Andrew Bolt takes back “nice words”

Andrew Bolt responded to my debate with Monckton by defaming me, calling me “vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear a sceptic as a crook who lies for Exxon’s dollars”. You’ll be glad to hear that Bolt now says I take back my nice words about Lambert. Even though he admitted that “Many of these issues are over my head” he is now utterly convinced by a dishonest post from Joanne Nova that I somehow tricked Monckton.

Nova quote mines Pinker’s explanation for this phrase:

if we give Christopher Monckton the benefit of doubt and assume that he meant “the impact of clouds on the surface shortwave radiation” than it can pass.”

And claims it means exactly the opposite of what it does:

An honest look at the Pinker statement says Monckton may have gotten the terminology wrong, but allowing for this, his analysis “passes”:

An honest look at the Pinker statement says that his terminology can pass but that his analysis is wrong, because as Pinker writes:

The CO2 “radiative forcing” value that Mr. Christopher Monckton is quoting refers to the impact on the Earth’s Radiative balance as described above. The numbers that we quote in our paper represent the change in surface SW due to changes in the atmosphere (clouds, water vapor, aerosols). These two numbers cannot be compared at their face value.

Nova then tries to explain away the fact that Pinker wrote

Our work was properly interpreted in the latest IPCC Report (2007)

Watch the spin here:

Monckton never claimed the IPCC misrepresented Pinker. He said they actively ignored the bigger meaning; so Monckton agrees with what the IPCC said about the paper, but not with what it omitted to say. Pinker has not addressed this point at all.

Pinker was responding to this, from my email to her:

Later he [Monckton] accuses the IPCC of a fraudulent cover up of the implications of your paper.

Which was my summary of this statement from Monckton:

[The IPCC admits] that they don’t really understand clouds. One of the reasons why they are willing to make that extremely rare admission that they don’t understand something is that they want to conceal that they understand perfectly well the implications of Dr Pinker’s paper and of a number of other papers like it, Wild et al is another one, the early satellite results is another, there’s several of these papers out there all of which show for that period exactly what caused the warming which is a reduction in cloud cover. And when you see the conclusion of the chapter on Observations and the sub-chapter on Clouds in chapter 3 of the IPCC report. The only conclusion that you can come to is that they were deliberately avoiding the very clear implications of Dr Pinker’s paper. They knew perfectly well that if they took proper account of that paper they would have to evaluate climate sensitivity as low by the remarkably simple calculation that I showed you on the screens or something very very close to it. And they simply fudged it because if they did that and admitted that all their previous reports were wrong they’d be out of business before you could say “Jack Robinson”.

I suppose we should Nova points for trying, but there is no wiggle room there. And notice that Monckton is citing Wild et al as well, so we should also look at Wild says on the subject in Global dimming and brightening: A review: (my emphasis)

The decadal changes in SSR found in the dimming/brightening literature are at first sight often unrealistically large from a radiative forcing viewpoint, as, e.g., presented by IPCC [2007]. Therein, radiative forcings altering solar radiation between preindustrial (year 1750) and present day are on the order of minus 1-2 W m−2 on a global average, while some of the surface-based estimates show similar or larger changes already within a decade (Tables 1-3). Indeed, under the assumption of a climate sensitivity of 0.5-1°C per W m−2 radiative forcing as suggested by current climate models, a change of several W m−2 decade−1 as inferred from surface observations would imply enormous decadal variations in surface temperature which are not observed. However, one should be aware that the radiative forcing concept as used in the IPCC reports applies to changes at the tropopause, which cannot be directly compared to changes at the surface. Scattering and absorbing processes in the atmosphere are additive with respect to their effects on SSR at the surface, but may be opposed at the tropopause. Scattering aerosols enhance the reflectance of solar radiation back to space and reduce the solar flux to the surface. Absorbing aerosols also reduce the solar flux to the surface, but at the same time may reduce the reflectance back to space, opposed to the effects from scattering aerosols at the tropopause. Therefore, surface changes can expected to be larger than tropopause changes, and consequently are also not necessarily representative for (tropopause) radiative forcing estimates (this would only be valid in a purely scattering atmosphere). SSR change estimates based on surface observations should therefore not be used to challenge the IPCC radiative forcings [Liepert et al., 2007], even if these SSR changes would be free of biases from upscaling the surface point observations to global numbers.

Nova then quotes this confused email from Monckton

The only point that Lambert scored was that I had gotten Pinker’s sex wrong in my Melbourne presentation (which, from memory, is the only one in which I mentioned her sex). Otherwise, his stuff was gibberish, as the audience swiftly understood when I explained it to them. During the debate, I had kindly done the calculation on the basis that the change in surface radiance mentioned in the Pinker paper would be the same at top of atmosphere, from which a climate-sensitivity calculation using the UN’s method follows.
However, since Pinker insists that it is the surface radiance that her paper addresses, one must of course use the Stefan-Boltzmann radiative-transfer equation to evaluate the temperature change corresponding to the change in radiance caused by the reduction in cloud cover. And that means just about zero climate sensitivity, which, within the usual error margins, is about the same as the 0.12 K/W/m2 that my previous method had calculated. The common-sense point, as I explained to the audience, is that with that amount of warming from a natural source there was not much room for CO2 to have made much of a contribution.

Presumably by “use the Stefan-Boltzmann radiative-transfer equation to evaluate the temperature change” Monckton means that you should treat the Earth as a black body, ie ignore the fact that the Earth has an atmosphere. But it does have an atmosphere so such a calculation will not give the correct value for climate sensitivity.


  1. #1 Lotharsson
    March 8, 2010

    Argument from personal incredulity is rarely convincing:

    Personally I can’t believe hamlock is sincere in his/her proclamations of sincerity, since hamlock shows little understanding of the case for AGW and the efficacy or otherwise of models, all of which can be easily found by those who truly desire to learn.

    I suspect that argument will prove unconvincing to at least hamlock.

  2. #2 hamlock
    March 8, 2010

    Lotharsson.Point being. Personal attack.All i asked for were answers to the debate.Science is far from settle. The problem being we can’t just shut the book on it and say this is what’s happening.Just on the internet there’s as many sites supporting AWG as there is rebuffing AGW.So there must be as many people supporting AGWas there is rebuffing AGW. Hardly settled.

  3. #3 John
    March 9, 2010

    God bless you, Hamlock.

  4. #4 Chris O'Neill
    March 9, 2010


    No two days in weather are the same,so how can these models even come close to telling us what the climate will be like into the future.It does’nt matter how good or big these computers are they are only as good as the information they are feed. i can’t see how enough of each local weather paterns and the huge amount of variables could ever be included to come to a model we could 95% trust.

    You are talking about a weather model, not a climate model. Weather forecasting is an initial value problem, climate modelling is not. This has all been done before. Google “initial value problem” “boundary value problem”

  5. #5 John
    March 9, 2010

    We don’t we just give Hamlock a nice shiny ball to keep him occupied. Run along now, Hamlock. The adults are busy.

  6. #6 sim
    March 9, 2010

    Shorter hamlock: science fairly represented by averaging all the claims made in blogs.

  7. #7 Lotharsson
    March 9, 2010

    Science is far from settle. The problem being we can’t just shut the book on it and say this is what’s happening.

    There are always more questions to be investigated, even better explanations to be found, and uncertainty can always be reduced – anyone who says or expects otherwise does not know how science works.

    But the key questions of science are settled *enough* to be distinctly alarmed and start doing something about it.

    Just on the internet there’s as many sites supporting AWG as there is rebuffing AGW.So there must be as many people supporting AGWas there is rebuffing AGW.

    So we have a new way to determine answers to scientific questions – how many supporting sites there are on the Intertubes. What a relief that astroturfing turns out to be a scientific activity! And all of those antiquated science “journals” that take up so much space in the library can go the way of the dinosaurs. The noble PR firms can now claim R&D tax rebates and the total amount of science can dramatically increase for a relatively small marginal cost. I imagine DenialDepot will be putting in for their tax rebate.

    Try looking in to how the tobacco industry campaigned against the science that showed that its products were harmful. Then ask yourself if the same methods are being used in climate change, updated for the Internet age – and if they were, would you expect to see a whole lot of websites disputing AGW on grounds that might not stand up to scrutiny?

    Hamlock, if you’re seriously after evidence you can find it. But right now you look just like a whole bunch of commenters in the past who were more interested in making excuses for their beliefs than assessing the evidence. I truly hope I’ve misread where you’re coming from.

  8. #8 Mattb
    March 9, 2010

    I’m off to set up a few more pro-AGW websites to settle the science a bit more in our favour.

  9. #9 hamlock
    March 9, 2010

    Lotharsson.Point taken thankyou for being more sincere.My point is there has been a lot of good science achived on the subject,but alot of good science has also been ignored.The millions of volcanos below the ocean are said to have the most effect on heating the ocean.The one’s under the Artic might explain for some of the Artic’s shelf ice decreasing.What about the sun may it play a bigger roll in temprature.Positive feed on the models is there to much being applied to the modeling. There are so many variants to come to a conclusion.After all my models are right it’s the climate thats wrong.

  10. #10 Lotharsson
    March 9, 2010

    …but alot of good science has also been ignored.

    You know this…how? You don’t appear to even understand the scientific case for anthropogenic global warming, so it beggars belief that you can point out quality research that was “ignored”.

    You need to start educating yourself. Strange as it may appear, the “problems” with the science that you claim have ALL been considered by climate scientists already.

  11. #11 hamlock
    March 9, 2010

    So why do they only classify co2 as the cause for GW.In the 70’s they said that the globe was in for global cooling.They could just as easy be wrong again but this time there is a hell of a lot of associated costs,as well maybe one day a loss of sovereignty.Our countries might lose the capability of be able to govern themselves if we sign off on a agreement with the UN.Could this be possible?

  12. #12 Chris O'Neill
    March 9, 2010

    hamlock, have you checked any of the articles I referred you to (google “initial value problem” “boundary value problem” in answer to your earlier question on climate modelling yet? You really should deal with one issue at a time. Otherwise you could appear to be suffering from mental diarrhea.

  13. #13 Dave R
    March 9, 2010

    Shorter hamlock:

    Here are some more talking points. I don’t care if they’ve already been shown to be wrong because I’m Open Minded™. Anyone who points out that they’re wrong is engaging in Personal Attacks™ because I’m Just Asking Questions™.

  14. #14 hamlock
    March 9, 2010

    Chris thanks, I haven’t yet because I think I might have mental diarrhea and my brain is about to explode.To much imformation not enough time to digest.

  15. #15 hamlock
    March 9, 2010

    Chris I have been to real climate.Reading about the peer review process at the moment.

  16. #16 P. Lewis
    March 9, 2010

    Hamlock are you trolling?

    Was it you who wrote

    this is why the warmers wont debate their sience it simpley doesnt stack up. if only the broarder public could view your doco i feel the warmers would be under alot more pressure to improve their transparancey. GREAT WORK KEEP IT UP

    on 1 March 2010?

    And was it you who wrote

    lotharasson i considered you one of the smarter persons to debate this issue.after reading that i wonder.the earth had climate change since it evolved and know one every had to pay a tax for the privlage

    on 4 March 2010?

    Or are you serious about learning about differentiating the truth from the lying crap now?

  17. #17 Jeff Harvey
    March 9, 2010

    Hamlocks posts are an embarrassment (for him or her, that is).

    This chestnut got the old trollometer buzzing: *In the 70’s they said that the globe was in for global cooling*

    No ‘they’ didn’t. Very few scientists actually did. And even these few argued that if greenhouse gas emissions contined to increase, this would negate any counter-effects of dimming caused by sulphate aerosols. Beside, hamlock, who is the ‘they’ that you are referring to?

    My advice is to read up on the basic empirical literature before wading in here with any more simple and embarrassing posts.

  18. #18 jakerman
    March 9, 2010

    >*This chestnut got the old trollometer buzzing: In the 70’s they said that the globe was in for global cooling*

    My meter broke when Hammy said:

    >*alot of good science has also been ignored.The millions of volcanos below the ocean are said to have the most effect on heating the ocean.*

  19. #19 Jono Veg
    March 9, 2010

    hamlock, here is some more [good science]( that has also been ignored:

    >*if the sun stopped shining on Venus tomorrow, it would cool, and mainly thanks to CO2. A vacuum stops energy loss quite well (think of a Thermos) but the GHG’s emit heat via IR radiation to space. So thanks to CO2, Venus would cool faster than if it had an atmosphere of O2.*

  20. #20 hamlock
    March 10, 2010

    Well is there or isn’t there under water volcanos.My research tells me there are millions or this incorrect aswell.

  21. #21 jakerman
    March 10, 2010


    If the oceans were heating up from below, then ask your self how is the [land surface is heating faster](

    Who ever gave you that information about volcanoes, ask them for the volcanoe forcing over time. Ask for their evidence that shows how volcanoe activity continues to rise over time. Then once again ask yourself my question question again.

  22. #22 Chris O'Neill
    March 10, 2010

    Jono Veg:

    hamlock, here is some more good science that has also been ignored:

    Thanks for the irony, but I think hamlock is still learning about the concept of radiation.

  23. #23 Chris O'Neill
    March 10, 2010


    I have been to real climate.Reading about the peer review process at the moment.

    So why are you wasting everyone’s time trolling on this blog?

  24. #24 Lotharsson
    March 10, 2010

    Thanks for the irony, but I think hamlock is still learning about the concept of radiation.

    Isn’t ironic radiation what you get from an “iron sun”?

  25. #25 jakerman
    March 10, 2010

    Lotharsson wins the interentz for today!

  26. #26 hamlock
    March 10, 2010

    Only a fool is 100% sure,a scientist is always open to new ideas.

  27. #27 Lotharsson
    March 10, 2010

    Only a fool is 100% sure,a scientist is always open to new ideas.

    Indeed. (But as they also say, one’s mind should not be so open that one’s brains fall out.)

    So look at the AGW “debate” – as an example revisit some of the threads on The Drum if you like, or some of the websites. A lot of denialists are 100% sure that AGW is wrong. They all disagree on why, but that’s a mere detail that does not concern them 😉

    Now look at the IPCC AR4 report, specifically the definition and **frequent use** of terms that describe a **level of uncertainty**. Is that what you would expect from shoddy “work”, perhaps designed to prop up a pre-conceived position or come to a pre-determined “result”?

    And then go back in the history of climate science to see if the scientists were open to new ideas as the science developed. A lot of “new ideas” adoption may have happened when you weren’t paying attention to the field – but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  28. #28 hamlock
    March 10, 2010

    Lotharsson. Ihave come to this site to have my questions answered.I thought this would be a better site to get answers unlike the other blogs were it is all about personal attacks.Some might say we have been over all the stuff that Iam coming up with before.I haven’t,I’am new to this.I have the belief that GW is not man made,but I’am also open minded enough to challange my mind to come to a better postion on understandig the whole issue.My biggest problem with AGW is that has become to political and there for is very open to curruption.This is my gretest fear .Is there an agenda from the UN to rule the world.People on the AGW it’s like a religon,nothing wrong with that,but with there great belief do they miss some of the things happening around them.After the positons countries are going to take will not achive much,but at what expense to the people on this planet.In my opinon it will be a big merry go round of money and really not achiving any net gain to for the planet.Wealthy countries will punished, poor countries will be rewarded.Will Australians standards of living be greatly impacted by these moves, I think they will.SO thats why I am here to find out the facts for I thought this might be more understanding of a person wanting to learn more and also to try and make my points as well.I’am not nearly as smart as the people on this site nor do I PRETEND TO BE .B ut i didn’t expect to get bullied here either.Some of the stuff I’ve posted might look stupid ,but I don’t know how to post links yet.Hope I haven’t upset people I just wanted answers with out all the bullshit.

  29. #29 foram
    March 10, 2010

    hamlock, if you really want to learn you should start with the science. Step back from the politics for a bit, and get familiar with how the scientific understanding of AGW has developed.

    If you don’t want to read the IPCC reports, you could work your way through Spencer Weart’s “[The Discovery of Global Warming](”

    or take a course (for non-science majors) with David Archer, University of Chicago – [for free](!

  30. #30 Chris O'Neill
    March 10, 2010


    I am here to find out the facts

    How does making strawman statements here like:

    Only a fool is 100% sure,a scientist is always open to new ideas

    help you to find out the facts? You might be trying to find out the facts but you certainly have plenty of attitude. Maying you should think about leaving out the attitude.

  31. #31 Lotharsson
    March 10, 2010

    hamlock – what foram said. You’re apparently trying to poke holes in science you don’t yet understand. Not only is it a waste of *your* time, it’s a common trolling tactic – which is why people who’ve seen it used a hundred times before are skeptical of your motives when they see you using it.

    So your best bet – both to avoid appearing to be a troll, and to try and bring down the scientific case if that’s your primary goal – is to start by understanding the climate science behind the case for AGW from the ground up – and go as far as you can manage. (No, I don’t understand it all either. I can get the basics, and a bit more than that in many areas. But once it gets too deep, despite being smart in other areas, I don’t have enough knowledge to reliably understand or debate the finer points.)

    Once you understand that, you’ll:

    (a) have a much better understanding of why the scientists say what they do about it, which should allow you to stop yourself making arguments that miss the target
    (b) be in a *much* better position to try and find holes in the science.

  32. #32 h
    March 10, 2010

    Thank you for your advice,I’ll take it all onboard.It is hard to seperate the politcs because that is mostly what we hear and see on the news.My head tends to get in front of my brain so to speak.Iwill start at the begining instead of half way,I’ll continue to follow this post with great intrest.”I’LL BE BACK”no pun to Arnie but Calfornia is the USA’S biggest basket case.

  33. #33 Bernard J.
    March 10, 2010

    [Hamlock]( says:

    …I don’t know how to post links yet.

    Dude, Right above the box where your tippy-typey fingers type in your comments are two lines that say:

    Comments: (you may use HTML tags or
    for style). Please make urls into proper links like this: [Description](

    What’s so hard about that?

  34. #34 Fran Barlow
    March 10, 2010

    There’s a well composed piece at The Dum today on the kind of faux skepticism that hamfisted and his kind like running …

    Climate debate: opinion vs evidence, Stephan Lewandowsky

    It reads in part:

    Does this indubitable scientific consensus guarantee that the evidence concerning climate change is necessarily irrefutable?


    As with any other scientific fact, new evidence may come to light that can overturn established theories. Two core principles of science are scepticism and falsifiability — that is, scientific facts must be subject to sceptical examination and they must be refutable in principle. New evidence may overturn the current view that HIV causes AIDS, and new evidence may revise our expectation that gravity will have adverse consequences for those who jump off the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Likewise, new evidence may force a revision of our understanding of climate change.

    It is however utterly inconceivable that the current scientific consensus about climate change will be overturned by conspiracy theories that are inversions of reality.

  35. #35 hamlock
    March 11, 2010

    Thanks Fran but we’ve moved on from there.I read from The “Discovery of Global Warming”The most striking news came from studies of ancient climates recorded in Antarctic ice cores and elsewhere. Carbon dioxide and temperature had always been linked: anything that caused one of the pair to rise or fall would lead to a rise or fall in the other.
    I read or heard that CO2lags temp by about 800 years.Could some one please explain which of these statements is correct ?

  36. #36 foram
    March 11, 2010

    hamlock, those two statements [aren’t contradictory](

  37. #37 P. Lewis
    March 11, 2010

    Ah yes. Who could ever forget this stunning “paper”?

  38. #38 hamlock
    March 11, 2010

    Thanks foram. I had a look at that post, it answered my question.

  39. #39 jakerman
    March 11, 2010

    Fran thanks, a very good article.

  40. #40 Chris O'Neill
    March 11, 2010


    I read or heard that CO2lags temp by about 800 years.Could some one please explain which of these statements is correct ?

    Why are you so lazy and expect others to do your homework for you? If you took the hint from my previous suggestions you would have tried Google “800 years” which points you to the explanation you are asking about. By the way, “which of these statements is correct?” is a presumptuous question.

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