January 2013 Open Thread

Australia makes into 2013 in good shape despite the carbon tax. How can this be?


  1. #1 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    …I haven’t noticed apologies being part of the MO here.

    That’s because it’s decidedly not the MO “here” to blatantly misrepresent or lie about what other people said.

    So far it is unapologetically your MO though, and apparently you are unashamed by it.

    Telling, isn’t it?

  2. #2 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    …they’re using statistics as they’re preferred weapon.

    Politicians and PR people are publishing statistical papers in the scientific literature? Who knew?!

    Oh, wait…you mean the denialist echosphere trumpeting papers like Karen’s last link!

    Well, sure, we all knew that! The echosphere content makers are masters of using dodgy “statistics” (scare quotes intended) to bamboozle the statistically illiterate and those who don’t find out whether their loud claims are undermined by the weight of all the evidence.

    You being an archetypal example, thus far.

  3. #3 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    But I am rather curious.

    If you, chameleon, assert that “statistics is [their] preferred weapon”, and via context you mean inappropriate use of statistics…

    …how do you know it’s inappropriate?

    I mean, you’ve shown you are easily misled by dodgy statistics, so if you’re using your own judgement to claim other uses are inappropriate, … well, they say a regular person who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client.

    So how are you making a much more reliable judgement about appropriateness of statistical methods than you yourself can make?

    Or is it merely the case that you’re making bold claims you can’t back up – again?

  4. #4 zoot
    January 13, 2013

    …how do you know it’s inappropriate?

    She’s probably sure she remembers hearing it on ABC TV.

  5. #5 Richard Simons
    January 13, 2013

    And BTW, they’re using statistics as they’re preferred weapon.

    I suspect that by this she means “selective use of non-representative data” exemplified by Karen’s typical comment. Her own comments show that her own knowledge of the field of statistics is on a par with my own knowledge of Nenets grammar.

    The truth is that on ‘both sides’ we have hand waving, attention seeking, zealot, extremist and highly political people who are polarising this issue . . .

    Chameleon: Go to RealClimate or SkepticalScience and find for us just one example that fits any one of these descriptors – if you can.

  6. #6 Bolt for PM
    January 13, 2013

    Had a browse of this thread quickly and don’t have anything especially pertinent to add – I wore myself out on the SLR thread. There’s only so many IQ points to spare.

    But I would like to offer up a serious question for discussion seeing this is an open thread. Could be a change from Debb… err Chameleon bashing.

    Let’s agree that it is primarily human influence that is causing such things as climate change and reduction in biodiversity etc.

    Really, what CAN be done? Human civilisation as it is today depends on relatively cheap energy. It’s based on a capitalist and materialist foundation. Major societies like China, India and South America are developing like crazy, delivering their peoples substantial improvements in living conditions, health and life expectancy. But in doing so they embrace Western ideals.

    Watch a video of downtown in cities in such countries and it’s hard to see much difference from any US or Australian city. And this level of change and growth and convergence has happened in just a couple of hundred years.

    It will be exceedingly difficult to change anything substantially. Certainly not in the shorter term, and perhaps not even in the longer term.

    My question for discussion then is – what do you honestly see the world being like in say 250 years? 500 years? And what mix of mitigation and adaptation is the most likely to be effective?

  7. #7 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    So BfPM, you realise you’re climbing the well worn ladder of denialism? It’s not happening. No, wait, maybe it’s happening but it’s not really us. OK, maybe it’s mostly us but it will be too hard to avoid it.

    Really, what CAN be done?

    My family’s in my car and we’re doing 110 km/h and we know the brakes are failing and there’s a very sharp corner coming up, but Really, what CAN be done?

    When business as usual is dangerous, you STOP doing business as usual. Researchers are saying that avoiding a 4-6C rise will be very unlikely if we keep on with business per usual, and some of them are now saying out loud in public that 4-6C will likely mean the end of global civilisation, and may reduce the carrying capacity of the earth to less than one billion humans. Adaptation is a pretty poor descriptor for what we can do to cope with that kind of challenge.

    If the seriousness of the issue is understood then the scope of available options widens dramatically because the risk is very very large, and (some) people suddenly wake up and realise that their assumptions about what can’t be considered are indeed negotiable. If we get that far then we can talk about what could be done.

    Or we could skip to the part where people point out the economics appear to be nowhere near as bad as is often claimed, so they AREN’T the thing that is stopping serious mitigation.

    Or we could skip straight to what is likely to happen – which is more delay until enough people start screaming for something to be done, and then whatever we do will be much less effective and cost several times what it would have cost to start much earlier…

  8. #8 bill
    January 13, 2013

    Really, what CAN be done?

    While an intractable and unrepentant alliance exists between large corporations that either are, or feel themselves to be, threatened by any major challenge to BAU, and a large corps of reactionaries who refuse on principal to accept that we could be doing this to ourselves – and who have little interest in the survival of the natural world and deep-down believe, amazingly, they’ll get on just fine without it – it’s rather a moot point.

    Of course, this situation cannot last forever, reality being not much swayed by the opinions of either boardroom psychopaths or talk-back radio mouth-breathers, and the longer this unholy convergence manages to keep on ‘winning’ to the satisfaction of its tiny mind, the more drastic any eventual ‘solutions’ will eventually have to be.

    That’s dramatic as in totalitarian, though with a democratic gloss in the wealthier nations(some would say that’s not much different form our reality now, anyway), or just ‘straight’, or something even worse (these latter options reserved particularly for the not-so-wealthy nations).

    I think we missed the ‘reasonably democratic and reasonably non-disruptive’ window about 10 years ago.

    Of course, in the long run ‘even worse’ may well overtake us all. The tragedy is that only some of us will have deserved this.

    But, of course, to sociopaths and fantasists that hardly matters; it can’t happen to them, because they’re unique little snowflakes beyond the reach of those calamities that befall lesser beings, and they don’t really give a shit about future generations, any more than they care about the poor, hypocritical posturing notwithstanding.

    And they certainly don’t give a flying f*ck about any species that had the lack of foresight not to evolve into us. F*in polar bears can go f* themselves!

    Since you are clearly a dues-paid member of this tribe, I don’t for a moment believe this question is being posed in good-faith, and suspect that this is just a ruse to play at lofting about some Lomborgian high-minded, onanistic waffle, or argue backwards from undesirability that since the problem cannot be solved – not the least thanks to yourself – then it must surely not exist in the first place.

  9. #9 Jeff Harvey
    January 13, 2013

    “And what mix of mitigation and adaptation is the most likely to be effective?”

    This argument misses the point entirely. BFPM appears to believe, like many so-called deniers, that the ability of humans to persist on the planet in light of the myriad of assaults our species is inflicting on it, will depend largely on our ability to ‘adapt’ to these changes. But the truth is, given what most ecologists know, is that its out of our hands. Essentially (her I go again for the billionth time but for the D-K crowd it NEVER sinks in), humans are utterly dependent on a range of critical conditions that freely emerge from natural systems and for which there are few, if any technological substitutes (and even where there are, they are prohibitively expensive). These conditions are generated over variable spatial and temporal scales by infinite numbers of interactions involving large and small scale populations and individuals of species. From them we already know that services permitting humans to exist and survive are produced.

    Now, as I have said many times before, many from the adaptionist school appear to think that humans are exempt from the laws of nature. They ignore the manifest consequences of climate warming, habitat destruction, eutrophication, wetland loss, invasive organisms, various forms of pollution etc. on ecosystems and the organisms that make them up. In their thinking, humans can cover much of the planet in concrete and significantly alter the chemical composition of the air and water and that somehow, through technology, we will adapt to this massive assault.

    Its clear that the mainstream media is doing a piss-poor job on educating many of the masses, or else we scientists are not getting the message through ourselves, but the comment made by BFPM is one that is shared by a huge proportion of laypeople out there. They appear to think that the main values of nature are consumptive and aesthetic; that any other value in economic terms is limited or even non-exitstant.

    I don’t know what can be done to get across the point I am making. I’ve repeated this argument so many times on Deltoid alone that I am getting sick and tired of doing so. Clearly many of the nay-sayers don’t read out side the ‘box’. These cornucopians don’t know much about systems or population ecology, and they’ve been so insulated in their cozy urban lives that any notion of human existence hinging on conditions emerging from nature are alien to them.

    In summary, what I am saying is that humans don’t have a choice. We must mitigate as much as possible, for adaptation is NOT an option, not if continue on a business-as-usual path into the mid to long-term future. The consequences of this is that Homo sapiens will be lucky to survive another century, let long 5 more centuries. The average shelf life for a species is 1 to 10 million years; for mammals perhaps slightly less. Our time for extinction will certainly come, but for me it seems to be folly that we appear to be doing everything in our power to hasten its realization in the short-term. Ultimately, if we continue along the current trajectory, we will so simplify natural systems that the services we take for granted will sputter and wither away. Once this happens, our species will go into free fall. No species depends on or utilizes more from nature than does Homo sapiens. The irony is that we will be one the earliest and biggest casualties of our own stupid actions. Nature of course will persist long after we have extinguished ourselves, but why we seem intent on going over the cliff in light of what we know are likely to be the consequences is for me one of the great mysteries of our time.

  10. #10 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    So in short, Jeff, the answer to “And what mix of mitigation and adaptation is the most likely to be effective?” is:

    Approximately 100% mitigation.

    (And even disregarding the profound ecological issues, most of the non-trivial primarily economic analyses say that mitigating now is cheaper – probably several times cheaper – than adapting later. In other words, they produce much the same answer.)

  11. #11 Jeff Harvey
    January 13, 2013


    Agreed. Having said that, the longer we procrastinate, the more severe the costs of mitigation are likely to be. My main point is that those groups and individuals – and we know who they are – who are blocking actions to deal with the growing crisis are, in my view, (un)wittingly the drivers who appear content to see us plunge into the abyss.

  12. #12 Bolt for PM
    January 13, 2013

    Lotharsson, I may have not been clear in how I posed the question. I didn’t mean what can be done as a direct question. I meant, really, what CAN be done. I cannot imagine anything can be. People just don’t think that way.

    The only way something will change is when there is enough of a catastrophe that most of humanity is wiped out. until then I think it’s BAU at the macro level. Sure you’ll see a lot of frittering around the edges, but nothing really serious.

    Do you really think that Westerners will give up their standard of living? Or that the Chinas and Indias of the world will abandon their hopes of emulating the West?

    Unlikely I’d say.

    Jeff H – “They appear to think that the main values of nature are consumptive and aesthetic; that any other value in economic terms is limited or even non-exitstant.”

    I don’t think people imagine anything about the values of nature – I think by and large they think only about the values necessary to continue as they do. Most people are reasonably confident that humanity is above the laws of nature. The major religions do little to dispel that view.

    Of course, I have rather more confidence that humanity IS above the laws of nature…

  13. #13 Bolt for PM
    January 13, 2013

    Actually let me restate some of that. I don’t expect a catastrophe. And I don’t expect BAU as it is right now forever. What I expect is more of the same in the sense that incrementally, things will change. And technology will be a major enabler of that.

  14. #14 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    I meant, really, what CAN be done.

    If you’re talking about what’s feasible from an engineering and infrastructure and economics perspective, there are studies that appear to be plausible at first blush that say that if we actually wanted to we could generate 100% of foreseeable global energy needs from renewable sources within 20-30 years, and it would be cheaper overall than continuing with non-renewable sources. From what I’ve seen, none of this requires “Westerners to give up their standard of living” or 3rd world nations to give up modernising.

    There will probably be unforeseen obstacles on the way that need to be dealt with. And there are people in the industry who are quite skeptical. And these proposals would require a heck of a lot of work. But if people faced up to how serious it is they would consider a “war footing” to be appropriate, and it’s astonishing what a country on a war footing can accomplish if need be, let alone an entire globe.

    On the other hand, if you mean “what can be achieved whilst political and large business interests continue to overtly and covertly oppose any significant mitigation efforts”, the answer may well be “merely tinkering around the edges and a little bit of incremental change – when those interests decide it will benefit them”.

    Taking the problem seriously means that 80% of proven fossil fuel reserves, currently valued by the market at about $20 trillion, must never be burnt – i.e. left in the ground or other uses found for it that don’t end up with CO2 in the atmosphere. That’s probably the most highly motivated obstacle at the moment because the businesses involved, and the politicians in their pocket, and the investment banks and super funds that own those companies all know this. They’re not dumb (at least not about short to medium term $$$), they’re just banking on the long term problem somehow not turning out to be as bad as anticipated (at least for them).

    I have rather more confidence that humanity IS above the laws of nature…

    Of course you do. And it’s a particularly ignorant point of view, as Jeff has been trying to point out.

  15. #15 Wow
    January 13, 2013
  16. #16 Wow
    January 13, 2013

    “80% of proven fossil fuel reserves, currently valued by the market at about $20 trillion”

    However, in fluffing up the value of these reserves, they don’t deduct the cost of extraction. e.g. Net economic value of, say, gas shale in Europe: – ~trillion euros. Takes more money to get out than it returns in value.

  17. #17 Wow
    January 13, 2013

    “it can’t happen to them, because they’re unique little snowflakes beyond the reach of those calamities that befall lesser beings”

    See this scienceblogs thread for what happens when these precious snowflakes ARE beset by the same problems:


    Also notice how the insurance companies have graded Sandy as merely a storm, therefore the deductible from claims for damage to the expensive homes by the rich and wealthy and connected people there damaged by the burricane doesn’t now include hurricane deduction.

    The look after each other.

  18. #18 Geoff Beacon
    January 13, 2013

    Has anyone here looked at the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report yet?


  19. #19 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    Yep, there’s a YouTube lecture by a self-confessed privileged white guy who points out that for people like him the privileged status, upbringing and level of resource availability turn out to be harmful if the resources go away – because they haven’t had to learn the kinds of survival skills necessary for people who have had much more of a challenge in the past.

  20. #20 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    Or as that poster at Wow’s link puts it, haven’t had to develop that kind of personal resilience. (And certainly haven’t had to rely on the kind of systemic resilience support that’s been systematically attacked by Republicans for 3+ decades – that’s for those people, not people like us.)

  21. #21 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    You might want to avoid some of Wow’s comments at that link though. Not the most overwhelming display of emotional intelligence.

  22. #22 Jeff Harvey
    January 13, 2013

    “Of course, I have rather more confidence that humanity IS above the laws of nature”

    Well then you’re a waste of space aren’t you. You see, your view is based on he fact that you don’ t know much about systems ecology or of the myriad of natural subsidies that permit human existence. Since you don’t have much of a clue about his area, you then ignore it. Don’t fret; most of the deniers I have met are also completely ignorant about the field. And they write the same kind of dumb remarks that you do.

    Fact is that of course humans are not above or exempt from natural laws. If we continue with a slash-and-burn approach across the biosphere, then we are writing our own epitaph. As I see it right now, our species will go out with a whimper instead of a bang. Within 100-200 years the debt we are incurring on nature will have rebounded on human civilization, and the outlook will be grim.

  23. #23 Wow
    January 13, 2013

    Really? So it wasn’t rebecca who thought it was REASONABLE to be “afraid of looking like THEM”, right?

  24. #24 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    Wow, I posted over there. Take it over there if you want to discuss it.

  25. #25 Wow
    January 13, 2013

    you posted over here too.

  26. #26 Lotharsson
    January 13, 2013

    Yes, I wanted to make it clear here that I thought the article was pretty good, but I didn’t think the same of your comments.

    People know how to follow links if they are interested – and if you want to discuss my opinions of your logic in detail, best to do it on the original post.

  27. #27 Richard Simons
    January 13, 2013

    Regarding business as usual and its consequences, I have long thought that economists should be required to take a course in ecology, with emphasis on energy and nutrient cycling and population dynamics. Perhaps then there would be more realism in their forecasts and fewer utopian dreams.
    As it is, when I look at projections I am often struck by how narrowly focussed they are whereas in real life there are many interconnections. Want to reduce fossil fuel use? Switch to biofuels. Except that most produce only marginally more fuel than is consumed in their production (and many have a negative balance) and they take land out of food production. Increase their yield by using more fertilizers? But most nitrogenous fertilizers are produced from fossil fuels, as are the extra fertilizer hoppers, etc that will be needed. Genetically modify cereals to fix their own nitrogen fertilizer? The energy required by the plant reduces yields by about 1/4 to 1/3. In the meantime, a combination of overfishing and ocean acidification is likely to reduce fish supplies.
    In the meantime, utopians talk about a ‘second Green Revolution’ but have no idea where it might come from. They seem to think that, because to those who remember it, it came out of the blue with no advance warming, there must be something equivalent on its way. Of course, to crop scientists the ‘Green Revolution’ was not unexpected. However, so far as I am aware (and I hope someone can correct me on this) there is nothing remotely comparable waiting in the wings.

  28. #28 Wow
    January 13, 2013

    “Switch to biofuels. Except that most produce only marginally more fuel than is consumed in their production ”

    Only really true with Corn.

    Beet sugars in Brazil give a very decent EROEI, and they aren’t the best by a long chalk.

    But the rural farmers, whilst complaining about the taxes, definitely want their slice of the pork and making it Corn based means they get to keep as much of the pork as possible.

    Note that most of the corn is fed to cattle. Stuff they can’t even feed to humans hidden in other foodstuffs gets turned into biofuels, so it’s not actually that bad for the environment, it uses mostly the resource that would have been chucked back on the silage heap.

  29. #29 Wow
    January 13, 2013

    And I wanted to rebut your assertion.

    But apparently it’s not allowed. You decided, apparently.

    Sod that for a game of soldiers.

  30. #30 Vince Whirlwind
    January 13, 2013

    Seems like a waste of effort when for a decent up-front capital investment, you can spend decades harvesting vast quantities of energy with very little recurring costs involved.

    And the power produced can be stored as hydrogen for use in fuel cells.

  31. #31 Lotharsson
    January 14, 2013

    But apparently it’s not allowed. You decided, apparently.

    Sheesh. That’s not even a subtle pair of lies.

    No-one has told you it’s not allowed. I suggested you take it to the place with the appropriate context and audience but I have no power to enforce it. The only one that can do so is a moderator, and I have not claimed to be one.

    … I wanted to rebut your assertion.

    My assertion here was an opinion-based assessment. Good luck rebutting that! 😉

    And as you have demonstrated by commenting over there (and here!), no-one is stopping you responding to anything I wrote.

  32. #32 Bolt for PM
    January 14, 2013

    Jeff H, my comment more refers to humanity’s proven ability to adapt both itself and the environment. I am not denying that we have a cavalier approach, but over time we have consistently met and overcome natural challenges.

    Regardless of my own personal beliefs, I do think it’s unlikely we’ll take on board some of the more large scale strategies you guys have suggested. It just doesn’t fit with previous history.

    My own ill-informed view is that people will adapt and that changes in things like energy mix will occur as market forces permit. Sadly, I can’t see a major shift away from a free market driven global system any time soon.

    You’re right, Jeff H, I have no idea about systems ecology etc. But history is full of people who thought they had it sussed and then discovered that the world is infinitely more malleable and adaptable.

    Anyways, call me in 2020, we can talk about the big ol’ global warming scare that dissipated by 2015…

  33. #33 Jeff Harvey
    January 14, 2013


    Before commenting again, I suggest you read the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2006) or any of many books on the subject of ecosystem services: Yvonne Baskin’s ‘The Work of Nature’ (1999) or Gretchen Daily’s ‘Nature’s Services’ (1997).

    Your problem, which you completely fail to address, is that you again think that human ability to adapt to a suite of anthropogenic stresses is somehow independent of effects on our ecological life-support systems. What I am saying is that if we continue to see vital services that sustain humanity eroded, then our safety net will be rather suddenly pulled away. No amount of human ingenuity can replicate in any kind of efficient manner the work done by soil microbes, pollinators, seed dispersers, water purifiers etc. Essentially, we take these processes for granted, as if they are a ‘given’; once they disappear, we don’t stand a chance.

  34. #34 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    ” my comment more refers to humanity’s proven ability to adapt both itself and the environment.”

    Dinosaurs adapted to their environment changing.

    And they discovered that “extinction” is another adaption.

  35. #35 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    And care to prove our ability to adapt?

  36. #36 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    ” “But apparently it’s not allowed. You decided, apparently”.

    Sheesh. That’s not even a subtle pair of lies.”

    Sheesh, don’t understand “apparently”?

    You posted here about my comments there.

    I posted here about your comment here.

    You decided I should take it there.

    Where, precisely, is the lie?

  37. #37 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    ” It just doesn’t fit with previous history.”

    You mean like the wholesale change from Steam power to Oil power in about 7 years between the two world wars?

  38. #38 Bolt for PM
    January 14, 2013


    What I am saying is that if we continue to see vital services that sustain humanity eroded, then our safety net will be rather suddenly pulled away. No amount of human ingenuity can replicate in any kind of efficient manner the work done by soil microbes, pollinators, seed dispersers, water purifiers etc. Essentially, we take these processes for granted, as if they are a ‘given’; once they disappear, we don’t stand a chance.

    Look I wouldn’t disagree with that statement, and yes I agree I have little knowledge about the subject. But do you honestly think that we really face that dire a situation?

  39. #39 Lotharsson
    January 14, 2013

    …but over time we have consistently met and overcome natural challenges.

    There are quite a number of dead societies that disagree with you. People have written books about it.

  40. #40 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    Anyone remember the adaption to the change in the North American continent by the local population?

    That’s right: dying.

    How about the invasion of South America?

    Oh, died of new diseases. Another “lets all die” adaption.

    Dolt doesn’t mind it if everyone else dies as long as he doesn’t have to take responsibility for what he’s done or change one whit.

    His comfort is far more important than the potential life of others yet born.

    (PS I wonder if he’s against or for abortion)

  41. #41 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    “But do you honestly think that we really face that dire a situation?”

    Yes, he’s said so many times.

    And his specialty is biological diversity and productivity.

    You, however, refuse to listen. As proven by your needing to ask that question despite the multitudinous posts stating the answer you’re asking for here.

  42. #42 Vince Whirlwind
    January 14, 2013

    You’re right, Jeff H, I have no idea about systems ecology etc. But history is full of people who thought they had it sussed and then discovered that the world is infinitely more malleable and adaptable.

    Get it Jeff? Somebody who knows virtually nothing of the subject is much more likely to derive the correct answer than somebody who does.

    Perfectly logical.

    How did the Mayans overcome their (man-made) natural challenges?
    How did the Easter Islanders overcome their (man-made) natural challenges?

    Facts? Why would you waste time on them when you could be prosecuting a fact-free irrational belief?

  43. #43 Jeff Harvey
    January 14, 2013

    “But do you honestly think that we really face that dire a situation?”

    Check out the findings of the MEA (2006). The answer is that we are heading in that direction, yes. It is serious.

  44. #44 Lotharsson
    January 14, 2013

    Where, precisely, is the lie?

    They are where I already explained them to be. “Apparently” doesn’t get you off the hook:

    I did not make any decision for you. I did not apparently make any decision for you. Neither of those can logically be true because I have no power over where you choose to comment.

    I did not forbid you from doing anything. I did not apparently forbid you from doing anything. Neither of those can logically be true because I have no power to constrain any of your actions.

    You were not constrained in any way because I made a comment here requesting that you take it there. You were not apparently constrained in any way because I made a comment here requesting that you take it there. Neither of those can logically be true for the same reasons as above.

    You, as you have amply demonstrated in the past, are entirely free to ignore requests from other commenter who are not moderators. No “apparently” qualifier is necessary on that statement either.

  45. #45 Bolt for PM
    January 14, 2013

    Well, to be fair Wow, I’ve never seen deltoid before I dropped by to sort you all out with your misunderstandings regarding SLR, so I haven’t read Jeff H’s multitudinous posts. And he’s never posted at WUWT from what I can recall…

  46. #46 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    “I did not make any decision for you.”

    Ah, so apparently sarcasm is unknown.

    Did you not notice that I ignored your demand?

  47. #47 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    ” with your misunderstandings regarding SLR”


    This is like a level-five projection here.

    You have no clue, ADMIT you have no clue, about SLR and therefore we all of us misunderstand SLR???

  48. #48 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    ” so I haven’t read Jeff H’s multitudinous posts”

    You have replied to them, though.

    However, thanks for admitting that you don’t bother reading what you’re given in answer to your “just asking questions”.

    It does confirm what we’ve suspected all along. You’re not asking questions, you’re making noise.

  49. #49 Bolt for PM
    January 14, 2013

    ohhh… no I thought you meant he’d posted in other threads in the past. As for SLR, well it did take a while to get you lot sorted out and on the same page but I think you’ve got a better grasp of the concepts now. Glad to help.

  50. #50 Wow
    January 14, 2013


    The idiot is strong in you, isn’t it.

    All we’ve learned is that it’s taken you a few weeks and a hundred or so posts to get even the smallest fact through your skull about SLR.

  51. #51 Wow
    January 14, 2013

    “Bolt for PM
    January 14, 2013


    What I am saying is that if we contin….”

    Bolt for PM later:

    “so I haven’t read Jeff H’s multitudinous posts”

  52. #52 Jeff Harvey
    January 14, 2013

    “And he’s never posted at WUWT from what I can recall…”

    And I never will. That site is the epitome of anti-environmental denial, full of shills and other misfits.

  53. #53 Vince Whirlwind
    January 14, 2013

    Yes, we all thought sea level was nothing like a a billiard table.
    Until Bolt came along.
    Now, we all agree that the sea level is nothing like a billiard table.
    Awesome work Bolt.

    In the process, however, we have all also learnt that you know nothing about sea levels, nothing about ecology, nothing about physics, in fact, you appear to know nothing about everything.

  54. #54 bill
    January 14, 2013

    ohhh… no I thought you meant he’d posted in other threads in the past. As for SLR, well it did take a while to get you lot sorted out and on the same page but I think you’ve got a better grasp of the concepts now. Glad to help.

    Translation: I am a complete tosser. Seriously, the thing Bolty hates most of all is being ignored.

    The good thing, of course, is that folks who aren’t arrogant and manipulative B-grade sociopaths can actually read what Jeff’s said, thereby learning something, and there could scarcely be a better exposition than the above as to which side of this debate has the grasp on the facts regarding GMSL + R.

  55. #55 Vince Whirlwind
    January 14, 2013

    The Australian’s latest salvo in its war on science, this time an article by Graeme Lloyd posing as a factual piece, is out:

    The headline, “Climate Results validate Sceptics” might imply that temperature data has proven John McLean’s “coldest year since 1956” correct, finally.
    Not so.
    What the article attached to this apparently lost and misplaced headline refers to, is the UK Met Office’s temperature *projections* (not “results”) and those projections predict continued warming (not “validate sceptics”).

    Makes you wonder what planet Graeme Lloyd is on. Then you get to this line, and all is clear:

    …it will be several decades before science is able to unpack the impact of climate change from natural variability.

    Yes, because the succession of hottest decades ever could so easily be confused with natural variability. Especially if the laws of physics don’t apply any more and CO2 is no longer heating up the planet.

    Tim Flannery has a half-hearted crack at them,

    But you get the feeling he’s just tired of The Australian’s lies and looking forward to the day the organisation implodes as its UK arm did.

  56. #56 Lotharsson
    January 14, 2013

    Speaking of the Met Office’s projections, they of which trolls like Delingpole and his acolytes have lately taken to claiming show that global warming has stopped or something because this year’s projections are lower than those made last year, here’s the graph showing the two sets of projections.

    The green lines are projections made last year.

    The blue lines are the updated ones.

    Anyone think either the green or the blue indicate “global warming has stopped?”

    Nah, didn’t think so.

  57. #57 Lotharsson
    January 15, 2013

    The online version of that Australian article Vince refers to doesn’t seem to have gone through an editor. They aren’t even putting any effort into it any more.

    Firstly the pair of images at the top of the story include one that’s a graph with curves labelled “Decadel Forecast”. That’s a pretty basic spelling error for a major newspaper. And the only place that Google finds that spelling is a comment on a Bishop Hill article from February 😉

    Secondly, if I recall correctly the article slavishly repeats some Delingpole pap. Early on it claims:

    Global warming effectively stopped 17 years ago and, if the new forecast is accurate, that “pause” will be extended to 20 years.

    Readers who look at the graph in the article (direct link) can see for themselves that claim isn’t even true about surface temperatures (let alone total heat accumulation). The graph shows continuing warming since 1995/96, and the projections continue that trend. Is it any wonder the Australian didn’t put a trend line on the graph? This claim can only be made with contempt for their readership.

    Also, the red curve on the graph looks a little off compared to the original which had small downturns after some of the peaks, for example. And the blue curve doesn’t match the Met Office version (see link in my previous comment) very well either – the initial downturn appears to have been significantly exaggerated on the Australian version, for example. And of course the Australian has “helpfully” left confidence intervals off the forecasts.

    Could be fodder for another Deltoid post.

  58. #58 Lotharsson
    January 15, 2013

    I think you’ll find the article also left out some interesting bits when quoting scientists talking about the new projections. Compare the quotes in the Australian with those in the Daily Mail.

  59. #59 Vince Whirlwind
    January 15, 2013

    I think I can see how they’ve managed to froth each other up into such a state of hyperventilating excitement.

    Here is last year’s Decadal forecast (I think):

    It seems to match the one The Australian has used.
    Notice it goes to 2021?
    Now check out the updated Met article:

    As you can see, this is an entirely different projection, encompassing a different, and shorter, time period.

    So, while the Australian has fun being retarded and comparing an obvious Apple with an obvious Orange, the question has got to be asked – should the Met not label its products better so that their purpose is clearer and to differentiate between apparently different products?

  60. #60 Vince Whirlwind
    January 15, 2013

    In fact there it is:

    “Global average temperature is expected to remain between 0.28 °C and 0.59 °C (90% confidence range) above the long-term (1971-2000) average during the period 2013-2017, with values most likely to be about 0.43 °C higher than average (see blue curves in the Figure 1 below).”

    So, Graeme Lloyd thought it would be a good idea to derive inspiration from a crank-blog (Bishop Hill) and write an article comparing a 2012-2021 projection against a 2013-2017 one.

    Wotta Genius.

  61. #61 bill
    January 15, 2013

    There is no scientific controversy over this. Climate change denial is purely, 100 percent made-up political and corporate-sponsored crap.

    Phil Plait, whose ‘Bad Astronomy‘ I’ve just run through as an audiobook (highly recommended!)

  62. #62 Vince Whirlwind
    January 15, 2013

    VERY highly recommended!

    What a great little video!

    Make sure you watch it, and share it:

  63. #63 Vince Whirlwind
    January 15, 2013

    Oh dear oh dear, The Australian doubles down on dumb and dishonest with its latest effort:
    “Sea rise ‘not linked to warming’, says report”

    Which report? You may ask, is this a confabulation from the likes of Morner, or is this another exercise at misquoting a genuine scientist?

    Turns out it’s the latter:
    The Australian says the new paper…,

    …said it could not link climate change and the rate of sea level rises in the 20th century

    The guy who actually did the research says,

    “So sea level clearly is linked to climate change, it is clearly linked to increases in greenhouse gases, and that’s actually in the paper which was quoted by The Australian. So the quote is, I’m sorry, inaccurate”

    Another bit of blatant politically-motivated disinformation, and not appearing as opinion but masquerading once again as a factual news article.

    Crikey explains:

    The Australian has long run a sceptical line on climate change, particularly in its opinion pages. Today’s story, written by environment editor Graham Lloyd, relied on a paper co-authored by Australian scientist Dr John Church. The paper apparently “said it could not link climate change and the rate of sea level rises in the 20th century”.
    But Church, a sea level expert with the CSIRO, told a media conference today that was not an accurate description of the paper.
    “So sea level clearly is linked to climate change, it is clearly linked to increases in greenhouse gases, and that’s actually in the paper which was quoted by The Australian. So the quote is, I’m sorry, inaccurate,” said Church, a co-ordinating lead author with the IPCC.
    While The Australian claimed the paper had found no increase in the rate of sea level rise, Church said the paper showed the rate of sea level rise had increased between the 18th and 19th centuries, and research showed a further acceleration of the rate during the 20th century.

    In a telephone interview, Crikey asked the long-term chair of the IPCC Dr Rajendra Pachauri, in Tasmania for the summit, about the story.
    “What is particularly important is that sane and rational voices must respond to these questions and this scepticism, and I think that should get adequate currency,” said Pachauri, who in 2007 accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC. “Then people can make up their minds on their own.”
    He called on the media to take responsibility for the stories they run. “Unfortunately in several parts of the world, the media gives disproportionate coverage to those who take a contrarian view, even if they represent a very very small percentage of either the scientific consensus or public opinion. They get almost equal billing, and to my mind that seems a little unfair,” he said.

    There you have it – the antidote for The Australian? “Sane and rational”.

    What’s the Press Complaints Commission doing about these liars, that’s what I want to know.

  64. #64 Vince Whirlwind
    January 15, 2013

    …or the Press Council even…

  65. #65 Lotharsson
    January 15, 2013

    Vince, feel free to draw chameleon’s attention to that statement about 20th century acceleration on the Sea Level Rise thread 😉

    Her latest comment there is touting the Gregory et al paper (which does actually make the claim that there’s little acceleration – but does so from fitting a quadratic to the data which isn’t quadratic in form).

  66. #66 Vince Whirlwind
    January 15, 2013

    Doesn’t the Gregory et al paper fail instantly if you take a step back and check how well their garbage model fits with a much longer time span?

    Or am I thinking of something else?

    Either way, these sorts of papers *do* tend, upon investigation, to be based on absolutely pitifully crap models that are so bad they make Mann’s original hockey stick look like the Pyramids of Giza.

    Ironic that fake-skeptics spend so much time panning carefully considered models and yet instantly adopt any mickey-mouse model if it gives them the result they want to see. What a bunch of intellectual pygmies they are.

  67. #67 chameleon
    January 15, 2013

    Bingo again!
    Time spans!
    How about geo-morphical studies that consider the last 2,000 years?
    What do they show?
    And I completely agree that people adopt the models that show them what they want to see.
    And there are soooo many models that show soooo many different results.
    Lotharsson isn’t getting it.
    I’m not denying any of them or particularly supporting any of them.
    It’s all very interesting, but none of them will be proved right or wrong until time and real data confirms them.
    That Gregory et al paper went through all the proper channels and was researched by proper professional expert climate scientists from respected organisations.
    Time and real data will judge that one too.
    If nothing else it does confirm that academics love to argue with each other.
    Like doh!

  68. #68 Lotharsson
    January 15, 2013

    Of course I’m not getting “it”. You’re not claiming anything that can be backed up with evidence. Your speciality is vague waffle combined with a Gish Gallop in the hope that a “aw, maybe we don’t know enough” stance will come off as the tiniest bit plausible.

    It doesn’t.

    You have said precisely nothing in over a month that is both (a) a reasonable inference from ALL the evidence and (b) goes against the mainstream findings of climate science.

  69. #69 Wow
    January 15, 2013

    There’s no “it” to get.

  70. #70 Lotharsson
    January 15, 2013

    That’s a better way of putting it 🙂

  71. #71 Wow
    January 15, 2013

    I’ve got away with words.


  72. #72 Jeff Harvey
    January 15, 2013

    “If nothing else it does confirm that academics love to argue with each other”

    Depends what you mean by academics. On the one hand are cautious scientists who argue over probabilities; on the other are shills who give the impression that there is no evidence whatsoever of a human fingerprint over the current warming. They do not exhibit nay doubts at all, hence why its easy for them to fool Jack public. Oh, and most of them don’t publish much in the scientific literature, in contrast with scientists on the other side of the debate.

    As an aside, not how the deniers are constantly shifting the goalposts to suit their agenda. In the early 1990s, warming was a ‘ doomsday myth’ with no evidence to support it. Since then they’ve moved on to say that indeed it has warmed, but it’s due to the sun or natural variation. More recently, they’ve jumped on the ‘it stopped warming in 1998’ canard.

    Obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate. This is the rallying cry of the climate change denial community. I hesitate to call them scientists with any pedigree because very few are really top scientists; most are wannabes who publish a single paper (if at all) every 5 or 10 years. Eventually, as the empirical data overwhelms them , they’ll make their last stand, claiming that humans are the primary culprit but that it’s too late to do anything except adapt.

    In every case its business-as-usual. Against this background we have our self-professed wannabe (Chameleon) who seems to like making ridiculous comments. Go figure.

  73. #73 chameleon
    January 15, 2013

    No JeffH,
    That was not what I said.
    I said that TIME will be the judge.
    One of your misconceptions is that there is an organised group of people on ‘one side’ called ‘deniers’ and apparently they ‘deny’ that we have a current climate that has a propensity to change.
    With respect, I would suggest you read the book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman.
    He outlines the pitfalls of causation and small samples with random results.

  74. #74 Wow
    January 15, 2013

    Yup, more empty homilies.

    So far, every prediction of the deniers has turned out complete bollocks.

    Yet somehow you haven’t let the fact change your mind: it is incapable of it. Time passing will not change your mind even though it bears out every prediction by the IPCC. Because as we’ve seen, you’ve not done any different before.

  75. #75 Vince Whirlwind
    January 15, 2013

    Time *has* judged.

    McIntyre was wrong.
    Spencer was completely wrong.
    Watts was very wrong.
    McLean was totally and utterly wrong.
    Monckton was wrong.
    Moerner was wrong.
    Ridley was wrong.
    Plimer was wrong.
    Carter was wrong.
    Jo Nova and her lovely husband still think the…er…”banking families” (wink, wink) are up to no good…
    The Australian now publishes bald-faced lies on a daily basis.

    You have nothing left. It’s all wrong.

  76. #76 bill
    January 15, 2013

    He outlines the pitfalls of causation and small samples with random results.

    Priceless irony!

    Even the ungrammatic typing out – you can almost see her lips moving – indicate not having a clue.

  77. #77 chameleon
    January 15, 2013

    There you all go again.
    The many, many different permutations should not be regarded as absolutely right or wrong.
    Too many unknowns.
    It isn’t ‘settled’ in other words.
    Maybe we can all come back in another 10 years and figure out which particular set of permutations resembled reality with the best accuracy?
    There are no shortages of them!

  78. #78 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    So Plimer’s attempt to spread the following ideas:
    – the sun has an iron core
    – CO2 levels were higher in the 1940s than today

    Are going to get less wrong as more time goes by?

    To give one example.

    Or Watts’ “Surface station Project” which proved the stations he had labelled as “low quality” actually gave a lower trend than his high quality stations. His claim about low quality stations skewing the temperature record upwards is somehow going to get less wrong, according to you?

    Or, you haven’t actually used your brain to produce your last assertion.

    You still haven’t provided any evidence that any of your previous assertions are based on any facts or intelligence.

    Why is Flannery’s “global organism” funny, can you explain?

  79. #79 chameleon
    January 16, 2013

    You are shooting yourself in the proverbial.
    Everybody has theories.
    Predictions may or may not be correct.
    I have not claimed that one or other is right or wrong.
    Theoretically, they could all have important pieces of the puzzle and they could all have major errors.
    You folks seem to think someone has to be entirely right and others entirely wrong.
    Realistically, you can’t prove projections either way until TIME and REAL DATA judges them.
    You are jumping to conclusions and ‘assuming’ if others question your ‘certainty’ then that automatically means they ‘support’ someone else.
    That’s rubbish politics and nothing to do with either science or statistics.
    I find that ALL OF THE MODELS I have read are useful tools but not necessarily containing ‘settled’ answers.
    It seems that the Gregory et al paper is presenting yet another way to view and plot the data.
    I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with that provided the methodology and the time frames and the underlying assumptions about particular variables are clear and reproducable.
    It is just another way to look at and study a highly un coperative and variable beast we call climate.
    What I’m seeing is that it’s NOT settled.
    There are OBVIOUSLY too many unknown relationships between all the variables.
    We can certainly use all the new information as we learn more.
    They were not designed to be prophetic.
    It is wrong to use ANY of them that way, no matter which blog they appear on or WHO researched and/or peer reviewed them.
    But no doubt some of you will once again assume that means something else entirely.
    And BTW JeffH, I don’t think there are any modern humans who say that humanity DOESN’T influence their ecological surroundings.
    You really need to get out more.

  80. #80 bill
    January 16, 2013

    Shorter chameleon:

    It is impossible to really know anything. I certainly don’t.

  81. #81 chameleon
    January 16, 2013

    Rubbish Bill,
    We are learning and understanding more.
    It is actually impossible to know everything and to claim it is all ‘settled’ because we know everything.
    The ‘real scientists’ know that too.
    Try asking the ones who are genuinely interested in science rather than interested in protecting their predictions!

  82. #82 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    Chameleon, leaving aside your confusion between idiomatic expressions and proverbial ones, can you explain what it is you find useful about the Gregory et al model?

    And, please, could you do it using precise language in as few lines as possible, your rambling posts are starting to hurt my brain.

  83. #83 JohnL
    January 16, 2013
  84. #84 chameleon
    January 16, 2013

    Here you go Vince,
    Here’s that clip.
    I finally remembered when it was sent to me 🙂
    And also?
    Are you saying there is nothing useful in this paper by well respected professional climate scientists from well respected organisations that was peer reviewed and published ?
    But in answer to your specific question:
    I thought that it was useful that they used some updated data.
    Didn’t you?
    I posted what they concluded at the ‘close of budget’ earlier.
    I’m spectacularly uninterested in what any of the media use as headlines, including Graeme L at the OZ and those insufferable snobs at the ABC.
    I’m far more interested in the conclusions written by the actual scientists who compiled the actual report.
    Aren’t you?
    And I’m sorry for your poor brain.
    The actual message isn’t all that complicated.
    I just thought the MO here was to make everything as complicated and complex and ‘nuanced’ as possible.
    I certainly didn’t mean to hurt your poor brain.
    Give it a little apologetic kiss from me,

  85. #85 bill
    January 16, 2013

    Getting away from the remblings of Dunning-Krugerites for a moment, in the world outside the, ahem, ‘skeptical’ intra-cranial puppet-show, monthly heat records have increased by a factor of 5.

    Of course, for some it will be impossible to know what that means; but, then again, some folks couldn’t find their own arses with both hands…

    Before the bleating begins, you may like to note that that’s 130 years of monthly temps from 12, 000 sites provided by NASA worldwide.

  86. #86 Lotharsson
    January 16, 2013

    One of your misconceptions is that there is an organised group of people on ‘one side’ called ‘deniers’ and apparently they ‘deny’ that we have a current climate that has a propensity to change.

    Arse-backwards again, and as far as I can see NOT a misconception held by Jeff.

    Denialists LOVE to argue that “climate has a propensity to change”, a claim which you’ll struggle to find a climate scientist disagreeing with.

    Denialists do this so they can proceed to fallaciously “infer” that “therefore, recent changes aren’t driven by anthropogenic factors”, or when that is too obviously bollocks “therefore, recent changes might not be mostly anthropogenic” – in denial of all the work investigating how much of the recent changes were and were not anthropogenic.

    And what Wow and Vince said. The question is not “do we know everything”, it is “do we know enough”.

    On that question “Time” has already adequately judged, and it adjudges that even the climate science understanding of several decades ago has proven far more reliable than the understanding of the “skeptics”. It has also judged that the prudent time to begin mitigation was some time ago.

    You’re merely playing the imprudent “high proofer” game (and when called out on it you deny doing so). That game is intellectually bankrupt, unscientific and foolish.


    You are shooting yourself in the proverbial.

    …is comedy gold. So at least your efforts here haven’t been entirely for naught.

  87. #87 Lotharsson
    January 16, 2013

    Chameleon’s clip starts out with some … interestingly chosen edits (and an almost conspiratorial framing via the initial caption).

    Try going to about 1:00 where the “full interview” begins – but even this is clearly cut in places.

    Perhaps now Chameleon can explain what she was trying to say about it?

  88. #88 bill
    January 16, 2013

    Your Honour, my client would like to point out that scientists – acknowledged global experts in both biology and forestry management – have determined that forest fires have occurred spontaneously and naturally for many hundreds and thousands – nay, millions – of years; certainly, Your Honour, for many millenia before he was even the proverbial twinkle in his doting parents’ eyes, and therefore, if it pleases the court, avers that this charge of arson against him is absurd, that is, that it is both ridiculous and unscientific in the highest degree…

  89. #89 Lotharsson
    January 16, 2013

    LOL bill 🙂

  90. #90 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    Chameleon, you’ve provided a link to a clip which shows Flannery talking about a “global organism”.

    No sign of “fleeting fancy”, and STILL no sign of any sort of explanation from you as to what “global organism” means and what we should think about it.

    You criticised FLannery for something he said which you clearly haven’t even begun to try understanding.

    Instead, you come here and paste copious reams of sentences which contain no content that I can discern.

    You haven’t offerred any explanation for why you like Gregory et al, either.
    Presumably whichever crank blog you visit said it is good therefore it is good and you don’t understand why.

  91. #91 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    I just came across this article which to me details the attitude and actions of the kinds of people who hang out at crank-blogs like Jo Nova and WUWT or Andrew Bolt’s blog:



  92. #92 bill
    January 16, 2013

    Christ! The US appears to be coming apart at the seams…

    A warning to the rest of us!

  93. #93 bill
    January 16, 2013

    Maybe this has been put up before, but here’s a video specifically for Chebbie and SD.

    I’m not kidding guys; this is you.

  94. #94 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    Remind you of the hideous Thompsons and their “Convoy of No Consequence”?

    They too where self-unaware, lawless, antisocial freaks, and didn’t Jo Nova love them.

    She’s found another sociopath whose actions she applauds – not content with clearing 300-odd hectares of bush, he decided to thumb his nose at a court order that forbade him from clearing a further 45 acres. So he is in gaol. So Jo Nova is beside herself. Presumably the…er…”Banking Families”…are somehow to blame.

  95. #95 Jeff Harvey
    January 16, 2013

    Chameleon is predictable, if nothing else. Her argument is that we should wait until we go over the cliff and crash on the rocks below to confirm the effects of AGW and other environmental assaults inflicted by humanity.

    I think she ought to read this sobering essay recently written by writer Chris Hedges. It won’t make any impact on her uni-dimensional perspectives, but it is poignant. And relevant; it sums up the human predicament in a nutshell.


  96. #96 Wow
    January 16, 2013

    “He outlines the pitfalls of causation and small samples with random results.”

    ‘sfunny how Spanking Donkeys and Dolt don’t seem to have listened to that.

  97. #97 lord_sidcup
    January 16, 2013

    David Rose has put in an appearance at Carbon Brief:


    He claims to be making a contribution to the understanding of climate sensitivity.

  98. #98 Wow
    January 16, 2013

    From the Guardian:

    In a research paper, due to be presented at a Harvard forum next month, scholar Theda Skocpol in effect accuses the DC-based environmental groups of political malpractice, saying they were blind to extreme Republican opposition to their efforts.

    Get that, boys and girls?

    If you didn’t guess that people would be batshit crazy and work to counter that even harder, then it is YOU who are at fault for THEIR batshittiness!


  99. #99 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    Obama’s still acting as if they aren’t entirely round the bend either. Youdathought he woulda learned by now.

  100. #100 chameleon
    January 17, 2013

    You said I was lying about the ‘global organism’ comment because I couldn’t provide evidence.
    I was also told I was lying about the cranky people in Western Sydney in the traffic comment.
    I haven’t found the ‘fleeting fancy’ comment (can’t remember the time frame) but I remember it clearly because I thought it was a clever use of alliteration. I did however find reference to it by Delingpole although he obviously thought his use of language was way better than Tim’s.
    I don’t agree BTW, Tim Flannery is way better at using language devices than Delingpole.
    Delingpole over uses hyperbole and I find his style abrasive.
    If you don’t understand what Flannery means by ‘global organism’ why ask me?
    You keep saying I am a liar.
    Why would I even bother?
    I suggest you ask Tim Flannery although I thought his meaning was reasonably clear in the video. He doesn’t have much of a problem communicating his ideas from what I can see.
    Or maybe Lotharsson can ‘nuance’ it for you?

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