Bob Carter, yet again

On June 7, the national science academies of the G8 nations and Brazil, China and India issued a joint statement saying:

Increasing greenhouse gases are causing temperatures to rise; the Earth's surface warmed by
approximately 0.6 centigrade degrees over the twentieth
century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) projected that the average global surface
temperatures will continue to increase to between 1.4
centigrade degrees and 5.8 centigrade degrees above 1990
levels, by 2100.

The scientific understanding of climate change is now
sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It
is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they
can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term
reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.

This Australian Financial Review chose not to report anything about this unprecedented statement of the scientific consensus. Instead, on July 13 they printed an opinion piece by Bob Carter:

D-day turned out to be June 7, when Robert May, president of the Royal Society of London, issued a statement on climate change that claimed to represent the agreed views of 11 scientific academies.

World leaders, including those due to meet at Gleneagles, were urged "to take prompt action to reduce the causes of climate change", mainly by "minimising the amount of . . . carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere".

Containing many erroneous phrases such as "the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action", the Royal Society statement does not provide the balanced, dispassionate scientific advice that the public is entitled to expect from such an august body. As US atmospheric physicist Fred Singer succinctly put it, the statement "is a politically motivated document and scientifically flawed".

Sensationally, within days both the Russian and United States science academies publicly dissociated themselves from the Royal Society statement. The Russians went so far as to request that their Academy president "repudiate his signature" from it. The US Academy president wrote that "we definitely did not approve the Royal Society press release" which contains "misleading and political statements", and threatened to cut the Royal Society off from future US science ventures.

As we have come to expect from Carter, this is a misrepresentation. The US Academy did not dissociate itself from the statement. The US Academy president objected to the Royal Society's press release which singled out the US government for criticism but stands by the joint statement. He stated (Real
Player clip):

By advertising our work in this way you have in fact vitiated much of the careful effort that went into preparing the actual G8 statement.

Instead of the scientific statement, Carter gives us this:

Topping this off, on the very first day of the Gleneagles meeting, the House of Lords delivered the coup de grace to the naive theory of human-caused global warming. A report from the influential Economic Affairs Committee asserted, among other things, that the Kyoto Protocol was not worth supporting; that the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change's advice was tainted by political interference; that the benefits of global warming were underplayed; and that the science of climate change was uncertain.

Some of you might have reservations about getting scientific information from politicians rather than scientists. Those reservations would be well founded.

Carter also claims:

Reduced to empiricism, we can only note that for the past several years, global temperatures have been falling,

No they haven't. Look:



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The Russian position is interesting. I was going to blog it fairly soon...

Obviously, they have signed up. Which given that Putin signed Kyoto is no great surprise. But Yuri I-thing has been whinging about this, though on what basis is unclear.

The whole structure of the RAS appears totally opaque - perhaps if one spoke Russian it might be clearer.

That graph clearly shows the last three annual means are decreasing. I think you'll find Carter's last statement to be accurate, if you equate "several" to "three".

I recently discovered the phrase Texas sharpshooter fallacy which seems appropriate here.

I was wondering how long it would be until the global average temperature probably exceeds the value that occurred in 1998 (the record hottest year) and hence how long it will be before Carter gives up perpetrating the idea that "there has been a cooling trend in recent years". So I made an estimate based on a regression of the temperatures from 1977 ( a relatively warm year at the beginning of the recent warming trend) to 2004. From this I get that 2010 will have an expected temperature higher than 1998.

So as long as that 28 year trend continues, it won't be too many years before Carter's arguments look that much shallower.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 17 Jul 2005 #permalink

When Bangladesh is mostly underwater and we have a mass migration millions of refugees into neighbouring countries, they will say they were still right & that the data wasn't conclusive enough or that it would have cost too much to change anyway.

I also wonder if the Kyoto recalcitrant will apologise and offer to take in the majority of the refugees. :)

Just imagine all the jobs that will be created in building and staffing detention centres in Australia.

I also wonder if the Kyoto recalcitrant will apologise...

Well their precursors still haven't apologised for calling Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu blood-crazed terrorists who were going to preside over the total annihilation of the white race in South Africa.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 17 Jul 2005 #permalink

Suggested guide to GWT skeptics pattern of logic:

  1. There is no global warming
  2. Okay, there is, but it's not man-made
  3. Okay, it is man-made, but it's too small or too costly to be bothered with
  4. It's a liberal conspiracy!
By Meyrick Kirby (not verified) on 18 Jul 2005 #permalink

There's another GW skeptic argument:

OK, it's happening and it's man-made but it's going to be beneficial, i.e. it'll prevent ice-ages and it'll cause a new warm "golden age" just like during Roman times.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 18 Jul 2005 #permalink