own economies as a carbon tax or trading scheme – maybe worse, as we would be removing all that capital from our economy? Remember this needs to be a real lot of dosh indeed – otherwise there isn’t much substance to the economic alarmist position. But I didn’t hear his gracefulness suggest this – my guess is that it would be quite contradictory to his solid conservative position.

    This of course leaves another problem.

    He is arguing against AGW on the grounds that any scheme to reduce carbon output would result in the massive transfer of jobs to the developing world. We would suffer, with strict emissions targets and higher taxes, while China and India, develop and burn their way through the worlds fossil fuels with utter abandon. Now here’s the rub: wouldn’t this all have the effect of lifting the poor out of poverty far more effectively than any government aid package ever could do?

    Or…?

    Something smells here.

  71. #71 ilajd
    February 12, 2010

    Is there a link to the SMH footage, or are they now too embarrassed to show it, following Tim’s drubbing? Anyone….

  72. #72 Jeff Harvey
    February 12, 2010

    I have read enough garbled nonsense from S. lindsey on this thread to last me an entire month.

    He/she coughs up the usual armchair expert gibberish: humans are adaptive, warming is good, etc, etc.. Clearly this person has not an inkling of knowledge about the effects of rapid warming, synergized with a suite of other anthropogenic stresses, on complex adaptive systems.

    The thrust of the matter is this: the question is not have adaptive humans are, but how adaptively natural systems respond to the continued human assault. I have said this on Deltoid a million times before but then new examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect like S. lindsey drop by to add their pennies worth of wisdom on areas that are well beyond their competence. To reiterate: natural systems generate a wealth of conditions – ecosystem services – that permit humans to exist and persist. There is little doubt that natual systems exhibit various degrees of resilience to changes over certain scales of space and time. But humans are challenging these systems to respond to stresses that they have not experienced in many millions of years, perhaps since the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Climate change can be added to the mix of habitat loss and fragmenation, invasive species, various forms of pollution, overharvesting and others, and there most certainly will be and already are ecological consequences that are manifesting themselves up the food chain. Humans are damaging critical ecological networks and this is reducing their ability to respond to the many challenges that they are facing.

    Again, humans depend on a wide array of critical ecological services – water purification, nutrient cycling, maintenance of soil fertility, pest control, stabilisation of coastlines, climate control, and many others that have few if any technological substitutes and even those which do are prohibitively expensive. These services do not carry prices and thus we have little idea of their value until they are lost. I would have hit Monckton with this point – how the hell can he say that warming is good whilst not understanding one iota of the effect that warming will have on natural systems and the services that emerge from them? What can Monckton contribute in the area of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning? Effectively, humans are carrying out a single, non-repeatable experiment on systems of immense complexity which provide life-support conditions and upon which our civilization depends, and yet those in denial, who clearly expunge the link between the viability of natural systems and human welfare, are arguing that we should “stay the course” and see how the entire situation plays out. This is the sprint of folly in m,y opinion, speakign as a population ecologist.

    These are precisely the kinds of issues that are discussed and debated at conferences and workshops which I attend and where I have presneted lectures. There is little doubt that the denial camp are winning the war of words, not because empirical science is on their side, but, as one poster said earlier, because they have immense amounts of money to invest in think tanks and public relations groups that are experts in manipulating public opinion. One of the major tenets of public relations has always been to “put the words in someone else’s mouth”, and this is exactly what the corporate elites opposed to regulations limting greenhouse gas emissions have done and are doing very effectively.

    As ecologist Peter Vitousek said some 15 years ago, we are entering a period of consequences. Further procastrination on various issues including climate change will affect the way in which complex adaptive systems function. Cause-and-effect relationships will not necessarily be easy to predict, because these systems function non-linearly and thus there are tipping points beyond which system properties respond quite dramtically, leading to alternate states. There are plenty of examples of this in the history of our planet, and some of these changes have been predicated on relatively minor forcings. Humans are tinkering with nature in ways that will lead inevitably towards thresholds where we can expect nasty surprises. On this point there is certainty; the uncertainty lies in predicting exactly when these tipping points will be reached. The current climate forcing experiment humans are conducting across the biosphere are pushing systems that are largely deterministic, at least within the context of a human lifespan. This is what makes comments by the likes of S. lindsey so utterly devoid of logic: the attempt to suggest that 2-4 C of warming over the planet surface (with much higher regional increases) in the space of a century is nothing to worry about. This kind of insidious logic reveals a clear lack of even the most basic understanding of natural systems.

  73. #73 Anonymous
    February 12, 2010

    >*To impugn LM’s estimate of reduced CS relies on an equivalence between the reduced forcing from cloud albedo and increased forcing from cloud LW blockage;*

    Why, what is Monckton’s claim about climate sensitivity? Where can we see the details, in which journal is it published?

  74. #74 Nick
    February 12, 2010

    There is nine minutes of footage on the front page of the SMH,most of which goes to Monckton pulling out The Big Lies on Pinker,the IPCC being forced to” repeatedly revising sensitivity downwards”,and the number of ‘credible’ ‘observation-not-models’ papers that point to climate sensitivity being low. Included is his slip up where he claims to have sent Pinkers stuff to several physicist,one of whose calculations suggested that his lordships sensitivity estimate was an underestimate! He then finishes with the concern-troll Lomborgian world-poverty-or-climate-science false dichotomy and false equivalence. ilajd,Monckton is self-refuting…

  75. #75 Charles
    February 12, 2010

    Best of luck, Tim. I really don’t care who wins this or any other debate. I care about the reality that nature bats last. I care about the probabilities. Good stewardship suggests we ought to take AGW pretty seriously.

  76. #76 Hugh
    February 12, 2010

    MisCount “…one of them came back, as I’ve said, with a detailed calculation, based on having read Dr Pinker’s paper suggesting that my evaluation of CS, here, is if anything an underestimate!

    Foot meet mouth!

  77. #77 Michael Ashley
    February 12, 2010

    You really had to be there to appreciate how comprehensively Lambert demolished Monckton.

    Monckton concluded his 15 minute initial speech by discussing what he said was the key question: climate sensitivity – the ratio of temperature rise to CO2 in the atmosphere. He used Pinker as his key authority. Lambert was brilliantly prepared, with copies of Monckton’s slides from earlier talks, and with an email from Pinker herself (not “himself” as Monckton had assumed) specifically referring to Monckton’s errors. Lambert also used audio recordings of Monckton so that there was no wriggle-room left. It was a masterful performance.

    During Q&A from the floor, Monckton misquoted Kevin Trenberth’s “travesty” email as has been pointed out before. I was going to challenge him on this, and on his made-up Sir John Houghton quote, but wasn’t chosen to ask a question.

  78. #78 Paul UK
    February 12, 2010

    Marred said:
    >”Yet my statement contains no gossip”

    Which translates to… “I’m gossiping”

    Marred said:
    >”…and the meaning is quite clear and supported by fact.”

    Which translates to… “my writing is like a really bad fog and full of porky pies”

  79. #79 WotWot
    February 12, 2010

    Andrew Barnham says:

    “I can easily frame the issue as % of atmospheric content which is human generated CO2 and it will be an equally unimpressive and minuscule number.”

    So you would be happy to swallow 2 micrograms of nice fresh [polonium](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polonium)?

    That amount is an almost immeasurably tiny percentage of your body mass, small enough to measured in parts-per-billion. You might even say it was a very unimpressive and miniscule number indeed.

    How could it possibly hurt you?

  80. #80 Paul UK
    February 12, 2010

    Marred said of opponents:

    >”Just goes to show that personal attacks and empty vapid statements are what is called debate for some here.”

    and:

    >”…empty accusation and no information.”

    Then Marred qualified this moral superiority with:

    >”Its snowing because of global warming!”

    and:

    >”Temprature manipulations in Austraila, China, Russia, and africa. Sourcing non-peer reviewed information from activist groups. Using a magazine article as a source for galcier melt. It just gets funnier.”

    Having accused hundreds of scientists in Australia, China etc. of fraud, Marred said:

    >”Moncktons facts are cherry picked and lack context? Empty accusation as you provide nothing to support your claim.”

    and so on…

  81. #81 jakerman
    February 12, 2010

    Micheal thanks for the update, I’d missed the initial presentations, so I wasn’t sure of details of how Tim put the otherwise cocksure Monckton into such as defensive frame for his conclusion.

    I hope that Tim can get hold a recording for us to see bits we missed.

  82. #82 Phil M
    February 12, 2010

    Is S.Lindsey paid to be stupid or is it a super power?

  83. #83 ilajd
    February 12, 2010

    I was there also, Michael Ashley must have been in the bathroom. Lambert’s fatal mistake from the start was not to address the question and instead go for cheap points. The question, skillfully constructed, was this “Does AGW endanger mankind?” Monckton condensed this at the start to three points – Moral questions, Economic issues and Scientific issues and provided good points and data for all. Lambert did not address the question throughout the debate, indeed his closing argument was to advertise the Deltoid blog. (Well that worked I’m briefly back). Monckton was full of facts while Lambert was full of farce. The attempt to use audio from Monckton’s previous lectures and Pinker’s audio failed due to audio feedback and was barely audible. And Powerpoint 101 states “avoid large chunks of text” no one read the slides! At about 13:12 Lambert shows a graph that confirms Monckton’s contention of bias by the IPCC in showing accelerating warming. The audience gets this but Tim misses the point. At numerous stages Tim forgets questions from the audience and had to be prompted from the chair. Lambert stumbled over Monckton’s use of recent work by Douglas and Know 2009 on ocean heat build up, apparently unfamiliar with it. One of the killer moments for Monckton came when he quickly came up with a figure of 39% for the amount of CO2 from anthropogenic CO2 while Tim was apparently looking in his pockets for a calculator.

    As stated above I think Tim needs some public speaking lessons and based on his performance today I dare him to disagree. I don’t mean to be mean but face the facts, maybe David Karoly could have had a better chance.

    By the way Mike, perhaps you can model the next debate and, in that model your dream can come true and Tim can slay the dragon – seems to work with climate models (the real world of course it’s another story).

  84. #84 andrew adams
    February 12, 2010

    We can all go the doom on us route.. What if this… What if that scenarios can literally go on forever.. Can you definitively state that this WILL happen?

    Of course we can’t definitively state what will happen – it would be much better for all of us if we could. Instead we are heading for global temperatures never experienced since the beginning of human civilization and although we can make some projections and estimates of the effects we won’t know for sure until they actually happen. Are we supposed to take some kind of comfort from this?

  85. #85 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Thanks Tony – long time no see, how are you doing? (Sorry, a bit OT.)

  86. #86 jakerman
    February 12, 2010

    >*Monckton was full of facts while Lambert was full of farce.*

    Like Pinker, Lindzen & Choi?

    Iljad seems to have reversed the definitions of facts and farce.

    I saw Tim forget a question, and I heard numerous interruptions, and people saying they wouldn’t let him speak. I saw Jones weighing repeatedly to support skeptical talking points (did he think Monckton and the partisan crowed needed help), I saw Jones try and give the last word to Monckton for nearly all the Q&A.

    Nice job Tim in getting Monckton to go first in at least one case!

  87. #87 Andrew Barnham
    February 12, 2010

    @263 Posted by: Nick | February 12, 2010 2:42 AM

    Nick – I am glad I am providing you amusement, presumably at my own expense, but that’s not the reason why I am here.

    The basis of my comment stems from Anthony Watt’s work and others like Anthony, and my assumption that his work is broadly sound. I know Anthony is spoken quite poorly of here, but people do pay attention to him and his website enjoys alot of traffic.

    In particular, this blog post more than any other captured my imagination as something that casts doubt on the validity of the homogenization process.

    http://statpad.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/ghcn-and-adjustment-trends/

    Of course – if this is all wrong and I am indeed making a public fool of myself, then by all means please put me out of my misery and illuminate me as to the truth and where I may seek it.

    Thanks in advance.

  88. #88 Bernard J.
    February 12, 2010

    Ah, I see that [cohenite](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/debate_with_monckton.php#comment-2268001) has once more graced us with his presence.

    Cohenite, your presence is missed on the [Roy Spencer hides the increase thread](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/01/roy_spencer_hides_the_increase.php) and the [Russian analysis confirms 20th century CRU temperatures thread](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/russian_analysis_confirms_20th.php).

    You have unfinished business. Best deal with that before your current pretense at scientific understanding is picked apart.

  89. #89 Mercurius
    February 12, 2010

    @282 Ilajd that’s a very one-eyed account. Nit-picking at Tim over rhetorical mis-steps is meaningless: the substance of his scientific presentation was spot-on, whereas Monckton hadn’t even investigated the paper upon which his entire (flawed) scientific calculation rested well-enough to know that the author happened to be female.

    Monckton was pwned on his scientific thesis; he has independently calculated a variable measurement for climate sensitivity with which not one other working scientist in the world agrees, and even Monckton’s mathematician mate said he’d got the number wrong.

    Monckton’s moral and economic points were also a false dichotomy – it is not an either/or choice between lifting the developing nations out of poverty and reducing carbon emissions. That chart correlating high per capita carbon-emissions with high life expectancy was spurious. One could make the same argument that we should lift taxes, because countries with high income tax rates are correlated with high life expectancies. It’s nonsense on both counts.

    Lambert’s audio recordings were perfectly audible, you need to get your hearing tested.

    As for ‘Powerpoint 101′, since you seem to be in the mood to nit-pick, Monckton’s slides looked like they’d been composed by an 8 year old girl. Complete with brightly coloured 3-D effect typefaces, different fonts all over the place, and that ridiculous faux House-of-Lords logo that looks more like it’s from an album cover for Ministry of Sound. And that bloody coronet/crown thing on the front slide. What kind of clip-art travesty is that? Lambert’s slides were clear, clean, and if you had trouble reading the words perhaps you need to get your eyes tested too.

    Finally, there were three occasions on which Lambert asked to be prompted for a reminder of what was the second part of double-barrelled questions he’d been asked. So what? Mate, they had 90 minutes of open questions from the floor, and there were dozens of questions thrown at both speakers from all directions. Do you know what it’s like going on the spot like that and having questions thrown at you? Alan Jones as moderator was gracious enough to thank Tim for making himself available for the debate, you would do well to emulate Jones’ courtesy. I’d like to see you get through that barrage without asking the moderator for a reminder, especially since you seem to have difficulty with both your hearing and your eyesight.

  90. #90 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    I would have hit Monckton with this point – how the hell can he say that warming is good whilst not understanding one iota of the effect that warming will have on natural systems and the services that emerge from them?

    Jeff, that’s very similar to what I thought; it lets Monckton slide by on his claims that doing nothing will be cheap and prudent when the conservative position is to conserve the ecology that we have that is well-adapted to current climatic conditions. Hitting this point by someone with expert knowledge would really challenge one of his core tenets, one that he uses to hook into people’s self-interest.

    And as duckster implied, I see no real evidence that Monckton’s concern for the 3rd world poor (both on financial terms, and on the DDT issue) is anything more than a cynical attempt to wedge apart a couple of different constituencies – although Monckton could indeed be working on laudable initiatives in that area that I am not aware of.

  91. #91 lord_sidcup
    February 12, 2010

    Missed it I’m afraid (started 1.30AM where I am) but I think I have got a flavour from comments (thanks everyone). I see from #122 that Monckton claims ‘EU Commissars now make “90%” of the laws in UK’. The proportion UK laws originating in the EU is actually very difficult to determine, but 90% is a totally outlandish and exaggerated figure. Daniel Hannan – Conservative MEP, Euro-sceptic and also climate change denier – claims 84% based on a flawed analysis of the number of laws passed in (ironically) Germany that ignores all laws passed by German federal parliaments. The reality is explained well [here](http://www.jcm.org.uk/blog/?p=2230):

    “No one agrees on how much legislation and regulation stems from the EU. The 9.1% figure stated by the House of Commons Library is too low, as it only covers Statutory Instruments, not ALL laws; the higher figures of 84%, 75% and even 50% claimed by the likes of Hannan, Farrage and Cameron are based on miscalculations, misunderstandings, or sources unknown, and often derive from parts of the EU other than just the UK – and so with no hard evidence to support them must be dismissed as either too high or inapplicable to the British situation.”

  92. #92 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Monckton misquoted Kevin Trenberth’s “travesty” email as has been pointed out before…

    This needs pointing out again for those who are visiting for the first time and don’t know what you mean (preferably on a post-debate thread dealing with specific issues). IIRC what Trenberth was talking about it wasn’t anything like what Monckton claimed he was (just like some of the quotes from Harry Readme made famous by the blogosphere); Monckton used this false implication to imply that Trenberth’s paper criticising Lindzen and Choi should be ignored or downplayed – which by that stage for anyone into the science rather than the politics or showmanship was something he desperately needed.

  93. #93 bluegrue
    February 12, 2010
  94. #94 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Yes, ilajd, I know Monckton and Tim is no Monckton – at least as far as debating skills go. Learning better skills would be really really useful, but unlike Monckton, Tim has another day job. (Although Monckton is apparently working on a cure for AIDS and the common cold, so that could be keeping him busy ;-)

    I think Tim did alright, given what he wanted to achieve.

    I think Monckton will also be sufficiently pleased to feel the debate was worth doing, even if some of his schtick was exposed for those who had ears to hear. (Especially if that summary of the highlights showing on SMH is accurate. It seems awfully friendly to his case.)

    His product is doubt, and he sold it pretty well, even under a bit of pressure on the facts. Those who came and wanted to be reassured that there remains room to doubt we should do anything right now would have gone away satisfied that they were correct. And Monckton knows for many people it doesn’t matter if your opponent shows you are wrong as long as you confidently continue to repeat the lies. He probably also knows research shows that refuting lies may actually reinforce them in many people’s minds if you don’t phrase your refutations very carefully. And finally, he knows his marks and plays on their foibles rather well.

  95. #95 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Cohenite, you got anything more recent than a 21 year old paper on cloud forcing? ’cause you know the skeptics keep reminding us that clouds are the biggest source of uncertainty in the models, so if that’s the case now I’m betting they must have been even worse 20.5 years ago after this paper came out and what it says was absorbed by the field…

  96. #96 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    That chart correlating high per capita carbon-emissions with high life expectancy was spurious.

    And that was particularly rich since Monckton’s normal presentations have a slide pointing out that correlation need not imply causation, followed by an example of an apparently spurious correlation.

    bluegrue – the summing up is not entirely representative of the debate; it was where Monckton was able to present his largely unsubstantiated view of the world unimpeded, and Tim’s summing up will not go down as one of the strongest in debating history – although he did hammer on the key scientific points (and IIRC referenced Plimer as being at odds with Monckton once more in doing so).

  97. #97 cohenite
    February 12, 2010

    You go right ahead and pick away Bernard; start with my question at 269: is there an equivalence between the negative forcing from LW reflection from the tops of clouds and LW blocking from the bottom of clouds?

    Tim’s second point in attacking LM’s use of Pinker to establish a lower CS for 2XCO2 was that sunspot activity has been declining during the last cycle; but the Pinker paper indicates that solar radiation reaching the surface has increased since 1983; LM married that with the point about reduced cloud cover during that period; the point is that even if sunspot activity, if not TSI, has been declining, with less cloud cover more insolation is happening; if that is correct than the solar forcing is more than the IPCC allows and the CS from 2XCO2 must be less.

  98. #98 cohenite
    February 12, 2010

    “you got anything more recent than a 21 year old paper on cloud forcing?”

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL037527.shtml

    I don’t know what you mean by “absorbed by the field.”

  99. #99 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    The other thing I noticed is that Monckton’s closing (IIRC) implied that models were not good for drawing conclusions and that only direct measurements will do. However Susan Curry at ClimateAudit says that the Lindzen & Choi paper Monckton builds his case on is based on a relatively simple model (with some notable flaws, which may or may not be fixed in their updated paper). Sounds like a contradiction on the surface, but I don’t have the time to drill into it. Have at it if you’re interested…

  100. #100 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Cohenite, by “absorbed by the field” I mean the climate science research field; this paper would (presumably) have become common knowledge in the field within (say) a year of publication, so any insights it had would presumably be found in the climate models not too long after that. I assume that means it is not definitive, given that the (AFAIK accurate) criticism of current climate models is that they don’t do clouds well, but I could be mistaken.

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